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Mixanthrôpoi

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Emma Aston

Section Two : Movement, absence and loss

Chapter IV

Expulsion, withdrawal and absence in the myths and cults of mixanthropic deities

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1. The deity within the landscape

1Mixanthropic deities are represented as highly prone to movement within an imagined landscape, a landscape conceived in terms of spatial zones and boundaries which may be passed between and crossed. It is typical of Greek myth that certain topographical features are used in a highly symbolic manner to reflect on both human and divine existence.

1.1. The mountain cave: Phigalian Demeter

  • 1 Hence their importance as places of birth. Typhon was born in a cave (Pind. Pyth. 1.16-17), as were (...)
  • 2 Particularly dramatic examples are the nekyomanteia at Herakleia Pontika and at Tainaron: for discu (...)
  • 3 Nekyomanteia and Herakles frequently overlap, as the former were often thought of as places where t (...)

2The association of caves with themes of movement has been recognised with regard to their function in myth as portals, especially portals between the world of the living and the world of the dead.1 Indeed, this rôle is to be found in ritual and practice as well as in myth, for caves were sometimes the sites of Nekyomanteia,2 and were connected in cult with figures specialising in katabaseis and over­world-underworld transit, such as Herakles and Hermes.3 This sub-chapter, however, explores the very particular rôle played by caves in the myths and cults of divine mixanthropes, arguing that that rôle was to give focus and a reference-point in the theme of the expulsion or withdrawal of mixanthropes.

  • 4 Paus. 8.42.1-3.
  • 5 8.42.2.

3The myth-cult combination here discussed has already been touched on: the account of the arrival of Demeter in the cave on Mount Elaion, in the territory of Phigalia, where her worship was conducted. The details of that myth are recounted by Pausanias who claims to have obtained the account from local informants.4 Demeter is angry both at her own enforced mating with Poseidon and at the abduction of Persephone by Hades. She puts on black clothes and withdraws into the cave ‘for a long time’ (ἐπὶ χρόνον πολὺν5). Akarpia afflicts mankind. Demeter is eventually discovered by Pan and persuaded to leave the cave and undertake her normal functions once more.

  • 6 Pausanias tells us that she was named ‘Black’ because of this black clothing: 8.42.4.
  • 7 Borgeaud (1988, 48) comments on the cave’s importance, in the Phigalian context and elsewhere, as a (...)

4This myth is presented by Pausanias as an aition of the cult’s inception, and various aspects of it have an aetiological flavour: the black clothes donned by the goddess, for example, are given as an explanation of her title, Melaina.6 And indeed, the myth as a whole can be seen as attempting to answer certain poten­tially troublesome questions about the cult. It is possible that as the Eleusinian Demeter-persona gained a purchase in Greek culture, the cave-cult of Phigalia began to seem anomalous: why should the goddess of the corn and of cultivated land be worshipped in a mountain grotto, in the realm of the herdsman and the hunter, away from the fields which were thought to be her preserve? Not only does the myth of her withdrawal answer this question, it also reassures the listener that her spell in the mountain zone was a temporary one, for it tells of the relief of her departure from the cave and resumption of her normal powers.7

  • 8 Both the strong parallelism of the two episodes of withdrawal and their significant divergence have (...)

5This anxiety about a Demeter so far from her ‘natural environment’ may well have driven the creation of the myth, and yet it does not entirely explain (or reduce in wider significance) the form that the myth takes. Its key elements take on a greater weight when we see, reading on in Pausanias’ account, that several of them are repeated strikingly in a second myth of withdrawal, at a later stage in the narrative of the cult’s history. This second withdrawal follows the destruction of the original xoanon by fire and the subsequent lapse of Demeter’s cult (discussed at length in Chapter 2); once more the goddess withholds her powers of fertility from mankind, leaving them suffering the resulting akarpia. It is interesting that this second story is hard to regard as an aition. There is no aspect of the cult that it really seems designed to explain. So an initial myth with strong aetiological patterns is built on by a second story that picks up the crucial motif of withdrawal as being particularly important and worthy of narration.8

6To examine the significance of the cave in the two halves of the doublet, a diagram is helpful. Under ‘Anger 1’ are the essential features of the first, purely mythical, story, that of Demeter’s angry withdrawal into the cave. Under ‘Anger 2’ are the essential features of the second, her anger at the destruction of the xoanon and the lapse of her cult.

Anger 1

Anger 2

Demeter present in cave

Demeter’s xoanon absent from the cave

Her powers absent from the agricultural sphere

Her powers absent from the agricultural sphere

Demeter has to be brought out of the cave, and kept out of it

Her image has to be brought back into the cave, and kept in it

7In both stories, the cave is a means of articulating the implications for mankind of the withdrawal of Demeter’s powers. In the first, this is caused by her presence in the cave; in the second, by her absence from it.

  • 9 After all, most accounts of Demeter’s anger after the rape of Persephone focus on the motif of her (...)
  • 10 The reason for this inversion has a great deal to do with the fact that in Demeter Melaina’s cult, (...)

8It is, after all, the cave that gives the withdrawal-myths of Phigalian Demeter their individual character.9 For a deity to take offence at some human misdemeanour – negligence, hybris, the transgression of a natural law – is indeed a contingency that peppers our ancient sources. And for a fertility deity, the most obvious way in which offence might be registered is through the withholding of the crucial influence on weather, earth and crops. The cave, as so often in Greek myth and ritual, lends a special physical dimension to a process of withdrawal. The above diagram encapsulates its ambiguity. Her cult ensured her divine favour by maintaining her presence – the presence of her image – in the cave. And yet, in myth the cult is inaugurated to celebrate her leaving the cave and becoming present once more in the world of agriculture. This is a highly significant twist on the familiar myth-element in which the miraculous epiphanic arrival of a deity in a specific location inaugurates a cult by conferring on the site the special status of having witnessed a divine presence. The Phigalia cult was enacted in the one place where Demeter herself – to the relief of all – was not. It was a monument to absence. And yet, at the same time, the presence of her image in the cave was clearly of the most deadly importance.10

1.2. The cave as junction of departure: Thessalian Cheiron

  • 11 Most popular are scenes where the infant Achilles is brought to Cheiron for instruction; loving det (...)

9As in the case of Demeter, the cave was a crucial factor in both the cult and the myths of Cheiron. Indeed, his cave is far more central to his career and personality than Demeter’s, for whereas, as has been said, hers represented a state of temporary residence, his was a permanent home and an unchanging element of the ‘furniture’ of his existence in myth, though it receives little attention from vase-painters, despite their general interest in various Cheiron-related themes.11 Cheiron was by nature a cave-dweller; this is quite different from the case of Demeter, in which cave-dwelling is aberrant, a symptom of disorder and inver­sion. Furthermore, in Cheiron’s case, the cave becomes a focus of the irreversible loss of the deity by mankind, a contingency accompanied by regret and anxiety.

  • 12 Aston (2006).
  • 13 For such underground heroes, see Ustinova (2002) and (2009), 89-109.

10In an article,12 I have argued that the character of Cheiron’s cave in myth is illuminated by its difference from a closely related phenomenon: the under­ground chamber of certain dead heroes such as Trophonios, Amphiaraos and Asklepios. Underground chambers such as were thought to be inhabited by such heroes13 act, in effect, as containers, guaranteeing the heroes’ presence at cult sites where they may be consulted (for prophecy or healing). This is reflected in the language of personal visitation: people at Lebadeia ‘went down to’ Trophonios, for example, and there is a general sense of personal immediacy key to these heroes’ efficacy in dealing with humanity’s most pressing and personal concerns. Their containment in part derives from their manner of death, which tends to ‘bury’ them under the earth and to exercise a fixative function. If we look at Cheiron, however, we find two chief points of contrast: first, the centaur himself is described as anything but present and available; second, his cave – and to some extent caves generally – have very different symbolic implications from those of the underground chamber.

11Pindar in his third Pythian says the following:

  • 14 Pind. Pyth. 3.1-7: ἤθελον Χίρωνά κε Φιλυρίδαν, | εἰ χρεὼν τοῦθἁμετέρας ἀπὸ γλώσσας | κοινὸν εὔξασ (...)

I wish that Cheiron son of Philyra
(if it is right for me to give tongue
to a common prayer)
were alive, who is departed,
the wide-ruling son of Kronos Ouranidas, and that
he ruled in the glades of Pelion, he, the wild beast
with a heart friendly to man; as he was when once he reared
our worker of sound limbs and relief from pain, Asklepios,
the hero, healer of every kind of illness.14

12This expression of regret owes much to the context of the poem: nostalgia for lost innocence, expressions of concern for the patron, Hieron of Syracuse. However, it also raises, with particular intensity, themes which are found across many works and authors: the depiction of Cheiron as dead and gone, and the depiction of his cave as a place no longer inhabited.

  • 15 Soph. Trach. 714-15.
  • 16 Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.4.
  • 17 On the character of Pholos, see Kirk (1971), 158-61; Padgett (2003), 20-21.
  • 18 Χειρώνεια ἕλκη: see Eustath. Il. 463.33-4.
  • 19 Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.4 and 2.5.11.
  • 20 Ovid, Fast. 5.397-414. In Diodoros’ account this is more or less what happens to Pholos: 4.12.8.

13The fullest accounts of the death of Cheiron are provided by Apollodoros and Ovid, but the event certainly predates them, receiving mention in Sophokles’ Trachiniai.15 In the account of Apollodoros, the context is significant: Cheiron’s death occurs in the midst of the labours of Herakles and that hero’s victorious struggles against a series of monsters and wild animals in the Peloponnese.16 Herakles is entertained on Mount Pholoë by the native centaur Pholos, who is hospitable and non-violent;17 as soon as the wine is opened, however (at Herakles’ insistence), the other centaurs of the area arrive on the scene. They reduce the quiet dinner-party to confusion, and Herakles chases them with flaming brands and arrows to Malea. Here they find Cheiron, in exile from Magnesia after the expulsion of the centaurs by the Lapiths, and cluster round him in their panic. An arrow shot by Herakles passes through the arm of one of them and accidentally lodges in Cheiron’s knee. Anguished, Herakles tries to heal the wound he has caused, but without success, and Cheiron withdraws to his Malean cave in great pain.18 So severe is his discomfort that he wants to die; this is accomplished when Herakles arranges the transfer of his unwanted immortality to a new owner, Prometheus.19 Ovid is less concerned with misguided aggression on the part of Herakles: in his version, Cheiron brings about his own death when, visited by Herakles in Thessaly, he drops one of the hero’s poisoned arrows on his own foot and wounds himself incurably.20

  • 21 This version may be traced back to the third-century BC Eratosthenes: Katast. 40; cf. Hyg. Astr. 2. (...)
  • 22 Paus. 5.19.9, in which Cheiron is thus described: ἀπηλαγμένος ἤδη παρὰ ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἠξιωμένος εἶναι(...)

14For Apollodoros, Cheiron once dead is entirely removed from the picture. Ovid, by contrast, ends his version with Cheiron becoming a famous constellation in the heavens.21 Unlike Apollodoros, he thus makes death result in a more exalted state; in this, he has much in common with the depiction of the story on the Chest of Kypselos, as described by Pausanias.22 But in both versions the result is that Cheiron is rendered permanently absent from his Pelion cave. He is made distant, remote, unlike the underground hero whose miraculous death causes, as has been said, a state of heightened presence in a single fixed location, and a state of special accessibility for humans. His death is presented as a tragic error, and a real loss to mankind.

  • 23 Although they do not tend to function as permanent homes for wild animals; see below.

15The link between caves and departure is one which surfaces in other contexts too within Greek mythology. A perfect illustration of this double quality is to be found in Apollodorus’ account of Herakles’ assault on the Nemean lion. Pursued by the hero, the lion quite naturally runs to take refuge in a cave. Caves are somewhere to hide.23 This cave, however, has a special feature:

  • 24 Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.1: συμφυγόντος δὲ εἰς ἀμφίστομον σπήλαιον αὐτοῦ τὴν ἑτέραν ἐνῳκοδόμησεν εἴσοδον (...)

The lion fled into a cave with two entrances, and Herakles, blocking up one, went in against the beast through the other.24

  • 25 Diodoros (4.11.3-4) provides an interesting variation: instead of a cave with two mouths, the lion’ (...)

16In other words, if Herakles had not taken special measures, the lion could have exited through one aperture as he was entering through the other. The cave allows for departure as well as – at the same time as – arrival. The cave itself does not allow Herakles to trap his lion until he has modified its design.25

  • 26 13.103-12.
  • 27 Compare Quintus Smyrnaeus’ description of the Nekyomanteion at Heracleia Pontica (6.469-91). In thi (...)
  • 28 Ogden also points out (2001, 252) that a cave can itself represent the realm of the dead, not merel (...)

17The double-mouthed cave is not unique to this instance. Another example is the cave of the nymphs described in Homer’s Odyssey.26 This cave also has two openings which are distinguished from each other by function: through one the nymphs come in and out, while the other is for humans. Once again, movement is regulated: mortals and divinities are kept apart, but the cave also allows them to communicate.27 It is a junction between two states of being; and this rôle recalls the fact that caves were thought to be portals to the underworld. Through a cave, movement between the realms of living and dead can be effected.28 Overall, whereas the underground chamber is a container that holds a being in place, the cave acts, or can act, as a meeting of the ways. It does not guarantee presence. It facilitates movement, both physical and in terms of states of being. It can cause absence just as easily as presence. All caves can have this quality, of which the double opening is just the most graphic expression.

1.3. The cave as cult-site

  • 29 For the cave as first dwelling and thus as emblem of the primitive state, see for example Buxton (1 (...)

18In the case of Demeter Melaina, the cave represents the dangerous potential for absence. It was a (natural) monument to her mythical absence from the non-cave world of agriculture, a reminder of the perpetual risk of driving the goddess and her gifts away. The cave-cult was one largely based on anxiety on a number of levels – anxiety about forfeiting the fertility of the fields, but also anxiety about slipping back into the savage condition which prefigured the grain-culture of which Demeter was patron (Bruit’s thesis). The cave itself stood for the pre-civilised state29 which was always there in the background, threatening community-regression. One might say that there was a tense paradox at the heart of the cult: Demeter had both to be kept out of the cave (out of the uncultivated realm) and in it (in the cult space where her worship could be safely continued).

19A very different condition prevails in the case of Cheiron. The Pelion cave which was the site of his worship was also the site of his mythical expulsion, an expulsion from which he never returns, falling prey first to wounding and then to death. In other words, Cheiron on Pelion has actually completed the process of removal which in the case of Demeter remains a permanent threat. His presence has been lost to man, not through negligence but through Herakles’ open aggression, albeit aggression aimed not at him but at his kin. In expelling the savage centaurs, Herakles accidentally expelled the one of their number who had ‘a mind friendly to man’.

  • 30 See Gaifman (2005), 170-95.
  • 31 This is the word used of it in Pind. Isth. 8.45.

