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Nourrir les dieux ?

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Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge
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Francesca Prescendi

Meat for the gods

Gunnel Ekroth

Résumé

In Homer, the practice of giving the gods cooked meat is evidenced by Eumaios’ sacrifice in Odyssey XIV, while at this and other sacrifices pieces of raw meat from the animal victim were placed on top of the thighbones, which were then burnt in the altar fire as a part of the god’s portion, a procedure labelled omothetein. In the Classical period, gifts of meat for the gods are well attested in the epigraphical evidence, in the form of trapezomata or theoxenia, but also in literary sources and iconography. This paper will discuss when the practice of meat offerings came into being and how it develops, what the gods may have been thought of actually receiving on these occasions and why meat was given. It will be argued that the gifts of meat for the gods may have arisen from the honouring of kings and exceptional individuals with choice portions of meat, and that their growing importance in cult can be linked to the significance of banquets in Archaic society as a means for expressing status and hierarchies, perhaps under the influence of Near Eastern ritual practices. The gods were never perceived as craving or eating the meat and the central concept of meat offerings was the bestowing of honour, time. Still, by offering the gods something, which both could and was consumed by man, the meat offerings may have created possibilities for a different and closer interaction between mortals and immortals, in particular by evoking a context of xenia.

Chez Homère, le fait de donner de la viande cuite est attesté par le sacrifice d’Eumée au chant XIV de l’Odyssée. À cette occasion et lors d’autres sacrifices, des morceaux de viande crue de l’animal sacrificiel étaient placés sur les os des cuisses, ils étaient ensuite brûlés à la flamme de l’autel et faisaient partie de la part du dieu, une procédure appelée omothetein. À la période classique, les dons de viande pour les dieux sont bien attestés dans la documentation épigraphique, sous la forme de trapezomata ou de theoxenia, mais aussi dans les sources littéraires et l’iconographie. Cet article étudie le moment d’émergence de la pratique des offrandes de viande, son développement, ce que les dieux étaient censés recevoir en de telles occasions et la raison de donner de la viande. Les dons de viande pour les dieux pourraient être issus de la pratique d’honorer les rois et les individus exceptionnels par des morceaux de choix. Leur importance croissante dans le culte peut être liée à la signification donnée au banquet dans la société archaïque en tant que moyen d’expression des hiérarchies et des statuts, peut-être sous l’influence de pratiques rituelles proche-orientales. Les dieux n’étaient pas perçus comme avides de viande ou la mangeant, et le concept au cœur de l’offrande de viande était la part d’honneur, la timê. Ainsi, en étant quelque chose qui, tout à la fois, pouvait être, et était, consommé par les hommes, l’offrande de viande aux dieux pourrait avoir créé des possibilités d’interaction différente et plus étroite entre les mortels et les immortels, en particulier par l’évocation d’un contexte de xenia.

Note de l’auteur

The article is part of my project Greek sacrifice in practice, belief and theory, funded by the National Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. I would like to thank Lovisa Strand for stimulating discussion, as well as Scott Scullion for correcting the English.

Texte intégral

  • 1 The literature on thysia is vast, see, e.g. Burkert (1983), p. 1-7; Burkert (1985), p. 54-59; Rudha (...)
  • 2 Ekroth (2002), p. 217-276; Ekroth (2008a), p. 88-93; Scullion (2000), p. 165.

1Within Greek cult, thysia sacrifice constituted the most significant ritual action, by which communication with the gods was achieved and men could offer their thanks or ask for favours.1 Other rituals were also available, such as holocausts or moirocausts, or rituals focusing on the outpouring of the blood.2 The common denominator of these actions was that the gods were given what men cannot eat. The transferral of the offerings to the divine sphere was accomplished by burning them and turning them into smoke, or by pouring out or discarding them. These are modes of consumption incompatible with human ways of eating.

  • 3 Vernant (1981); (1989).

2Considering this fact, it has rightly, in my opinion at least, been argued that the structure of Greek animal sacrifice in essence marked the gods’ difference from men.3 The smoke rising from the altars emphasized the fact that gods were immortal, and that smoke was enough for them, contrary to men or animals who actually had to eat in order to survive.

  • 4 Offerings of food to the gods took a number of different forms, such as a range of bloodless gifts, (...)
  • 5 The basic studies of these practices are Puttkammer (1912), p. 19-31; Gill (1974); (1991); Bruit (1 (...)
  • 6 On theoxenia as visible in the osteological record, see Ekroth (forthcoming a and b). Possible inst (...)

3In the Classical period, however, the gods were frequently offered meat, either raw sections, placed on a table near the altar or inside the temple, or cooked meat, used in a more elaborate ceremony, where the divinity was invited and presented with a table filled with food and a couch to recline on.4 These practices, usually labelled trapezomata and theoxenia, depending on the context and contents, are evidenced in the epigraphical record and in literary texts, but also in reliefs and vase paintings, as well as by stone tables recovered in sanctuaries.5 Offerings of meat might even occasionally be traced within the osteological evidence recovered in Greek sanctuaries.6 Considering the existence of such practices, the ritual pattern of Greek offerings may seem somewhat contradictory. If thysia sacrifice is to be seen as a marker of the gods’ immortality and distance from men, why were the gods frequently also given meat as offerings, that is, food suitable for human consumption?

4In this paper I will explore the practice of meat offerings to Greek gods within the written and iconographical evidence, focusing primarily on the 8th to the 5th century BC. I am interested in when this practice comes into being and how it developed, what the gods may have been thought of as actually receiving on these occasions and why meat was given. If the smoke from the burning thighbones is to be taken as indicating divine immortality, as has commonly been assumed by scholars, are the meat offerings meant to point to or bring out a human or mortal element in the gods?

When do meat offerings begin?

  • 7 Hesiod fr. 1 (ed. Merkelbach-West) represents gods and men eating and socializing. At the fringes o (...)
  • 8 Ekroth (2008a), p. 96-102.
  • 9 Hesiod, Theogony, 535-557. On this episode as the instigation of thysia, see Rudhardt (1970).

5In Greek myth, there are a number of stories which represent the gods as eating, especially traditions that deal with the interaction between gods and men in the distant past.7 The gods eat at the house of Tantalos and Lykaon, though these dinners eventually take a very bad turn.8 On Olympos the gods consume only nectar and ambrosia, while at dinners where the hosts are human the food consists of meat. Hesiod’s account in the Theogony of how Prometheus butchered an ox in order to trick Zeus, an event that gave rise to thysia sacrifice, certainly shows that the god was expecting to be given meat.9 The gods were clearly perceived as having had a meat-eating phase, though this was no longer the case.

  • 10 Apollodoros, Bibliotheca III, 8, 1: in the story of Lykaon the child is slaughtered and his splanch (...)
  • 11 This important distinction was brought out by Rudhardt (1970).

6When we look at Greek sacrificial rituals we may therefore ask which is the older sacrificial practice: thysia sacrifice, where the gods’ portion is burnt, or offerings of meat, raw or cooked? In some myths, the meat given to the gods seems to have come from sacrifices, for example in the case of Lykaon inviting Zeus, where the human splanchna are mixed with ta hiera, but in most cases we get no more precise information of how this meat was procured.10 After all, these myths are set in the distant past, before the institution of thysia.11 The meat that the gods received at these banquets cannot be taken as food offerings, like those given to the gods in later, historical times. It is simply among the dishes offered at the mythical dinners to which the gods are invited as guests of honour.

  • 12 Iliad I, 458-467; II, 421-429; Odyssey III, 447-463; cf. Kirk (1981), p. 62-68. For a thorough trea (...)
  • 13 Hesiod, Theogony, 540, 555, 557; Works and days, 337.
  • 14 The osphys is not found in the earliest altar deposits, see Ekroth (2009).
  • 15 Forstenpointner, Weissengruber (2008); Reese, Rose, Ruscillo (2000); Studer, Chenal-Velarde (2003). (...)
  • 16 Isaakidou et al. (2002); Halstead, Isaakidou (2004). Selection of certain bones can also be demonst (...)

7If we turn to Homer, our earliest written source regarding animal sacrifice, thysiai are described in both the Iliad and the Odyssey: thighbones are cut out, wrapped in fat and burnt.12 Also Hesiod’s account in the Theogony centres on bones, here called ostea, which are to be burnt on the altars, and in Works and Days he speaks of the burning of meria.13 That the practice of burning thighbones is old, dating back to the Early Iron Age at least, is clearly evidenced by the osteological material from various sanctuaries.14 At Ephesos, an assemblage of burnt femora have been recovered from a Protogeometric layer, and the altar debris at Kommos and Eretria, which dates to the 8th-7th centuries BC, predominantly consists of burnt thighbones with the inclusion of occasional tail vertebrae and sacrum bones.15 Perhaps this treatment of the bones was inherited from the Bronze Age, as deposits from the Mycenaean Palace of Nestor at Pylos attest to the selection of long bones, here femora and humeri, as well as mandibles that had been defleshed and burnt.16

  • 17 For possible cases of osteologically attested meat offerings, see above, n. 6.
  • 18 Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 280-281, 292-293; Gill (1991), p. 31-35; inside the 8th-century temple (...)
  • 19 On early altars and the difficulties of distinguishing them from regular hearths, see
    Mazarakis Ain (...)

