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Mixanthrôpoi

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Emma Aston

Section Two : Movement, absence and loss

Chapter V

Mixanthropic deities in time and place

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Introduction

  • 1 An intriguing rare example of reality apparently mirroring myth is to be found in Plutarch’s Life o (...)
  • 2 As Boardman points out (2002, 127), consigning fabulous beings to the past is, in part, a way of de (...)

1This chapter explores the spatial and temporal characterisation of mixanthropic gods, and shows that the dimensions of time and place combine to connect these deities with the distant past. The relegation of mixanthropic monsters to the past and to obsolescence was noted in the Introduction. Monsters remain known through stories, but also through relics: giant bones, the stuffed Triton of Tanagra. They are potent and enduring symbols, but not (with a few peculiar exceptions1) part of the real life of now.2 But in the case of mixanthropic deities, how does this discourse of past time combine with active divinity and with the receipt of cult? How can a god function as its worshippers require if it is thought to belong to time long gone?

2Before discussion of this matter and its implications, there is one important preliminary to deal with. An association with the distant past is being treated as part of the discourse of mixanthropes and their tendency to absence; but might it not have an element of corresponding historical reality and, if so, should this not be included in the picture? This historical reality would be that, at some time before that which produced the bulk of our evidence, mixanthropic (and perhaps other animal-related) deities were much more common in Greek religion. Were this the case it would have to be taken into account as an underlying and probably contributing factor of the time-related themes identified here. The need to address this possibility is strengthened by the fact that past scholarship has argued for, or in some cases assumed, the existence of a process of evolution whereby mixanthropic and theriomorphic gods were displaced from Greek religion by a change in social mores, leading to a relative scarcity of such types. This idea of evolutionary displacement is bound up with the once-pervasive notion of the animal god as an early phase of Greek religion, now entirely discredited. A closer inspection shows that, though not without some superficial plausibility, the idea of evolutionary displacement simply finds no convincing evidence with regard to mixanthropic deities.

1. A growing scarcity?

3Were there once more mixanthropic deities than are represented in the available evidence? Are those that remain left over from a time of relative abundance? The idea that mixanthropic deities generally slipped out of usage typically rests on one or more of four hypothetical processes:

  • Mixanthropic deities simply vanishing through cessation of worship.

  • Hypostasis: mixanthropic deities losing their divine status, and generally entering the canon of monsters.

  • Transfer: undesirable animal features are moved from a deity to a mythologically adjacent human figure.

  • Anthropomorphisation: mixanthropic deities taking on increasingly human form until most or all of their animal elements are lost.

4The first possibility is clearly impossible to prove, requiring argument from total absence, so scholarly attention has tended to focus on numbers 2, 3 and 4. The hypostasis and transfer theories offer the chance, very popular in earlier schol­arship, of finding traces or vestiges of earlier gods in the existing evidence, and so have been quite popular. The theory of increasing anthropomorphisation is one which has been claimed to be discernible in the material and artistic evidence for a number of mixanthropes. These notions will be examined in the ensuing chapter with the aim of establishing their general value; if they can be seen as taking place, it has major implications for the current study, suggesting that we are in fact dealing with the lonely remnants of an earlier religious milieu. First the ideas at work must be described in rather more detail.

1.1. Transfer and hypostasis

  • 3 That said, they do have one or two surprisingly recent exponents, such as Lévêque (1961, esp. 96-8) (...)
  • 4 Forbes Irving (1990), 38-50.
  • 5 Forbes Irving (1990), 46.

5Both these ideas are essentially lost causes, and in most quarters have long been consigned to the history of the subject, as being influential in their day but now thoroughly discredited.3 This is not, largely, because unshakeable proof has been found which renders their claims invalid; after all, they operate so much in the territory of speculation as to make that unlikely: this is the source of a peculiar strength, as well as their main weakness. It is, however, a significant weakness. Not a single monster can be shown beyond doubt to have once been a god; not a single mythological mortal can be proved to have taken over the animal associations of a deity. In a broader sense, however, challenges have been levelled at the way of thinking which governs these theories. Why should we try to reclaim a theriomorphic/mixanthropic god? Why would such a being be more interesting or illuminating to us than, for example, a deity with a wider range of animal-associations, extending into her mythological surroundings? This is a question posed by Forbes Irving4 when he discusses the theory, among others, that behind Kallisto’s bear-transformation in myth there lurks the earlier entity of the bear-goddess, whether Artemis herself or an even more obscure being.5 There is no need to uncover lost and buried animal gods, whether ‘disguised’ as monsters or as mortals; therefore, given the dearth of convincing evidence, the aim has justly been abandoned in almost all quarters. Certainly within this study, if a being has no lasting symbolic power but has rather been allowed to slip into complete obscurity, the grounds for according that being attention are considered greatly reduced.

1.2. Anthropomorphisation

  • 6 A belief in an evolution towards anthropomorphic representation underpins de Visser (1903), esp. 25 (...)

6Did mixanthropic deities become less animal and more human over time?6 If so, this would appear to lend support to the idea that the animal parts of gods are generally undesirable and subject to a process of removal, just as, in the theory of growing scarcity, mixanthropic gods themselves are undesirable and gradually removed. In other words, what happens within one mixanthropic form may be taken as a microcosmic reflection of what happens to mixanthropes on the Greek cult scene. Moreover, if such a process is to be envisaged as having been at work at some undefined past stage, surely we should expect that it would still be going on in some form? Thus, evidence of continued removal of animal parts in the representation of mixanthropy would be a very important addition to the arsenal of the displacement-theorist, allowing for retrospective extrapolation of a similar process at earlier stages.

  • 7 Typical examples are as follows. Vase-painting: Apulian red-figure bell krater, early fourth centur (...)
  • 8 Pathetic young Achelooi are largely a Roman trope, appearing sometimes on mosaics: see LIMC s.v. ‘A (...)

7At first sight the theory of gradual anthropomorphisation seems to hold up, at least with regard to the evidence of the historical period. There are a number of well-attested cases in which the artistic representation of a mixanthrope appears to develop away from the bestial and the monstrous and towards the human and the idealised. The example most often remarked on, perhaps, is Pan, but another worth mentioning is Acheloos. The two instances show some similarities. We have already noted in Chapter 2 that Attic vase-painters discard the ‘upright goat’ type in favour of a version with more human parts. From the early fifth century onwards, Pans may also be young, and have attractive faces, their animal element betrayed only by unobtrusive horns (this development is discernible also in sculpture and occasionally coinage).7 Similarly, later Classical and post-Classical imagery explores the potential for Acheloos to be young, attractive, and even vulnerable. He is sometimes shown as a human youth with small horns (or lacking a horn and bleeding after Herakles has torn it from him), a form very like those cited for Pan, and quite different from the Mannstier type more usually associated with Acheloos.8

8These two examples suggest that at least hypothetically, the loss by mixanthropes of their animal elements is not inconceivable. Very little (tiny horns, usu­ally) is needed to identify a particular mixanthrope and indicate its mixanthropy, and as time goes by artists do strip the animal part down to that bare essential. However, in fact, all is not what it seems in the matter of anthropomorphisation, and a closer inspection does not reveal a straightforward progression from animal to human. Apparent trends can be deceptive and that care has to be taken to examine context and medium at all times; this done, a rather different picture emerges. Pan and Acheloos showed the prima facie possibility of the process, but they also reveal its problems.

  • 9 Not necessarily cult statues; as we have seen, we cannot generally hope for these! Cult imagery in (...)

9The first is that while the topic under discussion is the treatment of part-animal gods, the evidence mustered is all of a sort not readily or straightforwardly connected with cult; in particular, there is heavy reliance on vase-paintings. Painted pottery clearly reflects religious themes and ideas, and may well in many cases have been used in ritual; and yet it has to be distinguished from cult imagery proper – that is, images of the god present in his shrine and involved directly in his worship,9 cult images thus defined surely give a better impression of the physical conception of a deity which underpinned cult observance. So there is a methodological problem with basing a theory of religious squeamishness on a medium detached from an explicit religious context. Moreover, one can discern ways in which vase-painting especially takes a different route, when depicting mixanthropic deities, from that taken by cult images. Put simply, vase-paintings and other non-cult imagery tend to humanise, while cult images do not.

  • 10 Boardman’s definition, in LIMC, of the ‘standard type’ is very useful, though some of the images he (...)
  • 11 An especially clear example is LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, cat. no. 274; BMC Peloponnesus 173, 48-49, pl. XXXI (...)
  • 12 See figs. 23 and 24.
  • 13 See Isler in LIMC s.v. ‘Acheloos’.

10In Pan’s case, once what may be regarded as the most typical Pan-form10 is developed in the fifth century, it becomes the one used almost unvaryingly in cult imagery. It is also popular in non-cultic imagery, of course, but less unwaveringly. The tendency sometimes to humanise and to glamorise, which we remarked on, is not generally found in cult imagery. It is interesting that the Arkadian League chose a highly humanised Pan-type for their coins;11 clearly they did not want their federal ambassador to be substantially theriomorphic. These coins, however, are a very specific form of imagery in a very particular context, and context is all-important when it comes to assessing levels of mixanthropy in the representation of a god. On the whole, though some early images of Pan are strikingly therio­morphic,12 consistent anthropomorphisation is absent from Pan’s cult iconogra­phy. A similar, or even more striking situation, is found with regard to Acheloos, whose iconography in votive reliefs, most of which are from Attica and central Greece, shows such conservatism that Isler felt impelled to posit the existence of some highly influential Urbild.13 The commonest types are the Mannstier form and the horned mask. The former of these in particular is notable for being about as animal as is possible while still maintaining some human features. There is no discernible attempt to replace these forms with something less animal.

  • 14 Herbig (1949), 55-6.
  • 15 As Boardman remarks: LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, 940.
  • 16 Ibid.
  • 17 E.g. fig. 25.
  • 18 E.g. on a red figure Apulian bell-krater, dated 380-370 BC: human-legged Pan with satyric humanoid (...)

11Even in non-cult imagery, the humanising trend is far less clear than it might at first seem. It does not always proceed in the expected direction, for one thing. Though in the earlier fifth century there is a drive among vase-painters to human­ise Pan by giving him human legs and often a human face,14 this is substantially reversed later in the century by the sudden popularity of goat legs and animal rather than human genitals, though the face is more often satyric than completely goatlike.15 From this point, both types, the more human and the more fully mix­anthropic, continue to be used, depending on context. The chief influencing factor is the scene depicted on the pot, and Pan’s rôle within it. This is not easy to define. Boardman is of course right to say that ‘The mainly humanoid Pan remains in use … for more dignified images.’16 But there is no clear schism by which the humanised Pan appears as calm, august, well-behaved, and so on, while his more animal counterpart is always ribald, violent, lecherous or absurd. Plenty of the latter type stand calmly, alone, sometimes smiling mysteriously,17 while a number of humanised Pans prance and cavort exuberantly.18 Interestingly, the Pans who attend and react to the return of Persephone are almost always thoroughly mixanthropic, suggesting perhaps that these images, informed by Pan’s religious persona, follow his cult imagery.

  • 19 See Isler (1970), 16 (cat. no. 84), for the famous stamnos by Oltos, of which he says ‘Nur das Horn (...)
  • 20 Isler (1970), 17.
  • 21 Lissarrague (1993), 209-12, discussing satyrs on vases, remarks that, instead of anything as simple (...)

12So we can see that the choice of a more animal or a more human Pan is governed not by the artist’s position on an evolutionary scale, but rather by what he is trying to express in a particular depiction. (There are no doubt other, less easily established, factors such as the regional market for which a pot or other object was intended, and the fashions of that place.) All in all, no clear trend of humanisation can realistically be suggested. The same is true of Acheloos. His non-cultic imagery is far more complex than that. Humanised Achelooi are a late rather than an early phenomenon, it is true. But they are slight in number compared with a long sequence of different artistic variants – Acheloos as triton,19 Acheloos as centaur20 – and certainly do not come to claim a position of orthodoxy. Mixanthropes on vases especially are subject to a constant process of experimentation, in which humanisation can be seen as playing a fairly minor rôle.21

  • 22 The development of Medusa’s image was charted by Roscher (s.v. ‘Gorgon’), who divided the extant ma (...)

13One such experiment might be termed the ‘charming mixanthrope’: that is, the exploration of the potential for an ostensibly grotesque form to exercise appeal and attraction over the viewer. The clearest example of this is the gorgon Medusa, who from the fourth century BC (again, painted pottery is the main medium for these artistic adventures) becomes fairer and fairer of face until she is just a young woman with rather tangled-looking hair. This is a striking departure from the fanged and snarling horror-masks of Archaic art.22 One might point also to the Sirens. Like Medusa, in early art they can be bearded; later, their femininity and power to attract become their most important features.

  • 23 Stern (1978), 13.

14A parallel trend is the increasing tendency for Classical vase-painters to accord some pity and empathy to the monstrous foes they depict being worsted. This is often facilitated by a reduction of animal parts, a playing up of the common humanity shared by monster and attacking hero. But this reflects a particular artistic intention, rather than a general distaste for the animal component. Stern also makes the interesting point23 that although the animal element may be lessened, the divide between animal and human parts within a monster’s anatomy becomes more clearly marked. This suggests that so far from playing down their subjects’ mixanthropy, vase-painters tended to want to play up the animal-human juxtaposition, the essence of the mixanthrope’s unnatural quality.

15Such trends, however, should not be confused with the theory of mixanthropic displacement. They have nothing to do with religious squeamishness. The figures concerned are not deities. Rather, what is being explored in such painted pottery is the concept of the monstrous: its boundaries and its artistic potential are being tested and flexed. This is a largely separate process from any which might have seen mixanthropic gods displaced and humanised. Gods clearly are sometimes caught up in it (Pan and the Sirens receive cult) but it is their non-cultic imagery which is primarily affected, and it cannot be taken as evidence for a shift in religious attitudes towards them.

  • 24 The François Vase gives us one early instance of Hekate represented in monstrous form, with dog-par (...)

16Moreover, there are instances where the overt mixanthropy of a deity appears to be a later development rather than the deity’s earliest and most primitive form. Animal elements which before occupied a rather undefined and nebulous position in the deity’s iconography are made more manifest and are given an integral place within his or her physical composition. The clearest examples in which this appears to happen are Hekate24 and Dionysos.

  • 25 See above in Chapter 2. The exception is the tauromorphic image at Cyzicus, which though mentioned (...)
  • 26 Harrison (1908), 651.

17Mixanthropy lurks in the persona of some forms of Dionysos from an early stage; that is undeniable and has been discussed in the sections on his cult and composition. The elements of the bull’s foot, horns and voice are all repeated motifs, and follow the typical distributive patterns of mixanthropy. But, significant as that is, it is a little different from actual mixanthropic cult images. Throughout the span of his worship, cult images of Dionysos are almost universally anthropomorphic; only in the later stages, from the Hellenistic period on, do we start finding some mixanthropic (generally horned) depictions.25 This in direct opposition to some basic assumptions about Dionysos’ mixanthropic form, an example of which is Harrison’s assertion that ‘Dionysos the Bull-god and Pan the Goat-god both belong to early pre-anthropomorphic days, before man had cut the ties that bound him to the other animals; one and both they were welcomed as saviours by a tired humanity.’26 The enthusiastic later response to the animal form of gods is an interesting point; but we have no evidence in the case of Dionysos that an earlier form of the god is being joyously rediscovered. Rather, Dionysos’ mixanthropy appear to be a later feature of his actual iconography, if not a complete innovation. What came before it is far more complex and, for us, revealing: a tangled array of different animal associations, different connections between god and beast of which mixanthropy is only one.

