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The Sacrificial Rituals of Greek Hero-Cults in the Archaic to the Early Hellenistic Period

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Gunnel Ekroth

Chapter IV. The ritual pattern

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1. The sacrificial rituals of Greek hero-cults

1This study has had two aims, first of all, to establish the sacrificial rituals of Greek hero-cults in the Archaic to the early Hellenistic periods and, secondly, to investigate how these rituals are to be explained and interpreted and what they can tell us about the place and function of the cult of heroes in Greek religion. The investigation has been focused on the epigraphical and literary evidence from the Archaic to early Hellenistic periods, both in defining the sacrifices to heroes and in relating them to the rituals of the gods and the ordinary dead. This chronological restriction has been considered as particularly important, since the notion that the sacrifices to heroes were distinct from the sacrifices to the gods is mainly based on Roman and Byzantine sources. The basic conclusion is that the prevalent notion of how sacrifices to heroes were performed in the Archaic to early Hellenistic periods is in need of substantial revisions.

Thysia followed by dining

2Contrary to the previous opinion, the most frequently performed ritual in hero-cults was animal sacrifice, at which the meat was kept and eaten by the worshippers. The terminology used for these sacrifices is thyein and thysia, as well as various terms referring to the honouring of heroes. In many cases, when dining is documented, particularly in the inscriptions, no specific term is given covering the actual sacrifice, indicating that thysia sacrifices were so universal that there was no need for any particular elaboration.

3The fact that the meat was not destroyed, but kept and eaten, is clear from the direct evidence for the actual handling and division of the meat, dining facilities and references to eating. There is also a number of cases, mainly epigraphical but also literary, in which it can be argued from the contexts in which the sacrifices are found, that dining must have formed a part of the ritual. Considering the direct and circumstantial evidence for thysia sacrifices followed by collective dining in hero-cults, it seems safe to conclude that, when no particular details are given as to how the sacrifices were performed or in what context the sacrifices took place, the ritual was centred on the consumption of the meat from the animal victims. Furthermore, if the political, social and nutritional importance of thysia in Greek society is taken into consideration, it seems inconceivable that hero-sacrifices, which made up a substantial part of all sacrifices made among the Greeks, should have consisted of any other kind of ritual than sacrifices at which the worshippers consumed the meat.

4Thysia followed by dining was the main ritual of hero-cults, just as in the cult of the gods. As divinities, the heroes occupied a similar place in the Greek religious system as the gods. This is clear, in particular, from the importance of the heroes in the sacrificial calendars as regards absolute numbers but also from the fact that they in many cases could receive just as expensive victims as the gods or even more costly animals. If compared with the ordinary dead and mortal, living men, the heroes were treated like the gods.

5Considering the frequency of thysia sacrifices in hero-cults, the view of the rituals of heroes as resembling or preserving an older version of the cult of the dead can be seriously questioned. The ordinary dead may, in earlier periods, have received animal victims, and occasionally did so, even in the Archaic and Classical periods. It seems unlikely, however, that these animals were sacrificed as at a thysia, since the treatment of the sacrificial animal at this kind of ritual (division, burning and consumption of specific parts) aimed at demonstrating the divine character of the recipient and distinguishing him from the mortal worshipper.

1.2. Theoxenia

6Theoxenia rituals rarely seem to have been the main ritual performed to a hero, apart from those on the private level, in which the presentation of a table with gifts could be a less expensive alternative to thysia, a fact which is evident from the large number of reliefs showing such sacrifices. In the official cult, this kind of ritual often functioned as a means of substantiating a thysia, either by giving the same recipient an animal victim and theoxenia or by presenting the less important recipient, often a heroine, with a table with offerings, trapeza, while an animal sacrifice was performed to another, major hero. The idea of inviting and entertaining the hero was of central importance, presumably aiming at bringing the hero closer to the worshippers than was the case at a thysia, which in its structure underlined the distinctions between divinities and mortals. The closeness and presence of the hero may have been particularly desired on the private level, but also in state cults, as is clear from the existence of a Heroxeinia festival on Thasos and the use of the blood of the animal victims for inviting the hero at some public sacrifices. Even if food offerings were given to the dead, especially in connection with the burial, it is doubtful whether theoxenia are to be taken as indications of the connections between hero-cults and the cult of the dead, since the departed were not invited and entertained as heroes and gods receiving theoxenia. The widespread use of the ritual for the gods and the many similarities in its application to both heroes and gods suggests that theoxenia originated in the cult of the gods rather than in the rituals performed to the dead.

1.3. Blood rituals

7Blood rituals performed in hero-cults have their own particular and varied terminology, often referring to the technical aspects of killing and bleeding the victim: haimakouriai, entemnein, sphagai, protoma and phonai. Blood rituals are documented only in a few cases and were performed as the initial part of thysia sacrifices centred on ritual dining. At regular thysiai, both to heroes and to gods, the blood seems to have been kept and eaten, but at a small number of sacrifices to heroes, the thysia was modified by a complete discarding of the blood, presumably on the tomb of the hero. The animal may also have been killed by severing its head altogether. The notion that animals sacrificed to heroes were killed with the head turned down facing the ground can be seriously questioned, however, both from the point of view of the iconographical and the written evidence, particularly the terminology, and from the practical difficulties in slaughtering animals in that way.

8In Greek cult in general, rituals focusing on the blood of the victims were used in a number of particular situations, such as purifications, oath-takings and battle-line sphagia. Here, no meal followed upon the killing of the animal, and a specific deity is rarely named as the recipient. Blood rituals could also be performed to the winds, the rivers and the sea, and in those cases, the meat from the victims was occasionally eaten. In hero-cults, most of the heroes receiving blood rituals can be demonstrated as having a particular connection with war. It is suggested that these sacrifices served as a reminder of the bloodshed on the battlefield and more directly of the battle-line sphagia, but also as a means of recognizing in ritual the association between these heroes and war. In these cases, the blood rituals have been transformed from an occasional ritual performed as a result of a particular situation (as was the case with the war sphagia) into an institutionalized practice used to modify a thysia ending with consumption of the victim’s meat.

9The blood rituals also seem to have had a second function in hero-cults, being used for contacting and inviting the hero and procuring his presence at the festival and games. In this respect, the blood rituals made use of the principle of theoxenia, but the contents and treatment of the offerings differed. The pouring out of blood to establish contact belongs to rituals connected with the sphere of the dead and the underworld. In this context, the blood could serve to revitalize the recipient and make him approachable. Blood seems rarely to have been used in this manner in funerary cult, however. This kind of ritual is mainly evidenced as part of the sacrifices to epic and mythical characters in the literary sources, perhaps to be viewed as inspired by hero-cults but, most of all, as indicating the difference between these exceptional dead and the contemporary, ordinary dead.

10Of relevance for the understanding of blood rituals in hero-cults is the term bothros, which cannot be connected with heroes before the Roman period and is therefore not to be considered as a characteristic, sacrificial installation in hero-cults. The investigation of the usage of the term bothros in all contexts, not only those concerning heroes, indicates that bothroi were predominantly used for occasional sacrifices of a private character not followed by dining, taking place outside the bounds of society and official sanctuaries and cult, and aiming at getting in contact with the beings of the underworld and propitiating them, often for a magical purpose. It is interesting to note that most contexts in which bothroi are referred to can be shown to be influenced by Homer’s description in the Nekyia of Odysseus’ sacrifice into a bothros. In the Hellenistic and Roman periods, the ritual using bothroi seems to have become more or less a literary topos and it is doubtful to what extent these sources can be taken as evidence for sacrifices of this kind actually being performed.

11In hero-cult, however, the bothroi were used for actual sacrifices, at which the hero was contacted with the aid of the blood of the animal victim, but a direct use of the term in a hero-context is not to be found before Pausanias. The rituals formed part of an official cult and were usually concluded with a banquet. The use of bothroi for the purpose of calling and contacting a figure of the underworld is apparent from most contexts in which the term is found, no matter what the date or the recipient, and it is possible that the blood rituals to heroes outlined in the Archaic to early Hellenistic sources also made use of a bothros, even though such an installation is not explicitly mentioned.

1.4. Destruction sacrifices

12Destruction sacrifices at which no dining took place, covered by the terms holokautos in the inscriptions and enagizein, enagisma and enagismos in the literary texts, are rare and cannot be considered as the regular kind of ritual in hero-cults. All the terms seem to cover the same kind of ritual, the destruction of the offerings, but they have different bearings on the character of the recipient. Holokautos was more neutral, being used for both heroes and gods, while enagizein, enagisma and enagismos are particular to hero-cults and the cult of the dead. Apart from referring to a destruction sacrifice, enagizein, enagisma and enagismos also mark the recipient as being dead and therefore impure in some sense, and distinguish him, or a side of him, from the gods, who are immortal and pure. In most cases, the destruction sacrifices to heroes were performed as separate rituals and not in connection with a thysia.

13The enagizein sacrifices seem to have been aimed at highlighting the dead and impure character of the hero. The destruction of the offerings formed part of the cult of the dead, but it is doubtful to what extent they were performed with animal victims, since the sacrifice of animals had practically disappeared from the cult of the ordinary dead already in the Archaic period, partly as a result of the funerary legislation.

14Partial and total destructions of the victims are also found in the cult of the gods and can sometimes be viewed as a result of the character of the recipient, but perhaps more clearly as a reaction to or as a reminiscence of a particularly pressing and difficult situation. Similarly, in hero-cults the destruction sacrifices are not only a reflection of the recipient’s character, but may also be a response to the problems and stress of a particular situation or may be performed in order to avoid difficulties in the future. Seen from this angle, these rituals were used in the same manner as in the cult of the gods.

15The evidence for the terms enagizein, enagisma and enagismos, considered to be standard terms for the sacrifices to heroes, is slight for sacrifices to heroes in the Archaic and Classical periods (no use at all is made of the terms in inscriptions before the late 2nd century BC, for example). More remarkable is the frequent use of the terms in the 1st to the 3rd centuries AD, particularly in the 2nd century AD and especially by Pausanias and Plutarch. The popularity of the terms during this period, evident also from the hapax enagisterion (attested in an inscription dating from c. AD 170), can be linked to the antiquarian tendencies of the Second Sophistic. Enagizein sacrifices seem to have been regarded as an old and venerable ritual, and the terms enagizein, enagisma, enagismos and enagisterion are predominantly used for heroes considered as being ancient, a tendency which may have originated in a desire to separate the old, traditional heroes of the epic and glorious past history from the more recently heroized, ordinary mortals of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. This link between heroes and enagizein may, in its turn, have been the reason for the almost mechanical use of enagizein in the scholia to explain and elucidate sacrifices to heroes in the Classical sources, whether or not these rituals contained any actions of the kind usually covered by enagizein. It is also interesting to note that, in the 2nd century AD and later, enagizein began to be used for sacrifices to gods, though often to divinities connected with the sphere of death and the underworld, and for sacrifices differing from regular thysiai. In this late period, the term seems gradually to have taken on the meaning “to burn completely”, no matter who was the recipient.

16The use and meaning of the term eschara, which has been connected with holocaustic sacrifices to heroes, are also of significance in this context. Eschara can rarely be connected with hero-cults before the Hellenistic period, which is in accordance with the lack of evidence for destruction sacrifices. In the Archaic and Classical sources, the term was used as a synonym for bomos and, more specifically, for the separate, upper part of a bomos, often made of a material different from the rest of the altar (metal, clay, fireproof stone), in order to protect the stone surface from being damaged by the fire.

  • 1 This is clear from an extensive sacred law from Kos, dated to the mid 4th century BC, which stipul (...)

17The original meaning of eschara being “hearth”, the term could also refer to a simple altar, located directly on the ground. In this sense, the term is found once in a hero-context in the Classical period, on a horos marking the eschara of the Herakleidai at Porto Raphti. Similarly, one of the buildings in the Archegesion on Delos was called escharon, “a place for an eschara”, on account of the simple ash-altar located within this structure. An association between escharai and holocausts is documented only in lexica and scholia, and the escharai of the Herakleidai and in the Archegesion were probably used for regular thysia sacrifices followed by dining, especially since the term escharon seems to have been a local, Delian word for hestiatorion. Moreover, an eschara was not a prerequisite for holocaustic sacrifices, and smaller victims, or parts of victims, could be burnt on a bomos.1

18The notion of eschara as a particular altar used for holocausts in herocults is based on the information in the post-Classical sources and mainly the Roman and Byzantine lexicographers and commentators, as well as the scholiasts, who show certain difficulties in understanding the earlier use and meaning of the term. It is possible that a change in cult-practice had taken place after the Classical period, but the connection between eschara, heroes and holocausts may also be a result of the late sources attempting to separate eschara from bomos and hestia, and from the most frequent use of eschara in the Roman period, namely as a medical term referring to a wound.

19The ritual pattern of hero-cults presented here is based on the epigraphical and literary sources dating to the Archaic to the early Hellenistic periods. Instead of viewing hero-cults as opposed to the cult of the gods and dominated by destruction sacrifices, blood rituals and offerings of meals, only seldom replaced by thysia sacrifices followed by dining, a more varied, ritual pattern has emerged. The main ritual was animal sacrifice at which the worshippers ate, just as in the cult of the gods. This ritual could be modified by a theoxenia element and a different handling of the blood and the meat from the victim. Occasionally, the thysia was replaced by a holocaust. The possible variations are illustrated in Table 33.

Table 33. Types of sacrificial rituals in hero-cults.

Table 33. Types of sacrificial rituals in hero-cults.

20The traditional picture of hero-cult rituals as consisting of holocausts, libations of blood and offerings of meals, is mainly derived from the post- Classical sources, often dating to the Roman or even Byzantine periods, or from the explicatory sources, i.e., the lexicographers, the commentators, the grammarians and the scholia, the date and reliability of whom are often difficult to evaluate.

