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La norme en matière religieuse en Grèce ancienne

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Pierre Brulé

Thighs or Tails? The Osteological Evidence as a Source For Greek Ritual Norms1

Gunnel Ekroth

Résumé

Notre connaissance des pratiques normatives liées au sacrifice animal en Grèce est surtout fondée sur les sources écrites et iconographiques. Des publications récentes d’ossements animaux provenant de sanctuaires grecs offrent de nouvelles possibilités de définir l’exécution pratique des rites sacrificiels. L’article discute la nature de la part divine brûlée sur l’autel, qui pouvait être les os des cuisses ou Vosphys (sacrum et vertèbres caudales), ou les deux. Les débris des autels et les reliefs de repas provenant de contextes rituels nous autorisent à distinguer des variations de la norme. Des fémurs de mouton ou de chèvre étaient les parties le plus volontiers brûlées, même si certains sites attestent une préférence pour les os des cuisses de bovins. Les queues et le sacrum sont rarement trouvés. Des ossements de porcins ne semblent guère avoir formé la part du dieu brûlée sur l’autel, même si des porcs étaient mangés dans des sanctuaires. On suggère que les os des cuisses pourraient avoir été l’offrande originelle lors d’une thysia, une tradition qui provient peut-être de la période mycénienne. La combustion des queues pourrait avoir été inspirée de pratiques sacrificielles proche-orientales et, peut-être, ajoutée aux sacrifices grecs d’animaux à une étape plus récente pour accentuer l’élément divinatoire.

Texte intégral

  • 1 For the abbreviations used for the osteological deposits, see the Appendix. This article is part of (...)

1Greek animal sacrifice has principally been studied from the written and iconographical evidence, and these sources provide us with a basic understanding of the ritual and its components. Still, there are a number of elements of which we are not well-informed. Why the actions at a sacrifice were performed in a specific manner largely escapes us, since the Greek sources rarely offer us any theological exegesis. Furthermore, the texts and the images at our disposal emphasize different aspects of the sacrificial ritual or even present us with divergences, if studied more closely. This leaves us with the questions of how important the norms regulating sacrifice were or, perhaps of more relevance, which the norms were. How do we identify a norm within our ancient source material? What kind of consistency or specificity are we to demand before establishing it? Do all sources have equal value in this process, or are we to rely more heavily on a certain kind?

  • 1 On the contents and fonction of sacred laws, see R. Parker, “What are sacred laws?”, in E.M. Harris(...)

2If we look at animal sacrifice, the principal means of communication between the divine and the human sphere for the ancient Greeks, we discover a rich spectrum of rules for what was considered as proper or improper behaviour on such occasions, especially expressed in the “sacred laws”.1 On the other hand, many aspects of Greek sacrificial ritual apparently did not have to be regulated in writing, even though they concerned the core of the ritual. Were such actions so well-established that there was no need for any particular stipulations of what to do, or did there exist a fairly large space for variation and even improvisation within the ritual?

  • 2 See, for example, E. Kotjabopoulou et al. (eds.), Zooarchaeology in Greece. Recent advances, Athens (...)

3In this paper, I will focus on one particular aspect of Greek thysia sacrifice: the handling of the parts of the animal victim which were burnt on the altar for the gods. To explore the norms concerning the god’s portion within Greek sacrifice I will, to a large extent, focus on osteological material, a body of evidence which has become increasingly more important in the study of Greek religion within the last decades.2 Since the bones constitute the leftovers at the site of a sacrifice, they provide us with a different and more direct access to the ritual activity than do the texts, the inscriptions and the depictions. It can be said that the written and iconographical sources present us with the ritual, as the Greeks desired it to be, while the bones can show us how it actually was. Still, the bone evidence, like any archaeological material, is mute and has to be interpreted to offer information, a process only possible if the bones are properly excavated, analyzed and published.

Meria, meroi and osphys

  • 3 For the thysia, see W. Burkert, Homo necans. The anthropology of ancient Greek sacrificial ritual a (...)
  • 4 I am here only concerned with the portions burnt in the fire on the altar and not with the divine s (...)
  • 5 Pausanias, I, 24, 2, stating that the meroi are cut out according to Greek custom and then burnt; c (...)
  • 6 K. Meuli, “Griechische Opferbràuche”, in Phyllobolia fur Peter von der Mùhll zum 60. Geburt-stag am (...)
  • 7 G. Berthiaume, “L’aile ou les mena. Sur la nourriture carnée des dieux grecs”, in S. Georgoudi, R. (...)
  • 8 See G. Ekroth, “Burnt, cooked or raw? Divine and human culinary desires at Greek animal sacrifice”, (...)
  • 9 Meros does not seem to be used for the leg with meat in contexts of priestly perquisites, the terms (...)
  • 10 D. Reese (Athens, p. 64), states that the bones from the altar of Aphrodite Ourania at Athens must (...)

4The modem reconstruction of the contents of a Greek thysia sacrifice has been based on a combination of texts, inscriptions, vase-paintings, reliefs and occasional archaeological remains.3 According to the written sources, two parts were preferred as the god’s share burnt on the altar: meria or meroi and osphys (Fig. 1).4 Meria or meroi have two meanings, either thigh bones femora) or thighs. In most sacrificial contexts, the ancient authors use the terms without any qualifications, though occasionally the meroi are described as being cut out from the meat of the thigh.5 Modern scholarship has generally understood meria and meroi as referring to the bare, white bones, stripped of all meat, which were to be wrapped in fat before being placed in the fire.6 As the terms can refer to meat-bearing thighs as well, Guy Berthiaume has recently suggested that meria and meroi may not always signify bare bones and that it may have been up to each person performing a sacrifice to either burn clean, fat-wrapped bones on the altar or an entire back leg, meat and all.7 Berthiaume’s suggestion is interesting but problematical to accept if considered within the wider context of why and when meat was burnt at Greek sacrifices.8 It seems plausible to assume that meria and meroi as part of the god’s portion at a thysia referred to the bare thigh bones unless our sources tell us differently.9 Osteology is unfortunately of little help, since bones burnt to the state of carbonization or calcination do not reveal whether they were placed in the fire bare or covered with meat.10

Fig. 1. Bovine skeleton.

  • 11 For the various meanings of osphys, see van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 128-130; F.T. van Straten, “Th (...)

5The second part to be burnt in the altar fire was the osphys, which in this ritual context seems to correspond to the back part of the basin (the sacrum bone) and the tail (caudal) vertebrae, perhaps with some of the lumbar vertebrae and parts of the pelvic girdle attached to it as well.11 The osphys was presumably stripped of hide and meat before being placed on the altar but it does not seem to have been wrapped in fat.

6Though we here seem to deal with a well-established norm of Greek sacrificial practice, the burning of two specific parts of the animal victim, the consistency of this norm may be further explored. Was it necessary to burn both the meroi and the osphys at a thysia? Was one of them preferred in certain instances, and may such variations relate to the species sacrificed? Can any chronological or geographical distinctions be recognized? Why were these two parts chosen? In this paper I will first examine the different kinds of evidence we have for the divine portion and its treatment, with particular emphasis on the osteological evidence. Secondly, the origin of these practices will be addressed by placing them in a wider chronological, geographical and practical framework.

Texts and inscriptions

  • 12 Hesiod, Theogony, 532-557. J. Rudhardt, “Les mythes grecs relatifs à l’instauration du sacrifice : (...)
  • 13 Cf. Hesiod, Work and days, 336-337; Meuli, l.c. (n. 6), p. 215-217; Vernant, l.c. (n. 6), p. 41; Po (...)
  • 14 Homer, IliadI, 460-464; II, 423-425; Odyssey III, 456-459; van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 123. On top (...)
  • 15 Also the gall bladder was burnt at this sacrifice, see van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 124.
  • 16 Pausanias, I, 24, 2; VIII, 38, 8. Pausanias never mentions the osphys.

7Zeus’ and Prometheus’ dealings at Mekone described by Hesiod in the Theogony can be seen as an account of the events leading up to the institution of thysia sacrifice.12 Prometheus hides the white bones of the ox in the fat to trick Zeus, and the outcome of this action is that in future men are to burn the ostea leuka for the gods, an expression by scholars usually taken to refer to the thigh bones.13 In Homer, the burning of a divine portion is explicitly mentioned and on these occasions only the thigh bones, meria, are cut out, wrapped in fat and burnt.14 In these descriptions, which are very similar in structure, there is no allusion to the osphys. Also in Sophocles’ Antigone (1005-1011) only the meria arereferred to. This particular sacrifice does not go well: the fire dies, causing the fat to melt, ooze and expose the bare bones, and no proper smoke rises to the gods.15 The ash from thigh bones burnt as sacrifice is mentioned by Herodotos (IV, 33-34) when speaking about the cult of Opis and Arge at Delos, and the mighty ash altar of Zeus at Olympia was composed of thighs burnt for the god, according to Pausanias (V, 13, 9), who also notes other instances of thigh bones being burnt.16

8The earliest written reference to the osphys as a part of the divinity’s share of the victim comes from the tragedy Prometheus bound (496-499). The Titan here lists the various methods for divination which he has taught mankind, among which is the burning of the god’s portion, which is said to consist of the legs (the term used here is kola) covered with fat and the long osphys.

  • 17 See van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 125-126.

9A sacrifice at which both thigh bones and the osphys are burnt is found in Aristophanes’ Peace (1039-1040, 1053-1055). Trygaios and his slave are sacrificing a lamb, placing the thigh bones on the altar and beginning to grill the splanchna. The presence of other parts in the fire as well is evident when Trygaios tells his slave to concentrate on his task and keep away from the osphys, presumably to take care not to disturb this part when it burns. Both thighs and tail are also mentioned by other comedy writers when complaining about man’s meanness when sacrificing to the gods. The thigh bones stripped of meat, the bare osphys and the tail are all the human worshippers are willing to give up from the sacrificial victim.17 Also in Menander’s Dyskolos (447-453) the only parts given to the gods are the osphys and the gall bladder.

  • 18 See Le Guen-Pollet, l.c. (n. 4), p. 13-23; Gill, l.c. (n. 4).
  • 19 M.H. Jameson, D.R. Jordan, R.D. Kotansky, A lex sacra from Selinous, Durham, 1993 (GRB monographs 1 (...)
  • 20 F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées de l’Asie Mineure, Paris, 1955 (Ecole française d’Athènes. Travaux et m (...)
  • 21 Lupu, o.c. (n. 1), no. 3, l. 16-17 and commentary p. 166-168; E. Lupu, “Μασχαλίσματα: A note on SEG (...)