18To sum up, it is of course possible that some mixanthropic deities who were once worshipped later ceased to be worshipped and left no trace of their cult. But the processes which would have brought about their disappearance cannot be identified in our material, cannot be measured or tested or checked. They are almost entirely hypothetical, based on models of religious and artistic evolution which receive little or no support from our available evidence. Moreover, even if some isolated and slight instances of increased humanisation were visible in the material, we would not be justified in using these to read backwards and posit an earlier time of relative abundance. Such problematic retrospective logic is the hallmark of the theory of mixanthropic displacement through evolution. It rests on a belief that we have at our disposal the tail end, so to speak, of a developmental process, and that from the end we can build up a reliable picture of the whole, like reconstructing a dinosaur only its hindmost vertebra as evidence to work from. This is simply not possible with the material at our disposal.

19However, the model on which the theory rests persists. It continues to occupy a subtly influential position even in the scholarship of recent decades. There has been a common assumption that mixanthropic deities were early, primitive, belonging to a past and also to a largely lost era, superseded by religious develop­ments which increasingly placed anthropomorphic conceptions of divinity centre-stage. Rarely is this theory explicitly evoked; it enters arguments by a small side-door and its workings are hard to pin down. Its persistence, however, is ex­tremely interesting and significant, and is not accidental. I would argue that the theory owes its longevity to its astonishingly deep roots. The next chapter of this book will examine its basis in ancient thought.

2. Time

2.1. Mixanthropes and the past

  • 27 Buxton (1994), 90, 104-5.
  • 28 e.g. in Plato, Leg. 677b-c and Apollod. Bibl. 1.7.2 (the latter is the famous case of Deukalion).
  • 29 For instance Hermes, whose birth was claimed by Mount Kyllene in Arkadia: Hom. Hymn 4, esp. ll. 228 (...)
  • 30 For instance all the heroes raised by Cheiron; for an exhaustive list see RE s.v. ‘Chiron’.
  • 31 The most famous divine example is that of Cretan Zeus; see e.g. Hes. Theog. 477-80. A mortal exampl (...)
  • 32 Aisch. Prom. Vinc. 453.
  • 33 For example the Cyclops Polyphemos in the Odyssey, esp. 9.216-43. On the symbolism of his primitive (...)
  • 34 In the case of Pan it may be seen as gaining ground, given that the god’s earlier Arkadian worship (...)

20Once again, symbolic topography is a potent expression of the connection between mixanthropic gods and past time. In Section One, it was striking how frequently mixanthropic deities were found to receive worship in the setting of a mountain, or a cave, or both. The significance of this is manifold, and should not be over-simplified, but one of its aspects is a temporal one: caves and mountains are both associated with the remote past of both humanity and the gods. Buxton has argued this convincingly,27 citing the myths in which, after a Great Flood, human life re-starts on mountains.28 And, as he points out, mountains are also associated with the early stages of the lives of individuals: gods are born on mountains,29 and heroes are raised on them.30 In a sense, mountains are the setting for events which take place before the main action (a hero’s bold deeds, a god’s divine career) begins. Caves largely share this significance. They too house mythical births and infancies, both human and divine.31 They too are primitive sites of habitation, being regarded as proto-dwellings in which mankind began by residing32 and in which primitive beings continue to reside.33 The determination to locate mixanthropic deities in caves, which certainly does not diminish over time,34 is a reflection of the belief that they belong in essence to the past time which the cave and mountain represent.

21Other details of mixanthropic worship often reflect their association with past time. We have noted in Section One a number of cases of tomb-cult, or something like it. This is present, for example, very strongly in the cults of Proteus, Kekrops and the Siren Parthenope. By the time they are worshipped, their mythical careers are perceived as being behind them, over and done. Cult, of course, allows for their powers to be maintained and harnessed, but as has been argued in the previous chapter, worship does not itself imply a very strong sense of the deity’s presence, in any reliable sense, on the spot. In the case of Kekrops, the hero’s burial places him back into the earth out of which he originally emerged.

22Tomb-cult does not, of course, set mixanthropes apart from other forms of cult recipient in Greek religion; countless fully anthropomorphic heroes were worshipped at such sites, and were themselves considered as belonging to a long-distant age, their function within the community maintained through ritual. The aim of this discussion is not to argue that mixanthropic deities exercise a unique claim on tomb-cult and its associations. Rather, what gives them their particular character as a group is the way in which such relatively common features of Greek religious practice are incorporated within a particular range of semantic tools expressive of an affiliation with the past. It is the variety and configuration of such expressions that, taken in combination, as a cluster, allows an analysis of the particular position of mixanthropes within the ancient religious imagination. For tombs are not the only forms of cult site which functioned as monuments to erstwhile presence. A different and especially graphic example is provided by the the case of Glaukos, the sea-god worshipped on the cliff-top spot from which he leapt into the sea and thus vanished, the Glaukou pedêma. In his case, vanishing, becoming mixanthropic and attaining divinity are depicted by some ancient authors as well-nigh simultaneous; he effects a multiple departure, abandoning a location, his human form, and his mortality, in one fell swoop. This sense of absence is, as has been said, a corollary of the expulsion-motif; it also contributes to the depiction of mixanthropic deities as belonging to, and operating largely in, the mythical past.

23Perhaps the most complex and interesting case of the past deity, however, is Cheiron. It has been argued that his Pelion cave is a site of absence; but his worship in the area is also infused with a more positive sense of his rôle as a fore-runner, an antecedent. It is important for his function as one of the key deities of the Pelion area that he should have this persona.

  • 35 For this aspect of his cult, see above in Chapter 2; see also Aston (2006), 357.
  • 36 The Telchines especially provide a useful counter-example to Cheiron in various ways. Their mixanth (...)
  • 37 Although Marsyas does not actually invent the aulos (rather he picks it up when Athene has dropped (...)

24One of the capacities in which Cheiron was worshipped on Pelion was as the ancestor of a line of healers. This founder-figure rôle is important, especially when combined with Cheiron’s depiction as the inventor of at least some forms of healing.35 At least within the Pelion area, he is the creator of a techne. Now mythical inventors of technai in Greek thought come in various shapes and sizes: sometimes they are gods, sometimes heroes, sometimes mortals. That said, however, in the case of Cheiron the combination of the originator-rôle with the motif of banishment and death is highly reminiscent of a pattern discernible in the presentation of a number of mixanthropic figures in Greek mythology. These figures, for example the Telchines36 and Marsyas,37 invent or discover some techne or technai, but subsequently suffer expulsion and/or death, usually at the hands of a god, generally as punishment for misuse of their special skills. There is a strong sense that these primordial figures associated with the birth or the early stages of a techne have to be disposed of and superseded, their craft appropriated. They are always locked into the remote mythical past.

25Cheiron does not, of course, abuse his special skills as do the Telchines; but they do fail to avail him when he is dying from the wound caused by Herakles’ arrow; it is the inherent limitation of his skill which is his undoing, not its misuse. His death is accompanied by the revelation of the flaw within his power. He is not a perfect practitioner, and the imperfection of his practice makes him non-lasting. This makes him a very suitable founder-figure: extraordinary, but finite, leaving room by his departure for others to come in after him. He stands at the start of a mythologized schema of succession which inevitably consigns him to a past age. It was in such a capacity, I suggest, that he was worshipped by the healers on Pelion: as an original, but not a lasting, power.

26Likewise, his kourotrophic rôle renders him, on one level at least, inherently obsolete. He contributes chiefly to the early lives of heroes, before their main careers begin. Although in some instances he continues to be friend and ally into a hero’s adulthood (the chief example being Peleus), on the whole his rôle becomes unnecessary once his charges are fully-fledged. It is the fate of teachers and – in some ways – nurses and parents to be left behind. Cheiron belongs to a generation which is almost always earlier in the time-structures of Greek myths.

  • 38 A significant proportion of the mythical figures identified as depicted as old by Richardson (1933, (...)

27Cheiron’s case is an extreme one; his belonging to the past appears to be quite systematically expressed and is at the heart of his Thessalian cultic rôle. But it compares in many ways with other mixanthropes and mixanthropic deities, who are presented in Greek myth as dead, deposed, redundant or simply part of a long-departed age. The fact that many mixanthropic gods have this connection with past time is reflected also in their widespread depiction as old themselves. Interestingly, this is only the case with the male ones; female mixanthropic deities such as Parthenope the Siren tend to rely on an element of dangerous allure which is perhaps the chief factor dictating their depiction as (fairly) young women. (It is a truism that frightening females in Greek myths are often young and nubile, in contrast with the hideous crones of our own witch-dominated folk-tradition.) But there is a significant class of male mixanthropes who were perceived as belonging to the latter years of life.38 They are, generally, those associated with special wisdom and knowledge, especially in a prophetic sense.

  • 39 See the still-valuable discussion in Richardson (1933), 182-214.
  • 40 See e.g. Paus. 1.23.5, claiming that Silenos is the name given to an old satyr. Lissarrague (1993, (...)
  • 41 Hom. Od. 4.365, 384. At 395 he is called ‘theios gerôn’, the divine old man; at 410 and passim thro (...)
  • 42 In later sources, Cheiron too is fitted into this picture of the old mixanthrope: see for example S (...)

28Even more remarkable is the fact that old age and wisdom tend to be the preserve of individual mixanthropes, while their multiple counterparts are less likely to be so characterised.39 The clearest example is Silenos compared with the Silenoi/satyrs. Silenos, who is after all often called Papposilenos, was explicitly regarded as an older version of the others.40 Silenos the individual had the mantic qualities his younger cohort lacked. (At least, this is so in Roman sources: the fullest example is Vergil’s account – Eclogues 6 – of his capture by Chromis and Mnasyllus, who force him to prophecy. It is possible, if not probable, that he is being drawn into the topos of the capture of mixanthropic seers established by Proteus in the Odyssey, but even if this is so, it is interesting that no hint of oracular power is ever accorded to the other Silenoi and satyrs.) Proteus, however, is certainly the literary original of this topos. He tends to be depicted in literary sources as of advanced age, and indeed is one manifestation of the marine archetype the Halios Gerôn, the Old Man of the Sea (in the Odyssey, he is himself repeatedly called Halios Gerôn41); later sources too pick up on the age motif. By the time such figures as this enter the narrative of a myth, they are already old; we hear nothing of their youth (though we sometimes know their parentage). Even in the remote past of the myths, they, because they are old, are products of an even remoter one.42

  • 43 A number of mixanthropes are born from the earliest figures in the Greek mythological lineage. For (...)
  • 44 Hes. Theog. 664-735.
  • 45 Lines 453-8.
  • 46 Lines 147-9.
  • 47 Defeat of Kronos by Zeus: line 73; incarceration of all the Titans in Tartaros: lines 729-35. Krono (...)

29It is surely not unconnected that Cheiron is an offspring of Kronos, a figure who is primordial in the extreme, according to all the ancient accounts of the origins of gods and men:43 he is one of the Titans, who are defeated by Zeus;44 he is the father of Zeus, and is of the generation before the Olympian gods.45 His parents are Ouranos and Gaia; his siblings include the Kyklopes and the hundred-handed Briareos, Kottos and Gyes.46 The Titans are also, after their defeat by Zeus, incarcerated by him in Tartaros,47 which as we have seen was the repository for a number of monsters vanquished and banished by Zeus in the latter’s rise to power. Kronos belongs to the ranks of the dispossessed, according to the Hesiodic tradition. That Cheiron is his son reinforces the impression that Cheiron too is affiliated with that lost order of beings. He does not share their fate of initial banishment; but he does succumb to the aggression of Herakles, who, as has been said, was perceived as continuing Zeus’s work, purging the world of left-over monsters from the time before Olympian rule.

  • 48 For discussion of the positive associations of the Age of Kronos, see Versnel (1993), 92-9; Davidso (...)
  • 49 Transgressive because of his castration of his father and swallowing of his children by Rhea: see T (...)
  • 50 Pind. Ol. 2.

30But Kronos’ persona and the nature of his rule have another dimension. He is also the presiding figure in the mythical Golden Age, a time of abundance and goodness;48 this seems strikingly different from his persona as transgressive49 foe of Zeus. This is not simply a later variant, for our sources are Hesiod (from whom the tradition of his defeat derives) and Pindar.50 In the latter’s account, when the Golden Age is over, Kronos becomes the ruler of the Islands of the Blessed. His description of the place over which Kronos presides is lyrical, with both natural beauty (shining flowers) and an ethos of justice and goodness among the inhabitants. Kronos’ rôle in the Islands of the Blessed makes them in a sense the continuation of the Golden Age, which has been lost to all but the heroic and the deserving.

  • 51 On the elaborate complex of ambiguities in the character of Kronos and its relationship to the ritu (...)
  • 52 For example, Demeter Melaina is associated both with the Golden Age foodstuffs that form her sacrif (...)

31This strange mixture of motifs (Kronos as foe defeated; Kronos as preserver of the Golden Age) reveals above all the persistent Greek ambivalence regarding the past. The past is a time of monsters, of terrible deeds, extreme savagery, to be disposed of and superseded. But it also contains elements whose loss and passing are explicitly regretted.51 As has been shown in the chapter on the expulsion-motif, a very similar ambivalence surrounds many mixanthropic deities; their absence is both desired and feared. They are regarded as dangerous and potentially destructive; but at the same time their loss can be regrettable (Cheiron) or even downright catastrophic (Demeter Melaina). The similarity is not accidental. Often mixanthropes encapsulate some good element of the remote past which is perceived as being largely lost to mankind.52

  • 53 See Halperin (1983), 129.
  • 54 Pan resting at noon and reacting angrily to disturbance: Theok. Id. 1.16-18. For discussion of the (...)
  • 55 The satyrs: see Theok. Id. 4.62; Priapos: 1.81-2. Pan and Priapos together creep up to ravish the s (...)

32Arkadia provides a full example of the ambivalence and complexity surrounding the association of mixanthropic deities with the past (Arkadia, that is, as reflected in myths and in the Greek imagination). The region does not become the pastoral setting par excellence until after Classical antiquity;53 it does, however, feature constantly via her most famous son, Pan, who is omnipresent in pastoral verse, and who is depicted as haunting the landscape in which it is set – as has been said, a potentially threatening presence.54 He is only one of a number of rustic deities presiding over the scene, however: the satyrs and Silenos are fellow-mixanthropes, and Priapos shares their associations with animal sexuality and violence.55 Arkadia and Pan often, however, work in concert. For example, in Theokritos’ first Idyll, Pan is summoned to Sicily from the Arkadian landscape which is taken as his permanent and usual haunt: Mounts Mainalon and Lykaion are the key place-names used to recall his homeland. So Pan is both in and of Arkadia, and at the same time may be appropriated for universal application wherever the pastoral way of life is being described.

  • 56 Carried to an extreme in the figure of Daphnis, pastoralist par excellence, who is so much in tune (...)
  • 57 Buxton (1994), 94.

33The land of pastoral is both old-fashioned and utopic. It is also a setting in which man and beast are so close in nature and way of life as to be occasionally almost interchangeable. For example, when in Theokritos’ fifth Idyll Komatas mocks Lakon by recalling their supposed sexual encounter, he creates a picture of their mating being one of many, and of the cries of his partner mingling with the bleats of the she-goats around them. The comparison suits the particular humour of the context, but other examples abound.56 The strong association of shepherds with their charges is not limited to pastoral verse; it receives far more widespread expression in, for example, their wearing of fleeces, a type of garment linked with a time before agriculture, when hunting and herding were humanity’s chief means of survival.57 Pan as presiding mixanthrope in the imaginary rustic landscape is the physical embodiment of this closeness between animal and man: his anatomy brings together animal and human in a harmonious whole. A life in tune with animals is seen as simple, bounded only by their uncomplicated needs, concerns and patterns of behaviour.