20Gaifman, in her important treatment of Greek aniconic cult images, discusses what she terms ‘empty space aniconism’.30 This is the practice whereby a deity is represented not by an image but by a deliberate and crafted vacancy, a building or sometimes a throne. In a sense, Cheiron’s cave is a case of empty space anicon­ism. Neither ancient texts nor modern archaeology suggest that it contained a cult image. Like a carved stone seat it represents where the god might be. And yet, there is a crucial difference: a lack of potential. Cheiron, we know, is not in his cave, nor will he be; his departure is a permanent one. Whereas an aniconic empty space of the sort discussed by Gaifman derives its religious potency from the evocation of presence – either potential or invisible – Cheiron’s cave derives its poignancy from the impossibility of that. His name, past deeds, and erstwhile presence infuse Pelion, but their effect is an elegiac one. There is a plangent contrast between the aphthiton31 cave and its dying inhabitant.

1.4. The sea: Thetis

  • 32 For such theories and a refutation of the idea that shape-changing derives simply from the Greeks’ (...)

21There is a strong and persistent connection between the sea and the group of beings whose defining characteristic is shape-changing: that is, those who take on a series of (mainly animal) forms in quick succession. Scholars have observed that the extreme fluctuations of state to which these shape-changers are given accords with the persona of the sea: restless, in perpetual movement, taking no fixed form.32 There is a great deal of truth in this cliché. However, what the ensuing section attempts to show is that what the sea expresses in the cults and the myths of the shape-changers has a great deal in common with the patterns we have already observed surrounding mountain caves in the cases of other divine mixanthropes. It remains of undoubted interest that the sea should be the topographical feature most often found in connection with the shape-changers, and the special qualities of this element will be explored at the same time as comparison is drawn with our existing observations.

  • 33 Hdt. 7.191.
  • 34 Eur. Andr. 16-20.
  • 35 FGrHist 3 F 1.
  • 36 Strabo 9.5.6.
  • 37 Plut. Pel. 31-32.
  • 38 For examples and discussion, see Moustaka (1983), 28-9.

22For all the poverty of our evidence for her Thessalian cult, its mechanics and indeed its precise location, Thetis offers a uniquely revealing juxtaposition of cultic and mythic phenomena related to the subject of spatial and geographical relationships. As was described in the first chapter of this book, her cult had two chief locations of which we are aware. The coast of Sepias was a zone whose strong identification with Thetis made her the goddess to which stranded mariners might turn to in prayer,33 for all that we still cannot say what monuments may have marked out this sacrosanctity. Then there was the Thetideion in the territory of Pharsalos, mentioned by Euripides,34 Pherekydes,35 Strabo36 and Plutarch,37 and perhaps a shrine of the goddess also in Pharsalos itself. Thetis features on coins mostly in the south part of Thessaly.38 Overall, though, we seem to see two main zones of worship: that on the shore, extending over a stretch of coastline, and that inland, near and maybe also in a major city.

23Is it mere coincidence that the myths surrounding Thetis also occupy two main geographical spaces, corresponding closely to her two zones of worship? Unfortunately, as with Cheiron, we have not in this case the luxury we enjoy in Phigalia: the clear trace of a myth which developed in conjunction with the cult, to which it responded. Our Thetis-myths come to us from sources far removed from her Thessalian homeland, and any connection between them and the cults must have an element of speculation. None the less, our understanding of the cult sites can be enhanced by comparing them with the main stages in the myths.

  • 39 Our earliest source is Pind. Nem. 4.62-3.
  • 40 See the discussion of her composition in Section One for the importance of her cuttlefish form and (...)
  • 41 Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.5.

24The fame of Thetis which has endured to the present day rests largely on her association with Peleus. His amorous advances occasion her violent series of metamorphoses upon the shore,39 and it would seem that the Sepias coastline received its name from the chief of her forms, the cuttlefish.40 Peleus is successful in subduing the sea-nymph, and after an on-the-spot coupling by the sea the pair go to the cave of Cheiron where they are married.41 Thetis bears Peleus seven children. Last of the seven is Achilles, and it is after Peleus interrupts her attempt to make Achilles immortal by dipping him in magic fire that Thetis forsakes his hearth and the care of her children and returns to the sea whence she came.

  • 42 That the Thetideion near Pharsalos was connected in thought with the married life of Peleus and The (...)
  • 43 In other words, we do not have for Thetis what we have for Cheiron on Pelion: evidence for a ritual (...)

25Thetis’ myths, then, occupy two main positions, that on the shore (scene of her shape-changing, submission, mating) and that inland (scene of her marriage and subsequent life with Peleus). Likewise, her cult had both a shore aspect and an inland aspect, the Sepias and Pharsalos areas respectively.42 Sadly, lack of evidence precludes any suggestion that these two sites were connected by ritual, that people would have travelled between the two, conscious of their interconnection.43 However, one is justified in examining what, in the myths, the two locations signify, and whether this significance can be applied to the two locations of her cult.

  • 44 As well as the ambiguity of her beauty; see Chapter 1.

26At the heart of the story is Peleus’ struggle to acquire Thetis as wife, and his subsequent failure to retain her. On the sea-shore, Thetis is half in one element, half in another, and her shape-changing surely reflects this ambiguity.44 Likewise, her eventual submission and adoption of a single – human – form is closely followed by her departure from the liminal territory of the shore. Her geographical movement is also accompanied by a progression between states: from that of the virgin, ambiguous and untamed, to that of the married woman and the mother.

  • 45 See e.g. Cole (1998), 27-43, on the importance of marginal sites (and movement to and from such sit (...)
  • 46 Larson (2001, 100-12) makes the important point that nymphs were not thought of always as virgin gi (...)
  • 47 The sea in Homer is described as being atrugetos (see e.g. Il. 1.316; Od. 2.370). The scholion on O (...)
  • 48 Barringer (1995), 141-51.

27Many studies have been conducted into the way in which physical space complemented and reflected the stages of human life as perceived in Greek culture, and therefore the rôle that spatial enactments played in rituals of development, rites of passage. In a way, the rituals of space and movement which were performed within real human lives in Greek society were designed to express the change which their subjects were undergoing and to do so in a shared and formalised setting.45 Thetis undergoes movement in a similar fashion – away from youth and virginity, into maturity, marriage and motherhood. Her spatial journey from the sea to the inland settlement mirrors this. The sea has a number of thematic connections, in Greek thought, with the state of the unmarried maiden. Nereids are frequently regarded as parthenoi, as nymphs tends to be.46 Like the parthenos, the sea is untamed and unharvested,47 and unpredictable. The marine thiasos, in which Nereids are staple ingredients, is strongly associated with life-transitions, whether into adulthood or into death.48

  • 49 The impermanence of Thetis’ stay on land is emphasised in the sources by references to her unhappin (...)

28But for Thetis, a spatial change is no guarantee of permanent development. She retains an element of changefulness and instability, properties which shape the dénouement of her career, her abandonment of husband and children and her return to the sea.49 For Thetis, unlike human participants in a rite of passage, change remains an integral part of her persona, and is not neutralised by the movement – however symbolic – away from the sea and into the home of Peleus. She cannot be fixed for ever in the domestic and the tamed sphere. Like mermaids in Celtic legends, she will inevitably make the journey in reverse, back into the changeful element from which she emerged. Although she retains maternal ties to Achilles, she is none the less able to be re-integrated into the Nereid band, that most un-domestic setting. Even the Sepias promontory loses her to the sea.

29The existence of cult sites in the two zones – inland and on the shore – may be read as a continued religious expression of this quality and of the two poles between which the goddess’s movement took place. It may also be conjectured that the impermanence of Thetis in the household of Peleus was matched by an aspect of her persona as a deity in Pharsalian cult; but this argument will be postponed until the discussion of evasive mixanthropic statues. Here it must just be noted that both cult-sites known to have contained her worship, that inland and that on the shore, are associated with her absence.

30To return, in fine, to the theme of expulsion/withdrawal and how it relates to Thetis, we may see that she bears some similarity with Demeter Melaina. Human action causes her to withdraw from involvement in the human sphere. As with Demeter and with Cheiron, both her cult sites are sites of absence, and points of departure.

1.5. Coastal jumping-off points: Glaukos and associates

  • 50 Met. 13.904-67.

31Strongly analogous is the site of the worship of Glaukos at Anthedon, in Boiotia, on a spot called the Glaukou pedêma or Glaukos’ Leap. As was detailed in Chapter 1, Glaukos was a mortal fisherman who, after discovering a magical source of immortality, leapt into the sea and became a prophetic marine deity. His leap is associated with a dual change of state: from mortal to immortal and from anthropomorph to mixanthrope. This metamorphic combination is treated with especial vividness by Ovid,50 whose account, though it is far later than the worship which is the chief focus of this study, does offer some interesting insights into the peculiar liminality of the littoral cult-site; he does not invent a new narrative but rather expands and explores existing mythology (see above on Glaukos’ cult for the other sources).

  • 51 9.22.7.
  • 52 Lines 936-8: it is significant that, under the grass’s influence, the fish behave on land as they w (...)
  • 53 Lines 942-8.

32Most significant is the rôle played by the magic grass growing at the sea’s edge, mentioned also by Pausanias.51 This plant essentially represents the uncertain territory of the shore, and allows for passage between land and sea, and also between mortality and immortality. The latter is more simple: eating the plant makes mortals immortal. The former transition is subtler. Fish who are brought up onto the land are re-vivified just by lying on the grass: they move over it with a swimming motion, says Ovid,52 and then slip back into the sea, confounding the fisherman who caught them. Glaukos himself, on tasting the grass, feels an insurmountable urge to leave the land and enter the sea; his identity and allegiance are immediately re-aligned.53

33The magic grass which lines the shore is really just a concentrated expression of the curious quality which that zone always possesses in Greek thought. Glaukos’ Leap was a cult site at a place of passage, of movement between states, movement which he himself exemplifies. More than that, the site is a place of departure: movement takes place from land to sea, and is not reversed. Once again, we find a mixanthrope being worshipped on the location of his mythologi­cal disappearance, like Cheiron, like Demeter Melaina, like those who receive a form of Totenkult. It is an overwhelmingly strong pattern.

  • 54 See Hyg. Fab. 2; Apollod. Bibl. 3.4.3.
  • 55 In fact, their cult was on a much grander scale than Glaukos’: it is said to have been in Palaimon’ (...)
  • 56 Melikertes illustrates another possibility, being often shown riding on a dolphin, in accordance wi (...)

34Glaukos is not the only figure of this type. Especially comparable are Melikertes and Ino, whose mythology is also dominated by a departure from the land. Ino, driven mad by Hera, leaps into the sea with her child Melikertes, and they become sea-divinities called Leukothea and Palaimon; this change of state is closely similar to that of Glaukos.54 Leukothea and Palaimon are, like Glaukos, accorded cult honours;55 however, they are not represented mixanthropically. The class of the sea-leapers is not, then, exclusively a mixanthropic one; mixanthropy is one of a number of ways of expressing the marine associations of such beings, and their potential to move between states.56

1.6. Proteus and the sea-cave

  • 57 One brief reference gives Thetis a sea-cave as well: Eur. Andr. 1265-6.

35We have noted similarities between the cave and the sea as cult-sites and as mythical homes of mixanthropes. Both are loci of expulsion, withdrawal and absence; the cave loses its mixanthrope, the sea receives one who is departing. In some cases, however, there is a spatial proximity also: a cave is depicted as being on the shore: not up on the elevation of a mountain but right on the akte so that waves wash into it.57 Once again there is some geographical reality behind this idea: sea-cliffs are almost invariably pitted with fissures and chasms, and the Greeks would have observed this on their own coastline. Such a sea-cave, in myth, is the home of Proteus, the mantic god depicted often as a man with a fish-tail in place of legs. He differs from Demeter Melaina, Cheiron, Thetis and Glaukos in an unfortunate way: we do not know that the topographical feature – in his case a cave – in which he appears in myth also housed his worship, though this does not mean that one did not. We are therefore dealing solely with the significance of the sea-cave as his fabled home, not as a cult site. That said, the cult of Proteus was associated with littoral environments, and so the schism between myth and worship is not insuperable.

  • 58 For example, as Vergil puts it (Georg. 4.392-3): ‘novit namque omnia vates,| quae sint, quae fuerin (...)
  • 59 Hom. Od. 4.382-480. For discussion of the episode within the wider theme of metamorphosis in the Od (...)
  • 60 Verg. Georg. 4.387-529.

36The myths involved present a familiar and repeated situation: Proteus must be caught by a mortal hero and forced to impart words of prophecy and special wisdom relevant to the hero’s (usually difficult) circumstances. In this, Proteus is like and yet unlike Thetis: both are sought out and grasped by mortals, but for different reasons. Thetis is valuable for her beauty, sexual allure, and prospective uxorial status, Proteus for his mysterious knowledge of present and future.58 The motif of Proteus’ capture finds its earliest expression in the Odyssey, when Menelaos consults the reluctant mantic for advice and information on his journey home.59 In Roman literature, this episode is adapted by Vergil in the fourth Georgic when Aristaios seeks the reason for the mysterious death of his bees.60 These two distant examples, the only substantial treatments of the myth which survive, fit Proteus and his consultation into two very different canons of thought and association, as will be made clear; and Vergil subjects his model to a fascinating mixture of loyalty and re-working. The central point of this discussion, however, is one on which the two converge: the sea-cave as setting of the encounter between hero and sea-god.

  • 61 Line 419.
  • 62 Counting his seals: Hom. Od. 4.411-12, 451; Verg. Georg. 4.436. Compared with a shepherd: Hom. Od. (...)
  • 63 These conditions are mentioned twice: lines 401-3 and 425-8.
  • 64 Though the actual function of the cave, as a haven for storm-tossed mariners, is also hinted at on (...)
  • 65 See e.g. Theok. Id. 1.15-18: Pan rests at noon, after a morning’s hunting, and the shepherds fear t (...)

37The cave is an odd hinge between sea-world and mountain-world, the two most frequent realms of the shape-changer and the mixanthrope. Vergil uses the word mons of its setting,61 making the connection explicit; but it is implicit in both. The cave inland is the shelter of the herdsman, and of gods associated with herdsmen, such as Pan. Likewise, the sea-cave of Proteus is a littoral counterpart to that environment, just as he is a marine version of the inland pastoralist, with his flocks of seals which, like the Cyclops with his sheep, he carefully counts and oversees.62 This parallelism is taken to an extreme length with the notion of Proteus retiring into his cave to escape the heat of the day, an urge surely out of place in the depths of the sea, which remain cool at all times. This idea, of the god seeking shelter from the heat in his cave, is especially emphasised by Vergil, who uses terrestrial imagery to convey the conditions – withered grass, shrinking streams63 – in a way which is curiously out of touch with Proteus’ actual environment,64 and draws the mind back to the land-based herdsman with whom he is explicitly compared. It also reminds us strongly of Pan’s habit of sleeping away the noontime, a peril to any who might unwittingly wake him.65 Thus the cave connects Proteus (in both texts, though in Vergil’s most strongly) with the major mixanthropic preserve of the herd and its overseer, and the landscape in which they operate.

