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Héros et héroïnes dans les mythes et les cultes grecs

 | 
Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge
, 
Emilio Suárez de la Torre

Offerings of Blood in Greek Hero-Cults

Gunnel Ekroth

Texte intégral

  • 1 J.N. Coldstream, Hero-cults in the age of Homer, in JHS, 96 (1976), p. 8.

1In a now classic paper from 1976, Nicholas Coldstream stated, “Greek hero-worship has always been a rather untidy subject, where any general statement is apt to provoke suspicion”.1 This is indeed true and the schematic view that has characterized the study of the sacrificial rituals of Greek hero-cult is therefore the more surprising.

  • 2 For the traditional notion of the sacrificial practices of hero-cults see, for example, F. Deneken(...)

2According to standard opinion, heroes had sacrificial rituals distinct from those of the gods and linked instead to the cult of the dead and the chthonian divinities.2 The heroes have been considered as receiving holocaustic sacrifices on a particular altar called eschara, offerings of blood in bothroi and prepared meals, consisting of the same kind of food as that eaten by humans. Most important, it was forbidden to eat of the animals sacrificed in their cult. Even though thysia sacrifices, at which the worshippers dined on the meat, are known from hero-cults, these have been looked upon as rare instances, usually explained as later influences from the cult of the gods or as indications of these heroes not having died a proper death, but simply having disappeared or been swallowed by the ground.

  • 3 A.D. Nock, The cult of heroes, in HThR, 37 (1944), p. 141-147; see also A. Verbanck-Piérard, Le do (...)
  • 4 The epigraphical and literary evidence is discussed in my dissertation, The sacrificial rituals of (...)
  • 5 On the contents of theoxenia rituals, see M.H. Jameson, Theoxenia, in R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek (...)
  • 6 See Ekroth, op. cit. (n. 4), p. 13-56; Ead., Altars on Attic vases: the identification of bomos an (...)

3This generalized picture of the sacrificial practices in hero-cults has been questioned, particularly by Arthur Darby Nock in 1944, and it is possible to question it from many angles.3 As I have argued elsewhere, a closer and more critical evaluation of the sources shows that the main ritual practiced in hero-cults in the Archaic and Classical periods was a thysia sacrifice followed by dining.4 This ritual could be modified by a theoxenia element, i.e. by the presentation of a table with prepared food and a couch,5 and, more rarely, by a particular handling of the blood of the victim or by a partial destruction of the meat, or even be completely replaced by a holocaust. Furthermore, the terms eschara and bothros have little or no bearing on hero-cults before the Roman period.6 In all, the sacrificial rituals of the heroes seem, with few exceptions, to have been the same as those of the gods.

4To argue for a more varied approach to hero-cults, I have chosen to concentrate on one of the rituals considered as typical for the sacrificial practices of hero-cults: offerings of animal blood. The evidence for this kind of ritual will be discussed, based on the epigraphical and the literary sources from the Archaic and Classical periods, in order to demonstrate that offerings of blood were rare rituals, which in each case formed part of thysia sacrifices concluded by a meal for the worshippers. The possible purpose and function of the blood rituals within these contexts will also be touched upon.

  • 7 For the vocabulary, see J. Casabona, Recherches sur le vocabulaire des sacrifices en grec des orig (...)
  • 8 The term enagizein and its related nouns enagisma and enagismos seem rather to have referred to a (...)

5To define the extent of offerings of blood in hero-cults in the Archaic and Classical periods, the starting point must be the vocabulary of Greek ritual, since this is our only way of knowing that such rituals were performed.7 A number of terms could be used to cover rituals connected with the blood of the sacrificial victim: the group connected with sphazein and sphagia, the group around temnein and entemnein and the very rare term haimakouria.8

  • 9 Pindar, Ol. I, 90-93: νῦν δ’ ἐν ἀἱμακουρίαισ ἀγλααῖσι μέμικται, ᾿Aλφεοῦ πόρῳ κλιθείς τύμβον ἀμφίπο (...)

6When discussing the evidence, it is useful to begin with the clearest case, the cult of Pelops at Olympia, as described in the first Olympian Ode by Pindar.9 Here, Pelops is said to partake in the splendid offerings of blood, αἱμακουρίαις ἀγλααῖσι μέμικται, as he reclines by the course of the Alpheos, ᾿Aλφεοῦ πόρῳ κλιθείς, having his much-attended tomb, τύμβον ἀμφίπολον, near the altar thronged by visiting strangers, παρὰ πολυξενωτάτῳ βωμῷ.

  • 10 D. Gerber, Pindar’s Olympian one- a commentary, Toronto, 1982 (Phoenix, suppl. 15), p. 141-142; Ca (...)
  • 11 Plut., Vit. Arist., 21, 5; Hesych., s.v. αἱμακουρία (Latte); Etym. Magn., s.v. αίμακουρία (Gaisfor (...)
  • 12 This theme has been developed by Gerber, op. cit. (η. 10), p. 141-144, who points to the analogy b (...)
  • 13 On the contents of theoxenia, see supra, n. 5.

7Haimakouria must be cosidered as referring to an offering of blood.10 This terni is highly unusual and seems to have been a local Boiotian word, which, apart from this instance in Pindar, is only found once in Plutarch and in a few léxica from late antiquity.11 Pelops can be envisioned as reclining (klitheis), not only as a dead person put to rest in his grave, but as an invited guest at a banquet.12 A further reference to banquets is found in memiktai: Pelops participates or partakes of the haimakouriai. It is thus possible to see Pelops as being honoured with a theoxenia ceremony, at which he is presented with the haimakouria.13 As the invited guest of honour he reclines, but he is drinking the blood of the animal victims instead of wine. The haima-kouria forms part of the theoxenia and, since blood was offered, animal sacrifice must have taken place as well. There is, however, nothing in Pindar’s text which indicates a holocaust and the meat of these victims was probably eaten.

  • 14 Gerber, op. cit. (η. 10), p. 144-145. The scholia on this passage either identify the altar as tha (...)
  • 15 Gerber, op. cit. (η. 10), p. 144.
  • 16 Pausanias (V, 13, 2) also describes a ritual including dining: the neck of the sacrificial victim (...)

8Of great interest for the treatment of the meat at this sacrifice is the bomos near which Pelops is reclining (1. 93). This altar has usually been understood as the famous ash altar of Zeus, but Gerber, in his commentary of the ode, interprets the altar as that of Pelops.14 He further suggests that polyxenotatos may be understood as meaning both “visited by many foreigners” and “entertaining many guests” and that amphipolon, usually translated as “much visited”, could be a reference to amphipoloi, i.e. the servants bringing food and drink.15 This would mean that both the tomb and the altar of Pelops were much visited and also entertained many guests, which of course is possible only if the sacrifices to Pelops were thysiai with dining for the worshippers. Thus, it is possible to envision the Pindar passage as reflecting three kinds of rituals: an offering of blood (haimakouria), theoxenia and thysiai followed by dining. The haimakouria and the theoxenia were both, however, part of the thysia sacrifice, at which the worshippers dined on the meat from the sacrificial victims, which had been sacrificed to Pelops on his bomos16 The thysia was the major ritual which was modified by the haimakouria and the theoxenia.

  • 17 Thuc, V, 11: Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα τòν Βρασίδαν οἱ ξύμμαχοι πάντες ξὺν ὅπλοις ἐπισπόμενοι δημοσία ἔθαψαν ἐ (...)
  • 18 Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 226-229; Rudhardt, op. cit. (n. 2), p. 285-286; P. Stengel, Opferbrá (...)
  • 19 I. Malkin, Ritual and colonization in ancient Greece, Leiden, 1987 {Studies in Greek and Roman rel (...)