10From the literary sources it is clear that both meria and osphys could be burnt, though there seems to be a preference for speaking about thigh bones. The epigraphical evidence in the form of sacred laws or sacrificial calendars shows little concern in regulating the god’s share to be burnt on the altar, contrary to the offerings of meat which were placed on the god’s table and later usually taken by the priest.18 An explicit reference to the burning of bones for the gods is found in the lex sacra from Selinous which speaks of the bones, ostea, being kept, displayed and burnt at a sacrifice to Zeus Meilichios.19 Meroi, apparently to be burnt, are mentioned in a fragmentary regulation of the cult of Herakles at Miletos dated to around 500 BC.20 The highly interesting regulation of the deme Phrearrhioi, dated ca 300-250, also refers to meroi, perhaps to be placed on the altars and burnt.21

  • 22 Sokolowski, o.c. (n. 20), no. 46, 2 and 6, no. 50, 9 and 34, and no. 59, 2; Sokolowski, l.c. (n. 21 (...)
  • 23 van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 129, n. 42; Le Guen-Pollet le (n. 4), p. 20; A. Herda, Der Apollon-Del (...)
  • 24 Sokolowski, o.c.. (n. 21), no. 96, 13-14.

11A few sacred laws stipulate that the osphys was to be part of the prerogatives of the priest or the mageiros.22 As the term also can mean loins, osphys here probably refers to bones of the lower back with meat on them rather than the bare sacrum and the tail.23 If, however, the osphys given to the priest in these instances actually included the sacrum and the caudal vertebrae, only the thigh bones would have remained to be burnt on these occasions. A sacred law from Mykonos dated to around 200 BC stipulates that, at a sacrifice to Demeter Chloe of two female swine, the mageiros is to be given the osphys of the animal which is not pregnant, perhaps implying that the osphys of the other, pregnant victim was burnt.24

Fig. 2. The burning of the osphys in the fire on the altar.

Vases and reliefs

  • 25 On the identification of this part, see van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 118-121; van Straten, l.c. (n. (...)
  • 26 M.H. Jameson, “Sophocles, Antigone 1005-1022: An illustration”, in M. Cropp, E. Fantham, S.E. Scull (...)

12The bulk of the relevant iconographic evidence consists of Attic vases from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC, and the burning of the god’s portion occupies a prominent place among the moments of a thysia sacrifice represented. These scenes usually show the altar, a young man holding a spit with the edible intestines - the splanchna, a priest libating, and, in the fire on the altar, the osphys burning (Fig. 2 and 3).25 The curve of the tail was caused by the heat of the fire making the ligaments contract. The archaeological experiments conducted by Michael Jameson, at which real oxtails were burnt on a simple altar, have demonstrated that the representations on the vases closely correspond to reality.26

Fig. 3. Amorphous bundle being placed in the altar fire.

  • 27 New York, MMA 41.162.4; van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), V191, fig. 125.
  • 28 Gebauer, o.c. (n. 3), p. 443 and Bv 73-Bv 77.
  • 29 Ephesos II, p. 212, fig. 21.7: a and b.

13Occasionally, the moments before the tail is placed in the fire is depicted, as on a late-5th century bell-krater in New York, where a youth standing next to the altar holds a basket from which a limp osphys hangs down.27 There are also a few scenes in which the osphys is held by Iris who prevents satyrs from stealing it at a sacrifice to Dionysos.28 A comparison with a real sacrum bone and tail stripped of meat shows that the representations of the vases are highly naturalistic.29

Fig. 4. Sheep’s thigh bones and omentum.

Fig. 5. Experimentally formed bundle using speciments from Fig. 4.

  • 30 Paris, Louvre G 496; van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), V200, fig. 152; Jameson, l.c. (n. 26), p. 64, n. 15 (...)
  • 31 Ephesos II, p. 210-211, fig. 21.6: a-c.

14The thigh bones, frequently referred to in the ancient texts, are more visually elusive. An Attic krater now in Paris depicts a man, presumably a priest, holding an unidentified object over the fire, suggested to be a phiale, gall bladder, liver, heart, lung or lump of fat (Fig. 3).30 At a recent experiment the Austrian osteologist Gerhard Forstenpointner enfolded two sheep thigh bones in the fat of the sheep’s stomach, the omentum (Fig. 4), creating a parcel which is very similar to the object shown on the vase painting (Fig. 5, cf. fig. 3), and suggested that this scene actually represents the placing of the fat-wrapped meria in the altar fire.31 It can be noted that there seems to be no osphys burning in the fire on this vase.

  • 32 A pillar from Thespiai depicts a bucranium with fillets on the front side and a mandible and a scul (...)
  • 33 B. Petrakos, “νασκαφ Ραμνοντος”, Praktika 1979 (1981), p. 2, no. 102, pl. 3 b; van Straten, o.c. (...)
  • 34 H. Prückner, Die lokrischen Tonreliefs. Beitrag zur Kulturgeschichte von Lokri Epizephyrioi, Mainz (...)

15The votive reliefs almost exclusively show animals which are still alive.32One possible case of the osphys on a votive relief is a 4th-century fragment from Rhamnous showing a sacrifice to Zeus (Fig. 6).33 On the simple, round altar in front of the seated god lies an oblong curving object which shows a certain likeness to the curving tails found on the vase-paintings. example of an osphys is found on a Locrian terracotta pinax, where the tail is curving prominently in the altar fire.34

Fig. 6. Possible case of osphys.

  • 35 van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 179; Ekroth, o.c. (n. 8), p. 283-284.
  • 36 van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 179.

16The distinctions between the vases and the reliefs in what to represent may depend on the use of each kind of object. The votive reliefs usually seem to commemorate private sacrifices on a particular occasion.35 The fact that the victim on the reliefs is shown as intact and alive, and not just as the small part being offered to the gods, may be explained by a desire by the dedicator to show the community the magnitude of the offering made by representing the entire victim. The vase-paintings, on the other hand, are usually generic representations of sacrifice, neither specifying the deity receiving the sacrifice nor the place. The vase-painters seem to have opted for the most prestigious victims, cattle, that is animals with large tails, a fact which may explain the predominance of the osphys on the vases.36 The preference of the tail over the thigh bones on the vases could also be due to what was more iconographically efficient, the curving tail perhaps being more easily comprehensible to the viewers than the burning thigh bones emitting smoke. The practical possibilities of each medium could have effected what was shown as well, as the surface of a vase offers better opportunities for detailed representation than does a stone slab.

Bones - some methodological concerns

17From this overview it is clear that the written and iconographical sources present us with different pictures of what was burnt on the altar: either thighbones or tails or both. We seem to be facing different norms for what to focus on within each category of evidence, a situation which to a certain extent depends on practical circumstances but also on the purpose of each medium, be it a text, an inscription, a vase or a relief. The question is whether the literary, epigraphical and iconographical evidence reveals what would have been burnt on the altar at a real sacrifice.

  • 37 See above, n. 2.

18Let us therefore move on to the bones. In recent decades, osteological evidence has been published from a number of Greek sanctuaries and this material is in fact the only category of evidence for Greek cult which is constantly increasing.37 To be able to distinguish and discuss such aspects as are of interest here, the bone assemblages must have been carefully excavated and most of all analyzed and published in great detail. The bones from sanctuaries can be shown to reflect different kinds of activity at the site. We have to distinguish between bone material deriving from the activity at the altar — the burning of the gods’ portion, consumption debris — the bones being left after the worshippers had eaten the meat, and butchering refuse — parts which were discarded at the initial division of the animal after it had been killed. Bones from sanctuaries are often simply regarded as remains of sacrifices, but finer distinctions have to be made in order to understand which actions they correspond to. The main criteria to use are the types of bones, the degree of fragmentation, the presence of cut or chopping marks, and most importantly, whether the bones show any traces of burning.

  • 38 Cooking takes place in a maximum of 280° C and does not lead to the bones becoming burnt. By 400-70 (...)
  • 39 For boiling as the preferred cooking method, see G. Ekroth, “Meat, man and god. On the division of (...)
  • 40 For the identification of butchering and marrow extraction, see D. Rixson, “Butchery evidence on an (...)

19Bones from altar activity have been burnt in the fire on the altar and are carbonized and even calcined, a process which often results in substantial fragmentation into small, brittle pieces.38 Furthermore, judging by the written and iconographical sources, these deposits can be expected to consist mainly of thigh bones and parts of the osphys. The consumption debris, on the other hand, typically contains a very low quantity of burnt bones. Most meat eaten in sanctuaries seems in fact to have been boiled, a cooking method which leaves no traces of fire.39 Bones deriving from meals are also fragmented, since they were usually butchered into portions before cooking and later broken to gain access to the marrow, though to less extent than the altar remains. They frequently demonstrate cut or chopping marks as well.40 Furthermore, the consumption debris should come from the meat-bearing parts of the animal, apart from the sections reserved for the altar. The butchering refuse, finally, should consist of the lower legs and feet and the upper part of the scull, sections of the animal with little or no meat on them.

  • 41 The butchering refuse is often missing from the sanctuary contexts. At the 4th-century altar of Zeu (...)
  • 42 Remains of burnt sacrifices can also be found mixed with unburnt bones, see Ephesos II, p. 206; Eph (...)

20Of primary interest are the bones that can be interpreted as having been burnt on the altar, but also the consumption debris should be considered, since it represents the negative imprint of the activity at the altar, so to speak. Found in the refuse from the dining is what would have been left after the god’s portion had been removed to be burnt.41 The find context also has to be taken into consideration, but remains of the bones burnt on the altar do not necessarily have to be recovered near an altar to be recognized as the god’s part of the sacrifice. Many bone assemblages have been recovered as fills or dumps within a sanctuary, purposefully left there or gradually accumulated.42

Altar deposits

21There are at least ten bone assemblages which can be interpreted as the remains of the god’s portion burnt on the altar, dating from the Late Geometric to the late Hellenistic periods. Important sites are the altar of Aphrodite Ourania at Athens, the Aire sacrificielle at Eretria, the Artemision at Ephesos, the Long Altar at Isthmia, Kommos on Crete, the sanctuary of Apollon Hylates at Kourion on Cyprus, the sanctuary of Aphrodite in Miletos and the sanctuary of Demeter on Mytilene. At most of these sites the bones have been recovered in or at an altar and the deposits consist predominantly of a selection of heavily burnt bones, often calcined and fragmented into small pieces, which makes both the identification of species and body parts more difficult.