34The picture created in pastoral verse and sketched briefly here is, however, revealed as an isolated one in ancient thought if one turns one’s attention to mythological material of earlier genesis. In fact, it is a product of the post-Classical literary and cultural milieu, and has very little to do with the themes discernible in the mythology generated within the regions concerned, especially Arkadia itself. If we look at Arkadian mythology we find a very different picture of the relationship between mixanthropic deities and the past; and we encounter once more the ambivalence which characterizes so much Greek thought on the subject. We also find a very different portrait of Arkadia and of the mixanthropes of the rustic scene, including Pan.

  • 58 Jost (1989, esp. 286-9) has shown, with regard to the third-century BC Alexandra of Lykophron, that (...)
  • 59 Paus. 8.2.3; cf. Hyg. Fab. 176. Apollodoros, on the other hand, has Zeus blast Lykaon and his sons (...)
  • 60 Paus. 8.42.5-6.

35As has been observed, images of animal metamorphosis and of mixanthropy in Arkadian mythology cluster around two interrelated episodes: the crime and transformation of Lykaon,58 and the angry withdrawal of Phigalian Demeter. Taken together, these episodes present a co-ordinated appraisal of the animal-human relationship which is as far from the sunny intimacy of pastoral as it is possible to be. Lykaon’s crime is to kill a human child as a sacrifice; his punishment at the hands of Zeus is to be transformed into a wolf.59 Demeter, angry at the neglect of her Phigalian cult after the loss of her mare-headed xoanon, with­draws her powers from mankind and visits them with famine and with cannibalism.60 There are two key themes in the two episodes, and they work together. The first theme is the conception of the past and of the passage of time; the second is the animal-human relationship.

  • 61 Paus. 8.2.1.
  • 62 Buxton makes a strong argument that not only is Lykaon a primordial figure but that wolves were ass (...)
  • 63 Hutton (2005), 91-5.
  • 64 On the rôle of Arkadia in delineating Pausanias’ attitude towards the Greek mythological past, see (...)

36Lykaon is a primordial figure, the son of Pelasgos, the first king of Arkadia.61 He represents the remote past, and it is an ambiguous time.62 On the one hand, gods and mortals feast together; on the other, it is a time of taboo-breaking savagery expressed in the sacrifice of the human child. The most detailed narrative of the crime of Lykaon is that of Pausanias, whose particular contribution must again be acknowledged. Though drawing on local mythology, the author injects his own preoccupations; this is the case throughout Book Eight, which is, as has been recognized, an especially sophisticated enmeshing of geography, myth and religion,63 but within this the episode of Lykaon reveals an unparalleled intensity of authorial intrusion into traditional stories.64 Among the many themes at play here, Pausanias’ narrative captures the duality discernible in the perception of past time, for immediately after describing Lykaon’s crime he says:

  • 65 Paus. 8.2.4-5: οἱ γὰρ δὴ τότε ἄνθρωποι ξένοι καὶ ὁμοτράπεζοι θεοῖς ἦσαν ὑπὸ δικαιοσύνης καὶ εὐσεβεί (...)

For the men of that time were guests and table-sharers of the gods because of their righteousness and piety; and honour from the gods was clearly visited on those who were good, and on the unjust likewise their anger, since at that time gods came from the ranks of men, those who even now still receive worship, like Aristaios, and Britomartis of Crete, and Herakles son of Alkmene, and Amphiaraos son of Oikles, and in addition to these Polydeukes and Kastor. So one might believe that Lykaon became a beast or Niobe, Tantalos’ daughter, a stone. But in my own time, since wickedness grows hugely and spreads over all the land and all cities, no god came from the ranks of men, except inasmuch as flattering speeches are addressed to despots, and the anger of the gods against the unjust is reserved until they have departed this life.65

  • 66 On the importance of this state of closeness in the Lykaon-myth and more widely in Greek thought, s (...)
  • 67 For an example of the use of this phrase, see Eur. Suppl. 201-2. For the wolf as standing for the s (...)
  • 68 Borgeaud (1988), 23-31.

37The author regrets the passing of the mythical age because in it the gap between gods and men had not yet developed; the two could feast together, and, more than that, men could become gods.66 This is enmeshed with the author’s own explicit dissatisfaction with the conditions of his own day, but the essential nostalgia, for a time when men and gods lived in harmony, is an old motif. In the story of Lykaon, however, it is combined with another form of closeness: between animals and men. The closeness of gods and men encourages Pausanias to believe that a man might also become an animal; the two fragile boundaries appear to complement and resemble each other. And Lykaon’s wolf-nature reveals the dark side of the past as conceived in the myth: a time of savagery and transgression, and the theriôdes biotos.67 Borgeaud has shown that the myth forms a doublet of sorts with that of Kallisto’s seduction by Zeus and the birth of Arkas, another founder-figure: this episode, too, takes place at a time of dangerous closeness between the three states of man, animal and god.68 It is this closeness that facilitates both divine/human mating and animal metamorphosis in a single episode.

  • 69 Paus. 8.42.6.

38What renders the past actively perilous, however, is its constant potential for catastrophic repetition. The myth of Demeter’s anger sees Lykaon’s wolfish crime visited once more upon the Arkadians: when famine strikes, the oracle they receive threatens that they will soon begin to eat their own children: a mass breakout of the transgression of Lykaon.69 So, to summarize, the past is associ­ated chiefly with the negative and extreme aspects of animal behaviour, and with the tendency of humans to slip into that animality; and the past is always waiting to reclaim Arkadia if the region should fail to stave it off with the correct religious (especially) practices. This is in a way the reverse of the pastoral view of Arkadia as ‘the land that time forgot’: a return to the close conjunction of animal and man is not something appealing but something to be striven against: the subject not of nostalgia but of fear. Inherent in the Lykaon myth, and explicit in Pausanias’ narration of it, is regret at the lost closeness of man with god, but the accompany­ing closeness with the animal world and its perceived character is treated as purely malign.

  • 70 Borgeaud (1988), 35-8.

39Pan is a component of Arkadia’s foundation-myths. It has been observed above (Chapter 2) that his cult played a part within the complex religious site of Lykaion, especially the worship of Zeus Lykaios, and it might thus be argued that he is a background figure within the nexus of associations surrounding that place. He appears to have been worshipped in close conjunction with Zeus, and the cult of Zeus Lykaios, as Borgeaud argues,70 is a constant reference to the mythical interaction between Zeus and Lykaon. But he also plays a central rôle in the Phigalian narrative, discovering Demeter in the cave after her first withdrawal, and facilitating her return to the agricultural sphere. He could therefore be seen as belonging and operating squarely in the same distant past described above: another primordial mixanthrope. However, in the case of Pan, something a little more complex is to be found with regard to time-associations.

  • 71 Epimenides fr. 16 DK; schol. Eur. Rhes. 36; Aisch. fr. 65 b-c Mette.
  • 72 Paus. 8.37.11.

40The essential dichotomy of Pan (it would be too strong to call it a paradox, although it has some paradoxical qualities) is that he is both a primordial figure and, in some sources at least, a young god. In the human sphere he is primordial: as half-brother of Arkas, according to one version of his parentage, he is woven into the foundation-myths of Arkadia, myths which define not only the inception of the region and its inhabitants but also its continuing nature.71 A further connection with Arkas consists of the rôle of the latter’s wife Erato as Pan’s prophetess.72 When the history of Arkadia was being shaped, in the mythic dimension, Pan was an important component in close conjunction with the eponymous Arkas. Pan too lends his name to Arkadia, which is sometimes referred to as Pania. There is no doubt that he figures as an ur-inhabitant in Arkadian mythology. This is reinforced by an alternative tradition of parentage, which makes Pan the son of Hermes and a mortal woman, the daughter of Dryops. According to Lykophron, Dryops was the grandson of Lykaon and the forefather of the Arkadians. His is a less commendable career than that of Arkas; his people, the Dryopes, are associated with violence and brigandage. But it is still significant that, across different versions of his birth, Pan is consistently related to the early founding figures of Arkadian mythology. A similar observation may be made about other mixanthropic gods: for instance Cheiron, as has been noted, is thoroughly enmeshed with early Thessalian figures. But Pan’s case is unique in containing such an emphasis on placing him within the mythical origins of Arkadia and its people. He is intimately bound up in its process and development.

  • 73 Paus. 8.4.1.
  • 74 See Apollod. Bibl. 3.8.1-2; Ovid, Met. 1.259-312.
  • 75 Borgeaud (1988), 27.
  • 76 Apollod. Bibl. 3.8.2-9.1. Pausanias (8.4.1) does not mention the flood, and instead makes Arkas the (...)

41Arkas is not the first Arkadian, but he does mark an important watershed in the place’s mythical history. In Pausanias’ account, he marks the change from Pelasgian to Arkadian, and as an accompaniment invents bread-making and cloth-weaving:73 thus he clearly takes the region forward a step along the path of imagined civilization. Other sources delineate the break more forcefully, by recounting how Lykaon and his sons are destroyed by Zeus’ thunderbolt; there follows a world-deluge, also sent by Zeus, in which the Pelasgians and their rulers the sons of Pelasgos (among them Lykaon) are destroyed.74 As Borgeaud says, ‘The crime of Lykaon and his sons marks the end of an epoch, that of the Pelasgian “régime” and of meals shared with the gods.’75 Arkas, however, the son of Kallisto and grandson of Lykaon, survives the flood and the purging of Lykaon’s line, and founds a new succession of mythical Arkadian rulers.76

42So Pan’s relationship to the reign of Arkas is twofold. He stands at the end of one ‘régime’ and the beginning of another: he is both original and new. This marries, I believe, with the rather contradictory treatment of Pan’s actual age. The sources on his birth as son of Hermes often make much of the fact that he is a new arrival on the divine scene; an example of this is the Homeric Hymn to Pan, from which come the following lines:

  • 77 The subject is the daughter of Dryops, Hermes’ mortal lover.
  • 78 Hom. Hym. 19, 35-9: … τέκε δἐν μεγάροισιν | Ἑρμείῃ φίλον υἱόν, ἄφαρ τερατωπὸν ἰδέσθαι, | αἰγιπόδην(...)

And she77 bore in the halls
a dear son to Hermes, marvellous to look upon,
goat-footed, two-horned, noise-loving, sweetly laughing;
but his nurse leapt up and fled and left the child,
for she was afraid, when she saw his face, uncouth and well-bearded.
78

  • 79 This observation is found already in Herodotos (2.145), who tells us that Pan was one of the younge (...)
  • 80 cf. Lucian, Dial. Deor. 22.1: Hermes describes the young Pan as ‘κέρατα ἔχων καὶ ῥῖνα τοιαύτην καῖ (...)

43Pan is a new arrival among the gods,79 and his youth is part of his characterisation; but he is also born miraculously ready-bearded, already in the stage of life which the beard represents, full manhood (if one can use that term of a mixanthrope!).80 It is hard to discern how this old/new paradox of the bearded baby connects with Pan’s position in Arkadian mythic history, and yet it seems a striking parallel. The agedness which tends to accompany the mixanthrope and which may be seen as an irreducible part of Pan’s image (young mixanthropes are something of an artistic innovation, a deliberate departure from the tradition of representation) is perhaps combined with a recognition that Pan is part of a nouveau régime in Arkadia. It is also possible that one is reading too much into the bearded-baby motif; perhaps the chief factor behind it is simply the freak-show humour of a grotesque anti-infant.

44Our observations about Pan as both old and new may interestingly be compared with the observation already made in this chapter, that the great weight of ancient thought connects mixanthropic deities with past time. Pan’s case is complicated by the treatment of Arkadia’s past in the mythology of that region. The earliest stage is contaminated by a kind of primordial sin, exemplified by the cannibalistic feast of Lykaon; it has to be renewed, started afresh. Pan belongs to the age of renewal, post-deluge in the Apollodoros version. This is at very striking variance with the fact that many mixanthropes are not regarded as having outlasted the distant past which they inhabit. They die with their eras; they have no place in the post-heroic age. This absence from the Greek contemporary has been noted and discussed. But Pan is different. What sets him apart is an extreme tenacity, a power of endurance unique among mixanthropic gods. There is, however, one highly significant exception to this picture of endurance: the strange episode of his death.

2.2. The death of Pan

45The story of Pan’s death is in fact so fraught with problems that it cannot be accorded the centrality in this study that its theme might at first sight seem to merit. A dying Pan would surely combine persuasively with foregoing observa­tions about the death of Cheiron, and the tendency of mixanthropic gods towards absence – and yet the nature of the source makes it necessary to handle the episode with the greatest caution. The chief difficulties are the isolated quality of the single source, and the very particular context in which it existed.

  • 81 Plut. de Def. Or. 17.

46Put briefly, Plutarch reports the following curious story.81 A ship sailing from Greece to Italy was becalmed near Paxos, when from the island a voice was heard hailing Thamos, the ship’s pilot. The voice enjoined Thamos, when he came opposite Palodes, to announce that Great Pan was dead. This he did, and the announcement provoked a many-voiced disembodied cry of lamentation and amazement. Death and lamentation: it will immediately be apparent that this narrative could reinforce the strong ancient topos explored in the previous chapter, of the mixanthropic god as absent and regretted; also this chapter’s observation that mixanthropic gods are often presented as of the past.

  • 82 The best treatment of the various interpretations of the story which have been advanced since antiq (...)
  • 83 This is despite a strongly un-Greek flavour in the designation Pan ho megistos: see Borgeaud (1983) (...)
  • 84 That the shout may be Pan’s own voice is suggested by Borgeaud (1983), 257. Mannhardt argued (1877, (...)
  • 85 Herbig (1949), 70-1.

47The main problem with making use of the story in this way is that Plutarch is our only source and a very particular one at that. The episode falls within a wider discussion of the obsolescence of oracles and oracular demons; mixanthropy might have a place in this, but it is not a dominant one. From this highly specific context it would be unwise to create a general theory.82 However, there are some points of the story which are worth briefly noting. The first is that it seems deliberately to cast Pan as an entity mysterious both in identity and in presence. Tiberius, following the report of the event in Rome, organizes a scholarly inquiry into who Pan is (concluding that he is the son of Penelope and Hermes).83 This strongly suggests that even before his demise Pan is a figure of uncertainty and enigma, requiring antiquarian reconstruction. As to his uncertain presence, the disembodied voice which calls to Thamos reminds one strongly of Pan’s trade­mark shout, the main expression in many sources of his unpredictable manifesta­tions in the Greek countryside.84 That he can die is interesting, as Herbig notes:85 his immortality is not unshakeable. The episode is full of familiar themes, interesting to note though intrinsically unreliable in this form.

3. Place

48I now turn to consider the significance of location to the ancient conception of the mixanthropic deity. This subject has two quite discrete aspects. Particular meaning is imparted by a location within Greece; something quite different is suggested by a non-Greek location. The two aspects will therefore be treated separately.

3.1. The Greek world

  • 86 For example, there was a cult of Demeter Eleusinia at Basilis: see Paus. 8.29.5 and Jost (1985), 33 (...)
  • 87 Paus. 8.42.11.

