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BacchylidesPolitics, Performance, Poetic Tradition$

David Fearn

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199215508

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199215508.001.0001

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Bacchylides 15: Troy in Athens

Bacchylides 15: Troy in Athens

Troy in Athens

(p.257) 5 Bacchylides 15: Troy in Athens


Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that Bacchylides 15, which narrates part of the embassy of Menelaos and Odysseus to Troy, discusses matters of fundamental concern to the city of Athens through a twin engagement: through performance, with the cult of Athena; textually, with Homer and Solon, both poets regarded as Athenian cultural treasures at the time of Bacchylides' composition. Performative and textual engagements, taken together, opens the way for a more excursive exploration of issues relating to Athenian cult and performance culture, and the issue of the security of poleis that the poem addresses, by way of the implicit parallel drawn between Athens and Troy, the site of the poem's narrative.

Keywords:   Bacchylides 15, Homer, lyric poetry, Athens, cult of Athena, Solon

En effet, ce qui intéresse avant tout Bacchylide, c’est le fond moral de la décision que l’assemblée des Troyens doit prendre: elle a le choix entre l’insolente démesure et la sage justice, le choix qui se pose si souvent dans la vie.1

For the Greek world, Homer even when nodding, is the exemplary text: the paradigm not merely of the genre of epic but of the very possibilities of literature to inform, to teach, to illustrate.2

In the previous two chapters I argued that poems classified as Dithyrambs could have been performed in a wider array of festival contexts than simply those related to Dionysos. Also, I suggested a Panathenaic performance context for Bacchylides 15 by a kuklios khoros.3

Here I argue that Bacchylides 15, which narrates part of the embassy of Menelaos and Odysseus to Troy, discusses matters of fundamental concern to the city of Athens through a twin engagement: through performance, with the cult of Athena; textually, with Homer and Solon, both poets regarded as Athenian cultural treasures at the time of Bacchylides’ composition. Performative and textual engagements, taken together, will open the way for a more excursive exploration of issues relating to Athenian cult and performance culture, and the issue of the security of poleis which the poem addresses, by way of the implicit parallel drawn between Athens and Troy, the site of the poem’s narrative.

(p.258) Discussion will be in three major sections. In the first, I highlight the centrality of Homer in the culture of the polis in which Bacchylides 15 was performed. In the second, I detail how the language of Bacchylides’ poem engages with passages from Homer and Solon, passages which deal with the guilt of the Trojans and the threats to their own city in the Iliad, and with the threat to Athens as a polis through the actions of its own foolish citizenry. In the third, I develop the cultural significance of the poem, and examine how close Bacchylides 15 is to tragedy through the role and authority of its khoros. I consider how Bacchylides’ presentation confirms a particularly democratic emphasis on correct civic behaviour. I also look at its presentation of non-Athenians, again in relation to tragedy.

The diction of Bacchylides 15 zooms us in to the specific cultural context of Athens. My discussion uses a single Bacchylidean choral poem to illustrate Athenian democratic familiarity with traditional texts, as well as the ideological impact of these texts, through their continual reperformance and appropriation in Athens in the earlier part of the fifth century.


The significance of Homer and Solon in the democratic polis is shown by the use and abuse of their poetic authority in a wide range of texts available for public consumption throughout the century.

The theatre provides the most obvious examples. The importance of Homer to Athenian tragedy cannot be overstated. For instance, Sophokles’ Ajax or Euripides’ Troades, to cite just two of the most conspicuous examples, would mean far less to us if we lacked an awareness of how they are systematically informed by Homeric epic, making us think about the meaning not only of tragedy but also of Homer as privileged and paradigmatic texts.4 The attitude of (p.259) Old Comedy towards Homer indicates the wider contestation of the significance of Homeric expertise, and the cultural centrality of the epics for Athens.5 Perhaps the most important text in this regard is the famous fragment of Aristophanes’ Daitales (fr. 233 K-A), a play in which an old man has two sons, one educated in the traditional style, the other devoted to the sophists. In the fragment, one character quizzes another over the meaning of exotic and obscure Homeric phrases. It has been suggested that the text offers a story of decline in Homeric glossing, whereby the exclusive preserve of the rhapsode had, by the end of the fifth century, become ‘the tedious staple of Athenian boys’ education’.6 But the sophistic young man in Daitales uses the Homeric glosses as examples of ancient legal terminology to be used in sophistic arguments concerning inheritance,7 the likely crux of the relation between the father and the two sons in the play. Thus the text bears witness to the extensive glossing and counter-glossing of Homer as an authority on all matters in both contemporary and earlier generations.

By the century’s close, the glossing of Homer had become appropriated as a specific τέχνη by rhetoricians and philosophers. Demokritos, for instance, who perhaps spent a good deal of time in Athens, wrote a work entitled περὶ Ὁµήρονὀρθοεπείης καὶ γλωσσέων, On Homer: The Proper Use of Words and Glosses.8 (p.260) Andrew Ford has shown the extent to which Homeric glossing in fourth-century forensic oratory sustained Athenian literary culture more widely than simply in the state-sponsored public performances. This is an extension of what was already happening in the previous century.

The same is true of Solon. As poet, orator, and Athenian lawmaker, his texts were also open to complex renegotiation in public. This is shown by the case of Solon 4 W, transmitted in the text of Demosthenes 19.255. At 19.256 Demosthenes states outright that Solon’s words stand as an eternal account of how gods protect their city.9 Just prior to this quotation of Solon, Demosthenes had claimed that Solon had been falsely used as an exemplum by his opponent Aiskhines, since the statue of Solon, set up ‘as a paradigm of the wisdom of the public speakers of those days’, της των τότε δηµηγορούντων σωφροσύνης παράδειγµα, represents a radically superior kind of character both to that of those who erected the statue relatively recently, and to that possessed by those speakers who make appeal to it now.10 This contestation of a canonical figure is characteristic of the appeals and counter-appeals of forensic oratory; the same passage from the opening of Solon 4 W is reinterpreted by Aiskhines, and turned against bad orators (the likes of Demosthenes).11 As Rosalind Thomas states in a discussion of the reception of Solon as a lawgiver,

Solon clearly has a character, and it is his moral intentions which are brought to the fore, not merely the prim citation of a particular law, or the bare tag of his name. The prestige of the ancient lawgiver is exploited for all that it is worth and in a way which was presumably thought acceptable, indeed highly appealing, to the jurors.12

This is also possible for the reception of Solon’s poetry, where his ‘moral intentions’ could have been thought to have found (p.261) their clearest expression.13 As we shall see, the poetry of Solon, and fragment 4 W in particular, is important for Bacchylides 15 too.14

There are further examples of the use and abuse of Solon, some of which are very public. In Plato’s Timaeus, the notorious oligarch Kritias is allowed to illustrate how close Solon, in his poetry, showed himself to be to his great-grandfather Dropides.15 The aristocratic virtue of Kritias’ family is said to have been handed down ‘through Anakreon and Solon and many other poets’ according to Sokrates, in Kritias’ presence, in Plato’s Charmides.16 However, this glorious ancestral virtue, celebrated by, amongst others, Solon, is turned against Kritias by the Athenian demagogue Kleophon, as Aristotle tells us.17 Kleophon borrows a Solonian line to suggest that not only the earlier Kritias, who was Dropides’ son, but also, by implication, Kleophon’s own contemporary opponent Kritias, should have listened to their fathers: the suggestion is that the sons are disobedient and degenerate. Kleophon does not provide the second line of the Solonian distich that actually praises Kritias’ family.18

We have good reason to believe that, originally, elegiac texts by the likes of Solon and Theognis were generally composed for symposia.19 Though Solon in 4 W directs his words at the foolish demos, such words as these could very easily have been replayed by singers with oligarchic tendencies, for instance, in order to deconstruct the continuing democratic significance of such works. This may indeed be the case with the epitaph on the grave of the same Kritias discussed above, which bore a representation of Oligarchy setting fire to (p.262) Democracy.20 The elegiac distich, with δήµον emphatically placed at the start of line 2, is an obvious redeployment of Solon’s own warnings to the foolish demos.21 Solon attempts to resolve the tensions inherent in his demos by offering generalized warnings against ἀδικία, ‘injustice’. For Kritias, however, the demos is by definition always unjust, and indeed κατάρατος, ‘accursed’, and therefore needs controlling by oligarchs like him: Kritias did what he could in the short time available to him.22 This is a very public reuse of the poetry of Solon which had by now achieved the status of a public, democratic, heirloom.

Plato also gives accounts, however skewed, of sophistic skill in glossing Homer as a rhetorical model for emulation.23 And again, the context is very public. As Andrew Ford has discussed, at Gorgias 485d Plato has Kallikles recontextualize Iliad 9.441, Phoinix’ words to Akhilleus:

ὅταν δὲ δὴ πρεσβύτερον ἴδω ἔτι φιλοσοφοῦντα καὶ ¼ὴ ἀπαλλαττό¼ενον, πληγών µοι δοκεî ἤδη δεîσθαι, ω Σώκρατες, ούτος ὁ ἀνήρ. ὃ γὰρ νυνδὴ ἔλεγον, ὑπάρχει τούτῳ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ κἂν πάνυ εὐφυὴς ᾖ, ἀνάνδρῳ γενέσθαι φεύγοντι τὰ µέσα της πόλεως καὶ τὰς ἀγοράς, ἐν αἷς ἔφη ὁ ποιητὴς τοὺς ἂνδρας ἀριπρεπεῖς γίγνεσθαι, καταδεδυκότι δὲ τὸν λοιπὸν βίον βιῶναι µετὰ µειρακίων ἐν γωνίᾳ τριῶν ἣ τεττάρων ψιθυρίζοντα, ἐλεύθερον δὲ καὶ µέγα καὶ ἱκανὸν µηδέποτε φθέγξασθαι.

But when I see an elderly man still carrying on with philosophy and not giving it up, that man, Sokrates, is someone who I think deserves to be whipped. For as I just said, this person, however handsome he may be, is (p.263) bound to become unmanly because of the way he flees the centres and marketplaces of the city, in which, as the poet said, ‘men become preeminent’; he must hide away and spend the rest of his life whispering in a corner with three or four lads, and never to say anything befitting a man who is free, important, or adequate.24

Kallikles reuses Homer for his own needs, as a fifth-century sophist with political ambitions for whom the marketplace is crucially important as the central site where ideas can be communicated.25 Perhaps more importantly, though, this also shows the important place of Homeric poetry itself in the Athenian Agora. Continued performance of Homeric poetry in the Agora during the Pan-athenaea was an important contributory factor which allowed men like Kallikles to seek authority for their own discourse through appropriation of it.26 However, Plato does not let Kallikles have it all his own way: he makes Kallikles’ Homeric allusion backfire. Sokrates, to whom he is speaking, is now cast in the heroic guise of the youthful Akhilleus, the paradigm of andreia (’courage’, ‘manliness’) to whom old Phoinix is addressing his own words in Iliad 9, rather than as the diffident whispering child, the identity which Kallikles’ rhetoric attempts to construct for the ‘unmanned’ philosopher.