21An investigation of the terminology considered as characteristic of heroes (eschara, bothros, enagizein, enagisma and enagismos) indicates that a connection between heroes and these terms can rarely be established before the Roman period. In some instances, the use and meaning of the terms have undergone substantial changes, which to a certain extent may reflect changes in the ritual practices, but, in other cases, the differences depend on the later sources not fully grasping the use and meaning of the same terms in the sources from the Archaic and Classical periods. In the case of hero-cults, it is evident that the information derived from the post-Classical sources should be used with the utmost care and, in many instances, cannot be considered as valid for the conditions in earlier periods.

22After looking at the evidence for sacrifices in hero-cults and orienting the rituals in relation to the cult of gods and the dead, the ritual pattern of herocults will be considered both from the view-point of the Olympian-chthonian model, being particular for the Greek evidence, and from other models, which have been applied to sacrifices in a global perspective. Finally, the role of immortality and mortality in Greek religion, and the heterogeneity of the heroes as recipients of religious attention will be discussed, in order to demonstrate the importance of these two concepts for the shaping of the sacrificial rituals of Greek hero-cults.

2. The Olympian-chthonian distinction

  • 2 Most of all in the scholarship in the German philological tradition (see Schlesier 1991–92, 38–44 (...)
  • 3 Wide 1907; Stengel 1910, 126–133; Stengel 1920, 105–155; Harrison 1922, 1–31; Rohde 1925, 116 and (...)
  • 4 Burkert 1985, 202, cf. 428, n. 8; cf. Burkert 1966, 103–104; Burkert 1983, 9, n. 41; Henrichs 1991 (...)
  • 5 Scullion 1994, 75–119; Scullion 2000, 163–167.

23The Olympian-chthonian division is clearly visible in most work on Greek religion produced during the 20th century.2 The former, stricter stance was to view the Olympian and chthonian categories as clear opposites and as more or less mutually exclusive.3 Today, scholars tend to be less categorical, but they still adhere to the Olympian-chthonian approach. Walter Burkert, for example, separates divinities, rituals, cult-places and terminology into the two categories to emphasize this division as a fundamental trait in Greek religion but he also admits that “cultic reality, however, remained a rich conglomerate of Olympian and chthonian elements in which many more subtle gradations were possible”.4 The validity of the Olympian-chthonian division and the dependence of ritual on the character of the recipient have recently been defended by Scott Scullion, who proposes a less strict view of what should be regarded as belonging to each category and also argues that the chthonian group should be extended to include all sacrifices in which the meat had to be consumed within the sanctuary.5

  • 6 Nock 1944, 576, n. 3; van Straten 1995, 167; Clinton 1992, 61; Clinton 1996, 168–169, esp. n. 39; (...)
  • 7 Schlesier 1991–92, 38–51.

24Others have been more sceptical towards the Olympian-chthonian division. Arthur Darby Nock urged that the term “chthonic” should be used with caution, and a similar standpoint has been adopted by both Folkert van Straten and Kevin Clinton, in particular in dealing with the archaeological material.6 An even more radical view has recently been put forward by Renate Schlesier, who argues that the Olympian-chthonian dichotomy does not capture the essence of Greek religion, since it is mainly a modern, scholarly product with little support in the ancient sources.7

  • 8 For an overview, see Schlesier 1991–92; OCD3 s.v. chthonian gods.

25The basic problem in applying the categories of Olympian and chthonian, not only to hero-cults, but to Greek cult in general concerns what is to be covered by each group. Since there are no direct, ancient definitions of the terms, the modern interpretations often vary from scholar to scholar and it is not evident whether the classification of a divinity as Olympian or chthonian is to be made on the basis of the character of the recipient or of the rituals performed.8 If by chthonian is simply meant a character connected with the earth and the sphere of the dead without having any bearings on the ritual, it is possible to consider the heroes as chthonian divinities. Whether a chthonian character is to be considered as giving rise to particular rituals, is, however, another matter.

  • 9 See, for example, Scullion 1994, 98–99 and 101, who bases his opinions on dining in hero-cults on (...)

26In the case of hero-cults, the chthonian character has usually been thought to be manifested by certain rituals, such as holocaustic sacrifices and libations of blood, as well as the use of escharai and bothroi as altars. Other particular heroic characteristics brought forward are a preference for the rituals taking place at night, the use of black victims and the killing of the animals with their heads turned towards the ground. It has often been argued that the heroes’ chthonian nature is not undermined by the performance of thysia sacrifices, since this kind of ritual could also form part of the cult of chthonian divinities and, on the whole, thysiai were relatively rare in hero-cults.9 However, the limited evidence for the use of holocaustic sacrifices, blood rituals and escharai or bothroi has removed much of the support for classifying the heroes as chthonian on the basis of the ritual. Also the validity of chthonian criteria such as the time of the day when the sacrifice was performed, the colour of the victim and the mode of killing can be seriously questioned if the evidence is more closely scrutinized. Furthermore, it has been shown in this study that thysia sacrifices were not rare in hero-cults, but, on the contrary, that this was the main ritual in these cults.

27The weak point of the Olympian-chthonian model has always been its (in) applicability to actual ritual. Even though the proponents of the Olympian-chthonian distinction admit that in the case of sacrificial ritual the division was less strict, it is questionable whether it is possible, on the one hand, to consider the Olympian-chthonian distinction as a fundamental characteristic of Greek religion and, on the other, to stress that the same distinction cannot be fully applied to ritual, since there was a great degree of variation. Sacrificial rituals have, after all, been used as one of the main characteristics in deciding whether a divinity is to be regarded as Olympian or as chthonian and they have often been considered as a direct manifestation of the character of the recipient. Furthermore, the importance of ritual actions in Greek religion is indisputable and the ritual practices must be considered as constituting the core of the religious system.

  • 10 The Olympian-chthonian distinction was the subject of a seminar in Gothenburg in April 1997. Many (...)

28The discussion of the concepts Olympian and chthonian side by side in the modern literature often gives the impression that the two spheres were of equal proportions, both as to the divinities and to the rituals encompassed by each category. This has led to an over-emphasis on the spread and importance of “chthonian” rituals, especially destruction sacrifices, which have usually been regarded as the chthonian ritual par excellence, when, in fact, this kind of ritual is much less frequently documented than thysia, its Olympian counterpart, no matter who the recipient. While epithets such as Chthonios and Chthonia demonstrate the presence of chthonian divinities in Greek religion, the existence of chthonian rituals can be seriously questioned.10

2.1. Ou phora

  • 11 Scullion 1994, 98–119.
  • 12 Scullion 2000, 165–166. Moirocaust is not known from any ancient source but the term is a well-fou (...)

29In Scott Scullion’s revised definition of Olympian and chthonian, attempting to demonstrate the applicability of the two categories also to ritual, the chthonian category has been extended to include not only sacrifices at which the victim was destroyed, but also all sacrifices from which the meat could not be carried away and had to be consumed on the spot, usually designated as ou phora.11 All divinities receiving such sacrifices are considered as being chthonian and the prescribed dining in the sanctuary a manifestation of their chthonian character. Furthermore, Scullion suggests that these “on-the-spot” meals were often connected with a partial destruction of the victim’s flesh, an action for which he suggests the convenient term moirocaust.12

  • 13 See the discussion of this calendar above, pp. 158–159.
  • 14 Daux 1983, line 27, Νεανίαι τέλεον, Πυανοψίοις, π[ρατόν]. For the reading π[ρατόν], see Parker 198 (...)
  • 15 Scullion 1994, 114, n. 128; LSS 19, 19–24. Furthermore, contrary to Scullion’s claims, Ferguson (1 (...)
  • 16 Scullion 1994, 90–91.
  • 17 For the evidence, see Verbanck-Piérard 1989; Bergquist (forthcoming).

30When applying this revised definition to hero-cults, however, Scullion has not taken the bulk of the evidence into consideration, nor the local variations. To mention a few examples, he includes the Erchia calendar, since it contains ou phora stipulations, but he does not comment upon the implications of his theory for the heroes mentioned in the Thorikos calendar. This latter inscription includes one holocaust (to a god), the presence of which can be taken as support for the interpretation of all other unspecified sacrifices in this calendar being thysia followed by dining, whether the recipients were heroes or gods.13 Furthermore, the meat from one of the hero-sacrifices in this calendar was apparently sold and cannot therefore have been eaten on the spot.14 Scullion’s classification of the sacrifices mentioned in the Salaminioi calendar as “on the spot” meals is also doubtful, since the meat from the victims supplied by the state or by individual members was to be divided raw between the two groups of Salaminioi.15 Similarly, Herakles is considered as the best example of a divinity being simultaneously Olympian and chthonian, the mixed character being reflected in the rituals.16 Still, if such character traits are to be considered as being of central importance, it has to be explained why the chthonian side was scarcely ever acted out in the sacrificial rituals.17

  • 18 This is the argument usually presented against the categories of Olympian and chthonian: most divi (...)

31A further problem with this extension of the chthonian sphere is that few deities are left outside of it: Apollon, Artemis, Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Dionysos and Athena, or at least various aspects of these deities, become chthonian if the ou phora command is taken as a manifestation of the chthonian character of the recipient. Moreover, taking a connection with the earth as the main criterion for designating a divinity as chthonian also widens this category of gods to more or less the whole pantheon.18

  • 19 See above, p. 287, n. 364.
  • 20 The aim of the dining at the thysia was collective sharing among men, not among men and gods; see (...)

32Another difficulty in interpreting the ritual practices as a sign of the chthonian character of the recipient concerns the question whether a regulation about the worshippers’ handling of the meat can actually be said to have any bearing on the character of the recipient. Apart from the ou phora and holocausts, Scullion also considers wineless sacrifices, nephalia, as chthonian. Wineless sacrifices only concern the deity’s part of the sacrifice, while ou phora concerns the worshippers’ share of the victim. Holocausts concern both the deity and the worshippers, since the whole animal was consecrated to the divinity and no meat fell to the participants. Is it possible to define the chthonian nature of the recipient by combining one ritual command explicitly regarding the deity’s part of the sacrifice (nephalios), a second ritual command explicitly concerning the worshippers’ part of the sacrifice (dining ou phora) and a third command affecting both the deity and the worshippers (holocausts)? It has often been pointed out that the deity’s involvement in the sacrifice ceased after the sacrificial fire had been extinguished with the wine-water libation.19 The gods did not dine with the worshippers, they received their part of the sacrifice first and, when the worshippers had their share, the divinity was no longer present.20 Therefore, it is questionable to what extent the ou phora stipulation, which concerns the handling of the meat after the deity has received his share of the victim, can be considered as related to the character of the recipient.

  • 21 See, for example, the material treated by Bergquist 1990, esp. 57–61; Cooper & Morris 1990, 66–85; (...)
  • 22 The earliest building in the Herakleion on Thasos may have functioned as a dining room rather than (...)

33The main objection, however, against accepting the “on-the-spot” meals as a sign of the chthonian character of the deities receiving these sacrifices is related to the practical implications of this command. It has been demonstrated beyond any doubt, most of all by the archaeological material, that ritual meals in sanctuaries are to be considered as a main feature of Greek cult.21 At some sites, facilities for feasting may even have been constructed before any kind of temple was erected and a recent study has shown that one of the important functions of the stoas, found both in sanctuaries and in public areas, was to be used for ritual dining.22 The fact that the worshippers ate in the sanctuary cannot by itself be considered as a distinguishing criterion between chthonian and Olympian rituals.

  • 23 Scullion 1994, 101 and 105–106.

34If the ou phora command is to be interpreted in the sense Scullion suggests, it has to be assumed that the worshippers made a distinction between, on the one hand, dining taking place in a sanctuary, since there was an ou phora command, and, on the other, eating there voluntarily, perhaps since there were suitable dining facilities or they were far away from home. To support such a notion, Scullion proposes that the chthonian “on-the-spot” dining is to be considered as being set in a constrained environment and in a gloomy atmosphere, which was only accepted since it was a better alternative than a holocaust, giving no room for any ritual meals at all.23 If Scullion’s interpretation is followed, the “on-the-spot” meals seem to have worked as a means to force the worshippers to eat in the sanctuary, although they would rather eat at home.

  • 24 Scullion 1994, 105–106.
  • 25 For the date of the Lithika, see West 1983, 36; Halleux & Schamps 1985, 57. For the contents, see (...)
  • 26 See above, pp. 62–71.

35For the argument to carry, it has to be assumed, first of all, that chthonian shrines, including those of the heroes, were locations having an uncanny, negative atmosphere. There is no direct contemporary evidence supporting this conception and to illustrate the atmosphere and the context of the ou phora sacrifices, Scullion refers to a passage from the Orphic Lithika concerning a ritual performed to Helios and Ge by three young men, who sacrifice a snake and dine on it.24 The use of this passage as comparison is highly questionable, considering its late date, the 2nd century AD or even latter part of the 4th century, and the fact that the text deals with the theurgical and magical manipulation of stones, a ritual far removed from the public state and deme cults of the Classical period, which Scullion attempts to elucidate.25 The atmosphere of the sacrifice in the Lithika rather has a lot in common with the magic rituals performed at bothroi, mainly evidenced in the Roman sources: a sacrifice in secrecy with a magic purpose involving few participants, unusual offerings (in this case, a snake), the abandonment of parts of the offerings on the site of the sacrifice, care taken not to look back when leaving the site.26

36Secondly, the basic ritual of hero-cults, as well as chthonian cult in general, has to be considered as being a holocaust, which was circumvented by the ou phora stipulation and the consumption of the meat in the sanctuary. It would be a different matter, could it be shown that all these the “on-the-spot” recipients usually, or at least frequently, received holocausts. The ou phora command could, in that case, be taken as a way of modifying a holocaust, shifting it towards a regular thysia. In the majority of the instances, however, the opposite seems to be the case and we seem rather to be dealing with regular thysia sacrifices which have been modified as being ou phora.

  • 27 Scullion 2000, 165–166.
  • 28 Jameson, Jordan & Kotansky 1993, A 17–20.
  • 29 LS 96,22-26, ἐνδεϰάτηι, ἐπὶ το(ῦ)τ[ο] πλῆθος, Σεμέληι ἐτήσιoν τοῦτο ἐνατεύεται δυωδεϰάτηι Διονύσωι (...)
  • 30 For the evidence, see above, pp. 217–225.
  • 31 See above, p. 227, n. 62.
  • 32 See examples discussed above, pp. 226–227.