49Place and location within Greece are very often of special importance in the worship of and the attitudes towards mixanthropic deities. For a start, the very peculiarity of a large number of examples makes them extremely location-specific. Of course, it could reasonably be argued that every different cult site throughout Greece had its own unique variant of a god, so that this is not a particular feature of the mixanthropes. To a certain degree this is true. But there are several cases where a deity with a well-defined pan-Hellenic persona existed in a certain location or area in a form strikingly distinguished from that pan-Hellenic persona by its mixanthropic elements, not just by a different title or accompanying rites; and, sometimes, these elements are distinctive enough to give the deity the quality of a unique local speciality, tied firmly to that place. A number of ‘one-off’ mixanthropes function in this way. A good example is Demeter Melaina. Even in the depths of Arkadia, the imagery of Eleusis can be seen to have penetrated,86 and with it a wider Greek idea of Demeter and her attributes that was at variance with Demeter Melaina, her mythical metamorphosis, the legend of her mixanthropic xoanon, and her mountain-cave location. There was no doubt that the animal associations of this Demeter set her apart from the pan-Hellenic deity and made her primarily a Phigalian, rather than a Greek, deity. Pausanias expresses the reason for his visit to Phigalia thus: ταύτης μάλιστα ἐγὼ τῆς Δήμητρος ἕνεκα ἐς Φιγαλίαν ἀφικόμην. He has come to see this Demeter.87 Mixanthropic qualities gave versions of several ‘mainstream’ deities just such a special, location-specific quality, such as the fish-tailed Eurynome of Arkadia and the horned Apollo Karneios of Lakonia.

50In addition, several mixanthropes, in common with the nymphs and other nature deities, have an especially strong connection with the natural landscape in which their cults are located. Looked at on the general level, there is a connection between gods and particular topographical features (Pan and caves, for example), but as soon as one comes down to specific cult sites, and specific topographies, a more intimate and particular relationship emerges. In several cases, a mixanthrope confers on his natural environment elements of his own divine persona and surrounding mythology. The most striking example of this is perhaps Cheiron, whose name and nature infuse the landscape of, and around, Mount Pelion in Thessaly. Central was the cave called the Cheironion, both a cult site and a setting of myth; but the surrounding glades also were connected with the centaur via countless episodes in his mythical career. We are also told that in the vicinity grew medicinal plants named after the great healer. Cheiron’s mother, the nymph Philyra (‘lime-tree’), also reflects the natural environment, though in a less Pelion-specific way. Overall, though, Cheiron’s ties to the physical landscape of Magnesia are especially close, held fast in the names of cave and plants.

  • 88 Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.4.
  • 89 Or indeed the Pholoë setting, if that is considered the original.

51This closeness perhaps encouraged those past scholars who have argued that the centaurs generally (and it must be said that in the main their arguments refer to the group-centaurs) were in origin purely nature-spirits, embodiments of rushing mountain torrents, or of the forces of the winter. For all their appeal, such identifications are impossible to prove; and in any case their one-sidedness does nothing to address the complexity of the centaurs’ character and rôle in myth and art. None the less, they rest upon an indisputable truth, that centaurs, Cheiron included of course, are impossible to divorce from a specific type of landscape, that of the wooded mountain. The actual location is sometimes Thessaly, sometimes Arkadia, and one can argue at length (though without hope of ultimate resolution) about which region holds primacy; but in each the mountain is the centaur’s world, from which he barely strays. If forced from one mountain, the centaur will flee to another. The same goes for the cave, in Cheiron’s case; expelled from his cave on Pelion, he finds a new one on Cape Malea.88 One cannot write off this state of affairs as a mere doublet, the Pelion setting89 unthinkingly recreated when the myth is transposed; it is important to the myth’s structure that one mountain takes over from the first as the centaurs are harried, like animals, from covert to covert. And one Arkadian mountain in particular, Pholoë, has its own particular centaur, Pholos; the names suggest a long-held association. Whatever one might think about the relationship, the sequence of the parallel myth-structures of Cheiron and Pholos, there is no doubt that a mountain setting ‘attracts’ centaur-associations in a way which low-lying land never does.

  • 90 An example of a river-god operating in its watery manifestation is Skamandros, who fights with Achi (...)
  • 91 For the persistent connection between nymphs and springs and groves, see Larson (2001), 8-11 (and p (...)
  • 92 Though nymphs and their natural embodiments are sometimes very closely fused, for example in the ca (...)
  • 93 An example of an eponymous nymph popular in coinage is Larissa, frequently depicted on the currency (...)

52A particular landscape/deity relationship exists in the case of river-gods, who were almost unvaryingly depicted and imagined, as has been shown, with mixanthropic features, though to differing degrees. These deities are peculiar in that they both stand for and are a local river. They are detachable from the waters and are depicted as forms in their own right, yet the river is not merely their dwelling-place, it is their identity as well.90 As a result of this, an element of the local landscape has a name, mythological deeds, and often a cult, of its own. This may be read as one step further on from the state of affairs by which the Pelion cave was infused with the character and divinity of Cheiron; even from the way in which springs and groves were thought to be haunted by the nymphs.91 Though in some cases a nymph and a spring could be thought to be almost one and the same thing, I would argue that she tended to retain a separable persona in a way which the river-god, bound to his element, did not.92 In a way, though, both served the same purpose as instruments of local and regional self-definition, as is attested by the popularity of both local nymphs and local river-gods on coins.93 The coins of a region must bear some motif peculiar to the place, something which will instantly announce the coin’s provenance should it leave its native soil, and for this purpose the river-god is a perfect choice. He is named, unique, and reflects a visible and tangible part of the area thus advertised.

  • 94 See RE s.v.Flussgötter’; Gais (1978).

53I would argue that the mixanthropic quality of the river-god helps to maintain the connection with the waters of the river he embodies, a connection which might otherwise be at risk of being weakened once the god is removed from context and – in particular – depicted in the highly allusive, minimal format of the coin’s face. There are two ways in which the mixanthropic form could accomplish this. First, there appears to have been a lasting link between the waters of both river and sea and certain animals and animal characteristics, most strongly the bull whose parts most often go to make up the river god, either a bull’s body, legs, ears and horns in the Mannstier form, or just ears and horns attached to an otherwise human form in the second common type. The relationship between the bull and both sea and rivers has been described in an earlier part of this book. The second way in which mixanthropy reinforces the god’s connection with the river has to do more with convention than with belief. Despite the fact that, as has been said, river-gods are highly specific to their surroundings, their iconography was early established and shaped into a strong, recognisable orthodoxy. (Or perhaps it would be more correct to speak of two conjoined orthodoxies, given the parallel use of both the Mannstier and the horned human types.) In any case, certain mixanthropic forms would immediately have suggested to the viewer, almost anywhere in Greece, ‘river-god’. This is not to say that the forms would not have carried other associations in the background, especially Dionysiac ones. But the mixanthropic elements of the river-gods never allowed their aquatic identity to be forgotten. The existence of strong pan-Hellenic conventions of representation94 are interesting, when set besides the highly local quality of named, specific river-gods. It al­lowed for a dual process. A river-god could be employed as the special emblem of an area, while at the same time exploiting the power of a universally recog­nised form which would connect the individual deity with a wider class, or type, and the human community with wider Greek religious practices. This said, it is doubtful to what extent the members of a particular place would have been aware of customs and artefacts from other, far-flung areas of Greece; it is possible that the river-god representational types were spread and transmitted without an accompanying awareness of their universal and coherent quality.

  • 95 The examples in both these regions are far too numerous to list (Head [1911] index s.v. River-gods (...)

54The appropriation and use of the river-god motif as ambassadorial can be seen in surviving coinage all over Greece, though there are striking clusters in, for example, south Italy and Sicily.95 There one also finds an unusual number of coins depicting the god Acheloos, whose worship had taken firm root in those regions. Yet the place to make most use of the named Acheloos-image on its currency was, unsurprisingly, Akarnania, where the river Acheloos runs and where the cult of the deity originated. In other words, although the cult of Acheloos attained a pan-Hellenic dimension and lost its purely local quality in contrast with, for example, Cheiron, it was still of course possible for one place to assert a special relationship and to use him as the unmistakeable emblem of the land. Indeed, the representations of Acheloos on Akarnanian coins greatly outnumber those of Cheiron on the coins of Magnesia or Thessaly, and this surely reflects the river-god’s more prominent and central religious rôle, rein­forced by his connections with Dodona.

55Sometimes the relationship between mixanthropic deity and place goes beyond the immediate physical environment. Some mixanthropes can be argued to contribute significantly to the perceived nature of a whole region, as well as, at the same time, deriving from that region elements of their own personality. The clearest examples of this are to be found in Arkadia and Thessaly, which have already been mentioned in this section: now, however, the way in which they are partly characterised in ancient thought by their most prominent mixanthropes will be discussed in more detail.

  • 96 Of the many heroes nurtured by Cheiron, some prominent Thessalian examples are Jason, Achilles and (...)
  • 97 Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.3.
  • 98 Pind. Nem. 4.60-65; Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.5.
  • 99 Pind. Nem. 3.52-8; Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.5.
  • 100 Hom. Il. 19.390-91.

56It has been said that Cheiron is enmeshed in the myths of Pelion; and it is with that tract of land, indeed, that he is most strongly connected. But it is also true that his nature and deeds stand at the heart of Thessalian mythology far more widely. Not only does he stand behind many of the most prominent episodes; he also, fascinatingly, often acts as a connection between mythical figures and events, and in fact gives the mythology of Thessaly a coherence, an interconnection, which it would otherwise lack. On the most basic level, the childhoods of a catalogue of prominent heroes (primarily Thessalian) converge, in place if not in time, in his Pelion cave,96 so that one may see him as a central figure holding radial cords, at the end of which other figures move in their own stories but always with a connection to Cheiron and to their own infancy. The links are not necessarily severed when childhood and education end. Perhaps the most extensive myth-amalgam surrounds the house of Peleus. As a long series of events unfolds, the centaur participates at almost every stage. He helps to save the young Peleus from a murderous human and then murderous centaurs, once more on Pelion.97 He gives him the advice necessary for the winning and wedding of Thetis.98 His Pelion home is the venue for the nuptials; his wedding present to Peleus is a marvellous ash-wood spear.99 After the departure of Thetis, he undertakes the rearing and education of the young Achilles. Achilles at Troy wields the ashen spear which came to his father from the hands of the benign centaur.100 Pelion is the centre, but the other heroic figures take Cheiron’s influence outwards into Thessaly more widely.

  • 101 As Westlake remarks (1935, 4), ‘Thessalian horses were proverbial, Thessalian cavalry the best in G (...)
  • 102 This point is made by Padgett (2003), 4-5

57It must be said that alongside Cheiron’s presence in Thessalian lore is the presence of the other centaurs, the wild inhabitants of the mountains whose violence towards Peleus Cheiron intercedes to prevent. This episode sees Cheiron and the other centaurs as opposing forces, a not uncommon characterisation, parallel to the depiction of the Peloponnesian Pholos and his less civilised fellows. I would suggest that Cheiron and the group-centaurs together combine to express and reflect aspects – not simply opposing polarities – of the land in which they live in myth. Both contain elements of the horse, the animal for which Thessaly was famous in antiquity.101 It has already been observed that the horse in Greek thought could be both a destructive animal, eating human flesh, and at the same time one with strong connections with the aristocratic way of life. In Thessaly, where horse-rearing and the use of cavalry flourished, that way of life perhaps retained the prominence in actuality which it had lost in more democratic states. And Cheiron, tutor of heroes and instiller of aristocratic paideia, may be seen as embodying the horse-aristocrat connection.102 The group-centaurs, on the other hand, contain a far larger dose of the violence potential in the horse in Greek thought.

58It is extremely interesting, however, that Cheiron and the group-centaurs are not separated more than they are; that they continue to share a mountain environment (at no stage is Cheiron brought down onto the plains, away from the wild zone). It is important that both parties should partake of the wildness of the mountain, though in different ways, and their juxtaposition is crucial. At the same time, Cheiron’s cave marks him out. His location is highly focused on that one topographical feature. By contrast, the group-centaurs roam generally, and, as in the case of Peleus’ adventures, have a tendency to turn up unexpectedly, bringing with them violence and confusion.

  • 103 Moustaka (1983), Taf. 6, no. 20: this is a second-century BC example. Cheiron holding a branch deco (...)
  • 104 104 It is probable that an example from the first century BC also depicts Cheiron: in this case the (...)
  • 105 For example, a coin from Mopsion shows a human (probably the Lapith Mopsos, revealing a specific my (...)
  • 106 In the area of Mount Pangaion, coins frequently depicted nymphs and centaurs together. See Head (19 (...)

59It is clear that Cheiron and the group-centaurs were recognised by the Thessalians themselves, as well as by other Greek communities, as being peculiarly Thessalian figures, for both are used on coins at certain points in the history of the land. Cheiron is depicted on the coins of Magnesia in the Hellenistic period,103 which again reveals his particular connection with that part of Thessaly.104 The group-centaurs (that is to say, unnamed centaurs presumed, because of context, not to be Cheiron) are also quite popular, sometimes in contexts which reflect something of their rôle as opponents to human beings.105 To a lesser extent, centaurs appear also on Macedonian and Thracian coinage,106 and they seem to be a feature of the northern Greek massif; but Thessaly has the greatest concentration, and Cheiron on coins is a firmly Thessalian phenomenon. Cheiron was a figure who could be used as an emblem for the region, as well as for his narrower homeland of Magnesia.

  • 107 See Borgeaud (1988), 5: ‘Arcadia is the result of a dialectic where the rôle of one party is incomp (...)
  • 108 An interesting exception may well be found in the cult of the quintessentially Thessalian goddess E (...)

60The relationship between Arkadia and its most famous mixanthrope, Pan, is even more complex. This complexity reflects the fact that, as Borgeaud has shown, the idea of that relationship was developed extensively both from outside Arkadia and from within the region itself. It is this level of self-presentation, combined and in dialogue with non-Arkadian thought,107 which sets Arkadia apart from Thessaly, the land which in so many ways it resembles. There is an unmistakeable link between the drive to create a pan-Arkadian cultural identity and the various political developments of the fourth century which saw federal structures emerge in Arkadia, connecting communities where previously connections had been particularly slight. (It is interesting that, even when parallel structures were forged in Thessaly and emblematic Thessalian figures such as Cheiron were brought to the fore on coins and the like, we nevertheless do not find nearly such a coherent striving for shared identity as we do in Arkadia;108 it seems highly likely that this had to do with a relative lack of external aggression, for whereas Arkadia was subject to almost continuous pressure and interference from Sparta, Thessaly suffered little of the kind until the Macedonian dominion in the fourth century. A clear connection can be seen between the drive for self-definition and the presence of a threat from outside.) Studies have been conducted into the ways in which Arkadian cult was used to express new-found ideas of unity following the synoecism of Megalopolis, with versions of various local cults being established in the new centre and rituals – such as processions – being employed to stress the religious ties between centre and margins. The cult site on Mount Lykaion was prominent in this changed religious landscape, and on Lykaion, as we have seen, Pan played a particularly important rôle. This importance was without doubt fuelled by (and at the same time contributed to) the perception that Pan was uniquely Arkadian, and expressed some significant component of the Arkadian character that was striving for expression.

  • 109 See e.g. Hübinger (1990), 203-4.