  • 43 Asea p. 201; Athens, p. 65; Ephesos II, p. 206 and 208-209, fig. 21.2; Eretria, p. 176, Table 1; Ko (...)
  • 44 Isthmia, p. 147 and 154, Table 3. After the temple was destroyed in ca 450 BC, there was a rise in (...)
  • 45 Isthmia, p. 149-142, Table 1; Kourion, p. 181-182; Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441 (Altar U), 446-447 ( (...)
  • 46 Athens, p. 68; Ephesos II, p. 208-209, fig. 21.2. At Asea, some burnt material may be from infant p (...)
  • 47 For deposits of piglet bones, see Mytilene, p. 209; N. Bookidis, R. Stroud, Corinth XVIII:3. The sa (...)

22It is evident that at most sites sheep and goats were the preferred victims.43At Isthmia, however, a greater quantity of cattle than of ovicaprines wassacrificed at the altar.44 It is interesting to note that there are very few pig bones in the altar deposits. At many sites, for example Isthmia, Kourion, Kommos, Miletos, Eretria and the Hofaltar at Ephesos, there seem to be no pig bones among the burnt sacrificial remains.45 In the cases where pig bones are present, only a small quantity has been recorded.46 Larger amounts of burnt pig bones seem to come only from Demeter sanctuaries, where deposits of burnt juvenile or even foetal piglets have been recovered, apparently representing a sacrificial practice distinct from the thysia as all parts of the animals’ bodies seem to have been included.47

  • 48 Ephesos I, p. 115, 145 and 149; Kommos I, p. 474 and Table 6.2, p. 441, 446-447 and 449; cf. Kommos(...)
  • 49 Eretria, p. 177, Table 2.

23The next observation is that there seem to be more thigh bones and kneecaps than there are sacrum bones and caudal vertebrae in the sacrificial debris. This may partly depend on the thigh bones and kneecaps resisting the heat better and therefore having a greater chance of being identified in the samples, but in some cases the quantity of thigh bones vastly exceeds that of the sacra and vertebrae. At the Hofaltar area in the Artemision at Ephesos there are only thigh bones, while in the burnt material from the altars at Kommos, from the Archaic precinct and altar in the sanctuary of Apollon Hylates at Kourion and from the altar of Poseidon at Isthmia there is a clear dominance of femora.48 The osteological material from the Aire sacrificielle at Eretria, which has been analyzed in great detail, includes 87 % burnt thigh bones and 6 % burnt kneecaps.49

  • 50 Athens, p. 65 and 68.
  • 51 Eretria, p. 177, Table 2.
  • 52 Ephesos II, p. 206, Deposit HN, fig. 21.2, and p. 210.
  • 53 Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441.
  • 54 There are a few vertebrae fragments among the bones from the Sarapeion C, Delos, see Leguilloux, l. (...)

24The thigh bones recovered mainly come from sheep and goats, since these are the dominant species, but it is interesting to note that tails of the same species are not very frequent, except at the sanctuary of Demeter at Mytilene and the altar of Aphrodite Ourania at Athens.50 At Eretria, a few remains of sacrum bones and caudal vertebrae show that the occasional sheep’s tail may have ended up on the altar as well, but this was never the regular practice.51 At Ephesos, in one of the early Archaic burnt deposits, the tail bones are mainly from cattle while the femora and patellae derive from sheep and goats.52 Also at Kommos, from Altar U, there is a concentration of cattle caudal vertebrae indicating that such tails must have been burnt.53 As for pigs, it is to be noted that there are hardly any instances of vertebrae recorded.54

  • 55 Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441. The dominant type of bones was femora of ovicaprines, though some catt (...)
  • 56 Eretria, p. 177, Table 2; Kourion, p. 181-182. Altar U at Kommos, (ca 700-600 BC) contained a domin (...)
  • 57 Forstenpointoer et al., l.c. (n. 47), p. 88-89. It should be noted that the sample is very small.
  • 58 Isthmia, p. 149-152, Table 1.
  • 59 Asea, p. 201-2. The cattle only seem to be represented by femora and patellae.
  • 60 Athens, p. 65 and 68 (for the evidence from Mytilene).

25If we now consider the chronological span of these altar deposits, it seems that the earliest assemblages, dating to the Late Geometric and early Archaic periods, rarely contain any remains of sacrum bones and parts of the tail region, the cattle caudal vertebrae from Altar U at Kommos being an exception.55 The altar at the Aire sacrificielle at Eretria has yielded almost exclusively thigh bones and the same pattern can be noted in the sanctuary of Apollon Hylates at Kourion on Cyprus.56 Of particular interest is a group of burnt sheep or goat femora from the Protogeometric levels at the Artemision at Ephesos, which probably represent instances of very early thysia sacrifices at this site.57 From the Long Altar at Isthmia, studied in detail by David Reese, there are 13 deposits dating from the mid 7th to the late 4th centuries BC.58 Though the early deposits are small samples, there are no remains of tails before the early 5th century, and when they occur such bones mainly derive from the contexts dating to the latter half of this century and the following 4th century. The earlyash altar at the temple at Aghios Elias at Asea is said to have yielded caudal vertebrae and fragments of sacra, but unfortunately these bones have not been published in such detail that the proportions of thigh bones to tails can be divined.59 More vertebrae and in particular caudal vertebrae seem to be found only at the altar of Aphrodite Ourania at Athens and in the sanctuary of Demeter at Mytilene, deposits which date to the early 5th century and 4th to 1st centuries BC, respectively.60

  • 61 Isthmia, p. 144-147 and 149-153, Tables 1 and 2.
  • 62 See G. Ekroth, “Bare bones. Osteology and Greek sacrificial ritual”, in S. Hltch, I. Rutherford (ed (...)

26One final observation to make concerning the altar deposits is that in some cases they do not fit our notion based on the texts and images of which bones should be found in such an assemblage. At the Long Altar in the sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia a great number of cattle, sheep and goats were sacrificed. Thigh bones are prominent, but the burnt osteological material also includes parts from other elements of the victims’ bodies, such as the thorax, the head and the lower back legs. One element, the fore legs, is entirely missing.61 A possible interpretation of this bone assemblage is that it represents a regular thysia modified by the burning on the altar of a greater variety of bones from the victims, with or without the meat still attached. This particular handling of the bones at this altar may be interpreted as a different manner of staging a theoxenia ceremony, at which the divinity would be offered not only the burnt thigh bones but also bones from the rest of the body.62

Consumption debris

  • 63 Samos, p. 4-5, Tables 2 and 3, and p. 7 and 41.
  • 64 Eretria, p. 177, Table 2; Tegea, p. 200, fig. 5-6; Thasos, p. 804-807; Tenos, p. 444-446, fig. 14-1 (...)
  • 65 Kalapodi, p. 162; R.C.S. Felsch, “Opferhandlungen des Alltagslebens im Heiligtum der Artemis Elaphe (...)
  • 66 For example, at Eleutherna, see G. Nobis, “Αρχαιοζωολογική μελέτη στην Ελεθερνα της Κρήτης (ανασκα (...)

27The debris from the dining on the sacrificial victims should include what fell to the human worshippers after the gods had received their share. The parts lacking would presumably have been given to the gods, though some parts may have been removed as trash as well. Some consumption deposits show a striking correspondence to the altar remains. At Samos, for example, the cattle, sheep and pig bones found dumped together with discarded cultic pottery and votives contained hardly any thigh bones and practically no tail vertebrae or sacrum pieces.63 The unburnt Archaic bone deposits at Eretria consisted mainly of fore quarters, heads and lower back legs, while at Tegea, Thasos, Tenos and the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Amathous there were few or no thigh bones, kneecaps, tail vertebrae or parts from the pelvis in the dining refuse.64 At Kalapodi hardly any sacrum bones or tail vertebrae were recovered.65 It can also be added that in some settlement debris, there is an under representation of femora, sacra and tail vertebrae, which perhaps also reflects the importance of these bones as part of the god’s share at a thysia.66

  • 67 Isthmia, p. 144.
  • 68 Isthmia, p. 144-145. At Eretria, a series of hearths in front of the temple of Apollo contained bur (...)

28Occasionally, a site offers us both bone evidence from an altar and the leftovers of meals. At the Long Altar at Isthmia burnt thigh bones are frequent but also other parts of the skeleton, except the fore legs.67 The meals following these sacrifices apparently took place to the south-west of the temple and the bones and pottery were discarded into a large abandoned cistern, the so-called Circular Pit. Among these unburnt bones, there are few thigh bones but the fore legs are overrepresented, presumably the parts removed from the altar to be eaten in the dining area.68

  • 69 Samos, p. 3-4, and 10; Tenos, p. 428 and fig. 2.
  • 70 Corinth: Bookidis, Stroud, o.c. (n. 47), p. 78 and 243; N. Bookidis et al., “Dining in the sanctuar (...)
  • 71 Tenos, p. 426-427, Tables 1-2: pig bones make up 23,9 % of the osteological evidence from the sanct (...)
  • 72 Eretria, p. 176, Table 1, and p. 179.

29If we look at the species, sheep and goats dominate in the dining refuse, though at some sites, such as the Heraion on Samos and the sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite on Tenos more than two thirds of the bones come from cattle.69 In the consumption debris there is also a much higher degree of pig’s bones than among the bones from the altars. The worship of Demeter most likely accounts for the preponderance of pig bones at sites such as Corinth, Ephesos and Cyrene, as well as at the sanctuary of the Heroes and Demeter at Messene in the Hellenistic period.70 However, pigs are quite common also in the bone assemblages representing the dining refuse at the sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite at Tenos, at Kalapodi, at the sanctuary of Herakles on Thasos and at Tegea in the sanctuary of Athena Alea, as well as at Kommos.71 At Eretria, at the Aire sacrificielle, more than a fifth of the Archaic meal remains came from pigs.72

  • 73 The presence of such species in Greek sanctuaries is discussed in Ekroth, “Meat in ancient Greece”, (...)
  • 74 Kalapodi, p. 159, Diagram 6.
  • 75 Kalapodi, p. 162; Felsch, l.c. (n. 65), p. 196-197.

30Another interesting feature of the consumption deposits is the presence of occasional meat-bearing bones from wild fauna, such as red deer, fallow deer, roe deer and wild boars, but also from horses and dogs.73 These animals had been treated in the same manner as the cattle, ovicaprines and pigs and must represent consumption debris as well. At Kalapodi, around 6 % of bones from the Archaic levels in the sanctuary consisted of wild fauna, mainly red deer, fallow deer and roe deer.74 Most parts, no matter the species, came from the meat-bearing regions of the animals, such as back and fore legs and ribs, while vertebrae and sacrum bones were almost completely lacking.75 At Kalapodi, the divine portion may have been made up by the osphys of domesticated as well as of wild animals.

  • 76 For the division of the sacrificial victim into choice portions and equal portions as well as the d (...)
  • 77 The unburnt bones inside the temple at Halieis can be interpreted as priestly portions, for example (...)