37In a later study, Scullion has argued that the “on-the-spot” meals were frequently accompanied by moirocausts and that sacrifices to heroes not being specified as holocausts were probably moirocausts rather than regular thysiai.27 However, the connection between any form of ou phora stipulation and partial destruction of the meat from the animal rests on rather weak ground. The only indisputable case is the sacrifice to Zeus Meilichios in the Selinous sacred law, at which a thigh of the victim was to be burnt and the meat could not be removed.28 The second possible case referred to by Scullion, the enateuein sacrifice to Semele in the Mykonos calendar, is less certain. This can only be taken to be a combination of a moirocaust with an “on-the-spot” prescription if the command δαινύσθων αὐτοῦ (to be eaten here) concerning the sacrifice performed on the following day to another divinity is considered as also referring to Semele.29 Apart from these two cases, the moirocausts at ou phora sacrifices to heroes, and to other divinities as well, remain an inference. More compelling is the fact that the explicitly clear moirocaust to the impure Tritopatores in the Selinous inscription, which is said to be executed “as to the heroes”, is not specified as being “on-the-spot”. Furthermore, none of the other known moirocausts, which on the whole are few and mainly concern gods, show any indication of the consumption of the meat being regulated in any way.30 To consider the Selinous lex sacra as a support for moirocausts being common seems therefore to be pressing the evidence too far. Most commentators agree on this inscription being created as the response to some kind of crisis, in the form of pollution stemming from civil war, ineffective funerary rites, disease, infertility or the fear of ghosts.31 Destruction sacrifices, of the kind often labelled heilige Handlungen, were one kind of ritual used to deal with such conditions.32 The possibility has, at least, to be considered that the Selinous inscription does not reflect any regular cult activity, but rather constitutes the ritual response to a situation of stress, and is therefore not to be taken as an example of ritual practices at large in the Greek world.

  • 33 Scullion 1994, 114–117.
  • 34 See Henrichs 1983, 98–99; cf. Scullion 1994, 103.
  • 35 Scullion 1994, 114; Parker (forthcoming). For the removal of meat, see above, p. 313, n. 14, Neani (...)
  • 36 See above, pp. 316–317.

38On the whole, the heroes seem to fit less well into the modified version of the Olympian-chthonian model than do the chthonian gods. Even though Scullion’s starting-point is that ritual dining was a rare feature of herocults, he admits, at the same time, that the heroes received such sacrifices more frequently than chthonian divinities at large, a fact he explains with the heroes being more approachable than other chthonians.33 There are, however, other indications of the heroes not conforming to the chthonian pattern. Nephalia, wineless sacrifices, often taken as a sign of chthonian ritual, are rare in hero-cults.34 To consider ou phora sacrifices as a ritual particular for hero-cults is questionable, since most sacrifices to heroes show no sign of having been regulated in this manner. Furthermore, it is also interesting to note that of the divinities, for whom this stipulation is known, only nine are heroes while 35 are gods. The suggestion that meat could perhaps never be taken away from sacrifices to heroes is contradicted by at least two cases where meat was removed to be eaten or sold.35 The majority of the evidence for moirocausts concerns gods and not heroes and the only indisputable case of the combination of a moirocaust and an ou phora stipulation does not concern a hero but a god.36 Deviations such as these from the assumed chthonian ritual pattern for the heroes raise further doubts of the applicability of the Olympian-chthonian model, even in its modified version, to sacrificial rituals.

39Scullion’s explanation of the ou phora stipulation is based on the notion that the chthonian nature or character of the recipient was decisive for the occurrence of this command. The conclusion seems unavoidable, however, that the chthonian rituals resulted in the same activity as the Olympian ones, namely that the worshippers dined in the sanctuary. This being the case, the ou phora stipulation seems to lose some of its force as a marker of the recipient’s character. The distinctions claimed to separate the “on the spot” dining from the voluntary feasting in sanctuaries, such as the ou phora sacrifices taking place in a gloomy and constrained environment, often being accompanied by moirocausts and only accepted, since they at least give the worshippers some meat to dine on, can rarely be demonstrated in the available evidence. The alternative course of action suggested here, is therefore to approach the ou phora command from the ritual point of view, starting with the stipulation itself and take a closer look at how it functioned within its own context.

  • 37 Jameson 1994a, 53–57.
  • 38 Jameson 1994a, 56–57. Jameson actually makes a comparison between theoxenia, ou phora and trapezom (...)
  • 39 See above, p. 138 and 156, Table 25.
  • 40 See above, p. 156, Table 25.
  • 41 The Selinous lex sacra contains one of the few cases of a sacrifice at which a theoxenia ritual an (...)
  • 42 LS 151 B, 7–10, θύει ἱαρεύς ϰαὶ ἱερὰ παρέχει. γέρη λαμβά[νει] δέρμα ϰαὶ σϰέλος - ταύτας ποφορά ἔν (...)
  • 43 Many inscriptions stipulate both the prohibition of removing meat and which kind of gera the pries (...)

40If we begin with the tangible results of an ou phora stipulation, it is clear that it meant that the worshippers actually ate the meat in the sanctuary instead of taking their portions with them to prepare and consume them at home or perhaps to sell them. For some reason, it was desired that those who participated in the sacrifice remained in the sanctuary also for those parts of the ritual which did not have to be executed there, contrary to the killing of the victim, burning of the god’s portion and grilling of the splanchna. Since dining can be said to form an integrated part of the ritual of animal sacrifice, the consumption of meat on the spot can be seen as a way of prolonging the ritual sequence. In a way, this may have meant an emphasis on the religious aspect of this meal. In this sense, it is possible to compare prescribed feasting in a sanctuary with theoxenia, one function of which, Michael Jameson has suggested, was to give the whole thysia ceremony more weight and getting the participants more involved in the sacrifice.37 The practice of trapezomata, the deposition on a table within the sanctuary of raw meat, which was subsequently taken by the priest, is also of interest in this context, since it may have functioned in a similar manner.38 No carrying away of the meat, theoxenia and trapezomata all emphasized the alimentary aspect of the sacrifice but also made the food and the worshippers remain for a longer time in the sanctuary. It is of interest to note that both the Thorikos and the Marathon calendars list trapezai among the expenses for sacrifices but that none of these inscriptions contain any references to ou phora or similar practices.39 The Erchia calendar, on the other hand, has no trapezai but 22 cases of ou phora.40 This may be a coincidence but perhaps the two rituals had, in some way or to some extent, a similar content and function, for example, the prescribed dining within the sanctuary also involving cooked or raw meat being displayed along the lines of the practices of theoxenia/trapezai or trapezomata.41 A sacrificial calendar from Kos is also of interest here, since, at a sacrifice of a heifer to Hera, it is stipulated that the meat could be taken away while portions of intestines and bread, clearly priestly perquisites, had to remain in the naos.42 These latter offerings were to be sacrificed on the hearth in the temple and simply may have been deposited there or perhaps burnt. The prescription against removing the meat or the demand that the meat had to be eaten in the sanctuary seems, however, to have worked independently from the cutting of gera reserved for the priest or priestess.43

  • 44 The main argument for this theory is the division of the sacrifices into five columns, each with m (...)
  • 45 LS 96, 3–5. No earlier calendars are known from Mykonos, which means that the extent of the religi (...)
  • 46 LS 151, commentary by Sokolowski; Sherwin-White 1978, 292–293, who also comments on the almost tot (...)
  • 47 Cults of Zeus Apotropaios and Athana Apotropaia united under a single priestess (LSS 88 b, Lindos, (...)

41Thus, prescribed dining in the sanctuary may have functioned as a way of prolonging, strengthening and emphasizing the religious aspect of animal sacrifice and the following meal, as well as the worshippers’ involvement in the ritual. Why was this desired on certain occasions? Here, several possibilities can be thought of. If we look at the evidence for ou phora, more than two thirds of the cases are found in a total of only three inscriptions: the sacrificial calendars from the deme Erchia, from Mykonos and from Kos. All three of these can be put in connection with a recodification or reorganization of the ritual activity at each location, which in its turn was brought about by some kind of changes having taken place, either within the cult itself or in the surrounding society. At Erchia, a new system for meeting the costs of the sacrifices was probably the main reason that called for the calendar to be inscribed.44 The Mykonos calendar explicitly states that it was written down after the synoecism of the island in order to record new sacrifices and changes in the old rituals.45 The Coan calendar also came about after the synoecism in 366 BC.46 In fact, most of the remaining inscriptions containing ou phora regulations can also be linked to external or internal changes affecting the cults, for example, two cults merging into one, a private cult being transferred to the public domain, the control of the sanctuary changing hands from one state to another.47 In all, the number of cases in which connection between ou phora and some kind of change can be established seems to be too great for it to be dismissed as being entirely coincidental.

  • 48 Dow 1965, 212–213.
  • 49 If the locations of the sacrifices in the Erchia calendar are considered, most sanctuaries house b (...)

42In situations of change, there may have been a desire to emphasize or promote certain cults by ensuring that a larger number of participants were actually present in the sanctuary, something which was accomplished by making the worshippers consume the meat on the spot. One reason for doing so, may have been that a cult had been moved. In the Erchian calendar, every single sacrifice has the location indicated. This feature, unique for this kind of document, has been suggested to be a result of some sacrifices having changed locations and perhaps also being administered by the deme rather than by a genos.48 This calendar also contains 22 cases of the ou phora command, constituting almost half of the extant evidence for this kind of regulation. It is tempting to trace a connection between the high number of ou phora regulations and the fact that the locations are given for all the sacrifices. To make the worshippers actually feast on the spot and to prohibit the meat from being removed, may have been a way to establish new traditions of these particular sacrifices at those specific cult places, as well as to make them familiar to the public.49

  • 50 Cf. Sherwin-White 1978, 292 and 299–302. Apollon Dalios and Apollon Pythios were two traditional C (...)
  • 51 For the evidence, see above, pp. 161–163.
  • 52 See above, p. 163.
  • 53 Only one of the hero-sacrifices is not marked as being ou phora in contrast to the sacrifices to t (...)

43After a synoecism, certain divinities may have been given a different and perhaps more significant role.50 To take another example from the Erchia calendar, this document contains a low number of sacrifices to heroes if compared with the other well-preserved calendars from Attica.51 Of the eleven sacrifices to heroes in this calendar, however, seven are marked as ou phora (the remaining cases being three holocausts and one thysia not specified in any way). If the Erchian calendar marked a reorganization of the deme’s cults due to financial difficulties, it is possible that some hero-cults may have been left out in order to save money.52 If that was the case, the importance of the remaining hero-cults may have been stressed by the “on-the-spot” meals.53

  • 54 LS 151 A, 54–55, meat from the ox sacrificed to Zeus Polieus not to be taken outside the city; LS (...)
  • 55 On the connections between the polis and Zeus Polieus (as well as other divinities concerned with (...)

44In connection with this line of thought, it is interesting to consider who the divinities are who receive these sacrifices. Scullion considers them all chthonian and in many cases a connection with the earth, the land, or a specific locality is obvious. At changes affecting the society, it may have been of interest to strengthen and emphasize cults having a close relation to the actual region or city where one lived. One way to accomplish this could have been to regulate where the meat from these sacrifices could be consumed, in the sanctuary or elsewhere. In the Coan calendars, for example, the meat from certain sacrifices to Zeus Polieus, Zeus Ourios and Apollon Dalios could not be taken outside the city or even outside the island.54 The prominence of ou phora sacrifices to Zeus Polieus may, therefore, perhaps be due to his close link with the city and the polis rather than to him being “chthonian” in the sense Scullion advocates.55

  • 56 On the use and function of the prohibition of xenoi in religious contexts, see the discussion by B (...)
  • 57 LS 96, 24–26; see also Butz 1996, 89–92
  • 58 LS 96, 40–41, the lines being very fragmentary; for the command δαινύσ[θων αὐτοῦ], see Syll3 1024, (...)

45To regulate where the meat could be taken and consumed could also have functioned as a way of marking who belonged to a certain group or context and who was excluded. The ou phora command, as well as other commands in the same sense, are found in combination with other regulations concerning the handling of the meat and who were allowed to participate.56 In the Mykonos calendar, for example, the ou phora sacrifices to Zeus Chthonios and Ge Chthonie were also specified as being closed to foreigners or outsiders.57 If these divinities were of special importance for the links to the land and the territory, dining within the sanctuary could have been a way not just to underline this particular relationship but also to control who were to participate and thereby exclude the foreigners or outsiders more effectively. The reason for making the sacrifice to the Archegetes in the same calendar, another cult with strong local colour, an “on-the-spot” meal may also have been to exclude those who were not considered appropriate participants.58 In both these instances, these were sacrifices for the inhabitants of the island and connected with the land itself. To emphasize this fact, the dining was to be performed in the sanctuary.

  • 59 LSS 88 a, 3–6 (4th century BC), Athena Apotropaia, and b, 4–6 (2nd century BC), Athena Apotropaia (...)
  • 60 LS 54, 1st century AD.
  • 61 LS 132, 3; 4th century BC. On the meaning of Ὺλλέων, see commentary by Sokolowski.
  • 62 Jameson, Jordan & Kotansky 1993, A 17–[ 20, esp. line 20, τὰ ϰρᾶ μἐχφερέτο. ϰαλέτο [h]όντινα λέι
  • 63 On the linking of the prohibition of removing the meat and the freedom to summon guests, see also (...)