9The next case of an offering of blood to a hero is the cult of Brasidas at Amphipolis, described by Thucydides.17 The Spartan general, who fell when defending the city, was buried at the Agora and considered as the new founder of Amphipolis. The Amphipolitans instituted a cult consisting of various kinds of sacrifices and honours: ὡς ἥρῳ τε ἐντέμνουσι καί τιμὰς δεδώκασι ἀγῶνας καί ἐτησίους θυσίας. Of central interest is the term entemnein, a technical term meaning to cut the throat of the animal victim without any bearing on what was done with the meat afterwards.18 It has been suggested that Brasidas received two kinds of cults, which should be viewed as being juxtaposed rather than antithetic: έντέμνουσι referring to a continuous cult of a more popular kind, while δεδώκασι ἀγῶνας καί ἐτησίους θυσίας meant the institution of a solemn, annual, state cult with sacrifices and games.19 This interpretation, however, does not account for the technical meaning of the term entemnein as “cutting the throat of the animal” and it seems strange to assume that the popular and ongoing worship of Brasidas would consist of a sacrifice which emphasized the slaughtering and bleeding of the animal, even when such sacrifices may also have been followed by dining.

  • 20 Cf. Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 128 and 226.

10It is better to view the whole ritual as one sacrificial complex, consisting of different parts. Entemnein must refer to a blood ritual: the cutting of the throats of the victims and disposing of the blood, presumably on the tomb of Brasidas.20 This offering of blood formed an initial part of the sacrifice, which was then concluded as at a regular thysia, i.e. the burning of the hero’s share of the victims and the dining on the meat by the worshippers.

  • 21 Brasidas was not the actual founder of Amphipolis but took over the role of oikist from Hagnon who (...)
  • 22 Malkin, op. cit. (n. 19), p. 203. Malkin (p. 193) further defines the cult of the oikist as a hero (...)
  • 23 The cult to Brasidas is also mentioned by Aristotle (Eth. Nic, 1134b), who speaks of the cult as τ (...)

11Brasidas was buried in the centre of the city and his cult was a state festival, an event likely to have centred on ritual dining. One further reason to argue that the thysiai refer to sacrifices ending with a banquet may be found in the fact that the principal title given to Brasidas was oikistes.21 The cult of an oikist was of major importance for the identity of a city and it is likely to have involved ritual meals on a grand scale, with the purpose of integrating all members of society22. Thus, thysiai can be taken to refer to these meals which took place in connection with the annual sacrifices.23

  • 24 LSS, 64, 7-15 = J. Pouilloux, Recherches sur l’histoire et les cultes de Thasos, vol. 1. De la fon (...)

12The third case, which is the only epigraphically attested instance, concerns the cult of the war dead soldiers on Thasos, the Agathoi, recorded in a mid-4th century BC inscription.24 The Agathoi were to be given a worthy funeral, their names inscribed publicly and their fathers and children invited when the city sacrifices to the Agathoi (ὅταν ἡ πόλις ἐντέμνηι τοῖς ᾿Aγαθοῖς, 1. 10-11) and be given seats of honour at the games. Furthermore, there was to be financial compensations for the sons and daughters of the Agathoi (1. 16-22).

  • 25 Cf. Pouilloux, op. cit. (n. 24), p. 373-374; Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), 227; commentary to LSS, 64 (...)
  • 26 LSS, 64, commentary on 1. 12; cf. Pouilloux, op. cit. (η. 24), p. 374.

13From the use of entemnein, the same term as in the case of Brasidas, it is clear that the blood of the victims must have been of importance at this sacrifice. Even though no other term is given for the sacrificial activity in the Thasian inscription, the entemnein sacrifice is likely to have been followed by a banquet, since the fathers and the children of the Agathoi are explicitly invited to come there.25 To invite the relatives of these war dead to attend a ceremony at which the animal victims were simply killed and destroyed, and then send them home hungry and empty-handed, would seem strange, particularly since the sacrifice was part of the compensations for the relatives of those killed in war. Moreover, the economic compensation for the relatives was the same as that given to the timochoi, citizens receiving particular benefits, which seem to have included, among other things, contributions of food for a certain period or permanently26. The sacrifice to the Agathoi may rather have been initiated by a ritual focusing on the victims’ blood covered by the term entemnein, and after that action had been performed, the meat of the victims was treated as at a thysia and eaten, a ritual so self-evident that it apparently did not have to be elaborated on in the inscription. Among the participants in this meal, the relatives of the Agathoi must have occupied a prominent position.

  • 27 Fr. 65, I. 77-94 (Austin); for commentary and translation, see also MJ. Cropp, Erechtheus, in Euri (...)

14The last case to be considered is found in a fragment of the Erechtheus by Euripides and concerns sacrifices to both Erechtheus himself and to his daughters.27 At the end of the play, Erechtheus has been killed by Poseidon and one of his daughters sacrificed, while the other two have committed suicide. Athena outlines the future sacrificial rituals the Athenians are to perform.

  • 28 Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 77-89 (Austin):
    ... τοῖς ἐμοίς ἀστο[ῖς λέγ]ω
    ἐνιαυσίαις σφας μὴ λελησμ[ένου (...)
  • 29 Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 174-178.
  • 30 Casabona, ibid., p. 189 and 336-337. See also Jameson, art. cit. (η. 7), p. 197-227.
  • 31 For the translation of bouktonoi, see Cropp, art. cit. (η. 27), p. 192, 1. 79, who compares boukto (...)
  • 32 On the Erechtheus as a reflection of the actual cult performed at Athens, see J.D. Mikalson, Honor (...)

15The daughters of Erechtheus, now called the Hyakinthids, are to receive two sets of sacrifices.28 First of all, they are to be honoured annually with thysiai and the slaughter of oxen (σφαγαῖσι [βουκ]τόνοις), as well as with dances of young maidens. The term sphage, which is used for wounds, killings, massacres and suicides, refers, in connection with sacrifices, to the actual gesture of killing the animal victim by cutting its throat.29 Sphage differs from sphagia (used for battle-line sacrifices, for example), since the latter could mean a separate ritual, a sacrifice of blood never followed by a meal.30 In the Erechtheus, the sphage rather forms part of the thysia and it is possible that it is a regular thysia sacrifice which is referred to. On the other hand, since the both terms are explicitly mentioned, they can be taken to refer to two kinds of sacrificial actions, which, however, were performed jointly involving the same victims. Thysiai covers the main ritual, consisting of animal sacrifice ending with dining, an interpretation which is strengthened by the fact that, on the same occasion, the sacred dances of the maidens took place. Even though sphage could form a part of any regular animal sacrifice, the specification of the sphagai as bouktonoi, “ox-slaying slaughters”, may be taken as a highlighting of the blood of the victims at this particular sacrifice.31 The detailed terminology of the passage may be seen as a desire to show that, in this case, the ritual differed from an ordinary thysia, since the blood was of particular importance.32

  • 33 Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 81-86 (Austin).

16The second set of sacrifices was to be performed to the Hyakinthids in case of war, when the Athenians were first to offer them a sacrifice preliminary to battle (or “before taking up the spear of war”, θύειν πρότομα πολεμίου δορός), not using any vine-wood nor libating any wine on the altar (pyra), but instead pouring out honey and water.33 Furthermore, the sanctuary of the Hyakinthids was to be an abaton, and any enemies must be prevented from secretly sacrificing (thyein) there, in order to bring victory to themselves and misery to the Athenians (1. 87-89).

  • 34 U. Kron, Die zehn attischen Phylenheroen. Geschichte, Mythos, Kult und Darstel-lungen, Berlin, 197 (...)
  • 35 Cropp, art. cit. (η. 27), p. 193, 1- 83, with references to J. Wilkins (ed.), Euripides. Heraclida (...)
  • 36 See Jameson, art. cit. (n. 7), p. 205.
  • 37 Whether the temporary protoma sacrifices and the annual thysia took place at the same location can (...)

