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Mixanthrôpoi

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Emma Aston

Section Three : Mixanthropy and representation

Chapter VII

Mixanthropy and metamorphosis

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1. Representing the unrepresentable

  • 1 A number of brief treatments of the representation of metamorphosis in Greek art exist, for example (...)

1Greek myth abounds with stories in which a human being turns into an animal, and a significant number of ancient vase-painters chose to borrow famous mythical metamorphoses to decorate their pots. This presents a unique artistic challenge: that of representing a dynamic process in a static and two-dimensional design. In resolving this dilemma, a number of striking depictions were produced.1

  • 2 Hom. Il. 11.36-7.
  • 3 Hes. Theog. 270-83.

2Needless to say, the relationship between the idea and the image of metamorphosis is not always a simple one in which art responds to myth or to literature. There are cases in which the process may have worked the other way round, with myths being formed in response to material images. An example of this not directly concerned with mixanthropy is the case of Medusa. Her disembodied face may well have existed as a decorative motif before the first appearance of the myth in which she is decapitated by Perseus; the gorgoneion as decoration is mentioned in Homer,2 whereas the story of Medusa’s decapitation by Perseus first occurs in Hesiod’s Theogony,3 whose composition is generally thought to have been a little later in date. The situation is extremely unclear, but we have to entertain the possibility that the story of Perseus cutting off and using her head was at least in part shaped by the existing phenomenon of the apotropaic gorgoneion as visual emblem. In the case of the vase-paintings discussed here, however, we can discern a known myth to which the artist had access, often through a particular literary version, and which he adopts as a subject: therefore, in this, visual art responds to the process of metamorphosis already on the scene, so to speak.

  • 4 Od. 10.133-399. For a discussion of Homer’s treatment of Circe and the transformations she inflicts (...)
  • 5 Buxton (2009), 88-95.
  • 6 It is very interesting and significant that in vase-paintings Circe’s victims are turned into a wid (...)
  • 7 Davies (1986), 182.
  • 8 Snodgrass (1982), 7.
  • 9 Berlin, Staatl. Mus. F2342.
  • 10 Taranto Museum 9125.
  • 11 New York Metropolitan Museum of Art 41.83.
  • 12 A very full collection of images – though with little discussion of their iconographic significance (...)

3One of the earliest and most popular themes is the scene from Homer’s Odyssey4 in which Odysseus’ men are transformed into swine by the sorceress Circe. Vase-painters tackle this episode in a number of ways,5 but there are some consistent patterns. Typically, they show the companions of Odysseus as humans with animal heads; frequently, feet and hands are also those of animals.6 Does this composite form indicate metamorphosis still in progress, or complete? For Davies,7 the mixanthropic form shows metamorphosis complete, and is used by the artist to show that the beings are not simple animals but retain human faculties; thus inner state is given an external manifestation. For Snodgrass, on the other hand,8 the artist has frozen the being mid-way through transformation in order to capture the sense of ongoing change. In fact there appears to be a great deal of variety from image to image. Metamorphosis still in progress seems to be depicted on a Nolan amphora in which Circe is still in the act of waving her wand over one victim, who reels away, clutching his animal head with one hand, while the fingers of the other appear to be clumping into trotters.9 One could perhaps read a panic-reaction into the open-mouthed prancing of the Daybreak Painter’s figures on a Tarentine lekythos from the end of the sixth century,10 and into the gestures of those on the Persephone Painter’s mid-fifth-century kalyx krater, also from Tarentum.11 The pig-headed figure on a Boiotian skyphos, however, (fig. 32) seems undeniably fixed in form: he lounges with an animal’s squatting posture and watches quite calmly while Circe tries her wiles on his captain. Even less ambiguous are the animal-headed forms by the Painter of the Boston Polyphemus (fig. 33). The foremost figure is receiving the potion which will restore them to wholly human form; so their metamorphosis must be finished. They have not yet, it seems, taken the potion and applied it; therefore it seems unlikely that they could be undergoing change in the reverse direction, back into human form. This animal to human process is, besides, a strikingly rare one in ancient sources, with much more interest and attention accorded to the loss of humanity than to its recovery, even when such a recovery does take place in a story. The anatomical forms achieved by Odysseus’ men on these vases can typically be taken as their final ones – the final product of metamorphosis.12

  • 13 See Lefkowitz (2003), 216-18; Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 151-3.
  • 14 In reading this Kallisto as a figure still in change, I concur with Trendall (1977). It is true tha (...)

4Other metamorphosists in art share the compositional patterns of Circe’s victims. One of the most striking is found on an Apulian red-figure jug dated to 360 BC which shows the early stages of Kallisto’s transformation into a bear (fig. 34).13 The signs of the process’s working are so subtle that they may not immediately be spotted. It is by following Kallisto’s anguished gaze that we notice that her hands are becoming paws. Her moment of realisation becomes ours; we share a portion of her shock.14 Thence the eye of the viewer moves on to notice other details: the ear that is visible does not look like a human ear, the hair has the texture of pelt, and a touch of the hirsute invades the arms and shoulders. This depiction is sophisticated and highly individual. Yet it shares a few important features with other representations of metamorphosis in vase paintings. Extremities are affected first: the head and thus the face are in some way altered.

  • 15 Buxton (2009), 98-107.
  • 16 See e.g. the scene on a later red figure skyphos from Paestum in which the pointed ear is combined (...)
  • 17 It should be noted that the fully animal-headed form takes us into a different medium: a Lokrian cl (...)

5Aktaion, another favoured subject in both pottery and sculpture,15 sprouts the antlers of the stag he is becoming, and on several vases this is accom­panied by the development of a long, pointed ear.16 In at least one representation he is deer-headed.17 Simi­larly, in fig. 35, the hunter is horned while still attack­ing the deer; a case of synoptic composition, but one which significantly casts him in mixanthropic form outside the basic context of narrative chro­nology.

  • 18 This form of depiction is seen on the neck of an Attic red-figure amphora of c. 490 BC: LIMC s.v.(...)
  • 19 On the representation of Aktaion wearing a deer-skin, see Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 108-10

6Not every artist chose to use such mixanthropic forms to suggest the meta­morphosis. Another fairly popular expedient is to depict him wearing a kind of stag-costume – enough to mislead his hounds – though this can suggestively alter his outline, the face of the deer crowning his own and its feet protruding from his human body in a way which almost creates the illusion of changed form.18 Thus the slight difficulty of repre­senting actual metamorphosis is avoided altogether.19

  • 20 Hom. Od. 10.240-41.

7The depiction of a metamorphosist as a mixanthrope must be largely due to artistic necessity. The viewer could not be trusted, familiar as the origi­nal myths were, to recognise the story and realise that what they were seeing was not a normal animal but an animal that had once been human and that still had a human mind. A metamorphosed human-as-animal is an extremely complex entity; Homer20 tells us that Circe’s victims retain their human minds, and also the ability to weep, and Ovid, much later, makes full play of the uncertainty as to which faculties (mind, speech, emotion) remain human, and how they relate to the animal exterior. It is likely that the mixanthropic form used in art serves to capture two essential things: chiefly transformation, depicted as if arrested while in progress, but at the same time this complexity of the finished product, the fact that even when metamorphosis is complete animal and human elements co-exist uneasily in a single entity.