46Women were banned from the sacrifices to Athana Apotropaia and Zeus Apotropaios on Rhodes, at which the meat could not be removed.59 An ou phora command goes well with such a regulation, since the fact that the men actually had to eat all the meat in the sanctuary definitely excluded the women from any participation, accidental or deliberate. Thus, it is possible that the ou phora command in some cases was used to reinforce a restriction concerning who could participate and more precisely, who could not. There are other, similar cases. A presumably private shrine and temenos of Asklepios and Hygieia somewhere in Attica was only accessible to farmers and those living nearby and the meat from the victims could not be removed.60 Some of the meat, however, had to be given to the person who had set up the shrine, as well as to the religious official, probably the priest. A regulation of cult of the Ὺλλέων Νύμϕαι on Thera prohibits the meat from being carried away.61 The inscription was cut in the rock, presumably at the site where the sacrifices and the dining were to be performed. This cult may have been reserved for the members of this tribe, and their eating on the spot further indicated this exclusivity. It is interesting to note that at the ou phora sacrifice to Zeus Meilichios in the Selinous lex sacra, it is stated that the person performing the sacrifice may invite whomever he wishes.62 Perhaps this latter stipulation also functioned as a way of selecting the participants at this meal within the sanctuary, though the criteria for selection were here dependent on the initiator of the sacrifice and may have varied from occasion to occasion.63

  • 64 LS 96, 26–30.
  • 65 LS 18, col. I, 46–51 and col. IV, 35–40.
  • 66 LS 18, col. V, 33–38; col. II, 47–51; col. III, 33–37.
  • 67 For this instance of ou phora, see Daux 1963a, 612 and 628, col. V, 36–38 (see also the Appendix, (...)

47If the dining took place in the sanctuary, it may have facilitated the exclusion of those who were not to have access to the meat. At the same time, the prohibition of removal of meat may have been a way of assuring that a particular category of worshippers actually received their allotted share. At the sacrifice to Dionysos Bakcheus on Mykonos, the hieropoioi were to pay for the victim, a goat, and participate in the dining, which had to be performed on the spot.64 In this case, the hieropoioi’s access to the meat they had paid for was assured by the inscription stating both that they were to take part in the meal and that the feasting was to take place in the sanctuary. Three of the cases of meat being given to a certain group of participants in the Erchia calendar are combined with ou phora. In two cases, at the combined sacrifices to Semele and Dionysos, it is the women who are to receive the meat.65 The consumption on the spot may have served as a guarantee for them to be able to enjoy this meal. The third case of ou phora in connection with meat consumption in this calendar concerns the Pythaistai, who were to be given meat at a sacrifice to Apollon as well as at two other sacrifices to the same god, at which no further restrictions are indicated.66 It is interesting to note, that the ou phora command at this first sacrifice to Apollon involving meat distribution to the Pythaistai has been added to the stone after the inscription was cut.67 Perhaps this was a later measure taken to ensure that this group should be able to get the meat.

48To sum up, as a ritual regulation the ou phora command may have functioned on various levels and been used to achieve different, though often associated, purposes. Consumption of the meat in a sanctuary can be seen as a way of emphasizing the religious aspect of the meal and of connecting the worshippers more closely to the cult place and the divinity, but also to each other. In this sense, the ou phora command is not unique but may be compared to theoxenia and trapezomata rituals. Feasting at a certain location could have been desired for a number of reasons, particularly as a means of enhancing the importance of some sacrifices in connection with changes in the society or the cult itself. At the same time, regulations of where the meat was to be eaten may have been used to mark who belonged to a particular category or group but they also facilitated the distribution to those who were entitled to a share on a particular occasion.

3. Thysia and powerful actions: low-intensity and high-intensity rituals

49It has been argued here that the definition of the heroes as chthonian (even in its modified version) is not compatible with the evidence, since the rituals performed in hero-cults are predominantly of the kind that would be considered Olympian if the Olympian-chthonian distinction were to be applied. Furthermore, holocausts, blood rituals and the offerings of meals, usually regarded as chthonian sacrifices, are also found in the cult of the gods or in contexts in which no particular recipient is specified. The random application of the label chthonian to everything that has to do with hero-cults serves more to obscure than to elucidate the heroes and their sacrificial rituals.

  • 68 Jameson 1965, 162–163; cf. Peirce 1993; Verbanck-Piérard 2000, 283–284.
  • 69 Nock 1944, 590–591.

50Since one of the aims of this study has been to demonstrate the difficulties in using the Olympian-chthonian model to understand sacrificial rituals and, in particular, the rituals practised in hero-cults, it is interesting to see to what extent other models of sacrifice may be applied to the Greek rituals, in particular those of the heroes. Among other approaches to Greek ritual in recent years is the view of the sacrifices as consisting of, on the one hand, the “normal” kind of sacrifice, usually labelled thysia, and, on the other, a variety of “powerful actions”, which could be used to modify or colour the thysia, depending on the purpose and context of the ritual.68 These “powerful actions” could consist in choosing an animal of unusual character (black, not castrated, pregnant) or pouring out libations of a of kind different from wine mixed with water (honey, milk, water, unmixed wine). Most frequently, the powerful actions concern the treatment of the meat from the victim, resulting in its partial or total destruction. In his important paper on hero-cults, Nock distinguished between two kinds of holocausts, first of all, offerings to persons who have lived and died and who need sustenance, and secondly, actions labelled as heilige Handlungen, rituals performed as a reaction to the situation rather than to the character of the recipient. Among these, Nock included the deposition of pigs in the megara at the Thesmophoria, sacrifices of puppies to Enyalios, purifications, sphagia in general, oath-sacrifices, offerings of victims in a crisis, cathartic sacrifices and various ceremonies to avert evil.69 The main distinction between this manner of approaching Greek religion and the Olympian-chthonian approach lies in the former model’s focus on ritual, an aspect that has always been played down in the latter approach.

  • 70 Henninger 1987, 548–550.

51The model of the sacrificial rituals as being mainly thysia, modified by powerful actions on certain occasions, is, in fact, not unique and has parallels in the study of sacrifices globally. A closer look at models of sacrifices in other cultures and contexts is therefore of interest in order to demonstrate that the Olympian-chthonian approach is far from the only option when studying the Greek evidence. Jameson’s view of sacrifices as usually being of the normal kind, occasionally modified or replaced by powerful actions or heilige Handlungen, can, for example, be compared with Henninger’s division into regular and extraordinary sacrifices.70 According to this division, the regular sacrifices are determined by the astronomical and vegetative year, annual commemorations of historical events and important occasions in the life of the individual, such as birth, puberty, marriage and death. Extraordinary sacrifices, on the other hand, are performed at special occurrences in the life of the community or the individual, both of a joyous and a disastrous kind.

  • 71 Van Baal 1976, 168–169; Platvoet 1982, 27–28, has elaborated further on the same classification.

52A classification, perhaps fitting the Greek evidence better, has been made by van Baal following Platvoet, who based his observations on African material.71 According to differences in the religious situation, van Baal divides the sacrifices into low-intensity and high-intensity rites. Lowintensity rites are the ideal form for man’s relation with the supernatural and encompass what is done on a regular basis for the upkeep of the order and when nothing particular has occurred. These simple rites are sufficient to keep up good relations with the gods, inspiring confidence in their benevolence and protection. The high-intensity rites are performed when disasters and misfortune persuade the faithful that there is something wrong with these relations. These are special situations that demand special actions.

  • 72 Durand 1989a, 91; cf. Casabona 1966, 165. Still, they are religious actions performed in order to (...)

53The understanding of Greek sacrificial ritual as consisting mainly in thysiai, at which the worshippers ate, and rarely heilige Handlungen or “powerful actions” is to regard the situation in which the sacrifices were performed, and not the character of the recipient, as decisive for the ritual. The whole system is based on one kind of standard behaviour regulating matters when conditions are normal. Therefore, most sacrifices were thysiai, low-intensity rituals, dealing with the day-to-day contact with the divine sphere, no matter whether the recipients were heroes or gods. On the other side of the spectrum are the heilige Handlungen: total or partial destruction of the victim and an emphasis on the animal’s blood. Such rituals can also be found both in hero-cults and in the cult of the gods but are, on the whole, rare for both kinds of recipients. In some cases of heilige Handlungen (such as purifications, oath-takings and war sphagia), no divine recipient was named and it has been suggested that these rituals are not even to be considered as sacrifices.72 If the sacrificial rituals of hero-cults are considered from the point of view of low-intensity and high-intensity rituals, it is obvious that the cult of the heroes concurs with the cult of the gods and that the sacrifices to heroes fulfilled the same function as those to the gods.

  • 73 The Nuer in Sudan performed sacrifices at which the victim was not eaten, in order to stay plague (...)
  • 74 Burkert 1987, 44–46. Versnel 1981, 184–185, suggests that all sacrifices that force people to reno (...)
  • 75 As Walter Burkert writes, “Every religion aspires to the absolute. Its claims, when seen from with (...)

54If thysia sacrifices were so intimately linked with Greek society, dining and the procuring of meat, why were rituals performed at all, which focused exclusively on the blood of the victim or at which some, or all, of the meat was destroyed? If sacrifices to the divinities are aimed at helping men and regulating their world, it would theoretically be sufficient to perform such sacrifices and no difficulties would occur. Still, all religious systems seem to have had a need for some kind of sacrifices deviating from the usual practices, to be used in particular situations, and often such rituals involved the destruction of the offerings.73 The principle at work seems to have been that of renunciation: if a part is given up, the rest could be saved.74 This behaviour functions as a last resort in unusual, extreme and unexpected situations, not covered by the regular, ongoing cult, and is a manifestation of the religious system being prepared for all eventualities.75 The intimate link between the situation and the performance of such sacrifices makes it understandable that, in many cases, at least in the Greek evidence, no particular divinity was named as recipient.

  • 76 On destruction sacrifices among the Nuer and the Dinka, see above, p. 327, n. 73; see also van Baa (...)

55In all, high-intensity rituals must be considered to be rare, no matter what the cultural context.76 This is an important observation which, in the Greek case, is easily obscured if the Olympian-chthonian model is applied, since from this model it is all too often taken for granted that all chthonian divinities received destruction sacrifices or other kinds of high-intensity rituals. Each sacrificial system is of course a product of its own specific cultural context and comparisons with other religions have to be made with care. However, if the traditional view of Greek sacrifices is followed and all chthonians are to be considered as receiving particular rituals, for example holocausts, moirocausts or offerings of blood, this would mean that Greek religion would have occupied a more or less unique position among cultures practising animal sacrifice. In no other context, in which animal sacrifice forms a regular part of the ritual practices, do destruction sacrifices seem to make up more than a small fraction of the rituals performed. On the whole, it may be argued that sacrifices resulting in an unusually large part of the victim being destroyed, or a complete holocaust, are unusual, since they were only needed occasionally. Furthermore, these rituals were meant to deal with the difficulties of particular situations. They would lose their distinctive meaning and also their power to deal with the stress and danger of a specific situation, were they to be performed on a regular basis.

56Still, the division into low-intensity and high-intensity rituals and their respective links with regular cult and occasional demands for particular actions does not fully reflect the possible variations in the Greek evidence (see Table 33, p. 309). Destruction lies at the heart also of a regular thysia sacrifice, since it cannot be accomplished without the burning of the divinity’s portion of the victim, a partial destruction which, however, does not affect the share of the animal falling to the worshippers. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the heilige Handlungen can be disconnected from the occasional use corresponding to a particular situation and instead form part of a regular cult to a particular divinity. In these cases, the ritual may have begun as a response to a particular situation demanding high-intensity rituals, but the ritual came to be performed on a recurrent basis. As such, the ritual may serve as a reminder of the cult originally having been instituted to deal with a particular situation, but the performance of high-intensity rituals on a regular basis can also be seen as an attempt to control in advance through sacrifices a potentially difficult situation.

57The same ritual action can be given different functions and meanings depending on its context and periodicity. To illustrate the variety of the Greek evidence, it may be useful to distinguish a third category of rituals, besides the low-intensity and the high-intensity rituals (Table 34). This third category makes use of the rituals belonging to the high-intensity category, but they are performed on a regular basis and are used to modify ordinary, low-intensity sacrifices. The blood rituals to the heroes, as well as most cases of destruction sacrifices to heroes and to the gods, can be placed in this third category.

Table 34. Low-intensity, high-intensity and modified rituals.

Table 34. Low-intensity, high-intensity and modified rituals.

58Seen from this angle, the modified rituals, i.e., the high-intensity rituals performed on a regular basis often as a part of low-intensity rituals, can be considered as corresponding to the character of the recipient or to a particular side or aspect of his character, more than to the situation. In some cases, the ritual may originally have been a response to the situation, such as the enagizein sacrifices to the Phokaians killed at Agylla, but the ritual continued to be performed as a part of the regular cult. In the case of the blood rituals performed in hero-cults, the treatment of the blood in the high-intensity ritual of battle-line sphagia was incorporated into a thysia followed by dining as a reminiscence of some of these recipients having a connection with war. At the same time, the blood rituals were used when inviting the hero and to procure his presence at a festival. Therefore, it is possible to view the modified rituals as a means of recognizing in ritual the character of the recipient or a particular side of the recipient’s character.

59Thus, on the whole, it is possible to understand Greek sacrifices in general, and those to heroes in particular, in another manner than by the Olympian-chthonian distinction. The model of sacrifices as consisting mainly of low-intensity rituals and occasionally of high-intensity or modified rituals fits the ritual pattern of hero-cults and seen from this view, the heroes have the same ritual pattern as the gods. The linking of the high-intensity rituals to a particular situation is less evident in hero-cults and therefore the connection between the character of the heroes and the performance of such rituals needs to be further explored.

4. Immortality-mortality

60The heroes are dead, a fact which distinguishes them from the gods. Still, the heroes are not on the same level as the ordinary dead. The heroes are not as impure, since their graves can be placed in the sanctuaries of the gods. They can interfere with the living and are not confined to a powerless existence in Hades. The question is to what extent the fact that the heroes were dead affected the ritual practices.

61In order to understand better the character of the heroes in relation to the ordinary dead and the gods respectively, Greek religion can be imagined as being based on three major components: gods, heroes and the dead. The gods are the highest, most universal and powerful, while the dead are the lowest, locally confined and in possession of the least power. In between the gods and the dead can be placed the heroes.