17Of particular interest in this passage is the term protoma, which is a hapax. Most commentators have taken protoma to mean a sacrifice before battle.34 The translation “pre-cuttings” of sacrificial victims has also been suggested and the ritual would then be equated with the battle-line sphagia performed just before the armies clashed.35 However, at war sphagia in the true sense, no libations were poured, no fire was lit and no altar was used.36 Since honey and water were to be poured out at the protoma and an altar (pyrd) is mentioned, this sacrifice seems rather to have been performed in Athens before the army took the field, perhaps at the a bat on of the Hyakinthids, than on the actual battle ground.37

  • 38 See LSJ, s.v. for references.
  • 39 See Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 227-229; entorna is also very rare and is only attested twice in (...)

18The contents of the protoma remain obscure but it is tempting to connect protoma with temnein, “to cut”, and especially with protemnein, meaning “to cut off beforehand”, even if this term does not seem to have been used in a religious sense.38 Protemnein-protoma can be compared to entemnein-entoma, the latter being the noun corresponding to entemnein and meaning either the victims, whose throats one cuts to make the blood flow into something, or the equivalent rituals.39 If there is a connection with protemnein and the analogy with entemnein-entoma is to be considered valid, protoma may have been a ritual consisting of the killing and bleeding of the victim performed before another action, for example, going to war.

  • 40 LSJ, s.v. Cf. τόμος (slice, piece). Cf. also the rhyta consisting of an animal’s head or protome w (...)
  • 41 Hom., Od., XI, 35. D.D. Hughes, Human sacrifice in ancient Greece, London/New York, 1991, p. 52 an (...)

19Another possibility is to connect protoma with προτομή, the front part which is cut off, especially the head of an animal.40 In that case, protoma may refer to a ritual at which the entire head of the victim was cut off, in order to bleed the animal dry, and not just the throat. Such a ritual is perhaps what is referred to in the Odyssey, in which Odysseus’ slaugther and bleeding of sheep over a bothros as a part of his descent into Hades is described by the verb άποδειροτομείν, an action which may have involved the decapitation of the victims.41

  • 42 Thyein covers the ritual opposite to pouring out a libation and never seems to refer exclusively t (...)
  • 43 This sacrifice is probably the same as that referred to in a fragment of Philochoros (328 F 12 Jac (...)

20No matter which direct actions were covered by protoma, it is clear that this sacrifice deviated from a regular thysia in several respects. Vine wood was not allowed for the sacrificial fire and the usual libations of wine were to be replaced with honey and water. The offerings are likely to have consisted of animal victims though, since both thyein and spendein are used, as well as the mention of an altar, pyra, and, albeit in a negative sense, fire-wood.42 It is thus possible to interpret this sacrifice as a thysia, modified by libations of honey and water instead of wine and possibly also by an offering of blood (protoma), but still followed by dining, since the ritual was performed at Athens and should not be understood as battle-line sphagia.43

  • 44 Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 90-94 (Austin):
    90 σηκòν ἐν μέσηι πόλει
    τεῦξαι κελεύω περιβόλοισι λαΐνοις
    κε (...)
  • 45 On the complex question of the merging of Erechtheus and Poseidon in the cult, see, for example, K (...)
  • 46 For the translation, see Cropp, art. cit. (n. 27), p. 193, 1. 93-94.
  • 47 On phone, see LSJ, s.v. for references; cf. J.-P. Vernant, Mortals and immortals. Collected essays (...)
  • 48 Casabona, op. cit. (η. 7), p. 140-142. Cf. Harmodios of Lepreum (319 F 1 Jacoby), who speaks of th (...)
  • 49 Sacrifices to Erechtheus are mentioned in the Iliad (II, 550-551) as ταύροισι καì ἀρνειοῖς ίλάοντα (...)

21In the same Euripides fragment are also outlined the sacrifices to Erechtheus himself, which also may have contained an offering of blood but the terminology is less explicit in this case.44 Athena instructs Praxithéa (and the Athenians) to build a precinct with a stone enclosure in the middle of the city (σηκòν ἐν μέσηι πόλει τεῦξαι... περνβόλοισι λαΐνοις). In the cult, Erechtheus is to be called Poseidon, surnamed Erechtheus, as a recollection of him being killed by the god.45 The sacrifices are called phonai bouthytoi, “ox-sacrificing slaughters".46 The term phone is usually used for carnage and bloodshed by slaying, often on the battlefield, and is perhaps to be taken as an indication that the blood of the victims was of particular importance also at these sacrifices.47 The rest of the ritual was probably a regular thysia, since the phonai are specified as bouthytoi, a term used for a major, solemn sacrifice followed by dining, often in a context of games and festivals and later almost being an equivalent to a hecatomb.48 Thus, it is possible that the sacrifices to Erechtheus followed a ritual scheme corresponding to that of the Hyakinthids, namely a thysia modified by a blood ritual.49

  • 50 The traditional notion that all of the blood at a regular thysia was either poured on the altar or (...)

22This is the extant evidence for offerings of blood in hero-cults in the written sources from the Archaic and Classical periods. The handling of the blood of the victims can in all cases be shown to form part of a larger sacrificial complex, where the other rituals are indicated by a different terminology or by the context. The main ritual in each case was a thysia, which was modified by an offering of blood, but still concluded by collective consumption for the worshippers.50 Since the killing of the animal of course had to precede the handling of the meat, the blood rituals are likely to have initiated these sacrifices. The haimakouria was an offering of blood and the entemnein sacrifices, the sphagai bouktonoi, the protoma and the phonai bouthytoi probably also denoted the same kind of ritual, which in the case of the protoma may also have meant that the victim was decapitated.

  • 51 Pindar, Ol. I, 93; Thuc, V, 11; Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 68 (Austin).
  • 52 LSS, 64, 2-4; Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 59-60 (Austin).
  • 53 Cf. Casabona, op. cit. (η. 7), 226. Pausanias (V, 13, 2) speaks of Herakles sacrificing {thyein) i (...)
  • 54 For the cult of Erechtheus in the northern portico of the Erechtheion and the altar, see J.M. Pato (...)

23The sources in which the offerings of blood are found also mention the tomb or the burials of the heroes: the tymbos of Pelops, the burial and the mnemeion of Brasidas at Amphipolis, the taphos chthonos of the Hyakinthids.51 The Agathoi were publicly buried and Erechtheus had also been confined to earth.52 As for the actual execution of the ritual, the blood may have been poured onto the tomb of the hero, perhaps into a pit dug out for that particular purpose.53 In the case of Erechtheus, the discarding of the blood may have been done over, or into, the fissures in the rock on the northern side of the Acropolis, usually identified as the location where Erechtheus was killed. After the construction of the Erechtheion, these fissures came to be located in the northern portico of the building but were still visible through an opening in the pavement, later surrounded by a hollow altar through which liquids could have been poured (Figs. 1-2).54

24Finally, the question of the function and purpose of the offerings of blood within these hero-cults should be commented upon. Since this kind of ritual cannot be considered as a standard practice in hero-cults, a comparison with the handling of the blood in other ritual contexts may be instructive for the understanding of the treatment of the blood in the cases outlined above. I will offer two possible suggestions, not mutually exclusive, as to why these offerings of blood were performed and which function they may have had.

  • 55 Hom., Od., XI, 23-43 and 97-99.
  • 56 Eur., Hec., 534-541.
  • 57 Paus., IΧ, 39, 6.
  • 58 The use of bothroi can be linked to the tradition of approaching the dead and the heroes and divin (...)
  • 59 Αρ. Rhod., Argon., Ill, 1026-1041 and XI, 94-1222; Lucían, Philops., 14; Orph. Argon., 950-987.