An earlier example of Athenian public use of Homer is the epigram in the Agora inscribed on the three herms erected to celebrate the Kimonian victory over the Thracians and Persians at Eion in 476/5 BCE.27 As is well known, this alludes to the Athenian entry in the Catalogue of Ships at Iliad 2.552–428 with the reference to Mnestheus in lines 3–4 as follows:

ὅν ποθ’ Ὅµηρος ἔφη Δαναŵν πύκα θωρηκτίων κοσµητήρα µάχης ἔξοχον ὃντα µολεîν.


whom once Homer said went as pre-eminent in organizing the well-armed Greeks for battle.

κοσµητήρα here picks up the Homeric κοσµήσαι at 554, but replaces the Homeric ἵππους τε καὶ ἀνέρας ασπιδιώτας, ‘chariots and spear-bearing men’, with the less archaic and less hierarchical gloss µཱχης. This use is itself intensely ideological. One of the two sources for this text provides essential democratic commentary. Aiskhines 3.183 states that the herms were erected only on condition that the Athenian generals at Eion were not mentioned in the epigram.29 Elite interests are downplayed to the point of invisibility (at least in theory: note Aiskhines’ δοκῇ εἷναι). This is intended to develop at least the perception that the epigram is a possession of the demos not of the elite: democratic, not elite, cultural capital. The epigram, qua democratic inscription, does not mention the contemporary generals, including, obviously, Kimon. Instead, it projects Athenian leadership onto Mnestheus, the figure from the mythological past who now provides a paradigm for the children of Athens to follow. However, there is still an inherent tension between elite individual and democratic group. The victory at Eion is made to transcend the immediate circumstances, to become a source of inspiration for the collective citizenry of Athens. But, at the same time, there is an obvious sense in which this is also an attempt by the elite to generate a false consciousness.30 This is a democratic monument, as Aiskhines makes clear, but at the same time it is correct for Castriota to state that ‘Cimon and his aristocratic supporters were well attuned to the enormous political value of manipulating mythic analogues in this fashion’.31 Kimon and his supporters could also have used the mythical paradigm to naturalize elite hegemonic control, through (p.265) reliance on general familiarity with the Homeric text. The epigram uses a mythical individual from Homer in order to remove any trace of class divisions; but the singling out of Mnestheus as leader can also be seen still to project individual elite power onto a mythical terrain. And all this takes place within the polis-centred context of the Agora which was the Athenian home of Homer, through performance during the Panathenaea.

The reason why publicly performed poetry is so important is because of the access allowed to the demos as a whole, however briefly, to traditional and authoritative forms of discourse which the demos could then claim as its own. In the early classical period, elite symposia were a major outlet for the performance of literary texts, since Athens had no formal education system. The Douris cup provides a perfect illustration of self-representing elite culture and the centrality of texts, both written and orally communicated, in the early decades of fifth-century Athens.32 François Lissarrague shows how the representation of reading and performing on the cup offers an idealized view of traditional education, with the text legible for both internal and external viewers, as part of a trajectory towards poetic performance in elite symposia.33 The cup itself bears representations of two similar cups, symbolizing the future performance opportunities of the boys being educated. The cup also bears two named kalos-inscriptions, which come to life and communicate within the particular elite sympotic milieu.34

Performance at public festivals whose locations included the Agora, gave the demos as a whole access to such material. However, this was only a relatively fleeting glimpse, until the systematizations and later professionalizations of book production and teaching brought in later by the sophists. And even then, education did not come cheap. This puts huge weight on the ideological impact of public festival performances and the references to culturally embedded texts that they contain. Kritias’ reuse of Solon, which we saw earlier, is only part of a more general oligarchic assault from (p.266) within on the texts and performances that were part of the Athenian ideological construct.35 An important example is provided by the Pseudo-Platonic Hipparchus. This text offers an oligarchic perspective in the suggestion that it is tyrannical benevolence that established the particular musical culture of Athens, in particular the Homeric performances in the Agora, in order for the demos to become sophoi and kalokagathoi just like the nobility. See in particular 228b1–c6 thereof, where Sokrates is used to espouse this view:

ΣΩ. Εὐφήµει οὐ µέντ’ ἂν καλŵς ποιοịήν, οủ πειθόµενος ἀνδρὶ ἀγαθῷ καὶ σοφῷ.

Ετ. Τίνι τούτῳ; καὶ τί µάλιστα;

ΣΩ. Πολίτῃ, µὲν ἐµῷ τε καὶ σῷ, Πεισιστράτου δὲ υἱεΐ τοΰ ἐκ Φιλαϊδῶν, Ιππάρχῳ, ὃς τῶν Πεισιστράτου παίδων ἦν πρεσβύτατος καὶ σοφώτατος, ὃς ἄλλα τε πολλὰ καὶ καλὰ ἔργα σοφίας ἀπεδείξατο, καὶ τὰ Ὁµήρου ἔπη πρŵτο ἐκόµισεν εἰς τὴν γῆν ταυτηνί, καὶ ἠνάγκασε τοὺς ῤαψῳδοὺς Παναθηναίοις ἐξ ὑπολήψεως ἐφεξῆς αὐτὰ διέéναι, ὥσπερ νῡν ἔτι οἴδε ποιοῡσι καὶ ἐπ’ Ἀνακρέοντα τὸν ΤήÏον πεντηκόντορον στείλας ἐκόµισεν εἰς τὴν πόλιν Σιµωνίδην δὲ τὸν Κεῖον ἀεὶ περὶ αὑτὸν εἶχε, µεγαλοις µισθοῖς καὶ δώροις πείθων ταῦτα δ' ἐποίει βουλόµενος παιδεύειν τοὺς πολίτας, ἵνα ὡς βελτίστων ὄντων αὐτῶν ἄρχοι, οὐκ οἰάµενος δεῖν οὐδενὶ σοφίας φθονεῖν, ἅτε ὢν καλός τε κἀγαθός.

Sokrates: Quiet! Surely it would be wrong of me not to follow a good and wise man.

Companion: Who do you mean? And to what in particular are you referring?

Sok: To a fellow-citizen of yours and mine, Peisistratos’ son Hipparkhos of the Philaidai, who was the eldest and wisest of Peisistratos’ sons, and who, among his many noble displays of wisdom, was the first to bring the epics of Homer to this land, and compelled the rhapsodes at the Panathenaea to recite them in succession, one taking up where the other left off, as they still do now. And he dispatched a penteconter and brought the Tean Anakreon to this city. And he had Simonides the Kean always by his side, winning him over with large payments and gifts. He did these things through a wish to educate the citizens, so that he might have subjects of the highest possible (p.267) quality, since he did not deem it right to deprive anyone of wisdom, given his own nobility and good taste.36

All of the texts that we have surveyed in this section are significant for a full appraisal of Bacchylides 15, a poem which, as performed by Athenians in the Athenian Agora, contains its own corresponding mythological city-centre setting, the Trojan agora.


  • Ά  [Ἀντή]ν̣ορος ἀντιθέου
  • [κεδνὰ πα]ρ̣ά̣κ̣ο̣ι̣τ̣ις Ἀθάνας πρόσπολος
  • [ὤϊξεν ἁγνὸν] Παλλάδος ὀρσιµάχου
  • [ναòν πύλας τε χ] ρυσέας
  • [ἀγγέλοις δισσοῖσι]ṿ Ἀργείων Ὀδυσσεῖ     5
  • [ΛαρτιάϚαι Μενελ] ạ́ωι τ’ Ἀτρεΐδᾱι βασιλεῖ
  • [ὥς ποτ’ ἤντησεν βαθύ]ζωνος Θεανώ
  • [—◡◡–◡◡]ον
  • [—◡◡–◡◡–]ν προσήνεπεν
  • [“ξεῖνοι, τί οὴ Τ ροίαν ἐς ἐ]ϋκτιµέναν    10


  • [—◡—–◡–]
  • [ τῶv δὲ πεvήκоvτ’ ἐμῶv παί]δѡv τυχόvτες
  • [–◡◡–◡◡—–◡◡ ]ς̣ σ̣ὺv †θεоῖς
  • [–◡—–◡—–◡–]δ̣оυς
  • (epode α´ missing)
  • B´ [—◡◡–◡◡–]
  • —◡◡ оὐ γὰρ ὑπόκλоπоv φоρεῖ 23
  • βρоτоῖσı φѡvτάεvτα λόγоv σоφία
  • (11 verses missing)
  • EP.B´ [—◡—–◡◡–◡◡–] 36
  • ἆγоv,πατὴρ δ’ εὔβоυλоς ἥρѡς
  • πάvτα σάμαıvεv ∐ρıάμѡı βασıλεῖ
  • παίδεσσί τε μῦθоv’Aχαıῶv·
  • ἔvθα κάρvκες δı’ εὒ- 40
  • ρεῖαv πόλıv ὀρvύμεvоı
  • Tρώѡv ἀόλλıζоv φάλαγγας
  • Γ´ δεξίστρατоv εἰς ἀγоράv·
  • πάvτᾱı δὲ δıέδραμεv αὐδάεıς λόγоςη
  • θεοι̑ς δ’ ἀνίσχοντες ςέρας ἀθνις 45
  • εὔχοντο παύσασθαι δυα̑ν.
  • Mου̑σα, τίς ποω̑τος λόγων ἀ̑ρρν δικαίων;
  • ∏λεισθενίδας Mενέλαος γάουï θελξιεπει̑
  • φθέγξατ’, εὐπέπλοισι κοινώσας Xάοισσνη
  • “ὠ̑ Tοω̑ες ἀοηḯφιλοι, 50
  • Zεὺς ὑψιμέδων ὃς ἅπαντα δέρκεται
  • οὐκ αἴτιος θνατοι̑ς μεγάλων ἀχέων,
  • ἀλλ’ ἐν μέσωι κει̑ται κιχει̑ν
  • πα̑σιν ἀνθοώποις Δίκσν ἰθει̑αν, ἁγνα̑ς
  • Eὐνομίας ἀκόλουθον καὶ πιντα̑ς Θέμιτοςη 55
  • ὀλίων παι̑δές νιν αἱρευ̑νται σύνοικον.
  • ἁ δ’ αἰόλοις κ̣έ̣ρδεσσι καὶ ἀφροσύναις
  • ἐξαισίοις θάλλουσ’ ἀθαμβὴς
  • Ὓβρις, ἃ πλου̣̑τ̣[ο]ν̣ δύναμίν τε θοω̑ς
  • ἀλλότριον ὤπρσεν, αυcommaabovȇτις 60
  • δ’ ἐç β!θὺν πέμπµ ¹фθóρoν
  • [κπ] ́µ̣ν! κ!́µ ὑ¹!ρ¹νάλoవç
  • [гα̑ς] παι̑δας ὤλε ὤλεσσεν гίγανταςη”


The Sons of Antenor, or, The Request for Helen’s Return

Godly Antenor’s loyal wife, priestess of Athena, opened up the holy temple of battle-rousing Pallas with its golden doors to the twin messengers of the Argives, Odysseus, Laertes’ son, and king Menelaos son of Atreus. So deep-girdled Theano once met them …

… she spoke to [them: ‘Guests, why have you come to] well-built [Troy?] … and you have met (my fifty) sons, … with the gods’ help

… since there is nothing deceitful in the spoken word brought to mortals by wisdom …

[The sons of Antenor] brought them, while their father the wise hero declared the whole message to king Priam and his sons: the word of the Akhaians. Then heralds, speeding through the broad city, gathered the ranks of Trojans

into the agora where the people muster. And their loud word ran about in all directions. Raising their hands to the deathless gods, they prayed for an end to anguish. Muse, who was the first to begin the words of righteousness? Pleisthenid Menelaos spoke with spell-binding words; the fair-robed Graces informed his words:

‘Trojans, lovers of war, Zeus on high who sees all things is not accountable to mortals for their great woes. It lies open for all men to attain upright Justice, companion to pure Order and provident Law. Blessed are they whose sons choose her to share their homes.