61What that component was has been explored at length by Borgeaud and others, but aspects which were once thought to be fundamental to it have been called into question. For example, it was in the past believed that Pan was a direct reflection – a representation, almost – of his Arkadian worshippers; that the cult of the god of flocks was tended almost solely by human shepherds whose worship was founded on the intimate affinity between themselves and the divine recipient. The reality of the situation has been shown, inevitably, to be more complex. Pan may still be seen as the embodiment of a certain way of life, characterised by herding and hunting; that is clear. It is the nature of his worshippers, and their requirements of him, that have had to be reappraised.109 As Borgeaud has made clear, Pan’s nature was part of the idea of Arkadia and the Arkadian life, forged from within and from without, and it was this idea, rather than a straightforward affinity, which came into play when worshipper and god related. None the less, the pursuits which characterise him, herding and hunting, were important in the actuality of Arkadian society. Even by Greek standards Arkadia is mountainous, with nothing like the broad plains of its western neighbour Achaia, let alone Thessaly. Hunting and mountains went together in the reality as well as in the thought of ancient Greece. In the parts of Arkadia which were suitable for the cultivation of crops, conditions were temperamental, with a tendency to both flooding and drought. With agriculture rendered thus difficult and uncertain, hunting and herding were both required as supplementary food-providers of some importance. So in this respect, the characterisation of Pan as both hunter and herdsman fitted in with the reality of an Arkadian existence, as well as with the myth of one.

  • 110 Autochthôn/gêgenês: schol. Theok. Id. 1.3-4; Apollodoros FGrHist 244 F 134a; Ant. Lib. Met. 23.

62The concept of Pan as a divine expression of the idea of Arkadia is founded on the vital principle of his autochthony, an autochthony which went unchallenged: however enthusiastically other parts of Greece adopted the god into their own religious structures and landscapes, this adoption never involved claiming him as a product; his Arkadian origin was, if anything, stressed, not denied. The autochthony of Pan110 went hand in hand with the autochthony of the Arkadians. As we have seen, he appears to parallel, rather than pre-date, human origins in the land, functioning alongside primary human founder-figures.

63It has been described how Cheiron’s connections with his Thessalian homeland are very largely founded upon his participation in a number of interlocking myths describing the Thessalian past. Like him, Pan crops us repeatedly in the myths of Arkadia’s past, though the way in which he does so, and the nature of his contribution, reveal interesting divergences from the patterns in Cheiron’s case. Cheiron’s functions can be seen as being twofold: first, as a helper to humans, especially against the antithetical forces of the group-centaurs; secondly, for infant heroes, as a source of passage into the adult world and of paideia in a number of largely aristocratic virtues. In other words, Cheiron in the Thessaly of the remote, heroic age is a powerful agent of civilisation, of maturation, often ranged in opposition to representatives of the primitive and the destructive. Though half-animal himself, he counteracts what can for the most part be seen as animal qualities. How does Pan’s rôle in the myths of Arkadia compare with this?

64In fact, the situation with Pan is more complex and ambiguous. A wealth of myths describe his birth and career, of which two are especially revealing in this matter. The first is the story that when Demeter Melaina, in her anger, hid herself in the cave at Phigalia, causing famine and death, she was finally found there by Pan. This discovery by Pan led to her being brought back into the agricultural domain and induced to exercise her beneficent powers once more. As has been described, the famine carried with it the threat not just of human suffering but also of an accompanying slide back into a barbarous past state characterised by cannibalism. Therefore, in this story, Pan is responsible for preventing a fundamental regression away from civilisation and towards the primitive. He is not the agent of civilisation, but he does something to secure it. To move away from a purely Arkadian view, this myth is highly reminiscent of the function of Panes (usually in flanking pairs) painted on some Attic vases: with dancing and, to judge from their open mouths, cries, they attend the return of Persephone from the underworld. The difference between such scenes and the Phigalian story is that whereas the vase Panes assist, or perhaps merely spectate, at the prevention of famine, Arkadian Pan also staves off a far worse human crisis than not eating at all: that is, eating wrongly, eating transgressively, eating savagely. Again, though half-animal, he works to ward off the worst excesses of the animal nature.

65As didymos of Arkas, however, Pan appears rather differently. He is the product of the animal-form union of Kallisto and Zeus, a union which is one of the founding moments of the mythical Arkadia. Metamorphoses of humans (and gods) into animals abound in Arkadia, and it is significant that one lies at the very basis of the land’s imagined history. As does Pan. A metamorphosis and a mixanthrope: both underpin Arkadia’s character. And whereas in the Phigalian episode Pan assists in preventing a dangerous loss of the distance between human beings and animal savagery, his genesis is testament to the possibility of the two states becoming very close indeed, a closeness which is more prevalent in the myths of Arkadia than in any other part of Greece. A mixanthropic being, besides, always represents the juxtaposition of the two states in graphic form. But whereas with Cheiron the animal seems to be much in abeyance to the human and the humanizing, Pan continues to reflect both possibilities: the animal as past, distant, progressed beyond; and the animal as ever-present, either as actuality or as threat. Of course, Cheiron character seems designed always to be viewed in the light of the other centaurs, his personality shaped by contrast with theirs. They are the vehicles for so much that is negative in the characterisation of the mixanthrope and of the animal. Pan, on the other hand must alone contain both positive and negative aspects, the benign and the destructive.

  • 111 Most frequently referred to is the music of Pan’s pipes being heard unexpectedly in the countryside (...)
  • 112 For Pan-induced delirium and for noon as the time when the god’s power is especially strong, see e. (...)

66Indeed, in many ways the relationship between Pan and Arkadia seems to resemble the relationship between the group-centaurs (not Cheiron) and Thessaly. Like the centaurs on Pelion, for example, Pan can sometimes be a dangerous and threatening presence in the countryside, and this quality is an extension of some quality of the rural landscape itself. To Pan are attributed many of the landscape’s baffling, unexplained, supernatural qualities: its unex­plained sounds,111 its confusing effect on the human mind, especially at noon.112 Interestingly, whereas the centaurs wreak their destruction in person, appearing suddenly, Pan’s presence is sometimes felt without the god being seen or directly encountered: it is a matter not just of violence but of mystery, uncertainty and ambiguity. One feature remains in common between the centaurs and Pan: that in their respective landscapes they had the potential suddenly to become present in some form. In the case of the centaurs, this is expressed in mythological terms, relating to the distant past, in stories of Peleus and the Lapiths; with Pan, on the other hand, it is made very clear that he continues to inhabit the Arkadian landscape, and that any traveller or shepherd (not just a famous hero) might possibly encounter him. In both cases, however, the region is imagined as one haunted by half-human figures, not necessarily benign.

67A word must be said to qualify the observations already made about the place-specificity of Pan and the huge mutual importance between him and the imagined Arkadia. Unlike the centaurs, Pan is not always described as being in Arkadia. In fact, the Homeric Hymn to the god, for example, gives him a strikingly universal quality:

  • 113 Hom. Hym. 19.6-7: πάντα λόφον νιφόεντα λέλογχε | καὶ κορυφὰς ὀρέων καὶ πετρήεντα κάρηνα.

He had as his portion every snowy summit,
The ridges of mountains and their rocky peaks.
113

68The word lelonche is striking. Pan has attained as his portion (his natural preserve, one might say) every mountain peak. This might be argued to dissolve entirely the idea of an intimate and lasting association in Greek thought between Pan and his homeland. But in fact something rather different is at work. Arkadia itself is exportable. Reflections of it may be found wherever there is a certain kind of terrain, an ‘Arkadian-style’ terrain of mountain peaks and grottoes. Borgeaud has shown that when the Athenians, for example, installed the cult of Pan in a cave, they were surrounding the god with a little patch of his perceived natural environment, so that even when far from Arkadia, Pan carried a portion of that region with him always. This observation holds true on a wider basis. Wherever Pan roams, the land is in a way an Arkadian one. We may see this as part of the process of ‘Arkadian’ taking on something of an adjectival force, conveying not merely ethnicity but also a quality, which can be found and created anywhere. Thessaly is not exportable. It is always the land in the north, reachable but dis­tant, often more or less explicitly contrasted by Athenians with their own culture. Thessaly is allowed to stay put, and her mixanthropic inhabitants with her.

69To sum up: mixanthropic deities have a strong tendency to have and maintain a particularly significant connection with certain regions of Greece, both practically, in the form of cult, and on the level of thought and imagination. The place-god relationship is always mutually effective in terms of identity, deities being regarded as products of a particular place and sharing in that place’s character, actual and perceived, while at the same time places exploited the potential of their local mixanthropes to reinforce their own local identity. While examples of this relationship are to be found all over the Greek world, in Thessaly and Arkadia it found especially strong expression. Arkadia was the land of Pan; Thessaly, while the connection was not made so explicitly, was the land of Cheiron and the centaurs. They were places thought to be inhabited not just by the cults of these beings but also by their presence, mythical, potential, sometimes actual. Mixanthropes were among their most famous products and defined the attitudes of other Greeks towards them.

3.2. Outside the Greek world

  • 114 Romm (1992), 77-81.

70In general terms, mixanthropes have their place among the marvels thought by the Greeks to inhabit distant lands. Phlegon’s centaurs were Arabian. A more intricate example is the community of the Kunokephaloi, dog-headed beings described by (among others) the late-fifth-century BC author Ktesias of Knidos in his Indika (chs. 20-23). Romm demonstrates that these people are treated with the same ambivalence regarding the primitive which has been discussed above in connection with Cheiron, Kronos and Pan – an example of the persistent equation of distant place with distant time in Greek thought.114 Their primordial way of life (as well as their mixanthropy) makes them like animals: they mate a tergo and publicly; they do not cook their food except by letting it broil in the sun; they are without human speech. All this sets them at variance from human identity. At the same time, they are described as ‘just’ (reminiscent of the Arkadians’ legendary piety), and their modus vivendi has a certain savage nobility. They are mixed both in anatomy and in nature. They reflect the mixanthrope’s inclusion in the ‘canon of the strange’, a class of beings often placed in exotic regions of the imagined world. But what of mixanthropic gods? Do they share in this geographical identification?

71The answer is, not consistently. As was shown in the Introduction, the Greeks were not keen to exploit Egypt as a way of explaining the origins of their mixanthropic deities. The post-Classical age saw a growing interest in, and hostility towards, Egyptian animal-worship and – occasionally – mixanthrope-worship, but this did not affect the fact that Greece’s mixanthropic gods were regarded as Greek, with no systematic attempt at ‘disowning’ them into another culture.

  • 115 The frequency and consistency of the story’s appearance are striking: see Lucian, de Sacr. 14; Apol (...)

72There are some elements of self-reflection in narratives concerning Egyptian theriomorphic/mixanthropic gods, one of the most intriguing being the myth, recorded by several authors, of the gods’ flight from Typhon (or, in Lucian’s version, the Giants). In this story, the Olympian deities, fleeing the attack, escape into Egypt and there disguise themselves by taking on animal forms.115 Deities which are assumed in the myth to be wholly anthropomorphic in Greece adopt theriomorphic qualities when they enter Egypt, the natural home of the animal-form god. Egypt is for the first time a contributor of theriomorphism rather than simply reflecting back existing Greek phenomena. It is a place where such a metamorphosis is possible. Changing into animal (or indeed plant) form is in Greek myth a common way of eluding an attacker (one has only to think of Demeter becoming a mare in an attempt to shake off the amorous Poseidon). However, the Egyptian location is highly significant in this case. This is reflected in the animals whose forms are used. Though the several accounts differ on the details, the ibis and the hawk are repeated motifs, birds surely charged with Egyptian cult associations (mainly with Thoth and Horus respectively).

  • 116 Lucian, de Sacr. 14: διὸ δὴ εἰσέτι καὶ νῦν φυλάττεσθαι τὰς τότε μορφὰς τοῖς θεοῖς.
  • 117 Diodoros (1.86.3) gives a clearly related but different version in which the identity of the gods i (...)
  • 118 The former: Apollodoros, Antoninus Liberalis; the latter: Lucian, Ovid. Some authors leave it vague

73Of course, the myth has an allegorical function, though not all the sources make this explicit. Indeed, only Lucian, Diodoros and Ovid enter into any discussion of the symbolism. Lucian tells the reader, in tones of contempt, that in Egypt he may see various gods – given their Greek names – in animal/animal-headed form. If the reader wants to know why, learned persons will tell him (and here it seems likely that he means learned Greek persons) the story that after the war against the Giants (Typhon is not here mentioned) the gods fled to Egypt and took on animal disguises. He then says, ‘And so the shapes adopted by the gods then are preserved even now.’116 In other words, the mixanthropic/ theriomorphic deities visible in Egyptian iconography at the time of composition are left over from the mythical event. The story, then is an aition which explains how the Egyptian gods first obtained their special characteristics. This use of the myth is found also in Ovid. It is an interesting motif, for it makes Greece, in a way, the source of Egypt’s deities – Greece provides the gods, so to speak.117 But their animal forms are not Greek. They are a product of the situation, being assumed either on the run or once the gods have arrived at their destination.118 In any case, however, it is interesting that the story is not used to explain away any mixanthropic features of Greek deities, though that might seem a very likely impulse. The animals into which the gods change reflect Egyptian rather than Hellenic cult associations.

74A rather different way of associating mixanthropic god with Egypt is found in the motif of the mixanthrope as foreign ruler, the clearest examples of which are Proteus and Midas. Midas takes us from Egypt to Phrygia; he is also not a cult-receiving deity in his own right, though with significant cultic status. However, he is worth mentioning for the further insight he provides into this topos, which in any case represents a deliberate straddling of the god/mortal divide.

75Proteus had, as we have seen, links to various places, chiefly Pharos, Karpathos, Chalkidike and Thrace. In addition, however, there emerges a rather different connection with Egypt. This is fully articulated first by Herodotos:

  • 119 Hdt. 2.112.1: τούτου δὲ ἐκδέξασθαι τὴν βασιληίην ἔλεγον ἄνδρα Μεμφίτην, τῷ κατὰ τὴν Ἑλλήνων γλῶσσαν(...)

They said that a man of Memphis succeeded him to the throne, whose name in the Greek tongue was Proteus. There is even now a temenos of him in Memphis, very beautiful and well-appointed, which lies to the south of the Hephaisteion.119

  • 120 Hes. fr. 23a.17-24 MW.
  • 121 For all the certain and possible versions, and for the Stesichoros-controversy, see Wright (2005), (...)

76Here we find someone called Proteus ruling as a mortal king at Memphis and integrated into the succession there. What follows is a version of the story that Helen never went to Troy but stayed for the duration of the war in Egypt – in, we are told, the court of this Proteus. This detail appears not to have been an invention of Herodotos. There is an apparent mention in a fragment of Hesiod’s Catalogue of Women.120 Stesichoros in his Palinode may also have made the real (non-eidôlon) Helen stay with Proteus, though the contents of this lost work have been called into question, cogently, by Wright. The antecedents to the story are shady.121

  • 122 See How and Wells (1912), 223.

77The mention of a ‘sacred precinct’ could be thought to give a slight suggestion that this Proteus is more than a mortal ruler, though given the divinity of Pharaohs this detail is perhaps less meaningful than that. Overall, Herodotos’ Proteus seems to have no overt connection with the shape-changing sea god familiar from other sources. It has been suggested that the name Proteus may have been brought in by the author because he confused it with Prouti, an Egyptian title.122 In any case, the appearance of the name seems fairly arbitrary in this text.

  • 123 On the relationship between this atmosphere and the Egyptian setting, see Segal (1971). Wright, how (...)
  • 124 Undoubtedly a nom parlant. It has both general and specific marine associations, since psamathos is (...)

78Other authors take up the idea of Proteus as Egyptian king, the first being Euripides in his Helen; and once more the context is the stay in that land of the real Helen during the Trojan War. Though Proteus is still a mortal ruler, the strong air of historicism pervading Herodotos’ account has vanished, to be replaced by a far more mythical, even magical atmosphere.123 Proteus is the son of Nereus (thus he is equipped with some of his Greek mythological context); his wife is Psamathe, a sea-nymph.124 He rules not in Memphis but in Pharos, though his dominion extends over the whole of Egypt. He is not a god in the Olympian sense; indeed, he is dead, and his tomb, functioning perhaps like that of a cult-receiving hero, is an important piece of scenery in the play.