  • 21 Woodford (2003), 170.
  • 22 On this type and its importance in ancient thought and iconography, see Dowden (1998), 125.

8Artistic convention, however, cannot wholly explain the persistent tendency for the animal parts to be the head, face, hands and feet. This physical distribution is not random. It follows a pattern. And that pattern is familiar from elsewhere. It is the pattern of the animal-headed mixanthrope. As Woodford says of the Persephone Painter’s kalyx-krater: ‘There is no clue, therefore, that these men are in the process of turning into beasts: to look at them, they might just as well be complete and immutable monsters, rather like the minotaur.’21 Artistic necessity makes of the metamorphosis-victim a mixanthrope; but something more makes it follow so closely the model of Pan, satyrs, Silenoi – an undeniable mixanthropic type.22 Sometimes the painter makes it clear that we are not looking at a mixanthrope but at a metamorphosist; thus Kallisto’s pose of horror. But in most cases we could, as Woodford says, be looking at a static and unchanging mixanthropic form.

  • 23 See Hom. Hym. 7.6-53.
  • 24 Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 83-4; on the context of this image, see Bonfante (1993), 225-8.

9Rare exceptions inevitably exist. On one vase, one of Circe’s victims is shown not as an animal-headed human but as a man-faced pig standing on its hind legs (fig. 36). Here, clearly, the artist experiments with convention and form. Another interesting example is the Etruscan black figure hydria attributed to the Micali painter (fig. 37) which shows the Tyrrhenian pirates who in myth were turned into dolphins by Dionysos.23 All but one of the figures follow – roughly – the typical pattern of metamorphosis-depiction in that their bodies are still human but their heads have been replaced by those of dolphins, and their arms have become flippers. The far left-hand pirate, however, is in Triton-form, with human head, torso and arms and a fish-tail in lieu of legs. This variation, along with the fact that they are shown just plunging into the waves, suggests that we are meant to imagine their transformation as still going on. As Frontisi-Ducroux says, this image shows the artist’s interest in showing temporality and narrative within a single image; metamorphosis issues this challenge more stridently than any other subject.24

10Into this equation must be written the ever-present power of artistic convention. It is the case in all forms of Greek visual art that a formula, once used successfully, tends to be repeated by different practitioners over quite long stretches of time, and undoubtedly that is one factor in the constant reiteration of the Pan-type mixanthropic form in the rendering of metamorphosis. Various things militate against convention being the only motive behind selection. Most importantly, the type was chosen in the first place, and at that initial stage the congruence with the mixanthropic form is striking. Striking too is how little deviation from the type occurs over a span of centuries and a considerable geographical spread. Rather than denying the rôle of convention, I would argue that we have here a convention of unusual and significant vigour, and that the factors which influenced its birth continued to fuel it through its long and well-developed life, making divergence especially unattractive. All variants, the tricks and innovations of individual artists taking a fresh look at the metamorphosis theme, nevertheless make no attempt actually to shed the type, which after all may be thought to have had disadvantages, from an artist’s point of view: surely it risked confusion with mixanthropy, which could undermine the narrative impact? Conventions only survive if they continue to fulfil a need or tally with a significant aspect of the creator’s cultural climate.

  • 25 An unusual alternative to the fish-tailed form as a means of depicting marine metamorphosis occurs (...)

11The artistic application of mixanthropy in depictions of metamorphosis has immediate implications for our approach to the phenomenon of the animal-headed divine image. It is the first real clue which suggests that such images represent not necessarily permanently half-animal deities but rather deities subject to metamorphosis, to movement between the two states of human and animal. Mixanthropy in essence is dynamic rather than static. The animal-headed type lends itself particularly strongly to this association. Changes to the face recall masks, which are the most potent means of transforming identity; masks are important in the iconography of several mixanthropic deities, as is discussed in Chapter 8, below. However, the animal-headed type is not the only mixanthropic type used to depict metamorphosis. Aquatic shape-changers tend rather to be given a non-human lower half, a fish tail. This is the second type with strong connections to metamorphosis and its depiction.25

  • 26 Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 38-45.
  • 27 Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 40: ‘L’hybridité est inhérente au monde des divinités marines au même titr (...)

12Frontisi-Ducroux has argued, in her work on the depiction of metamorphosis in Greek art, that the fish-tailed form of sea-deities such as Nereus and Proteus may be interpreted as an expression of their metamorphic quality, and even, in some cases, as the representation of transformation actually taking place.26 She makes the vital point that metamorphosis and mixanthropy are not mutually exclusive alternatives for the interpretation of an image; mixanthropic deities are both composite forms and forms undergoing change; both are important aspects of their character.27 This is true, and is certainly not restricted to marine deities, though they are of course hyper-metamorphic. In fact, few mixanthropic deities are without some connection to metamorphosis, even if it is not immediately apparent.

13To demonstrate this, something more than vase-paintings is needed. Their connection to cult and cult practice is hard to establish and by themselves they provide unbalanced evidence. Moreover, proof is required that one is seeing more than repetitious artistic convention. In the next part of this sub-chapter, therefore, the connection between mixanthropy and metamorphosis in the myths and cults of mixanthropic deities will be discussed, and it will be argued that the relationship is both important and causal.

2. The rôle of metamorphosis in the mythology of mixanthropic deities

14All gods have the ability to change their form; that is what makes them especially baffling and awe-inspiring to humans. Brief animal-form epiphanies are frequent in myth; Zeus’ many love-affairs, for example, often make use of them. And while Zeus’ metamorphosis-matings, to continue the example, were common currency in Greek story-telling, his mixanthropy was limited to very particular forms and contexts. So it would be wrong to claim that only gods with strongly mixanthropic iconography are prone to metamorphosis. What can be said is twofold: first, that while not all divine metamorphosists are mixanthropic, one is hard put to find a mixanthrope who is not in some way a metamorphosist; second, that mixanthropes have a particular relationship with metamorphosis, in which there is an unusual emphasis on questions of geneal­ogy and lineage. What often sets mixanthropic deities apart is the extent to which episodes of metamorphosis are embedded in the myths of how they came to be born, and the nature of the offspring they themselves produce. Meta­morphosis above all shows up the mélange of animal and human of which the mixanthropic deity is composed. It plays with combinations and with separa­tions of human and animal.

  • 28 Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 38-59.

15The shape-changers will also be discussed; but, for them, metamorphosis takes a very different form. Their transformational natures are overt. Frontisi-Ducroux has already laid out the relationship between their shape-changing and the mixanthropy of their iconography.28 Important though this is, it neglects the extent of latent metamorphosis at work in the stories about the parentage and the offspring of mixanthropes who at first give very little indication of harbouring such qualities. This is therefore the first aspect discussed. Few mixanthropes are without some connections with metamorphosis (the only discernible case is in fact Kekrops); concentration here is, however, on the most important and well-documented cases.