25In the case of Pelops, the haimakouria formed part of a thysia modified by a theoxenia element, in which the blood was of particular importance. Here, the blood offering served as an invitation and Pelops was presented with the blood and invited to come and participate in the festival that followed. To use the blood of an animal victim to contact and activate a being of the underworld is a ritual well established in the literary tradition. In the Nekyia, Odysseus contacts Teiresias by the help of animal blood in order to persuade the seer to give instructions on his return to Ithaka.55 The spirit of Achilleus is evoked by the blood of Polyxena being shed on his tomb and he is urged to come forward and drink her blood and grant the Greeks a safe journey home.56 Before the consultation of the oracle of Trophonios at Lebadeia, sacrifice was made into a bothros and Agamedes was called.57 The term used for the sacrifice is thyein but it is possible that the blood of the sacrificed ram went into the bothros in analogy with Odysseus’ sacrifice in the Nekyia leading up to the consultation of Teiresias.58 Blood was also used for calling and contacting other beings of the underworld, such as Hekate.59

  • 60 Aet., II, fr. 43,1. 80-83.
  • 61 Plut., Vit. Arist., 21, 1-5.
  • 62 Philostr., Her., 53, 11-12.

26Other cases of heroes being offered blood as an invitation in a theoxenia setting can be found in the post-Classical sources. In the Aetia of Kallima-chos, the magistrates invite the dead founder of Zankle to the sacrifice (καλέουσιν ἐπ’ ἔντομα).60 He is to come to the dais and bring two or more guests, since no small amount of blood of an ox has been spilt (οὐκ ὀλ[ἶ]γως α[ἶ]μα βοòς κέχυ[τ]αι). The blood offered to the war dead at Plataiai described by Plutarch functions in a similar manner: an ox is slaughtered and the war dead are invited to the deipnon and the haimakouria.61 Achilles was called at the sacrifices on his burial mound at Troy and, when a black bull was slaughtered (esphatton), Patroklos was also invited to the dais to make Achilles happy.62

  • 63 On sphagia, see Jameson, art. cit. (η. 7); M.H. Jameson, The ritual of the Nike parapet, in R. Osb (...)

27Blood may also have served as a means for inviting the hero to come and participate in the cases of Brasidas and the Agathoi on Thasos, whose cults were both accompanied by games for which the heroes’ presence may have been particularly desired. However, there is no direct indication of such a purpose in these cults and I would therefore suggest that they may be interpreted in the light of another context, in which blood features prominently: war. Even though many sacrifices performed in war seem to have been regular thysia followed by dining, the most important sacrifice consisted of sphagia, which took place on the battlefield when the two armies were facing each other and were ready to clash.63 At this kind of sacrifice, executed by a mantis and not a priest, no altar was used, no fire was lit and the animal was not even opened up for inspection of the intestines. It was simply killed and signs were probably read from how the blood flowed on the ground and the manner in which the dead body fell.

28Apart from Pelops, all the heroes receiving offerings of blood had died in battle or as a consequence of war. Brasidas was a general, killed in battle and was considered as a saviour by the Amphipolitans. The war dead on Thasos constitute a close parallel to Brasidas, being publicly buried and honoured with sacrifices. The sacrifices to the Hyakinthids and Erechtheus are set in the aftermath of war and described by a terminology evoking war. The daughters of Erechtheus have died in order to save Athens and when war threatens, the Athenians are to perform particular rituals, protoma, and guard their abaton, so that no enemy can sacrifice there to secure victory. Erechtheus himself, who was killed by Poseidon at the end of a war, was to receive phonai of oxen, a term often used to describe bloodshed on the battlefield.

  • 64 A link between heroes, war and blood can also be traced in other cases. For example, before the At (...)

29A connection with war can be demonstrated for many heroes, but I would suggest that in these cults this link was considered as particularly essential and therefore affected the sacrificial rituals.64 The blood offering may have functioned as a reminiscence of the sphagia, the war sacrifices par excellence, but also of the shedding of blood taking place in war and the fact that the hero had fallen in battle or been killed as a prelude or aftermath of war.

30It is important to note, however, that the offerings of blood were not the only rituals performed to these heroes. The discarding of the blood, and perhaps also the killing of the animal in a particular fashion, formed one part of a ritual which ended with dining. The offerings of blood to the heroes should not be considered as being proper war sphagia, but as a means for modifying regular thysiai by the very particular and occasional ritual of sphagia, often considered not as an actual sacrifice but as a heilige Hand-lung, which in these cases can be said to have been taken over and integrated into a regular cult as a part of a thysia sacrifice.

  • 65 G. Dunst, Leukaspis, in BCH, 88 (1964), p. 482-485, fig. 1, who also discusses possible connection (...)
  • 66 For the numismatic material, see D. Aktseli, Altare in der archaischen und klassischen Kunst. Unte (...)
  • 67 Jameson, art. cit. (n. 63), p. 320-324, nos. 1-12, esp. 323, no. 9, the animals all being rams. Bu (...)
  • 68 In the regular thysia scenes, the dead victim is depicted only when being opened up or cut up into (...)

31This kind of particular hero-sacrifice, a ritual focusing on the blood followed by a thysia with dining to a hero with a war connection, is perhaps what is alluded to on a late 5th century BC coin from Syracuse showing the hero Leukaspis (Figs. 3-4).65 The hero is naked and in arms (helmet, spear and shield), charging to the right in front of a rectangular altar (to the left) and a dead ram lying on its back (to the right). Sacrificial scenes are very rare on Greek coins and within the Sicilian material such scenes are confined to divinities libating on altars.66 It is therefore likely that the Leukaspis coin refers to a particular ritual. The presence of the altar excludes that the scene shown is pre-battle sphagia, since no altars were used at such sacrifices, even though rams clearly are the preferred kind of animals in representations of war sphagia.67 On the other hand, the dead ram laying on its back evokes a different kind of sacrifice than a regular thysia, at which the dead animal never seems to be shown, at least not lying at the altar.68

  • 69 Raven, art. cit. (η. 65), p. 77-81; cf. Lacroix, op. cit. (n. 65), p. 51.

32Leukaspis was a local Sicanian or Siculian, who was killed, together with a number of other military leaders, defending their territory against the invasion of Herakles. The story is told by Diodorus Siculus (IV, 23, 5), who further adds that Leukaspis and the other generals received heroikai timai even in his times. The minting of the coin has been connected with the Sicilian victory over the Athenians in 415 BC, an occasion when it would have been particularly suitable to worship a local hero connected with war.69

33To sum up, the Archaic and Classical sources only provide slight evidence for offerings of blood and the conclusion must be that this kind of ritual rarely seems to have been practiced in hero-cults. When used, the offerings of blood can in all cases be shown to have formed part of thysia sacrifices and seem to have functioned as a means for modifying animal sacrifices at which the worshippers dined on the meat from the victims. The blood was probably poured out on the tomb of the hero or the spot where it was assumed that he perished. As to why the blood rituals were performed, two possible functions can be suggested. In the case of Pelops, the action of pouring out the blood served as an invitation to the hero, who was received as a divine guest and given the blood as a part of his entertainment, but the offerings of blood could also be used to emphasize the connection some heroes had with war. In those cases, the blood may have functioned as a reference both to the battlefield sphagia and to the fact that the hero had died, and thus acquired his heroic status, as a consequence of war.

Captions

34Fig. 1. The northern portico of the Erechtheion. Opening in the pavement, fissures in the rock and the restored placement of the hollow altar. [J.M. Paton (ed.), The Erechtheum, Cambridge, Mass., 1927, p. 106, fig. 66.]