  • 66 As Vermeule notes (1979, 188), gnashing, grinding teeth are a persistent ingredient of sea-diviniti (...)
  • 67 4. 397: ἀργαλέος γάρ τἐστὶ θεὸς βροτῷ ἀνδρὶ δαμῆναι.

38All the same, why have a cave? When Thetis comes out of the sea into the arms of the lurking Peleus, no cave is mentioned and in our surviving accounts their struggle simply takes place on the sands. With Proteus, the cave’s function is as a lodging-place, albeit a temporary one: it is where the god and his seal-flock come to rest at midday. It is a place of (ostensible) security, and in it the god relaxes his vigilance, and can therefore be assailed. Hiding is not enough for either Menelaos or Aristaios: the god must be asleep before an attempt can be made. For whereas Peleus, if he is not careful, runs the risk of Thetis slipping back into the sea before she can be grasped, with Proteus one is given the impression of an adversary dangerous and to be feared from the first.66 The cave is, ironically, a place of unusual vulnerability for a being normally quite able to look after himself. We are also familiar with the widespread idea that a cave is somewhere that mortals and immortals may meet. Like (in some ways) the underground chamber of a hero such as Trophonios, it provides a junction-box between the two states. ‘A god is hard for a mortal man to master’, remarks Menelaos gloomily,67 but in this setting such an event is possible. It should also be noted that Proteus, unlike for example Zeus, is the kind of deity whom a mortal may fight and, with strength and guile, defeat. It is his mythic rôle to have his knowledge choked out of him.

  • 68 4.443: τίς γάρ κεἰναλίῳ παρὰ κήτεϊ κοιμηθείη;

39A cave situated between sea and land has an even more intense intermediary function. The utterly alien quality of the sea is stressed especially in the Odyssean version, as is the extent to which Menelaos is encountering beings profoundly different from himself. The seals are the most potent emblem of this fact: their briny stench is unbearable not just because it offends the nostrils, but because it is the smell of the black and mysterious deep. It takes a dose of ambrosia administered by the helpful sea-goddess Eidothea to make it tolerable. ‘Who would lie down beside a beast of the sea?’ asks Menelaos ruefully.68 And yet that is exactly what his ruse requires: he must lie among the seals, draped with a flayed seal-skin as a disguise, and so be counted by Proteus along with the rest of the flock, in a way which must remind us of Odysseus’ ruse for escaping the Cyclops’ cave, hidden under the belly of a ram and thus passing the monster’s inspection. One is reminded also of the young Thessalians’ ritual approach to the cave of Cheiron, wrapped in new fleeces. In some cases, a human, approaching a mixanthrope, must himself undergo a form of animal-transformation.

40Thus the sea-cave’s junction-quality may be seen to work in various ways. Proteus emerges onto the land, though still briefly cloaked in his watery element; Menelaos, to tackle him, has to enter a marine state. And once again the cave is where the mixanthropic deity suffers at the hands of a mortal hero: this, as we have seen, is the case with Cheiron, and if we think in terms of her cult-image and its destruction, we might see Demeter Melaina also as conforming to this pattern of misuse. In discussing pharmakoi, below, it will be shown that the sea has a rôle in this motif, receiving suicides, those expelled, those harried. However, the similarities are accompanied by important differences. So far, we have been dealing mainly with victims of expulsion, sometimes resulting in death, as with, for example, Cheiron and the Sirens. But Proteus is not expelled from his sea-cave. Rather, Menelaos is concerned to keep him in it, long enough to prophecy. In this, Proteus is to be compared with Thetis, who eventually fulfils her constant potential for absence by slipping back into the sea and abandoning Peleus. Proteus’ sea-cave is a place of sporadic presence in which it is imperative that the god be kept and held while consultation takes place, and his absence from it is self-inflicted. This departs from the motif of expulsion, but has much in common with that of withdrawal, its voluntary counterpart, to be found in the case of Demeter Melaina. It is when Demeter’s image is not kept in her cave that trouble is inflicted on mankind. Proteus is the ultimate in slippery gods, and the cave is at best a briefly-tenanted shelter.

41Generally speaking, sea-related myths and figures bring us a subtle shift in emphasis away from deliberate expulsion by human agency. Human error often triggers the disappearance of the deities in question, for example Peleus’ interference in Thetis’ immortalisation of her children; and the approach of a mortal will send Proteus slipping back into the brine. Little, however, is required to set off their extreme innate tendency for disappearance. They are by nature supremely evasive, and their loss is accompanied less with guilt such as we have seen in the cases of Cheiron and Demeter Melaina, more with straight­forward regret that man is not able to retain a firm hold on a power he desires to keep. That said, the sea is very heavily associated with deliberate expulsion, as will be shown in the next chapter; and this must connect, on some level, with the mixanthropes and shape-changers who dwell in it.

42The above sub-chapter has shown how themes of the expulsion, withdrawal and absence of mixanthropic deities are expressed in spatial terms, via a series of significant topographical settings. Sometimes, however, as has been said, the focus is a narrower one: on the mixanthropic image and its position within the setting of a cult.

2. The image within the cult: Pausanias and lost statues

43We have seen above that Pausanias’ narrative concerning the cult of Demeter Melaina at Phigalia connects the goddess with angry withdrawal and with an intensely uncertain presence. This is expressed through the motif of the cave and Demeter’s movement into or out of it. There is, however, another side to Pausanias’ account. Running alongside the story of Demeter’s anger is an extraordinary narrative of lost statues in the goddess’s sacred cave. The xoanon and its destruction by fire have been mentioned; but this is only the first stage in a sequence of statue-loss which the Periegete recounts. It must be reiterated that he appears to be reporting local Phigalian stories on the subject.

  • 69 For the fire, the neglect and the oracle: 8.42.5-6.
  • 70 Paus. 8.42.7 (for the Greek text, see the Appendix below).

44As has already been noted (see Chapter 2), Pausanias gives a very vivid description of Demeter Melaina’s xoanon. Only after this does he tell us that the xoanon was destroyed by fire. This is the first clear indication, apart from tense, that Pausanias himself did not actually see the image to which he has given so much attention. The narrative continues69 with the cult falling into neglect after the destruction of the xoanon, and, as a consequence, Demeter growing angry at the interruption of her worship and afflicting the land with akarpia. Seeking advice from the oracle at Delphi, the Phigalians are told the reason for their distress and immediately renew the cult with more zeal than before and commission a new statue from the craftsman Onatas, about whom Pausanias gives us some background information. Of this second effigy we are told:70

Then this man, having found a drawing or copy of the old xoanon – but working more, as it is said, in accordance with a vision seen in dreams – made a bronze agalma for the Phigalians.

  • 71 Paus. 8.42.13.

45And it is not until chapter twelve, after the digression on Onatas and a description of what offerings Pausanias himself dedicated in the cave, that we are informed almost casually that the effigy made by Onatas was no longer in existence at the time of his visit. Not only that, but most of the locals did not even know that Onatas’ statue had ever been there. Pausanias, however, apparently undertakes some detective-work and finds an old man who is able to tell him that the Onatas statue was destroyed in a fall of stones from the cave-roof. And Pausanias ends his description of the region of Phigalia with the assertion: ‘And in the roof it was still clear to me too, where the stones had broken away.’71

  • 72 Elsner (2001), 3.

46The question of whether or not the xoanon ever actually existed was largely the topic of an earlier section. Here, I shall treat the passage not as evidence, reliable or otherwise, but as ‘a coherently conceived piece of writing’, to borrow the phrase used by Elsner when he urges the recognition of the complexity and depth of the Periegesis.72 The narrative of Demeter Melaina’s statues has as good a claim as any part of the work on the kind of attention Elsner encourages us to give it.

  • 73 For convenience, I shall refer to the first statue as the xoanon and to the second as the agalma.

47That said, the account of the succession of statues seems at first glance an unproblematic description of the changes in a cult site over the centuries. After all, for all the importance in Greek cult of continuance and tradition, circumstances must sometimes have necessitated alterations such as the replacement of a statue. A wooden xoanon can suffer burning, and a bronze agalma can be damaged by falling rocks.73 And yet, if one looks more closely at a few key phases in the narrative, it becomes clear that we are dealing with a heavily mythologizing story. Two points especially lend themselves to this reading. The first is the account of how Onatas achieved inspiration for the creation of the agalma. The second is the way in which the destruction of that agalma is described.

  • 74 The word γραφή can mean a drawing or a painting. It is very hard to envisage what kind of γραφή can (...)
  • 75 8.42.13.

48Pausanias tells us that Onatas made his agalma by working from a ‘drawing74 or copy’ of the xoanon; but mostly according to a vision seen in dreams, a strongly mythological motif. In other words, the form is partly dictated by the original, but more by a new source, the dream. Since it seems unwise to take this episode simply as ‘fact’, how are we to interpret its creation? For answer, we turn to the story of the roof-fall. As has been said, there is nothing implausible about the roof of a cave crumbling and the falling stones damaging a bronze image. But in Pausanias’ account, the statue is not merely damaged. It is entirely obliterated. Pausanias’ recounts what an old man on the spot said of the agalma’s fate: ‘He said that it had been broken to pieces by these [rocks], and had vanished en­tirely.’75 The verbs could not be more emphatic. Katagnumi means ‘break into pieces or shatter’, and aphanizomai ‘be wiped out or disappear’. In other words, the roof-fall did not simply render the agalma unsightly and so necessitate its replacement; it made it cease to exist.

  • 76 For debate as to the extent to which Onatas adhered to or departed from the form of the xoanon, see (...)

49There is no hope of trying to reconstruct what actually happened to either of the two lost statues. But what the myths do is to describe their absolute removal. The agents of the removal are miraculous accidents. And now we may reappraise the dream of Onatas. Just as the fire and the roof-fall deal with the disappearance of statues, so the dream of Onatas deals with the replacement of a statue with one that is not true to the original. Dreams, whether or not it is explicitly stated, tend to be divinely sent in Greek culture. Onatas’ dream gives him supernatural carte blanche to deviate from the pattern of the xoanon; yet at the same time, the lesser influence of the drawing or copy ensures that the xoanon is not entirely left behind. In sum, key elements in the stories appear to combine to justify and explain certain changes (either historical or mythological) in the cult of Demeter Melaina which were thought to need justification. And though Pausanias does not tell us exactly what is lost as agalma succeeds xoanon (nor indeed what kind of statue was in position when he visited) it seems extremely likely that the discarded element was the mixanthropy of the original, the mare’s head.76 If it had still been in existence, he would surely have mentioned it. Continuity and innovation are kept in effective juxtaposition by the motif of Onatas’ inspiration. But the mixanthropic image is a thing of the past, conceived of as having been obliterated long before the memory of the oldest inhabitant and yet clearly maintaining huge symbolic importance in Phigalian folklore.

  • 77 For a useful general discussion of the author’s life and times, see Pretzler (2007), 16-31.

50In the light of the material already discussed in this chapter, it is clearly right to regard the story of Demeter’s succession of statues as part of a wider motif of mixanthropic expulsion and loss. However, the matter does not end there. In order to place the Phigalian statue-narrative within its proper context, there are two things which must be taken into account: first, its relationship with Pausanias’ character as an author and as a product of the period in which he lived;77 second, its position within a far wider topos of the loss of statues, which is not limited to mixanthropic images.

  • 78 Whitmarsh (2005), 4-5. On the Sophists and the characteristics of their work, see Bowie (1971), 4-1 (...)
  • 79 For a summary of the controversy, see Bowie (2001), 25-7. Bowie argues that the chief models for Pa (...)

51When we say that Pausanias was part of the cultural environment of the Second Sophistic, we are using rather tendentious and potentially misleading terms. The period commonly designated by that term covered much time (the second and third centuries AD) and many forms of creative thought, though as Whitmarsh has noted, one definition of the period (out of several) restricts it essentially to the works of the Sophists who give it its name.78 In this group Pausanias does not belong, and indeed the genre of the Periegesis has been subjected to question, so that it is rendered more difficult to assess his place and rôle within the writing of his age.79 But there is no doubt that certain features, themes and preoccupations characterise a period whose defining circumstance was the operation of Greek writers and thinkers within a Roman imperial context. This context gives unity and motivation to the literature produced by Greeks at the time, as well as one set of explanations of certain trends discernible in it.

  • 80 On this and other aspects of Pausanias’ archaising tendencies, see Bowie (1971), 22-3.
  • 81 On this conjunction of the real and the imagined, Porter remarks: ‘What Pausanias gives his readers (...)

52One such trend, as has long been recognised, is a nostalgic attitude towards the Greek past, before the Roman occupation, manifested in various ways, both linguistic (Atticism in rhetoric and other forms of text and public speech) and thematic (a renewed interest in Greek mythology and long-past events). There is no doubt that Pausanias shares this attitude: his narration of monuments in Greece is notable for its omission of post-Classical, especially Roman-period buildings,80 and also for its lengthy inclusion of mythological and historical material. The recognition of these tendencies has fuelled the acknowledgment that Pausanias is by no means a simple or basic narrator, and considerable study has gone into the ways in which his narrative of landscape, both human and natural, is used to convey his ideas of Greek cultural and religious heritage. The landscape as described by Pausanias is not simply a real arrangement of hills, trees and buildings; it is, rather, a constant series of traces of the past, traces which allow Pausanias to uncover and describe some item of myth or history.81

  • 82 Habicht (1985), 26 believes that the Periegesis was composed with a Greek audience in mind, but the (...)
  • 83 Bowie (2001), 75; see also Habicht (1985), 164.
  • 84 Habicht (1985), 23 remarks on ‘Pausanias’ predilection for the sacred as opposed to the profane.’

53This mention of ‘the prodigious phenomenon that Greece once was’ raises the associated theme in Pausanias’ work: that of loss. The past, and the great­ness of the past, are things dead and gone, but through his narrative may be at least partly recovered and assured a place in human (Greek?82) memory.83 But this feeling is not couched only, or even chiefly, in the terms of grandeur that one might expect – the largest Classical temples, the most famous and glorious battles, the most prominent statesmen. The Periegesis preserves endless details of local landscape, the detail of small towns and their monuments, and especially their cults.84 Many extraurban religious sites are also described. It is through the minutiae of cult that the narrative of loss, and the drive for preservation and commemoration, are most strongly expressed.

  • 85 Pritchett, vol. 1 (1998): on p. 61 he remarks: ‘The work … might be subtitled περὶ ἀγαλμάτων.’ On P (...)
  • 86 Although the connotations of the word xoanon are not fixed, but rather change from author to author (...)
  • 87 Some examples of narratives concerning the preservation of, or failure to preserve, cult statues ar (...)