31Though the parts lacking from the consumption debris can be imagined as having been burnt on the altars, we also have to consider the possibility that some of the thighs and other good and fleshy parts actually had been reserved as priestly perquisites and choice portions and therefore were removed. These parts may have been eaten separately from the rest of the meat from the animals sacrificed and the leftovers later dumped at a particular spot, or they could have been taken outside the sanctuary to be consumed or sold.76Therefore, what is lacking in the consumption debris cannot straightforwardly be taken as having been the god’s portion.77

  • 78 Kommos II, p. 678-679 and 683-685; Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441 and 446-449, and pl. 6.3­6.6.
  • 79 Kommos II, p. 675-679 and 683-684; Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 438-439, 444-445 and 447.
  • 80 Kommos II, p. 679 and 683.
  • 81 Kommos II, p. 684; Kommos I, Table. 6.1, p. 418-419, 427 and 431-432.

32One example may illustrate this situation. At Kommos there are three outdoor altars (U, H, C) which have yielded thigh bones and other bones from the back leg, as well as smaller quantities of ribs, vertebrae and fragments of fore legs and sculls from sheep, goats and cattle.78 Inside the Temples B and C there are hearths in which were also found the same types of bones but predominantly from sheep and goat as well as some remains of pig and very small quantities of cattle bones.79 This led the excavator to suggest that similar kinds of sacrifices took place both on the open air altars and on the indoor hearths, only with a distinction in species.80 However, it is also possible to see the bones on the indoor hearths as the remains of meals for priests and officials, who would have been given large, fleshy parts such as back legs. The interpretation of the hearth remains as dining refuse is also supported by the presence of fish bones, marine invertebrates and eggshells.81 The fact that thighs could have been removed from a sacrificial victim to be used as choice portions as well as to be burnt on the altar, makes it an uncertain business to base any chronological distinctions as to the popularity of thighs versus tails for the gods on the consumption debris alone.

Is there a norm?

33After looking at these bone assemblages, to which new examples are likely to be added in the future, it is clear that we can talk about a norm concerning the god’s portion burnt on the altar. The osteological material here supports the information of the textual and iconographical evidence that thigh bones and tails were the preferred parts to be burnt. But the bones also allow us to diversify our conception of this norm and trace variations within the execution of the ritual, both as to the choice of which parts to burn and the species sacrificed.

34The thigh bones were the preferred sections to put on the altar and the species chosen were usually ovicaprines apart from a few sanctuaries where cattle femora seem to have been the favoured bones. Cattle and sheep or goat caudal and lumbar vertebrae as well as sacra are on the whole rare in the altar deposits, a clear contrast to the predominance of tails on the Attic vase-paintings. The fact that sacra and vertebrae are sometimes missing in the consumption debris may indicate that these parts had been burnt for the gods, but they could also have been removed to be used as priestly perquisites or perhaps even as trash.

  • 82 The results of these experiments will be more fully discussed elsewhere.

35Pigs are scarce in the altar deposits and pig vertebrae and sacra are almost completely absent. Could this depend on a pig tail not rising and curving in the same manner as an oxtail and may this be the reason for not putting it in the fire? If that is the case, also the small number of tails from sheep and goats compared with the frequency of thigh bones of the same species may be due to the physical qualities of these parts. However, practical experiments with placing pig and sheep tails on a hot fire show that they indeed rise and curve just as the cattle tails do (Fig. 7).82

Fig. 7. Sheep tail (to the left) and pig tail (to the right) burning on a coal fire.

  • 83 Homer, Odyssey XIV, 419-438. On the distinctions of various degrees of “sacredness” of meat, see Ek (...)

36The scarcity of pig bones in the altar deposits in contrast to their presence in the consumption debris seems to indicate that although pigs were eaten in sanctuaries, they may not always have been sacrificed in the thysia manner. Pigs may have been ritually slaughtered by a different ritual than cattle, sheep and goats, as, for example, is the case in Eumaios’ sacrifice of a pig in the Odyssey, which involves the burning of hair and meat as well as the offering of cooked meat portions, but no cutting out of thigh bones or tails.83

  • 84 See Ekroth l.c. (n. 62), forthcoming; Jameson, Jordan, Kotansky, o.c. (n. 19), A 18-20, p. 38-39 an (...)

37The missing sacra and tail bones from wild animals in the consumption debris at Kalapodi may also indicate that the variety of species which could be sacrificed actually was greater than the texts, inscriptions and images let us know. Finally, other parts of the animal could sometimes join the thigh bones and the tails in the altar fire, though this seems to have been a less common practice. Altar deposits containing a greater variety of elements of the victims may represent a way of modifying a thysia, and it is possible that rituals such as theoxenia may have been acted out with bones, as well as with meat and other foodstuff. A link could here be made between the osteological evidence and burnt bones mentioned in the lex sacra from Selinous.84

Thigh bones

38From the osteological evidence considered here, it seems that thigh bones were the more common item to burn, though there are sanctuaries where the tail may have been the divine portion par excellence. The osphys is not mentioned before Aischylos’ Prometheus bound and it is rare in the Late Geometric and Archaic bone deposits. The burning of this part of the animal seems to become more popular in the Classical period when we also see the osphys depicted on the Attic vases. What does this mean?

  • 85 Athens, p. 65.
  • 86 The inscriptions mentioning the osphys as an honorary share for priests or other functionaries at s (...)

39If the geographical distribution is considered, it is clear that the Athenian texts, tragedies and comedies, often mention the osphys and the Attic vases represent this part of the victim being burnt on the altars. Among the burnt bones filling the early Classical altar of Aphrodite Ourania at Athens there was a large amount of tail vertebrae, as well as thigh bones.85 Possibly we may here be encountering a local Athenian cult preference for the osphys. However, it should be kept in mind that the Athenian corpus of texts and images vastly outshines that of any other region in this period, and that very few bone deposits have been published from Attica.86

40The date of the bone assemblages may be of greater relevance. In most of the early, well published deposits there is a dominance of thigh bones, a fact which is to be connected with Homer only speaking of meria. Hesiod’s account of Zeus’ and Prometheus’ dealings at Mekone only mentions white bones, ostea leuka, but this designation fits thigh bones better than an osphys which seems hard to strip of meat so completely that it becomes white. Possibly thigh bones constituted the original offering to be burnt to the gods at a thysia, later to be supplemented by the osphys.

  • 87 V. Isaakidou et al., “Burnt animal sacrifice at the Mycenaean ‘Palace of Nestor, Pylos”, Antiquity (...)

41If we continue back in time, there is additional support for the early popularity of the thigh bones. The existence of burnt animal sacrifice in the Aegean Bronze Age has long been disputed, but the publication some years ago of the bones from the Mycenaean palace at Pylos has provided new evidence.87 Here were found a number of burnt deposits consisting predominantly of mandibles, thigh bones and upper front legs from cattle and red deer. Knife marks indicate that the bones had been stripped of meat before being burnt and then deposited together with miniature pottery. This is not to be seen as a direct predecessor to the treatment of the thigh bones in the later thysia, but the evidence from Pylos in connection with Homer could at least support the notion that the burning of thigh bones was originally the predominant practice for the handling of the god’s portion at a Greek animal sacrifice.

  • 88 See Le Guen-Pollet l.c. (n. 4), p. 17-19; Gill, l.c. (n. 4), p. 127-133; D. Gill, Greek cult tables (...)
  • 89 Gebauer, o.c. (n. 3), p. 332-337; J.-L. Durand, “Le faire et le dire : vers une anthropologie des g (...)

42The choice of the femur may simply depend on the fact that it comes from the thigh which constitutes a very rich and fleshy part of the victim, which occupied an important symbolic role. In the Archaic and Classical periods, the back leg with the meat was often presented to the god on a sacred table near the altar, but the leg was also the priestly prerogative par excellence and the priest seems usually to have taken the meat which had been deposited for the god.88 Back legs being presented as gifts are also shown on a number of vase-paintings.89 Finally, the femur is the most prominent bone of the body as to size and is, in fact, easy to remove at butchering.

  • 90 Burkert, Homo necans (n. 3), p. 12-18; cf. Meuli, l.c. (n. 6), esp. p. 223-224.
  • 91 I. Théry-Parisot et al., “The use of bone as fuel during the palaeolithic, experimental study of bo (...)
  • 92 Théry-Parisot et al. le (n. 91), p. 51-57; cf. Berthiaume l.c. (n. 7), p. 245.
  • 93 Intact bones burn for a longer time than those which are fragmented, since in the latter case the f (...)

43I am not convinced that Walter Burkert’s explanation of the ritual structure of the thysia as deriving from the practices of Palaeolithic hunters will help explain the handling and burning of thigh bones at Greek sacrifices.90 Still, it is interesting to note that at many Palaeolithic sites animal bones actually seem to have been used as fuel.91 Recent experiments with burning fresh bones stripped of meat have demonstrated that they burn very well, contrary to what is often claimed.92 The bone fire has high, large and durable flames with an intense heat and there is rapid extinction of the embers.93 Such a short, spectacular fire would suit the practical requirements of a Greek thysia very well: to burn the god’s portion, grill the splanchna and then quench the fire quickly with a wine-water libation. Thus, an additional reason for choosing the thigh bones as the parts to be burnt may have been their combustible qualities. It should also be noted that these modem experiments establish that it was not necessary to cover the thigh bones in fat to make them burn. The fat wrapped around the meroi was rather there to create the thick and fragrant smoke, feasting the noses of the gods.

Osphys

44If the thigh bones represent the more ancient element of the god’s portion of the thysia, perhaps inherited from Mycenaean cult, where does the treatment of the osphys come from? This may be an old, indigenous practice as well, considering the evidence from Kalapodi, though the burning of the osphys seems to become more frequent in later periods and perhaps especially in certain regions.

  • 94 B. Bergquist, “Bronze Age sacrificial koine in the Eastern Mediterranean? A study of animal sacrifi (...)
  • 95 The thigh was also a prerogative of the officiating priest, see Leviticus 7:32; I. Samuel 9:24; J. (...)

45It has been suggested that the ritual actions of the thysia sacrifice could have been imported from the Near East or at least influenced from that region, considering the similarities in the sacrificial procedures, especially the use of fire as a means for effectuating the sacrifice.94 The Israelite ritual practices concerning thighs and tails do resemble the Greek ones, but a closer inspection indicates that there are important differences. The thigh, according to the Old Testament, may be singled out and burnt, but with the meat, and there is no indication of a particular treatment of the bones.95 In the Greek evidence the bare bones are prominent: to cut out the meroi and burn them is a practice which seems to have no equivalent in the Near East.