8The earliest textual and osteological evidence thus clearly shows that thysia was an old ritual. But when do we have the earliest indications of offerings of meat to the gods? To identify such a ritual in the osteological material is very difficult, as the fleshy parts used, after they had been employed in the ritual, are likely to have been eaten and any bones would have ended up with the rest of the dinner debris.17 Some Iron Age temples have benches inside on which offerings of food could have been placed, but these may have been intended for votives or cult images, as well as purely secular use.18 The earliest altars, which date from the 8th century, have no traces of table-like constructions nearby, though tables may of course have been made of wood and removed after the ritual was concluded.19

The Homeric evidence

  • 20 Odyssey XIV, 426-429: τοὶ δ᾽ ἔσφαξάν τε καὶ εὗσαν,| αἶψα δέ μιν διέχευαν· δ᾽ ὠμοθετεῖτο συβώτης,|(...)
  • 21 Odyssey XIV, 434-436: καὶ τὰ μὲν ἕπταχα πάντα διεμμοιρᾶτο δαΐζων·| τὴν μὲν ἴαν Νύμφῃσι καὶ Ἑρμῇ, Μα (...)
  • 22 Odyssey XIV, 436-438: τὰς δ᾽ ἄλλας νεῖμεν ἑκάστῳ·| νώτοισιν δ᾽ Ὀδυσῆα διηνεκέεσσι γέραιρεν| ἀργιόδο (...)
  • 23 Odyssey XIV, 446-448: ῥα, καὶ ἄργματα θῦσε θεοῖσ᾽ αἰειγενέτῃσι,| σπείσας δ᾽ αἴθοπα οἶνον Ὀδυσσῆϊ (...)

9In order to trace the meat offerings we have to turn to Homer once more, and more specifically the 14th book of the Odyssey. Here the swineherd Eumaios selects a fat, five year old male pig to honour his guest, Odysseus in disguise. Eumaios begins by burning some cut-off hairs from the animal’s forehead for the immortal gods, while praying for Odysseus’ return. He then kills the animal by hitting it over the head with a piece of wood. After bleeding and singeing, he cuts out meat from all parts of the body – the term used is omothetein – wraps them in fat, sprinkles them with flour and burns them on the hearth in the house.20 The rest of the meat is cut up, spitted and grilled. When ready, the meat is divided into seven equal portions, and one is put aside for the Nymphs and Hermes, while Eumaios prays.21 The meat is then distributed and Eumaios and the men helping him to take care of the pigs receive a portion each, while Odysseus is given the entire back as an honour.22 Before the meal begins, Eumaios takes argmata and burns them for the gods and libates.23 Finally the bread is passed around and the meal can begin.

10A closer look at this passage reveals that the meat is handled in four different ways, allowing for a complex web of divine and human interactions in how the meat is treated.

  1. Pieces of raw meat from all parts of the body are wrapped in fat, sprinkled with flour and burnt in the fire, omothetein, presumably for the gods (425-429).

  2. The grilled meat is divided into seven portions and one portion is put aside, theken, for the Nymphs and Hermes (434-436).

  3. The back of the pig (cooked) is given to Odysseus as an honorary share (436-438). It is not evident if the back is among the seven original portions, but this is probably not the case.

    • 24 Petropoulou (1987), p. 138-140. The meaning of argmata has been disputed. Casabona (1966), p. 70, 1 (...)

    Argmata – most likely a small share of the grilled meat, presumably from Eumaios’ own portion – are burnt in the fire for the eternal gods (446-448).24

  • 25 Kadletz (1984), p. 103; Petropoulou (1987), p. 142-143; Gill (1991), p. 12; Bruit (2005), p. 39; Ja (...)

11The second action, the putting aside of a portion of cooked meat for the Nymphs and Hermes, is clearly reminiscent of the handling of the offerings of meat for the gods in the Classical periods. Of particular importance is the verb used, tithemi, which is the common term also in later periods when meat and other foodstuffs are deposited for deities.25

  • 26 Iliad I, 459-461; II, 422-424; Odyssey III, 458.
  • 27 Iliad IX, 220.
  • 28 Iliad VII, 315; Odyssey IV, 65; VIII, 474-478.

12There are no other examples in Homer where meat is deposited in this manner. The other three ways of handling the meat in this scene can, however, be connected with other instances in the poems, which recall what is done at Eumaios’ house. The initial action, the burning of pieces of raw meat in the fire, omothetein, is part of the descriptions of three large-scale thysiai, but here the raw meat is placed on top of the burning thighbones.26 The fourth action, the burning of the argmata, is similar to the burning of cooked meat before a meal described in the 9th book of the Iliad.27 Here Odysseus visits the sulking Achilles in his tent, and before the heroes can eat, some grilled meat, thyelai, is thrown in the fire as a sacrifice to the gods, though at this meal there is no depositing of meat. Also the honouring of Odysseus, by giving him a choice section of the animal, the back, a truly good part, is found elsewhere in both the Iliad and the Odyssey.28 We may conclude that offerings of meat were apparently a practice known and performed in the Homeric world, but not of major importance in communication with the gods.

  • 29 Rudhardt (1992), p. 255.
  • 30 For a more diversified view of “sacrificed” meat in relation to “sacred” meat, see Ekroth (2007). T (...)

13Eumaios’ handling of the meat has been regarded as an isolated case, which obviously it is not, and has engendered much discussion, as well as causing some unease among scholars. Jean Rudhardt dismissed it as a sacrifice altogether, as there is no consumption of the splanchna, the edible intestines grilled at a thysia.29 This argument is unconvincing, I find, as such a position really depends on how we define “sacrifice”.30 Considering the number of explicit cases in Greek cult where unburnt offerings constituted the only means of honouring and communicating with the divine sphere, it seems unproductive not to include this ritual in the category “sacrifice”, as it clearly concerns a ritual treatment of the animal both before and after it is killed. The question is rather to what extent Eumaios’ treatment of the meat relates to later instances of offerings of meat, such as trapezomata and theoxenia.

The Archaic and Classical evidence

  • 31 Gill (1974), (1991); Jameson (1994); Bruit (1984); (1989); Bruit Zaidman (2001), (2005).

14If we turn to the Classical period, offerings of meat were a well-established part of the ritual landscape and work by David Gill, Louise Bruit and Michael Jameson has clearly demonstrated the significance of such offerings within Greek cult.31 Judging by our sources, meat offering seems to be a ritual action that in course of time had become more important, though this may also be a result of the increase in evidence in later periods. What happens between Homer and the 5th century?

  • 32 Kahn (1978), p. 41-73; Strauss-Clay (1987); Burkert (1988); Jaillard (2007), p. 104-118.
  • 33 The verb used for the placing the honorary share, teleon geras, for each of the gods is prosetheken(...)
  • 34 Jaillard (2007), p. 114-118.

15In the Homeric hymn to Hermes (94-137), Hermes kills and butchers two of Apollo’s cows and roasts the fatty meat, the back and the blood-stuffed entrails on the fire. The meat is then placed on a flat stone and divided into twelve portions, apparently with a part of the back meat, the honorary portion, in each. Hermes longs to eat, smelling the grilled meat, but finally declines, hiding the meat away and burning the hoofs and the heads. There is no mention of bones being cut out and burnt here either, but the meat is definitely handled in a ritualized manner. Different explanations of these actions have been offered – either the event takes place before the institution of thysia sacrifice or the god, or at least god to be, cannot perform such a sacrifice, since he is divine.32 Still, the division of the grilled meat into twelve portions, each including a part of the best meat, the back, and the setting aside of these portions for the divine recipients on a smooth, flat stone, seem to refer to a practice of handling meat similar to that we encounter in the Odyssey.33 Moreover, both the language used, the verb prostithemi, and the actions described recall later trapezomata and theoxenia, as has been convincingly argued by Dominique Jaillard.34

  • 35 Pindar, Paean VI, 60-61; Nemean Odes VII, 44-48, concerning the Delphian Theoxenia festival; Olympi (...)
  • 36 Jameson (1994), p. 39 and n. 17.
  • 37 For non-ritual explanation of this passage, see Topper (2009), p. 8-9.
  • 38 Chionides, fr. 7 (PCG IV, ap. Athenaios, IV, 137e); cf. Jameson 1994, p. 46-47.

16Pindar refers to xenia for the gods at Delphi and for the Dioskouroi, as well as theoxenia rituals for heroes, for example Pelops at Olympia, the latter instance involving animal sacrifice and offerings of blood and perhaps also meat for the hero reclining at his tomb.35 An intriguing passage in Herodotos (VI, 139) makes use of the language of theoxenia, though the action described is difficult to understand.36 The story concerns the Pelasgians on Lemnos, who killed the Athenian women they had stolen from Brauron, as well as their children, an event leading to crop failure and declining birth rate. Delphi told them to submit to any punishment the Athenians might choose. In the prytaneion, the Athenians spread a kline with the richest coverings they possessed and placed a trapeza loaded with good things beside it, and demanded that the Pelasgians surrender their land to them. Whether this event had any ritual connections involving a divine party is far from clear.37 A fragment of Chionides (5th c. BC) describes the theoxenia for the Dioskouroi in Athens, but at this ritual the offerings were only vegetarian: cheese, barley cake, ripe olives and leeks.38

Fig. 1a.

Fig. 1a.

Marble offering table from Aigina bearing an inscription dated to around 475 BC.

After Hoffelner (1996), p. 41-42, fig. 28.

  • 39 NGSL, p. 197, no. 6, fr. 14, l. 3 and commentary p. 204.
  • 40 Gill (1991), p. 39, no. 9; Hoffelner (1996), p. 40-43.