54Pritchett has argued convincingly that at the heart of this use of religion is the figure of the cult statue.85 Pausanias is noticeably concerned with the preservation of cult statues, especially xoana,86 and with the question of whether they have survived the long centuries between the supposed date of their creation and the time of his visit.87 This preoccupation applies to a wide variety of cults and deities. The narrative of Demeter Melaina’s statues is unusually long and intricate, but it is one of a number which are concerned with the theme of the failure to preserve and maintain ancient cult effigies.

  • 88 See Hejnic (1961), 45-63: this work explores the complicated amalgamation of local and pan-Arkadian (...)
  • 89 This combination is plainly not peculiar to Pausanias. For discussion of the relationship between f (...)
  • 90 Much has been done by Bruit (1986) to argue for the programmatic connections between the Demeter Me (...)
  • 91 On Bassai: 8.41.7-9. Pausanias does here concede that the temple of Apollo there is exceptionally l (...)

55One thing must be made clear at this point. It is certain that in the Phigalia narrative Pausanias is recounting myths which were told by the inhabitants of the region.88 He is not the primary author of the myths. They are not the product of his Second Sophistic imagination, but of the local oral tradition at work over many generations. The influence of his own background is felt through selection and arrangement, not through invention.89 The Demeter cult, and particularly the lengthy narrative of her statues, are plainly of special importance to Pausanias, chiefly because they tie in very strongly with his wider concerns as an author, and contribute something of huge (implicit) mark to the Periegesis as a whole.90 This is reflected in the fact that the amount of space which the site, the cult and its mythology receive in the narrative of Book Eight is disproportionately large (far larger, for example, than that allotted to Bassai, for all that the latter is, and was, a far more ‘impressive’ site).91 Within the Periegesis, the theme of the preservation or loss of statues is vital and frequently raised; within that theme, the narrative of the Phigalian statues bulks large. But it would be wrong to read it in isolation.

56The fact that Pausanias was drawing on local stories alerts us to a deeper contextual issue. Pausanias’ anxiety about cult statues, their preservation and maintenance, the constant danger of their loss, has been connected with features of his time and context, and with matters of Greek religious heritage and its survival. But the vocabulary in which these concerns are couched, the vocabulary of moving and disappearing statues, was surely provided to the Periegete by far older material, much (though not all) of which intimately involves mixanthropy and mixanthropic deities.

  • 92 Paus. 3.15.7; on the restraining of statues, see Pritchett, vol. 1 (1998), 329-38; Merkelbach (1971 (...)
  • 93 Diod. 17.41.7-8.
  • 94 Paus. 8.41.4-6.

57There is a wide canon of material in ancient sources on the idea of the cult statue endowed with supernatural agency. There are stories of cult statues sweating, bleeding, shooting fire. Within this pattern, however, one motif is particularly in evidence: that of the statue which must be restrained to prevent it – and the powers it contains – leaving the community in which it resides. For example, Pausanias tells us92 that in Sparta the image of the war-god Enyalios was bound to prevent him running away and thus removing his military assistance. The military dimension continued potent even in rather later contexts: Diodoros reports93 that during Alexander the Great’s siege of Tyre there was anxiety lest Apollo forsake the beleaguered city; the god’s image was therefore chained. Numerous other cases of this type are to be found in ancient literature, not all of them military in nature. The bound Eurynome of Phigalia94 may certainly be seen as belonging to the canon of statues requiring tethers to prevent them disappearing. In her case, the chains combine with her mermaid form to give this impression: fish-tailed beings in Greek thought, such as Proteus and Nereus, are always associated with evasion and impermanence; and Eurynome’s close conjunction with Thetis, the legendary shape-changer and mistress of escape, makes it clear that she is to be thought of as dangerously slippery and in need of restraint. Winged deities can be similarly elusive, as was observed in Chapter 3 with regard to Nike Apteron, whose physical curtailment was compared by Pausanias with the chaining of Enyalios.

  • 95 On the mobile, animated and evasive qualities of xoana, see Frontisi-Ducroux (1975), 100-106.
  • 96 Occasionally myths of statue-binding blur the divide. For example, in a story retold by Athenaios ( (...)

58Bound images will be touched on further when we turn to divine aggression. Here, however, we can see that Pausanias is not innovative in focusing his anxieties on the statue, especially the xoanon. In Greek thought, xoana are especially potent representatives of a deity’s power, and the possibility of their disappearance is an alarming one.95 That said, one very important difference lies between Pausanias and most myths of statue-binding. In the latter, statues are generally recorded as departing or threatening to depart of their own accord, in an act of deliberate withdrawal. Pausanias is far more worried about human agency, whether it takes the form of neglect or of active removal of cult images. For him, deities, as represented by their statues, are not the authors of their own disappearance but are helpless victims of human misuse. This is an important divergence.96

59We can see in the above material mixanthropic images taking a share of wider zones of thought and belief, rather than occupying one exclusive to themselves. Pausanias is not concerned only with the loss of mixanthropic images (although his longest narrative of statue loss concerns a mixanthrope); bound statues are not always mixanthropic. As so often, the situation is one of overlapping and closely related discourses. Mixanthropy as a tool of iconographic expression shares some semantic significance with others (bound images, lost images) and draws a significant portion of its own symbolic power from the conjunction.

60In sum, both mixanthropic deities and their images were considered to be especially prone to movement and absence, both within the mythological landscape and its topography, and within the physical setting of a cult. In the next sub-chapter, spatial movement is still important. But the focus is on the figure of the pharmakos, or scapegoat, and on what light this can shed on the motif of mixanthropic expulsion. So far in this chapter, the loss of the mixanthropic deity or its image has been presented, through the ancient material, as chiefly a contingency to be avoided, accompanied by anxiety and/or regret. There is, however, another side to the matter, revealed in the thematic relationship which existed between mixanthropy and the figure of the pharmakos.

3. The scourging of Pan: the mixanthropic deity and the pharmakos

  • 97 A considerable amount of distinguished scholarship has been devoted to drawing together all ancient (...)

61The subject which follows is one of the frequent instances in Greek society where two cultural phenomena, with their surrounding layers of reaction and depiction, are loosely but meaningfully conjoined. At first glance, the figure of the pharmakos appears to have little to do with the mixanthropic deity – he is, after all, human, and the participant in a real-life ritual. And yet on closer inspection it becomes clear that the two entities converge on a number of significant points. First, they are characterised in strikingly similar terms. Second, their treatments (in the case of mixanthropes, both mythical and ritual) also bear similarities. These similarities will be explored, and I shall ask what they contribute to the picture of the mixanthropic god which has been emerging in this section.97

  • 98 As Ogden (1997, 16) puts it: ‘Like the teras, the scapegoat was ideally a disgusting marginal.’ On (...)
  • 99 For example, in the Greek colony of Massilia, when plague struck, a poor man was wont to offer hims (...)
  • 100 Plutarch tells us of the ritual of the boulimou exêlasis in his native Chaironeia, in which a slave (...)
  • 101 For example, as part of the Thargelia in Athens: Harpokration Lex. s.v. φαρμακός. On this rite, see (...)
  • 102 For example, in the most famous case, that described in fragments of the sixth-century Ionian poet (...)
  • 103 For example, in the Massilian rite according to Lactantius, and in both Athenian rituals mentioned.
  • 104 A view taken, unsurprisingly, by Frazer, vol. 9 (1933), who cites (p. 229) the driving out of the O (...)
  • 105 For example, Ogden (1997), 15-23, who connects the expulsion of the scapegoat with a society’s need (...)
  • 106 Hughes (1991), 140.
  • 107 ‘Offscourings’; lit. ‘something wiped off’ – see LSJ s.v. περιψάω.

62The pharmakos is a person, usually one of low birth and/or outlaw status and of ugly if not deformed appearance.98 The ceremony in which such a person is employed is sometimes occasioned by particular circumstances, such as plague99 or famine,100 sometimes part of a regular ritual event.101 In either case, the pharmakos is generally ritually mistreated102 and paraded through the town before being cast out and, sometimes, stoned outside the town walls.103 His participation often ends in his death. The precise meaning of this rite has been debated at great length, with two poles of thought: an earlier notion was that the flagellation of the pharmakos was designed to stimulate fertility and natural renewal and increase,104 whereas more recent scholars place more emphasis on the driving away of ills.105 This latter sense is made explicit especially in the sources which describe rituals to counteract particular disasters such as famine; but one can also, as Hughes points out,106 take it as inherent in the word pharmakos itself, and in the closely-associated term to denote the same person and his rôle, peripsêma.107 So the purgative function of the rite appears most strongly in the Greek examples, but at the same time, the connection between fertility and flagellation undeniably does exist in some of the ancient loci. But the motif of the driving out, and even the extermination, of an ill is clearly the one uppermost in the Greek material.

63Here a connection with mixanthropes will begin to be apparent: they too are often depicted, as has been shown, as being subjected to a process of expulsion which sometimes results in death. Yet this alone is not a similarity which can be usefully built on; we need to be sure that there were active connections between the pharmakos and mixanthropy in Greek thought.

64That such connections did exist is suggested, as I have said, by parallels of characterisation. First, the pharmakos is almost always associated with ugliness and deformity, and this is an area of thought within which mixanthropes are included. A human/animal hybrid was most definitely classed as a teras, as was made clear in the Introduction to this book; it was considered something against nature, something potentially unlucky and ominous. Mixanthropes frequently inspire terror, disgust or uneasy laughter in myth, especially when they burst suddenly upon the sight: they confound with their paradoxical and unnatural qualities. This teras-quality of the mixanthrope is surely key to its tendency towards expulsion and rejection.

  • 108 Ogden (1997), 20. This practice is perhaps better attested in non-Greek cultures; the famous exampl (...)
  • 109 Ogden (1997), 26-7; cf. Faraone (1992), 36-53.

65But the pharmakos is sometimes also connected with animal form or nature, thus reinforcing the connection with mixanthropes yet further. Ogden points to the aggressive use of pharmakos-animals as a means of sending plague or a curse into an enemy camp;108 this is an inverted version of the motif of expulsion, but carries the same significance. He cites a passage in Diodoros (2.55), in which Erythrai is captured by the use of a bull-pharmakos, cursed and then sent into the enemy’s midst. Often inanimate effigies of animals are used in the same way; and from these instances, a strong pattern emerges whereby an animal form was clearly considered suitable as a bringer of ill, to be driven out of one’s own community and into that of a foe.109

  • 110 Philostr. Vit. Ap. Ty. 4.10. On the context and milieu of the work and its creator, see Billault (2 (...)

66So animals can be used as pharmakoi; but it is also sometimes the case that human pharmakos-figures have animal characteristics. An interesting example of this is the event narrated by the third century AD author Philostratus in his Life of Apollonios of Tyana,110 which has many hallmarks of the pharmakos-ritual though it is clearly a fantastical and imaginative use of the motif. When a plague strikes Ephesos, the community appeals to Apollonios, who advises them to drive out a particular beggar (low and marginal status again). At first they are unwilling, but soon perceive a supernatural gleam in the beggar’s eyes, and take his advice. So many stones do they cast that the beggar is entirely concealed under them; when the stones are removed, the Ephesians find no human corpse but that of an enormous dog.

  • 111 See also Nik. Het. fr. 62.
  • 112 For discussion of the particular significance of Hekabe’s transformation and of the dog and its cha (...)

67The dog is especially connected with pharmakos-type expulsion, as the myth of Hekabe’s end also demonstrates. In the Hekabe of Euripides, our earliest source,111 it is prophesied that the heroine, after her savage (and inhuman – perhaps even unhuman) blinding of Polymestor, will turn into a dog with fiery eyes and disappear into the sea. In this variant, Hekabe has become cursed and outlawed because of her crime, and as is often the case, animal metamorphosis follows such a transgression.112 This example strengthens the impression that the pharmakos-figure is associated with a loss of human status and an adoption of animal nature. This brings it very strongly into line with the mixanthrope, which is also constantly connected with metamorphosis and the loss of humanity (this will be discussed in the next section). So the pharmakos and the mixanthrope share some characterisation as unnatural, outlawed and sometimes inhuman.

  • 113 Vermeule (1979), 185-6.

68With pharmakoi, as with mixanthropic deities, topography is symbolically significant. The expulsion of the pharmakos contains two possible phases of movement, appearing either singly or together: expulsion out of the city, and expulsion into the sea. The former is almost universal, the latter less essential and yet extremely common. For example, the Suda’s entry under ‘περίψημα’ says that the word is used (where is not made clear) of the pharmakos who is thrown into the sea. Hipponax’s pharmakos is burned, and his ashes then flung into the sea. Vermeule has argued convincingly that the sea is a zone which takes in the rejected, the discarded, the outlawed,113 all of which are qualities of the pharmakos. It is therefore not surprising to find the sea appearing as the final destination of the pharmakos in several cases.

  • 114 Though dog-metamorphosis of a sort is also present in the case of Skylla, another marine figure (tr (...)
  • 115 For various examples and discussion, see Forbes Irving (1990), 123-5. Typical is the story of the I (...)
  • 116 See e.g. Hyg. Fab. 141: Demeter transforms the Sirens into half-birds to punish them for failing to (...)

69For Hekabe also, a plunge into the sea follows immediately on her dog-metamorphosis; and she is part of a significant group of mythological figures, comprising both metamorphosists and mixanthropes – who, after some transgression or misfortune, leap into the sea and disappear (see previous sub-chapter). The great majority of these cases are bird-associated,114 and the pattern is as follows: transgression or misfortune – plunge into the sea – transformation into a sea-bird. Sometimes the person dies; sometimes their transformation saves them from drowning.115 The most famous case in which mixanthropy is explicitly involved is that of the Sirens, though they deviate from the usual pattern somewhat, in that their metamorphosis comes much earlier in their story than their death-plunge into the sea, and does not accompany it.116

  • 117 Strabo 10.2.9.
  • 118 An interesting case for comparison is that of the demonic ghost which the boxer Euthymos expelled f (...)

70But surely it is a little fanciful to suggest a dynamic connection between the ritual of the pharmakos cast into the sea, and the mixanthrope who plunges into the sea? It could be read as a very superficial and coincidental similarity. One is encouraged, however, to believe that the two are to be understood as very strongly bound together in thought and significance, by a ritual attested for the island of Leukas.117 This ritual contains both the leap into the sea, and, fascinatingly, traces of bird-metamorphosis which align the participant very strongly with the mythical figures described. Criminals are flung off the high cliffs with live birds tied to them, an arrangement which our source explains as a way of preventing their fall being fatal; however, given the existence of several myths combining a sea-plunge with bird-metamorphosis, we are surely justified in seeing in this rite a less pragmatic meaning. The pharmakos-figure is made to resemble very closely the mythical characters who lose their humanity as they leave the land and enter the sea. This loss of humanity reminds one of the Ephesian beggar as well as of Hekabe.118

71So far we have been dealing, in the mythical examples, with a tangled combination of metamorphosis and mixanthropy; and the intimate association of the two is undeniable. But if we turn to those sea-leaping figures who actually receive cult, the importance of mixanthropy emerges as being the visual form of a significant number of these deities. They were discussed in the previous sub-chapter; it will be recalled that their cults tended to be sited on their points of departure, the spots from which they were supposed to have leapt into the sea. We are, I think, justified in seeing sea-leaping mixanthropic deities as having strong connections both with their purely mythical counterparts and also, most interestingly, with the figure of the pharmakos who is driven or flung into the sea.