  • 96 Exodus 29:22; Leviticus 3:9, 7:3-4; 8:25; 9:18-20; Milgrom, o.c. (n. 95), p. 205-213; DE Vaux, o.c. (...)
  • 97 LXX, Leviticus 3:9; 7:3; 8:25. On the distinctions in the use of sacrificial terminology between th (...)
  • 98 Leviticus 3:9; Milgrom, o.c. (n. 95), p. 212-213. For the correspondences between the well-being sa (...)
  • 99 Milgrom, o.c. (n. 95), p. 211, argues that suet is to be understood as to include not only the fat (...)
  • 100 All the tails stipulated for burning in the sacrificial instructions in the Old Testament come from (...)

46The tail of the victim at Israelite sacrifices was cut off and burnt on the altar with the fat (the suet), the kidneys and the caudate lobe of the liver.96 The Septuagint even uses the term osphys for the tail part.97 Moreover, Leviticus specifies that at the selamim sacrifice of a sheep, the tail is to be completely removed with the sacrum attached to it.98 However, a distinction between the Greek and the Hebrew ways of handling the tail is the fact that at the Israelite sacrifices the tail is always burnt together with the kidneys, the caudate lobe of the liver and the rest of the suet.99 The tail by itself was apparently of no interest. The reason for burning the tail must have been that it contained a substantial amount of fat, as the Near Eastern sheep were of the broad tail kind, and this part placed in the fire together with the other pieces chosen would create a fragrant aroma pleasing the Lord, a result which was one of the purposes of the Israelite burnt sacrifices.100

  • 101 Jameson l.c. (n. 26), p. 60-61, fig. 3; van Straten o.c. (n. 3), p. 118-130.
  • 102 Aristophanes, Peace, 1053-1055, the explanation of the meaning of the tail is given in the scholia (...)
  • 103 Aischylos, Prometheus bound, 496-499; cf. van Straten o.c. (n. 3), p. 123-124.
  • 104 J. Milgrom, Leviticus 17-22. A new translation with introduction and commentary, New York, 2000 (Th (...)

47When an oxtail is put in the fire the heat will cause it to curve and rise; this has been demonstrated at archaeological experiments by Michael Jameson and this is also shown on a number of vase-paintings.101 At a Greek sacrifice, the curving tail apparently constituted a means for recognizing that the offerings had been well received by the gods and this is presumably the reason why Trygaios in Aristophanes’ Peace exclaims with relief when looking at the osphys at the altar: “The tail is doing nicely! ”102 Also Prometheus’ statement, in the play bearing his name, that he taught mankind to read signs from the burning thigh bones wrapped in fat and the long osphys can be taken as an indication of the divinatory quality of the performance of the tail.103 In the Old Testament, however, there is no allusion to observations of the tail’s behaviour while being burnt, nor that it was expected to rise. This may depend on the sheep kept in ancient Israel were of the broad tail type, having an exceptionally wide and fatty tail, which presumably would burn and smoke well, but perhaps could not curve and rise. The central feature of the burning of the tail was rather the creation of smoke. More importantly, Israelite animal sacrifice was a way of pleasing the Lord, not an attempt to divine his will or assuring that the sacrifice had been well received. Such actions were not needed in Israelite religion where the communication with God was reached through direct revelation.104

48If the handling of the osphys at Greek animal sacrifice was influenced by Israelite rituals, changes must have taken place, which encompassed not only modifications of what was actually done but also of its interpretation. It may be possible that the Greeks borrowed the practice of burning the tail for the gods from the East, but they came to use it with other kinds of victims and ascribed the ritual a different role and function, which suited the relationship between the Greek gods and their worshippers.

Concluding remarks

49Both thigh bones and tails were burnt as the god’s portion on the altar, of this we can be certain, and what to burn seems to have depended on the species of the victims and the comportments of the thigh bones and the tails when put in the fire. It is possible that the thigh bones were the older type of offering. The reason for choosing to burn thigh bones may depend on their quality as fuel, creating a spectacular fire, but also on this bone being highly symbolic as it comes from the part of the animal most rich in meat, which was important in the wider context of the thysia as an honorary gift to both gods and men.

  • 105 Predominantly hepatoscopy, see West, o.c. (n. 94), p. 46-51; W. Burkert, The orientalizing revoluti (...)

50The practice of burning the osphys seems gradually to have become more significant and this custom may to some extent have been influenced from the Near East. The movement of the tail in the fire was apparently important for divining the god’s response to the sacrifice. The use of this part may have been desired to increase the element of divination, a kind of procedure that the Greeks imported to a large extent from the Near East in the Early Iron Age though there practised by other means than tails.105 As a final, tentative suggestion, the scarcity of pigtails in the god’s portion is perhaps to be considered as an Eastern influence as well.

Captions

51Fig. 1. After F.T. van Straten, “The god’s portion in Greek sacrificial representations: Is the tail doing nicely?”, in R. Hägg, N. Marinatos, G.C. Nordquist (eds.), Early Greek cult practice. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute at Athens, 26-29 June, 1986, Stockholm, 1988, (ActaAth-4°, 38), p. 59, fig. 13.

52Fig. 2. Red-figure kylix, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum 1911.617. Photo museum.

53Fig. 3. Attic red-figure bell-krater, Paris, Louvre G 496. © 1973 Musée du Louvre/Maurice et Pierre Chuzeville.

54Fig. 4. After G. Forstenpointoer, “Promethean legacy: investigations into the ritual procedure of ‘Olympian’ sacrifice”, in E. Kotjabopoulou et al. (eds.), Zooarchaeology in Greece. Recent advances, Athens, 2003, fig. 21.6 : a. By permission of the author.

55Fig. 5. After G. Forstenpointoer, “Promethean legacy: investigations into the ritual procedure of ‘Olympian’ sacrifice“, in E. Kotjabopoulou et al. (eds.), Zooarchaeology in Greece. Recent advances, Athens, 2003, fig. 21.6 : a. By permission of the author.

56Fig. 6. Attic votive relief, Rhamnous inv. no. 102. Photo: Greek Archaeological Society at

57Athens.

58Fig. 7. Photo: author.

Annexes

Appendix

Abbreviations used for the osteological deposits representing altar debris or dining refuse

Asea E. Vila, “Bone remains from sacrificial places: the temples of Athena Alea at

Tegea and of Asea on Agios Elias (the Peloponnese, Greece) ”, in M. Mashkour et al. (eds.), Archaeozpology of the Near East IVB. Proceedings of the fourth international symposium on the archaeo^pology of southwestern Asia and adjacent areas, Groningen, 2000, p. 197-205.

Athens D.S. Reese, “Faunal remains from the altar of Aphrodite Ourania, Athens”, Hesperia 58 (1989), p. 63-70.

Ephesos I A. Bammer, F. Brein, P. Wolff, “Das Tieropfer am Artemisaltar von Ephesos”, in S. Şahin, E. Schwertheim, J. Wagner (eds.), Studien zur Religion und Kultur Kleinasiens, vol. 1. Festschrftfur Friedrich Karl Damer zum 65. Geburtstag am 28. Februar 1976, Leiden, 1978 (EPRO, 66), p. 107-157.

Ephesos II G. Forstenpointner, “Promethean legacy: investigations into the ritual procedure of ‘Olympian’ sacrifice”, in E. Kotjabopoulou et al. (eds.), Zooarchaeology in Greece. Recent advances, Athens, 2003 (British School at Athens, studies 9), p. 203-213.

Ephesos III G. Forstenpointner, “Demeter im Artemision? - Archàozoologische Uberlegungen zu den Schweineknochenfunden aus dem Artemision”, in U. Muss (ed), Der Kosmos der Artemis von Ephesos, Wien, 2001 (Osterreichisches Archàologisches Institut. Sonderschriften 37), p. 49-71.

Eretria J. Studer, I. Chenal-Velarde, “La part des dieux et celle des hommes :offrandes d’animaux et restes culinaires dans L’Aire sacrificielle nord”, in S. Huber, Eretria XIV. L’Aire sacrificielle au nord du sanctuaire d’Apollon Daphnéphoros, Basel, 2003, p. 175-185.

Isthmia E. Gebhard, D.S. Reese, “Sacrifices for Poseidon and Melikertes-Palaimon at Isthmia”, in R. Hägg, B. Ahlroth (eds.), Greek sacrificial ritual, Olympian and chthonian. Proceedings of the Sixth International Seminar on Ancient Greek Cult, organized by the Department of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Goteborg University, 25-27April 1997, Stockholm, 2005 (ActaAth-8°, 18), p. 125-154.

Kalapodi M. Stanzel, Die Tierreste aus dem Artemis-/Apollon-Heiligtum bei Kalapodi in Bootien/ Griechenland, Munchen, 1991.

Kommos I D.S. Reese, M.J. Rose, D. Ruscillo, “The Iron Age fauna”, in J.W. Shaw, M. Shaw (eds.), Kommos IV. The Greek sanctuary, Part 1, Princeton & Oxford, 2000, p. 415-646.

Kommos II J.W. Shaw, “Ritual and development in the Greek sanctuary” in J.W. Shaw, M. Shaw (eds.), Kommos IV. The Greek sanctuary, Part 1, Princeton & Oxford, 2000, p. 669-731.

Kourion S.J.M. Davis, “Animal sacrifices”, in D. Buitron-Oliver, The sanctuary of Apollo Hylates at Kourion: Excavations in the Archaicprecinct, Jonsered, 1996 (SIMMA, 109), p. 181-182.

Miletos J. Peters, A. von den Driesch, “Siedlungsabfall versus Opferreste: Essgewohnheiten im archaischen Milet”, MDAI(I) 42 (1992), p. 117-125.

Samos J. Boessneck, A. von den Driesch, Knochenabfall von Opfermahlen und Weihgaben aus dem Heraion von Samos (7. Jh. v. Chr.), Munchen, 1988.

Tegea E. Vila, “Bone remains from sacrificial places: the temples of Athena Alea at Tegea and of Asea on Agios Elias (the Peloponnese, Greece) ”, in M. Mashkour et al. (eds.), Archaeozoology of the Near East IVB. Proceedings of the fourth intematioond symposium on the archaeozoology of southwestern Asia atndadjacent areas, Groningen, 2000, p. 197-205.

Tenos M. Leguilloux, “Sacrifices et repas publics dans le sanctuaire de Poséidon à Ténos : les analyses archéozoologiques”, BCH 123 (1999), p. 423-455.

Thasos A. Gardeisen, “Sacrifices d’animaux à l’Hérakleion de Thasos”, BCH 120

(1996), p. 799-820.