17A reference to a sacred table is found in a late 7th-early 6th century cult regulation from Tiryns, though its use is unknown.39 The earliest epigraphical references to offerings of meat date to the early 5th century, for example, a sacrificial calendar from the Athenian Acropolis (LSCG 1 A, 18-19) which mentions a trapeza for Semele in connection to the sacrifice of a young goat to Dionysos. The temple of Aphaia on Aigina, built 490-480 BC, has a permanent limestone table in the opisthodomos contemporary with the temple, and there is also an impressive marble table top with eight depressions bearing a fragmentary inscription of around 475 BC from the same island that may have been used for displaying a substantial quantity of meat (Fig. 1:a-b).40

Fig. 1b.

Fig. 1b.

Marble offering table from Aigina bearing an inscription dated to around 475 BC.

After Hoffelner (1996), p. 41-42, fig. 29.

  • 41 Athens NM 5893 (220), L. Kahil. s.v. ‘Artemis’, LIMC II (1984), no. 21.
  • 42 Lebessi (1985), p. 128-136, for example, A 9, A 10, A 37, A 47, A 50, A 56, pl. 3, 6, 22, 29, 30, 3 (...)
  • 43 R.A. Hearst collection, Hillsborough (California), ca 510 BC; Raubitschek (1969), p. 46-49, fig. 12 (...)
  • 44 Kiel, Antikensammlung B 702, ca 500-490 BC; CVA Kiel, Kunsthalle, Antikensammlung 1, Taf. 17:3-4 (D (...)
  • 45 On the iconographical representation of theoxenia, see also Lissarrague (2008).

18It is not until the later 5th and the 4th century that written and archaeological attestations of such practices become frequent, but the iconographical material may flesh out the picture. Meat gifts for gods seem to be represented on a Boiotian Subgeometric amphora, now in the National Archaeological Museum at Athens, dated to around 680 BC (Fig. 2).41 Seen here is a goddess with large outstretched arms in the classic Potnia stance, presumably Artemis, dressed in a chiton decorated with a fish. Above her shoulders are birds and flanking her are two lions. Just below her hands are rendered the head of a bovine to the left and the back leg of a quadruped, cattle or ovicaprine to the right. These isolated body parts are not random elements of decoration and presumably depict offerings of meat to the divinity. The head and the leg on the Boiotian vase can be compared to the bronze plaques from Kato Syme Viannou (Fig. 3:a-d), dating from the early 7th to the mid-6th century BC, which show young men carrying legs and heads of goats, as well as entire animals, presumably to be taken to the sanctuary.42 From the late 6th century dates an Athenian black-figure cup, showing a reclining Dionysos and Herakles on the outside.43 Each divinity holds a drinking vessel and on the ground are white objects which may represent meat, bread or cakes. On the inside (Fig. 4), two women are fluffing the pillows of a double-headed kline, probably a reference to the preparation of a theoxenia ritual for the deities represented on the exterior. The earliest indisputable representation of theoxenia is found on a black-figure olpe from around 500 BC depicting a man arranging a kline next to a table from which strips of meat are hanging (Fig. 5).44 In the air, above the couch, the Dioskouroi are represented as arriving as invited guests at their sumptuous meal.45

Fig. 2. Boiotian Subgeometric amphora, ca 680 BC.

Fig. 2. Boiotian Subgeometric amphora, ca 680 BC.

Athens, National Museum 5893 (220).

© Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism/Archaeological Receipts Fund.

19This brief review of the evidence makes clear that Eumaios’ sacrifice in Homer should not be regarded as a one-off and odd event, but rather as an early instance of a ritual practice which gradually became more important.

Raw and cooked

  • 46 On choice portions, see Le Guen-Pollet (1991); Ekroth (2008b). For the representations of back legs (...)

20The post-Homeric evidence also allows us to make a distinction within the practice of offering meat, namely that the meat could be presented raw or cooked. Raw meat is offered to the gods in Homer, but is there always burnt as part of the ritual. The Boiotian vase and the bronze plaques from Kato Syme Viannou (Fig. 2-3:a-d) clearly indicate the handling of raw meat, as the heads are rendered with the horns still attached and the legs terminate with the hoofs. The sections of animals seen here evoke the choice portions of raw meat, especially legs, frequently mentioned in the Classical inscriptions, as deposited on the god’s table or given to the priest as part of his gere, parts we also see depicted on the Attic vases of the same period, usually with the hoof clearly shown (Fig. 6).46

Fig. 3a-d. Bronze plaques from the sanctuary at Kato Syme Viannou, Crete, early 7th and 6th century BC

Fig. 3a-d. Bronze plaques from the sanctuary at Kato Syme Viannou, Crete, early 7th and 6th century BC

After Lebessi (1985), pl. 47 (A 56), pl. 48 (A 10), pl. 49, (A 50) and pl. 50 (A 9).

  • 47 Lévi-Strauss 1990, p. 471-495; Segal (1974); Vidal-Naquet (1986), p. 106-128; Vernant (1989); Detie (...)

21The contrast between le cru et le cuit is a fundamental principle for many anthropologists and its validity has been demonstrated also for Greek contexts.47 Our sources indicate that a distinction between raw and cooked was essential in the Greek perception of sacrifice, and so also when it comes to meat offerings, even though we are not to imagine too strict a division. Still, a closer look at the evidence shows that the separation into raw and cooked meat can be supported by other distinctions as well, such as where the meat was deposited, the context of the presentation of the meat and what happened to it after the end of the ritual (Table 1).

Table 1. Traits of trapezomata and theoxenia rituals

Criterion

Trapezomata

Theoxenia

Terminology

Trapezomata, trapeza

Theoxenia, xenia, heroxenia, theodaisia

Meat

Raw

Cooked

Deposition

On table or, less frequently, on altar

On table

Additional installations

None

Couch or throne, spread with textiles

Location

Near altar or in temple

In temple?, in separate structure

Additional offerings

Possibly

Cakes, cheese, fruit, wine

Invitation to deity

No

Yes

Later fate of offerings

Taken by priest, regulated in sacred laws

Not known if regulated

  • 48 For epigraphical mentions and preserved tables, see Gill (1991). On these tables non-bloody offerin (...)
  • 49 The evidence is fully explored by Jameson (1994), who emphasizes (p. 39) that it is the preparation (...)

22Raw meat was usually deposited on a table next to the altar or even on the altar, a practice evidenced by the trapezai mentioned in a number of sacred laws and sacrificial calendars, as well as preserved tables.48 Cooked meat could also be placed on a table near the altar, but it often formed part of a more elaborate ceremony, where meat and other kinds of foodstuff, such as cakes, vegetables, fruit, cheese and bread, as well as wine, were offered. Next to the table would be placed a couch or a throne, perhaps covered with soft textiles, and the divinity would then be invited to come and participate in the ritual as an honoured guest is invited to a feast.49 The concept of a meal seems here to have been of central importance.

  • 50 On the terminology, see Gill (1991), p. 10-15; Jameson (1994), p. 36-37; Ekroth (2002), p. 136-140.
  • 51 For the distinction between offerings of raw and cooked meat, see Jameson (1994), esp. p. 56 and n. (...)

23The ancient Greek terminology for these practices is not fixed. The term trapezomata is used at least in some instances for raw meat, while the rituals involving cooked meat were variously labelled: theoxenia, xenia, heroxenia and theodaisia.50 Scholars have advocated the term trapezomata for the offerings of raw meat, while the rituals making use of cooked meat have been termed theoxenia, a distinction I find useful, since it makes us aware of possible distinctions between raw and cooked meat.51

Fig. 4. Two women fluffing the pillows of a two-headed couch.

Fig. 4. Two women fluffing the pillows of a two-headed couch.

Athenian black-figure cup, ca 510 BC, R.A. Hearst collection, Hillsborough (California).

After Raubitschek (1969), p. 49, fig. 12e.

  • 52 Jameson (1994), p. 39; Ekroth (2002), p. 266-268.
  • 53 A tholos and three couches were put up in the agora at Magnesia on the Maiandros in connection with (...)

24There is no evidence for the god being invited to partake of the raw trapezomata offerings, while the actual invitation seems to have been an essential part of theoxenia.52 Theoxenia is also more elaborate, as it can make use not only of the table, but also the couch or throne, and in some instances the ceremony took place in a particular structure, permanent or raised for a certain occasion.53

25Since both trapezomata and theoxenia made use of meat, they must presumably have been performed in connection with thysia sacrifice, though it is possible that the rituals could have been acted out with meat brought from elsewhere, for example a leg from an animal killed at a hunt or at home, or even bought in the market. At what point during a sacrifice the trapezomata were placed on the table, we do not know, but it seems likely that they were present on the table near the altar while the actions centring on the altar took place, that is, the burning of the god’s portion and the grilling of the splanchna. The display of the meat must have been a central feature of trapezomata. As theoxenia involved cooked meat, this ritual cannot have been executed at the same time as the burning of the god’s portion on the altar and the grilling of the splanchna. Theoxenia were rather performed away from the altar, perhaps at a later stage, even perhaps at the same time as the worshippers consumed their meat.

  • 54 Puttkammer (1912); Gill (1991), p. 15-19; Le Guen-Pollet (1991); Dignas (2002), p. 248-250, 257-259 (...)
  • 55 It is also interesting to note that there seem to be no certain representations of trapezomata bein (...)