62It is important to stress, however, that gods, heroes and the dead are all linked to each other. Each group cannot be treated as a clear-cut, welldefined entity. Rather, a spectrum has to be imagined, shifting from gods at one end to the dead at the other. The slide from one side of the spectrum to the other may be better understood, if each god, hero and deceased person is imagined as being made up of two parts, not necessarily of the same size. Thus, it is possible to picture their relationship in the following manner.

  • 77 On gods fleeing death, see, for example, Artemis leaving the dying Hippolytos, Eur. Hipp. 1437–143 (...)

63Some gods are all divine, while others are more related to the heroes. Some heroes have clear traits of gods in them. Other heroes are closer to the ordinary dead and the fact that they are dead is considered as being of central importance. Inherent both in gods, heroes and the ordinary dead is a certain degree of immortality and mortality, and it is the relation between these two components that distinguishes a god from a hero and a hero from a deceased person. A true god is, of course, immortal and shuns death; still, Zeus, Dionysos and other gods are known to have had graves, according to some traditions.77 Herakles and Asklepios were born as mortal men but were after their deaths counted among the gods. A deceased person is dead but is still regarded as having a kind of existence, whether in Hades or in the tomb. Ordinary mortals can transcend the deceased state and be raised to the rank of heroes after death.

64To illustrate further this relationship between gods, heroes and ordinary dead, the concepts of immortality and mortality, as well as the categories of thysia and enagizein sacrifices, can be added to the model. The terms thysia and enagizein are of particular interest, since it is clear that the latter carried with it a reference to the recipient actually being dead and functioned as a marker of the recipient’s mortality, especially in such cases when the two terms were contrasted. Mortality and enagizein sacrifices are used from the “bottom” up, i.e., for the dead and the heroes, but never for the gods. The heroes are thus located in the middle, between the gods and the dead, having a share of both immortality and mortality, a position which affects the sacrificial rituals. They therefore receive both thysia and enagizein sacrifices.

  • 78 Burkert 1985, 201–202. For the gods’ fear of death, see supra, n. 77.
  • 79 Hdt. 1.65.
  • 80 Arist. Rh. 1400b. For a similar separation, cf. Pl. Resp. 427b; Pl. Leg. 717a–b; Contr. Macart. 66

65The major distinction, however, seems to have been the divide between gods and the deceased, rather than between gods and heroes or heroes and the deceased. In a way, this may seem obvious, since the gods and the deceased are the furthest apart, but this is an important characteristic of Greek religion.78 For example, the priestess at Delphi wavered as to whether to proclaim Lykourgos a god or a man, but finally deemed him to be the latter (Δίζω ἤ σε θεòν μαντεύσομαι ἤ ἄνθρωπον ἀλλ' ἔτι ϰαὶ μᾶλλον θεòν ἔλπομαι, ὦ Λυϰόοργε).79 The people of Elea sought advice from Xenophanes, whether or not they were to sacrifice and sing dirges to Leukothea (εἰ θύωσι τῇ Λευϰοθέᾳ ϰαὶ θρηνῶσιν, ἢ μὴ), and received the answer that, if they believed her to be a goddess, they were not to lament her, but, if they believed her to be a mortal, they were not to sacrifice to her.80

66It was essential to draw the line between the divine and the human sphere, to distinguish between immortality and mortality. The heroes, being mortals who received cult and were equipped with powers going beyond those of the ordinary dead, had a share in both categories. Still, rituals connected with the mortal side of the hero can rarely be documented and the fact that the hero was dead seems to have been of surprisingly little concern in hero-cults.

  • 81 In the Selinous sacred law, the thigh of the ram sacrificed to Zeus Meilichios is to be burnt (Jam (...)

67For example, enagizein and enateuein sacrifices, which can be taken as a special marker of the mortal and impure character of the recipient, in particular as a contrast to the pure and the immortal, were rarely used in hero-cults. Moreover, both heroes and gods were given sacrifices designated by the term holokautos and, as far as can be ascertained, the rituals covered by enagizein and holokautos both meant a total destruction of the offerings, which in the cases of heroes and gods were performed with animal victims. Partial destructions of the victims are also found in the cult of the gods and may, in fact, have amounted to more or less the same quantity as the meat destroyed at the enateuein sacrifices.81 Also the complete discarding of the animal’s blood, aiming at revitalizing the recipient and making him approachable, can be seen as a ritual concerning, in particular, the dead side of the hero, but such rituals were apparently only considered as necessary for a small number of sacrifices to heroes and for a particular purpose.

  • 82 Seaford 1994, 123–139; Van Hoof 1991, 161; Nilsson 1967, 183. Johnston 1999, 71–80, 129–139 and 15 (...)
  • 83 See, for example, Ar. Av. 1490–1493, on the hero Orestes; Ar. Her. fr. 322 (PCG III:2, 1984), the (...)

68Why the mortal character of the hero was marked in some cases, but not in the majority of hero-sacrifices, is difficult to say, since the sources do not provide the necessary information. The impurity stemming from death may have been felt more strongly in the cases of some heroes and led to the total abandoning of the offerings, just as in the cult of the dead. Some heroes had died a violent death at an early age and may have been considered as biaiothanatoi, a fate which could have given them extraordinary powers but which also made them angry and led to their having to be placated, presumably by destruction sacrifices.82 On the other hand, although the heroes could be the givers of good things, they also seem to have had a negative, angry and dangerous side, which is documented, already in the 5th-century sources.83 To what extent this side or character trait may have called for particular ritual practices is difficult to say.

  • 84 The mortal side of Herakles was clearly more emphasized in myth than in cult, since in cult Herakl (...)

69The mythical background of the hero might also have affected the ritual, as in the case of Herakles, who began as a mortal who died but was finally elevated to a god. The enagizein sacrifices may have marked his starting-point as a mortal, but this particular character trait was of no great interest, since these sacrifices can rarely be documented in his cult.84 In most cases, it seems to have been sufficient to evoke his mortal origin in myth without having to act it out also in ritual.

  • 85 Seaford 1994, 139–142; Alexiou 1974, passim, esp. 55–62; Nilsson 1967, 187. On the importance of l (...)
  • 86 Seaford 1994, 120–123; Roller 1981.
  • 87 For the Voropfer theory, see Rohde 1925, 113, n. 46; Eitrem 1915, 468; Nilsson 1906, 454; Henrichs (...)
  • 88 An explicit distinction between the sacrificial practices of the heroes and those of the gods seem (...)

70If necessary, the distinctions between gods and heroes relating to their immortal and mortal characters could have been demonstrated in other ways than by the contents of the actual sacrifices. The dead character of the hero must have been evident from his having a tomb or a cenotaph, which in most cases led to a local confinement of the cult or at least not to a pan-Hellenic spread (even though many minor gods and goddesses also were only worshipped locally). Other means of marking the particular character of the hero could have been by lamentations for his death.85 Athletic contests, even when held in honour of a god, were often associated with a hero and considered as connected with the games performed at his funeral.86 Any distinctions between heroes and gods could also have been manifested by the temporal relation that the cult of the hero had with that of a god. The general notion that sacrifices to heroes functioned as a Voropfer in relation to the main religious event, the sacrifice to the god, can, however, be demonstrated only in a small number of cases, mainly found in later literary sources.87 It remains possible that the fact that the hero was dead was in itself not considered as being of central importance.88

5. The heterogeneity of heroes

71The scant attention paid to the dead character of the heroes in cult and the limited extent to which the hero’s mortality can be demonstrated as reflected in the actual sacrificial rituals contradict the traditional notion of hero-cults as connected with the cult of the dead and the sacrificial rituals performed to heroes as a development or reminiscence of the practices of tomb-cult. The fact that thysia sacrifices followed by dining can be shown to have been the principal ritual in hero-cults constitutes a further objection to the belief that hero-cults originated in the cult of the dead and preserved particular traits of such cult.

  • 89 One of the trends in the study of hero-cults has been to focus on a particular category of heroes, (...)

72Of relevance for the understanding of the sacrificial rituals in herocults is the fact that the heroes form a highly mixed group, to a large extent depending on the varying origins of different heroes.89 The complex question of the origin of hero-cults at large cannot, of course, be fully explored here, but a few remarks as to the origins should be made, since the background of the heroes is pertinent to the understanding of the rituals and any connections with the cult of the dead.

  • 90 For the funerary laws, see Seaford 1994, 74–86; Toher 1991; cf. Parker 1996, 133–135. For grave mo (...)
  • 91 On the heroic burials, see Antonaccio 1995a, 221–243; Antonaccio 1995b, 5–27.
  • 92 This has been suggested in particular for the West Gate heroon at Eretria, see Antonaccio 1995a, 2 (...)

73As early as in the Archaic period, a substantial distinction between the rituals used in the cult of the dead and in hero-cults can be discerned and the written evidence suggests conscious attempts to limit the scope of both the funerary rituals and the monuments for the dead, a process which continues in the Classical period.90 If hero-cults are to preserve the rituals of the cult of the dead, it has to be the rituals used in the funerary cult of a distant past, i.e., a period about which we have very little information. The extant descriptions, for example, the burial of Patroklos in the Iliad, may have been influenced by contemporary practices used in hero-cults or simply constitute a mixture of both.91 It is possible that the rituals performed at the burials of exceptional individuals and the subsequent tending of their graves can have inspired hero-cults or even developed into hero-cults, but also in this case the reverse process may have occurred.92

  • 93 On the concept of the dead from Homeric to Classical times, see Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 15–107 and (...)
  • 94 Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 17–56; Johnston 1999, 11.
  • 95 Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 17–18 and 298, who also argues that this was a thought that developed consi (...)

74Of great interest for the theory of hero-cults as originating in the cult of the dead is the concept of the dead in antiquity, especially in the Homeric period, which would have been the time when the hero-cults were developing.93 The dead in general in the Homeric epics are passive, unreachable and have no individual destiny. These powerless dead, not being given any particular attention after death, are unlikely candidates for the origin of the heroes who received cults. A select few, however, gained immortality and the idea of someone occasionally not sharing the common fate of the Homeric dead may be put in connection with the rise of hero-cults.94 The fact that it is emphasized that these fortunate individuals became immortal instead of dying, i.e., that they were distanced from the ordinary dead, is to be noted.95 These exceptional characters are linked to the divine sphere rather than to the realm of the ordinary mortals and, if they are to be considered as a source of inspiration for the hero-cults, it is by no means surprising that the ritual practices of hero-cults do not correspond to the rituals performed for the ordinary dead.

  • 96 Burkert 1985, 204; Antonaccio 1995a, 245; Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 90–94. Occasionally, the Bronze A (...)
  • 97 Antonaccio 1995a, passim, esp. 139–143; Mazarakis Ainian 1999, 9–36; Boehringer 2001, passim.
  • 98 The Menidi tholos in Attica (Antonaccio 1995a, 104–109; Boehringer 2001, 48–54 and 94–102), the Be (...)
  • 99 Antonaccio 1993, 48–49; Antonaccio 1995a, 245–268; for objections, see Parker 1996, 34–35, esp. n. (...)

75The former idea that the hero-cults had been inherited from the Bronze Age and had been continuously practised all through the Dark Ages has now been definitely abandoned, mainly because the later activity at the Bronze Age tombs can in no case be shown to be the traces of a continuous attention from the Bronze Age into the Iron Age.96 Furthermore, the latest work on the Iron Age material in Bronze Age tombs has demonstrated that the later activity at these tombs cannot universally be considered as the remains of hero-cults, since the material comprises later burials, re-use for non-religious purposes and dumping of waste, as well as the deliberate deposition of offerings.97 Moreover, within the material likely to represent some kind of deliberate attention, there is great differentiation, ranging from a few pots to whole deposits spanning several centuries, and perhaps only the major deposits are to be regarded as the remains of cult.98 To exclude completely the possibility that the Geometric and Archaic material in the Bronze Age tombs represents the remains of early hero-cults, the conclusion drawn by Antonaccio, seems too drastic.99

  • 100 For references, see Antonaccio 1995a, 246; 147–152 (Agamemnoneion); 152–155 (Polis cave, Ithaka) a (...)
  • 101 On the fact that many hero shrines did not have a tomb or were centred on a tomb, see Kearns 1992, (...)
  • 102 Cf. Johnston 1999, 154–155; McCauley 1999, 94–95.

76Still, Antonaccio’s questioning of the Iron Age deposits at the Bronze Age tombs as the remains of hero-cults raises the interesting question whether early hero-cults were dependent on actual graves and to what extent it is possible to disconnect the hero-cults from the cult of the dead. Her main argument for the disassociation of heroes and graves is the fact that the documented cults of epic heroes, arising in the 8th and 7th centuries BC, are not located at Bronze Age tombs, but only at other Bronze Age remains.100 Therefore, even though the tomb of the hero was important for the cult, it is possible that the significance of older graves for the establishment of hero-cults has been overestimated.101 The fact that the hero was honoured by a cult may have been sufficient to make him friendly disposed towards the living and whether this cult was focused on the hero’s tomb, his cenotaph or any other remains or objects connected with him may have been of less importance.102

  • 103 Wide 1907; Rohde 1925, 158–162; Harrison J. 1922, 1–31; Gallet de Santerre 1958, 136 and 150. For (...)
  • 104 For a critique of two direct cases of evolutionism, see Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 356–361, on the cha (...)

77The view of the heroes and, in particular, their sacrificial rituals, as deriving from the cult of the dead, is a result of considering Greek religion as partly consisting of an older, pre-Greek stratum, to which belong the rituals and beliefs connected with the dead, the heroes and the gods of the underworld.103 This older stratum was later overlaid by the Olympian religion, but traces of it can still be discerned in, for example, hero-cults. Several objections can be raised against this evolutionistic perspective, above all, when applied to hero-cults.104 If hero-cults are to preserve rituals used in an older kind of funerary cult, the heroes must be an old feature of Greek religion. This is not necessarily the case, at least not with all hero-cults.

  • 105 Malkin 1987, 189–266; cf. Antonaccio 1999, 109–121.
  • 106 Malkin 1987, 261 and 263; cf. Antonaccio 1995a, 267–268; Bérard 1982, 94–95.