But, luxuriating in shifty cunning and outright folly, brazen Hybris, who swiftly hands a man another’s wealth and power, only to send him into deep ruin: she it was who destroyed those arrogant sons of Earth, the Giants.’

The Iliad

Bacchylides 15 stages, in medias res, the mythical meeting between the two Greek ambassadors Odysseus and Menelaos and the assembled Trojans at the start of the Trojan war. This is referred to at Iliad 3.199–224 in the scene where Antenor retrospectively recalls having entertained the two Greeks. I provide a text and translation of lines 205–24:

  • ἤδη γàρ καὶ δεῦρó ποτ’ ἤλυθε δῖος Ὀδυσσεὴς,
  • σὶς ἕνεκ àγγελίης σόν αρηϊφίλωι Μενελáωι·
  • (p.270)
  • τοὺs δ’ ἐγὼ ἐξείνισσα καὶ ἐν µεγάροισι φίλησα,
  • ἀµφοτέρων δέ φυὴν ἐδάην καὶ µήδεα πυκνά.
  • ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ Τρώεσσιν ἐν ἀγροµένοισιν ἔµιχθεν,
  • στάντων µὲν Μενέλαος ὑπείρεχεν εὐρέας ὤµους,
  • ἄµφω δ’ ἑζοµένω, γεραρώτερος ἦεν’Οδυσσεύς·
  • αλλ’ ὅτε δὴ µύθουs καὶ µήδεα πᾶσιν ὕφαινον
  • ἤτοι µὲν Μενέλαος ἐπιτροχὰδην ἀγόρευεν,
  • παῦρα µέν, ἀλλὰ µάλα λιγέως, ἐπεί οὐ πολύµυθος
  • οὐδ’ ἀφαµαρτοεπής· ἦ καὶ γένει ὕστερος ἦεν
  • ἀλλ’ ὅτε δὴ πολύµητις ἀναΐξειεν’Οδυσσεὺς,
  • στάσκεν, ὑπαὶ δὲ ἴδεσκε καταὰ χθονὸς ὄµµατα πήξας,
  • σκῆπτρον δ’ οὔτ’ ὀπίσω οὔτε προπρηνὲς ἐνώµα,
  • ἀλλ’ ἀστεµφές ἔχεσκεν ἀΐδρεϊ φωτὶ ἐοικώς·
  • φαίης κε ζακοτόν τέτιν’ ‘έµµεναι αφρονα τ’ αίτως.
  • ἀλλ’ ὂτε δή ίπα τε µεγαλην έκ στήθεος εϊη
  • καΐ έ'πεα νιφαδεσσιν έοικότα χειµερίηισιν,
  • οὐκ αν ‘έπειτ Οδυσηί γ’ έρίσσειε βροτος αλλος.
  • οὐ τότε γ’ ώδ’ Οδυσήος αγασσαµεθ’ εΐδος 1δόντες.

  • Yes, once before now brilliant Odysseus came even here:
  • for your sake, on an embassy with warlike Menelaos.
  • These men I entertained and treated kindly in my halls,
  • and from both I learned their natures and their close counsels.
  • Now when they came among the assembled Trojans,
  • and stood up, Menelaos was the bigger by his broad shoulders,
  • but when both were seated, Odysseus was the more stately.
  • Now when they spun their words and counsels for all,
  • Menelaos indeed spoke rapidly, with words
  • that were few, but very clear, since he was no wordy speaker,
  • nor wasteful with his words. And he was the younger man, too.
  • But when resourceful Odysseus sprang up
  • he would stand there and look down, his eyes fixed on the ground beneath,
  • nor would he wield the sceptre back and forth,
  • but kept clutching it tight, like a man who knows nothing.
  • Indeed, you could call him an angry man, and a fool too.
  • But when he let the great voice go from his chest,
  • and the words like snows in winter,
  • not then would any mortal man contend with Odysseus.
  • Not then did we wonder so much beholding Odysseus’ appearance.

We are missing an important intertext, namely the Cypria, where, according to Proklos’ summary, the embassy was narrated.37 No mention is made of Antenor in Proklos’ account, though this may be simply a result of Proklos’ summarizing. There are, nevertheless, strong poetic reasons for privileging Iliadic material over the Cypria as key intertexts for Bacchylides 15.38 As has been well stated by Griffin and Davies, the Iliad systematically avoids any of the narratives of fantasy and romance, especially in regard to Helen, that the cyclic material, including the Cypria, seems from our evidence to have developed.39 And it is the Iliadic intensity of expression in Menelaos’ desire for recompense that is figured in Bacchylides’ narrative. Most importantly, even if the idea for the military encounters before the embassy was taken from the Cypria,40 and even if stories associated with Antenor’s family were present in the pre-Iliadic tradition as represented in the Cypria,41 the language of line 46 will point us in an altogether Iliadic direction.

Two things should be the focus of our attention when we look at the similarities and differences between the accounts given by Homer’s Antenor and by Bacchylides. First, Bacchylides 15 closes just at the moment we might think that Odysseus would have begun speaking. Second, note the indirect way in which Bacchylides informs his audience about the outcome of the embassy. Bacchylides 15 uses diction taken from a number of important passages in the Iliad in order to refer in an allusive fashion to events occurring in mythological time after the conclusion of his short narrative, in a way that works against the forced closure of the poem.


Pfeijffer’s analysis of the poem is sensitive to some of the issues raised by the presence of Menelaos’ speech.42 As he makes clear, even if, as seems likely, Odysseus did give a short speech in the earlier scene, this does not solve the problem about audience expectations concerning the speech that Odysseus reportedly gave after Menelaos according to Antenor in the passage from Iliad 3, quoted above.43 Even if Odysseus did speak to Theano earlier in the lacunose section soon after the poem’s opening, this would do nothing to dull our anticipation of a demonstration of Odysseus’ rhetorical power as recounted so famously by Antenor in Homer, notwithstanding the possibility that the description of Menelaos’ speech as θελξιεπει̑ would naturally suggest the rhetorical prowess of an Odysseus.44

However, Pfeijffer’s account of the audience’s feelings about the absence of Odysseus’ speech is less convincing. He goes on to say ‘Bacchylides’ audience will not have had any difficulty to imagine what Odysseus’ verbal blizzard would have been like’.45 But we are entitled to ask: What would Odysseus’ speech have been like? What are the problems inherent in making such a judgement? Pfeijffer fails to take note of the difficulty facing modern scholars when trying to understand the simile at Iliad 3.221.46 Bacchylides hints at an indeterminacy built into the Homeric text. Pfeijffer is correct to point out that Bacchylides has followed Antenor’s analysis of the form of Menelaos’ speech closely.47

Also noteworthy is Bacchylides’ use of the poetic hapax ύπόκλοπον in line 23: it is probably being used by Theano in direct speech, offering the Greek ambassadors the opportunity for an open debate (p.273) with no insidiousness, whilst also warning the ambassadors themselves to be open.48 Theano’s use of the hapax, whose sense might range from ‘deceitful’, to ‘underhand’ and ‘contrary to appearances’, could be a diplomatic way of referring to Odysseus, the hero of mētis whose cunning is displayed in the Iliad, but is most prominent in the Odyssey: see in particular the use of ἐπίκλοπος and κλοπίων at Odyssey 13.291 and 295 in Athena’s praise of him; the verb ύποκλο-πέοµαι also occurs, as a hapax, in the Odyssey, at 22.382. What Antenor remembers in Iliad 3 about Odysseus’ behaviour in the ensuing embassy is precisely the way his true nature was contrary to initial appearances (3.216–24, quoted above). Bacchylides takes this Odyssean characteristic of trickiness and reality contrary to initial expectations, and applies it directly to his own poem: audiences expect the great speech by Odysseus in Bacchylides 15, but it is denied to us.49

A number of important questions therefore arise. What is at stake in the poem’s forced closure, or lack of a genuine sense of closure?50 What happened between the end of Bacchylides’ narrative and Antenor’s Iliad 3 retrospective? Are we even entitled, knowing full well from the Iliad that Odysseus’ speech is supposed to follow, to think that Odysseus’ speech would have been next if the poet had (p.274) chosen to continue his narration? And what of the Trojans’ reaction? Indeed, would the Iliad have in fact been composed (as a testimony to the Greek victory?) if the embassy narrated had in fact been successful? Bacchylides can be understood to be making a play on the Iliad’s own internal reliance upon the failure of the Greek embassy in order for its own narrative of Hektor’s downfall and the imminent doom of Troy to be played out fully. Mortal contingency and failure are here necessary for and, in fact, generate, Bacchylides’ poetic achievement. If the embassy had been successful, we would have no Iliad. But neither would Bacchylides have been able to compose his poem, and use it to exemplify and to explore human moral frailty.

We are invited to ponder on the outcome of the Greek embassy, and also to think specifically about the moralizing words of Menelaos. He offers the Trojans a choice. We know from the Iliad that the Trojans failed to choose justice, and Bacchylides allows us to reflect upon what is at stake generally in making such a choice, without making it clear, on his version of the narrative, which choice they made. Moreover, Menelaos’ speech marks the culmination in the poem of a systematic transference of language from the Iliad used there in specific scenes that are, in mythological time, later than the Embassy episode. This redeployment of Homeric language figures the scene created in Bacchylides’ narrative as, in mythological time, proleptically fulfilled in the Iliad; it also makes us look more closely at the Iliad’s own account of Trojan guilt over Helen’s abduction, and the ways in which the Iliad itself foreshadows Troy’s destruction.

The marked lack of closure of the episode so at odds with the poem’s own conclusion marked formally by metre, and, on the papyrus, by the start of a new poem, itself serves as a marker to send readers and audience back to the Homeric text in their hand or head to scrutinize again what happens according to the narrative there.51 This invitation to read or recall Homer in order to fill out the meaning of the poem is an implicit homage to Homer.


However, Bacchylides’ poem runs like a live radio report or web link which experiences a transmission failure. This loss of connection with the Homeric material invites us to ask penetrating questions about the gulf between Homer’s text and that of Bacchylides, and to recontextualize our reading of both, and the audience’s own reading of both, in the light of the final words of the poem. Bacchylides’ poem asks us to privilege Menelaos’ words, and makes a forceful point about poetic self-positioning after Homer. A poet can flaunt his right to choose what to narrate and what not to narrate, how to follow Homer, how to trump him, and how to turn down the invitations for literary re-enactment that he offers.