  • 125 Diod. 1.62.

79The third author to take up the theme is Diodoros.125 He is not concerned to mention the story of Helen. His account is framed, like that of Herodotos, in terms of monarchic succession, but within these parameters we find some material unlike anything in the first two versions. He tells how an Egyptian king called Mendes is succeeded by one Ketes, thought of as Proteus by the Greeks. Ketes/Proteus knows the secrets of the winds, and of shape-changing; this, says Diodoros, is corroborated by ‘the priests’, who say that Ketes/Proteus learned his special knowledge from astrologers with whom he constantly consorted. But, says Diodoros, the Greeks believe that the shape-changing story derived from the Egyptian rulers’ practice of wearing animal (or sometimes plant) head-dresses.

80Now in the latter half of this passage, Diodoros is clearly indulging in a bout of the clumsy pseudo-historicist interpretation for which he had a distinct taste. Before that, however, we find a crucial element: the introduction of Proteus’ familiar mythical persona as a shape-changing being, peculiarly fused with the rôle as a mortal king. The uneasy join is smoothed over by the remark about the king learning his magic abilities from astrologers. The contrived welding is necessary, for Diodoros has brought together what appear to be two completely separate Proteuses. Surely, one might think, this is simply a mistaken conflation. The Proteus ruling in Egypt – the corruption, perhaps, of Prouti – is a Greek invention quite removed from the shape-changing god of the sea. And yet, the distinction is perhaps not as complete as it might seem.

81For a start, as has been suggested, the version of Euripides itself edged towards Proteus the god in acknowledging the divinity of his father and wife, and perhaps in giving his tomb the quality of a religious monument. More significantly, the divine Proteus does seem to have had a strong and important cultic presence in Egypt (more precisely on Pharos), both in the Greek imagination and in reality. Herodotos took his Proteus away from this when he placed him in Memphis; Euripides allows him to slide back towards his cult site, while retaining his rôle as king of Egypt. Diodoros goes furthest, for while he does not mention Pharos, and while he couches things in realistic terms, he accords to Proteus the king the powers of Proteus the god. Moreover, the alternative name accorded him, Ketes, certainly contains an echo of κῆτος, ‘sea-monster’, the clearest possible indication that Proteus’ sea god identity has slipped in through the net of historicity.

82To sum up, even if Herodotos was merely using the name mistakenly to denote an Egyptian ruler, he chose a name laden with mythical and cult signifi­cance in the area. Subsequent treatments, while keeping assiduously to the idea of the mortal king, elide king and god more and more, slipping into a divine persona already strongly associated with the region. We cannot of course disentangle ‘real’ and ‘imagined’ figures here. What is interesting is that, against the odds, the divine nature of Proteus does crop up in the persona of the Egyptian monarch. At the same time, the persona of the monarch, established by Herodotos, is not abandoned. It seems to have become an important way of expressing the rôle and the power of Proteus in the region. Proteus’ godhead is uncertain and hard to maintain, and thus is transformed into mortal royalty; but at the same time, key aspects of his divinity continue to appear in some sources. He is a king, but a distinctly magical one.

83In this character, the idea of Egypt is influential. It is particularly interesting to examine the rôle of that land within Diodoros’ rationalising account (quoted above). The author gives two separate explanations of king Proteus’ supernatu­ral powers. The first is attributed to Egyptian priests, and tells that Proteus learned his abilities from astrologers with whom he consorted. The second explanation is designated the Greek one, and explains the king’s shape-changing by reference to the old custom of Egyptian rulers of wearing emblems of animal, tree or fire on their heads. Now these two explanations work in different ways, and from different points of reference. The second, the Greek, is rationalising. It points to old Egyptian customs in the manner of the anthropologist with his all-seeing eye, cutting through superstition. The first appears to have, by contrast, a wholly Egyptian perspective. The Egyptian priests credit Proteus with real powers, learned from contact with astrologers. But in a way, the apparently purely Egyptian viewpoint of this latter is an illusion. We are still viewing the whole situation through Greek eyes. The Egyptian priests believe in the magical powers – well, they would! How very Egyptian. They put it down to the influence of astrologers – again, how typical of that culture! The Egyptian explanation is, I suggest, another Greek interpretation, packaged and dressed by its use of a foreign focaliser. Diodoros has effectively created two opposing standpoints, labelling one Egyptian and the other Greek.

84Egyptians as believing in magic, Greeks as rationalising and explaining away: the two different reactions to the figure of Proteus point up the character of Egypt in the matter. It is worth pointing out that Diodoros could so easily have avoided the whole question by choosing to adhere to Herodotos’ view, in which Proteus is purely human. This he does not do. Instead, he raises the question of what Proteus really is: and the answer to that questions depends on whether his audience sides with the Egyptians or with the Greeks. The character of Egypt is thus the key to the character of Proteus.

  • 126 Ovid, Met. 11.174-93. Ovid did not invent the story of Midas’ ears entirely, though we cannot say p (...)
  • 127 He is, however, a close associate of Kybele. According to Hyginus (Fab. 191.1) he is her son; and i (...)
  • 128 11.180-1: ‘… turpique pudore| tempora purpureis temptat velare tiaris.’
  • 129 For an interesting treatment of the Midas story with reference to comparative folklore motifs, see (...)

85Proteus is not the only mixanthrope to be presented as a mortal ruler in an exotic land. Closely parallel is the case of Midas, the mythical Phrygian ruler whose scandalous ears and the circumstances of their acquisition are the subject of a long treatment by Ovid.126 Midas is not himself a divinity,127 and thus cannot be accorded detailed discussion in this book. But it is interesting to note that in his case also the identity of a foreign ruler and the identity of a mixanthrope are brought together. In Ovid’s account, Midas hides his monstrous ears with a purple turban, the ultimate accessory of the Eastern king.128 As with Proteus, Midas’ mixanthropy is exceptional, extraordinary, shocking, and yet not out of keeping, on one level, with the exotic Phrygian setting and with the figure of the foreign ruler.129

86The conferral of monarchic status on a mixanthrope obviates a persistent issue dogging many mixanthropic figures in Greek culture. They are divine, but not Olympian; their worship is highly limited, often slight; their godhead is of an uncertain kind, liminal, confused by their contact with the canon of monsters, by their frequent rôle as adversaries of heroes. Making them foreign kings clarifies their position, establishes them in a power which is mortal but at the same time allows for expression of their superhuman traits and abilities. The entity which in Greece must be a god or daimôn, may, in a remote eastern land, be a mortal. Mythical eastern kings have something of the status, in Greek thought, of a daimôn; they are long dead, belonging to a remote past, and are quite able to possess inhuman and magical qualities without contradiction, because they belong to a fantastical place. In the case of Proteus, this identity sat alongside that of cult-recipient; Midas, on the other hand, was the satellite of a deity rather than receiving worship in his own right. In both cases, monarchic identity gave the Greek a way of defining the mixanthropes’ nature, their power, and their relation to his own culture and his own land.

  • 130 See Philochoros, FGrHist 328 F 93; Diod. 1.28; schol. Ar. Plout. 773; Suda s.v. ‘Kekrops’; Fourgous (...)
  • 131 Fourgous (1993), esp. 239-42.

87An interesting case to add to this discussion is that of Kekrops. As was said in Chapter 2, Kekrops is almost always designated a native of Attica in the most extreme sense, as a being who emerged from its very soil, thus spearheading in myth the Athenians’ own historical claims to autochthony. However, one cannot simply ignore the existence of an alternative tradition, whereby Kekrops settled and ruled Attica only after having arrived there from his native Egypt.130 Here the foreign ruler motif familiar from Proteus seems to be being incorporated within the discourse of Kekrops’ autochthony: exotic mixanthrope and home-grown mixanthrope collide. Why? One reason is suggested by Fourgous: that Kekrops is used as a means of testing and debating the idea of Greek identity and in what it truly consists. She identifies different groups in different contexts who were interested in developing particular aspects of this debate with Kekrops as its symbolic core and whose preoccupations lie behind the major narratives.131 This is a cogent interpretation, since mythological constructs in antiquity are seldom allowed to remain unilateral, but rather take on new facets with every fresh exploitation as they are incorporated within key ideological testing-grounds. Kekrops as autochthôn is swiftly presented with his opposite, the in-coming Egyptian. The autochthonous Kekrops appears in our sources earlier, but the debate in which he plays his part is no late development: the idea of tracing Greek communities back to barbarian origins is found for example in Herodotos.

88Although Fourgous is right to identify the specific themes manipulating Kekrops’ presentation, at the same time the co-existence of the two traditions (autochthony and ingress) does reflect the significant and more widespread concurrence of the two themes with regard to mixanthropic deities. Do their animal parts tie them to the heart of Greece or render them strange and foreign? As has been shown, individual mixanthropes incline to one side or the other of this dichotomy; Kekrops is striking in that he combines the two within the range of his mythology.

Time and place: conclusion

  • 132 Romm (1992), 45-81.

89It is not surprising to find that mixanthropic gods are strongly associated with both temporal and spatial distance, with ages and places remote from everyday experience. After all, there is an abiding connection between far-flung locations and the primitive, the primordial, the original. This is made clear by Romm in his analysis of Greek attitudes towards exotic peoples such as the Hyperboreans and the Ethiopians.132 His work shows that such remote communities were consistently thought of as occupying a remotely early phase of human social development. As such they tended to be characterised as both savage and utopic, preserving the worst and the best aspects of man’s primordial nature. This is strikingly reminiscent of the observations made in this chapter about the Greek ambivalence to the past and to the mixanthropes which inhabited it: were they products of a Golden Age or of a time of lawlessness and chaotic violence?

90But exotic mixanthropes such as Proteus and Midas are only half the story. Figures like Cheiron and Pan are not only Greek but über-Greek, rooted as they are in the two areas – Thessaly and Arkadia respectively – most strongly characterised as primitive and untouched and representative of the Greek past. We have here an apparent schism between the urge to place mixanthropes at the end of the world, and the urge to tie them to the very heart of Greece and its history. The choice seems to be one, partly, of owning or disowning, and must surely reflect the uncertainty with which mixanthropic deities were regarded, the question-marks appended to their benignity and desirability explored in Chapter 4. Keeping them tethered to the remote past, however, could be thought to ensure that, even when they are there in the Greek heartland, the presence is tempered by constant references to their obsolescence.

  • 133 Farnell, vol. 1 (1896), 95. Farnell here has both fact and fiction. Zeus Ammon is a clear case of n (...)
  • 134 An especially interesting example of this for the current study is Bérard’s contention (1894) that (...)
  • 135 An example is Herbig’s strenuous argument that Pan was a completely indigenous Greek god, and his d (...)

91It is interesting to compare the ways in which modern scholars have used the idea of a mixanthrope’s spatial and temporal associations. Occasionally, it has been claimed that a mixanthropic god was imported into Greece from another, usually Eastern, culture. The motivation for taking this line is sometimes striking, as is illustrated by the words of Farnell concerning the depiction of Zeus Ammon with the horns of a ram: ‘The type of the god with ram’s horns would never have appeared in Greek art of the fifth century, as it did, except through the influence of Egypt; the Hellenic sculptors of this age could never have represented their own native supreme god with any touch of theriomorphic character [my italics].’133 In other words, a foreign origin is drafted in when Hellenic identity seems inappropriate.134 Farnell’s reaction to the mixanthropic Zeus may be contrasted with that of Cook, who is eager to discover the animal-form Zeus wherever possible, whatever contortions of the evidence may be required. Cook regards the animal-form Zeus as an essential and primal component of the god’s development, Farnell as a mere import, a superficial add-on from another very different culture. Claiming or disowning the mixanthropic/theriomorphic god on behalf of the Greeks: this choice is not dissimilar from that apparent in ancient attitudes. In modern scholarship, however, claims of non-Greek identity are comparatively rare, compared with the far stronger desire to place mixanthropic gods at the heart and the source of Greek religion, to make them both proto-Greek and über-Greek.135

92The most consistent and crucial single instance of this duality in modern thought has always been – and continues to be – Arkadia, whose importance to the scholarly picture of divine mixanthropy is so great as to merit a separate chapter to itself.

Notes

1 An intriguing rare example of reality apparently mirroring myth is to be found in Plutarch’s Life of Sulla (27.2), in which Sulla, while at Apollonia near Dyrrhachium in north-western Greece, is presented with a satyr which has been captured while sleeping. Though depicted as historical reality, this episode has certain echoes of the mythological realm; the capture takes place near a Nymphaion, calling to mind the consistent nymph/satyr association in Greek thought, and it also bears some resemblance to the capture of the sleeping Silenos. Whatever the truth of the event, its retelling is plainly coloured by the topoi of longstanding folklore.

2 As Boardman points out (2002, 127), consigning fabulous beings to the past is, in part, a way of dealing with their non-existence in real and present life.

3 That said, they do have one or two surprisingly recent exponents, such as Lévêque (1961, esp. 96-8) in his discussion of Arkadian religion. He posits the notion that Kallisto, with her bear-metamorphosis, is ‘une hypostase de la déesse’ – that is, a demoted form of the goddess-as-bear; other mythical Arkadian figures also are brought into the same schema of the transfer of animal parts from goddess to companion/enemy – a classic expression of the animal displacement idea. This reading of Kallisto’s identity as hypostasis of a bear-goddess is to be found rather earlier in Guthrie (1950), 104. The hypostasis notion found especial favour with regard to the cult of Artemis at Brauron (again the attempt was to uncover a lost bear-goddess): see e.g. Bachofen (1863); Farnell, vol. 2 (1896), 435. Perhaps the most extreme single case of the theory at work in scholarship, however, is Thomson’s 1914 study of the Odyssey in which numerous characters, including Odysseus himself, are denoted ‘faded gods’. This expands an argument of Fougères (1898, 240-49), that Odysseus and Penelope once formed, as gods, a doublet with Poseidon and Demeter. In almost all instances in both Thomson and Fougères, the ‘original’ deity is an animal-god: For Thomson, Odysseus was a wolf-god and Penelope was a waterfowl-goddess. Interestingly, perhaps because this was so drastic a use of the theory, it attracted refutation almost at once: see Shewan (1915 a and b). However, it finds a more recent echo in the work of Mactoux (1975, 221), who argues that Penelope was originally an ‘antique déesse de la fertilité.’ Mactoux also argues for the hypostasis of Kallisto: ‘Callisto, fille de Lycaon, est une arcadienne, ancienne divinitée locale dépossédée par Artemis qui portait parfois l’épiclèse de Kallisté.’ This idea of a deity, once relegated, supplying the cult title of its usurper is a fairly frequent one: see e.g. Fougères (1898), 227-8 (Hippos gives way to Poseidon Hippios); Séchan and Lévêque (1966), 14. The classic examples of the hypostasis and transfer theories are Harrison and Murray: see esp. Harrison (1912), 449 and Murray (1912), 33-4; the latter remarks confidently, ‘these animals [the divinised totems central to the ancien régime] have all been adopted into the Olympian system. They appear regularly as the ‘attributes’ of various gods. … Allowing for some isolated exceptions, the safest rule in all these cases is that the attribute is original and the god is added.’

4 Forbes Irving (1990), 38-50.

5 Forbes Irving (1990), 46.

6 A belief in an evolution towards anthropomorphic representation underpins de Visser (1903), esp. 25-35; for discussion see Buxton (2009), 187-9, who points out that de Visser’s evolutionary assumptions derive in large part from his heavy reliance on Pausanias and Clement of Alexandria.