26Finally, we have the question of what happened with the offerings after the conclusion of the ritual. A number of inscriptions state that the priest was entitled to take the meat from the trapezomata table, and considering the detail of many of these documents it was apparently of great importance to regulate both what was to be taken and by whom.54 The fate of the theoxenia offerings, on the other hand, is virtually unknown. Presumably someone would eat them, perhaps the priest, but there was no need to regulate what was to be done with this meat in the sacred laws or sacrificial calendars.55

Meat, kings and banquets

27When trying to understand what may have lain behind the adoption of trapezomata and theoxenia as important components of Greek cult practice and the development of a more elaborate ritual in which the god was offered meat and perceived and treated as a guest of honour, it may be helpful to locate these actions within a wider context geographically, socially and historically. Two features may be of particular relevance for the understanding of this process, the use of meat gifts as a means for honouring men and the role of banquets in Archaic society.

  • 56 Iliad VII, 161 (Aias); Iliad XII, 311 (Sarpedon and Glaukos); cf. Donlan (1998).

28If we turn back to Homer, we find that gifts of meat occur in several instances apart from the Eumaios scene, and that the bestowing of honours by meat is indeed a recurrent motif. All the recipients of these choice sections of meat are kings, important guests or prominent individuals who are honoured with these gifts. After his splendid performance on the battlefield, Agamemnon honours Aias with the entire back of a slaughtered ox (Iliad VII, 315). When Telemachos visits Sparta, Menelaos takes the juicy back of the ox, by which he has been honoured as king, and gives it to Telemachos and Peisistratos (Odyssey IV, 65). Here we can also add the chine of the pig given to Odysseus by Eumaios (Odyssey XIV, 437-438). To be given a good seat, plenty of meat and an abundance of wine are remarked upon by the Homeric princes as being the three important criteria for marking the prominence of an individual.56 The notion of selecting and honouring someone by awarding choice portions of meat is therefore an established part of a system, serving to designate one’s particular status.

Fig. 5. Man preparing theoxenia for the Dioskouroi.

Fig. 5. Man preparing theoxenia for the Dioskouroi.

Athenian black-figure olpe, ca 500-490 BC, Kiel, Antikensammlung B 702.

© Kiel, Antikensammlung.

  • 57 Finley (1977), p. 137; Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 369-371. For the central importance of meat as p (...)
  • 58 See Ekroth (2008a), p. 104; Nagy (1990), p. 137-138; cf. Rundin (1996), suggesting that redistribut (...)
  • 59 For the particular character of meat gifts for the gods, see Ekroth (2008b), p. 264-267; Le Guen-Po (...)

29The expression that Homeric heroes are “honoured as gods”, it has been suggested, indicates that basileis received gifts of a kind similar to those offered to the gods.57 The question is whether the inverse process had taken place in the case of meat offered within cult. The honorary shares given to high status mortals may actually have been the origin and source of inspiration for trapezomata and theoxenia in the cult of the gods. To offer someone meat could be a practice that initially derives from the world of men, and which at some stage was transferred to the divine sphere.58 By analogy with the meat given to Menelaos, Aias or Odysseus, gods too would receive choice portions of meat and thus come to be included within the same system of honours of which men were part. After all, trapezomata and theoxenia make use of something that clearly belongs to the world of men, meat, which is presented to the divine recipient as raw or cooked, but not as burnt. Indeed, the practice of giving the gods meat is a behaviour which seems more fitting for mortals than immortals, and the choice of what parts to give to the gods reflect human culinary notions most of all, as the sections offered usually were both the best meat and of substantial size.59

Fig. 6. Boy handing seated man leg of meat.

Fig. 6. Boy handing seated man leg of meat.

Athenian red-figure cup by Makron, ca 500-475 BC, London, British Museum E 62 (1843.11-3.44).

© The Trustees of the British Museum.

  • 60 On banquets, see Schmitt Pantel (1997), p. 17-113; Murray (1990); Fehr (1971); Dentzer (1982), p. 4 (...)
  • 61 Fehr (1971); Wolf (1993); Schmitt Pantel (1997), p. 17-31; Topper (2009).

30Expression of status and honour by the bestowing of meat takes place within a dining context and the status of the recipient is manifested by the fact that he receives such an important share of meat, surpassing that of his fellow diners. The second feature which may have influenced the development of trapezomata and, in particular, theoxenia, is the prominent role of banquets and symposia in Greek society during the Archaic period, evident both from the written and iconographical record.60 The theme of the reclining banquet, usually taken as deriving from Near Eastern iconography, begins on Corinthian vase paintings in the late 7th century, becomes popular in Athenian black-figure in the latter half of the 6th century and continues into red-figure.61

Fig. 7. Ashurbanipal reclining in his garden.

Fig. 7. Ashurbanipal reclining in his garden.

Ashurbanipal reclining in his garden. Assyrian relief from the North Palace at Nineveh, ca 645 BC, London, British Museum, ME 124920.

© The Trustees of the British Museum.

  • 62 Fehr (1971), p. 53-106; Wolf (1993), p. 51-158.
  • 63 Dentzer (1982); Fehr (1971), p. 7-25, 107-127; Thönges-Stringaris (1965); Baughan (2011), p. 25-30.
  • 64 van Straten (1995), p. 58-100, 275-332; Baughan (2011), p. 37-41; Dentzer (1982), p. 10-11, 515-517 (...)
  • 65 Verbanck-Piérard (1992); Wolf (1993), p. 94-96. From the late 6th and early 5th century specific re (...)
  • 66 Cf. Bruit (1982), p. 20-21.
  • 67 The importance of banquets and feasting as a means of establishing, expressing and revealing social (...)

31The early Archaic scenes mainly render multiple banqueters, though from around 550 BC a single figure, usually a god or a hero, reclining at a table full of meat and drink, is a common motif on Athenian pottery.62 On reliefs, representations of banqueting appear in Asia Minor from around 530 BC and the motif, it has been suggested, is a continuation of the tradition manifested in the Assyrian 7th century relief from Nineveh, depicting king Ashurbanipal reclining in splendour (Fig. 7).63 In the Classical period, the Greek banqueting reliefs showing a reclining male at a table with food were used as votives, often demonstrating the cultic nature of the motif by the presence of worshippers, sacrificial victims and altars in the image (Fig. 8).64 The connection between vase motifs and actual rituals is less obvious, but the number of Archaic and Classical representations of Herakles or Dionysos reclining alone or together at a table laden with meat has been taken as a reflection of contemporary cult practices (Fig. 9).65 Considering the frequency of representations of banquets on both vases and reliefs, and the fact that the motif often represents divine figures, it is tempting to link the popularity of the banquet motif and theoxenia as a ritual action.66 Possibly the banquets for divinities visualize ritual practices that were already common within cult. At the same time, as the banquet served as an arena for demonstrating status and manifesting social hierarchies, especially through gifts of meat (as is evident in Homer), it may have been particularly suitable for representing man’s relation to the gods and thereby encouraged the use of meat offerings in the cult of the gods.67

Fig. 8. Reclining hero approached by worshippers leading animal victim.

Fig. 8. Reclining hero approached by worshippers leading animal victim.

Greek votive relief, 4th century BC, Musée royal de Mariemont B 149.

© Musée royal de Mariemont (Morlanwelz, Belgique).

  • 68 Delaporte (1936), p. 259, 261-262; Haas (1994), p. 640-642, 669, 673. For sacrificial tables, see M (...)
  • 69 Oppenheim (1964), p. 187-193; Joannès (2001), p. 601-603, s.v. ‘offrandes’, p. 717-718, s.v. ‘repas (...)
  • 70 Oppenheim (1964), p. 189; McEwan (1983); Maul (2008), p. 83-84; Joannès (2001), p. 602, s.v. ‘offra (...)
  • 71 Burkert (1992), p. 46-53; West (1997), p. 33-60; Ekroth (2009), p. 146-149. On Mesopotamian ideas a (...)

32The notion of honouring the gods by offering them meat may have been taken over from the practice of honouring men by meat gifts, but the importance of the meal as a religious ritual could also have been influenced from elsewhere. As the banquet motif was introduced from the Near East to Greece in the Archaic period, it may be possible that the religious role of banquets and food offerings within the cultic sphere of the East were to some extent transmitted along with the iconography. To offer the gods meals was a fundamental practice in Hittite religion, where the food, including cooked meat, was placed on the altar or a portable sacrificial table before the deity.68 In Mesopotamia, an essential part of the daily cult was the presentation of meals on a table to the divine image in the temple in a manner and style suitable for a king.69 To supply the god’s table with food from the entire kingdom indicated the power of the god over the world, and it was the king’s responsibility to provide this food. Interestingly, the food not “consumed” by the deity was given back to the king, for whom the reception of these “leftovers” was considered a recognition of his royal status, or to important officials within the palace and administration, priests and temple personnel.70 The king was thus both the provider of the food for the gods and the distributor of the leftovers to his subjects. A number of ritual features were introduced to Greece from the Near East in the Archaic period, for example techniques of divination.71 Possibly the adoption of the banquet motif into Greek art and its popularity for representing gods and heroes reflect the embracing of the banquet as a cultic means for honouring such divine figures as well.

A possible origin for trapezomata

33The discussion in the previous section concerned offerings of cooked meat within a context of banquets and meals, that is, practices that were part of theoxenia. To a certain extent meat offerings for prestigious mortals and dinner tables for Mesopotamian gods may have been the origin also of the trapezomata, as the parts used here often consisted of large sections of the best meat that were presented on a sacred table, hiera trapeza. Still, at trapezomata the meat was usually raw. Furthermore, this ritual seems to lack features evoking a banquet, such as the invitation of the deity, the couch or throne and presence of other kinds of food and drink on the table (see above, Table 1). The trapezomata may therefore have a partly different origin than the theoxenia.