Crucially, moreover, because of the implications for audience responses, these ploys also encompass wider social issues. We must ask questions about the reception of Menelaos’ speech: Who is listening? We are, at least; Bacchylides’ Athenian audience will be listening and watching. Are the Trojans? We know from the Iliad that Antenor listened. Even if his thoughts concerning the Greeks’ offer of a settlement failed to win the day, he at least seemed able to imagine what might happen if the Greeks’ offer was rejected.52

The description of Menelaos and Odysseus in Iliad 3 is narrated by Antenor, and the episode is set up by Antenor’s reference to his hospitable treatment of the two Greeks, at 3.207. Bacchylides’ narrative invites us to recall this episode, and we are thus asked to associate Antenor with hospitality towards the two Greeks. In fact, in our poem, the words used to describe Antenor, themselves either not Homeric, as in the case of ενβουλος, or not used in the Iliad of Antenor, in the case of ήρως, stress the positive side of his character, and particularly in the case of ενβουλος his moral excellence.53 Antenor at lines 37 and following himself communicates the ‘word of the Akhaians’ (39)—presumably the news of their arrival, and possibly the stated reasons for their arrival—to Priam and his sons. Antenor is thus implicated as an active party in the communication of language, rather than a mere recipient of it. This puts Antenor—and his sons who lead the Greeks into the assembly: ἀ̑γον, 37—on the (p.276) same communicative level as Menelaos. Note too the stress on moral vocabulary in the characterization of both of them: εὔβουλος in 37 of Antenor finds its analogue in λόγων … δικαίων in 47 of the Greeks’ words. Moreover, if the words in lines 23–4 were uttered by Theano, offering a suggestion to the two ambassadors about the correct functioning of language in accordance with proper mortal wisdom, this would allow for an interesting comparison and contrast to be made with the presentation later of the futility of the Trojans’ prayers and Menelaos’ just speech about mortal responsibility.

Bacchylides implies a direct contrast, spelled out through an emphasis on the language of communication, between Antenor and his family, and the rest of the Trojans.54 These points seem to destabilize any simple polarity between Greeks and unified Trojans.

One implication of the stress on communication, and the issue of who might be receiving the advice given, is that subsequent audiences and readers, acting in knowledge of the Iliad, are in a better position to internalize Menelaos’ warnings than the Trojan audience internal to the poem. In this light, the poem as a whole seems to be making a general point about communication and the internalization of moral precepts. Patricia Rosenmeyer offers a similar suggestion in her reinterpretation of Simonides’ Danae fragment (fr. 543 PMG):

the Simonides fragment primarily concerns language, both its power and its weaknesses. The text crackles with the constant tension of attempts at communication and the apparent futility of human speech or understanding. Messages are sent out into the void, and the intended audience never responds, in word or action, within the confines of the fragment.55

The exact same is true of the relation between Menelaos and the Trojans in Bacchylides 15. Menelaos’ words are spoken into a void, forced by the closure of the text. This asks audiences and readers to place themselves in the position of the Trojans, whose response is not forthcoming.


Moreover, by putting a moral exemplum (in this case the destruction of the Giants by Hubris) into the mouth of a character, Bacchylides comments on the nature of exempla and the use of mythology for raising ethical questions.56 Menelaos’ address to the mythical Trojans maps onto a khoros in performance addressing an external audience. The open-endedness that results invites audiences and readers to ask questions about the potential for such exempla to have positive effects. It also suggests that the poem is a model on a larger scale for the offering of moral advice. The fact that the moral precepts are put into the mouth of a character internal to the poem’s narrative invites the comparison between the process of communication between Menelaos and the Trojans, and the process of communication between Bacchylides’ poem and its audience.57 So questions concerning the reception of Bacchylides 15 are built into the narrative of its dialogue (or lack of dialogue) between Menelaos and the Trojan audience.

The main theme that I highlight in the following discussion is that the textual hints that Bacchylides provides remind us of what happened after the Trojans made the wrong choice, as delineated in the narrative of the Iliad. The open-endedness of Bacchylides’ text (that is, issues of closure that it sets up) leaves it open for a polis-situated audience to question which choice Bacchylides’ Trojans (i.e. rather than Homer’s) would make. As we shall see, this makes members of the external audience for the performance of Bacchylides’ poem ask whether they might ever have to make a comparable kind of choice for Athens, what such a choice might be (p.278) a choice between, and what the implications of a wrong decision might be for themselves.

The presentation of Theano as priestess at the temple of Athena at the opening of the poem recalls Theano’s introduction in the Iliad, at 6.297–300, as well as the ominous context of that appearance.58 Theano, priestess of Athena at Troy, opens the temple to the other Trojan women, and takes a peplos to the temple with the other Trojan matrons, to pray for salvation. Athena denies their prayers, and we are allowed a view of Troy’s fall denied to the characters. The context of Iliad 6 holds the key for us to make sense of the link between the opening of Bacchylides’ poem and the later description of Trojan prayers and general excitement at the approach of the Greeks to the Trojan agora. Line 42, Τρώων ἀόλλιζον φάλαγγας, ‘[the heralds] gathered the ranks of Trojans’ again directs us towards the Iliad; first, via the verb ἀόλλιζον.59 This transfers us to Iliad 6.287, where Hekabe’s maids ‘gathered the old women from around the town’, ταὶ δἄρ’ ἀόλλισσαν κατά ἄστυ γεραιας, to make their way to the temple, acting on Hektor’s suggestion to Hekabe at Il. 6.269–80; the same verb is used at 270: ἀολλίσσασα.60 Furthermore, line 45, θεοι̑ δ’ ἀνίσχοντες χέρας ἀθανάτοις, ‘raising their hands to the deathless gods’, although formulaic for prayers in the Iliad,61 directs us in this context to Iliad 6.301, the description of the Trojan women’s prayer to Athena: αἵ δ̓ολολυγήι πα̑σαι Άθήνηι χει̑ρας ἀνέσχον, ‘and, wailing, they all raised their hands to Athena’, the line immediately following the intertext which structures the opening of Bacchylides’ poem.

Bacchylides points us to the Iliad here to pose questions of interpretation, this time concerning his language. We are invited to think about the sense of φαλάγγας in line 42, especially in regard (p.279) to δεξίστρατον, 43. As Maehler notes, φάλαγγες is always used of rows of warriors in Homer;62 alternatively, as Jebb notes, Bacchylides may have in mind the Akhaians’ march to a place of assembly, at Iliad 2.92. Awareness of the militarized undercurrent reminds us that, despite the air of diplomacy in Bacchylides’ surface narrative, the situation not only for Troy, but also for the Greek ambassadors, is critical and fraught with danger.

The use of Trojan heralds (κάρυκες δι’ εν̓ρεἰαν πόλιν imitating the Homeric κήρυκες δ’ ἀνὰ ἄστυ63 ) suggests that, by analogy with the above Iliadic passages from within the walls, Bacchylides’ use of φάλαγγας might be transferred onto a more peaceful situation. Even with the parallel from Iliad 2, the gathered Trojans must be unarmed, otherwise they would have had to have come in off the battlefield, which Bacchylides suggests is not what happened: the Trojans were called to assembly from around the city.64 Coupled with the verb used in Iliad 6 to describe the assembly of Trojan matrons, the text offers us one interpretation, namely that the Trojans are unarmed, and that φάλαγγας is not used in a military sense. Surely the Trojans want an end to the troubles, and offer prayers to the gods to make it so (45–6).65 So it cannot be, surely, that the Trojans are openly hostile to the embassy?

Or can it? Bacchylides problematizes interpretation of the scene by using a coinage of his own, δεξíστρατον (43), to describe the Trojan agora. We are forced to ask the same question again. Jebb translates the phrase in the manner of a Homeric epithet as ‘the marketplace where warriors muster’, suggesting that, on the model of Homeric epithets, although the marketplace can be so described because it could be a gathering-place for the Trojans before they go out to fight, the current situation is different, and the Trojan gathering is entirely peaceful.


Usages of στρατός in Pindar not obviously military in sense can refer to an audience or gathering of spectators at games: for example, Olympian 9.95 refers to games in Arkadia. Pythian 10.8 refers to Delphi and its environs with στρατω̦̑ τ’ ἀµφικτιόνων, ‘host of local peoples’.66

Two further passages are also of interest. The people of Athens are called the ‘host of Aigeus’ (Αίγέως στρατω̑ι) at Aiskhylos Eumenides 683 in a democratic context.67 στρατός is used in an obviously negative way by Pindar at Pythian 2.87, as ὁ λἀβρος στρατός, to characterize democracy.68 Both these passages refer to a people as a democratic body.

For an Athenian audience, these two different non-military parallels combine to add further subtlety to Bacchylides’ usage. The description of the agora as δεξίστρατον would resonate for an audience within the Athenian Agora watching the performance of the poem. The Athenian Agora was a place both for hosting spectacles, including games, at festivals like the Panathenaea, and a place where numbers of soldiers would have gathered before going on campaign.69 Moreover, it was an essentially democratic forum. I return later to these issues.


But however we choose to interpret δεξίστρατον, we cannot escape the military connotations that the word carries in the context of a poem which looks forward, and back, to the Iliad, especially when warfare is at issue (cf. line 46). Bacchylides’ reuse of Homeric glosses and invention of quasi-formulaic coinages in a non-formulaic, more allusive, style of poetry for a fifth-century context precludes stable interpretation of this language. This also means that we have no access to stable characterization of the Trojans’ actions or motivations within the narrative. These militarized pieces of vocabulary should direct us to the martial scenarios evidenced by much of the text of the Iliad. Even though the phrase Τρώων φάλαγγας is Iliadic, it only occurs in scenes of fighting, outside the city. Bacchylides’ text directs us to the military, Iliadic consequences faced by the Trojans if they make the wrong choice. We know from parallel treatments of the story of Antenor in art that Antenor escaped harm for helping the Greeks,70 but there is no way of telling on the strength of Bacchylides’ narrative what the other Trojans will do. The description of the Trojan agora as δεξíστρατον can also be understood as virtually proleptic: the Trojan στρατός in the agora may be on the receiving-end of the στρατός of the Akhaians, if the Trojans make the wrong choice.

The next phrase to note is µν̑θον’Αχαιω̑ν, in line 39, relating to the Greeks’ request for Helen’s return. An interesting reference lurks behind this seemingly inert phrase, since it has a Homeric antecedent at Iliad 7.406. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that the phrase only occurs once in Homer, in that line, and nowhere else in Greek apart from this Bacchylidean occurrence, and in three late scholarly discussions of the Iliad line.71 This rarity should give us license to investigate the context in which the phrase is used in the Iliad.