  • 119 Vermeule (1979), 185-7. An example from many in ancient texts occurs in Euripides’ Iphigenia Among (...)
  • 120 For Hephaistos as part of the ancient discourse on the expulsion of terata, see Ogden (1997), 35-7.
  • 121 As she herself tells us in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (3), 311-18.
  • 122 Hom. Il. 18.395-9.

72The sea is, in Greek thought, consistently a recipient of what is rejected, unwanted and expelled.119 Perhaps the most famous example of this function occurs in the case of Hephaistos, flung into the sea immediately after birth by his mother Hera, who is disgusted by his weak and malformed (and thoroughly pharmakos-like120) appearance.121 In the depths he is cared for by Thetis and Eurynome,122 who also, in another, rather similar myth, take in Dionysos when he is hounded by Lykourgos.

  • 123 Lyk. Al. 717-21.

73So, to summarise, we have identified various conjoined groups. We have the pharmakoi – actual humans involved in rituals of expulsion and purgation. We have identified mythical figures, often metamorphosists or mixanthropes, who undergo in myth something very similar to what the pharmakos undergoes in ritual. The sea is the most important shared feature of these two groups. Finally, we have a number of mixanthropic deities who have in common several motifs, chiefly a leap into the sea following transgression or misfortune. Often their cult is seen as ensuing from their departure from the land; and its site is the site of that disappearance. This is highly reminiscent of a key pattern already observed in the nature of mixanthropic cults: that they were often located on the site of the mythical departure and/or death of the recipient. In the case of Parthenope, the cult site is the place where the dead Siren is washed ashore and given burial, rather than the point of her departure from the land.123 But it is still a monument to her disappearance from the land of the living, as is perhaps the Totenkult of Proteus in Egypt.

74So far the very close relationship between some mixanthropic deities and the figure and ritual of the pharmakos reinforce the chief contention of this section: that the theme of expulsion is central to the way in which mixanthropic deities were perceived, and central to the manner in which they were worshipped. However, there is one case in which the mixanthropic deity and the pharmakos seem directly conjoined.

75Evidence for the case in question comes to us from the Hellenistic poet Theokritos, and from the scholiasts who commented on his work. In his seventh Idyll, the poet invokes the god Pan and implores him to induce an unresponsive boy to return the love of Theokritos’ friend Aratos, who is suffering the pains of unrequited passion. Having made this request, Theokritos says:

  • 124 Theok. Id. 7.106-10: κἢν μὲν ταῦθἕρδῃς, Πὰν φίλε, μή τί τυ παῖδες | Ἀρκαδικοὶ σκίλλαισιν ὑπὸ πλ (...)

And if you do this, dear Pan, may the boys
of Arkadia not whip you with squills across your flanks
and shoulders whenever there is too little meat;
but if you won’t consent, all across your body with your nails
may you scratch, biting yourself, and sleep in nettles…124

  • 125 For example, in Harrison (1908), 101; Bremmer (1983), 309.
  • 126 For a lengthy discussion of the ritual and its implications, see Borgeaud (1988), 68-73. The scholi (...)

76The whole poem has received much discussion;125 here the crucial section is that which appears (and there is no reason to doubt it) to detail a real Arkadian rite: the flagellation of Pan’s image at times of lean hunting. This meaning is elaborated by the scholiast on the passage, who also, through reference to other sources, mentions a festival at which the ritual beating took place. The relationship between a regular ceremonial occasion and an action designed to counteract specific and peculiar circumstances (poor hunting) is explained by Borgeaud, surely rightly, with the conjecture that the whipping took place at the festival only if the hunting was also poor.126

77Two facts are immediately clear: first, that the ritual is strikingly similar to that of the pharmakos in some ways, and second, that in others it is strikingly different. The similarities lie in the technical details – chiefly the use of squills – and also in their purpose: to deflect a hardship which has befallen the commu­nity. Often in pharmakos-rituals that hardship is general shortage; here it is shortage of game, in accordance with the special preserve of Pan, who could after all hardly be expected to take responsibility for agrarian difficulties. The combination of shortage as problem and beating as solution bears undeniable similarities with the use of pharmakoi.

  • 127 Op. cit. 71-2.

78Then one must acknowledge the divergences, as Borgeaud has done.127 Vitally, Pan is not some ugly outcast or unwanted human misfit who can easily stand in for, or represent, the misfortune which the community wishes to be rid of. Almost the reverse: as patron of the hunt, his are the very powers which his worshippers wish to attract. So why are they seemingly going through motions associated with driving out, with expulsion? Does the rite perhaps have some completely different meaning, most obviously that of simply punishing the god for neglecting to apply his divine powers correctly?

  • 128 Op. cit. 71.
  • 129 Op. cit. 72.

79Borgeaud’s answer to this question is twofold. First he suggests that there is an element of expulsion: what is being driven out is the threat of famine.128 Second, and more compellingly, he argues that the whipping is designed not to expel the god, to drive him out, but rather to recall him from inactivity or absence.129 This is a very convincing suggestion, especially when laid beside the Arkadian myth of Demeter and her fatal absence, her withdrawal of her powers from mankind. The Phigalian cult was intended to prevent such a withdrawal happening again; just so, the rite of Pan’s beating may well have been meant to stimulate his presence as a useful and beneficent force.

80Both these lines of explanation are well-founded and surely correct; but I believe that they leave one important element in need of further appreciation. I would argue that the flagellation of Pan was on one level intended to expel the god, at the same time as stimulating his powers and his presence; and that we ought to give more credence to the idea of the mixanthropic god as something which ancient communities might in certain circumstances have wished to drive out. It is not random or accidental that mixanthropic deities are represented in a form associated with monsters, which in myths are banes, destroyers of humanity and its achievements, which must be defeated and driven out. Mixanthropy is used in the depiction of certain deities who have destructive and undesirable characteristics, as will now be demonstrated.

81So far, we have seen the mixanthrope harming humanity predominantly through absence. The Phigalians starve when Demeter withdraws from their agrarian territory; Cheiron’s death robs man of a wise and kind healer; Pan’s neglect causes the game to be depleted. But the mixanthropic god is also capable of a malign and harmful presence. On one level, this is simply a branch, so to speak, of a universal quality of gods: they constantly threaten mankind with the dual perils of their neglect and their destructive, unwanted attention. But in mixanthropes we have a very much intensified and dominant form of this perennial theme, which often finds symbolic articulation through the conjoined modes of animality and deformity, the two defining features of the mixanthrope (modes also combined within the figure of the pharmakos, as described above).

  • 130 For Pan as balanced between ‘too present’ and ‘too absent’, see Borgeaud (1988), 122, fig. 6.2.
  • 131 e.g. Euseb. Peri tês ek logiôn philosophiês 5.5-6: Pan’s shrill piping leaves some woodcutters tran (...)
  • 132 Eur. Hipp. 141-50: in this passage, a number of deities are listed as possibly responsible: Hekate, (...)
  • 133 Longus, Pastorals 3.23.

82The malign presence of Pan tends to be described in semi-humorous terms, in line with his persona as a grotesque but light-hearted figure;130 but it is there none the less. He is the god of the frightening and disconcerting epiphany. His shout or the sound of his pipes131 creates sudden, uncontrollable fear, and it emerges from a landscape which had seemed to be deserted. The panic-shout reflects the god’s potential for sending madness. This potential is reflected in the moment in Euripides’ Hippolytos when Phaidra’s old nurse asks whether her mistress’s distraction is due to her being entheos – possessed – by Pan.132 It is also reflected in the myth of Echo, who spurns Pan’s advances; in anger, the god sends madness upon the herdsmen of the area, who tear her to pieces like dogs and wolves.133

  • 134 Ant. Lib. Met. 10, which cites Nikandros and Korinna (fr. 665). The latter could, depending of dati (...)

83This double feature of Pan, terrifying presence and the ability to derange, is highly reminiscent of Dionysos. In Dionysos also it is very much involved with the god’s animal aspects, and sometimes with his mixanthropy. For example, the women of Elis in their ritual hymn implore Dionysos to come ‘rushing with bull-foot’. Plutarch’s explanation in his thirty-sixth Greek Question, that they do so because the foot is less dangerous than the horn, and so the women are trying to deflect the god’s full violence, is surely misguided, and yet it reflects the general truth that the destructive force of the god is very much concentrated in his horns, and in his other animal features. Perhaps the clearest manifestation of this is in the myth of the Minyades, who defy Dionysos and thus incur his wrath. The furious god changes into a bull, a lion, then a leopard. Terrified and driven mad, the women tear apart the son of one of their number, Leukippe, then run wild as Maenads.134 Therefore with Dionysos, as with Pan, the animal form is the key to the frightening and the maddening epiphany, the malign presence.

  • 135 On the nature of the satyrs, see e.g. Dowden (1992), 165: ‘The unacceptable extremes of male sexual (...)
  • 136 See Borgeaud (1988), 74-80.
  • 137 Borgeaud (1988), 123-9.

84Pan’s unexpected and unwanted presence can also bring with it the threat of sexual violence. Like the satyrs,135 he is associated with bestial appetites and with bestial ways of going about satisfying them. The mythical examples of his unwelcome assaults are numerous; but perhaps the most interesting, and also the most tantalising, example of this side of his nature is to be found on the famous name-vase of the Pan-painter (fig. 29). One of the two scenes on this vessel shows a young man (Borgeaud calls him a goatherd) recoiling and turning to flee as Pan – goat-faced and sexually aroused – leaps out at him from behind an ithyphallic herm. This is one visual example of the common theme of Pan’s aggression as taking a sexual form.136 There is one detail of the painting, however, which, though not often remarked by scholars, seems to me to add another stand of possible meaning to the depiction of Pan’s sudden and unwanted presence. The boy holds a whip. If he is indeed a goatherd, this is a perfectly logical accessory for him to carry. However, it forms an ironic juxtaposition with Pan. Pan’s own power to madden and terrify is often expressed in the symbol of the whip, as Borgeaud shows.137 So the youth finds the power of his own implement turned against him by the divine whip-bearer par excellence. This irony is enhanced if we think of the ritual mentioned by Theokritos in which Pan himself was whipped by youths; here, perhaps, the god is turning the tables on one of his young devotees.

85In Demeter Melaina we find perhaps the most pointed exploration of the uneasy relationship between the wanted and the unwanted divine presence. In the Arkadian myths which have been discussed, the goddess’s chief weapon, when angry, is absence, withdrawal, the removal of her life-giving presence. This would seem to be the main threat with which she faces mankind. And yet there is another dimension to the Arkadian goddess, which underpins the differences between her and the manifestations of Demeter in other parts of Greece.

  • 138 See Mylonas (1961), 5, for the rôle of the myths of withdrawal in the cult at Eleusis.

86Demeter’s rôle as source and guarantor of agrarian fertility is of course pan-Hellenic, and also at the centre of her influential Eleusinian persona. Part of this rôle is her ability to take that fertility away from mankind if displeased. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter reflects the centrality of the motif of Demeter’s anger and her subsequent catastrophic withdrawal.138 The theme of angry withdrawal is therefore by no means unique to her Arkadian form; on the contrary, it is her most universal aspect.

  • 139 Ant. Lib. Met. 7.

87But her Arkadian form has a dimension, associated with this, that her others lack; and this extra dimension is encapsulated in the mare’s head which Arkadian myth (if not iconographic reality) attributes to her. It has been shown above that, in essence, the mare’s head has two chief layers of significance, which rest on the species and its connections in Greek thought. First, the horse (male or female) is frequently placed in symbolic opposition to agrarian fertility. This is reflected, for example, in the myth recounted by Antoninus Liberalis,139 in which Autonoös and Hippodameia own horse-herds and let their land go uncultivated so that it produces only thistles and rushes. Such uncontrollable growth, depicted here as the symbolic corollary of the horses’ presence and rôle, is the antithesis of ordered and fruitful crops.

  • 140 The wording of the oracle related by Pausanias at 8.42.6 stress that Demeter’s threat is to remove (...)

88Secondly, it is associated with the potential for active destruction. When Anthos, the son of Autonoös and Hippodameia, tries to drive the horses from their weed-choked pasture, they turn on him and begin to eat him. Horses in Greek myths can display violent, destructive aggression, especially against humans and especially manifested in devouring. This is also very much in evidence in the persona of Demeter Melaina. She does not herself devour, but she causes humans to commit the cardinal transgression of cannibalism: she transfers to them the savage behaviour of the man-eating horse, an extremely common figure in myth. She threatens them with the malign animal qualities which she herself encapsulates.140 Her blackness, as has been shown, also expresses her potential for destructive and punitive anger, and is one of the features which connects her – along with the closely linked Demeter Erinys – with the Erinyes. It is Demeter Melaina’s very strong association with the Erinyes that gives us the clearest glimpse of her potential for active aggression.

89So the mare’s head of Phigalian Demeter has two symbolic aspects. On the one hand, it represents the possibility of a loss or removal of agrarian fertility; this is the quality which the myth of Demeter’s withdrawal brings to the fore. But at the same time, it represents the goddess’s potential role as a destructive force. So Demeter Melaina threatens more than absence. Her most famous punishment of neglectful man may be a sudden absence; but her presence is also conceived as a terrifying and potentially malign one.

  • 141 Paus. 8.42.4-11.

90It has also been shown, in the discussion, above, of the disappearance of the mare-headed xoanon at Phigalia and its replacement, that the destructive animal aspect of Demeter Melaina is one which human agency might wish to dispose of. That is the import of the lengthy and anxiety-infused narrative141 of the accidental destruction of two successive cult images and – as a corollary of that – the gradual dilution of the animal part of her representation. The discourse of good and bad presence or absence is rendered more piquant in the Phigalian case by a peculiar irony, contained in the statues-narrative. The cult of Demeter in the cave lapses when her xoanon is destroyed, and it is this lapse which angers her and causes her to withdraw her benign powers. The destruction of the xoanon is part of the mythical process of disposing of the undesirable animal element of the image. Therefore, it is in contriving to be rid of the unwanted part of the goddess that the Phigalians of myth end up losing her wanted part. In other words, one could imagine the myth to contain a deeply embedded moral: you cannot separate the malign and the benign sides of the deity; displacing one will risk displacing the other. If one retains the desired aspect of Demeter, one has to resign oneself to having her less pleasing aspect also.

  • 142 On bound images see Icard-Gianolio in ThesCRA vol. II, s.v. ‘Statues enchaînées’, 468-9; Faraone (1 (...)
  • 143 Paus. 8.41.5.