7 Typical examples are as follows. Vase-painting: Apulian red-figure bell krater, early fourth century, Pan stands by while Nike crowns a youth, in a theatrical context (BM F 163; LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, cat. no. 263); sculpture: bronze statuette, late fourth century, Pan seatedwith lagobolon and goatskin (Basel, Antikenmus.; LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, cat. no. 63); coinage: a number of coins of the Arkadian League, fourth century, showing Pan generally seated on a rock with lagobolon and syrinx – see e.g. BMC Peloponnesus 173, 48-49, pl. XXXII, no. 10; LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, cat. no. 274.

8 Pathetic young Achelooi are largely a Roman trope, appearing sometimes on mosaics: see LIMC s.v. ‘Acheloos’, cat. nos. 260 and 261a. The youthful, beardless type begins earlier, however, e.g. a mid-fourth-century red-figure krater from Lipari showing Acheloos with only very small horns in the company of Herakles, Deianeira and her father Oineus (Lipari Museo Eoliano; LIMC s.v. ‘Acheloos’, cat. no. 259a). It is very interesting to note that other river gods, none of whom have the popularity or wide circulation enjoyed by Acheloos, tend to be far more anthropomorphic than he does in their visual representation.

9 Not necessarily cult statues; as we have seen, we cannot generally hope for these! Cult imagery in the case of mixanthropes is composed largely of small votives in the round, and votive reliefs.

10 Boardman’s definition, in LIMC, of the ‘standard type’ is very useful, though some of the images he places outside it deviate from it only very slightly. He describes it as follows: ‘The head is humanoid goat, horned, with human beard sometimes approximating to a goatee, and sometimes goat neck-warts. The nose may be snub (like a satyr’s) but the whole head is more like a muzzle and the artist usually makes some attempt to deviate from the normal human or satyric type…. Horns usually spring from the centre forehead, rather than behind the ears as formerly. Ears are seldom realistically folded. The body is human with goat tail and legs. He is commonly ithyphallic, with genitals more often animal then human. Many Pans are shown small, Eros-size. Commonest attributes are the syrinx and lagobolon/pedum, dress a goatskin.’ (LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, p. 927.)

11 An especially clear example is LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, cat. no. 274; BMC Peloponnesus 173, 48-49, pl. XXXII, no. 10.

12 See figs. 23 and 24.

13 See Isler in LIMC s.v. ‘Acheloos’.

14 Herbig (1949), 55-6.

15 As Boardman remarks: LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, 940.

16 Ibid.

17 E.g. fig. 25.

18 E.g. on a red figure Apulian bell-krater, dated 380-370 BC: human-legged Pan with satyric humanoid face dancing in company of maenad (Marburg Univ. 786; LIMC s.v. ‘Pan’, cat. no. 171).

19 See Isler (1970), 16 (cat. no. 84), for the famous stamnos by Oltos, of which he says ‘Nur das Horn und das Stierohr underscheiden ihn von Triton.’

20 Isler (1970), 17.

21 Lissarrague (1993), 209-12, discussing satyrs on vases, remarks that, instead of anything as simple as a process of anthropomorphisation, what we see is a constant experimentation with the juxtaposition of human and animal in which the two components are varied and rearranged. The variability of the satyrs’ animal element is a key element of their identity, he argues, and this is surely true of mixanthropic deities across the board.

22 The development of Medusa’s image was charted by Roscher (s.v. ‘Gorgon’), who divided the extant material into three periods, Archaic (eighth to fifth centuries BC), middle/transitional (fifth to fourth centuries) and late/beautiful (fourth century onwards). Wilk is right to criticise this division as being overly strict and schematic, and failing to take account of the complexity of the image’s usage in different contexts, places and media (Wilk [2000], 33-5). None the less, the prevalence of the attractive type definitely increases over time.

23 Stern (1978), 13.

24 The François Vase gives us one early instance of Hekate represented in monstrous form, with dog-parts (on this see Vermeule [1979], 190). This is highly isolated, however, and in other sources she is not only entirely anthropomorphic but also free from any overtly monstrous associations. A key example is her persona in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (in which she consoles and assists the grieving Demeter). Her rôle here seems to tie in strongly with her common iconographic depiction as a light-bearing goddess with fertility-associations (see Parisinou [2000], 60-67 and 83-4). Vases show her in such fertility-related contexts as the departure of Triptolemos (for example on the Niobid Painter’s volute krater from the second quarter of the fifth century – Louvre G343; LIMC s.v. ‘Hekate’, cat. no. 19). These benign aspects are far more apparent than any connection with the dog, let alone a mixanthropic connection. Later (chiefly literary) depictions of Hekate, by contrast, bring out the grotesque and terrifying elements of which the dog is – or comes to be – emblematic. Perhaps the most extreme case of this later trend is Verg. Aen. 6.255-8: on the threshold of the underworld, Hekate appears in a nightmarish baying of dogs and a shaking of the ground. So this is one instance certainly where a deity’s animal associations, negative as they largely are, are played up rather than down in line with the manipulation of her persona to suit changing usage. It reveals the importance of individual circumstances over wide trends: the treatment of particular deities depends on their own particular symbolic value and how that develops over time.

25 See above in Chapter 2. The exception is the tauromorphic image at Cyzicus, which though mentioned only in the relatively late work of Athenaios (Deipn. 11.476a) may well have been an old artefact.

26 Harrison (1908), 651.

27 Buxton (1994), 90, 104-5.

28 e.g. in Plato, Leg. 677b-c and Apollod. Bibl. 1.7.2 (the latter is the famous case of Deukalion).

29 For instance Hermes, whose birth was claimed by Mount Kyllene in Arkadia: Hom. Hymn 4, esp. ll. 228-30.

30 For instance all the heroes raised by Cheiron; for an exhaustive list see RE s.v. ‘Chiron’.

31 The most famous divine example is that of Cretan Zeus; see e.g. Hes. Theog. 477-80. A mortal example is Ion in the play by Euripides of that name.

32 Aisch. Prom. Vinc. 453.

33 For example the Cyclops Polyphemos in the Odyssey, esp. 9.216-43. On the symbolism of his primitive life, see Kirk (1971), 162-71; Hernández (2000).

34 In the case of Pan it may be seen as gaining ground, given that the god’s earlier Arkadian worship does not tend to be cave-based, but that when it is exported to other regions it becomes almost exclusively sited in caves. See Borgeaud (1988), esp. 50-52; above, pp. 113-114.

35 For this aspect of his cult, see above in Chapter 2; see also Aston (2006), 357.

36 The Telchines especially provide a useful counter-example to Cheiron in various ways. Their mixanthropy is not frequently mentioned; but they are said to have flippers or fins in place of feet (Suet. peri Blasph. 4, in which we are also told that some of them were wholly serpentine in form and others wholly piscine), and also, interestingly, to have been the dogs of Aktaion, changed into men (Eustath. Il. 771), a detail which brings them tantalisingly within the same myth-complex as Cheiron though it is the only real point of convergence. (This dual animal association is complex but not unique – cf. the caprine/piscine nature of Aigipan.) They were thought to have invented metallurgy and to have forged the sickle of Kronos – see Diod. 5.55; Strabo 14.2.7 (further discussion of this theme in Chapter 10). Thus far their skills benefited mankind, but their behaviour was sometimes destructive. Strabo (op. cit.) calls them sorcerers and says that they blighted animals and plants – the products of agriculture – with Styx-water (Ovid, Met. 7.365 makes them use the evil eye to achieve the same end). They converge with Cheiron in their primordial aspect – as first inhabitants of Rhodes, as associated with Kronos (Diodoros and Strabo respectively).

37 Although Marsyas does not actually invent the aulos (rather he picks it up when Athene has dropped it in disgust), he is still presented as a mythical originator. See Diod. 3.59; Strabo 10.3.14; Paus. 1.24.1; Apollod. Bibl. 1.4.2.

38 A significant proportion of the mythical figures identified as depicted as old by Richardson (1933, 86-97 and 182-214) are mixanthropic. Her study is not without its problems, chief among which is a failure to grasp the difficulty inherent in the visual material with regard to physical signifiers, especially baldness. Rather than being a straightforward indicator of old age, baldness in Greek thought has as much to do with absurdity and grotesqueness (for which see Aristoph. Peace 767, 771) and even, for one author, an overly high sex-drive, which would seem especially relevant to satyrs and centaurs (Arist. de Gen. Anim. 5.784a 31 – 785a 6).

39 See the still-valuable discussion in Richardson (1933), 182-214.

40 See e.g. Paus. 1.23.5, claiming that Silenos is the name given to an old satyr. Lissarrague (1993, 215-7) argues for the importance of age-relationships and the juxtaposition of young and old among Silenos and the satyrs: the old and wise Silenos is surrounded by his younger clan, the satyrs. Hedreen (1992), 107, notes also that the age and relative wisdom of Papposilenos is registered in satyr-plays, their content and their staging.

41 Hom. Od. 4.365, 384. At 395 he is called ‘theios gerôn’, the divine old man; at 410 and passim throughout the episode, gerôn. Vergil calls him a senex at Georg. 4.403. On the use of the name Halios Gerôn, see Shepard (1940), 10-16.

42 In later sources, Cheiron too is fitted into this picture of the old mixanthrope: see for example Stat. Ach. 1.106 (he is called longaevus) and Nonn. Dion. 35.61 (gêraleos). In earlier sources, both visual and literary, his old age is less positively emphasized, though of course he is always shown as bearded. More prominent, in his case, than actual old age is relative old age; Cheiron is always older than those he advises, educates and assists.

43 A number of mixanthropes are born from the earliest figures in the Greek mythological lineage. For example, Acheloos is the son of Okeanos and Tethys (Hes. Theog. 340); and the Sirens are sometimes made the children of Gaia or of Phorkys (Eur. Hel. 168; Soph. fr. 777 Nauck).

44 Hes. Theog. 664-735.

45 Lines 453-8.

46 Lines 147-9.

47 Defeat of Kronos by Zeus: line 73; incarceration of all the Titans in Tartaros: lines 729-35. Kronos is certainly confined there with them: see line 851.

48 For discussion of the positive associations of the Age of Kronos, see Versnel (1993), 92-9; Davidson (2007), 213-5.

49 Transgressive because of his castration of his father and swallowing of his children by Rhea: see Theog. 176-87 and 453-67 respectively.

50 Pind. Ol. 2.

51 On the elaborate complex of ambiguities in the character of Kronos and its relationship to the ritual of the Kronia, see Versnel (1993), who also surveys other manifestations of the ancient ambivalence towards the distant past, including its embodiment in the figures of Polyphemos and Cheiron. On the latter he observes, ‘Cheiron’s status as the son of Kronos, is in my opinion, based on this ambiguity: Cheiron, too, is a creature midway between human and animal. He betrays elements of the wild, bestial and uncontrolled (especially when associated with the centaurs as a group). But he possesses elements of culture and justice as well’ (pp. 110-11). If this line of thought has a fault, it is that it underestimates the extent to which the character of Cheiron, for all his mixanthropy, is always delineated as the opposite of the group-centaurs’; he is allowed none of their savagery.

52 For example, Demeter Melaina is associated both with the Golden Age foodstuffs that form her sacrifice, and with the nightmare diet of the child-eater: she represents, single-handedly, the two versions of the remote past as expressed in the imagery of foodstuffs.

53 See Halperin (1983), 129.

54 Pan resting at noon and reacting angrily to disturbance: Theok. Id. 1.16-18. For discussion of the latter-day reception of Pan and his pastoral setting, see Merivale (1969).

55 The satyrs: see Theok. Id. 4.62; Priapos: 1.81-2. Pan and Priapos together creep up to ravish the sleeping Daphnis: Theok. Inscr. 3. Silenos is added to the company by Vergil in his Eclogues and is there given a striking rôle as narrator and mediator of the past, both cosmic and mythological. This is reminiscent of the rôle of Proteus, but is an innovation within the pastoral genre. See Ecl. 6.13-86.

56 Carried to an extreme in the figure of Daphnis, pastoralist par excellence, who is so much in tune with the natural world that at his death, wolves, foxes and herd-animals mourn him. Theok. Id. 1.71-5.

57 Buxton (1994), 94.

58 Jost (1989, esp. 286-9) has shown, with regard to the third-century BC Alexandra of Lykophron, that Lykaon and lycanthropy continued to be central symbols in the perception of Arkadia by other Greeks.

59 Paus. 8.2.3; cf. Hyg. Fab. 176. Apollodoros, on the other hand, has Zeus blast Lykaon and his sons with his thunderbolt: Apollod. Bibl. 3.8.1.

60 Paus. 8.42.5-6.

61 Paus. 8.2.1.

62 Buxton makes a strong argument that not only is Lykaon a primordial figure but that wolves were associated in Greek thought with primitive savagery. See Buxton (1987), 60-64.

63 Hutton (2005), 91-5.

64 On the rôle of Arkadia in delineating Pausanias’ attitude towards the Greek mythological past, see Hutton (2005), 303-311; Buxton (2009), 135-7. On the Lykaon episode and its particular position within this discourse, see most recently Pirenne-Delforge (2008a), 67-72.

65 Paus. 8.2.4-5: οἱ γὰρ δὴ τότε ἄνθρωποι ξένοι καὶ ὁμοτράπεζοι θεοῖς ἦσαν ὑπὸ δικαιοσύνης καὶ εὐσεβείας, καί σφισιν ἐναργῶς ἀπήντα παρὰ τῶν θεῶν τιμή τε οὖσιν ἀγαθοῖς καὶ ἀδικήσασιν ὡσαύτως ὀργή, ἐπεί τοι καὶ θεοὶ τότε ἐγίνοντο ἐξ ἀνθρώπων, οἱ γέρα καὶ ἐς τόδε ἔτι ἔχουσιν ὡς Ἀρισταῖος καὶ Βριτόμαρτις Κρητικὴ καὶ Ἡρακλῆς Ἀλκμήνης καὶ Ἀμφιάραος Οἰκλέους, ἐπὶ δὲ αὐτοῖς Πολυδεύκης τε καὶ Κάστωρ. οὕτω πείθοιτο ἄν τις καὶ Λυκάονα θηρίον καὶ τὴν Ταντάλου Νιόβην γενέσθαι λίθον. ἐπἐμοῦ δὲ - κακία γὰρ δὴ ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ηὔξετο καὶ γῆν τε ἐπενέμετο πᾶσαν καὶ πόλεις πάσας - οὔτε θεὸς ἐγίνετο οὐδεὶς ἔτι ἐξ ἀνθρώπου, πλὴν ὅσον λόγῳ καὶ κολακείᾳ πρὸς τὸ ὑπερέχον, καὶ ἀδίκοις τὸ μήνιμα τὸ ἐκ τῶν θεῶν ὀψέ τε καὶ ἀπελθοῦσιν ἐνθένδε ἀπόκειται.

66 On the importance of this state of closeness in the Lykaon-myth and more widely in Greek thought, see Buxton (1987), 72-3.

67 For an example of the use of this phrase, see Eur. Suppl. 201-2. For the wolf as standing for the savage Arkadian past, see Buxton (1987), 67-8. It is very interesting also that the primitive nature of Arkadians in Greek thought can lead to them being regarded as both unusually pious and unusually impious or transgressive. Both are contained in a passage of Polybios (4.21.1-6), who remarks that the Arkadians are the most pious of all Greeks, but one Arkadian community, the Kynaithians, are the most impious.