Notes

1 On the contents and fonction of sacred laws, see R. Parker, “What are sacred laws?”, in E.M. Harris, L. Rubinstein (eds.), The law and the courts in ancient Greece, London, 2004, p. 57-70; E. Lupu, Greek sacred law. A collection of new documents (NGSL), Leiden, 2005 (RGRW152), p. 3-112.

2 See, for example, E. Kotjabopoulou et al. (eds.), Zooarchaeology in Greece. Recent advances, Athens, 2003 (British School at Athens studies 9), esp. Ephesos II, p. 203-213; M. Leguilloux, “Bibliographie archéozoologique”, ThesCRA I (2004), p. 64; D.S. Reese, “Faunal remains from Greek sanctuaries: A survey”, in R. Hägg, B. Alroth (eds.), Greek sacnficial ritual, Olympian and chthonian. Proceedings of the Sixth International Seminar on Ancient Greek Cult, organiztd by the Department of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Goteborg University, 25-27 April 1997, Stockholm, 2005 (ActaAth-8°, 18), p. 121-123; M. MacKinnon, “Osteological research in Classical archaeology”, AJA 111 (2007), p. 490-491; id., “Osteological research in Classical archaeology: Extended bibliography”, AJA 111 (2007), online, p. 17-19.

3 For the thysia, see W. Burkert, Homo necans. The anthropology of ancient Greek sacrificial ritual and myth, Berkeley, 1983 [1972], p. 1-7; W. Burkert, Greek religion. Archaic and Classical, London, 1985 [1977], p. 54-59; J. Rudhardt, Notions fondamentales de la pensée religieuse et actes constitutifs du culte dans la Grèce classique, Paris, 19922 [1958], p. 257-271; M. Detienne, J.-P. Vernant (eds.), The cuisine of sacrifice among the Greeks, Chicago/London, 1989 [1979]; S. Peirce, “Death, revelry, and thysid’, ClAnt 12 (1993), p. 219-260; F. van Straten, Hierà kalá. Images of animal sacrifice in Archaic and Classical Greece, Leiden, 1995 (RGRW, 127), passim; J. Gebauer, Pompe und Thysia. Attische Tieropferdarstellungen auf schwarz- und rotfigurigen Vasen, Münster, 2002 (Eikon 7), passim.

4 I am here only concerned with the portions burnt in the fire on the altar and not with the divine share of meaty parts which could be placed on a table next to the altar or occasionally on the altar, later usually to be taken by the priest, see B. Le Guen-Pollet, “Espace sacrificiel et corps des bêtes immolées. Remarques sur le vocabulaire désignant la part du prêtre dans la Grèce antique, de l’époque classique à l’époque impériale”, in R. Étienne, M.-Th. Le Dinahet (eds.), L’espace sacrificiel dans les civilisations méditerranéennes de l’antiquité. Actes du colloque tenu à la Maison de l’Orient, Lyon, 4-7juin 1988, Paris, 1991 (Publications de la bibliothèque Salomon-Reinach 5), p. 13-23; D. Gill, “Trapezpmata: A neglected aspect of Greek sacrifice”, HThR 67 (1974), p. 117-137. This is a different element of the ritual, which has to be kept separate in this context. Horns of animal victims could be kept and sometimes also burnt for the gods, see G. Forstenpointner, “Stierspiel oder Bocksgesang? Archàozoologische Aspekte zur Interpretation des Hornviehs als Opfertier in der Agàis”, in F. Blakolmer (ed.), Osterreichische Forschungen zur àgàischen Bronzezeit 1998, Wien, 2000 (Wiener Forschungen zur Archàologie, 3), p. 51-65.

5 Pausanias, I, 24, 2, stating that the meroi are cut out according to Greek custom and then burnt; cf. II, 11, 7; VIII, 38, 8. See also V. Pirenne-Delforge, Retour à la source. Pausanias et la religion grecque, Liège, 2008 (Kernos, suppl. 20), p. 193-195, 215.

6 K. Meuli, “Griechische Opferbràuche”, in Phyllobolia fur Peter von der Mùhll zum 60. Geburt-stag am 1. August 1945, Basel, 1946, p. 214-219; Burkert, Homo necans (n. 3), p. 6; J.-P. Vernant, “At man’s table: Hesiod’s foundation myth of sacrifice”, in M. Detienne, J.-P. Vernant (eds.), The cuisine of sacrifice among the Greeks, Chicago & London, 1989 [1979], p. 40-41; Rudhardt, o.c. (n. 3), p. 254.

7 G. Berthiaume, “L’aile ou les mena. Sur la nourriture carnée des dieux grecs”, in S. Georgoudi, R. Koch Piettre, F. Schmidt (eds.), La cuisine et l’autel. Les sacrifices en questions dans les sociétés de la Méditerranée ancienne, Paris, 2005 (Bibliothèque de l’École des Hautes Études. Sciences religieuses, 124), p. 241-251.

8 See G. Ekroth, “Burnt, cooked or raw? Divine and human culinary desires at Greek animal sacrifice”, in E. Stavrianopoulou, A. Michaels, C. Ambos (eds.), Transformations in sacrificialpractices. From antiquity to the modern times, Berlin, 2008, p. 88-93. For the extended burning of meat at Greek sacrifices, see also G. Ekroth, The sacrificial rituals of Greek hero-cults in the Archaic to the early Hellenisticperiods, Liège, 2002 (Kernos, suppl. 12), p. 217-242 and 328.

9 Meros does not seem to be used for the leg with meat in contexts of priestly perquisites, the terms used here being skelos or kole, see Le Guen-Pollet, l.c. (n. 4), p. 17-19.

10 D. Reese (Athens, p. 64), states that the bones from the altar of Aphrodite Ourania at Athens must have been burnt with the flesh still attached, due to the manner in which they have cracked and split. At a request from van Straten (o.c. [n. 3], p. 131, n. 50), Reese later clarified that wrapping the bare bones in fat could have had the same effect on the bones.

11 For the various meanings of osphys, see van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 128-130; F.T. van Straten, “The god’s portion in Greek sacrificial representations: Is the tail doing nicely? ”, in R. Hägg, N. Marinatos, G.C. Nordquist (eds.), Early Greek cult practice. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute at Athens, 26-29 June, 1986, Stockholm, 1988, (ActaAth-4°, 38), p. 60.

12 Hesiod, Theogony, 532-557. J. Rudhardt, “Les mythes grecs relatifs à l’instauration du sacrifice : les rôles corrélatifs de Prométhée et de son fils Deucalion”, MH 27 (1970), p. 1-15; Vernant, l.c. (n. 6); W. Potscher, “ΟΣΤΕΑ ΛΕΥΚΑ. Zur Formation und Struktur des olympischen Opfers”, GB 21 (1995), p. 32-33.

13 Cf. Hesiod, Work and days, 336-337; Meuli, l.c. (n. 6), p. 215-217; Vernant, l.c. (n. 6), p. 41; Potscher, le (n. 12), p. 32.

14 Homer, IliadI, 460-464; II, 423-425; Odyssey III, 456-459; van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 123. On top of the thigh bones small pieces of raw meat are scattered, omothetein, see Lupu, o.c. (n. 1), p. 167-168.

15 Also the gall bladder was burnt at this sacrifice, see van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 124.

16 Pausanias, I, 24, 2; VIII, 38, 8. Pausanias never mentions the osphys.

17 See van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 125-126.

18 See Le Guen-Pollet, l.c. (n. 4), p. 13-23; Gill, l.c. (n. 4).

19 M.H. Jameson, D.R. Jordan, R.D. Kotansky, A lex sacra from Selinous, Durham, 1993 (GRB monographs 11), A 19-20.

20 F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées de l’Asie Mineure, Paris, 1955 (Ecole française d’Athènes. Travaux et mémoires 9), no. 42, B 2; A. Verbanck-PiÉrard, “Le double culte d’Héraklès : légende ou réalité ? ”, in A.-F. Laurens (ed.), Entre hommes et dieux. Le convive, le héros, le prophète, Paris, 1989 (Lire lespolythéismes 2 = Centre de recherches d’histoire ancienne 86), p. 50.

21 Lupu, o.c. (n. 1), no. 3, l. 16-17 and commentary p. 166-168; E. Lupu, “Μασχαλίσματα: A note on SEG XXXV 113”, in D. Jordan, J. Traill (eds.), Lettered Attica. A day of Attic epigraphy, Athens, 2003 (Publications of the Canadian Archaeological Institute at Athens 3), p. 73-74. See also a regulation of the mysteries at Phanagoria at the Black Sea, 2nd century AD, mentioning meroi, see F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées des cités grecques, Paris, 1969 (École française d’Athènes. Travaux et mémoires 18), no. 89, 6 and 9.

22 Sokolowski, o.c. (n. 20), no. 46, 2 and 6, no. 50, 9 and 34, and no. 59, 2; Sokolowski, l.c. (n. 21), no. 96, 13-14; F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées des cités grecques. Supplément, Paris, 1962 (École française d’Athènes. Travaux et mémoires, 11), no. 93, 1.

23 van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 129, n. 42; Le Guen-Pollet le (n. 4), p. 20; A. Herda, Der Apollon-Delphinios-Kult in Milet und die Neujahrprozession nach Didyma, Mainz am Rhein, 2006 (Milesische Forschungen, 4), p. 66-67. N. Dimitrova, “Priestly prerogatives and hiera moird”, in A. Matthaiou, I. Polinskaya (eds.), Μικρὸς Ἱερομνήμων. Μελέτες ες μνήμην Michael H. Jameson, Athens, 2008, p. 251-257, identifies the hiera moira with the osphys.

24 Sokolowski, o.c.. (n. 21), no. 96, 13-14.

25 On the identification of this part, see van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 118-121; van Straten, l.c. (n. 11), p. 61-66; Gebauer, o.c. (n. 3), p. 352-443.

26 M.H. Jameson, “Sophocles, Antigone 1005-1022: An illustration”, in M. Cropp, E. Fantham, S.E. Scully (eds.), Greek tragedy and its legacy: Essayyspresented to D.J. Conacher, Calgary, 1986, p. 60-61 and fig. 3.

27 New York, MMA 41.162.4; van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), V191, fig. 125.

28 Gebauer, o.c. (n. 3), p. 443 and Bv 73-Bv 77.

29 Ephesos II, p. 212, fig. 21.7: a and b.

30 Paris, Louvre G 496; van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), V200, fig. 152; Jameson, l.c. (n. 26), p. 64, n. 15 (c); Gebauer, o.c. (n. 3), p. 406-407, B 43, fig. 268.