35Fig. 2. Hole cut in the pavement of the northern portico of the Erechtheion near the foot of the back wall.

36Fig. 3. Silver coin from Syracuse showing Leukaspis (SNG, Deutschland, Staatliche Münzsammlung München, 5. Heft, no. 1090). Courtesy of the Staatliche Münz-sammlung, München.

37Fig. 4. Drawing of silver coin from Syracuse showing Leukaspis. [G.E. Rizzo, Monete greche della Sicilia. Descritte e illustrate, Rome, 1946, 215, fig. 47b.]

Notes

1 J.N. Coldstream, Hero-cults in the age of Homer, in JHS, 96 (1976), p. 8.

2 For the traditional notion of the sacrificial practices of hero-cults see, for example, F. Deneken, Heros, in W.H. Roscher, Lexicon..., I, 2 (1886-90), col. 2486-2516; E. Rohde, Psyche. The cult of souls and belief in immortality among the ancient Greeks, London/ New York, 19258 [Ger. ed. Freiburg 1894], p. 116; F. Pfister, Die Reliquienkult im Altertum, vol. 2, Giessen, 1912 (RGW, 5:2), p. 466-489; P. Stengel, Die griechischen Kultusaltertümer, Munich, 19203 [Munich, 1890] (HdA, 5:3), p. 141; L. Farnell, Greek hero cult and ideas of immortality, Oxford, 1921, p. 95 and 370; K. Meuli, Griechische Opferbrauche, in Phyllo-bolia für Peter von der Mühll, Basel, 1946, p. 192-197 and 209; M.P. Nilsson, Geschichte der griechischen Religion, vol. 1., Munich, 19673 [Munich 1941] (HdA, 5:2:1), p. 186-187; J. Rudhardt, Notions fondamentales de la pensée religieuse et actes constitutifs du culte dans la Grèce classique, Paris, 1958, p. 251-253; W. Burkert, Greek Religion. Archaic and Classical, London, 1985 [Ger. ed. 1972], p. 205.

3 A.D. Nock, The cult of heroes, in HThR, 37 (1944), p. 141-147; see also A. Verbanck-Piérard, Le double culte d’Héraklès: légende ou réalité?, in A.-F. Laurens (éd.), Entre hommes et dieux. Le convive, le héros, le prophète, Paris, 1989 {Lire les polytbéismes, 2 -Centre de recherches d’histoire ancienne, 86), p. 43-65; Ead., Héros attiques au jour le jour: les calendriers des dèmes, in V. Pirenne-Delforge (éd.), Les panthéons des cités, des origines à la Périégèse de Pausanias, Liège, 1992 (Kernos, suppl. 8), p. 109-127; F. van Straten, Hierà kalá. Images of animal sacrifice in Archaic and Classical Greece, Leiden, 1995 {Religions of the Graeco-Roman world, 127), p. 137 and 165-167.

4 The epigraphical and literary evidence is discussed in my dissertation, The sacrificial rituals of Greek hero-cults in the Archaic to the early Hellenistic periods, Stockholm, 1999. For a questioning of the traditional view of hero-cult ritual, see also G. Ekroth, Altars in Greek hero-cults- a review of the archaeological evidence, in R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek cult practice from the archaeological evidence. Proceedings of the Fourth International Seminar on ancient Greek cult, organized by the Swedish Institute at Athens, 22-24 Oct. 1993, Stockholm, 1998 (ActaAth-8°, 15), p. 117-130; Ead., Pausanias and the sacrificial rituals of Greek hero-cults, in R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek hero cult. Proceedings of the Fifth International Seminar on ancient Greek cult, Department of Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Goteborg University, 21-23 April 1995, Stockholm, 1999 {ActaAth-80, 16), p. 145-158.

5 On the contents of theoxenia rituals, see M.H. Jameson, Theoxenia, in R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek cult practice from the epigraphical evidence. Proceedings of the Second International Seminar on ancient Greek cult, organized by the Swedish Institute at Athens, 22-24 Nov. 1991, Stockholm, 1994 (ActaAth-8°, 13), p. 35-57. The actual term theoxenia is rare in the ancient evidence (ἡροξείνια is even rarer, see F. Sokolowski, LSS, 69, 3), but the ritual is documented for many heroes in the sacrificial calendars, in which they receive a trapeza, see, for example, IG, II2, 1356 B, 3-4 and 23-25 (deme of Marathon); Ekroth, op. cit. (n. 4), p. 116-119 and 153-155. Cf. also the many banqueting reliefs showing heroes, see van Straten, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 94-100 and 303-326, R115-211.

6 See Ekroth, op. cit. (n. 4), p. 13-56; Ead., Altars on Attic vases: the identification of bomos and eschara, in Ch. Scheffer (ed.), Ceramics in context. First intemordic colloquium on ancient pottery, Stockholm, 13-15 June 1997 (Stockholm studies in Classical archaeology, 12), forthcoming; van Straten, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 165-167; Id., Did the Greeks kneel before their gods?, in BABesch, 49 (1974), p. 185-187.

7 For the vocabulary, see J. Casabona, Recherches sur le vocabulaire des sacrifices en grec des origines à la fin de l’époque classique, Aix-en-Provence, 1966 (Publications des Annales de la Faculté des lettres, Aix-en-Provence, N.S., 56). Cf. also Rudhardt, op. cit. (n. 2). On the importance of the vocabulary for the understanding of Greek sacrificial ritual, see also M.H. Jameson, Sacrifice before battle, in V.D. Hanson (éd.), Hoplites: the Classical Greek battle experience, London/New York, 1991, p. 197-227, esp. 200.

8 The term enagizein and its related nouns enagisma and enagismos seem rather to have referred to a complete destruction by fire of the animal (or of other kinds of solid offerings) than to the handling of the victim’s blood, cf. Ekroth, op. cit. (η. 4), p. 57-107, esp. 106-107. Such a meaning is evident from a number of post-Classical sources (for example, Paus., II, 10, 1; Plut., Vit. Arisi., 21. 2-5; Philostr., Her., 53, 8-13), as well as the scholia and léxica (schol. Hom., Il., I, 464 bl-b2 [Erbsel; Aesch., Cho., 484c [Smith]; Hesych., s.v. ἐναγίσματα and ἐναγισμοί [Lattei; Phot., s.v. ἐναγισμοἱ and ἐναγίζων [Theodoridis]; Suda, s.v. έναγισμοί [Adler]), but also by the division of the rituals for the dead into choai and enagismata, fluid and solid offerings (Isae., 6, 51 and 6, 65; Ar., Tag., fr. 504, 1. 12-14, PCG, 111:2, 1984).

9 Pindar, Ol. I, 90-93: νῦν δ’ ἐν ἀἱμακουρίαισ ἀγλααῖσι μέμικται, ᾿Aλφεοῦ πόρῳ κλιθείς τύμβον ἀμφίπολον ἔχων πολυξενωτάτω παρὰ βωμῷ. “and now he partakes of splendid blood sacrifices as he reclines by the course of the alpheos, having his much-attended tomb beside the altar thronged by visiting strangers” (translation by W.H. Race, Pindar, Cambridge, Mass./London, 1997 [Loeb Classical Lisrary], p. 57).

10 D. Gerber, Pindar’s Olympian one- a commentary, Toronto, 1982 (Phoenix, suppl. 15), p. 141-142; Casabona, op. cit. (η. 7), p. 206. The etymology is usually given as deriving from κόρος (fill), see P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque I, Paris, 1968, s.v. αἶμα 2; cf. W. Slater, Pelops at Olympia, in GRBS, 30 (1989), p. 493, n. 39.

11 Plut., Vit. Arist., 21, 5; Hesych., s.v. αἱμακουρία (Latte); Etym. Magn., s.v. αίμακουρία (Gaisford). See also schol. Pindar, Ol. I, 146a and I46d (Drachmann).