2.1. Demeter Melaina and Demeter Erinys29

  • 29 For the details of the cults and myths involved, see Chapter 2. As will become apparent when the de (...)
  • 30 For detailed discussion and tabulation of rapes by gods in animal form, see Robson (1997), 74-5.

16At first sight, Arkadian Demeter’s mare-transformation seems to fall into the well-stocked category of the erotic metamorphosis.30 As the female half of the pair she is, typically, avoiding a god’s advances, and using an animal form in her attempt to shake him off, an attempt which, predictably, fails. The god is Poseidon; he and Demeter mate in equine form. This episode clearly bears the strongest possible relationship with Demeter’s mare-headed depiction, whether one regards that as historical or mythological.

  • 31 At the start of his description of Phigalia (8.42.1), Pausanias tells us that ‘the Phigalians belie (...)

17That metamorphosis is not a superficial conceit in this story will only become fully apparent when other cases are compared; but its deep importance to the religious system of Arkadia is clear. It was argued in Chapter 2 that the horse and its associations contribute greatly to Arkadian Demeter’s divine character. And they are not limited to her, as we see if we examine the result of Demeter’s mating with Poseidon. The resulting offspring are the Überpferd Areion, and an anthropomorphic daughter, sometimes called Despoina. The latter was paramount deity at Lykosoura.31

  • 32 See e.g. Nilsson (1925), 65; Guthrie (1950), 95.

18What was the relationship between mixanthropic statue and myth of metamorphosis? Past scholarship has favoured an aetiological approach whereby the statue is the primary component and the myths then arise to comment on it. This rests on the automatic assumption that the mare-headed xoanon can be taken as historical fact, on which the myths are a consequent explanatory accretion.32 At the time of its creation, the statue represents the perceived nature of the goddess. The mare’s head expresses some association with the horse which is compelling at the time. The statue, as a cult artefact, is preserved as the centre of worship for generations, and during this span of time a gradual change in the social and religious climate takes place. Eventually a point is reached at which the mare-headed image does not ‘make sense’ any more, because the original belief which fuelled its creation has been lost or rejected. The image has become an anomaly, conspicuously strange, out of keeping with the new – probably Eleusis-dominated – idea of Demeter which has crept in. Its incongruous and – it now seems – grotesque form needs explanation and apology. And so the myth of metamorphosis is developed to give context and background to the human-animal combination of the effigy.

  • 33 Paus. 8.42.4. Here Pausanias remarks: ‘Why the Phigalians had the xoanon made in this manner is cle (...)

19This view of myths, as reacting to something inherited from a previous generation, minus its original context, is sometimes of value. In this case, however, this approach raises various objections. The most obvious is that when an aition is being employed to explain and justify it tends to be presented in this light, rather as one of Kipling’s Just So Stories. Pausanias’ narration itself is full of such explicit remarks of causation. The metamorphosis-story, however, is not flagged up in this way, and thus does not serve the aetiological function at all in Pausanias’ rendition (though that does not by itself mean that it was not designed to do so). Indeed, Pausanias feels that the earlier mixanthropic statue at Phigalia still needs explaining, though his attempt to supply an explanation is cryptic.33 The second objection is broader. The metamorphosis-myth is one of a huge body of such stories widespread in Greece, and it is likely that this topos was older than the oldest xoanon. The Homeric poems give us the earliest (roughly) dateable instances of divine metamorphosis (an example is Athene’s swallow-epiphany at Od. 22.239-40); but it is certain that many of the myths of metamorphosis recounted by later authors have roots that go back even further. It seems far more plausible therefore that both the image and the myth were responding to an aspect of the goddess’s nature which was about transformation, about a position on the shifting borderline between animal and human. Mixanthropic representation is one way of capturing a deity’s potential for fluidity and change.

20It is possible to represent the story of Demeter’s metamorphosis and its result in a simple family tree:

21In this case, therefore, the animal traits which are combined in both parents (in the mixanthropy of Demeter and the metamorphosis of both) are separated in the offspring, one of whom is wholly animal, the other wholly humanoid.

2.2. Cheiron

  • 34 Verg. Georg. 3.92-4; Serv. Verg. Georg. 3.93; Hyg. Fab. 138; Ap. Rhod. Arg. 2.1232-42. See Guillaum (...)

22With Cheiron, we have a greater genealogical range: he is both offspring and parent. He is the product of a metamorphosis-mating not unlike that of Demeter and Poseidon, this time between Kronos and the nymph Philyra (or Phillyra). In an interesting variation on the familiar motif in which a nymph or goddess (such, indeed, as Demeter) undergoes metamorphosis to escape a god’s advances, Philyra is turned into a mare by Kronos when Rhea surprises them already busy making love. Kronos assumes horse form himself at the same instant, and the product of their encounter is Cheiron, half-horse, half-man.34

  • 35 Pind. Pyth. 4.103.

23Cheiron’s case is of especial interest, however, because of the way in which the metamorphosis motif is handed on, missing a generation. Horse-metamor­phosis produces the horse-mixanthrope Cheiron; in addition to some anthro­pomorphic nymphs, the kourai hagnai mentioned by Pindar,35 Cheiron produces Hippo (or Hippe), who, in Euripides’ Melanippe Sophe, transforms into a horse. This is a striking example of the same animal cropping up repeatedly within a family, and of the sequential alternation between metamorphosis and mix­anthropy. The family tree is as follows:

24In the first stage, metamorphosis produces not separate animal and human beings, as with Demeter, but a combination of the two states, a mixanthrope. The next stage, however, reverts: Cheiron begets another metamorphosist. Metamorphosis skips a generation.

2.3. Pan

25In the case of Pan, mixanthropy is very much to the fore of his representation, in contrast with its vestigial nature in the cults of Demeter Melaina and Erinys. Whereas Demeter Melaina’s mixanthropy was something that had to be brought to light by the touristic detective-work of Pausanias, Pan’s was very much in evidence and indeed can be seen as one of his chief characteristics in belief and representation. Its cultic presence was strongly reinforced and augmented by the repetition of his image on vase-paintings, which rarely fail to make use of the striking goat-headed formula.

  • 36 For example, the story of Syrinx, transformed into a reed, and plainly a late aition for Pan’s famo (...)

26On the other hand, myths of metamorphosis seem on first inspection to be far less in evidence in Pan’s cult. Little significance can be thought to lie in the metamorphoses of various nymphs while trying to evade his advances. Their transformations do not connect with Pan’s state, and at times have the feel of poetic elaborations rather than myths of real antiquity.36 For religiously significant metamorphosis one must look to Pan’s genealogy. Confusion, however, results from the great number of different accounts of Pan’s parentage.

  • 37 Epimenides fr. 16 DK.
  • 38 For which we are once more indebted to the scholia on Euripides’ Rhesos 36: see Aisch. fr. 65 b-c M (...)
  • 39 Eur. Hel. 375ff. In this, Kallisto is also described as having the σχῆμα λεαίνης, but Forbes Irving (...)
  • 40 In Apollodoros’ account, for instance (Bibl. 3.8.2), Zeus turns her into a bear to keep her from th (...)