91Another potent symbol of the conflict of good and bad presence is that of the bound image.142 The bound statue of Eurynome in Arkadia has been discussed, as a case of an evasive marine figure, iconographically restrained. But if we examine the wider discourse of bound images, and its relationship with the mixanthrope, we can see that the deity’s escape is not the only contingency which binding was intended to prevent. The dual significance of binding might be thought to be reflected in the dual nature of Eurynome. Pausanias records local uncertainty as to her identity (see above in the section of her cult): some of the Phigalians say that she is a form of Artemis, others an Oceanid, akin to Thetis.143 Now it is most likely that both identities were at least instrumental in how she was regarded. As an Oceanid like Thetis, she can clearly be considered, as has been said, as one of a number of marine figures strongly associated with evasion and evasive shape-shifting. But she is also a manifestation of Artemis, and bound Artemis-images tend to have a rather different quality: that of aggression.

  • 144 Paus. 3.15.11 records various ancient explanations for the statue of Aphrodite in fetters, but is n (...)

92Bound statues are very often associated with warfare, as was said earlier: they are bound to prevent them going over to the enemy, and to retain instead their power for the benefit of the community which possesses the image and cult; this power can then be unleashed in times of need. But bound goddesses such as Hera and, most of all, Artemis, have a slightly less practically defined nature and function. Sometimes the symbolic force of the binding is extremely hard to discern, as in the case of the bound Aphrodite of Sparta, which baffled Pausanias,144 and yet elsewhere trends do emerge. One of these is a certain passivity: such images are sometimes the victims of attempted robbery; but the robbers tend to receive a more or less nasty surprise when they make the attempt. In other words, a pattern familiar from some mixanthropes is also discernible here: an attempt to remove the deity from her place of cult results in her punitive anger being visited upon the perpetrators.

  • 145 Menodot. FGrHist 541 F 1 = Athen. Deipn. 672a-673d.
  • 146 Paus. 3.16.11.
  • 147 The appearance of the lygos-plant is interesting. It has a rôle also in some pharmakos-rituals, for (...)
  • 148 Paus. 3.16.7.
  • 149 Paus. 3.16.11: οὕτω τῷ ἀγάλματι ἀπὸ τῶν ἐν τῇ Ταυρικῇ θυσιῶν ἐμμεμένηκεν ἀνθρώπων αἵματι ἥδεσθαι·
  • 150 Bremmer (1983), 311. Faraone (1992, 137) sums the matter up neatly: ‘Greek legends and rituals that (...)

93Sometimes this takes a relatively mild form, such as the magical immobility which afflicts the ship of the pirates who try to steal the image of Samian Hera.145 Here the statue is in effect preventing itself from being displaced. But bound statues can be more destructive. A clear case is the Spartan myth of the statue of Artemis Orthia, and the cult which existed in her honour. Pausanias tells us146 that Artemis Orthia was also called Lygodesma, ‘Willow-bound’, because it was discovered in a willow-thicket, bound upright by osiers of the same plant.147 It was supposed to have come from the land of the Taurians, stolen thence by Orestes and Iphigeneia, and to have been the recipient of barbaric sacrifices in its native land.148 The impact of this statue, in the myth as recounted by Pausanias, is a highly destructive one. The two young Spartans who find it in the thicket, Astrabakos and Alopekos, are driven mad by their discovery. Then, when the local people are sacrificing before the image, they begin to quarrel and many are butchered; those who are not die of disease. At this, the survivors receive an oracle telling them to stain the altar with human blood; this human sacrifice was changed by Lykourgos to the famous rite in which boys were whipped until they bled, so maintaining the terms set out in the oracle. ‘And so a love of human blood has remained in the statue, ever since the sacrifices in the Tauric land,’149 remarks Pausanias, leaving us no doubt that the goddess – or rather, her statue, as the embodiment of her malign powers – is held responsible for the violence which attends her cult. That this is associated with her binding is reflected in the madness which falls upon Astrabakos and Alopekos when they first see her in that state. As Bremmer remarks, their madness shows that the statue was ‘a dangerous one’.150

  • 151 Ovid, Met. 2.254; Eur. Ion 21ff, 265; Paus. 1.18.2; Apollod. Bibl. 3.14.
  • 152 The fettering of divine images is part of a wider motif of the control of powerful and potentially (...)
  • 153 Faraone (1992), 136-40, building on the work of Graf on the subject (1985, 81-98), includes Eurynom (...)

94As has already been pointed out, madness is one of the chief ways in which mixanthropes also manifest their malign presence, as in the cases of Pan and Dionysos. It is associated with a terrible revelation or epiphany, as in the case of the daughters of Kekrops who see the child Erichthonios – either part-snake or accompanied by snakes – and run mad on the instant, throwing themselves from the acropolis.151 The animal element of the mixanthrope is often depicted as achieving this effect; in the case of Artemis Lygodesmos and other aggressive bound goddesses, this means of expression is not used; instead, binding and concealment have a similar symbolic import. They suggest destructive forces kept precariously in check.152 Given the containment to which Arkadian Eurynome was subjected – not only binding but also strict religious concealment – it seems plausible to suppose that she may be considered as belonging among those bound goddesses who threaten aggression as well as escape.153

95Perhaps the most famous madness-inducers of Greek mythology, however, are the winged and snake-carrying Erinyes, who share the vengeful anger of Demeter but channel it into a different human disorder: insanity rather than cannibalism (though the two things occasionally elide, as in Orestes’ biting off of his own finger in the Arkadian myth). Like Dionysos and Pan, the Erinyes are deities of swift approach (in their case, wings express this). Their presence is entirely destructive and terrible until they are placated.

96It could reasonably be argued that there are several mixanthropic deities to whom this theory of malign presence does not appear to apply. It is certainly true that for some, such as Zeus Ammon and Apollo Karneios, we simply do not have sufficient evidence concerning their myths and cults to discern whether or not they shared the patterns of representation that are being discussed. It is also true that there exists a group of marine figures, such as Proteus and Thetis, in whom departure and absence are the overwhelming characteristics. These shape-changers are defined by evasion; they are designed, so to speak, to absent them­selves from man. This aspect is far more in evidence than their aggressive or destructive sides although these do make themselves felt from time to time. Thetis is closely related, mythologically at least, with the bound Eurynome of Arkadia, and should perhaps be thought to share that deity’s combination of evasion and aggression; also, the disturbing imagery of Thetis’ sepia-form has been discussed in Chapter 1, and the point was made in this chapter that Proteus is a threatening as well as slippery character. But there is no doubt that the most overt threat posed by these two sea-deities is that of disappearance rather than active aggression.

  • 154 Pindar is particularly keen to stress this characterisation, but is not alone. Just: Eur. Iph. Aul. (...)
  • 155 For example, when they ambush Peleus: Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.3.
  • 156 In myth the accounts of their sexual assaults are far too numerous to list. An example is the attem (...)

97And again, there are some figures in whom malignity seems entirely lacking, most notably Cheiron. Time and again, our sources stress the benevolence of the centaur-god: he is just, restrained, a friend to man.154 The secret to Cheiron’s anomalous perfection of character lies in the puzzling relationship between him and the group-centaurs, already remarked on in Chapter 2. Clearly connected through near-identical physical representation, the two are yet so completely divergent in nature and behaviour. It is certainly not accidental that the group-centaurs seem to contain so many of the malign qualities which one might expect from the mixanthrope and which are absent from Cheiron. A number of their traits are strikingly like those of Pan. They haunt the countryside, and assail wayfarers suddenly and without warning;155 they perpetrate acts of sexual violence.156 Their presence is generally undesirable and destructive. All the negative qualities which might have attached to Cheiron are attributed instead to his boisterous fellow-centaurs. This represents a striking way of dealing with the ambivalence which always attached to the mixanthropic god: rather than allowing benign and malign aspects to rest uneasily within a single being, Greek myth splits good and bad in separate directions. The group-centaurs, the monsters, become a vessel for all destructiveness; and Cheiron, the god, is purged of the ability to harm.

4. Expulsion and burial

98We have been using the term expulsion to cover a range of different ways in which, in myth, the mixanthropic deity is displaced from a position of worship and/or power. However, within this wide topos there is one particular variant which merits individual attention. In a significant number of cases, expulsion is combined with some form of burial, which has the dual rôle of hiding the mixanthrope from view and confining it in an enclosed space.

  • 157 Theog. 617-623; 729-735; 868.
  • 158 Our earliest source, Hesiod (Theog. 501-5), places the confinement of the Kyklopes and their work a (...)

99Burial and confinement are persistent ingredients of the monster-expulsion motif, especially in Hesiod’s Theogony and later Hesiod-inspired narratives. It is applied mostly to non-divine monsters vanquished by (usually) Zeus, though the god Hephaistos is included in the pattern when he is flung from Olympos. Their defeat typically has two parts: they are cast down from a high (and therefore powerful) place; then they are imprisoned in the opposite environment, most often the depths of Tartaros, where their malevolent powers are held in check and their dreams of power ended.157 In the cases of Hephaistos and the Kyklopes (monstrous, though not mixanthropes, it must be noted) there is also a sense that confinement allows their powers to be exploited by the controlling gods, directed for their advantage rather than their destruction. Both Hephaistos and the Kyklopes are represented, in some sources at least, as having their smithies and workshops, in which they forge items of use to the gods, in confined and underground spaces, such as under Mount Etna.158 The motif of expulsion from high to low is a widespread one; the centaurs’ flight from Pelion is the most prominent example, and Cheiron’s own fate has a share in it.

  • 159 Philostr. Vit. Ap. Ty. 4.10.

100These aims behind burial as confinement find a faint but striking echo in pharmakos-rituals. Though expulsion – the straightforward removal of something unlucky and undesirable from a community – is by far the most important element in those rites, burial makes the occasional appearance as a secondary theme. For example, in Philostratus’ account of the stoning of the Ephesian beggar at Apollonios’ insistence, we find a slightly surreal twist: so many stones are cast that they completely bury the victim.159 This could be put down to the particular literary requirements of the context, but given the consistent relationship between expulsion and burial one wonders whether perhaps the stoning of the pharmakos (as distinct from the action of whipping) often carried this unspoken auxiliary significance: the urge to cover and confine as well as to drive out.

  • 160 To return to the Philostratus story for a moment, it may be seen that, there also, burial does not (...)

101Echoes of this pattern are to be found also in cases where a mixanthropic deity is concerned. First, and most basically, it has been shown that there is an overwhelming tendency for mixanthropic gods to be housed, in both myth and cult, in caves. It has also been argued that caves are on one level small extensions of the underworld realm; therefore, the need to place mixanthropes in caves may perhaps be compared with the confinement of monsters in Tartaros in the narrative of Hesiod and elsewhere. Is the cave essentially a form of burial? Does placing the mixanthropic god in a cave thus serve to confine his or her potentially malign powers? On the one hand this seems a likely undercurrent; on the other, it has been argued in the section on the cave of Cheiron that caves can be unreliable containers, especially in contrast with the underground chamber of the subterranean hero. They facilitate movement as much as they restrict it. None the less, failed or unreliable confinement could be as potent a theme in cult as confinement achieved; we have seen that attitudes towards mixanthropes constantly flirt, so to speak, with the notion of their dangerous side and the impossibility of fully controlling it.160

  • 161 Paus. 8.42.13. One could in fact argue that the xoanon too – which is burned – suffers a pharmakos- (...)
  • 162 As has been said, it is unclear from Pausanias’ description whether or not Onatas’ statue was repla (...)

102A further link between caves and burial is found in the myths surrounding the statues of Demeter Melaina, recounted by Pausanias. There, not only is the goddess’s image lodged in the cave, but the second in the series, the agalma made by Onatas, suffers burial under stone, pharmakos-style, when the roof of the cave collapses.161 The cave-function taken to extreme lengths? There is one vital difference. As we have seen, the result of the roof-fall is not so much confinement as complete obliteration: the statue disappears from the scene entirely, and thus makes way for its guilt-ridden replacement, either by one not influenced by the mixanthropic original, or else by no statue at all.162 In other words, it seems that burial can, in some circumstances, result not in holding the mixanthrope in position but in displacing it entirely. As we have seen, complete displacement of mixanthropic gods is attended by huge anxiety in Greek thought.

  • 163 See e.g. Paus. 5.17.9: Cheiron on the chest of Kypselos, described as ‘having been deemed worthy to (...)

103In addition, a more obvious form of burial is associated with certain mixanthropic deities – burial in a tomb. Proteus, the Sirens, Kekrops and Cheiron: all have cult sites which are more or less explicitly sites of death and burial (Cheiron is the odd one out in that his death is sometimes described as being followed by removal to Olympos or by catasterism163). Thus burial is strongly connected with absence, which has been identified as a central theme in the depiction of mixanthropes. Burial indicates in many cases a mixanthrope whose expulsion is rendered complete by his death, even though cult keeps a part of his powers in existence.

Expulsion, withdrawal and absence: conclusion

104It is now possible to see how the discourse of the expelled monster is adapted in the case of mixanthropic deities. There are in fact a striking number of similarities between mixanthropic monsters and mixanthropic gods. In the first place, of course, some characters are both: the Sirens and Acheloos, for example, are both explicitly worsted by heroes. In the Sirens’ case, cult was perceived to be consequent on defeat and indeed on death. They are worshipped only once reduced to the status of fallen foe. They and several other mixanthropic deities are banished from topographical positions of power, pushed into obscurity, with the result that their cult sites are full of the sense of absence, of departure, which characterises the monstrous adversary in myth.

105However, mixanthropic deities are not merely cult-receiving monsters. What really sets them apart from the expulsion of monsters and its corresponding discourse can be summed up in the single word: ambivalence. It was noted in the Introduction that even monstrous foes are not presented as simple antitheses of man; however, on the whole their defeat and removal are seen as inevitable, just, right, and (especially in Hesiod’s Theogony) part of a narrative of progress in which unacceptable beings are left behind.

106The situation with mixanthropic deities is different, as this chapter has shown. In many cases we have seen that the absence of a mixanthropic deity is conceived in terms of regret, loss or anxiety about dire consequences. Moreover, whereas monsters are always the passive victims of expulsion, this is not always so among mixanthropic deities. Absence is almost always caused by human agency in some form, but deities such as Demeter Melaina actively withdraw, using their absence as a catastrophe with which to punish erring mankind.

107The situation with winged beings and bird-mixanthropes is a little special. Nike and the Erinyes resolve the ambivalence by separation: Nike embodies the good to be maintained, the Erinyes the evil to be averted. Other figures, however, combine both elements: the Sirens, like Eos, are both rapacious attackers and assistants of mankind in the great transition between life and death. Of all this rich and varied class, only the Harpies emerge as wholly monstrous. Perhaps the abiding ambiguity of most winged beings may be related to their death-associations: like death, they are swift in pursuit and feared, but contain the promise of some better condition thereafter.

108In other words, mixanthropic deities can be frightening and destructive like monsters, but unlike monsters they cannot simply be disposed of without repercussions or disadvantages. Both their presence and their absence are potentially harmful. This tense dichotomy is quite different from the expulsion-motif in monster narratives. Representing a deity as a mixanthrope draws on the character of the mixanthropic monster but does not limit the deity to that character.