At Iliad 7.345 and following, Antenor and Paris debate about Helen and her possessions, during a disturbed Trojan agora.72 (p.282) Antenor suggests they give her back (348–53); Paris refuses (357–64). Priam then changes the subject, realizing that the slight concession Paris has made will not be accepted by the Akhaians. Priam suggests that at dawn of the following day they make a request for a temporary truce to allow for the cremation of bodies. The Trojan herald Idaios duly makes the request to the Greeks, themselves assembled εἰν ἀγορη̑ι (382), and the Greeks’ answer, voiced by Diomedes, and applauded by others, then follows, with Agamemnon’s final word to Idaios. The phrase used by Priam, and repeated by Idaios, to request the temporary cessation, is παν́σασθαι πολέµοιο δυσηχέος (7.376 = 395), on which Bacchylides has modelled his own εν῎χοντο παν́σασθαι δυα̑ν, line 46. Idaios repeats Priam’s announcement that they will subsequently go on fighting until fate determines that one side should be victorious: Iliad 7.377–8 = 396–7. Although Priam’s general request for a truce is accepted by Agamemnon (408–11), these final words of Priam and Idaios are rejected in no uncertain terms by Diomedes: any fool knows that Troy is doomed to destruction; any appeasement is now impossible.73 It is in Agamemnon’s acceptance of this typical bluntness that Diomedes’ response is described as summing up the µν̑θον’Αχαιω̑ν.74

It must surely be felt as strongly ironic that the muthon which in Bacchylides’ poem we are lead to believe is the start of the Greeks’ diplomatic negotiations with the Trojans is encapsulated in the Iliad by Diomedes’ uncompromising bluntness when faced with the possibility of a negotiation, and summed by the Akhaians’ generally delighted reaction to his strongly felt words rejecting any such negotiation. His words on the inevitability of Troy’s downfall with or without the return of Helen, which Bacchylides’ phraseology directs us towards, is a total rejection of the diplomacy that the events of Bacchylides’ narrative exemplify. In the ‘epic time’ of Bacchylides’ poem, the time for an end to hostilities is precisely now. But the recycled Iliadic phrase points us in exactly the opposite direction: hostilities continue, and Troy will be destroyed. Bacchylides’ incorporation of the seemingly inert phrase µν̑θον’Αχαιω̑ν therefore invites us further to investigate the consequences (p.283) of a Trojan failure to respond correctly to the embassy’s request, through the textual undercurrents of the diction.

Additional textual links to Iliadic scenes where Trojan decisionmaking, ethics, and guilt are at issue, add to the overall sense that an Iliadic ‘final solution’ is impending. The juxtaposition between the Trojan prayers for an end to their troubles in line 46 and the content of the following line 47 is pointed. We might have expected line 47 to voice the prayers. But instead, the narrator breaks in with a Muse-invocation, which will again take us in directions that undercut the Trojans’ appeals for a cessation, rather like the way in which the prayers of the Trojan women in Iliad 6 are refused at once by Athena at Iliad 6.311.

In line 47, the Muse-invocation which introduces the speech of Menelaos, ‘Muse, who was the first to begin the words of righteousness?’, again takes us to the Iliad.75 De Jong investigates the three Iliadic ‘πρω̑τος’ Muse-invocations.76 She points out that the last of the three (Il. 16.113) differs, in that the question there is not ‘who?’, but ‘how?’77 It seems, therefore, that Bacchylides’ direct models were the two taken from Iliad books 11 and 14: Iliad 11.218–20, introducing the second half of Agamemnon’s aristeia, and Iliad 14.508–10, introducing Aias. The context of these passages obviously concern fighting. Again, this might seem to be at odds with the seemingly peaceful diplomacy of Bacchylides’ narrative. But military and Iliadic undercurrents are present just beneath the surface.78

Immediately we are struck by the first of the two passages. The narrator’s own answer to the question he asks of the Muse at Iliad 11.218–20 supplies Iphidamas as the first man to come up against Agamemnon: Iliad 11.221. And he is a son of Antenor.

Agamemnon kills Iphidamas; he receives a grand and detailed introduction, along with the unusual intrusion of the epic narrator into the text at line 242 to call him οἰκτρός, ‘pitiful’.79 His brother (p.284) Köon—the eldest of Antenor’s sons, whom the narrator calls ἀριδεÍκτος ἀνδρω̑ν, ‘most conspicuous among men’ in line 248—is then grief-stricken at the sight. He wounds Agamemnon with a stone (which eventually forces him to leave the field of battle), and yet is himself killed by Agamemnon. At 262–3 the two brothers are given a coda of their own by the narrator, which adds further pathos to the passage and memorializes Köon’s fraternal devotion and bravery. We are taken by Bacchylides to exactly this passage in order to get a view of the miserable fate of even those of the Trojans who are pitied by the epic narrator, again so that the direct consequences of the Trojan choice in the embassy can be played out.

The killing of these two sons of Antenor is paralleled by the earlier episode from Agamemnon’s aristeia of book 11, where the two sons of Antimakhos, Peisandros and Hippolokhos, are also killed by Agamemnon. A contrast in Homer’s narrative is thus set up between the twin sons of Antenor and the sons of Antimakhos, who tried to bribe Agamemnon to spare them just as their father was bribed by Paris to prevent Helen’s return to the Greek ambassadors.80 The overall context of the Iliad 11 passage thus helps to create additional meaning for Menelaos’ Bacchylidean speech and the implications of it for Trojan moral choice. Agamemnon rejects pleas for clemency by the sons of Antimakhos because they are deeply implicated in the Trojan outrage, and because they continue to show their lack of moral judgement by offering Agamemnon a bribe from their father’s estate, money and possessions that their father received from Paris (131–5). Antimakhos even tried to kill Odysseus and Menelaos on their embassy: 136–42. Again we have a reference to debate in a Trojan agora; we are led to a scene in the Iliad where the embassy episode is again referred to. Bacchylides expresses the possible result of a scene he is describing by reference to a poetic text that in chronological time is prior to his own, and which he is systematically showing his linguistic indebtedness to. However clever this is on its own, the result is more important. We are directed to scenes from that text where Homer is himself looking back to an outcome that occurred in mythological time before the mythological time of (p.285) Homer’s own narrative. Bacchylides’ poem skilfully leaps across textual and temporal boundaries to forge links and allow Homerically aware audiences to read more out of the text, through this extraordinary back-to-the-future style. This is marked by a Muse-invocation, the metapoetic marker most apt for an engagement with poetic heritage. These textual undercurrents invite us, and an Athenian audience, to ponder three alternatives. Will the Trojan audience of Menelaos’ speech react with diplomacy and return Helen (Antenor’s preferred course of action)? Will they react negatively, refuse the request, and suffer the Iliadic consequences of this choice? Or will they do away with the two Greeks altogether, siding with the view of Antimakhos and Paris as suggested in Iliad 11?

With this Iliadic background, we need now to consider Menelaos’ speech. In a valuable contextualization of the speech within the language of contemporary morality, Fisher highlights how Menelaos’ words match his portrayal of Trojan guilt in his speeches in the Iliad. The generalizations do not map onto Paris and the Trojans perfectly, and Menelaos’ words fit into more generalized poetic paradigms concerning the fates of cities.81 Fisher is right to point us in the direction of Menelaos’ speech, at Iliad 13.620–39, when standing over the body of (another!82) Peisandros. Here Menelaos is most explicit about his feelings of moral outrage against the Trojans; in general, his words work well as a model for Menelaos’ speech in Bacchylides 15, as the only example of hubris or its cognates being applied to the Trojans in the whole of the Iliad.83 In the second half of his speech Menelaos remonstrates with Zeus for showing favour to such men, and attacks the Trojans further, since they even fail to show satiety in warfare; he calls them µάχης ἀκόρητοι, ‘insatiable in fighting’, at line 639.

There is an additional pointer in this direction, through one of the characteristic devices of Bacchylides’ poetry, his appropriation of and reorientation of traditional epithets. We might ask ourselves (p.286) why Bacchylides has Menelaos address the Trojans as αρηΐφιλοι, ‘lovers of war’ in line 50. In itself, the word used in the context of Menelaos should direct us towards Homer, since in the Iliad it is used of Menelaos himself in nineteen out of a total of twenty-six times, and its only occurrence in the Odyssey, at 15.169, also describes him. It is never used in Homer of the Trojans.84

Bacchylides modulates the sense of the Homeric glossa and turns the tables on Homer’s own usage, perhaps seeing an irony in the fact that Menelaos, whose characteristic epithet in the Iliad describes his fondness for fighting, is made to attack the Trojans for this same characteristic in the Iliad 13 passage at line 639. Bacchylides’ text again breaks down any easy differentiation between Greeks and Trojans. Moreover, Bacchylides can again be seen to be making a play on communication and interpretability. The word could be understood as a harmless piece of epicizing vocabulary, and indeed we are left to wonder what the exact tone of Menelaos’ terminology here is; but if we see behind it the reference to his speech in Iliad 13, again we are directed toward language marking future Trojan actions as morally outrageous.

Another speech of interest is that at Iliad 3.96–112. Menelaos’ words are more diplomatic at this early stage than his words from book 13; but he calls Priam’s sons ύπερφίαλοι καὶ α῎πιστοι, ‘arrogant and untrustworthy’, in line 106. The language of lines 62–3 of Bacchylides 15, where Menelaos uses the phrase ύπερφίαλους … παι̑δας, ‘arrogant sons [of Earth]’ of the hubris of the giants as an exemplum for the Trojans, points to this Iliadic passage, where Menelaos had used the exact same phraseology to characterize Priam’s sons: surely this is part of the point of Menelaos’ saying in line 56 ὀλβίων παι̑δεs νιν [sc. Δίκαν] αἱρεν̑νται σύνοικον, ‘blessed are they whose sons choose [Justice] to share their homes’. We are pointed towards the passage in Iliad 3 where Menelaos indicates that Priam’s sons have, by implication, not chosen Justice to share their homes: in fact, Paris has done the opposite and chosen Hubris, embodied in Helen, to share his.85 Moreover, we will see in the next sections how the particular emphasis on sons is significant for the (p.287) context of the poem’s performance, external to the mythical space created by Bacchylides’ narrative.

The historical and polis-oriented background for Menelaos’ mythical exemplum begins to take shape. When we see Priam’s sons behind the exemplum of the Giants this adds further depth to the suggestion I made earlier. The use of this exemplum in a speech embedded within a morality-tale directs us to analyse the whole of Bacchylides’ poem itself as an exemplum concerning morality in general, particularly when we will see that both Trojans and Giants were powerful and well-grounded exempla for a contemporary, Athenian, audience.

The possibility that we are to take Bacchylides’ text as itself a kind of paradigm is further confirmed by a final Iliadic intertext. In lines 53–4 Menelaos tells the Trojans that ‘it lies open for all men to attain upright Justice’, ἀλλε῏ν [µέσ]ωι κει̑ται κιχει̑ν | πα̑σιν ἀνθρώποις Δίκαν ίθεíαν. These words have been seen to transfer us to Iliad 18 and the description, on Akhilleus’ shield, of the court case taking place in the peaceful city: 18.497–508.86 Once again this is a scene that takes place in a city agora.87 Lines 507–8 tell us that two talents of gold were lying ἐν µέσσοισι, ‘in the centre’, for the judge ‘who could make the straightest case among them’, ο῍ς µετὰ τοι̑σι δίκην ίθν́ντατα ε'ι῎ποι. We are led to another text telling us about decision-making ἐν µέσωι. Moreover, Menelaos’ reference takes us to another city, a paradigmatic example of a city functioning properly, which is thus another exemplum, in the context of the archetypal ekphrastic description, the shield of Akhilleus.88 This allusion to complex Homeric exemplarity on the theme of civic responsibility further encourages us to read Bacchylides’ whole poem, by analogy, as a similar kind of set-piece description. The central issue in Menelaos’ speech, and by extension Bacchylides’ poem, is correct moral action within a polis environment.89

(p.288) Solon

Certain references made by Menelaos take us to texts beyond the Iliad. He begins by suggesting to the Trojans that no good will come if they take no responsibility for their own actions and continue to hold the gods responsible in the controlling of men’s lives: ‘Zeus on high who sees all things is not accountable to mortals for their great woes’, Ζεν̀ς ύψ[ιµέδων ο῝]ς α῞παντα δέρκεται | οὐκ αι῎τιος θνατοι̑ς µεγάλων ἀχέων, lines 51–2.