78The cults of heroes at Bronze Age tombs and the establishment of cults of heroes mentioned in Homer both concern “old” heroes, deriving from mythology and epic. It is clear, however, that some categories of heroes were new creations of the Geometric and Archaic periods, i.e., cults established to the contemporary dead, not mythical or epic characters. One such, important, new category of heroes is the oikists, who were neither associated with the Bronze Age nor connected with graves or other remains from this period.105 Considering the early institution of some of these cults, as early as the mid 8th century BC, it is possible that they, in fact, influenced or even gave rise to hero-cults in the motherland.106

  • 107 On the date in general, see Seaford 1994, 107; Stupperich 1994, 93; Parker 1996, 132–133; Jacoby 1 (...)
  • 108 A hint of the prominence of dining hero-cults from early on may be seen in one of the earliest ref (...)
  • 109 For the immortal nature of the war dead, see above, p. 262, nn. 232–233. For the need of a particu (...)
  • 110 On the funerary legislation, see Seaford 1994, 74–92; Parker 1996, 49–50; Stupperich 1977, passim; (...)

79Another category of new hero-cults is the cult of the war dead, which can be linked to the rise of the hoplite armies of the Archaic period. The origins of these cults are more difficult to date precisely and they are definitely later than the oikist cults. A particular treatment of the war dead can be discerned in the 6th century, though there is no direct information as to the sacrificial practices in this early period.107 Since both the oikists and the war dead were given hero-status by their contemporaries, it must have been of essential interest to distinguish these heroes from the ordinary dead. One way of doing so was by adopting the sacrificial rituals used in the cult of the gods also for these heroes: animal sacrifices followed by dining for the participants.108 The cults of the oikists and the war dead were of the same essential concern to society as the cult of the gods and fulfilled the same functions. Therefore, it is not surprising that the rituals were to a large extent the same as those for the gods and emphasized the collective nature of these cults. In the case of the war dead, the fact that they were dead is often played down by the sources and instead their immortal nature is underlined: this can also be seen as a way of distancing these heroes from the ordinary dead.109 The ritual practices of these cults may have influenced the sacrificial rituals of hero-cults at large. The funerary legislation of the Archaic period may be considered as a further attempt to distinguish between new heroes and contemporary dead by suppressing such traits in the funerary cult as also existed in hero-cult, for example, animal sacrifice.110

  • 111 For example, the practice of depositing offerings in the Bronze Age tombs ceased in the Classical (...)
  • 112 Cf. Antonaccio 1993, 62–65; Mazarakis Ainian 1997, 357; Antonaccio 1999, 120–121, suggesting that (...)
  • 113 Mentions of gods and dedications to gods are found from the end of the 8th century BC and marked t (...)

80Different hero-cults came into being (and also disappeared) continuously all through the Archaic and Classical periods.111 Even though some hero-cults, for example, the Menelaion or the cults of the oikists in the colonies, began in the 8th century, hero-cults do not seem to have become a prominent feature in Greek religion until the Archaic period.112 The earliest written evidence for hero-cults offers, of course, only a terminus ante quem, but it is interesting to note that heroes rarely figure in the earliest epigraphical material, unlike the gods and the ordinary dead.113

  • 114 Parker 1996, 33–39.
  • 115 For an overview of the now abundant literature on the relation between the rise of the polis and t (...)
  • 116 Sourvinou-Inwood 1983; Morris 1989; Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 299–302; Johnston 1999, passim, esp. 95 (...)
  • 117 On aversion of the dead, see Johnston 1999, 36–123; Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 434.
  • 118 To mention two examples, altars do not occur on vase-paintings until Attic black-figure, but they (...)

81In fact, it seems impossible to pin down the origin of hero-cults, as such, and therefore, it is more relevant to consider the rise of the category of “hero”.114 A number of factors contributed to the origin and development of hero-cults and the rituals used, not at least social and political changes.115 The colonisation and the development of the Greek city-state created the need for new treatments of founders and prominent soldiers after they had died, in order to distinguish them from the ordinary dead. Changes in the attitudes towards the dead in general may also have contributed.116 In the Archaic period, there are signs of the dead being perceived as dangerous and having to be averted, which led to the creation of new methods in dealing with them, a development that may have constituted a further reason for linking the heroes to the gods rather than to the ordinary dead.117 In all, hero-cults may be seen as one manifestation of the increased complexity and the higher degree of specialization which Greek religion seems to have undergone from the Early Iron Age down to the Classical period, as regarded different kinds of divinities, rituals, votives and sanctuaries alike.118

82The variations in the sacrificial practices must be seen against the mixed background of the heroes. Certain hero-cults may be derived from the interest in ancient graves and the tending of the graves of important individuals, and some rituals can perhaps be connected with the practices of the cult of the dead in the distant past, even though our sources can rarely verify or falsify such an assumption. On the whole, however, when the category of “heroes” gradually appeared, it had to be orientated to relation to the already existing cults of the gods and of the dead. There was no interest in connecting the heroes with the ordinary mortals, rather a separation from the cult of the dead was desired: therefore hero-cults adopted the rituals of the cult of the gods.

6. Conclusion

83The basic ritual in hero-cults was a sacrifice at which the worshippers ate. This ritual could occasionally be modified according to the needs of a particular occasion or in a particular cult as a response to the character of the recipient. These modifications show a great degree of variation as regards the actual actions, for example, the presentation of a table with offerings, a total discarding of the blood of the victim or a partial or total destruction of the meat, and even finer variations were surely possible (see Table 33, p. 309). Most hero-cults, however, contained no such ritual modifications: the worshippers sacrificed and ate, just as in the cult of the gods. The heroes cannot be understood as a category ritually isolated from the gods, as has often been done previously. Also conceptually, even though the heroes were dead, they must in many ways have been perceived as being similar to the gods. In Greek society and within the religious system, the heroes fulfilled the same role as the gods and therefore they were given thysiai.

84The reason why the thysiai were modified can be sought both in the situation in which the sacrifices were performed and the purpose of the ritual on that occasion, as well as in the character of the recipient. To consider the character of the recipient as the main decisive factor for the ritual, as the advocates of the Olympian-chthonian approach do, is not compatible with the evidence for the hero-cults. The character may result in particular rituals, but, since the main ritual in hero-cults was thysia sacrifice followed by dining, the conclusion concerning the ritual would be that the heroes were Olympian. The rituals have rather to be considered within a wider context.

85One and the same ritual may have had more than one origin. The burning of the animal victims, the discarding of the blood and the use of offerings to invite the recipient can be connected with similar rituals, alike in the cult of the gods, in funerary cults and in rituals of the heilige Handlungen kind, the latter usually having no recipient. At the same time, the performance of such actions may also have had more than one function and express more than one side of the recipient. On the whole, however, the fact that the hero was dead seems to have been of little importance for the sacrificial rituals. Ritually speaking, the heroes belonged with the gods.

Notes

1 This is clear from an extensive sacred law from Kos, dated to the mid 4th century BC, which stipulates a holocaust of a piglet and its splanchna on a bomos: τοὶ δὲ [ϰάρυϰες ϰ] αρπῶντι τòμ μὲγ χοĩ[ρο]γ ϰαὶ τὰ σπλάγχνα ἐπὶ τοῦ βωμοῦ, LS 151 A, 32–33. To clarify the question of which kinds of altars were required for holocausts and thysiai, respectively, practical experiments are needed (cf. the experiments with ox-tails and gall-bladders performed by Michael Jameson 1986, 60–61 and figs. 3–4). It seems questionable whether it was possible to holocaust a substantial victim, such as an ox or a full-grown sheep, on a bomos. To create enough heat and draught, a construction over a pit seems more plausible; cf. the pits in the enagisterion at Isthmia (see pp. 80–81 for references). Such practical considerations may also have guided the organization of the kathagizein sacrifice to Asklepios at Titane, in the Argolid, at which the larger animals, such as a bull, a lamb and a pig, were wholly burnt on the ground, while the small victims, the birds, were burnt on the altar (Paus. 2.11.7).

2 Most of all in the scholarship in the German philological tradition (see Schlesier 1991–92, 38–44 and refs. in p. 215, n. 2). The almost complete absence of the terms Olympian and chthonian in the work on Greek religion done by the structuralists of the Paris school is interesting; see, for example, Vernant 1990, 101–119; Vernant 1991, 290–302; Detienne 1989a, 1–20. This is surely related to the view of the function of sacrifice held by these scholars: sacrifice defines man’s place in the universe as being distinguished from those of the gods and the beasts by their various eating modes. Cf. also Hubert & Mauss (1964, 9–18), who view all sacrifices as consecrations at which the victims were destroyed, either by consumption by the worshippers or by being handed over completely to the god.

3 Wide 1907; Stengel 1910, 126–133; Stengel 1920, 105–155; Harrison 1922, 1–31; Rohde 1925, 116 and 158–160; Ziehen 1939, 579–627, esp. 598. See also the 19th-century scholarship referred to on pp. 296–297.

4 Burkert 1985, 202, cf. 428, n. 8; cf. Burkert 1966, 103–104; Burkert 1983, 9, n. 41; Henrichs 1991, 162–163.

5 Scullion 1994, 75–119; Scullion 2000, 163–167.

6 Nock 1944, 576, n. 3; van Straten 1995, 167; Clinton 1992, 61; Clinton 1996, 168–169, esp. n. 39; cf. Pirenne-Delforge 2001, 132–134.

7 Schlesier 1991–92, 38–51.

8 For an overview, see Schlesier 1991–92; OCD3 s.v. chthonian gods.

9 See, for example, Scullion 1994, 98–99 and 101, who bases his opinions on dining in hero-cults on Nock (“Nock’s canonical list”).

10 The Olympian-chthonian distinction was the subject of a seminar in Gothenburg in April 1997. Many of the presented papers expressed doubts about the existence of Olympian and chthonian sacrificial rituals, even though the ancient sources mention Olympian and chthonian gods, see, for example, Parker (forthcoming).

11 Scullion 1994, 98–119.

12 Scullion 2000, 165–166. Moirocaust is not known from any ancient source but the term is a well-found description of the ritual referred to.

13 See the discussion of this calendar above, pp. 158–159.

14 Daux 1983, line 27, Νεανίαι τέλεον, Πυανοψίοις, π[ρατόν]. For the reading π[ρατόν], see Parker 1987, 146.

15 Scullion 1994, 114, n. 128; LSS 19, 19–24. Furthermore, contrary to Scullion’s claims, Ferguson (1938, 33–34) in his commentary explicitly says that the this meat was not eaten on the spot but carried away.

16 Scullion 1994, 90–91.

17 For the evidence, see Verbanck-Piérard 1989; Bergquist (forthcoming).

18 This is the argument usually presented against the categories of Olympian and chthonian: most divinities do, in fact, have a chthonian aspect (see Clinton 1996, 168–169, n. 39; cf. OCD3 s.v. chthonian gods).

19 See above, p. 287, n. 364.

20 The aim of the dining at the thysia was collective sharing among men, not among men and gods; see Burkert 1985, 57; Vernant 1989, 24–29; Vernant 1991, 291. Cf. the institution of sacrifice by Prometheus as a means of separating gods and men, as described in the Theogony and Works and Days; see Rudhardt 1970, 13–15; Vernant 1989, 26–35.

21 See, for example, the material treated by Bergquist 1990, esp. 57–61; Cooper & Morris 1990, 66–85; Bookidis 1990, 86–94; Tomlinson 1990, 95–101; Schmitt Pantel 1992, 304–333 and Appendix 4; cf. Mazarakis Ainian 1997, 390–392, for the Early Iron Age evidence. On Greek sanctuaries being planned for accommodating a large number of worshippers dining out in the open, see Sinn 1992, 180–187.

22 The earliest building in the Herakleion on Thasos may have functioned as a dining room rather than as a temple, see Bergquist 1998, 57–72. On the function of the stoas, see Kuhn 1985, 226–269.

23 Scullion 1994, 101 and 105–106.

24 Scullion 1994, 105–106.

25 For the date of the Lithika, see West 1983, 36; Halleux & Schamps 1985, 57. For the contents, see Keydell 1942, 1338–1341; Halleux & Schamps 1985, 4–45.

26 See above, pp. 62–71.

27 Scullion 2000, 165–166.

28 Jameson, Jordan & Kotansky 1993, A 17–20.

29 LS 96,22-26, ἐνδεϰάτηι, ἐπὶ το(ῦ)τ[ο] πλῆθος, Σεμέληι ἐτήσιoν τοῦτο ἐνατεύεται δυωδεϰάτηι Διονύσωι Ληνεĩ ἐτήσιoν ὑπὲ [ρ] ϰα[ρ]πῶν Διὶ Χθονίωι, Γῆι Χθονίηι δερτὰ μέλανα ἐτήσι[α] ' ξένωι oὐ θέμις δαινύσθων αὐτοῦ; The sacrifice to Semele takes place on the eleventh of Lenaios (lines 22–24). The next day (lines 24–26), Dionysos Leneus, Zeus Chthonios and Ge Chthonie all receive sacrifices. The “to be eaten here” stipulation follows after the last two divinities (line 26). Scullion (2000, 165–166) considers all these three deities part of one complex, to which Semele also can be added, and therefore any ritual commands at the end of the sequence can be taken to apply to all four of them. However, a distinctive punctuation is used to separate the events on the twelfth, i.e., the sacrifices to Dionysos Leneus from the sacrifices to Zeus Chthonios and Ge Chthonie, the latter also being forbidden to outsiders, see Butz 1996, 91. Furthermore, if δαινύσθων αὐτοῦ is to cover the sacrifice to Semele, the conclusion must be that the ban on xenoi also concerns this sacrifice. This causes a difficulty, since the sacrifice to Semele is specified as being accessible to the public, ἐπὶ το(ῦ)τ[ο] πλῆθος, see further above, p. 220, n. 27.