34The deposition of sections of raw meat apparently has no equivalence in Homer or Hesiod, as all the meat handled here is cooked. Offerings of raw meat could be a later development in the ritual handling of meat, even though the iconographical evidence suggests its existence in the early Archaic period, as is evident from the Boiotian amphora and the Cretan bronze plaques mentioned earlier (Fig. 2-3:a-d). The sections of meat represented here may be prey killed at hunts being dedicated to the appropriate divinity rather than meat from thysia sacrifices, but these images still suggest the offering of raw meat. Where does this practice come from?

  • 72 E.g. Iliad I, 459-461; II, 422-424; Odyssey III, 458; XIV, 427.
  • 73 The only post-Homeric instance is in Apollonios Rhodios, Argonautica III, 1033, who uses the term i (...)
  • 74 NGSL, p. 160, no. 3, l. 16-17; Lupu (2003); van Straten (1995), p. 127; Parker (1984).
  • 75 Ekroth (forthcoming a).

35It may be of interest here to consider the Homeric omothetein, the cutting out of raw meat from the sacrificial victim and placing it on top of the burning thighbones as part of the gods’ share of the victim.72 This practice seems no longer to be an established part of thysia sacrifice in the Archaic and Classical periods, when our evidence is more full.73 One possible later instance is the highly interesting regulation from the deme Phrearrhioi, dated to ca 300-250 BC, which speaks of meroi, maschalismata and hemikraira in connection with altars, parts taken to refer to thighbones, small pieces of meat, perhaps from the shoulder, and half the heads, and of which the meroi and maschalismata have been supposed to be a reference to a practice similar to omothetein.74 The inscription is unfortunately fragmentary and it is not evident if these parts were to be burnt on the altar, as usually claimed, or deposited unburnt as meat offerings to the gods or even priestly perquisites.75

  • 76 For the occasional burning of trapezomata, see Bruit Zaidman (2001), p. 42. Cf. the lex sacra from (...)
  • 77 In Homer, there are no holocausts or moirocausts (partial burning of the animal victims’ meat) apar (...)

36A tentative suggestion is that the Homeric practice of omothetein constituted the origin of offerings of raw meat. This action in fact means that meat which is raw, ômós, is cut out and given to the god, and more precisely, “deposited or placed raw” on top of the thighbones and then burnt in the fire for the gods to enjoy. If the cutting out and offering of the meat raw was the central component of omothetein, and not its subsequent burning, it would be possible that this practice actually developed into trapezomata at a later stage.76 Why there was a change from the burning of the god’s raw meat to the depositing of it on a table is, on the other hand, difficult, if not impossible, to divine.77

Fig. 9. Herakles reclining at table with hanging sections of meat.

Fig. 9. Herakles reclining at table with hanging sections of meat.

Athenian black-figure amphora by the Antimenes Group or the Painter of Toronto 305, late 6th century BC. Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe 1917.470.

© Museum für Kunst unde Gewerbe, Hamburg.

What did the gods receive?

  • 78 Joannès (2001), p. 601-603, s.v. ‘offrandes’, p. 717-718, s.v. ‘repas’; Maul (2008); Glassner (2009 (...)
  • 79 See Aristophanes, Birds, 1515-1520, 1523-1524; Plutus, 1120-1131. Cf. van Straten (1995), p. 132-13 (...)

37The second issue to address concerns what the Greek gods were thought to receive when they were offered meat. The first question to ask is if gods were imagined to eat the food they were given. This seems not to have been the case. Gods who really needed to eat are well known from other cultures, most of all Mesopotamia, where the creation myths even stipulate that the major gods created men in order for them to feed the gods, after the minor gods had revolted, as they felt exploited by the major gods.78 Greek gods apparently did not crave meat or any food in this sense, and the hungry gods we encounter in some comedies, who almost drool at the thought of juicy back legs or freshly grilled splanchna, cannot be taken as indications of the gods being thought of as consuming the meat at trapezomata and theoxenia, nor from thysia sacrifices.79

  • 80 Svenbro (2005).
  • 81 The terminology, in particular the verb (para)tithemi, is of central importance in this context, se (...)

38If meat offerings were not a means of feeding the gods, what would then have been their purpose? What was the distinction between offering the gods smoke from the altars and raw or cooked meat? It has been claimed that offerings had to be transformed into smoke for the gods to enjoy them, which certainly seems a plausible interpretation of why bones, fat and cakes were burnt at thysiai.80 However, as trapezomata and theoxenia were not burnt, but placed on a table, there existed a second manner of transferring the offerings to the divine sphere, namely depositing them.81

  • 82 For the importance of time in Greek religion, see Rudhardt (1970); (1981), p. 227-244; Mikalson (19 (...)
  • 83 On the gods enjoying the pleasure of the feast, see Motte, Pirenne-Delforge (2008).

39The answer to these questions may be found in the central concept of Greek cult, time, “honour”. This is what sacrifices were meant to achieve and this is what men actually offered the gods, no matter the ritual performed or the contents of the offerings.82 At a thysia, the gods were honoured by the smoke rising from the altars, while at trapezomata and theoxenia they were honoured by depositions of gifts of meat or entire meals and invitations to a banquet.83 As the gods were not thought of as actually eating the meat, what they received must have been the honour inherent in being the recipients of the prestigious meat offerings, and at theoxenia also being the guests of honour.

40The notion of trapezomata and theoxenia primarily being used as means for bestowing honours ties in well with the Homeric system of expressing time by gifts of meat, especially if we are to assume that the practice of honouring through meat, prevalent among kings and guests in epic, had been taken up within the religious system by the Archaic period. We may here imagine a chain of honour, a vertical perspective so to speak, where status is defined by the offerings received, in this case meat. The greater one’s importance, the greater the share of meat and its quality. With the introduction of trapezomata and theoxenia, the gods too came to be introduced into this chain of honour, but at the top level, and the Homeric concept of honour as conferred by meat was extended to include the gods as well.

Priests and meat

  • 84 For the priestly shares, see Le Guen-Pollet (1991); Ekroth (2008b); Tsoukala (2009), p. 6-10.
  • 85 Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 369-372. Hitch (2009) argues that Agamemnon’s authority in the Iliad is (...)
  • 86 Carlier (1984), p. 256-266, 329-337, 353-359, 487-488; Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 372-374. The Ath (...)

41The role of the priest in this exchange of meat is of particular interest. At sacrifices in the Classical period and later, the priest would usually have been given a part of the animal victim as payment for his services, often the skin and, when it comes to meat, the back leg.84 The priest would be the principal recipient of sacrificial meat, even though choice portions could also be distributed to certain participants at the meal which followed. When the practice of giving priests particular sections from the sacrificial victim began, we do not know. In Homer, there are no indications of priests receiving meat after sacrifices, nor any other kind of compensation. Priests are rarely mentioned in the epics, and their function and role are to a large extent taken by the ruling nobility, which performs the religious duties and receives the prerogatives.85 In later periods, basileis with real political power, as in Sparta, or with primarily ritual functions, such as the archon basileus in Athens, were important agents in connection with sacrifices.86

  • 87 Dignas (2002), p. 248-250, 257-259; Jameson (1994); see also Pirenne-Delforge (2010), p. 134-135, f (...)

42It is possible that the role of the priest, and especially his right to receive meat at sacrifices, constitutes a development of the Archaic period. Judging by Homer, the king seems to have preceded the priest both in his role of executing sacrifices and receiving the benefits from them. If this was the case, the habit of giving choice portions of meat to the king, as part of his share to indicate his status, was only at a later stage transferred to the priests, when the power of the kings had waned. In the Classical period, the epigraphical evidence makes clear that the priest’s share could be deposited on the god’s table and that the priest was often entitled to the god’s portions of meat as well. Both Dignas and Jameson have seen this merging of the priestly and divine shares of meat as a way of protecting and dignifying the priestly rewards.87 The priest may at this stage have been regarded as a representative of the god to a higher degree than previously, and by offering him particular sections of the animal victim, even including the god’s share, his status, prestige and importance were enhanced.

  • 88 Odyssey VIII, 474-478; IV, 65. See also Donlan (1998), p. 60, on meat distribution in Homer as a me (...)
  • 89 Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 15, 4; Carlier (1984), p. 267.

43The priest was free to distribute his meat as gifts or even to sell it. This meat can be seen as a part of the chain of honour as well, further increasing the nuances of the interaction, not only between divinities and humans, but also among men of various status and position, such as priests, other religious functionaries and ordinary worshippers, who may then honour someone else in his turn by passing the meat on. In Homer, Odysseus gives part of the chine to the singer Demodokos, while Menelaos uses his royal prerogatives of meat to honour Telemachos and Peisistratos.88 The same concept is actually found in the historical period, when Xenophon explains that the Spartan kings are offered double shares of meat, dimoiria, not because they eat twice as much, but with the idea that they may choose to honour whom they wish by passing it on.89 The inclusion of the gods in this hierarchy makes it possible for them as well to transfer the meat they have received back to mortal worshippers, just as Menelaos offers meat to Telemachos and Peisistratos.

  • 90 Durand (1984); Tsoukala (2009).
  • 91 Cf. the interesting study by Jacquemin (2008) of how individuals residing outside the city or even (...)