12 This theme has been developed by Gerber, op. cit. (η. 10), p. 141-144, who points to the analogy between Pelops, reclining as at a symposium, and Hieron, having a table surrounded by many guests; cf. Slater, art. cit. (η. 10), p. 491.

13 On the contents of theoxenia, see supra, n. 5.

14 Gerber, op. cit. (η. 10), p. 144-145. The scholia on this passage either identify the altar as that of Pelops (schol. Ol. I, 150a Drachmann) or as belonging to Zeus and Pelops (schol. Ol. I, 150b Drachmann). For the identification of the altar as that of Zeus, see W. Burkert, Homo Necans. The anthropology of ancient Greek sacrificial ritual and myth, Berkeley, 1983 [Ger. ed. Berlin 1972], p. 96; W. Slater (ed.), Lexicon to Pindar, Berlin, 1969, s.v. βωμός; Race, op. cit. (η. 9), p. 56, η. 1; Slater, art. cit. (η. 10), p. 491. No traces of the altar of Zeus have been found, see A. Mallwitz, Olympia und seine Bauten, Munich, 1972, p. 84.

15 Gerber, op. cit. (η. 10), p. 144.

16 Pausanias (V, 13, 2) also describes a ritual including dining: the neck of the sacrificial victim was given to the woodman and anyone eating of the meat of the victim was barred from entering the temple of Zeus, cf. Burkert, op. cit. (η. 14), p. 101; Slater, art. cit. (η. 10), p. 494; Ekroth, Pausanias..., art. cit. (η. 4), p. 154.

17 Thuc, V, 11: Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα τòν Βρασίδαν οἱ ξύμμαχοι πάντες ξὺν ὅπλοις ἐπισπόμενοι δημοσία ἔθαψαν ἐν τῇ πόλει πρò τῆς νῦν ἀγορᾶς οὔσης καì τò λοιπòν οἱ ᾿Aμφιπολῖται περιείρξαντες αὐτοῦ τò μνημεῖον ὤς ἥρῳ τε ἐντέμνουσι καì τιμὰς δεδώκασιν ἀγῶνας καì ἐτησίους θυσίας, καì τὴν ἀποικίαν ὡς οἰκιστῇ προσέθεσαν. “Brasidas was buried in the city with public honours in front of what is now the Agora. The whole body of the allies in full armour escorted him to the grave. The Amphipolitans fenced off his tomb, and to this day they cut the throats of victims to him as a hero, and have also instituted games and yearly sacrifices in his honour. They also made him their founder, and dedicated their colony to him (translation by S. Hornblower, A commentary on Thucydides, vol. 2, Oxford, 1996, p. 449-450). On the particular role of Brasidas in Thucydides, see Hornblower, op. cit., p. 38-61.

18 Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 226-229; Rudhardt, op. cit. (n. 2), p. 285-286; P. Stengel, Opferbráuche der Griechen, Leipzig/Berlin, 1910, p. 103-104; Hornblower, op. cit. (n. 17), p. 45W52.

19 I. Malkin, Ritual and colonization in ancient Greece, Leiden, 1987 {Studies in Greek and Roman religion, 3), p. 228-230. The present tense, ἐντέμνουσι, has also been suggested as indicating an eye-witness account, presumably by Thucydides himself, see Hornblower, op. cit. (n. 17), p. 452.

20 Cf. Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 128 and 226.

21 Brasidas was not the actual founder of Amphipolis but took over the role of oikist from Hagnon who had founded the city in 437 BC, see Malkin, op. cit. (n. 19), p. 81 and 229-230.

22 Malkin, op. cit. (n. 19), p. 203. Malkin (p. 193) further defines the cult of the oikist as a hero-cult but does not specify which kind of sacrifice that would imply, even though he seems to favour a ritual with dining.

23 The cult to Brasidas is also mentioned by Aristotle (Eth. Nic, 1134b), who speaks of the cult as τò θύειν Βρασίδα without specifying any particular details. In this case, thyein is best understood as a general term meaning “to sacrifice, which probably included the rituals outlined by Thucydides, but it is also possible that the entemnein sacrifice had ceased to be performed in the 4th century. Cf. Aelius Aristides (Alex, epitaph., 85), who describes the cult as Βρασίδα θύειν... ὡς ἥρῳ καì οικιστῇ.

24 LSS, 64, 7-15 = J. Pouilloux, Recherches sur l’histoire et les cultes de Thasos, vol. 1. De la fondation de la cité à 196 avant J.-C, Paris, 1954 (Études thasiennes, 3), no. 141, 1. 7-15: ... ἀναγράφειν δὲ αὐτῶν τὰ ὀνόματα πατρόθεν εἰς τοὺς ᾿Aγαθοὺς τοὺς πολεμάρχους καì τòν γραμματέα τῆς βουλῆς καì καλεῖσθαι αὐτῶν τοὺς πατέρας καì τοὺς παῖδας ὃταν ἡ πόλις ἐντέμνηι τοῖς ᾿Aγαθοῖς· vac. διδόναι δ’ ὐπέρ αὐτῶν ἐκάστου τòν ἀποδέκτην ὅσον ὑπέρ τιμώχων λαμβάνουσιν καλεῖσθαι δ’ αὐτῶν τοὺς πατέρας καì τοὺς παῖδας καì ἐς προεδρίην ἐς τοὺς ἀγῶνας· χωρίον δὲ ἀποδεικνύειν αὐτοῖς καì βάθρον τιθέναι τούτοις τον τιθέντα τοὺς ἀγῶνας. “The pole-marchs and the secretary of the council are to inscribe their names and the patronyms on the list of the Good Men, and their fathers and children are to be invited when the city cuts the throats of the victims for the Good Men. The financial official is to give out for each of them an indemnity equal to that which the timochoi receive. And their fathers and children are also to be invited to front seats at the games and a space is to be reserved for them and the organizer of the games is to put up a bench for them."

25 Cf. Pouilloux, op. cit. (n. 24), p. 373-374; Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), 227; commentary to LSS, 64, 1. 10, by Sokolowski.

26 LSS, 64, commentary on 1. 12; cf. Pouilloux, op. cit. (η. 24), p. 374.

27 Fr. 65, I. 77-94 (Austin); for commentary and translation, see also MJ. Cropp, Erechtheus, in Euripides. Selected fragmentary plays with introductions, translations and commentaries, vol. 1, Warminster, 1995, p. 172-175 and 191-193

28 Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 77-89 (Austin):
... τοῖς ἐμοίς ἀστο[ῖς λέγ]ω
ἐνιαυσίαις σφας μὴ λελησμ[ένους] χρόνῳ
θυσίαισι τιμᾶν καì σφαγαῖσι [βουκ]τόνοις
80 κοσμοῦ [ντας ί]εροῖς παρθένων [χορεύ]μασιν
γνον[.....]χθρ. εἰς μάχη [ν
κιν.[......]ας ἀσπίδα στρατ[
πρώταισι θύειν πρότομα πολεμίου δορòς
τῆς οἰνοποιοῦ μὴ θίγοντας ἀμπέλου
85 μηδ’ εἰς πυρὰν σπένδοντας ἀλλὰ πολυπόνου
καρπòν μελίσσης ποταμίαις πηγαῖς ὁμοῦ
ἄβατον δὲ τέμενος παισί ταῖσδ’ εἶναι χρεών,
εἴργειν τε μή τις πολεμίων θύση λαθών
νίκην μὲν αὐτοῖς, γῇ δὲ τῃδε πημονήν.
“I instruct my citizens to honour them, never forgetting over time, with annual sacrifices and slaughterings of oxen, adorning the festivals with sacred maiden dances; <and> learn-<…> into/for battle, rous- <…> shield <…>, to offer first to them (the Hyakinthids) the sacrifice preliminary to battle, not touching the wineproducing vine nor pouring wine upon the altar but rather the industrious bee’s produce together with stream-water. There shall be an untrodden sanctuary dedicated to these maidens; you must prevent any of your enemies from secretly making offerings there so as to bring victory to themselves and affliction to this land” (transi, by Cropp, art. cit. [n. 27], p. 173).