68 Borgeaud (1988), 23-31.

69 Paus. 8.42.6.

70 Borgeaud (1988), 35-8.

71 Epimenides fr. 16 DK; schol. Eur. Rhes. 36; Aisch. fr. 65 b-c Mette.

72 Paus. 8.37.11.

73 Paus. 8.4.1.

74 See Apollod. Bibl. 3.8.1-2; Ovid, Met. 1.259-312.

75 Borgeaud (1988), 27.

76 Apollod. Bibl. 3.8.2-9.1. Pausanias (8.4.1) does not mention the flood, and instead makes Arkas the successor to Nyktimos, the only son of Lykaon to survive Zeus’ thunderbolt (on this see Apollod. Bibl. 3.8.1).

77 The subject is the daughter of Dryops, Hermes’ mortal lover.

78 Hom. Hym. 19, 35-9: … τέκε δἐν μεγάροισιν | Ἑρμείῃ φίλον υἱόν, ἄφαρ τερατωπὸν ἰδέσθαι, | αἰγιπόδην, δικέρωτα, φιλόκροτον, ἡδυγέλωτα· | φεῦγε δἀναΐξασα, λίπεν δἄρα παῖδα τιθήνη | δεῖσε γάρ, ὡς ἴδεν ὄψιν ἀμείλιχον, ἠυγένειον.

79 This observation is found already in Herodotos (2.145), who tells us that Pan was one of the youngest gods, born after the Trojan War. How exactly this fits in with the chronology of Arkadia’s early kings is uncertain.

80 cf. Lucian, Dial. Deor. 22.1: Hermes describes the young Pan as ‘κέρατα ἔχων καὶ ῥῖνα τοιαύτην καῖ πώγωνα λάσιον καὶ σκέλη δίχηλα καὶ τραγικὰ καὶ οὐραν ὑπὲρ τὰς πυγάς;’

81 Plut. de Def. Or. 17.

82 The best treatment of the various interpretations of the story which have been advanced since antiquity is that of Borgeaud (1983). This article reflects the various uses to which the death of Pan has been put, being cast in late antiquity as the death of the last pagan god in the face of advancing Christianity (see Euseb. Praep. Ev. 18.13); or, in the sixteenth century, as the revelation of the death of Christ himself as ‘All’ (‘Pan’). On this see esp. pp. 266-7. For all the problems of the narrative, it is interesting for the purposes of this study to note that, for Eusebios especially, Pan represents the pagan ‘old guard’, a vestige of an obsolete religious system; this is in keeping with many of the foregoing observations of this chapter, arguing that mixanthropes are especially prone to being characterised as part of an ancien régime.

83 This is despite a strongly un-Greek flavour in the designation Pan ho megistos: see Borgeaud (1983), 256. This is a further reason for treating the source with caution in this study, as it may have as much to do with Eastern and Egyptian religious notions as with Greek cult.

84 That the shout may be Pan’s own voice is suggested by Borgeaud (1983), 257. Mannhardt argued (1877, 132-48) that the chorus of lamentation which greets Thamos’ message at Palodes is voiced by the plural Panes, spirits of the countryside and daemonic attendants of the singular Pan (this is echoed by Herbig [1949], 70-71). This is largely based on comparative evidence of dubious soundness, but would suggest, if it were true, more invisible mixanthropic presences in the narrative. Perhaps more interesting for this study is the lamentation itself, recalling the regret that attends the death of Cheiron in myth (see Aston [2006]).

85 Herbig (1949), 70-1.

86 For example, there was a cult of Demeter Eleusinia at Basilis: see Paus. 8.29.5 and Jost (1985), 338-40. She also notes several cases of ‘overlay’, the imposition of Eleusinian imagery onto Arkadian cults of Demeter: an example is the image of Demeter Erinys at Thelpousa, shown with torch and kiste and ‘manifestement influencé par l’imagerie éleusinienne.’ (op. cit., p. 302). On the combination of Eleusinian and local ingredients in Arkadian Demeter-worship, see also Pirenne-Delforge (2008a), 312-5.

87 Paus. 8.42.11.

88 Apollod. Bibl. 2.5.4.

89 Or indeed the Pholoë setting, if that is considered the original.

90 An example of a river-god operating in its watery manifestation is Skamandros, who fights with Achilles in Iliad 21 (211-71). Here the river is a river, not a bull-horned man or other emblematic personification, and he uses his waters against Achilles to swamp and drown him. In other texts, the form of the river-god is more flexible. In Ovid’s description of the river Alpheios’ pursuit of Arethousa (Met. 5.595-642), the god first appears as a voice from the depths of the water; when Arethousa flees, however, he is able to pursue her far and wide, and to do so adopts human form (this is made explicit at lines 637-8). He reverts to water, however, as soon as the human embodiment is no longer necessary.

91 For the persistent connection between nymphs and springs and groves, see Larson (2001), 8-11 (and passim for specific examples).

92 Though nymphs and their natural embodiments are sometimes very closely fused, for example in the case of hamadryads, who die when their trees are cut down. Sometimes this seems to be because tree and nymph are virtually identical, as when Erysichthon cuts down the ‘oak of Deo’ in Ovid (Met. 8.738-78): the tree bleeds and the nymph within it dies. In other examples, the tree is presented rather as the favourite haunt of hamadryads, but they are similarly dependent on it: in his account of Paraibos, cursed because his father cut a nymph’s tree, Apollonios (Arg. 2.456-89) describes the tree as the home of the nymph, not her alter ego. See Larson (2001), 73-8.

93 An example of an eponymous nymph popular in coinage is Larissa, frequently depicted on the currency of the Thessalian town of that name. See Larson (2001), 165; Head (1911), 297-9.

94 See RE s.v.Flussgötter’; Gais (1978).

95 The examples in both these regions are far too numerous to list (Head [1911] index s.v. River-gods 955-6 gives a sense of their superabundance). However, an especially prominent and clear example is Gelas, the river-god of Gela in Sicily, shown both as a horned human and as a man-faced bull: see Head (1911), 140-42.

96 Of the many heroes nurtured by Cheiron, some prominent Thessalian examples are Jason, Achilles and Asklepios: see respectively Pind. Pyth. 4.102-3; Hom. Il. 11.831; Pind. Pyth. 3.5-7, 44-6.

97 Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.3.

98 Pind. Nem. 4.60-65; Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.5.

99 Pind. Nem. 3.52-8; Apollod. Bibl. 3.13.5.

100 Hom. Il. 19.390-91.

101 As Westlake remarks (1935, 4), ‘Thessalian horses were proverbial, Thessalian cavalry the best in Greece.’ Ancients made frequent remarks to this effect: see Soph. El. 703-6; Eur. Andr. 1229; Plat. Leg. 625d; Theok. Id. 18.30. The Thessalians themselves were clearly proud of their horses; horses with and without riders appear with great frequency on the coins of all parts of Thessaly, but especially those of Pherai and Pharsalos (see Head [1911], 306-8) – this may be due in part to the fact that these cities had an unusual level of contact with states outside Thessaly and therefore had an especial interest in displaying their most prestigious products.

102 This point is made by Padgett (2003), 4-5

103 Moustaka (1983), Taf. 6, no. 20: this is a second-century BC example. Cheiron holding a branch decorates the reverse; on the obverse is Zeus, surely a reference to their cult association on Pelion. The inscription is ΜΑΓΝΗΤΩΝ.

104 104 It is probable that an example from the first century BC also depicts Cheiron: in this case the centaur is unnamed, but is carrying a kithara, which suggests Cheiron (who taught music to his young charges) rather than one of his wild fellows. Moustaka (1983), Taf. 6, no. 188. On the reverse is a ship – the Argo: a reference to another prominent Thessalian/Magnesian myth. The inscription is again ΜΑΓΝΗΤΩΝ. To the third century AD belongs a very interesting variation: a coin of the Thessalian koinon seems to have appropriated Cheiron (again, the identification is suggested by a lyre), while at the same time acknowledging his more local affiliations: the inscription reads ΧΕΙΡΩΝ ΜΑΓΝΗΤΩΝ – Cheiron of the Magnesians. (Moustaka [1983], Taf. 13, no. 189.)

105 For example, a coin from Mopsion shows a human (probably the Lapith Mopsos, revealing a specific mythical reference) fighting with a centaur. (See Moustaka [1983], 73.)

106 In the area of Mount Pangaion, coins frequently depicted nymphs and centaurs together. See Head (1911), 194-7; Hammond and Griffith (1979), 77-91; Larson (2001), 171-2.

107 See Borgeaud (1988), 5: ‘Arcadia is the result of a dialectic where the rôle of one party is incomprehensible without that of the others. Consequently, even though Pan actually originates in Arcadia, this origin has from the outset the standing of a representation accompanied by a point of view always exterior to it.’ In other words, presentation and self-presentation are impossible to separate.

108 An interesting exception may well be found in the cult of the quintessentially Thessalian goddess Ennodia, whose worship – previously highly localised around Pherai – came to have a pan-Thessalian, if not a pan-Hellenic, basis, at least from the fourth century. See Morgan (1997), 170-75; the main work on this goddess and her cult is that of Chrysostomou (1998).

109 See e.g. Hübinger (1990), 203-4.

110 Autochthôn/gêgenês: schol. Theok. Id. 1.3-4; Apollodoros FGrHist 244 F 134a; Ant. Lib. Met. 23.

111 Most frequently referred to is the music of Pan’s pipes being heard unexpectedly in the countryside and causing alarm; see e.g. Lucr. de Rer. Nat. 4.580-94. The piping is not always presented as purely fear-inspiring; sometimes it is lauded as sweet, as in Hom. Hym. 19.14-18.

112 For Pan-induced delirium and for noon as the time when the god’s power is especially strong, see e.g. Plato Phaidr. 230b-c, 241e-242a, 279b. For fear of the god at noon, Theok. Id. 1.15-20. Borgeaud (1988), esp. 88-116 on Pan-inspired fear and possession.

113 Hom. Hym. 19.6-7: πάντα λόφον νιφόεντα λέλογχε | καὶ κορυφὰς ὀρέων καὶ πετρήεντα κάρηνα.

114 Romm (1992), 77-81.

115 The frequency and consistency of the story’s appearance are striking: see Lucian, de Sacr. 14; Apollod. Bibl. 1.6.3; Ant. Lib. Met. 28; Plut. de Isid. et Osir. 72; Ovid, Met. 5.319-331.

116 Lucian, de Sacr. 14: διὸ δὴ εἰσέτι καὶ νῦν φυλάττεσθαι τὰς τότε μορφὰς τοῖς θεοῖς.

117 Diodoros (1.86.3) gives a clearly related but different version in which the identity of the gods is left unspecified (from the context we are to assume that they are not Greek but Egyptian). Typhon is not mentioned; the gods’ adversaries are ‘earth-born men’, that is, the Giants. The myth is presented as an Egyptian one, though as has been said this is highly unlikely. The author gives it as one of the reasons (the least plausible, in his opinion) for the Egyptians’ religious reverence of animals: the gods are so grateful to the animals whose forms they borrowed that they confer on them special sanctity.

118 The former: Apollodoros, Antoninus Liberalis; the latter: Lucian, Ovid. Some authors leave it vague.

119 Hdt. 2.112.1: τούτου δὲ ἐκδέξασθαι τὴν βασιληίην ἔλεγον ἄνδρα Μεμφίτην, τῷ κατὰ τὴν Ἑλλήνων γλῶσσαν οὔνομα Πρωτέα εἶναι· τοῦ νῦν τέμενός ἐστι ἐν Μέμφι κάρτα καλόν τε καὶ εὖ ἐσκευασμένον, τοῦ Ἡφαιστείου πρὸς νότον ἄνεμον κείμενον.

120 Hes. fr. 23a.17-24 MW.

121 For all the certain and possible versions, and for the Stesichoros-controversy, see Wright (2005), 83-113.

122 See How and Wells (1912), 223.

123 On the relationship between this atmosphere and the Egyptian setting, see Segal (1971). Wright, however, (2005, 165-6) makes two important modifying observations: first, that in Euripides’ day many Greeks would have detailed knowledge of Egypt either from report or from their own travels; and second, that, given this fact, it is striking how few Egyptian paraphernalia of setting Euripides inserts into the Helen. There are no animal-headed gods or exotic monuments. Rather, the setting is one of generic otherworldliness. On Egypt as standing for ‘beyond’, ‘other’ and the merging of reality and unreality, see also Dowden (1992), 129-33.

124 Undoubtedly a nom parlant. It has both general and specific marine associations, since psamathos is ‘sand’, and Psamathe is also the name of a Nereid raped by Aiakos, the father of Peleus, and by him the mother of Phokos (‘Seal’). See Apollod. Bibl. 3.12.6; Larson (2001), 71-2. Wright (2005, 203-12) has argued convincingly that Proteus’ nature (in Greek thought, that is) contributes to an important rôle played by the sea in the Helen: his shape-changing accords with its fluid, unstable quality and is thus a component of the play’s mise en scène.

125 Diod. 1.62.

126 Ovid, Met. 11.174-93. Ovid did not invent the story of Midas’ ears entirely, though we cannot say precisely which details he contributed as reteller; for an earlier mention, see Aristoph. Plout. 286-7.

127 He is, however, a close associate of Kybele. According to Hyginus (Fab. 191.1) he is her son; and in Diodoros’ narrative (3.59.8) he is the chief promoter of her cult. This latter rôle appears to relate, intriguingly, to the historical figure of Midas, a Phrygian dynast mentioned in eighth-century Assyrian records. The name Midas also appears on the so-called Midas Monument, the inscribed cult monument dedicated to Kybele (Brixhe and Lejeune [1984], M – 01a; Roller [1999], 69-70). The precise relationship between reality and myth is of course lost to us: for further discussion, see Roller (1983) and Bömer (1980), 259-63. On the Greek cult of Kybele down to the time of her introduction into Rome, see the very detailed iconographic treatment by Naumann (1983). At 17-36 he discusses the relationship between the Greek-conceived goddess and her genuinely Phrygian counterparts.

128 11.180-1: ‘… turpique pudore| tempora purpureis temptat velare tiaris.’

129 For an interesting treatment of the Midas story with reference to comparative folklore motifs, see Crooke (1911).

130 See Philochoros, FGrHist 328 F 93; Diod. 1.28; schol. Ar. Plout. 773; Suda s.v. ‘Kekrops’; Fourgous (1993), 233-46.

131 Fourgous (1993), esp. 239-42.

132 Romm (1992), 45-81.

133 Farnell, vol. 1 (1896), 95. Farnell here has both fact and fiction. Zeus Ammon is a clear case of non-Greek borrowing; and yet the statement that follows, to the effect that therio­morphic traits were quite incompatible with the Greeks’ treatment of, and attitude towards, their chief deity, takes us into much more dubious territory, making no allowance, for example, for the numerous depictions of Zeus in snake-form.

134 An especially interesting example of this for the current study is Bérard’s contention (1894) that substantial elements of Arkadian cult originated in Phoenicia, a claim which now has no adherents. It is very interesting, however, to note the terms in which it is made. A lengthy discussion is given (104-8) of the problematic form of Demeter Melaina’s xoanon, its mare-head which sits so ill with the tenets of Greek religious iconography and which Bérard calls an embarrassment to certain scholars (106). This embarrassment is done away with, however, by the claim of non-Greek origins, in a manoeuvre strikingly reminiscent of Farnell’s denial of the Greek mixanthropic Zeus.

135 An example is Herbig’s strenuous argument that Pan was a completely indigenous Greek god, and his determination to deny any Eastern influence (correct, surely, but significant) – see Herbig (1949), 15-18.

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