44The use and importance of these honorary meat shares may also be reflected in Athenian vase-paintings which depict back legs of animals being carried, given away and received (Fig. 6).90 None of the persons in these images can with certainty be identified as a priest or a priestess, and it is possible that these scenes instead focus on the role of the gifts of meat outside the immediate sphere of sacrifice. The gifts of meat open up a complex system of divine-human interaction, while simultaneously establishing the status and hierarchy of each participant.91

Why was meat given?

  • 92 Ziehen (1939), col. 615-616; Meuli (1946), p. 218-219.

45Let us now turn to the final question posed initially, why meat was given to the gods. This is a complex issue, connected both to when these offerings began to be presented and how they were perceived. Ludwig Ziehen suggested that meat offerings and deposits of food might have been the original and ancient manner of worshipping the gods, older that animal sacrifice of the thysia kind, while Karl Meuli argued that offering of food was a practice imported from the cult of the dead and in particular hero-cults, where he thought that meals formed a prominent part of the ritual.92 These explanations cannot be substantiated if the ancient evidence is considered in a more comprehensive manner.

  • 93 The article is covered by Gill’s monograph from 1991. For the issue of origins, see p. 19-23.
  • 94 Bruit (1989), p. 17, 21; Jameson (1994), p. 53-57; Bruit-Zaidman (2005), p. 41-42; Ekroth (2008a).
  • 95 Vernant (1989).

46David Gill, in his seminal article from 1974, ‘Trapezomata: a neglected aspect of Greek sacrifice’, suggested that meat offerings were added to the thysia ritual, as the latter was considered to supply the gods with an all too meagre share of the animal victim.93 Following this assumption, a divine portion consisting of useless bones, some fat and the gall bladder would hardly correspond to a respectful way of honouring the gods. However, as Louise Bruit and Michael Jameson have pointed out, such a way of reasoning implies that thysia in the Classical period must have been considered an ineffective ritual that no longer worked in the desired manner and therefore had to be modified.94 There is, in fact, no evidence for such a reaction or attitude. Jean-Pierre Vernant’s interpretation of why the divine share consisted of burnt bones, namely to mark the immortality of the gods, demonstrates that we should be careful about applying our modern definitions of what is good/bad or important/unimportant to the ancient evidence, and that a literal interpretation of the information, that is, assuming that the division of the animal at a thysia sacrifice was considered unfair and that the gods were displeased, may lead us astray.95

47Bruit and Jameson have instead approached Greek sacrifice as a system with many components, thysia as well as offerings of meat, to which can be added actions such as holocausts, moirocausts and ou phora prescriptions. They point to the possibilities of using meat to modify the communication between gods and men at a sacrifice, and to increase the complexity of the ritual. We have to remember that in the Greek conception, the gods had once upon a time eaten meat and also done so in the company of men. The meat gifts can be seen as a way of bridging the gap created and marked by thysia sacrifice, a way of negotiating the divide though not crossing it entirely. The increasing importance of offerings of meat can be seen as step in a process of redefining the relations between immortals and mortals.

  • 96 This process is fully explored in Parker (1998).
  • 97 Parker (1998), p. 120-121; see also Seaford (1994), p. 7-10. On reciprocity serving to deny a relat (...)
  • 98 At theoxenia men invite gods, but there are instances where the divinity is the host, for example, (...)

48A central issue in the process of communication with the divine sphere is the notion of reciprocity, where sacrifice and votive offerings served as means for establishing a relationship with the gods where the worshipper may in the future ask for favours in return.96 In a sense, the connection immortals-mortals could be compared to the giving of gifts and counter-gifts among friends, and Robert Parker suggests that the language of this reciprocity hides the highly unequal relation between gods and men by assimilating it to that between humans and therefore making it more intelligible.97 If viewed from this perspective, the offerings of meat make perfect sense. The gifts of meat, in particular as part of an elaborate meal, where the god is invited and Dined and Wined, could have served as a manner of evoking a kind of xenia-relationship with the divinity.98 By making use of meat, the bond with the god may have been perceived as closer than at a thysia sacrifice, where the gods’ difference was underlined.

Concluding remarks

49Offerings of meat lead us into a different sphere of ritual behaviour and notions than does thysia sacrifice. At a thysia, the god is given something men cannot eat, bones, and the offerings are transferred to the divine realm by burning them and turning them into smoke, a procedure that completely removes them from the world of men. Gifts of meat are much more complex, since what is given can be eaten by humans and it is clear that this meat was usually consumed by the mortal participants at the end of the ritual. The meat offerings thus span a spectrum that truly encompasses gods and men together, as the same meat is handled by both immortals and mortals, creating a number of possible means for divine-human interaction. Meat gifts offers possibilities for defining the complex relations between gods and men to a larger extent that thysia, which firmly locates gods and men in their respective camps.

50Our sources allow us to trace meat offerings back to Homer and the practice seems to have become both more widespread and diversified in the Archaic and most of all Classical periods. The offerings of meat for the gods may have developed out of the honouring of kings and exceptional individuals with meat gifts. Their gradual increase in importance can be linked to the significance of banquets in Archaic society, as a means of expressing status and hierarchies through gift-exchange and xenia-practices, perhaps under the influence of Near Eastern ritual practices also centring on meals for the gods. As the gods were never imagined as actually eating the meat or needing it to satisfy hunger, the ideology or theology of meat offerings served to underline the fact that gods were distinct from men. Though the gods certainly enjoyed the social pleasure of the meal, both in the company of each other and of mortals, what they received was the honour, time, of being given meat and of being an invited guest of honour.

51The meat gifts also allude to the relation between gods and men in the distant past, when they still met and ate together, recalling the happy age before men’s various mistakes or attempts to trick the gods (most of them taking place in a dining context!) led to the gods distancing themselves from humans. The attitude towards the gods in the historical period clearly involves the assumption that change has taken place. If mortals and immortals were once close, this is no longer the case. The increasing importance of offerings of meat can be seen as one step in the process of redefining the relations between gods and men, creating a climate of reciprocity through sacrifice by evoking a context of xenia.

Notes

1 The literature on thysia is vast, see, e.g. Burkert (1983), p. 1-7; Burkert (1985), p. 54-59; Rudhardt (1992), p. 257-271; Detienne, Vernant (1989); Peirce (1993), p. 219-260; van Straten (1995); Gebauer (2002).

2 Ekroth (2002), p. 217-276; Ekroth (2008a), p. 88-93; Scullion (2000), p. 165.

3 Vernant (1981); (1989).

4 Offerings of food to the gods took a number of different forms, such as a range of bloodless gifts, either alone or in connection with animal sacrifice, offerings at meals for men, deipna or dinners for divinities such as Hekate, aparchai in connection with harvests and phenomena such as parasitoi, persons appointed to share the meal presented to the gods, see Nilsson (1967), p. 135; Gill (1991), p. 7-11; Jameson (1994), p. 37-39. I will here only deal with meat, as it has a particular connection to thysia lacking for other kinds of food offerings, as well as having a highly symbolic value, see Fiddes (1991).

5 The basic studies of these practices are Puttkammer (1912), p. 19-31; Gill (1974); (1991); Bruit (1984); (1989); (2001), p. 37-44; (2005); Jameson (1994); Ekroth (2002), p. 136-140, 177-179, 276-286; Bettinetti (2001), p. 211-231.

6 On theoxenia as visible in the osteological record, see Ekroth (forthcoming a and b). Possible instances can be found at the sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia in the Archaic and Classical periods, see Gebhard, Reese (2005), p. 144 and 149-152, Table 1, and the early Archaic Altar U at the Greek sanctuary at Kommos, see Reese, Rose, Ruscillo (2000), p. 422, Table 6.1, 441, Table 6.2, and pl. 6.3-6.4.

7 Hesiod fr. 1 (ed. Merkelbach-West) represents gods and men eating and socializing. At the fringes of the known world, gods can behave in a different fashion. The Phaeacians proudly state that when they offer hecatombs, the gods are always present and visible, partake of the meal and even sit together with everybody else, Odyssey IV, 200-203; see also Poseidon’s visits to the Ethiopians where he seems to be eating meat, Odyssey I, 22-26. For gods feasting with mortals, see also Bruit (1989), p. 13-17; Motte, Pirenne-Delforge (2008), p. 85-92.

8 Ekroth (2008a), p. 96-102.

9 Hesiod, Theogony, 535-557. On this episode as the instigation of thysia, see Rudhardt (1970).

10 Apollodoros, Bibliotheca III, 8, 1: in the story of Lykaon the child is slaughtered and his splanchna are mixed with the sacrificial victims (tois hierois); cf. Nikolaos of Damascus, FGrHist 90 F 38; scholia to Ps.-Lykophron, Alexandra 481 (ed. Scheer). In Pindar’s description of the gods’ dinner with Tantalos, there is no indication of a sacrifice preceding the event, Olympian Odes I, 38-39.

11 This important distinction was brought out by Rudhardt (1970).

12 Iliad I, 458-467; II, 421-429; Odyssey III, 447-463; cf. Kirk (1981), p. 62-68. For a thorough treatment of sacrifice in the Iliad, see Hitch (2009). There is no mention of burning the osphys in the Iliad or the Odyssey, a part which was important at thysia in the Archaic and Classical period, cf. Ekroth (2009).

13 Hesiod, Theogony, 540, 555, 557; Works and days, 337.

14 The osphys is not found in the earliest altar deposits, see Ekroth (2009).

15 Forstenpointner, Weissengruber (2008); Reese, Rose, Ruscillo (2000); Studer, Chenal-Velarde (2003). For a comprehensive discussion of the osteological remains of burnt animal sacrifice, see Ekroth (2009).