29 Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 174-178.

30 Casabona, ibid., p. 189 and 336-337. See also Jameson, art. cit. (η. 7), p. 197-227.

31 For the translation of bouktonoi, see Cropp, art. cit. (η. 27), p. 192, 1. 79, who compares bouktonos to tauroktonos, “bull-slaying (Soph., Phil., 400). Cf. Eur., IT, 384: θυσίαις βροτοκτόνοις; Eur., Cret., it. 82, 1. 37 (Austin): σφαγὰς άνδροκτόνους, “cut-throat murders”.

32 On the Erechtheus as a reflection of the actual cult performed at Athens, see J.D. Mikalson, Honor thy gods. Popular religion in Greek tragedy, Chapell Hill/London, 1991, p. 67.

33 Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 81-86 (Austin).

34 U. Kron, Die zehn attischen Phylenheroen. Geschichte, Mythos, Kult und Darstel-lungen, Berlin, 1976 (AM Beth., 5), p. 196; A. Henrichs, The sobriety of Oedipus: Sophocles OC 100 misunderstood, in HSPh, 87 (1983), p. 98; S. Scullion, Olympian and chthonian, in ClAnt, 13 (1994), p. 117; J.B. Connelly, Parthenon and the parthenoi.- a mytholocigal interpretation of the Parthenon frieze, in AJA, 100 (1996), p. 58; Cropp, art. cit. (η. 27), p. 173 and 192. Mikalson, op. cit. (η. 32), p. 32, gives the meaning “first fruits of battle.

35 Cropp, art. cit. (η. 27), p. 193, 1- 83, with references to J. Wilkins (ed.), Euripides. Heraclidae, Oxford, 1993, p. 101-102, 1. 399-409.

36 See Jameson, art. cit. (n. 7), p. 205.

37 Whether the temporary protoma sacrifices and the annual thysia took place at the same location cannot be deduced from the text, but this interpretation is possible. The Hyakinthids were buried where one of them was sacrificed and the rest killed themselves, see Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 67-70 (Austin). Henrichs, art. cit. (n. 34), p. 98 with n. 54, believes that there was a grave separate from the cult-place, as well as separate locations for the sacrifices. Cropp, art. cit. (n. 27), p. 191, 1. 67-68, and J. Larson, Greek heroine cults, Madison, 1995 (Wisconsin studies in classics), p. 153 and 187, n. 98, locate the cult at the tomb.

38 See LSJ, s.v. for references.

39 See Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 227-229; entorna is also very rare and is only attested twice in sacrificial contexts in the Archaic and Classical sources (Hdt., Π, 119 and VII, 191), both cases concerning sacrifices of blood in order to procure favourable winds.

40 LSJ, s.v. Cf. τόμος (slice, piece). Cf. also the rhyta consisting of an animal’s head or protome with a funnel attached to it. H. Hoffmann, Sotades. Symbols of immortality on Greek vases, Oxford, 1997, p. 8-15, has suggested them to be particularly connected with heroes and hero-cults.

41 Hom., Od., XI, 35. D.D. Hughes, Human sacrifice in ancient Greece, London/New York, 1991, p. 52 and 219-220, n. 14, prefers the translation “cut the throat of” rather than “behead, even though he admits that this might well be a consequence. In the Theogony (1. 280), apodeirotomein definitely means behead, since the direct object of the action is the head of Medusa. Decapitation of sacrificial victims before a battle may be what is meant in Plut., Vit. Pyrrh., 31. Pyrrhos’ and Antigonos’ armies are ready to clash near Argos when Pyrrhos has a bad omen: the heads of the sacrificed oxen, which were already lying apart (from the bodies), were seen to put forward their tongues and lick their own blood (τῶν γὰρ βοῶν τεθυμένων αi κεφαλαì κείμεναι χωρìς ἤδη τάς τε γλώττας ὤφθησαν προβάλλουσι καì περιλιχμώμεναι τòν ἑαυτῶν φόνον). The clearest evidence for severing the heads of animal victims is found in a scholion on Ap. Rhod., Argon., I, 587 (Wendel), which states that at sacrifices to the dead and the chthonians, the victims are decapitated facing the ground (διἀ τò ἐν τη γῇ αὐτῶν ἀποτέμνεσθαι τὰς κεφάλας).

42 Thyein covers the ritual opposite to pouring out a libation and never seems to refer exclusively to a drink-offering, see Casabona, op. cit. (n. 7), p. 75-76. For the firewood, see Cropp, art. cit. (n. 27), p. 192, 1. 84-86. For pyra meaning an altar, see J.D. Denniston (ed.), Eurípides. Electra, Oxford, 1939, p. 112, 1. 513.

43 This sacrifice is probably the same as that referred to in a fragment of Philochoros (328 F 12 Jacoby), according to which both wineless thysia and the burning of some wood were performed to Dionysos and the daughters of Erechtheus.

44 Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 90-94 (Austin):
90 σηκòν ἐν μέσηι πόλει
τεῦξαι κελεύω περιβόλοισι λαΐνοις
κεκλήσεται δὲ τοῦ κτανόντος οὔνεκα
σεμνòς Ποσειδῶν ὄνομ’ ἐπωνομασμένος
ἀστοῖς Έρεχθεὺς ἐν φοναῖσι βουθύτοις.
“I command the building in mid-city of a precinct with stone enclosure. In recollection of his killer the citizens, slaughtering sacrificial oxen, shall call him august Poseidon surnamed Erechtheus (transi, by Cropp, art. cit. [n. 27], p. 193).

45 On the complex question of the merging of Erechtheus and Poseidon in the cult, see, for example, Kron, op. cit. (n. 34), p. 48-52; E. Kearns, The heroes of Attica, London, 1989 (BICS, Suppl. 57), p. 210-211; M. Christopoulos, Poseidon Erechtheus and ΕΡΕΧΘΗΙΣ ΘΑΛΑΣΣΑ, in Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek cult practice... op. cit. (n. 5), p. 123-130; Cropp, art. cit. (n. 27), p. 103, lines, 93-94.

46 For the translation, see Cropp, art. cit. (n. 27), p. 193, 1. 93-94.

47 On phone, see LSJ, s.v. for references; cf. J.-P. Vernant, Mortals and immortals. Collected essays, Princeton, 1991, p. 294.

48 Casabona, op. cit. (η. 7), p. 140-142. Cf. Harmodios of Lepreum (319 F 1 Jacoby), who speaks of the bouthysia megale to the heroes at Phigaleia, a sacrifice followed by a banquet in which the slaves could participate and the sons dined with their fathers.

49 Sacrifices to Erechtheus are mentioned in the Iliad (II, 550-551) as ταύροισι καì ἀρνειοῖς ίλάονται κοῦροι ᾿Aθηναίων ("the young men of the Athenians propitiate him with bulls and lambs): is the propitiation to be taken as a reference to an offering of blood?