Notes

1 Hence their importance as places of birth. Typhon was born in a cave (Pind. Pyth. 1.16-17), as were Dionysos, in one local legend (Paus. 3.24.4), and the Cretan Zeus (Apollod. Bibl. 1.1.6).

2 Particularly dramatic examples are the nekyomanteia at Herakleia Pontika and at Tainaron: for discussion with diagrams, see Ogden (2001), 29-34.

3 Nekyomanteia and Herakles frequently overlap, as the former were often thought of as places where the hero emerged from the underworld, Kerberos in tow; this is the case at both Herakleia Pontika (a name which echoes Herakles) and Tainaron. On the former, see e.g. Xen. Anab. 6.2.2; Diod. 14.31.3. On Herakles at Tainaron: Soph. Herakles at Tainaron frr. 205-13 Nauck; Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.12.

4 Paus. 8.42.1-3.

5 8.42.2.

6 Pausanias tells us that she was named ‘Black’ because of this black clothing: 8.42.4.

7 Borgeaud (1988, 48) comments on the cave’s importance, in the Phigalian context and elsewhere, as a point from which a return is facilitated.

8 Both the strong parallelism of the two episodes of withdrawal and their significant divergence have been explored by Bruit (1986), who points out (77-8) that whereas the first takes place in the divine sphere, being caused by an affair between deities and being resolved, also, without reference to humanity, in the second, human failure and negligence are responsible for Demeter’s angry withdrawal. Bruit goes on (79 ff.) to analyse the rôle of the myth within the themes which she is discussing, namely the risk, should the Phigalia cult be discontinued, that the process of civilisation might be reversed and mankind return to a state of cannibalism. Her arguments are extremely cogent, and have the very great value of demonstrating the ties binding the Phigalia episode with other sections of the Arkadia narrative.

9 After all, most accounts of Demeter’s anger after the rape of Persephone focus on the motif of her wandering. This is almost antithetical to the Phigalian consequence: instead of going abroad in the wide world, she confines herself to a small space.

10 The reason for this inversion has a great deal to do with the fact that in Demeter Melaina’s cult, the containment and confinement of her image within the cave are central: these themes will be studied more closely later in the chapter. The current discussion focuses on absence and presence.

11 Most popular are scenes where the infant Achilles is brought to Cheiron for instruction; loving detail is accorded the centaur’s accoutrements of branch and dead game, but the mouth of the cave tends not to be depicted. This is unsurprising in light of the fact that the depiction of landscape with its challenging perspectives was something that entered the vase-painting canon rather after Cheiron had lost his great popularity as a subject.

12 Aston (2006).

13 For such underground heroes, see Ustinova (2002) and (2009), 89-109.

14 Pind. Pyth. 3.1-7: ἤθελον Χίρωνά κε Φιλυρίδαν, | εἰ χρεὼν τοῦθἁμετέρας ἀπὸ γλώσσας | κοινὸν εὔξασθαι ἔπος, | ζώειν τὸν ἀποιχόμενον, | Οὐρανίδα γόνον εὐρυμέδοντα Κρόνου, βάσ- | σαισί τἄρχειν Παλίου φῆρἀγρότερον | νόον ἔχοντἀνδρῶν φίλον· οἷος ἐὼν θρέψεν ποτὲ | τέκτονα νωδυνίας ἅμερον γυι- | αρκέος Ἀσκλαπιόν, | ἥροα παντοδαπᾶν ἀλκτῆρα νούσων.

15 Soph. Trach. 714-15.

16 Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.4.

17 On the character of Pholos, see Kirk (1971), 158-61; Padgett (2003), 20-21.

18 Χειρώνεια ἕλκη: see Eustath. Il. 463.33-4.

19 Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.4 and 2.5.11.

20 Ovid, Fast. 5.397-414. In Diodoros’ account this is more or less what happens to Pholos: 4.12.8.

21 This version may be traced back to the third-century BC Eratosthenes: Katast. 40; cf. Hyg. Astr. 2.38.

22 Paus. 5.19.9, in which Cheiron is thus described: ἀπηλαγμένος ἤδη παρὰ ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἠξιωμένος εἶναι σύνοικος θεοῖς.

23 Although they do not tend to function as permanent homes for wild animals; see below.

24 Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.1: συμφυγόντος δὲ εἰς ἀμφίστομον σπήλαιον αὐτοῦ τὴν ἑτέραν ἐνῳκοδόμησεν εἴσοδον διὰ δὲ τῆς ἑτέρας ἐπεισῆλθε τῷ θηρίῳ.

25 Diodoros (4.11.3-4) provides an interesting variation: instead of a cave with two mouths, the lion’s lair is a cleft running right through a mountain called ‘Tretos’ (‘pierced’). The effect is the same, however: the cleft allows passage right through, and Herakles has to stop up one end.

26 13.103-12.

27 Compare Quintus Smyrnaeus’ description of the Nekyomanteion at Heracleia Pontica (6.469-91). In this, there is one path for gods and another for mortals. And the two paths are differently orientated: one goes up and the other goes down; one faces north and the other south. Thus they suggest movement both on the vertical and the lateral plane, up and down and along.

28 Ogden also points out (2001, 252) that a cave can itself represent the realm of the dead, not merely an entrance; 251-253 for discussion of the spatial complexities of the connections between living and dead. But a downward movement is usually required to reach the underworld, and if so, the underground chamber or the cave facilitates this.

29 For the cave as first dwelling and thus as emblem of the primitive state, see for example Buxton (1994), 105 ff. ‘Caves … are before. Until Prometheus brought culture, mankind lived ‘in sunless recesses of caves’.’ (105.)

30 See Gaifman (2005), 170-95.

31 This is the word used of it in Pind. Isth. 8.45.

32 For such theories and a refutation of the idea that shape-changing derives simply from the Greeks’ observation of the ever-changing nature of the sea, see Forbes Irving (1990), 173-4.

33 Hdt. 7.191.

34 Eur. Andr. 16-20.

35 FGrHist 3 F 1.

36 Strabo 9.5.6.

37 Plut. Pel. 31-32.

38 For examples and discussion, see Moustaka (1983), 28-9.

39 Our earliest source is Pind. Nem. 4.62-3.

40 See the discussion of her composition in Section One for the importance of her cuttlefish form and its connection with her character.

41 Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.5.

42 That the Thetideion near Pharsalos was connected in thought with the married life of Peleus and Thetis is suggested by Eur. Andr. 19-20, in which Andromache, speaking the prologue, says that the Thessalians call the site Thetideion in honour of Thetis’ numpheumata – marriage.

43 In other words, we do not have for Thetis what we have for Cheiron on Pelion: evidence for a ritual journey from the settlement to the rural shrine. It is interesting to speculate that the rituals of the Pharsalians included movement to two ‘outside’ zones: the mountain cave of Cheiron, and the shore of Thetis.

44 As well as the ambiguity of her beauty; see Chapter 1.

45 See e.g. Cole (1998), 27-43, on the importance of marginal sites (and movement to and from such sites) to the transition-rituals of girls connected with the worship of Artemis. A comparable male example is the Cretan custom whereby boys on the verge of becoming warriors have a spell in the countryside with their erastai: see Dillon (2002), 220. The most famous example of spatial liminality being associated in modern scholarship with human rites of passage is surely the argument of Vidal-Naquet’s The Black Hunter (1986); see, however, Polinskaya (2003) for important modifications to his view: she makes the point that in reality the frontiers of a polis were not necessarily wild and uninhabited. However, the mythological and ritual significance of spatial movement remains undeniable.

46 Larson (2001, 100-12) makes the important point that nymphs were not thought of always as virgin girls, but rather were strongly associated both with that prenuptial state and with the transition to that of the mature and married woman.

47 The sea in Homer is described as being atrugetos (see e.g. Il. 1.316; Od. 2.370). The scholion on Od. 2.370 gives the translation ‘unharvested’, from the verb trugao, but this sense is not incontestable. See LSJ s.v. ἀτρύγετος. Chantraine s.v. ἀτρύγετος discusses the controversy without coming to a firm conclusion about the relative merits of the two main possibilities; ‘unharvested’, however, has something of the upper hand and is certainly very likely.

48 Barringer (1995), 141-51.

49 The impermanence of Thetis’ stay on land is emphasised in the sources by references to her unhappiness and humiliation at being married to a mortal: see e.g. Hom. Il. 18.433-4. Euripides (Andr. 18-19) adds an intriguing element: while she is living with Peleus, Thetis is χωρὶς ἀνθρώπωνφεύγουσὅμιλον (‘apart from men and shunning their gathering’). So it appears that, even once tamed and wed, she is unwilling to be fully integrated into human concourse. On Thetis as ambiguous mother, see Aston (2009).

50 Met. 13.904-67.

51 9.22.7.

52 Lines 936-8: it is significant that, under the grass’s influence, the fish behave on land as they would in the sea: the two realms are temporarily conflated.

53 Lines 942-8.

54 See Hyg. Fab. 2; Apollod. Bibl. 3.4.3.

55 In fact, their cult was on a much grander scale than Glaukos’: it is said to have been in Palaimon’s honour that the Isthmian Games were established (see Paus. 1.44.8; Apollod. Bibl. 3.4.3; Plut. Thes. 25.4; Hyg. Fab. 2). More comparable with Glaukos’ cult is their worship on the Molurian rocks in the vicinity of Megara: this was thought of as the point from which they leapt into the sea (Paus. 1.44.7-8) and is thus a cultic departure-point such as are common in the worship of mixanthropes.

56 Melikertes illustrates another possibility, being often shown riding on a dolphin, in accordance with the legend in which a dolphin brought him ashore at the Isthmus of Korinth. See Paus. 1.44.7-8 and 2.1.2 for this myth; at 2.3.4. the Periegete describes a Korinthian effigy of Palaimon on the back of a dolphin.

57 One brief reference gives Thetis a sea-cave as well: Eur. Andr. 1265-6.

58 For example, as Vergil puts it (Georg. 4.392-3): ‘novit namque omnia vates,| quae sint, quae fuerint, quae mox ventura trahantur.’

59 Hom. Od. 4.382-480. For discussion of the episode within the wider theme of metamorphosis in the Odyssey, see Buxton (2009), 37-47.

60 Verg. Georg. 4.387-529.

61 Line 419.

62 Counting his seals: Hom. Od. 4.411-12, 451; Verg. Georg. 4.436. Compared with a shepherd: Hom. Od. 4.413; Verg. Georg. 4.433-6.

63 These conditions are mentioned twice: lines 401-3 and 425-8.

64 Though the actual function of the cave, as a haven for storm-tossed mariners, is also hinted at on line 421.

65 See e.g. Theok. Id. 1.15-18: Pan rests at noon, after a morning’s hunting, and the shepherds fear to wake him.

66 As Vermeule notes (1979, 188), gnashing, grinding teeth are a persistent ingredient of sea-divinities, emblematic of the danger they pose to assailants. Cf. Proteus in Verg. Georg. 4.452, described as ‘graviter frendens’ when approached by Aristaios.

67 4. 397: ἀργαλέος γάρ τἐστὶ θεὸς βροτῷ ἀνδρὶ δαμῆναι.

68 4.443: τίς γάρ κεἰναλίῳ παρὰ κήτεϊ κοιμηθείη;

69 For the fire, the neglect and the oracle: 8.42.5-6.

70 Paus. 8.42.7 (for the Greek text, see the Appendix below).

71 Paus. 8.42.13.

72 Elsner (2001), 3.

73 For convenience, I shall refer to the first statue as the xoanon and to the second as the agalma.

74 The word γραφή can mean a drawing or a painting. It is very hard to envisage what kind of γραφή can have been available of the xoanon. A μίμημα – copy or replica – of the central icon of an obscure cult in its earlier stages is not much more plausible. Already the narrative has left reality behind it.

75 8.42.13.

76 For debate as to the extent to which Onatas adhered to or departed from the form of the xoanon, see Dörig (1977), 9. Dörig’s treatment is framed in art-historical terms and does not regard the matter in a mythological light, as the current study does; it is, however, entirely inconclusive.

77 For a useful general discussion of the author’s life and times, see Pretzler (2007), 16-31.

78 Whitmarsh (2005), 4-5. On the Sophists and the characteristics of their work, see Bowie (1971), 4-10.

79 For a summary of the controversy, see Bowie (2001), 25-7. Bowie argues that the chief models for Pausanias’ work are in fact Classical historiographers, especially Herodotos; backward-looking Atticism combines with the literary traits and concerns of his own day in a complex mixture. For a nuanced discussion of the ways in which Pausanias’ work does and does not accord with the literary milieu of the time, see Hutton (2005), 30-53.

80 On this and other aspects of Pausanias’ archaising tendencies, see Bowie (1971), 22-3.

81 On this conjunction of the real and the imagined, Porter remarks: ‘What Pausanias gives his readers is a fantasy of Greece, of the prodigious phenomenon that Greece once was, made credible by its physical and contemporary attestations. Empiricism here subserves a romanticizing imagination.’ (Porter [2001], 68.)

82 Habicht (1985), 26 believes that the Periegesis was composed with a Greek audience in mind, but the question is not without controversy; for a selection of different views (including the assertion that Pausanias spoke to philhellene Romans), see Habicht (op. cit.) 24; Bowie (2001), 28-32.

83 Bowie (2001), 75; see also Habicht (1985), 164.

84 Habicht (1985), 23 remarks on ‘Pausanias’ predilection for the sacred as opposed to the profane.’

85 Pritchett, vol. 1 (1998): on p. 61 he remarks: ‘The work … might be subtitled περὶ ἀγαλμάτων.’ On Pausanias’ attitudes towards statues, and his cultural context, see Donohue (1988), 140-47.

86 Although the connotations of the word xoanon are not fixed, but rather change from author to author, it is undeniable that for Pausanias the most important meaning is that of an early cult image, primitive in form and of massive religious significance. On Pausanias’ use of the word xoanon, and its shades of meaning, see Pritchett, vol. 1 (1998), 204-93. Donohue (1988, 231) makes the point that archaic wooden statues are a consistently important idea in Greek thought rather than a definite stage in cult practice.

87 Some examples of narratives concerning the preservation of, or failure to preserve, cult statues are Paus. 1.22.3 (a cult statue being replaced); 10.15.4 (a statue sustaining damage); and 5.11.10 (maintenance work on statues). On the author’s anxiety about lost and damaged effigies, see Pritchett, vol. 1 (1998), 68-80; Pritchett makes the point that this anxiety is fuelled by the Roman habit of appropriating Greek artefacts, religious and others, though as he observes (80), xoana were too inelegant and peculiar to be very popular with such art-collectors.

88 See Hejnic (1961), 45-63: this work explores the complicated amalgamation of local and pan-Arkadian mythology surrounding the Phigalia cult.

89 This combination is plainly not peculiar to Pausanias. For discussion of the relationship between fact and imagination in Greek travel writing generally, see Pretzler (2007), 44-56.