31 Ephesos II, p. 210-211, fig. 21.6: a-c.

32 A pillar from Thespiai depicts a bucranium with fillets on the front side and a mandible and a scull of a pig or a boar on the left and right sides respectively, see van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), R57, fig. 78, 4th/3rd century BC.

33 B. Petrakos, “νασκαφ Ραμνοντος”, Praktika 1979 (1981), p. 2, no. 102, pl. 3 b; van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), R47; A. Comella, I rilievi votivi greci di periodo arcaico e classico. Diffusione, ideologia, committenza, Bari, 2002 (Bibliotheca archaeologica 11), p. 220, Ramnunte 1.

34 H. Prückner, Die lokrischen Tonreliefs. Beitrag zur Kulturgeschichte von Lokri Epizephyrioi, Mainz am Rhein, 1968, p. 17-18, fig. 1.

35 van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 179; Ekroth, o.c. (n. 8), p. 283-284.

36 van Straten, o.c. (n. 3), p. 179.

37 See above, n. 2.

38 Cooking takes place in a maximum of 280° C and does not lead to the bones becoming burnt. By 400-700° C the bones will be charred while temperatures over 700° C cause calcination, see W. Prummel, “Animal husbandry and mollusc gathering”, in H. Reinder Reinders, W. Prummel (eds.), Housing in New Halos. A Hellenistic town in Thessaly, Greece, Lisse, 2003, p. 212­213. Roasting the meat only chars the outer ends of the bones as the meat protects the rest.

39 For boiling as the preferred cooking method, see G. Ekroth, “Meat, man and god. On the division of the animal victim at Greek sacrifices”, in MatthaiouPolinskaya, o.c. (n. 23), p. 274-276; G. Ekroth, “Meat in ancient Greece: Sacrificial, sacred or secular? ”, Food & History 5.1 (2007), p. 266-268; Ekroth, l.c. (n. 8), p. 98-100; cf. M. Detienne, Dionysos mis à mort, Paris, 1977, p. 174-182.

40 For the identification of butchering and marrow extraction, see D. Rixson, “Butchery evidence on animal bones”, Circaea 6 (1989), p. 49-62; cf. TENOS, p. 442-443, fig. 13; Thasos, p. 808-811, fig. 5.

41 The butchering refuse is often missing from the sanctuary contexts. At the 4th-century altar of Zeus/Jovis at Poseidonia, less than 1 % of the bones from the around 50 slaughtered cattle constituted feet and lower legs, M. Leguilloux, “L’hécatombe de l’ekklesiasterion de Poseidonia/Paestum. Le témoignage de la faune”, in S. Verger (ed.), Rites et espaces en pays celte et méditerranéen. Étude comparée à partir du sanctuaire d’Acy-Romance (Ardennes, France), Rome, 2000, p. 346.

42 Remains of burnt sacrifices can also be found mixed with unburnt bones, see Ephesos II, p. 206; Ephesos III, p. 55-70.

43 Asea p. 201; Athens, p. 65; Ephesos II, p. 206 and 208-209, fig. 21.2; Eretria, p. 176, Table 1; Kommos I, p. 416 and 450; Kourion, p. 181-182; Miletos, p. 118, Table 1, and p. 120, Fig. 1; Mytilene: Athens, p. 68; Tegea, p. 198-199.

44 Isthmia, p. 147 and 154, Table 3. After the temple was destroyed in ca 450 BC, there was a rise in the sacrifice of sheep, perhaps corresponding to a drop in the official sacrifices.

45 Isthmia, p. 149-142, Table 1; Kourion, p. 181-182; Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441 (Altar U), 446-447 (Altar H) and 448 (Altar C); Kommos II, p. 683-684; Miletos, p. 122, fig. 3, and p. 124­125; Ephesos I, p. 110 and 115. At the Aire sacrificielle at Eretria the pig bones from the altar deposit are unburnt and must be intrusions, see Eretria, p. 177, Table 2.

46 Athens, p. 68; Ephesos II, p. 208-209, fig. 21.2. At Asea, some burnt material may be from infant pigs or lambs, see Asea, p. 201. At the altar of Asklepios at Messene, around 40 % of the bones are pig, but the find context (rubbish pit near the altar?) and state of these bones are not specified in the publication, see G. Nobis, “Die Tierreste aus dem antiken Messene -Grabung 1990/91”, in M. Kokabi, J. Wahl (eds.), Beitràge zur Archàozpologie und Pràhistorischen Anthropologie. 8. Arbeitstreffen der Osteologen Konstanz 1993 im Andenken an Joachim Boessneck, Stuttgart, 1994 (Forschungen und Berichte zur Vor- und Friihgeschichte im Baden-Wurtemberg 53), p. 297-299, Table 4. The burnt evidence from Sarapeion C, Delos, contained 2,9 % pig bones but this deposit, 92 % of which was holocausted roosters, may be less relevant for Greek conditions, see M. Leguilloux, “Sarapeion C. Étude des restes fauniques”, BCH127 (2003), p. 507-508.

47 For deposits of piglet bones, see Mytilene, p. 209; N. Bookidis, R. Stroud, Corinth XVIII:3. The sanctuary of Demeter and Kore. Topography and architecture, Princeton, 1997, p. 98, Area D; cf. G. Forstenpointner, G.E. Weissengruber, A. Galik, “Tierreste aus frûheisenzeitlichen Schichten des Artemisions von Ephesos”, in B. Brandt, V. Gasser, S. Ladstätter (eds.), Synergia. Festschriftfur Friedrich Krinzjnger, Band I, Wien, 2005, p. 85-86. There are also assemblages of unburnt piglet bones, see Ephesos III, esp. p. 68. At the Demeter sanctuary at Cyrene, a deposit of unburnt hind limbs, primarily thigh bones and pelves, were found dumped with a large quantity of charcoal and ash, see P.J. Crabtree, J. Monge, “Faunal skeletal remains from Cyrene”, in D. White (ed.), The extramural sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Cyrene. Final reports, IV, Philadelphia, 1990, p. 118. This assemblage presumably represents some kind of offering, though not a thysia, as the bones were not burnt.

48 Ephesos I, p. 115, 145 and 149; Kommos I, p. 474 and Table 6.2, p. 441, 446-447 and 449; cf. Kommos II, p. 683-684; Kourion, p. 181-182; Isthmia, p. 144 and 149-152, Table 1.

49 Eretria, p. 177, Table 2.

50 Athens, p. 65 and 68.

51 Eretria, p. 177, Table 2.

52 Ephesos II, p. 206, Deposit HN, fig. 21.2, and p. 210.

53 Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441.

54 There are a few vertebrae fragments among the bones from the Sarapeion C, Delos, see Leguilloux, l.c. (n. 46), p. 508, fig. 9. The well studied Archaic bone assemblages from Ephesos included no elements of pig chines, see Ephesos II, p. 208-209, fig. 21.2.

55 Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441. The dominant type of bones was femora of ovicaprines, though some cattle thigh bones were also present.

56 Eretria, p. 177, Table 2; Kourion, p. 181-182. Altar U at Kommos, (ca 700-600 BC) contained a dominance of femora although there was a quantity of cattle vertebrae (predominantly caudal) as well, see Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441.

57 Forstenpointoer et al., l.c. (n. 47), p. 88-89. It should be noted that the sample is very small.

58 Isthmia, p. 149-152, Table 1.

59 Asea, p. 201-2. The cattle only seem to be represented by femora and patellae.

60 Athens, p. 65 and 68 (for the evidence from Mytilene).

61 Isthmia, p. 144-147 and 149-153, Tables 1 and 2.

62 See G. Ekroth, “Bare bones. Osteology and Greek sacrificial ritual”, in S. Hltch, I. Rutherford (eds.), Violent commensality: Animal sacrifice and its discourses in the ancient world, forthcoming.

63 Samos, p. 4-5, Tables 2 and 3, and p. 7 and 41.

64 Eretria, p. 177, Table 2; Tegea, p. 200, fig. 5-6; Thasos, p. 804-807; Tenos, p. 444-446, fig. 14-15, and 450-452; Amathous: Ph. Columeau, “Les restes de faune et la consommation des animaux sacrifiés”, in S. Fourrier, A. Hermary (eds.), Amathonte VI. Le sanctuaire d’Aphrodite, des origines au début de l’époque impériale, Athens, 2006, p. 168-169 and 171-172.

65 Kalapodi, p. 162; R.C.S. Felsch, “Opferhandlungen des Alltagslebens im Heiligtum der Artemis Elaphebolos von Hyampolis in den Phasen SH III C — Spàtgeometrisch”, in R. Laffineur, R. Hägg (eds.), Potnia. Deities and religion in the Aegean Bronze Age. Proceedings of the 8th international Aegean conference, Gà’teborg Goteborg University, 12-15 April 2000, Liège & Austin, 2001 (Aegeum 22), p. 196-197.

66 For example, at Eleutherna, see G. Nobis, “Αρχαιοζωολογική μελέτη στην Ελεθερνα της Κρήτης (ανασκαφές 1994-7): συμβολή στον προβληματισμό για την εξάπλωση των άγριων θηλαστικών σε αυτή τη ζωογεωγραφκή περιοχή”, in E. Kotjabopoulou et al. (eds.), Zooarchaeology in Greece. Recent advances, Athens, 2003, p. 98-99, Table 9.10; Lousoi, Phournoi settlement, see G. Forstenpointner, M. Hofer, “Geschôpfe des Pan — Archàozoologische Befunde zu Faunistik und Haustierhaltung im hellenistischen Arkadien”, in V. Mltsopoulos-Leon (ed.), Forschungen in der Peloponnes. Akten des Symposions anlàssich der Feier “100 Jahre Osterreichisches Archàologisches Institut Athen” Athen 5.3-7.3 1998, Athen, 2001 (Osterreichisches Archàologisches Institut. Sonderschriften, 38), p. 175.

67 Isthmia, p. 144.

68 Isthmia, p. 144-145. At Eretria, a series of hearths in front of the temple of Apollo contained burnt and unburnt bones of sheep and goats, as well as some remains of cattle and pigs, see I. Chenal-Velarde, “Des festins à l’entrée du temple ? Sacrifices et consommation des animaux à l’époque géométrique dans le sanctuaire d’Apollon à Erétrie, Grèce”, Archaeofauna 10 (2001), p. 25-35. As all parts are present, though with a lower number of femora, Chenal-Velarde (p. 34) suggests that the ovicaprines sacrificed at the Aire sacrificielle to the north-west of the temple may in fact have been cooked and eaten here.