27A combination found in a number of sources is that of Zeus as father, Kallisto as mother. Scholiasts on Euripides and Theokritos preserve Epimenides’ belief in this parentage,37 which also occurs in a fragment of Aischylos.38 These sources also, crucially, call Pan the didumos of Arkas: that is, he and Arkas are both products of Kallisto’s seduction by Zeus, an episode in which the motif of metamorphosis is central. Exactly what position the bear-metamorphosis of Kallisto occupies in the birth of Arkas and Pan depends on the account. Sometimes she is already in bear form when she has her sexual encounter with Zeus;39 sometimes the transformation occurs after mating but in time for the birth of Arkas (and therefore of Pan).40 In either situation, Pan as son of Kallisto clearly springs, like Cheiron, from Kallisto in her animal form. His mixanthropy derives from her metamorphosis.

  • 41 Paus. 8.37.11.

28One might wonder about this genealogy, and about the production of goat-Pan from bear-Kallisto, which seems to transgress a strong divide between the wild carnivore and the animal of the herd. It is worth asking whether perhaps Arkas – whose name means ‘bear’, after all – was not the original child of Zeus and Kallisto, with Pan being grafted on at a later stage. There is, after all, a possible reason for this development. In the cult-complex of mount Lykaion, Pan was strongly connected both with Zeus and with Arkas. (For instance, the first prophetess in Pan’s oracle on Mt. Lykaion was said to be Erato, Arkas’ wife.)41 This cultic association may have prompted the development of a genealogical association in local myth. One could, however, read the situation rather differently and argue that Pan’s cult connections with Zeus and Arkas on the Lykaion site reflect a pre-existing link between the three which resulted in their sharing a site of worship. The fact remains, however, that Pan’s goat persona, so strong a feature of his divinity, sits puzzlingly alongside the bear and wolf combination of Zeus and Kallisto, in a way which the name and associations of Arkas do not.

  • 42 Hdt. 2.145; Hyg. Fab. 224; Luc. Dial. Deor. 2; schol. Theok. Id. 7.109. These sources explicitly sa (...)
  • 43 Schol. Theok. Id. 1.121; schol. Lucan 3.402.
  • 44 Serv. Verg. Aen. 2.44.

29A number of stories make Penelope Pan’s mother, though the identity of the father remains variable: Hermes,42 Odysseus43 or, in one extreme version, all the suitors. In one of these versions at least, that which makes Pan the child of Penelope and Odysseus, metamorphosis surfaces again, and with interesting results. Traces are visible of a mythic tradition in which Odysseus transformed into a horse. Unfortunately this story is preserved only in late sources, and in cursory, cryptic form. Most detailed is the version given by Servius,44 who says that when Odysseus discovered that Penelope in his absence has given birth to Pan, he fled in horror, finally being transformed into a horse by Minerva.

  • 45 In the Homeric Hymn to Pan (36-9), Pan’s unnamed nurse runs away at the sight of the monstrous newb (...)
  • 46 Paus. 8.14.5 ff.
  • 47 The chief exponent has been Fougères (1898): see esp. pp. 240-49.
  • 48 Some slight support for the idea of Odysseus (his nature clearly diverging wildly from the Homeric (...)

30The inadequacies of this for our present discussion are manifest. In no account is Odysseus in horse form when he conceives Pan; it occurs when he is wandering, in shock at his offspring’s monstrous form, and may be thought to belong to the canon of metamorphoses which come about when the subject wishes to distance him or herself from a trauma already suffered.45 There is, however, a particle of Arkadian material which places a slightly different complexion on the matter. Pausanias tells us46 that at Pheneos was a statue of Poseidon Hippios which had been set up by Odysseus. This has been taken by some scholars as the vestige, shrouded in local legend, of a much earlier cult connection, or even equivalence, between Odysseus and Poseidon Hippios.47 If so, this would put a different complexion on the myth of Odysseus’ transformation, and suggest that this metamorphosis may have been part of Pan’s begetting in the original version of the myth. In other words, this would be reminiscent of the mating of Poseidon and Demeter in horse form. There is, however, no firm and unequivocal evidence with which to support what is, as it stands, a fragile theory. The Odysseus-Poseidon Hippios connection must remain nebulous, another possible strand of metamorphosis in Pan’s production.48

  • 49 A problem which Borgeaud (1988, 42-4) fails even to acknowledge, citing the Epimenides fragment in (...)
  • 50 Lines 7-8: οὗτός ἐστι τῶι εἴδει ὁμοῖος τῶι Ἀιγίπανι· ἐξ ἐκείνου γὰρ γέγονεν·
  • 51 The fragment further relates (lines 8-9) that Aigokerôs has a beast’s nether limbs and horns – exac (...)
  • 52 There is an alternative tradition which has Pan himself routing the Titans: see Diod. 3.57.66; Nonn (...)

31Another version of Pan’s origins relates that his mother was Aix, the goat extraordinaire which nursed Zeus in Cretan tradition. This seems logical, but our chief source for the tradition presents us with a slight problem of interpretation.49 The source is once more the fragmentary Kretika of Epimenides, preserved by Pseudo-Eratosthenes, who, though he describes a being who is honoured as the suntrophos of Zeus and the son of Aix (lines 9 and 14 respectively), does not call him Pan, but Aigokerôs, and says of him: ‘This being is the same as Aigipan in appearance; for he is sprung from him.’50 So Aigokerôs is like Goat-Pan in appearance,51 and is sprung from him; but the two are not quite one and the same. This said, it seems very likely that the account of Epimenides which follows, about the being’s rôle in the war against the Titans, is a myth which, at least originally, related to Pan.52 In this version, then, we have a mother who is not a metamorphosist but wholly and permanently animal. The implications of this will be looked at below.

  • 53 I am not including the one which makes Pan the son of Odysseus qua Poseidon; it is too shaky to mer (...)

32We therefore have, for Pan, three main possible family trees.53

  • 54 The question-mark relates to a single vase-painting, especially mysterious because of its fragmenta (...)

33note54

  • 55 It remains an undeniable and crucially important fact that, in stark contrast to the case of Demete (...)

34It will by now be clear that the first two diagrams represent a typical parentage-situation; the third, with one wholly animal parent, is very unusual.55

  • 56 Epimenides and his career are so heavily mythologized in the ancient sources as to make dating all (...)

35And in Pan’s case we have what in others we lack: in one version at least, a straightforward ‘recipe’ consisting of one animal parent (Aix) and one human. It is very striking how rarely this seemingly logical combination appears in the genealogies of mixanthropes; metamorphosis is a much more consistent theme. This is not so much the case for Pan. One might claim that a straightforward combination-parentage – god with goat – emerged because it seemed more suitable for a god whose human-goat mixanthropy had become such a fixed and immutable artistic phenomenon. But Epimenides might, depending on his date, be thought to predate by a good margin the development of a consistent Pan-form in art.56 In this case, another explanation must be sought. Most suggestive on this score are the early representations, in Arkadia and elsewhere, of upright goats, thought by some to be the precursors to Pan; if the god himself had his roots in a wholly animal form, it is not surprising to find him appearing as the offspring of one.