90 Much has been done by Bruit (1986) to argue for the programmatic connections between the Demeter Melaina episode and the wider text.

91 On Bassai: 8.41.7-9. Pausanias does here concede that the temple of Apollo there is exceptionally lovely, but displays little interest in the details of the building or the cult.

92 Paus. 3.15.7; on the restraining of statues, see Pritchett, vol. 1 (1998), 329-38; Merkelbach (1971).

93 Diod. 17.41.7-8.

94 Paus. 8.41.4-6.

95 On the mobile, animated and evasive qualities of xoana, see Frontisi-Ducroux (1975), 100-106.

96 Occasionally myths of statue-binding blur the divide. For example, in a story retold by Athenaios (Athen. Deipn. 15.672a-673d = Menodotos in FGrHist 541 F 1) Tyrrhenian pirates attempt to steal the xoanon of Samian Hera; the goddess, however, miraculously immobilises their ship, thus preventing her own departure. When the Carians recover her they bind her to ensure that she never strays again. It is uncertain here whether the threat of departure is focused more on divine or human agency.

97 A considerable amount of distinguished scholarship has been devoted to drawing together all ancient mentions of the institution of the pharmakos and his use. See Bremmer (1983); Burkert (1979), 59-77 and (1985), 82-4; Parker (1983), 24-6, 257-80.

98 As Ogden (1997, 16) puts it: ‘Like the teras, the scapegoat was ideally a disgusting marginal.’ On the marginality of scapegoats, see also Bremmer (1983), 303-5.

99 For example, in the Greek colony of Massilia, when plague struck, a poor man was wont to offer himself as a pharmakos: see Serv. Verg. Aen. 3.57; Lact. Plac. Comm. Stat. Theb. 10.793; Hughes (1991), 158-60.

100 Plutarch tells us of the ritual of the boulimou exêlasis in his native Chaironeia, in which a slave – low status again – was beaten with rods of the agnus castus and expelled with the formula ‘Out with hunger and in with wealth and health’. See Plut. Quaest. Conv. 6.8.1; Frazer, vol. 9 (1913), 252; Hughes (1991), 163. For a comparable Athenian example of this type, see schol. Ar. Frogs 734 and Knights 1136; Hesych. s.v. φαρμακός.

101 For example, as part of the Thargelia in Athens: Harpokration Lex. s.v. φαρμακός. On this rite, see Frazer, vol. 9 (1933), 254; Bremmer (1983), 301-2; Hughes (1991), 139, 149-55.

102 For example, in the most famous case, that described in fragments of the sixth-century Ionian poet Hipponax: here the pharmakos is beaten on the penis with squills, a plant with purificatory qualities in Greek thought. See Tzetzes Chil. 5.745-8 = Hipponax frr. 5-10 West; Hughes (1991), 141-9. For a detailed discussion of the plants involved in the pharmakos-ritual, see Bremmer (1983), 308-13. At the same time as such cases of ritual mistreatment we also hear of instances in which the victim is first maintained in unusual luxury: this is so in the Massilian rite (see n. 99 above).

103 For example, in the Massilian rite according to Lactantius, and in both Athenian rituals mentioned.

104 A view taken, unsurprisingly, by Frazer, vol. 9 (1933), who cites (p. 229) the driving out of the Old Mars, in Rome, signalling the end of one year and the commencement of a new one. Frazer’s comparative approach does not define a precise connection between this and the Greek rites.

105 For example, Ogden (1997), 15-23, who connects the expulsion of the scapegoat with a society’s need to rid itself of a teras.

106 Hughes (1991), 140.

107 ‘Offscourings’; lit. ‘something wiped off’ – see LSJ s.v. περιψάω.

108 Ogden (1997), 20. This practice is perhaps better attested in non-Greek cultures; the famous example is the Old Testament passage from which the term ‘scapegoat’ is derived (on which see Bremmer [1983], 299). For a well-documented Hittite case, see Bremmer (1983), 305-6; Ogden (1997), 20-21.

109 Ogden (1997), 26-7; cf. Faraone (1992), 36-53.

110 Philostr. Vit. Ap. Ty. 4.10. On the context and milieu of the work and its creator, see Billault (2000), 105-26.

111 See also Nik. Het. fr. 62.

112 For discussion of the particular significance of Hekabe’s transformation and of the dog and its character in the context of the play, see Segal (1993), 159-69; Mossman (1995), 194-201.

113 Vermeule (1979), 185-6.

114 Though dog-metamorphosis of a sort is also present in the case of Skylla, another marine figure (transformed by Circe: Ovid, Met. 14.51-67; transformed by Amphitrite: schol. Lyk. Al. 45; Serv. Verg. Aen. 3.420). She is also, however, transformed into a bird, the kiris, and in another version into a fish: for sources and discussion, see Forbes Irving (1990), 226-8.

115 For various examples and discussion, see Forbes Irving (1990), 123-5. Typical is the story of the Ismenides, the companions of Ino, who leap into the sea after her and, as they do so, are turned into birds by Hera. They are mentioned in an anonymous dictionary of metamorphoses (P. Mich. Inv. 1447 verso; Renner [1978], 289), and also in Ovid, Met. 4.551-62.

116 See e.g. Hyg. Fab. 141: Demeter transforms the Sirens into half-birds to punish them for failing to save Persephone from abduction.

117 Strabo 10.2.9.

118 An interesting case for comparison is that of the demonic ghost which the boxer Euthymos expelled from Temesa (Paus. 6.6.7-11). Not only is the ghost called Lykas – a wolfish name – but he wears a wolfskin; he is also black and dreadful in appearance, and more animal than man (Paus. 6.6.11, describing a picture of the ghost which he apparently saw at Temesa). Euthymos chases him into the sea. Animal nature and expulsion into the sea: the combination is familiar from the cases of the Ephesian beggar and of Hekabe, and from many traits of the pharmakos.

119 Vermeule (1979), 185-7. An example from many in ancient texts occurs in Euripides’ Iphigenia Among the Taurians, in which the titular heroine decrees immersion in the sea as a means of purifying the miasmatic and unlucky Orestes; at line 1193 she explains, ‘The sea washes away all the sins of men.’

120 For Hephaistos as part of the ancient discourse on the expulsion of terata, see Ogden (1997), 35-7.

121 As she herself tells us in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (3), 311-18.

122 Hom. Il. 18.395-9.

123 Lyk. Al. 717-21.

124 Theok. Id. 7.106-10: κἢν μὲν ταῦθἕρδῃς, Πὰν φίλε, μή τί τυ παῖδες | Ἀρκαδικοὶ σκίλλαισιν ὑπὸ πλευράς τε καὶ ὤμους | τανίκα μαστίσδοιεν, ὅτε κρέα τυτθὰ παρείη· | εἰ δἄλλως νεύσαις, κατὰ μὲν χρόα πάντὀνύχεσσι | δακνόμενος κνάσαιο, καὶ ἐν κνίδαισι καθεύδοις. There follows a catalogue of threatened woes to assail the god if he does not comply with the request: cold and heat, in wild and foreign landscapes.

125 For example, in Harrison (1908), 101; Bremmer (1983), 309.

126 For a lengthy discussion of the ritual and its implications, see Borgeaud (1988), 68-73. The scholiast also mentions a similar rite which took place in Chios, where a cult of Pan is not otherwise known. In all likelihood this is because it escaped representation both in the literary record and the archaeological one (after all, cults of Pan did not tend to be accompanied by substantial building-works or grand civic dedications, and could leave relatively few traces).

127 Op. cit. 71-2.

128 Op. cit. 71.

129 Op. cit. 72.

130 For Pan as balanced between ‘too present’ and ‘too absent’, see Borgeaud (1988), 122, fig. 6.2.

131 e.g. Euseb. Peri tês ek logiôn philosophiês 5.5-6: Pan’s shrill piping leaves some woodcutters transfixed with terror. The attempt of Harrison (1926) to detach Pan from the phenomenon of unreasoning fear, by deriving the word paneion not from the god but for the word for fire-signal, is not convincing.

132 Eur. Hipp. 141-50: in this passage, a number of deities are listed as possibly responsible: Hekate, associated with frenzied hounds, and the Corybantes and the Mountain Mother, both of whom received orgiastic worship.

133 Longus, Pastorals 3.23.

134 Ant. Lib. Met. 10, which cites Nikandros and Korinna (fr. 665). The latter could, depending of dating, make the myth an early one: Korinna was thought in antiquity to have been contemporary with Pindar (see Paus. 9.22), but this is now held in some suspicion, and she may in fact be of Hellenistic date. The papyrus bearing her verse dates from around 200 BC. See Campbell (1967), 408-10.

135 On the nature of the satyrs, see e.g. Dowden (1992), 165: ‘The unacceptable extremes of male sexuality are exported from men to satyrs. These licentious creatures are part animal, like centaurs, and therefore define behaviour which is beyond the human pale.’ (In fact, although this last statement is true of satyrs, it is by no means the case that mixanthropes always present the antithesis to humanity; see the Conclusion to this book.)

136 See Borgeaud (1988), 74-80.

137 Borgeaud (1988), 123-9.

138 See Mylonas (1961), 5, for the rôle of the myths of withdrawal in the cult at Eleusis.

139 Ant. Lib. Met. 7.

140 The wording of the oracle related by Pausanias at 8.42.6 stress that Demeter’s threat is to remove the social advances that she herself has made possible: ‘Deio made you cease from pasturing, Deio made you pasture| again, after being binders of corn and eaters of cake,| because she was deprived of the prize given by former men, and ancient honours.| And she will quickly make you eaters of each other, and eaters of children,| if you do not assuage her anger with public libations,| and adorn the recess of her cave with divine honours.’ So Demeter can confer either civilisation or – if in her ‘angry mode’ – savagery. The connection between the horse and her angry and vengeful mode is reinforced in the opening lines of the oracle: ‘Azanian Arkadians, acorn-eaters, who live| in Phigalia, the cave in which hid Deio horse-bearer…’

141 Paus. 8.42.4-11.

142 On bound images see Icard-Gianolio in ThesCRA vol. II, s.v. ‘Statues enchaînées’, 468-9; Faraone (1992), 74ff.; Pritchett, vol. 1 (1998), 329-38; Merkelbach (1971).

143 Paus. 8.41.5.

144 Paus. 3.15.11 records various ancient explanations for the statue of Aphrodite in fetters, but is not really satisfied by any of them. For discussion of the image and its symbolic relation­ship with the bound Enyalios of Sparta, see Pirenne-Delforge (1994), 199-211.

145 Menodot. FGrHist 541 F 1 = Athen. Deipn. 672a-673d.

146 Paus. 3.16.11.

147 The appearance of the lygos-plant is interesting. It has a rôle also in some pharmakos-rituals, for example in the Chaironeian ‘expulsion of hunger’ (see Plut. Quaest. Conv. 6.8), and this may not be purely coincidental. Like the pharmakos, the bound statue is sometimes used to deliver a community from a pestilence or other catastrophe. For example, when their land is ravaged by the ghost of Aktaion, the people of Orchomenos are instructed by an oracle to make and chain up a statue of the hero; this restrains his destructive power (see Paus. 9.38.5). Similar advice is given to the inhabitants of Iconium, harassed by pirates. The link between the pharmakos and the bound image is a loose one, but interesting given the relationship of both with mixanthropy.

148 Paus. 3.16.7.

149 Paus. 3.16.11: οὕτω τῷ ἀγάλματι ἀπὸ τῶν ἐν τῇ Ταυρικῇ θυσιῶν ἐμμεμένηκεν ἀνθρώπων αἵματι ἥδεσθαι·

150 Bremmer (1983), 311. Faraone (1992, 137) sums the matter up neatly: ‘Greek legends and rituals that concern bound or imprisoned statues repeatedly express the desire to control directly the potentially dangerous activities of powerful deities of an arbitrary and often malicious disposition.’

151 Ovid, Met. 2.254; Eur. Ion 21ff, 265; Paus. 1.18.2; Apollod. Bibl. 3.14.

152 The fettering of divine images is part of a wider motif of the control of powerful and potentially malign supernatural forces through rituals of binding: see Faraone (1992), 74-93.

153 Faraone (1992), 136-40, building on the work of Graf on the subject (1985, 81-98), includes Eurynome in a canon of bound aggressive statues dominated by forms of Artemis and of Dionysos.

154 Pindar is particularly keen to stress this characterisation, but is not alone. Just: Eur. Iph. Aul. 929 (eusebestatos); restrained: Pind. Pyth. 3.63 (sôphrôn); a friend to man: Pind. Pyth. 3.5. For other laudable qualities, see e.g. Hom. Il. 4.219; Pind. Nem. 3.53.

155 For example, when they ambush Peleus: Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.3.

156 In myth the accounts of their sexual assaults are far too numerous to list. An example is the attempted rape of Atalanta by Rhoikos and Hylaios: see Apollod. Bibl. 3.9.2; also that of Deianeira by Nessos: see Soph. Trach. 555-77.

157 Theog. 617-623; 729-735; 868.

158 Our earliest source, Hesiod (Theog. 501-5), places the confinement of the Kyklopes and their work as smiths in different stages of their narrative: first they are confined by Kronos, but Zeus frees them so as to acquire their assistance. (He is still making use of their imprisonment, but they work in comparative freedom.) Likewise, in the Iliad, Hephaistos’ workshop is in an overground building, a hall of bronze on – we assume – Olympos. Later authors team the Kyklopes up with Hephaistos, and place them in a subterranean smithy. The most elaborate treatment of this is in Vergil’s Aeneid (8.416-38): the Kyklopes, under the direction of Vulcan, in their clanging underground chambers, work on the thunderbolt of Zeus and the aegis of Athene.

159 Philostr. Vit. Ap. Ty. 4.10.

160 To return to the Philostratus story for a moment, it may be seen that, there also, burial does not restrict the victim’s movement entirely, if one sees metamorphosis as a form of movement: under cover of the stones, the Ephesian beggar is able to transform into a hell-hound, and the fact that the change was concealed makes its revelation all the more uncanny.

161 Paus. 8.42.13. One could in fact argue that the xoanon too – which is burned – suffers a pharmakos-style fate: Tzetzes’ description of the pharmakos rite makes burning the culmination of the poor man’s mistreatment (Chil. 23.736-8), after which his ashes are thrown into the sea. This casting of ashes into the sea is an extreme form of the more common general motif of the casting of the pharmakos into the sea. References to the burning of the pharmakos are very rare, and Bremmer (1983, 315-8) questions whether in actuality death of any sort tended to be meted out.

162 As has been said, it is unclear from Pausanias’ description whether or not Onatas’ statue was replaced by another after its destruction, although it seems more likely that it was.

163 See e.g. Paus. 5.17.9: Cheiron on the chest of Kypselos, described as ‘having been deemed worthy to be a sunoikos to the gods.’ On catasterism, a late variant, see e.g. Hyg. Astr. 2.38; Ovid, Fast. 5.379-414.

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