16 Isaakidou et al. (2002); Halstead, Isaakidou (2004). Selection of certain bones can also be demonstrated in a number of Aegean Bronze Age contexts and even the Neolithic period, see Isaakidou, Halstead (forthcoming).

17 For possible cases of osteologically attested meat offerings, see above, n. 6.

18 Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 280-281, 292-293; Gill (1991), p. 31-35; inside the 8th-century temple of Apollo at Dreros was found a stone tray which may have served as an offering table (p. 21-22, 32-33, no. 2). The first temple at Iria on Naxos (ca 800 BC) may have had a wooden table (for offerings?) inside, see Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 190.

19 On early altars and the difficulties of distinguishing them from regular hearths, see
Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 279-280, 287-290.

20 Odyssey XIV, 426-429: τοὶ δ᾽ ἔσφαξάν τε καὶ εὗσαν,| αἶψα δέ μιν διέχευαν· δ᾽ ὠμοθετεῖτο συβώτης,| πάντων ἀρχόμενος μελέων, ἐς πίονα δημόν.| καὶ τὰ μὲν ἐν πυρὶ βάλλε, παλύνας ἀλφίτου ἀκτῇ.

21 Odyssey XIV, 434-436: καὶ τὰ μὲν ἕπταχα πάντα διεμμοιρᾶτο δαΐζων·| τὴν μὲν ἴαν Νύμφῃσι καὶ Ἑρμῇ, Μαιάδος υἷι,/ θῆκεν ἐπευξάμενος,

22 Odyssey XIV, 436-438: τὰς δ᾽ ἄλλας νεῖμεν ἑκάστῳ·| νώτοισιν δ᾽ Ὀδυσῆα διηνεκέεσσι γέραιρεν| ἀργιόδοντος ὑός, κύδαινε δὲ θυμὸν ἄνακτος.

23 Odyssey XIV, 446-448: ῥα, καὶ ἄργματα θῦσε θεοῖσ᾽ αἰειγενέτῃσι,| σπείσας δ᾽ αἴθοπα οἶνον Ὀδυσσῆϊ πτολιπόρθῳ| ἐν χείρεσσιν ἔθηκεν.

24 Petropoulou (1987), p. 138-140. The meaning of argmata has been disputed. Casabona (1966), p. 70, 122, and Jameson (1994), p. 38-39 find that they represent the portion for the Nymphs and Hermes which is burnt, while Kadletz (1984), p. 103 interprets the argmata as a libation, a suggestion which seems implausible.

25 Kadletz (1984), p. 103; Petropoulou (1987), p. 142-143; Gill (1991), p. 12; Bruit (2005), p. 39; Jaillard (2007), p. 116, n. 92-93. In the Classical period, the verb paratithemi is generally used.

26 Iliad I, 459-461; II, 422-424; Odyssey III, 458.

27 Iliad IX, 220.

28 Iliad VII, 315; Odyssey IV, 65; VIII, 474-478.

29 Rudhardt (1992), p. 255.

30 For a more diversified view of “sacrificed” meat in relation to “sacred” meat, see Ekroth (2007). The fact that Eumaios is not performing a thysia may be given different explanations. Possibly thysiai were not executed in domestic settings, but the course of the ritual may depend on the fact that the victim is a pig. The osteological evidence reveals very few instances of pig’s bones being burnt as a part of the god’s share and pigs may therefore have been sacrificed according to a different ritual, see Ekroth (2009).

31 Gill (1974), (1991); Jameson (1994); Bruit (1984); (1989); Bruit Zaidman (2001), (2005).

32 Kahn (1978), p. 41-73; Strauss-Clay (1987); Burkert (1988); Jaillard (2007), p. 104-118.

33 The verb used for the placing the honorary share, teleon geras, for each of the gods is prosetheken.

34 Jaillard (2007), p. 114-118.

35 Pindar, Paean VI, 60-61; Nemean Odes VII, 44-48, concerning the Delphian Theoxenia festival; Olympian Odes III, 40, for the Dioskouroi; see further Bruit (1984), p. 358-361; Schmitt Pantel (1997), p. 39-42; Nagy (1999), p. 59-60, 123-127. For Pelops at Olympia, see Pindar, Olympian Odes I, 90-93. The theoxenia for Pelops may have been housed in a tetrastylon at the foot of the prehistoric mound within the Pelopion; Ekroth (2002), p. 178, 190-192; Ekroth (forthcoming c). Also Pindar, Pythian Odes V, 85-86 can be taken as a reference to theoxenia for the Antenoridai at Kyrene, see Ekroth (2002), p. 177.

36 Jameson (1994), p. 39 and n. 17.

37 For non-ritual explanation of this passage, see Topper (2009), p. 8-9.

38 Chionides, fr. 7 (PCG IV, ap. Athenaios, IV, 137e); cf. Jameson 1994, p. 46-47.

39 NGSL, p. 197, no. 6, fr. 14, l. 3 and commentary p. 204.

40 Gill (1991), p. 39, no. 9; Hoffelner (1996), p. 40-43.

41 Athens NM 5893 (220), L. Kahil. s.v. ‘Artemis’, LIMC II (1984), no. 21.

42 Lebessi (1985), p. 128-136, for example, A 9, A 10, A 37, A 47, A 50, A 56, pl. 3, 6, 22, 29, 30, 32, 47-50.

43 R.A. Hearst collection, Hillsborough (California), ca 510 BC; Raubitschek (1969), p. 46-49, fig. 12a-f; ThesCRA II, p. 229, no. 77.

44 Kiel, Antikensammlung B 702, ca 500-490 BC; CVA Kiel, Kunsthalle, Antikensammlung 1, Taf. 17:3-4 (Deutschland 55, Taf. 2682); ThesCRA II, 229, no. 74.

45 On the iconographical representation of theoxenia, see also Lissarrague (2008).

46 On choice portions, see Le Guen-Pollet (1991); Ekroth (2008b). For the representations of back legs, see Durand (1984); Tsoukala (2009).

47 Lévi-Strauss 1990, p. 471-495; Segal (1974); Vidal-Naquet (1986), p. 106-128; Vernant (1989); Detienne (1994), p. 12-14.

48 For epigraphical mentions and preserved tables, see Gill (1991). On these tables non-bloody offerings could also be placed.

49 The evidence is fully explored by Jameson (1994), who emphasizes (p. 39) that it is the preparation of the couch that most clearly signals hospitality for the divine guests.

50 On the terminology, see Gill (1991), p. 10-15; Jameson (1994), p. 36-37; Ekroth (2002), p. 136-140.

51 For the distinction between offerings of raw and cooked meat, see Jameson (1994), esp. p. 56 and n. 83; Gill (1991), p. 11-15. In some cases the sources only mention a trapeza, which does not allow us to ascertain if the meat was raw or cooked, see Jameson (1994), p. 39-41. If splanchna were put on the table, the meat is likely to have been cooked as well.

52 Jameson (1994), p. 39; Ekroth (2002), p. 266-268.

53 A tholos and three couches were put up in the agora at Magnesia on the Maiandros in connection with the sacrifices to Zeus Sosipolis, presumably to the Twelve Gods, see LSAM 32, l. 8, 43-44; Jameson (1994), p. 41-42. At Olympia, the archaeological remains suggest that the earliest phase of the Pelopion consisted of a tetrastylon to be used for the theoxenia for the hero, see Ekroth (forthcoming c).

54 Puttkammer (1912); Gill (1991), p. 15-19; Le Guen-Pollet (1991); Dignas (2002), p. 248-250, 257-259; Dimitrova (2008).

55 It is also interesting to note that there seem to be no certain representations of trapezomata being performed. A number of vase-paintings show meat on tables, but the iconographical scheme used is the same as for regular banqueting scenes, and the meat must therefore be interpreted as cooked, see Fehr (1971), p. 29, 38, 54, 57, 63; Wolf (1993), p. 93-96, 112-117. Theoxenia is far from a common motif, but there are clear representations of this ritual from the late 6th century BC on vase-paintings (see my Fig. 4-5), and later also on votive reliefs, as well as a few lead or terracotta miniatures, see Lissarrague (2008); Krumme (2006); Dentzer (1982), p. 453-527; ThesCRA II, p. 225-229.

56 Iliad VII, 161 (Aias); Iliad XII, 311 (Sarpedon and Glaukos); cf. Donlan (1998).

57 Finley (1977), p. 137; Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 369-371. For the central importance of meat as part of the geras of Homeric kings, see also Carlier (1984), p. 151-157.

58 See Ekroth (2008a), p. 104; Nagy (1990), p. 137-138; cf. Rundin (1996), suggesting that redistribution among humans was so fundamental for the Greeks that it was mapped onto the divine world. Bruit (1989), p. 20-21, argues that there is a connection between theoxenia, which is modelled on human behaviour, and the xenia-culture of aristocratic society in the 6th and 5th centuries BC.

59 For the particular character of meat gifts for the gods, see Ekroth (2008b), p. 264-267; Le Guen-Pollet (1991).

60 On banquets, see Schmitt Pantel (1997), p. 17-113; Murray (1990); Fehr (1971); Dentzer (1982), p. 429-452; Lissarrague (1987).