2.4. Dionysos

  • 57 The main sources are Orphic Hymn to D. 30; Nonn. Dion. 5.562 ff. and 6.155 ff. On these texts and t (...)

36In Chapter 2, metamorphosis was shown up as important in the parentage of the Orphic Dionysos, problematic as the sources tend to be.57 This instance, however, largely accords with the patterns already identified: Zeus and Persephone mate in snake form, and produce a child with mixanthropic features.

37This case is distinguished by the tangle of mixanthropy and metamorphosis which results (Dionysos displays both, as has been shown); also by the combination of species, whereby a snake-form mating produces a bull-horned child. Such mixtures are not, however, unknown; the bear/goat confusion in the parentage of Pan has already been discussed in this chapter, above.

2.5. The shape-changers

  • 58 These three are the figures who are included in this study because they receive cult, but myth supp (...)
  • 59 Mixanthropy does not much feature in their parentage or their offspring, either. A rare exception i (...)

38Finally, there are the shape-changers, chiefly Proteus, Thetis and Acheloos.58 In these cases, we do not have to search for traces of metamorphosis in their mythological backgrounds; it is their defining feature, and takes an extreme form: numerous, rapid transformations. Patent in their integral natures, metamorphosis is strikingly absent from their genealogy.59 Genealogy, after all, brings out meta­morphic elements which are latent; shape-changers have no need of this.

  • 60 The earliest example I have been able to discover is a seventh-century island gem showing a human ( (...)

39They are interesting, however, in that they show up especially clearly the difference between textual sources, which are able to, and do, describe metamorphosis in all its fluidity, and visual ones, which make use of the convention of mixanthropy. Proteus is fish-tailed, in accordance with Triton and Nereus also; Acheloos in a single depiction shares this form, but is more usually half-bull, half man. There is no doubt that these mixanthropic forms achieve orthodoxy in how the shape-changers were imagined and portrayed; at the same time, metamorphosis continues to dominate their literary depictions. Sometimes the latter make no mention of mixanthropy; all that we learn about Proteus from Homer’s description in Odyssey 4 of his encounter with Menelaos, for example, is that he is an old man, the Halios Gerôn. It is quite possible, indeed probable, that at this time mixanthropy was not to the fore in his physical conception, and that it had not yet been adopted as the standard artistic formula for the shape-changer. The Proteus type first appears in the seventh century,60 rather later than the supposed date of the composition of the Homeric poems.

40This is surely a case of an existing mythological figure being depicted using a form generically associated with sea-divinities, a form which was felt adequately to capture Proteus’ nature and deeds, and especially his metamorphic quality. A similar process may be seen at work with the shape-changing river-god Acheloos, though there the image applied to the myth is not wholly Greek in origin, a fact which brings its own implications. The forms which later become so firmly associated with Acheloos, especially the man-faced bull type, appear on the Greek scene very early (from the mid seventh century BC) in East Greek art especially, though they have a far earlier manifestation in the monumental stone man-faced bulls which guarded neo-Assyrian palaces. Discussing the early Greek Mannstier images in his monograph on Acheloos, Isler tends to designate them as depictions of Acheloos; but in reality it is only later that we get clearly identifiable images of the god. Attic vase-paintings and inscribed votive reliefs from the Classical period and later are our chief sources of named Acheloos-images. The earlier man-bull mixanthropes are more mysterious, and in many cases may refer to another local river-god or to an entity with which we are not familiar. So we may see that forms which exist independently of Acheloos, and which owe much to non-Greek artistic traditions, come to be used for his depiction.

41Meanwhile, in the literary tradition, shape-changing is uppermost, though not untouched by mixanthropic elements. The earliest literary treatment of Acheloos’ form occurs in Sophokles’ Trachiniai. In this text, Deianeira describes the approach of the river-god, who comes to ask her father for her hand in marriage, to her horror. The description given of his shape-changing is extremely significant:

  • 61 Soph. Trach. 9-13 (cf. 508-19): μνηστὴρ γὰρ ἦν μοι ποταμός, Ἀχελῷον λέγω, | ὅς μἐν τρισὶν μορφαῖσ (...)

For a river was my suitor, Acheloos I mean,
who, in threefold shapes, asked my father for my hand,
visiting in the form of a bull, then as a coiling,
glittering snake, then bull-fronted but with human body…
61

42As Isler notes, what is striking here is that the forms taken by the god as he transforms include not only whole animals – snake and bull – but also a mixanthropic form. The animal forms are perfectly familiar to us from the shape-changing of Proteus, Thetis and Dionysos; they are inherent in the shape-changing motif. The mixanthropic element, on the other hand, appears to be a borrowing into myth of an element of the god’s iconography. Interestingly, it is not the one most often found in his cult-imagery: rather, the adjective bouprôros seems to denote a human with a bull’s head, like a minotaur. This is a form not unknown in Acheloos’ representation (and that of other river-gods), though it is not much used in cult contexts. So two separate realms of representation seem to be coming together. Acheloos’ mythical persona is defined not by mixanthropy so much as by metamorphosis. (Sophokles’ text is our earliest source; but I think we may be fairly certain that this aspect of Acheloos was an early one, given his strong connection with marine deities, whose shape-changing goes back as early as Homer.) His visual depiction, when we find one, makes use of existing conventions of mixanthropic imagery in order to express the metamorphic quality. There is some overlap, but on the whole, metamorphosis is found in the textual and mixanthropy in the visual sources.

Conclusion

1. Recipes for mixanthropy

  • 62 Robson (1997, 74-5) remarks, though without reference to their religious significance, on the varie (...)
  • 63 There are of course exceptions to this pattern. Kekrops is born from the earth, and his snake tail (...)

43The above examination of genealogy and mixanthropic origins has revealed some vital points. First, it has perhaps confounded expectations. It has been shown that a Greek mixanthrope is in no way a hybrid in the biological sense (further justification for shunning the term): that is, one did not make a mixanthrope by breeding an animal with a human. A mixanthrope is rarely just a genealogical combination of two elements. There is no single recipe, and the many possibilities one finds defy scientific logic.62 The one consistent ingredient in almost all the recipes involved in mixanthropes’ creation is metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is present in the past, the present and the posterity of mixanthropes. They come out of metamorphosis, out of transformational matings; they themselves are frequently given to metamorphosis; they can produce offspring with the same trait.63 What does all this mean?