As Pfeijffer correctly observes, this is in stark contrast to the Trojans’ appeals to the gods as the first reaction to news of the embassy.90 Menelaos’ first words fit the narrative perfectly as an understandable and obvious reaction to the sight of Trojans offering prayers to the gods for salvation (lines 45–6), when in fact there are very practical things that the Trojans should be doing given the current circumstances. Indeed, we have already seen that references to Iliad 6 show how Trojan appeals to divine help to save the city (made specifically to Athena) are doomed.

But the content of Menelaos’ speech, and the conception of justice and morality that it entails, are distinctly post-Iliadic. As Maehler points out, the immediate reference is to Zeus’ words at the start of the Odyssey concerning the crimes of Aigisthos: note that this is another moral exemplum, one which acts there as a systematic model for the crime and punishment of the suitors.91

Other texts also feature. Hesiod in particular—on the contrast between Dike and Hubris at Works and Days 225 and following—is a strong presence.92 This whole section of Hesiod seems a useful direction in which to take Bacchylides, since the Hesiodic description accurately matches both Bacchylides’ own text and the intertextual relationships already set up (especially with regard to the city at peace from Iliad 18, and its counterpart the city at war). At Works and Days lines 225–37 we get the description of the consequences of having a just city, and at lines 238–47 we have the description of the consequences of hubris, the focus of Menelaos’ speech in Bacchylides (p.289) 15. After this we get the warning to the kings, in which the following lines occur:

πάντα ἰδών Διὸς ὀφθαλµὸς καὶ πάντα νοησας

καί νυ τάδ’ αι῎ κ’ ἐθέλῃσ’ ἐπιδέρκεται, ον̓δεέ ἑ λήθει

οἵην δή καὶ τήνδε δίκην πόλις ἐντὸς ἐέργει.

  • The eye of Zeus sees all and understands all,
  • and looks upon these things too, if he pleases; nor does he fail
  • to notice what standard of justice this is that the city keeps within it.

Hesiod, WD 267–9

These words have a significant parallel in the wording of line 51 of our poem (Ζεν̀ς ν̔ψ[ιµέδων ο῝] ς α῞παντα δέρκεται).93 Moreover, we are again directed to a passage where the justice of cities, and their elites, is at issue. However, Hesiod makes it clear that Zeus punishes men for their crimes (cf. WD 240–7). Bacchylides’ Menelaos makes it clear that men themselves are responsible for their own downfall, and that therefore Zeus should not be held responsible for men’s misfortunes.

This takes us to Solon.94 Solon also works within an Hesiodic observance of justice and avoidance of hubris,95 but it is his notion that men are responsible for the moral choices they make that is strikingly echoed in the opening words of Menelaos’ speech.96 The passage in Solon that most closely matches Menelaos’ words is the opening of the fragment (perhaps complete poem) 4 W (ήµετέρη δὲ πόλις …). Lines 1–10 of the poem highlight a number of themes that (p.290) we have already seen Bacchylides’ poem pick up in Homer. We have seen Theano pray to Athena in Iliad 6. We have seen the punishment of the sons of Antimakhos, whose father was implicated in the rejection of the embassy, and was in fact bribed by Paris (compare χρήµασι πειθόµενοι at Solon 4.6 W). And the words of Menelaos’ speech in Iliad 13 about the Trojans’ insatiability in war which lurk behind the transferred epithet ἀρηΐφιλοι in line 50 bear interesting comparison with Solon 4 W line 9: ‘they do not understand how to keep their satiety in check’, οὐ γὰρ ἐπίστανται κατέχειν κόρον. There is an additional emphasis in both texts on hubris as the cause of mortal pain through an excess of thoughtlessness, ἀφροσύνη. Moreover, the ode to Eunomia, Solon 4.32–9, is redeployed in the collocation in line 55 of Eunomia with πινυτα̑ς Θέµιτος, and in the vegetative imagery of flourishing attached to hubris. In Solon’s poem Eunomia is guarantor for men of all ‘sensible thoughts’, πινυτά: 4.38–9.97 Again we find a direct correspondence between the advice and criticism that Solon offers his Athenian public, and the advice, and implicit criticism, that Menelaos offers to the internal Trojan audience of Bacchylides’ poem.

Anhalt’s discussion of Solon 4 W sets out how unusual and surprising Solon’s words are; her analysis is also informative when thinking about Bacchylides’ poem.98 In the opening lines Solon seems to be suggesting that Athens (‘our city’) will not be destroyed by external enemies, since she has a suitable divine protector in the form of Athena.99 However,

Solon’s point, is of course, the opposite of reassuring. In spite of the fact that Athens has a divine protector, αντοὶ δὲ φθείρειν µεγάλην πόλιν ἀφραδίησιν | ἀστοὶ βούλονται (Solon 4.5–6). Solon’s collocation is both disturbing and (p.291) unusual. The expected assertion would be either that the gods are providing protection, and, therefore there is no need to worry, or that the gods are not to blame, but we are destroying ourselves.100

Menelaos’ speech makes it plain that the gods themselves are not responsible for men’s pains; moreover, even though the Trojans do have a protecting divinity in the shape of Athena, she happens to be on the Greek side in the war. The point that Solon was making, in an Athenian context and to an Athenian audience, and that Bacchylides is also making, also in Athens, at the Panathenaea, is that even if a great city—such as Athens, or Troy—has a protecting divinity with a prominent temple, who receives prayers and dedications, the actions of men themselves are to blame for the refusal of gods to offer help.

Here we must replay the passage from Iliad 6 which Bacchylides’ poem has already deployed, where Trojans guided by Theano pray to Athena for salvation, but where their prayers are denied: lines 297–311. By leading us to both of these passages, Bacchylides offers an implicit reinterpretation of Theano’s prayer in the light of Solon’s words. The first four lines of Solon’s poem could almost be placed in inverted commas, the projected statement of a member of Solon’s foolish δη̑µος, the misguided assertion of confidence in the power of a protecting divinity to overlook the mortal wrongs that take matters out of the hands of that divinity: higher forces take over. Theano invokes Athena as Ιρυσίπτολι, ‘protector of the city’, at Iliad 6.305, in the same way that Athena is Athens’ ἐπίσκοπος at Solon 4.3 W.101 But as the Iliad makes clear, and as Solon makes clear in the case of Athenian excesses, prayers offered are no good when the protection requested cannot save the city from itself.102 Moreover, the separate identities of Athens and Troy are again problematically merged.

(p.292) There may also be an engagement with Solon 13 W, especially lines 25–32 thereof. Again, the theme is the omniscient mind of the Zeus, able to punish mortal wrongs. Solon disturbingly projects such punishment into future generations with an emphasis on children and all descendants: ‘even though they are not responsible, their children or their descendants thereafter pay for their deeds [sc. of their forebears]’, ἀναίτιοι ε῎ργα τίνουσιν | η῍ παι̑δε τούτων η῍ γένος ἐξοπίσω, lines 31–2. These lines could themselves be read as a negative corollary to the correct choice of Dike by the children of the blessed projected by Menelaos in line 56 of Bacchylides’ poem. Again, a threatening undercurrent of specific application for an Athenian audience operates behind Menelaos’ words, hinting at likely punishment if the correct course of action is not followed through.103

It is therefore highly significant that Bacchylides’ poem, which shows a high degree of interest in moral choice and in the impossibility of fully understanding the world,104 should have a character within its Homeric detail who uses language and moral argument in a way that points us in the direction of the Athenian Solon. This renegotiation of Solonian ethics through Homeric subject matter, narrative style, and characterization, operates through appeals to an audience internal to the text who are unaware, and to an audience external to the text who are (or at least should now be?) aware, of the implications of their moral choice.

In addition to such pairainetic uses of exempla, Bacchylides’ mythological use of hubris to figure an act of aggression to be punished by war might also strike more positive and glorificatory notes for an Athenian audience. The dedicatory epigram inscribed on the Akropolis in c.506 to celebrate the Athenian victory over the Boeotians and Khalkidians (CEG i.179 = M-L 15) figures Boeotian and Khalkidian aggression as such:

  • δεσµο̑ι ἐν †ἀχλν́οεντι† σιδερέοι ε῎σβεσαν hν́βριν
  • παι̑δες Άθεναίον ε῎ργµασιν ἐµ πολέµο
  • ε῎θνεα Βοιοτο̑ν καὶ Χαλκιδέον δαµάσαντες,
  • το̑ν hίππος δ̣εκάτεν Παλλάδι τάσδ’ ε῎θεσαν.


  • In dismal iron chains they quenched the hubris,
  • the sons of the Athenians in deeds of war,
  • taming the races of the Boeotians and Khalkidians;
  • for which they set up these horses as a tithe for Pallas.105

Read with this kind of text in mind, the evocation of hubris in Bacchylides 15 may provide a positive guide for Athenians on the correct and indeed glorious functioning of their own city in times of war. Yet we need to bear in mind that Bacchylides’ poem is far from straightforwardly glorificatory: exemplification of Trojans and Giants in the poem is complex. It fits with two points Goldhill makes concerning behavioural paradigms:

[T]he positioning of examples within a narrative not only produces the interplay of the narrativised example in tension with the framing narrative, but also requires a recognition of the constant recontextualisation and realignment of the example … [T]his constant recontextualisation also involves an intertextual dynamic, as the exemplary narrative is construed within a tradition of exemplification.106

This could even have been written as a comment on Bacchylides’ poem. Bacchylides uses the Trojan context as a frame in which to direct his audience (us included) towards exemplary forms of moral action and the consequences that these have for the correct functioning of civilized society. Homer, and the Iliad in particular, is a treasury from which to learn about moral action, but Athens is further specified as the context where such exemplification can be worked through, primarily by means of the references to the Athenian polis-oriented poetry of Solon, and because of the resonance for Athenian identity of the gigantomachy.

The appropriation of Solon’s language by a mythical noble within a democratic performance form creates additional complexities. Fisher points out that the question of whom the language of Menelaos’ speech is directed at is allowed further play. Solon’s ‘blossoming of hubris’ is either an abuse of justice by the rich, depriving others, or an attempt by members of the demos to seize (p.294) wealth and power above their station.107 There is a crucial sense in which the choice between these two positions is unresolved, deferred even, by the way it is bound up in the communicative complexity of Bacchylides’ poem: a Solonian ethical and political position is represented to audiences by a member of Homer’s mythical elite within a mythological narrative. I deal further with these complexities, and their ideological consequences, in the following sections.