61 Fehr (1971); Wolf (1993); Schmitt Pantel (1997), p. 17-31; Topper (2009).

62 Fehr (1971), p. 53-106; Wolf (1993), p. 51-158.

63 Dentzer (1982); Fehr (1971), p. 7-25, 107-127; Thönges-Stringaris (1965); Baughan (2011), p. 25-30.

64 van Straten (1995), p. 58-100, 275-332; Baughan (2011), p. 37-41; Dentzer (1982), p. 10-11, 515-517, 526-527, who suggests that the choice of motif may have been inspired by a cult where food offerings were important. The banqueting reliefs do not appear to show any meat on the tables, though the promise of meat gifts is alluded to by the presence of an animal victim, see Ekroth (2002), p. 282-284.

65 Verbanck-Piérard (1992); Wolf (1993), p. 94-96. From the late 6th and early 5th century specific representations of theoxenia also begin to appear in Greek vase-painting, see ThesCRA II, p. 228-229, no. 74-77; Lissarrague (2008); and my Fig. 4 and 5.

66 Cf. Bruit (1982), p. 20-21.

67 The importance of banquets and feasting as a means of establishing, expressing and revealing social, ritual and political relationships has recently been explored in a number of studies, see, for example, Dietler, Hayden (2001); Hamilakis (2008).

68 Delaporte (1936), p. 259, 261-262; Haas (1994), p. 640-642, 669, 673. For sacrificial tables, see Mouton (2004), no. 5, 14, 15; Mouton (2007), p. 88-89.

69 Oppenheim (1964), p. 187-193; Joannès (2001), p. 601-603, s.v. ‘offrandes’, p. 717-718, s.v. ‘repas’; Joannès (2000), p. 335; Maul (2008); Glassner (2009).

70 Oppenheim (1964), p. 189; McEwan (1983); Maul (2008), p. 83-84; Joannès (2001), p. 602, s.v. ‘offrandes’; p. 718, s.v. ‘repas’; Haas (1994), p. 673. Among the Hittites too the divine food was consumed by the human worshippers at the end of the ceremony, see Mouton (2007), p. 89-90.

71 Burkert (1992), p. 46-53; West (1997), p. 33-60; Ekroth (2009), p. 146-149. On Mesopotamian ideas and concepts as taken over and assimilated into Greek religious mythology, see Penglase 1994. See also Kistler (1998), p. 54, 78-146 for the suggestion that the rituals of the Archaic Athenian Opferrinnen were inspired by Near Eastern banqueting practices.

72 E.g. Iliad I, 459-461; II, 422-424; Odyssey III, 458; XIV, 427.

73 The only post-Homeric instance is in Apollonios Rhodios, Argonautica III, 1033, who uses the term in a description of a sacrifice, presumably as an “archaizing” feature.

74 NGSL, p. 160, no. 3, l. 16-17; Lupu (2003); van Straten (1995), p. 127; Parker (1984).

75 Ekroth (forthcoming a).

76 For the occasional burning of trapezomata, see Bruit Zaidman (2001), p. 42. Cf. the lex sacra from Selinous, where the leg of a ram sacrificed to Zeus Meilichios is burnt together with meat portions taken from a table, see Jameson, Jordan, Kotansky (1993), p. 14, l. A 19-20, and commentary p. 38-39, 64.

77 In Homer, there are no holocausts or moirocausts (partial burning of the animal victims’ meat) apart from the very particular and unique ritual described in the Nekyia, where Odysseus visits the Underworld (Odyssey X, 517-542; XI, 23-50), and which seems to be a literary construction with little connection to cultic reality, see Ekroth (2002), p. 62-74.

78 Joannès (2001), p. 601-603, s.v. ‘offrandes’, p. 717-718, s.v. ‘repas’; Maul (2008); Glassner (2009).

79 See Aristophanes, Birds, 1515-1520, 1523-1524; Plutus, 1120-1131. Cf. van Straten (1995), p. 132-133. Pausanias (IX, 19, 5) tells a story of the sanctuary of Demeter Mykalessia where fruits of the autumn were deposited at the statue of the goddess and remained fresh for the entire year.

80 Svenbro (2005).

81 The terminology, in particular the verb (para)tithemi, is of central importance in this context, see Petropoulou (1987), p. 142-143; Gill (1991), p. 12; Jaillard (2007), p. 116, n. 92-93; Bruit Zaidman (2005), p. 39.

82 For the importance of time in Greek religion, see Rudhardt (1970); (1981), p. 227-244; Mikalson (1991), p. 183-202; Nagy (1999) p. 118 and n. 2, 149-152, 215-218; Parker (1998), p. 121-122; cf. Plato, Euthyphro 14d-15b.

83 On the gods enjoying the pleasure of the feast, see Motte, Pirenne-Delforge (2008).

84 For the priestly shares, see Le Guen-Pollet (1991); Ekroth (2008b); Tsoukala (2009), p. 6-10.

85 Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 369-372. Hitch (2009) argues that Agamemnon’s authority in the Iliad is based on his prominence as Opferherr; on priests in Homer, see esp. p. 35-37, 168-169; Carlier (1984), p. 162-165.

86 Carlier (1984), p. 256-266, 329-337, 353-359, 487-488; Mazarakis Ainian (1997), p. 372-374. The Athenian phylobasileis were even given meat from the back of sacrificial victims, the same part used in Homer as honorary gifts, LSS 10, l. A 40-41 (403-400 BC).

87 Dignas (2002), p. 248-250, 257-259; Jameson (1994); see also Pirenne-Delforge (2010), p. 134-135, for the interesting suggestion that the priest was a mediator between gods and men, through the handling of the meat. Here it is possible to suggest an influence from the Mesopotamian rituals of meals offered to the gods, where the food was first given to the deity and then returned and distributed among the worshippers starting with the king, the priests, and important officials of the palace, see above, n. 70.

88 Odyssey VIII, 474-478; IV, 65. See also Donlan (1998), p. 60, on meat distribution in Homer as a means of building up one’s renown, good will and influence.

89 Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 15, 4; Carlier (1984), p. 267.

90 Durand (1984); Tsoukala (2009).

91 Cf. the interesting study by Jacquemin (2008) of how individuals residing outside the city or even outside the city’s territory could be honoured by having choice portions from a sacrifice sent to them. Whether this meat would be salted before being sent or sold and replaced with money, is not known.

92 Ziehen (1939), col. 615-616; Meuli (1946), p. 218-219.

93 The article is covered by Gill’s monograph from 1991. For the issue of origins, see p. 19-23.

94 Bruit (1989), p. 17, 21; Jameson (1994), p. 53-57; Bruit-Zaidman (2005), p. 41-42; Ekroth (2008a).

95 Vernant (1989).

96 This process is fully explored in Parker (1998).

97 Parker (1998), p. 120-121; see also Seaford (1994), p. 7-10. On reciprocity serving to deny a relation of power, see also van Wees (1998), esp. p. 47.

98 At theoxenia men invite gods, but there are instances where the divinity is the host, for example, at Delphi, where Apollo invites the heroes and the most deserving among mortals, see Bruit (1984), p. 358-361. On the exchange of gifts, sacrifice and sharing of meat for the creation of xenia, see Seaford (1994), p. 7-10, 13-16, 50-53; Schmitt Pantel (1997), p. 54-57.

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1a.
Légende Marble offering table from Aigina bearing an inscription dated to around 475 BC.
Crédits After Hoffelner (1996), p. 41-42, fig. 28.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,4M
Titre Fig. 1b.
Légende Marble offering table from Aigina bearing an inscription dated to around 475 BC.
Crédits After Hoffelner (1996), p. 41-42, fig. 29.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 412k
Titre Fig. 2. Boiotian Subgeometric amphora, ca 680 BC.
Légende Athens, National Museum 5893 (220).
Crédits © Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism/Archaeological Receipts Fund.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 40k
Titre Fig. 3a-d. Bronze plaques from the sanctuary at Kato Syme Viannou, Crete, early 7th and 6th century BC
Crédits After Lebessi (1985), pl. 47 (A 56), pl. 48 (A 10), pl. 49, (A 50) and pl. 50 (A 9).
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,5M
Titre Fig. 4. Two women fluffing the pillows of a two-headed couch.
Légende Athenian black-figure cup, ca 510 BC, R.A. Hearst collection, Hillsborough (California).
Crédits After Raubitschek (1969), p. 49, fig. 12e.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 708k
Titre Fig. 5. Man preparing theoxenia for the Dioskouroi.
Légende Athenian black-figure olpe, ca 500-490 BC, Kiel, Antikensammlung B 702.
Crédits © Kiel, Antikensammlung.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 244k
Titre Fig. 6. Boy handing seated man leg of meat.
Légende Athenian red-figure cup by Makron, ca 500-475 BC, London, British Museum E 62 (1843.11-3.44).
Crédits © The Trustees of the British Museum.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 68k
Titre Fig. 7. Ashurbanipal reclining in his garden.
Légende Ashurbanipal reclining in his garden. Assyrian relief from the North Palace at Nineveh, ca 645 BC, London, British Museum, ME 124920.
Crédits © The Trustees of the British Museum.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 496k
Titre Fig. 8. Reclining hero approached by worshippers leading animal victim.
Légende Greek votive relief, 4th century BC, Musée royal de Mariemont B 149.
Crédits © Musée royal de Mariemont (Morlanwelz, Belgique).
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 420k
Titre Fig. 9. Herakles reclining at table with hanging sections of meat.
Légende Athenian black-figure amphora by the Antimenes Group or the Painter of Toronto 305, late 6th century BC. Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe 1917.470.
Crédits © Museum für Kunst unde Gewerbe, Hamburg.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/1677/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 610k

© Presses universitaires de Liège, 2011

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