30 For the evidence, see above, pp. 217–225.

31 See above, p. 227, n. 62.

32 See examples discussed above, pp. 226–227.

33 Scullion 1994, 114–117.

34 See Henrichs 1983, 98–99; cf. Scullion 1994, 103.

35 Scullion 1994, 114; Parker (forthcoming). For the removal of meat, see above, p. 313, n. 14, Neanias at Thorikos, and the heroes mentioned in the calendar of the genos of the Salaminioi. Of interest is also LS 151 A a τῶν θυομένων τᾶι Λευϰοθῆι ποφορὰ ἐς ἱέρεαν. It should be noted that information stating that the meat was removed is rare in the Greek evidence, no matter the divinity concerned.

36 See above, pp. 316–317.

37 Jameson 1994a, 53–57.

38 Jameson 1994a, 56–57. Jameson actually makes a comparison between theoxenia, ou phora and trapezomata.

39 See above, p. 138 and 156, Table 25.

40 See above, p. 156, Table 25.

41 The Selinous lex sacra contains one of the few cases of a sacrifice at which a theoxenia ritual and a prohibition of the removal of the meat are found together, see Jameson, Jordan & Kotansky 1993, A 17–20, τõι ἐν Εὐθυδάμο : Μιλιχίοι : ϰριòν θ[υ]όντο. ἔστο δὲ ϰαὶ θῦμα πεδὰ ρέτος θύεν. τὰ δὲ hιαρὰ δαμόσια ἐξh<α>ιρέτο ϰαὶ τρά[πεζα]ν : προθέμεν ϰαὶ οολέαν ϰαὶ τἀπò τᾶς τραπέζας :πάργματα ϰαὶ τὀστέα ϰα [τα] ϰᾶαι τα ϰρᾶ μἐχφερέτο. ϰαλέτο [h]όντινα λέι. At this sacrifice to Zeus Meilichios, the thigh of the ram, offerings from the table and the bones are said to be burnt. Perhaps the kra mechphereto is there to clarify that the rest of the meat on the table was to be eaten (and also used as perquisites for the priest)? LSA 43 (2nd century BC), concerning the cult of Sarapis at Magnesia, specifies that while the sacrificed victims had to be consumed on the spot (line 7), a leg of each victim had to be left in the temenos as well as three portions of meat (lines 10–12). These latter may have been used for some kind of trapezomata ritual and subsequently fell to the priest, constituting his gera.

42 LS 151 B, 7–10, θύει ἱαρεύς ϰαὶ ἱερὰ παρέχει. γέρη λαμβά[νει] δέρμα ϰαὶ σϰέλος - ταύτας ποφορά ἔνδορα ἐνδέρεταί, ϰαὶ θύε[ται] ἐπὶ τᾶι ἱστίαι. ἐν τῶι. ναῶι τὰ ἔνδορα ϰαὶ ἐλατὴρ ἐξ ἡμιέϰτου [σπ]υρῶν τούτων οὐϰ ἐϰφορὰ ἐϰ τοῦ ναοῦ. This case, incidentally, is interpreted by Scullion (1994, 104, n. 82) as being without ritual significance.

43 Many inscriptions stipulate both the prohibition of removing meat and which kind of gera the priest is to receive, see, for example, LS 151 A, 45–46; A, 57–59; D, 1–3; Petropoulou 1981, 49, lines 31–36 (= LS 69); LS 54. It is not clear whether the ou phora command applied also to the priest’s portion. See also LS 28 = IG II2 1356, separately listing the hierosyna for certain priestesses (consisting of money, skins and various kinds of food) and the parts of the sacrificial victims they could take from the table; see also discussion of this and other cases in Gill 1991, 15–19.

44 The main argument for this theory is the division of the sacrifices into five columns, each with more or less the same cost, see Daux 1963a, 632–633; Dow 1965, 210–213; Dow 1968, 182–183. On the relation between this calendar entitled Demarchia he mezon and the presumed “Lesser Demarchia”, either older or contemporary, see above, p. 151, n. 120 and p. 163.

45 LS 96, 3–5. No earlier calendars are known from Mykonos, which means that the extent of the religious changes is unknown. For evidence for the political changes, see Butz 1996, 88, n. 64.

46 LS 151, commentary by Sokolowski; Sherwin-White 1978, 292–293, who also comments on the almost total lack of evidence for religion on Kos before the synoecism. Cf. LS 156 and 157 which also have been put in connection with the synoecism.

47 Cults of Zeus Apotropaios and Athana Apotropaia united under a single priestess (LSS 88 b, Lindos, 3rd century BC, cf. commentary by Sokolowski); joining of the cult of Zeus Polieus and that of the Twelve Gods (LS 156, Kos, 300–250 BC); cult of Sarapis being taken over by the state (LSA 43, Magnesia, 2nd century BC, cf. commentary by Sokolowski); the control of the Amphiareion at Oropos having passed from Athens to Boiotia (Petropoulou 1981, 49 [= LS 69], Oropos, early or late 4th century BC?; on the disputed dating of this text, see SEG 31, 1981, 416; SEG 38, 1988, 386; Parker 1996, 148–149 with n. 108; Knoepfler 1986, 96, n. 116; Knoepfler 1992, 452, no. 78).

48 Dow 1965, 212–213.

49 If the locations of the sacrifices in the Erchia calendar are considered, most sanctuaries house both such sacrifices at which the meat could be taken away and such at which the dining had to be on the spot. One sanctuary, however, has only ou phora sacrifices: the sacrifices to Kourotrophos and Artemis on the 21st of Metageitnion ἐς Ζωτιδῶν “in the plot or precinct of the Sotidai” (LS 18, col. III, 3–12), perhaps a temenos consecrated by a local family, the Sotidai; cf. Daux 1963a, 624. Cf. the only ou phora sacrifice in the sacred law from Selinous being to Zeus Meilichios in the plot or sanctuary of Euthydamos (τõι ἐν Εὐτυδάμο : Μιλιχίοι), see Jameson, Jordan & Kotansky 1993, A 17 and 20, cf. idem, 27–28 and 37. For Euthydamos being a hero rather than the progenitor of a gentilitial group, see Clinton 1996, 165.

50 Cf. Sherwin-White 1978, 292 and 299–302. Apollon Dalios and Apollon Pythios were two traditional Coan cults apparently given continuity in the religion of the new state. Also Leto was of major importance in the 3rd century BC. Both Apollon Dalios and Leto were given ou phora sacrifices, see LS 151D, 2 and 4. On the position of Zeus Chthonios and Ge Chthonie in connection with the reorganization of the polis on Mykonos, see Butz 1996, 89–92 and 94.

51 For the evidence, see above, pp. 161–163.

52 See above, p. 163.

53 Only one of the hero-sacrifices is not marked as being ou phora in contrast to the sacrifices to the gods, of which half are ou phora and half lack such a stipulation. There is also one holocaust to a god.

54 LS 151 A, 54–55, meat from the ox sacrificed to Zeus Polieus not to be taken outside the city; LS 156 B, 13 and 16, meat from animals sacrificed to Zeus Ourios and Apollon Dalios not to be taken outside the island of Kos. Cf. LS 96, 6–7, Mykonos, the ram sacrificed to Poseidon Temenites not to be brought into the city. Could this have been a way of promoting a rural, local cult of this god?

55 On the connections between the polis and Zeus Polieus (as well as other divinities concerned with the identity and protection of the polis), see Sourvinou-Inwood 1990, 307–312.

56 On the use and function of the prohibition of xenoi in religious contexts, see the discussion by Butz 1996, 75–95, who argues that this restriction was used as a means of defining the polis.

57 LS 96, 24–26; see also Butz 1996, 89–92

58 LS 96, 40–41, the lines being very fragmentary; for the command δαινύσ[θων αὐτοῦ], see Syll3 1024, 40–41. The damaged part of the stone may perhaps have contained a ban on xenoi to participate also in this sacrifice (see Butz, 1996, 91 with n. 69), cf. the Delian cult of the Heros Archegetes or Anios, at which the entrances to the sanctuary, consisting of the escharon and the oikoi, had inscriptions stating Ξένωι οὐχ ὁσίη ἐσιέναι, see the detailed discussion by Butz 1994, 69–98, esp. 83–94; see also supra, pp. 36–38. Butz suggests that the prohibition at Delos aimed at excluding Athenians from this indigenous cult. The meat from the sacrifices to the Heros Archegetes at Tronis described by Pausanias (10.4.10) had to be consumed on the spot and this ritual may also be placed in the same category.

59 LSS 88 a, 3–6 (4th century BC), Athena Apotropaia, and b, 4–6 (2nd century BC), Athena Apotropaia and Zeus Apotropaios.

60 LS 54, 1st century AD.

61 LS 132, 3; 4th century BC. On the meaning of Ὺλλέων, see commentary by Sokolowski.

62 Jameson, Jordan & Kotansky 1993, A 17–[ 20, esp. line 20, τὰ ϰρᾶ μἐχφερέτο. ϰαλέτο [h]όντινα λέι

63 On the linking of the prohibition of removing the meat and the freedom to summon guests, see also Clinton 1996, 173–174. It may also be possible that “he may invite whomever he wishes” meant the opposite, that is, even though this was an ou phora ritual, this particular sacrifice could be open to anyone.

64 LS 96, 26–30.

65 LS 18, col. I, 46–51 and col. IV, 35–40.

66 LS 18, col. V, 33–38; col. II, 47–51; col. III, 33–37.

67 For this instance of ou phora, see Daux 1963a, 612 and 628, col. V, 36–38 (see also the Appendix, p. 351), since it is not included in Sokolowski’s edition of the text (LS 18). There are two more cases of ou phora being added later to this calendar (Daux 1963a, 628, col. II, 44 and 59, the recipients being the Herakleidai and Aglauros). These two additions of ou phora are, in fact, the only two cases of this command in the whole second column and are perhaps to be seen as corrections, since they were forgotten when the stone was inscribed in the first place. The other four columns have between four and six instances of ou phora each (see Dow 1963a, 204).

68 Jameson 1965, 162–163; cf. Peirce 1993; Verbanck-Piérard 2000, 283–284.

69 Nock 1944, 590–591.

70 Henninger 1987, 548–550.

71 Van Baal 1976, 168–169; Platvoet 1982, 27–28, has elaborated further on the same classification.

72 Durand 1989a, 91; cf. Casabona 1966, 165. Still, they are religious actions performed in order to achieve a certain purpose in relation to the supernatural sphere.

73 The Nuer in Sudan performed sacrifices at which the victim was not eaten, in order to stay plague or murrain, to make certain birds leave the grain alone and in war, in front of the advancing army (see Evans-Pritchard 1956, 219–229). Among the Dinka, an animal may be trampled to death as a preparation of war, while purification from incest could be achieved by cutting a ram in half while alive and sometimes discarding the meat, see Lienhardt 1961, 285 and 306–307.

74 Burkert 1987, 44–46. Versnel 1981, 184–185, suggests that all sacrifices that force people to renounce a possession, to eliminate it from society, to destroy, kill, spill, bury or burn it, are motivated by the same feeling of compulsion that payment has to be made and compensation provided; cf. Gladigow 1984.

75 As Walter Burkert writes, “Every religion aspires to the absolute. Its claims, when seen from within, make it self-sufficient. It establishes and explains but needs no explanation” (1983, xx).

76 On destruction sacrifices among the Nuer and the Dinka, see above, p. 327, n. 73; see also van Baal 1976, 173, on the rare cases of holocausts among the Southern Toradja in East Indonesia; cf. Leach 1976, 83–84; Seiwert 1998, 276, on a part of the victim regularly being given back to the worshippers at animal sacrifice. The daily holocausts in the Temple at Jerusalem constitute an exception. This was the only, or at least, the principal location at which Hebrew sacrifices were performed, at least from the Hellenistic period until the destruction of the Temple (see Ringgren 1982, 143–149 and 295–296; Burkert 1985, 63). Cf. the statement by Porphyrios (Abst. 2.26.1–2), referring to Theophrastos (fr. 13, Pötscher 1964; cf. Bernays 1866, 111–113), that, if the Greeks were to be ordered to sacrifice in the same manner as the Syrians and the Jews, they would cease doing it altogether, since the former do not eat the victims sacrificed but burn them completely (εἰ τòν αὐτòν ἡμᾶς <τρόπον τις> ϰελεύοι θύειν, ἀποσταίημεν ἂν τῆς πράξεως. Οὐ γὰρ ἐστιώμενοι τῶν τυθέντων, ὀλοϰαυτοῦντες δὲ ταῦτα).

77 On gods fleeing death, see, for example, Artemis leaving the dying Hippolytos, Eur. Hipp. 1437–1439; cf. Parker 1983, 33 and 37; Burkert 1985, 201–203. For the tombs of gods, see Pfister 1909–12, 385–397; Fontenrose 1960, 211, n. 32; for the tomb of Zeus, see also Kokolakis 1995, 123–138.

78 Burkert 1985, 201–202. For the gods’ fear of death, see supra, n. 77.

79 Hdt. 1.65.

80 Arist. Rh. 1400b. For a similar separation, cf. Pl. Resp. 427b; Pl. Leg. 717a–b; Contr. Macart. 66.

81 In the Selinous sacred law, the thigh of the ram sacrificed to Zeus Meilichios is to be burnt (Jameson, Jordan & Kotansky 1993, A 19–20). The meat from the back leg of a modern sheep makes up about one-tenth of the whole animal, while if the bones are not removed, the weight of the leg constitutes one-sixth of the weight of the entire animal (according to an experienced French butcher). The burning of the thigh may therefore not have constituted a substantial difference from the enateuein sacrifices.

82 Seaford 1994, 123–139; Van Hoof 1991, 161; Nilsson 1967, 183. Johnston 1999, 71–80, 129–139 and 153–155, suggests that the installation of a cult may have appeased the anger of the biaiothanatoi and that certain rituals, which have been interpreted as purifications may, in fact, have served as appeasements. The preferred choice for the deposition of lead curse-tablets seems to have been the tombs of those who had died young, been executed or perished by violent means, since it was believed that these deceased had special powers to fulfil the curses of the tablets, see Jordan 1985, 152–153; Gager 1992, 19. Holocausts were also used in magical contexts (see Graf 1991, 195–196).