Performance in the Athenian Agora

Let us look again at lines 53–4 of Bacchylides’ poem: ἀλλἐν [µεσ]ωι κει̑ται κιχει̑ν | πασιν ἀνθρώποις Δίκαν ἰθεíαν, ‘it lies open for all men to attain upright Justice’. In addition to alluding to Iliad 18, as I argued earlier, the lines also provide a peculiarly contemporary gloss on archaic epic phraseology. The importance of the idea of ‘the centre’ for Greek thought about the polis, and for democratic Athens in particular, is succinctly stated by Paul Cartledge:

For the Greeks, moreover, the ‘civic space’ of the political was located centrally. Public affairs were placed es meson or en mesoi (‘towards’ or ‘in the middle’), both literally and metaphorically at the heart of the community, as a prize to be contested. The community in turn was construed concretely as a strongly inclusive political corporation of actively participating and competing citizens.108

While Bacchylides has been able to pick up the germ of this idea in the Iliad, in the Shield of Akhilleus, Menelaos’ words resonate fully within the contemporary setting of performance for Bacchylides’ (p.295) poem, the Athenian Agora during the Panathenaea.109 And performance by kuklios khoros, the archetypally urban form in Athens, would provide the ideal basis for this.110

For Bacchylides’ Menelaos, and at least the Athenian audience, justice is to be sought ‘towards’, or ‘in’, ‘the centre’, through the correct orientation of individuals towards the central, public, and inter-personal negotiations of a civic society. This is highly significant when we consider the likely performance context of Bacchylides’ work at the Panathenaea, in the heart of Athens, even as part of a competition by citizens, something which we will return to later in the final part of this chapter.

In the previous chapter, I established the grounds for thinking that Bacchylides 15 was performed at the Athenian Panathenaea. Now I want to be a little more specific. The choral performance of Bacchylides’ poem was part of a range of performances at the festival, and the content of the poem relates to, and can be seen to comment on, other such performances: in particular, performance of Homer, and the Panathenaic procession itself. For instance, Bacchylides picks out for particular attention the role of ritual in honour of Athena, because of Theano’s presence in the opening line as priestess of Athena. As is well known, the priestess and her attendants occupied an important place in the Panathenaic procession, and, as we have already seen, Bacchylides’ poem alludes to Theano’s prominent role in Iliad 6, part of a work also performed at the festival.111

(p.296) It seems likely that the location for the Panathenaic musical contests was the Agora, before the Odeion was built next to the theatre of Dionysos, in the time of Perikles.112 The route of the Panathenaic procession to the Akropolis made the Agora the obvious central space for the Panathenaic competitions.113 Thus at the time of the performance of Bacchylides’ poem the location of Panathenaic performances of both kuklioi khoroi and the mousikoi agones, including the rhapsodic recitations of Homer, was in the Agora.114 Archaeological evidence exists for grandstands (ikria) in the classical Agora, in the form of post-holes at points along the Panathenaic way.115 From these grandstands, spectators could watch both the Panathenaic procession and the various competitions and events of the festival.116

As with drama at the City Dionysia, the ritual context of the Panathenaea is crucial for a full appreciation of the poetry that was performed there, since the Agora was the site for both poetic and ritual performance; or rather, poetic performance there is a necessary part of ritual performance. Bacchylides 15 self-consciously uses Homer to comment on the performance of Homeric poetry in Athens, as part of the ritual and festival institutions of Athens in general and the values that they might instil.117

(p.297) Civic Ideology

Despite a general familiarity with questions relating to the social function of tragedy, nothing comparable exists for works performed by kuklioi khoroi.118 Straightaway however, one might wonder whether any consensus about ‘social function’ is a useful goal to aim at. It seems beyond doubt that performances of mythologies about, for instance, the relation between state and individual, civic responsibility, or religious observance, were expected to resonate for both performers and audiences, asking them to mull over the kinds of choices on offer. But we should not take a retrograde step and state that tragedy, or kuklioi khoroi, force easy solutions on audiences and performers as collectives by appeal to the strictures of their festival frameworks.119 Whether we see tragedy as offering deconstructive aetiologies for state ritual,120 or as expressing the fissures within Athenian social hierarchies,121 it is important to emphasize the level of internal questioning, or at least examination, of the very democratic structures that ground the performances themselves.122 The delicate and paradoxical balance is well preserved in the following: On the one hand, ‘Cannot such exploration itself be authorized by civic “ideology”, the features of the city’s character which citizens regarded as its most distinctive strengths?’; on the other, ‘[Recognition of competing ideologies …; questioning] must be set in relation to the recuperative, reassimilating power of an ideological frame.’123 Goldhill is right to stress how the power of tragedy removes the possibility for univocal interpretation, but this lack of univocality (p.298) does impinge on all ideological structures, including those of contemporary Athens itself.

Yet a similar balance operates in the tension between the symbolism of the performance of Bacchylides 15 by a kuklios khoros, the ritual context of its performance, and the narrative that the poem contains. We must see the poetic text as an important ingredient in the mix, not something somehow outside of any political framework.124 But nor can we any longer conceive of tragedy, or the City Dionysia, as the unique arena available for social questioning. Goldhill states: ‘It is the combination of and tension between plays and rituals which together makes up the Great Dionysia as the constitutive performance of the citizen as θεατής.’125 Kuklioi khoroi, across the festival spectrum, also have an important, and central, role to play.126

Jasper Griffin has claimed that questioning of values is something that occurs already in Homer, and is not something unique to tragedy or to Athenian democracy.127 However, it is surely true that in fifth-century Athens the theatre as well as the other arenas set out for institutionalized public performance did allow for detailed and focused examination of questions of importance for citizens of the polis, including questions about the very structuring of their city’s institutions.128 Moreover, Griffin does not take sufficient account of (p.299) the difference in themes explored by Homer and tragedy respectively, nor of the changing performance contexts of Homer.129 Richard Seaford suggests, in response to Griffin, that ‘[T]raditional myth did not provide much scope for dramatizing “the conflict between democracy and aristocracy/oligarchy”. It was rather centred around the crimes and disasters of powerful individuals, unencumbered by the institutions of the state.’130 Although we might quibble with Seaford’s refusal to bring the status of Troy as a polis in the Iliad into the equation here, he is right to suggest that tragedy is in part a reaction to ‘the new realities of the polis’.131 Moreover, we can see with Bacchylides 15 how closely the poem interacts with Homer as a text which has now itself become part of the contemporary Athenian festival context: Griffin fails to take account of the fact that the Iliad itself was constantly reperformed and appropriated throughout the (p.300) fifth-century when choral performances were at their height, and what the implications of such recontextualization might be.

In the case of Bacchylides 15 at least, I suggest the following: that the poem is inviting us to refamiliarize ourselves with sections of the Iliad, in particular the episodes mentioning the embassy and the consequences for Troy of its rejection, in order to make us think of the importance for any polis of the behaviour of its individual citizens, and of the relation between individual and collective. This relation between individual and collective is something which the Iliad is interested in (above all with Akhilleus), but not the unique focus of its attention, and not uniquely in relation to a polis-setting (there Troy). Johannes Haubold has argued that Homer offers an embryonic analysis of political issues relating to the people as a whole (the laos). My argument here is a complement, with a different emphasis. Haubold focuses on the possibility of institutional progress represented by the dynamic between the content of Homeric narrative and performance of such narrative in the institutional setting that the Athenian Panathenaea provided.132 I focus on the way Bacchylides 15 might offer a response to such a notion of progress: How far has fifth-century Athens moved on from Homer’s Troy in terms of the ability of its citizens to control the city and its destiny? Bacchylides’ polis-oriented poem reorients the Iliad, putting this issue at the top of the agenda, for consideration at the Panathenaea, in the Agora.

Bacchylides uses the Agora, allusion to Homer and to Solon, and—as I suggest below—a khoros of boys, to engage directly with the way Athens used poetry and performance by boys to educate the citizenry as well as to celebrate itself. Agorai are used and alluded to throughout Bacchylides 15, as the central contexts in which the issues at the heart of this poem are raised. The decision involving the return of Helen and moral choice more generally is sited in the Trojan agora. It is to the agora that the Trojans are called at lines 40–3.133 As we have seen, Bacchylides’ language in lines 39 and 53–4 directs us (p.301) towards Iliadic agorai: at Iliad 7.345 and following, Iliad 7.382, and Iliad 18.497 and following.

Solon’s elegies, however initially performed,134 were reperformed in public settings on festival days, which may have included performance in the Athenian Agora. Indeed, the seemingly apocryphal story about the initial performance of Solon’s Salamis in the Agora related by Plutarch may itself have arisen through a retrofitting of the later circumstances of the poem’s public reperformance.135 Moreover, evidence is preserved that relates the performance of Solon in Athens directly to the public education of boys. The text of Plato Timaeus 21b provides evidence for the reperformance in public of celebrated Athenian poetry, including Solon, at the Apatouria, a festival that sought to affirm Athenian civic ideology:

ή δὲ Κουρεώτις ήµȋν οὖσα ἐτύγχανεν Άπατουρίων. τò δή τη̑ς ἑορτη̑ς σύνηθες ἑκάστοτε καὶ τότε συνέβη τοȋς παισίν. ἀ̂θλα γὰρ ήµȈν οἱ πατέρ∈ς ἒθεσαν ῥαψῳδίας. πολλω̂ν µὲν οὐ̂ν δή καὶ πολλὰ ἐλέχθη ποιητω̂ν ποιήµατα, ἃτε δè νέα κατ’ ἐκείνον τòν χρόνον ὄντα τὰ Σόλωνος πολλοί τω̂ν παίδων ᾔσαµεν.

It happened to be the day of the Apatouria called Koureotis. The customary ceremony for boys held at this festival on each occasion was held then too, our ancestors having arranged contests in recitation. So while many poems by poets were recited, since at that time the poems of Solon were new, many of us children sang them.