44The single most revealing fact is that while art gives us mixanthropes, in literary retellings of myth we find metamorphosis (see table below). Demeter’s xoanon corresponds to her mythical transformation; the shape-changers likewise are hyper-metamorphic in literature, in art consistently mixanthropic. This discrepancy between image and text brings us back to our earlier observations about the representation of metamorphosis on vase-paintings. An artist cannot depict a process of change; mixanthropy is the favoured way of getting round this. Tendentious as an argument about origins always is, I would claim that the essential, initial nature of the mixanthrope is as an expression of metamorphosis. This does not continue in the conscious domain. No artist depicting Cheiron thought of his form as an expression of anything except what Cheiron was actually imagined to look like. The shape-changers stay closer to their roots because transformation remains the essential feature of their natures, but even there mixanthropic anatomy becomes fixed and constant. For the huge majority of mixanthropes, however, genealogy preserves their original associations with change. Myths, especially, in which mixanthropes are born from a metamorphic mating reflect their origins. The family background of a mixanthrope is used as a sphere in which their earliest nature is allowed to lurk, without destabilizing or undermining the constancy of their form. (Except, again, in the case of the shape-changers, in whom flux is desirable.)

  • 64 Ogden (1997), 9-14.

45Moreover – and this is the final vital point – metamorphosis is far more important to the god than to the monster. The table below reveals the basic point that monsters, the beings in the third grouping, are far less frequently metamorphosists themselves than are gods; and the same goes for their genealogy. The difference between the ‘recipes’ for mixanthropic gods and for mixanthropic monsters is illustrated perfectly by the divergence between Cheiron and the group-centaurs, touched on already in the section of Cheiron’s composition. It will be recalled that while Cheiron is the product of a metamorphic mating between god and nymph, the group-centaurs are, in the dominant tradition, created in a wholly different way: their grandparents are Ixion and the woman-shaped cloud, the vain eidôlon, Nephele, whom, in his impiety, Ixion believes to be Hera. This latter is a typical monster origin: a futile, unnatural and transgressive mating. Ogden has shown that monsters are typically produced from such circumstances: unnatural or lopsided parentage, and a breaking of both natural and god-given ordinances.64 Metamorphosis is unimportant. But for the divine mixanthrope, it is crucial. Thus we may conclude that metamorphosis is not just an ingredient of the strange, the abnormal; rather, it characterises the numinous, and sets mixanthropic deities apart from the monsters they so closely resemble.

2. Mixanthropy, metamorphosis and divinity

46The table below collates basic information on the representation of key mixanthropes both in art and in myth. It will hopefully show at a glance that some interesting patterns and variations are afoot. The second column indicates the form in which the mixanthrope is shown in cult representation; that is, in depictions which clearly functioned within the site and practices of a cult, such as cult images and votives. The third column indicates the form in which the mixanthrope is shown in art-forms not closely associated with cult, those that would have been used not exclusively within a religious context, most often painted pottery, whose use was normally domestic. The third column indicates the form taken by the mixanthrope in textual retellings of myth; these, it may be seen, are often strikingly at variance from the first two forms of representation. For interest and comparison, some prominent mixanthropes who have no firmly attested cult, and who have consequently not had a significant place in this study, are included here. For the sake of diagrammatic clarity, ancient citations are not included in the table; they may be found in the relevant parts of Section One.

  • 65 See for example the Homeric Hymn to Pan, which has Hermes bringing his young son Pan to join the co (...)

47It will be seen that the mixanthropes have been divided into three groups, suggested by the table’s contents themselves (of course, the divisions thus created, while useful in such a general summary, are somewhat artificial and in practice are often blurred). The first is of deities whose representation is limited to cult contexts and does not feature in the ‘secular’ domain; these figures tend to have an established and unquestioned divinity. By contrast, the second group comprises lesser deities and daimones; their images are used – in some cases extensively – in contexts which are not specifically religious. Some items jump out: Pan, for example, has been placed in both groups to reflect an interesting dichotomy: on the one hand, ancient authors take pains to include him in the Olympian canon;65 on the other, several features of his birth and nature suggest a closer association with the category of nature-daimones. In any case, it may be seen that the trends of his representation suit the second group in the table more closely than the first. Pan is often apparently anomalous, and this will form an important part of later discussion. Another striking case is that of Cheiron, whose cult is attested, as will be shown, but is completely void of representation in any form; at the same time, the centaur is a popular subject of non-cultic art, particularly vase-painting.

48Apart from these two instances, however, the table illustrates some of the very strong patterns at work in mixanthropic imagery. They include the following observations:

  • In the first category, most of the entries are unusual local forms of deities who also have a wider, pan-Hellenic identity, and who are not predominately known as mixanthropes. Their representations are generally limited to one or two particular cult sites, and are often very few.

  • Within this category, mixanthropy is sometimes only one of a range of animal-related representational types, existing alongside attendant animals, animal metamorphosis and wholly animal form in both mythical and artistic depictions.

  • By contrast, the beings in the second category are mixanthropes first and foremost; other types of depiction are secondary, rare, and often doubtful. That said, animal metamorphosis is a significant component of their myths.

  • The table clearly illustrates the fact that mixanthropy is generally a product of visual imagery, whereas metamorphosis dominates in the textual sources. This is about the difference in what the image and the text can achieve. For the writer, all the contortions of transformation are available for expression and description. For the artist, things are not so flexible; and mixanthropy is the favoured means of representing the unrepresentable.

  • Though members of the table’s second category all received cult, a significant number have no attested cult image. This must in some instances be due to accidents of preservation – texts failing to mention an image which did exist, archaeological material being unavailable – but it is also probably the case that it reflects a genuine tendency of the group not to receive straightforward cult representation. Though religiously significant, their mixanthropy is established and canonised by non-cultic representation, and draws its permanence and consistency from the fixative process of artistic repetition.

  • In a sense, the members of the second category can be seen as occupying a middle ground between those of the first and those of the third. This is the case on the level of character, persona and rôle in myth, as well as in the trends of depiction. The members of the second group have the cult-recipient status which characterises the first. But they also, in most cases, have a share of, or are associated with, the monstrous and adversarial quality which characterises the third. For example, Acheloos, Proteus and the Sirens are all pitted against heroes in various myths; Cheiron as a centaur cannot but be associated with that species’ struggles against various human opponents.

    • 66 One of the two exceptions, Medusa, is partly explained by her very close similarity with Demeter Me (...)

    The members of the third category, the monsters, are overwhelmingly mixanthropic, and metamorphosis is largely absent from the way in which they were imagined, even from the literary treatments.66

49This is perhaps the most striking feature of the table for the topic of this chapter: it reveals an abiding connection between divinity and metamorphosis. Although monsters occasionally display an association with metamorphosis, it is not so important to their character as a class. For deities, on the other hand, it is vital. For monsters, mixanthropy is a matter of unnatural combination, anatomical transgression, the uncanny and the unnerving. For deities, it has another – though related – dimension: that of fluidity, impermanence and change. Just as in myth metamorphosis is so often used for the purposes of evasion – like Thetis, deflecting with her rapid animal and elemental changes the attempt by Peleus to catch and hold her – so across the range of their characterisation, it is the association of mixanthropic deities with metamorphosis which lies at the heart of their elusiveness, and their tendency towards departure and absence.

Notes

1 A number of brief treatments of the representation of metamorphosis in Greek art exist, for example those of Sharrock (1996) and Woodford (2003). By far the most detailed and important discussions, however, are those of Frontisi-Ducroux (2003) – which is significant for the current study because it makes the connection between artistic conventions and divine iconography – and Buxton (2009), 76-109.