69 Samos, p. 3-4, and 10; Tenos, p. 428 and fig. 2.

70 Corinth: Bookidis, Stroud, o.c. (n. 47), p. 78 and 243; N. Bookidis et al., “Dining in the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Corinth”, Hesperia 68 (1999), p. 17, 32-38 and 51-52; Ephesos III, p. 55-70, especially Deposit ZB; Cyrene: Crabtree, Monge, l.c. (n. 47), p. 114-115; Messene: G. Nobis, “Tieropfer aus einem Heroen- und Demeterheiligtum des antiken Messene (SW Peloponnes, Griechenland). Grabungen 1992 bis 1996”, Tier und Museum 5 (1997), p. 102-103, Table 4; cf. Knossos: M.R. Jarman, “Preliminary report on the animal bones”, in J.N. Coldstream (ed.), Knossos. The sanctuary of Demeter, Oxford, 1973 (British School at Athens, supplementary volume 8), p. 177-179.

71 Tenos, p. 426-427, Tables 1-2: pig bones make up 23,9 % of the osteological evidence from the sanctuary and 45 % of the kitchen debris, though the latter sample is very small; Kalapodi, p. 155: 10 % of the Geometric and 14 % of the Archaic bones are from pigs; Thasos, p. 804, Table 1 and p. 817-819, Lot 6: 17,5 % pigs; Tegea, p. 198-199: 10 % of the bones in Buildings 1, 2 and 3 and 20 % in area E1 came from pigs; Kommos I, p. 450, Table 6.3, p. 476 and 481: in the period ca 700-300 BC almost 17 % of the individuals found are pigs.

72 Eretria, p. 176, Table 1, and p. 179.

73 The presence of such species in Greek sanctuaries is discussed in Ekroth, “Meat in ancient Greece”, l.c. (n. 39), p. 256-260.

74 Kalapodi, p. 159, Diagram 6.

75 Kalapodi, p. 162; Felsch, l.c. (n. 65), p. 196-197.

76 For the division of the sacrificial victim into choice portions and equal portions as well as the distribution and consumption of these, see Ekroth, l.c. (n. 39), p. 259-284.

77 The unburnt bones inside the temple at Halieis can be interpreted as priestly portions, for example, see M.H. Jameson, “Sacrifice and animal husbandry in Classical Greece”, in C.R. Whittaker (ed.), Pastoral economies in Classical antiquity, Cambridge, 1988 (Cambridge Philological society, supplement 14), p. 93. The cattle bones around the altar of Zeus/Jovis at Poseidonia contained few femora, tibiae and humeri, perhaps removed for the god or for the worshippers, though a non-Greek execution of the sacrifice may also account for this pattern, see Leguilloux, l.c. (n. 41), p. 346-347 and 351.

78 Kommos II, p. 678-679 and 683-685; Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 441 and 446-449, and pl. 6.3­6.6.

79 Kommos II, p. 675-679 and 683-684; Kommos I, Table 6.2, p. 438-439, 444-445 and 447.

80 Kommos II, p. 679 and 683.

81 Kommos II, p. 684; Kommos I, Table. 6.1, p. 418-419, 427 and 431-432.

82 The results of these experiments will be more fully discussed elsewhere.

83 Homer, Odyssey XIV, 419-438. On the distinctions of various degrees of “sacredness” of meat, see Ekroth, “Meat in ancient Greece”, l.c. (n. 39), p. 260-272. The possibility of pigs not being sacrificed in a thysia manner was actually raised already by Meuli (l.c. [n. 6], p. 214, n. 1), though by him given a different explanation. I want to thank Robert Parker for bringing this to my attention.

84 See Ekroth l.c. (n. 62), forthcoming; Jameson, Jordan, Kotansky, o.c. (n. 19), A 18-20, p. 38-39 and 68-69.

85 Athens, p. 65.

86 The inscriptions mentioning the osphys as an honorary share for priests or other functionaries at sacrifices come from Asia Minor or the Aegean islands, see supra, n. 22; Dimitrova, l.c. (n. 23).

87 V. Isaakidou et al., “Burnt animal sacrifice at the Mycenaean ‘Palace of Nestor, Pylos”, Antiquity 76 (2002), p. 86-92; P. Halstead, V. Isaakidou, “Faunal evidence for feasting: Burnt offerings from the Palace of Nestor at Pylos”, in P. Halstead, J.C. Barrett (eds.), Food, cuisine and society inprehistoric Greece, Oxford, 2004 (Sheffieldstudies in Aegean archaeology, 5), p. 136-154.

88 See Le Guen-Pollet l.c. (n. 4), p. 17-19; Gill, l.c. (n. 4), p. 127-133; D. Gill, Greek cult tables, New York & London, 1991 (Harvard dissertations in classics), p. 15-19.

89 Gebauer, o.c. (n. 3), p. 332-337; J.-L. Durand, “Le faire et le dire : vers une anthropologie des gestes iconiques”, in J.-C. Schmitt (ed.), Gestures, London, 1984 (History and anthropology 1:1), p. 24-48; V. Tsoukala, “Legs of meat and civic identity on late 6th- and 5th-century B.C. Attic vases”, Hesperia 78 (2009), forthcoming.

90 Burkert, Homo necans (n. 3), p. 12-18; cf. Meuli, l.c. (n. 6), esp. p. 223-224.

91 I. Théry-Parisot et al., “The use of bone as fuel during the palaeolithic, experimental study of bone combustible properties”, in J. Mulville, A.K. Outram (eds.), The zpoarchaeology of fats, oils, milk and dairying. Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the International Council of Archaeozoology, Durham, August 2002, Oxford, 2005, p. 50-51; see also E. Specht, “Prometheus und Zeus. Zum Ursprung des Tieropferrituals”, Tyche 10 (1995), p. 212-213 and 217.

92 Théry-Parisot et al. le (n. 91), p. 51-57; cf. Berthiaume l.c. (n. 7), p. 245.

93 Intact bones burn for a longer time than those which are fragmented, since in the latter case the fat in the marrow is quickly consumed by the fire. The French scholars conducting these experiments concluded that bone as a fuel is not suitable for the maintenance of a fire or for indirect cooking, since it does not produce embers in the same way as a wood fire does, see Théry-Parisot et al, l.c. (n. 91), p. 54.

94 B. Bergquist, “Bronze Age sacrificial koine in the Eastern Mediterranean? A study of animal sacrifice in the ancient Near East”, in J. Quaegebeur (ed.), Ritual and sacrifice in the ancient Near East: Proceedings of the International Conference organized by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven from the 17th to the 20th of April 1991, Leuven, 1993 (Orientalia Lovaniensia analecta, 55), p. 11-43; R. de Vaux, Les sacrifices de l’Ancien Testament, Paris, 1964 (Les cahiers de la Revue biblique, 1), p. 46-47; D. Gill, “Thysia and selamim: Questions to R. Schmid’s Das Bundesopfer in Israel’, Biblica 47 (1966), p. 255-262; W. Burkert, ”Greek tragedy and sacrificial ritual“, GRBS 7 (1966), p. 102, n. 34; Burkert, Homo necans (n. 3), p. 9-10; idem, Greek religion (n. 3), p. 51; M.L. West, The east face of Helicon. West Asiatic elements in Greek poetry and myth, Oxford, 1997, p. 38-42; Rudhardt, l.c. (n. 12), p. 3, n. 7; J. Mllgrom, Leviticus 23-27. A new translation with introduction and commentary, New York, 2000 (The Anchor Bible), p. 2464.

95 The thigh was also a prerogative of the officiating priest, see Leviticus 7:32; I. Samuel 9:24; J. Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16. A new translation with introduction and commentary, New York, 1991 (The Anchor Bible), p. 531; DE Vaux, o.c. (n. 94), p. 32 and 35.

96 Exodus 29:22; Leviticus 3:9, 7:3-4; 8:25; 9:18-20; Milgrom, o.c. (n. 95), p. 205-213; DE Vaux, o.c. (n. 94), p. 32.

97 LXX, Leviticus 3:9; 7:3; 8:25. On the distinctions in the use of sacrificial terminology between the Hebrew and the Greek text of the Old Testament, see G. Dorival, “L’originalité de la Bible grecque des Septante en matière de sacrifice”, in Georgoudi, Koch Piettre, Schmidt (eds.), o.c. (n. 7), p. 309-315.

98 Leviticus 3:9; Milgrom, o.c. (n. 95), p. 212-213. For the correspondences between the well-being sacrifice, selamim, and the thysia, see Milgrom, o.c. (n. 94), p. 2464; de Vaux, o.c. (n. 94), p. 46-47.

99 Milgrom, o.c. (n. 95), p. 211, argues that suet is to be understood as to include not only the fat but also the kidneys, caudate lobe of the liver and the tail.

100 All the tails stipulated for burning in the sacrificial instructions in the Old Testament come from sheep. Herodotos (III, 113) comments on the extraordinary length and width of the tails of the Arabian sheep, which were also reported by early modern geographers in Palestine, see Milgrom, o.c. (n. 95), p. 211-212. It has been suggested that if the sheep sacrificed at Greek thysiai were of the broad tail kind, the fat from the tail could have been used for wrapping the thigh bones, see Miletos, p. 125.

101 Jameson l.c. (n. 26), p. 60-61, fig. 3; van Straten o.c. (n. 3), p. 118-130.

102 Aristophanes, Peace, 1053-1055, the explanation of the meaning of the tail is given in the scholia (ad Peace 1053).

103 Aischylos, Prometheus bound, 496-499; cf. van Straten o.c. (n. 3), p. 123-124.

104 J. Milgrom, Leviticus 17-22. A new translation with introduction and commentary, New York, 2000 (The Anchor Bible), p. 1686-1689.

105 Predominantly hepatoscopy, see West, o.c. (n. 94), p. 46-51; W. Burkert, The orientalizing revolution. Near Eastern influence on Greek culture in the early Archaic age, Cambridge, Mass., 1992 (Revealing antiquity, 5), p. 46-53.

Notes de fin

1 For the abbreviations used for the osteological deposits, see the Appendix. This article is part of a project funded by the National Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. I would like to thank Scott Scullion for commenting on the text as well as correcting the English.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 1. Bovine skeleton.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/562/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 2,0M
Légende Fig. 2. The burning of the osphys in the fire on the altar.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/562/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,2M
Légende Fig. 3. Amorphous bundle being placed in the altar fire.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/562/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 3,1M
Légende Fig. 4. Sheep’s thigh bones and omentum.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/562/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 152k
Légende Fig. 5. Experimentally formed bundle using speciments from Fig. 4.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/562/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Légende Fig. 6. Possible case of osphys.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/562/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 908k
Légende Fig. 7. Sheep tail (to the left) and pig tail (to the right) burning on a coal fire.
URL http://books.openedition.org/pulg/docannexe/image/562/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,3M

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