83 See, for example, Ar. Av. 1490–1493, on the hero Orestes; Ar. Her. fr. 322 (PCG III:2, 1984), the heroes as the guardians of bad and good things; Hippoc. Morb. sacr. (Littré 1839–61, vol. 6, 362) on the heroes as senders of diseases; Men. Synepheboi fr. 459 (Edmunds 1961); cf. Henrichs 1991, 192–193; Johnston 1999, 147, n. 24 and 153–154.

84 The mortal side of Herakles was clearly more emphasized in myth than in cult, since in cult Herakles was principally a god, see Verbanck-Piérard 1989, 44–49. Cf. Henrichs 1991, 195–196, on the dangerous and malevolent side of certain divinities being relegated to myth while the helpful and friendly side was emphasized and acted out in cult.

85 Seaford 1994, 139–142; Alexiou 1974, passim, esp. 55–62; Nilsson 1967, 187. On the importance of lamentation in the ritual behaviour towards the ordinary dead, see Sourvinou- Inwood 1995, 177.

86 Seaford 1994, 120–123; Roller 1981.

87 For the Voropfer theory, see Rohde 1925, 113, n. 46; Eitrem 1915, 468; Nilsson 1906, 454; Henrichs 1984, 258 with n. 9; Kearns 1992, 81. The examples usually brought forward are Paus. 5.13.3 (Pelops and Zeus) and Paus. 3.19.3 (Hyakinthos and Apollon) to which can be added Paus. 9.29.6 (Linos and the Muses) and Plut. Vit. Thes. 4.1 (Konnidas and Theseus). In many other cases, it seems to have been more important to begin with the most powerful divine being, the god, passing in descending order daimones, heroes, the ordinary dead and occasionally also the living (Pl. Resp. 427b; Pl. Leg 717a–b; Mund. 400b; Contr. Macart. 66; Aesch. Epig. fr. 55 [Nauck 1889]; Ar. Av. 866–887). In the inscriptions, heroes and gods are either mixed or the sacrifices to the gods precede those to the heroes, but to what extent this reflects the order in which the actual sacrifices were carried out is hard to say in most cases (LS 18, col. I, 46–51, sacrifice to Semele on the 16th of Elaphebolion ἐπὶ τοῦ αὐτοῦ βωμοῦ as the sacrifice to Dionysos, col. IV, 35–40; LSS 19, lines 89–90, sacrifices to Poseidon, Heros Phaiax, Heros Teukros and Heros Nauseiros and line 92, to Athena Skiras and Skiros; LSS 10 A, 60–74, sacrifices to Themis, Zeus Herkeios, Demeter, Pherrephatte, Eumolpos, Heros Melichos, Archegetes, Polyxenos, Threptos, Dioklos and Keleos; cf. LS 4, 3–5; LS 5, 36–39; LSS 13, 17–23; IG II2 140, 17–23).

88 An explicit distinction between the sacrificial practices of the heroes and those of the gods seems to be a development that took place after the Classical period and is probably best seen as a result of the changes that the hero concept underwent in the Hellenistic period and later. Heroes and gods seem to have drifted apart, ritually speaking. Arrianos (Anab. 4.11.2–3), for example, mentions Kallisthenes telling Alexander, in a context in which the latter wanted to be a god, that the honours of men and of gods should be distinct, that all gods are not honoured in the same way and that there are also different honours for the heroes, distinct from those paid to the gods (τιμαὶ ... ἥρωσιν ἀλλαὶ, ϰαὶ αὗται ποϰεϰριμέναι τοῦ θείου). Diogenes Laertios (8.33) refers to Pythagoras, saying that equal worship should not be paid to gods and heroes (τιμὰς θεοĩς δεĩν νομίζειν ϰαὶ ἥρωσι μὴ τὰς ἴσας). The actual distinctions do not concern the treatment of the animal victims, however, but are outlined as worshipping the gods with prayers, wearing white robes and observing purity, while the ceremonies to the heroes were to take place only from midday onwards. Post-Classical sources often specify sacrifices as ὡς ἥρῳ or ὡς θεῷ, but the meaning here is rather the status of the recipient than the sacrificial rituals (see the discussion above, pp. 206–212). Similarly, Diodorus Siculus (1.2.4; 4.1.4) speaks of heroic or godlike honours and sacrifices being accorded to great and good men, while Plutarch (De mul. vir. 255d–e) mentions the case of Lampsake, who after death and burial was first given heroic honours (heroikai timai) but, at a later stage, they were replaced by sacrifices to her as to a goddess (ὕστερον ὡς θεῷ θύειν). According to Konon (FGrHist 26 F 1, 45.6), a temenos was built around the head of Orpheus, buried on the beach where it landed, which then became a heroon and later a hieron, where people perform sacrifices (thysiai) and celebrate rites by which the gods are honoured (timontai). Also, in these cases, there seems to be the question of the status of the recipient rather than the contents of the rituals.

89 One of the trends in the study of hero-cults has been to focus on a particular category of heroes, for example, athletes (Fontenrose 1968; Bohringer 1979); eponymous heroes (Kron 1976); former enemies transformed into heroes (Visser 1982); heroes from a certain region, such as Corinth (Broneer 1942) or Attica (Kearns 1989); heroines (Larson 1995). See also Nagy, 1979, on the separation of heroes of epic and heroes of cult, often referred to in modern studies. The idea of dividing heroes into categories can be traced back to Farnell’s work in 1921 and has been characterized as a result of the long-standing, scholarly concern to “introduce some order” among the heterogeneous group of heroes (see Bruit Zaidman & Schmitt Pantel 1995, 180). Cf. Coldstream 1976, 8: “Greek hero-worship has always been a rather untidy subject, where any general statement is apt to provoke suspicion”.

90 For the funerary laws, see Seaford 1994, 74–86; Toher 1991; cf. Parker 1996, 133–135. For grave monuments, see Morris 1992, 128–155.

91 On the heroic burials, see Antonaccio 1995a, 221–243; Antonaccio 1995b, 5–27.

92 This has been suggested in particular for the West Gate heroon at Eretria, see Antonaccio 1995a, 228–236; cf. de Polignac 1995, 128–138; Bérard 1982, 89–90; Mazarakis Ainian 1997, 352–357. However, at other sites where a cult would have been expected, for example at the so-called heroon at Toumba, Lefkandi, there are no signs of any memorial cult after the PG burials had been made, see Popham 1993, 98–99. Instead, a cemetery with rich graves was immediately located in the area to the east of the mound.

93 On the concept of the dead from Homeric to Classical times, see Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 15–107 and 298–302; Johnston 1999, passim, esp. 6–31.

94 Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 17–56; Johnston 1999, 11.

95 Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 17–18 and 298, who also argues that this was a thought that developed considerably in the post-Homeric times, providing models for hope of an afterlife also for common mortals and leading to the development of eschatologies promising a happy existence after death.

96 Burkert 1985, 204; Antonaccio 1995a, 245; Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 90–94. Occasionally, the Bronze Age tombs have offerings from the 9th or even the 10th century, but the peak in this activity was clearly in the 8th century BC (see Antonaccio 1995a, 246). Moreover, there seems to be no mention of hero-cults in the Linear-B tablets (see Ventris & Chadwick 1973, 125–129 and 410–412), apart from ti-re-se-ro-e, which more likely refers to the Tritopatores than to heroes (Ventris & Chadwick 1973, 289; Hemberg 1954).

97 Antonaccio 1995a, passim, esp. 139–143; Mazarakis Ainian 1999, 9–36; Boehringer 2001, passim.

98 The Menidi tholos in Attica (Antonaccio 1995a, 104–109; Boehringer 2001, 48–54 and 94–102), the Berbati tholos in the Argolid (Ekroth 1996, 201–206 and 222–224; Wells, Ekroth & Holmgren 1996, 191–201) and some of the tholoi in Messenia (Antonaccio 1995a, 70–102; Boehringer 2001, 243–371) have yielded substantial amounts of material. Two recent studies of this material both arrive at the conclusion that the cult explanation has been greatly exaggerated, see Ratinaud-Lachkar 1999, 87–108; Shelton (forthcoming).

99 Antonaccio 1993, 48–49; Antonaccio 1995a, 245–268; for objections, see Parker 1996, 34–35, esp. n. 21; Ekroth 1997–98. One of Antonaccio’s main arguments (246), the lack of inscribed dedications from the Bronze Age tomb contexts, is not conclusive, considering the number of heroes who were venerated without being named in later periods (for references, see Rohde 1925, 127 with n. 62; cf. van Straten 1995, 96). Cf. Henrichs 1991, 192–193, on the anonymity of heroes as a particular characteristic.

100 For references, see Antonaccio 1995a, 246; 147–152 (Agamemnoneion); 152–155 (Polis cave, Ithaka) and 155–166 (Menelaion); cf. Antonaccio 1993, 55; Antonaccio 1994, 403–404; Mazarakis Ainian 1999, 11–18. On Polis cave, see also Malkin 1998, 108–109. The interest in relics seems to have been an Archaic feature at the earliest and the number of recorded cases of relic-mongering are in fact few, see Antonaccio 1993, 62–63; Antonaccio 1995a, 265–266.

101 On the fact that many hero shrines did not have a tomb or were centred on a tomb, see Kearns 1992, 65–68; Bérard 1983, 45 and 53–54; de Polignac 1995, 141–143. See Saı¨d (1998, 9–20) arguing for the growing importance of the tomb in hero-cults, especially as a focus for rituals, in the literary tradition from Homer to Apollonios Rhodios.

102 Cf. Johnston 1999, 154–155; McCauley 1999, 94–95.

103 Wide 1907; Rohde 1925, 158–162; Harrison J. 1922, 1–31; Gallet de Santerre 1958, 136 and 150. For a useful historical overview, in particular of the 19th and early 20th century scholars, see Schlesier 1991–92, 38–51.

104 For a critique of two direct cases of evolutionism, see Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 356–361, on the character and development of Charon; Sourvinou-Inwood 1991, 217–243, esp. 222, on the previous owners of Apollon’s sanctuary at Delphi.

105 Malkin 1987, 189–266; cf. Antonaccio 1999, 109–121.

106 Malkin 1987, 261 and 263; cf. Antonaccio 1995a, 267–268; Bérard 1982, 94–95.

107 On the date in general, see Seaford 1994, 107; Stupperich 1994, 93; Parker 1996, 132–133; Jacoby 1944, 42–45; Sourvinou-Inwood 1994, 428. An early case of the honouring of the war dead, however, not containing any references to sacrifices, is a 6th-century epigram from Ambrakia, see Bousquet 1992, 596–605 (see also SEG 41, 1991, 540); cf. Fuqua 1981, on Tyrtaios reflecting the heroization of the Spartan war dead.

108 A hint of the prominence of dining hero-cults from early on may be seen in one of the earliest references to a hero being the hero Daites, “Feaster”, who was honoured among the Trojans, according to Mimnermos fr. 18 (West 1971–72, 88).

109 For the immortal nature of the war dead, see above, p. 262, nn. 232–233. For the need of a particular treatment of those killed in war, separate from that of the ordinary dead, and often emphasizing a distance between the war dead and death itself, see Tarlow 1997, 102–121, esp. 111–115, discussing the treatment and attitudes to those killed in the First World War.

110 On the funerary legislation, see Seaford 1994, 74–92; Parker 1996, 49–50; Stupperich 1977, passim; Sourvinou-Inwood 1983, 47–48; Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 421 and 440; Toher 1991.

111 For example, the practice of depositing offerings in the Bronze Age tombs ceased in the Classical period, to be revived in post-Classical times, see Alcock 1991.

112 Cf. Antonaccio 1993, 62–65; Mazarakis Ainian 1997, 357; Antonaccio 1999, 120–121, suggesting that also the hero-cults in the colonies may, in fact, be later than is usually thought. Few hero shrines show any activity before the 7th century. This is a question that needs to be considered in connection with the archaeological material, since most hero sanctuaries identified by written sources have yielded archaeological evidence pre-dating the written evidence.

113 Mentions of gods and dedications to gods are found from the end of the 8th century BC and marked tombstones in the first half of the 7th century BC; see Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 285; Powell B. 1989; Jefferey 1990, 61–62; Thomas 1992, 59. One of the earliest epigraphical references to sacrifices to heroes is a sacred law from the early 6th century BC from Sicily (Dubois 1989, 25–27, no. 20). The earliest inscribed dedication at the Menelaion may be no earlier than c. 600 BC, according to Jefferey 1990, 446 and 448, no. 3a (the aryballos itself dating from c. 650 BC). The excavators suggest a date around 675–650 BC, see Catling & Cavanagh 1976, 147–152. See also the early 6th century heroon at Argos for the heroes who participated in the expedition against Thebes; for references, see p. 59 with n. 159.

114 Parker 1996, 33–39.

115 For an overview of the now abundant literature on the relation between the rise of the polis and the occurrence of hero-cults, see Parker 1996, 36–39; Antonaccio 1995a, 6–9; de Polignac 1995, 127–149.

116 Sourvinou-Inwood 1983; Morris 1989; Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 299–302; Johnston 1999, passim, esp. 95–100.

117 On aversion of the dead, see Johnston 1999, 36–123; Sourvinou-Inwood 1995, 434.

118 To mention two examples, altars do not occur on vase-paintings until Attic black-figure, but they then show an amazing variety, as a contrast to their more standardized appearance on red-figure vases (see Rupp 1991, 56–62; Cassimatis 1988). The votives also seem to become more specialized in the course of time: in the Geometric period, it is difficult to decide the recipient of a shrine from the votives, since the same objects were given to gods, heroes and the dead (see Hägg 1987; cf. Antonaccio 1995a, 247–248, underlining the regional distinctions).

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 33. Types of sacrificial rituals in hero-cults.
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Titre Table 34. Low-intensity, high-intensity and modified rituals.
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