2 Hom. Il. 11.36-7.

3 Hes. Theog. 270-83.

4 Od. 10.133-399. For a discussion of Homer’s treatment of Circe and the transformations she inflicts, see Buxton (2009), 37-47.

5 Buxton (2009), 88-95.

6 It is very interesting and significant that in vase-paintings Circe’s victims are turned into a wide variety of animals, not just pigs. On the importance of this, see below, Chapter 9.

7 Davies (1986), 182.

8 Snodgrass (1982), 7.

9 Berlin, Staatl. Mus. F2342.

10 Taranto Museum 9125.

11 New York Metropolitan Museum of Art 41.83.

12 A very full collection of images – though with little discussion of their iconographic significance – is provided by Brommer (1983), 70-78.

13 See Lefkowitz (2003), 216-18; Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 151-3.

14 In reading this Kallisto as a figure still in change, I concur with Trendall (1977). It is true that a little way to her right on the vase Hermes is picking up her child Arkas, a scene which in the myth takes place well after her metamorphosis. There is, however, no barrier to reading this as a typical case of conflation of mythic elements into one vase-painting. A scene in a vase painting may contain a narrative, not simply a single episode, and it is possible that the viewer is meant to ‘read’ the oinochoe’s decoration from left to right, taking in one stage of the story after another. On this synoptic technique in vase paintings in connection with the depiction of metamorphosis, see Snodgrass (1982), 5-7.

15 Buxton (2009), 98-107.

16 See e.g. the scene on a later red figure skyphos from Paestum in which the pointed ear is combined with rough locks somewhat reminiscent of the Kallisto depictions described above. (LIMC s.v. ‘Aktaion’, cat. no. 49; Karlsruhe Bad. Landesmus. 76/106.)

17 It should be noted that the fully animal-headed form takes us into a different medium: a Lokrian clay relief of c. 450 BC in which the deer-headed hunter slumps as the dogs attack him. (LIMC s.v. ‘Aktaion, cat. no. 76; Reggio Calabria Mus. Naz. 4337.)

18 This form of depiction is seen on the neck of an Attic red-figure amphora of c. 490 BC: LIMC s.v. ‘Aktaion’, cat. no. 27; Hamburg Mus. für Kunst und Gewerbe 1966.34.

19 On the representation of Aktaion wearing a deer-skin, see Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 108-10

20 Hom. Od. 10.240-41.

21 Woodford (2003), 170.

22 On this type and its importance in ancient thought and iconography, see Dowden (1998), 125.

23 See Hom. Hym. 7.6-53.

24 Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 83-4; on the context of this image, see Bonfante (1993), 225-8.

25 An unusual alternative to the fish-tailed form as a means of depicting marine metamorphosis occurs in a depiction of the pirates who affronted Dionysos being turned into dolphins as punishment (see above, pp. 266). One of the pirates is shown with fish-tail; the others have human hind-parts but the heads of dolphins. These follow the animal-headed type, and suggest that when an artist wants to show a particular instance of transformation, changing the identity of the face is after all important and useful. In fact, the fish-tailed form on which Frontisi-Ducroux bases her statement of the relationship between mixanthropic deities and metamorphosis is perhaps not the most useful type: the animal-headed variant shows up the iconographic convergence far more convincingly.

26 Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 38-45.

27 Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 40: ‘L’hybridité est inhérente au monde des divinités marines au même titre que la polymorphie. Ces deux notions sont en fait deux modalités, l’une spatiale, l’autre temporelle, d’une même réalité : la nature polyvalente et mouvante des créatures marines, fluides comme l’eau, changeantes comme la mer, se renouvellent sans cesse comme les vagues.’ This is an extremely valuable encapsulation of the relationship between mixanthropy and metamorphosis, spatial and temporal, and the impossibility of keeping them apart.

28 Frontisi-Ducroux (2003), 38-59.

29 For the details of the cults and myths involved, see Chapter 2. As will become apparent when the details are discussed, both forms of the goddess, worshipped in Phigalia and Thelpousa respectively but very closely related, are relevant. Only Demeter Melaina was associated with mixanthropic depiction. Pausanias describes the cult statue at Thelpousa (8.25.6-7), and it contains no animal element. Whether or not one agrees with Jost’s suggestion that Thelpousa would once have had a mixanthropic image (see Jost [1985], 302), there is already quite enough to suggest a significant juxtaposition of mixanthropy and metamorphosis in that case also. It has been shown that equine mixanthropy attends the figure of Medusa, intimately linked with Demeter Erinys and with the myth of her mating with Poseidon.

30 For detailed discussion and tabulation of rapes by gods in animal form, see Robson (1997), 74-5.

31 At the start of his description of Phigalia (8.42.1), Pausanias tells us that ‘the Phigalians believe all that those in Thelpousa say about the mating of Poseidon and Demeter, but they say that Demeter gave birth not to a horse but to Despoina, as she is called by the Arkadians’ (for the Greek text, see the Appendix below). This is one of a number of slight divergences between the Phigalian and Thelpousan versions, which none the less agree on the salient points.

32 See e.g. Nilsson (1925), 65; Guthrie (1950), 95.

33 Paus. 8.42.4. Here Pausanias remarks: ‘Why the Phigalians had the xoanon made in this manner is clear to any man who is not without understanding and who has a good knowledge of traditions.’ What he seems to be suggesting is that the form of the xoanon reflects the myth of metamorphosis.

34 Verg. Georg. 3.92-4; Serv. Verg. Georg. 3.93; Hyg. Fab. 138; Ap. Rhod. Arg. 2.1232-42. See Guillaume-Coirier (1995), esp. 115; Robson (1997), 87-8. There are other examples in Greek thought of the circumstances of a mating having an effect on the nature or state of the resulting offspring. One partly analogous case is the idea of porphyrogenesis, important in the Spartan monarchy. It was essential for a king to have been conceived while his father was in possession of the kingship; that is, his condition was determined by that of his father at the time of conception. See Ogden (1996), 252-5. It is also interesting to note Philyra’s second metamorphosis into the lime-tree which bears her name. This transformation she herself chose as a way of escaping the horrid issue of her mating with Kronos (Ovid, Met. 7.350-93).

35 Pind. Pyth. 4.103.

36 For example, the story of Syrinx, transformed into a reed, and plainly a late aition for Pan’s famous pipes: see Forbes Irving (1990), 277-8, for the story’s literary quality and associations.

37 Epimenides fr. 16 DK.

38 For which we are once more indebted to the scholia on Euripides’ Rhesos 36: see Aisch. fr. 65 b-c Mette. Pan the son of Zeus was only one of the two Pans Aischylos is said by the scholiast to have believed in; discussion of the second Pan occurs below.

39 Eur. Hel. 375ff. In this, Kallisto is also described as having the σχῆμα λεαίνης, but Forbes Irving (1990, 203) is surely right to observe that Euripides’ alterations may owe as much to poetic requirements as to a separate mythic version.