50 The traditional notion that all of the blood at a regular thysia was either poured on the altar or discarded elsewhere can be seriously questioned, since there are a number of references to blood being prepared to be eaten as black puddings, blood sausages or black broth (e.g. Od., XX, 25-28; HHom. Her., 122-123; ISA, 44, 12; IS, 151 A, 42; Sophilos, fr. 6 PCG, VII, 1989; Matron, Convivium, 94; Plut., Vit. Lye, 12, 6; Ath., VII, 342a and XIV, 662d-e; Poll., Onom., VI, 57). For the written and iconographical evidence for the alimentary use of animal blood from sacrifices, see Ekroth, op. cit. (n. 4), p. 210-215. For the traditional notion, see Stengel, op. cit. (n. 18), p. 19; L. Ziehen, Opfer, in RE, XVIII, 1 (1939), col. 615; Rudhardt, op. cit. (n. 2), p. 262; Burkert, op. cit. (n. 14), p. 5; J.-L. Durand, Greek animals: toward a topology of edible bodies, in M. Détienne, J.-P. Vernant, The cuisine of sacrifice among the Greeks, Chicago/London 1989 [Fr. ed. Paris 19791, p. 90-92; van Straten, op. cit. (n. 3), p. 104-105.

51 Pindar, Ol. I, 93; Thuc, V, 11; Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 68 (Austin).

52 LSS, 64, 2-4; Eur., Erech., fr. 65, 1. 59-60 (Austin).

53 Cf. Casabona, op. cit. (η. 7), 226. Pausanias (V, 13, 2) speaks of Herakles sacrificing {thyein) into a bothros at the installation of the cult of Pelops at Olympia. A similar ritual is that of the Heros Archegetes at Tronis, also described by Pausanias (X, 4, 10): each day the hero was honoured with animal victims, the blood of which was poured into the hero’s grave, while the meat was consumed on the spot (ἔχει δ’ οὖν ἐπì ἡμέραι τε πάση τιμὰς καì ἄγοντες ἱερεῖα οἱ Φωκεῖς τò μὲν αἶμα δί ὀπῆς ἐσχέουσιν ἐς τòν τάφον, τὰ δὲ κρέα ταύτῃ σφίσιν ἀναλοῦν καθέστηκεν).

54 For the cult of Erechtheus in the northern portico of the Erechtheion and the altar, see J.M. Paton (ed.), The Erechtheum, Cambridge, Mass., 1927, p. 104-110, figs. 66A-C and 67A-B; IG, I3, 474, 77-80 and 202-208 (409-407 BC); cf. Kron, op. cit. (n. 34), p. 43-47. A small hole with unknown purpose but of ancient date (Fig. 2), cut in the paving near the foot of the back of the wall of the portico, may also have been used for the discarding of the blood, cf. Paton, op. cit., p. 109-110, figs. 66A:e-B:e and 67A:e-B:e.

55 Hom., Od., XI, 23-43 and 97-99.

56 Eur., Hec., 534-541.

57 Paus., IΧ, 39, 6.

58 The use of bothroi can be linked to the tradition of approaching the dead and the heroes and divinities of the underworld with the help of blood, see Ekroth, op. cit. (η. 4), p. 43-56.

59 Αρ. Rhod., Argon., Ill, 1026-1041 and XI, 94-1222; Lucían, Philops., 14; Orph. Argon., 950-987.

60 Aet., II, fr. 43,1. 80-83.

61 Plut., Vit. Arist., 21, 1-5.

62 Philostr., Her., 53, 11-12.

63 On sphagia, see Jameson, art. cit. (η. 7); M.H. Jameson, The ritual of the Nike parapet, in R. Osborne, S. Hornblower (eds.), Ritual, finance, politics. Athenian democratic accounts presented to David Lewis, Oxford, 1994, p. 307-324; Casabona, op. cit. (η. 7), p. 165-166 and 180-191; Vernant, op. cit. (η. 47), p. 244-257.

64 A link between heroes, war and blood can also be traced in other cases. For example, before the Athenian invasion of Salamis, Solon secretly sailed to the island at night and performed a blood ritual, entemnein sphagia, to the heroes Periphemos and Kychreus (Plut., Vit. Sol., 9, 1). Pelopidas was urged by Skedasos and his daughters to slaughter (sphagiasai) a virgin on their tombs to procure victory at Leuktra: he finally sacrificed (enetemori) a mare (Plut., Vit. Pel., 21-22; Am. narr., 774d). The Cretan king Kydon was told by an oracle that, in order to defeat his enemies, he had to sacrifice (sphagiasai) a virgin to the heroes of the country (Parth., Amat. Narr., 35, 2). The statement of the dying Oidipous in the OC, that his body will lie hidden in the Athenian ground and drink the blood of the enemies killed in future conflicts between Athens and Thebes, can also be interpreted along the same lines (Soph., OC, 621-622).

65 G. Dunst, Leukaspis, in BCH, 88 (1964), p. 482-485, fig. 1, who also discusses possible connections with the Attic Leukaspis mentioned in the Erchia calendar (LS 18, col. Ill, 50-53); M.C. Caltabiano, Leukaspis, in LIMC, VI, 1 (1992), p. 273. On the coin type, see E.J.P. Raven, The Leukaspis type at Syracuse, in J. Babelon, J. Lafaurie (eds.), Congrès international de numismatique, Paris 6-11 juillet 1953, vol. 2, Paris, 1957, p. 77-81; L. Lacroix, Monnaies et colonisation dans l’occident grec, Brussels, 1965 (Académie royale de Belgique. Classe des lettres et des sciences morales et politiques. Mémoires in-8°, 58, 2), p. 50-56.

66 For the numismatic material, see D. Aktseli, Altare in der archaischen und klassischen Kunst. Untersuchungen zu Typologie und Ikonographie, Espelkamp, 1996 (Internationale Archeologie, 28), p. 50-54; G. Ayala, L’autel sur les monnaies antiques, in Archeologia, 251 (1989), p. 56-65, esp. 59; cf. J. Liegle, Architekturbilder auf antiken Miin-zen, in DieAntike, 12 (1936), p. 203.

67 Jameson, art. cit. (n. 63), p. 320-324, nos. 1-12, esp. 323, no. 9, the animals all being rams. Bulls are used for the sphagia shown on the Nike parapet, see Jameson, art. cit. There are also a few examples of the Leukaspis coins showing only the ram and no altar, see G.E. Rizzo, Monete greche della Sicilia. Descritte e illustrate, Rome, 1946, pi. 47:5; Lacroix, op. cit. (η. 67), p. 50-51.

68 In the regular thysia scenes, the dead victim is depicted only when being opened up or cut up into portions, see van Straten, op. cit. (η. 3), p. 115-153. A parallel to the position and appearance of the dead ram on the Leukaspis coin is to be found on an Athenian red-figure stamnos by the Triptolemos painter (ARV2 361/7) showing Aias or Achilleus fighting Hektor, both being restrained by older men. Between the warriors lies a ram on its back with its throat deeply cut and blood running out of the wound. The vase painter has named the ram ΠΑΤ[- -, presumably Patroklos: for the various interpretations of the motive, see M. Schmidt, Der Zorn des Achill, ein Stamnos des Triptolemos-malers, in P. Zazoff (ed.), Opus nobile. Festschrift zum 60. Geburtstag von Ulf Jantzen, Wiesbaden, 1969, p. 141-152; A. Griffiths, A ram called Patroklos, in BICS, 32 (1985), p. 49-50; Id., Patroklos the ram (again), in BICS, 36 (1989), p. 39; Jameson, art. cit. (η. 63), ρ. 320, no. 2. Cf. also a Roman coin from Magnesia showing Themistokles with a phiale and a sword next to an altar and the front part of a bull, see A. Rhousopoulos, Das Monument des Themistokles in Magnesia, in MDAI(A), 21 (1896), p. 21; A.J. Podlecki, The life of Themistocles. A critical survey of the literary and archaeological evidence, Montreal/ London, 1975, p. 170-171 and pi. 3:c.

69 Raven, art. cit. (η. 65), p. 77-81; cf. Lacroix, op. cit. (n. 65), p. 51.

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