40 In Apollodoros’ account, for instance (Bibl. 3.8.2), Zeus turns her into a bear to keep her from the wrath of Hera; the implication is that this occurs after their intercourse. See also Hyg. Astr. 2.2. Otherwise, Hera is the one to transform her, out of anger, then arranging for her to be shot by Artemis (Hyg. Fab. 177; Paus. 8.3.6). A third variant has Artemis, angry at Kallisto’s failure to preserve her virginity, turning her into a bear herself (Hesiod, preserved in Ps.-Eratosthenes Katast. fr. 1; Hyg. Astr. 2.1; Ovid, Met. 2.409 ff.; schol. Arat. 27).

41 Paus. 8.37.11.

42 Hdt. 2.145; Hyg. Fab. 224; Luc. Dial. Deor. 2; schol. Theok. Id. 7.109. These sources explicitly say that the mating of Hermes and Penelope involved metamorphosis into goat form.

43 Schol. Theok. Id. 1.121; schol. Lucan 3.402.

44 Serv. Verg. Aen. 2.44.

45 In the Homeric Hymn to Pan (36-9), Pan’s unnamed nurse runs away at the sight of the monstrous newborn, though she does not go so far as to transform to escape the sight. Even more similar is the metamorphosis of Philyra into a lime tree – voluntary, and motivated by disgust at her offspring Cheiron’s half-equine form (see Hyg. Fab. 138).

46 Paus. 8.14.5 ff.

47 The chief exponent has been Fougères (1898): see esp. pp. 240-49.

48 Some slight support for the idea of Odysseus (his nature clearly diverging wildly from the Homeric one) as horse-father in this myth, equivalent to Poseidon in the myth of Demeter’s mating, is supplied by the rôle of Kronos as father in some accounts of Pan’s birth (e.g. Aisch. fr. 65 b-c Mette). Though horse form is not stated, the appearance of Kronos must surely recall the conception of Cheiron and the rôle that equine metamorphosis plays in that myth. Goat form and horse form are often closely allied in Greek thought (satyrs, for instance, occur on vases with the hooves and other attributes of either animal, depending on the date and the artist’s predilections). Combined, the appearance of Kronos and the tale of Odysseus’ transformation support the suggestion that horse-metamorphosis was an ingredient in one early account of Pan’s begetting.

49 A problem which Borgeaud (1988, 42-4) fails even to acknowledge, citing the Epimenides fragment in question as his sole authority for the Aix version, a reliance surely misplaced.

50 Lines 7-8: οὗτός ἐστι τῶι εἴδει ὁμοῖος τῶι Ἀιγίπανι· ἐξ ἐκείνου γὰρ γέγονεν·

51 The fragment further relates (lines 8-9) that Aigokerôs has a beast’s nether limbs and horns – exactly Pan’s usual form. Moreover, the horn which Aigokerôs is said to have found and used to rout the Titans is called ‘panikon’ (line 13). When Aigokerôs is made a constellation, we are told, he is given a fish-tail (in the style of Aigipan) because he found the horn in the sea (lines 15-16).

52 There is an alternative tradition which has Pan himself routing the Titans: see Diod. 3.57.66; Nonn. Dion. 27.290.

53 I am not including the one which makes Pan the son of Odysseus qua Poseidon; it is too shaky to merit a diagram, but may be seen to relate quite closely to the Zeus and Kallisto version: metamorphosis-mating produces mixanthrope.

54 The question-mark relates to a single vase-painting, especially mysterious because of its fragmentary form, in wich bear-headed Kallisto is accompanied by a bear-headed male, thought to be Arkas (see Reeder ed [1995], cat. No. 100, pp. 327-8). This would suggest the existence of a belief that the result of Kallisto’s metamorphosis-mating was a mixanthrope. This is extremely interesting, but without corroboration from other sources must be considered atypical.

55 It remains an undeniable and crucially important fact that, in stark contrast to the case of Demeter Erinys/Melaina, where the goddess’s transformation is firmly connected with the birth of her horse offspring, the myth-structure around Pan does not preserve a strong central account of parental metamorphosis at his conception or birth. What we seem to have are faint traces of such an event in disparate local traditions; but the key point is that no concerted effort was made to maintain the metamorphosis element as a central part of Pan’s birth. Perhaps it was simply ousted by more important concerns, such as – in certain areas – bringing Hermes to the fore, or achieving an etymological pun (hence the story about all – pan – the suitors). In any case, metamorphosis clearly was not an important aspect of the god’s career.

56 Epimenides and his career are so heavily mythologized in the ancient sources as to make dating all but impossible. Diels treats him as a historical figure of the seventh century BC, while acknowledging the questionable authorship of the surviving fragments (Diels [1891], 387 ff); Wilamowitz (1891) is more sceptical. For a treatment of the controversy, see Dodds (1951), 141-2; he argues that the particular shamanistic character of Epimenides in Greek sources derives from the seventh century, even if the fragments do not.

57 The main sources are Orphic Hymn to D. 30; Nonn. Dion. 5.562 ff. and 6.155 ff. On these texts and their problems, see Chapter 2.

58 These three are the figures who are included in this study because they receive cult, but myth supplies others, such as Nereus and Periklymenos. For a recent discussion of the group, see Buxton (2009), 168-77.

59 Mixanthropy does not much feature in their parentage or their offspring, either. A rare exception is Acheloos’ parentage of the Sirens. For the most part, both metamorphosis and mixanthropy remain vested in the deities themselves and are not manifested in their surrounding family relationships.

60 The earliest example I have been able to discover is a seventh-century island gem showing a human (Herakles?) wrestling a fish-tailed person (London BM 212).

61 Soph. Trach. 9-13 (cf. 508-19): μνηστὴρ γὰρ ἦν μοι ποταμός, Ἀχελῷον λέγω, | ὅς μἐν τρισὶν μορφαῖσιν ἐξῄτει πατρός, | φοιτῶν ἐναργὴς ταῦρος, ἄλλοταἰόλος | δράκων ἑλικτός, ἄλλοτἀνδρείῳ κύτει | βούπρῳρος

62 Robson (1997, 74-5) remarks, though without reference to their religious significance, on the variety of possible offspring (mixanthrope, animal, human with latent animal features) which may result from a metamorphosis-mating.

63 There are of course exceptions to this pattern. Kekrops is born from the earth, and his snake tail is a reflection of this. Glaukos acquires his mixanthropy abruptly when he leaps into the sea. Great variety attends individual contexts. But the pattern here described is the only one which holds firm across several instances.

64 Ogden (1997), 9-14.

65 See for example the Homeric Hymn to Pan, which has Hermes bringing his young son Pan to join the company of the Olympian gods, who receive him gladly (lines 40-47). The very nature of the story, however, reinforces Pan’s initial outsider status as he is brought into the community from his Arkadian home, and his parentage (a god and a nymph) would seem to equip him for demigod or divine hero status rather than full godhead.

66 One of the two exceptions, Medusa, is partly explained by her very close similarity with Demeter Melaina.

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