Even if we are to suspect that mention here of (the anachronistically new) Solon in particular by Plato’s Kritias is not an accident, with its own peculiar intent,136 we can still see the rationale behind such a link between poetry and performance by children. As Eva Stehle comments, ‘The Apatouria was the festival at which young men were received into the phratry. The point of the performances is easy to (p.302) see: boys recited poetry that shaped their consciousness of political and ethnic identity at a festival confirming legitimacy, the basis of citizenship.’137

This is crucial for my argument about the power of Bacchylides 15 within its own context. Performance of Bacchylides’ poem by boys would create an even stronger parallel between the internal and external contexts for Menelaos’ words. A performance by a khoros of boys (χορòς παίδων), sons of fully enfranchized Athenian male citizens, squares well with internal detail of the poem. There are references to sons in Menelaos’ speech: line 56 ὀλβίων παȋδές νιν αἱρευ̂νται σύνοικον, ‘blessed are they whose sons choose her [sc. Justice] to share their homes’, a line which directs us towards Menelaos’ Iliadic words about Priam’s sons, and also to Solon’s words about injustice coming home to roost in future Athenian generations. And most important, as we have seen in the previous chapter, Maehler’s reconstruction of line 12 [τω̂ν δὲ πεντήκοντ’ ἐµω̑ν παὶ]δων τυχόντες, ‘and you have met my fifty sons’, provides a detail which makes sense only by reference to a choral performance by an Athenian χορòς παίδων.138

The poem ends very abruptly with stress laid on the destruction of the Giants, themselves described as sons, Γα̑ς παὶδας, in line 63. This final paradigm is highly significant. The myth of the gigantomachy was central to the Panathenaea, and thus central to Athenian identity. Although Bacchylides 15 tells us that, metaphorically speaking, it was Hubris who overcame the Giants, it was Athena who carried out the punishment. This action was celebrated on the pediments of the Archaic Temple of Athena,139 and was woven into the peplos processed during the Greater Festival through the Agora,140 the precise site of the performance of Bacchylides 15, indeed the major spectacle to watch from the ikria. It also featured later on the East Metopes of the Parthenon, as well as on the sculpted shield of the statue of Athena Parthenos.141 More generally, the paradigm of the Giants was (p.303) significant for Athenian ethnic self-definition. As an autochthonous race, the Athenians were themselves ultimately children of Earth. But unlike with the story of the Giants or other known mythological figures born from the earth, the Athenians had a fertile and so productive mythological origin in Erekhtheus/Erikhthonios, an origin that represents the foundation of the city as a civic body. This civic order was also renewed by the yearly celebration in the Panathenaea of Athena’s birth and her destruction of the Giants.142 Hubris and Athena destroy the Giants before they are able, even if capable, to have sons of their own. It has further been suggested that Athena’s operations form the centre of a polarity between good and bad examples of earth-born. She slays the Giants, but protects the autochthonous Athenians.143

Such an opposition is, however, broken down by Bacchylides 15. In general the paradigm of hubris and the Giants was so powerful for an Athenian citizen because it mirrored, and offered a rival ethical possibility for, Athena’s nurtured progeny. More specifically, the final words of Bacchylides’ poem have relevance beyond their mythical confines and hit home for an Athenian audience. Athenians are invited to consider the potential for closing the gap between themselves and their mythical counterparts. The paradigm of the Giants used inside the myth is perhaps even more appropriate for this third party, the Athenians themselves. We saw earlier how Bacchylides’ reuse of Homer plays on an uncertainty about how Trojans will respond to Menelaos’ words: the Iliad tells us how the Trojans should respond, but we don’t know how Bacchylides’ Trojans will. Nor do we know how Bacchylides’ Athenian audience will respond to Menelaos’ words. Uncertainty about future moral conduct becomes as important an issue for Athenians as it is for citizens of Troy, and is an important issue for Solon, to whom Bacchylides has also alluded. This closes the gap between Athenians and Trojans in a way that allows for the paradigm of the Giants to apply to the Athenians as well, rather than to work in opposition to them, and as such we are to wonder about the possibility that Athens’ own citizenry may be destroyed in the future because of the hubris of the current (p.304) generation.144 Bacchylides manipulates the relation between epic myth and contemporary political realities in his usage of Homeric-style myth in a poem for civic performance by a kuklios khoros; and so Bacchylides 15 has the potential to destabilize the opposition between ‘mythical fiction’ and ‘social reality’.145

The Panathenaea would have been the most prominent Athenian festival at which Athenians prayed to their patron goddess for protection, as well as success in all spheres of life, including war: in addition to receiving the peplos, she received an aristeion (‘award for prowess’) in the form of a dedicated crown, and prayers and sacrifices were offered to her cults of Athena Nike and Athena Polias. This, then, is Athena as the Athenian paragon of protection and success, and success because of her victory over the Giants.146 Yet such positive cultic paradigms are set against rather more ambivalent and potentially troubling ones provided by the content of Bacchylides’ poem, and its Homeric, Hesiodic, and Solonian intertexts.

The poem also plays on a double sense of paides. First, these paides are specific sons with specific fathers: the number of the mythical fifty sons of Antenor is invented—according to the reconstruction of line 12—precisely to map onto the fifty sons performing the poem in Athens, real sons with real fathers. Priam and his sons are also implicated, in Antenor’s message to them in lines 37–9, and in Menelaos’ words to his internal Trojan audience about the good fortune of fathers who have sons who are not like Paris (the message behind line 56).

(p.305) Second, however, the reference to the Giants as sons of Earth with which the poem closes creates a parallel with the autochthonous citizens of Athens as a whole who are also sons of Earth. It is this double reference to both a general and a specific sense for paides in Athens that provides the link between, on the one hand, a specific choral performance by a group of Athenian boys in the Agora, and, on the other, questions and concerns for the whole citizenry of Athens. The context which generates this link is the Panathenaea, which celebrated, in part, Athena’s victory over those Earth-born Giants.

Moreover, as Stehle’s observation quoted earlier makes clear, performance by boys shaped their political consciousness.147 My interpretation of Bacchylides 15 therefore fits with the observation of Jack Winkler, albeit in a discussion of drama: Bacchylides 15 was itself an ‘elaborate symbolic play on themes of proper and improper civic behavior, in which the principal component of proper male citizenship was military’.148 Participation in kuklioi khoroi performing works like Bacchylides 15 reinforced the education of Athenian boys in the social operations and ethical foundations of their city.

Tragedy, Rhapsody, and Closure

In order to understand how Bacchylides 15 engaged with its audience as a choral performance, we need to develop a model for the authority of its khoros. This will take us in three directions: to comparison with the role and operation of the tragic khoros; to the way in which Homeric rhapsodes were thought to engage with their (p.306) audiences; and to the issue of closure. The reason for this triple focus is that while Bacchylides’ khoros bears comparison in some ways to tragic khoroi, the communicative strategy and style of the poem is rather more reminiscent of the way rhapsodic performance of Homer, and performance of other predominantly narrative forms such as narrative oratory, were thought to operate. Comparison with the tragic khoros will help us think about the authority of Bacchylides’ khoros as a group of speakers; comparison with other kinds of performance will encourage us to think about how Bacchylides’ poetic style may have been influenced by a tradition of narrative lyric in performance, as well as by the expectations of a specific festival audience and by contamination and influence by other performances at this festival, and how Bacchylides invites his audience to empathize with the events narrated. A discussion of closure will highlight how Bacchylides responds to the conditions and limitations of choral performance in order to allow the performance further to affect its audience.

Because so little work has been done on the role or function of the kuklios khoros, we have to turn to consideration of the tragic khoros, which has received more attention. More importantly, by thinking about the communicative dynamic between khoros and audience with kuklioi khoroi we might be in a better position to situate this form on a discursive axis of Athenian public performance ranging between the opposing poles of tragedy, with its power to disorder, and of funeral oration, with its power to idealize.149 In the case of the earlier classical kuklioi khoroi, the likely absence of masks marks an important difference from tragedy.150

The model of the khoros as an ‘idealized spectator’ suits kuklioi khoroi even less well than it does tragedy.151 Matters are different in the case of this form because of a difference from tragedy in terms of the khoros’ marginality and its ‘rootedness’ in certain social and ritual scenarios.152 If the khoreutai did not wear masks, their identity would have been rooted in the context of the performance rather than in the world of the myth which they narrate. However, this does (p.307) not mean that the questions of communication or interpretation are any less complex than with tragedy. Menelaos’ words, ventriloquized by the khoros in performance,153 are directed at a body of Trojans internal to the narrative, but resonate beyond their mythical confines into the performance setting, imposing themselves on members of the external audience for internalization. This narrated body of Trojans, whose responses are not described, are in a sense in the same position as would be the khoros in a tragedy if Menelaos’ words, as spoken by an actor, were directed at a large body of people on the stage in the same kind of mythical setting. But Menelaos’ words can be interpreted as more directly engaging the external audience than with tragedy, since the internal audience is not fully represented. I suggest that it is the group-identity of the performing khoros as visible and recognizable Athenians that plays an important part in authorizing their narrative and the words of Menelaos.

The authority of Homer and of Homeric performance also plays a significant part. The way in which Bacchylides’ khoros can access mythological material and present the words of a mythological character to its audience can be thought of as mimetic. However, this is more reminiscent of the way rhapsodes might be thought to be mimetic. We do have ancient evidence that suggests that ‘dithyramb’ was thought of as mimetic. In the notorious passage from book 3 of the Republic Plato (394b–c) seems to separate out ‘dithyramb’—as a non-mimetic narrative form in which the poet or performer speaks as himself and does not adopt a different identity—from other more mimetic forms of Homer and especially tragedy.154 However, Plato has a classificatory agenda here which actually ignores the operation of the khoros. Plato makes no mention here of kuklioi khoroi, and he also ignores the fact that the New Musical dithyrambopoioi of his (p.308) day were likely to have produced extraordinarily mimetic works, far more so than in Bacchylides’ day: these are crucial omissions.155 Only a few sections later Plato does in fact admit that even works which do not necessitate the adoption of another persona can be considered mimetic in some sense.156 Later in the Laws he admits that all forms of khoreia can be imitative.157

Aristotle chooses to describe as mimetic even those forms which involve speaking in one’s own person without adopting the persona of another.158 Although he refrains here from applying the name ‘dithyramb’ to this category, his analysis of representative mimetic types a little earlier does include ‘dithyramb’, at Poetics 1447a13–16.159 Furthermore, as Andrea Rotstein has argued, the six different poetic types mentioned there by Aristotle map directly onto categories of competition at the major Athenian festivals, the City Dionysia and Great Panathenaea in the fourth century as attested epigraphically.160

We can, therefore, make some headway if we consider the narrato-logical similarity between some of Bacchylides’ ‘kuklia’ and Homer, and the way in which rhapsodes performed Homer at festivals such as the Panathenaea. As is plain to see, even in the case of works such as Bacchylides 15 and 17, there is plenty of scope for character-text: there are (or were) speeches by Theano, possibly by Odysseus, and by Menelaos in Bacchylides 15; by Theseus and Minos in Bacchylides 17; this is also true with Simonides’ Danae fragment, which may also (p.309) be part of a ‘kuklion’.161 If we consider Bacchylidean narrator- and character-text as mimetic, this bears on how the poem affects both performers and audiences. The passage from Republic 396c-d cited above implies that, even in narrative, poets or readers, or indeed performers and audiences, are capable of thinking for themselves about the characters whose words and actions are represented in the words of such narratives, and how they themselves relate to such characters.

The capacity of rhapsodes to communicate expressively with their audiences in the performance of Homeric narrative is explored in detail in Plato’s Ion. Though the outlandish claims of Ion are designed to sound ridiculous, they contain enough truth to offer a picture of what one might expect from an accomplished rhapsode. Bacchylides himself exploits the authority of Homer to enable his khoros effectively to engage its audience, as is clear in the use of the Muse-invocation in line 47 of Bacchylides 15. Menelaos’ speech to the Trojans works as a voice from the void, summoned from a construction of the epic past in a choral performance to authorize the words the khoros sings. The Homeric artificiality of diction and the epicizing use of dactylo-epitrite metre are also designed to impress the audience, as well as displaying Bacchylides’ indebtedness to a tradition of narrative lyric taking us back via Simonides to Stesikhoros, who may also have operated in contexts where performance of Homer was prominent.162 Use of highly stylized diction is comparable with, though once again interestingly different from, the utterance of the tragic khoros: in tragedy, the high style of choral lyric which intensifies their utterance and thus impacts more strongly on audiences frequently clashes markedly with the lower status of the fictional roles that khoroi adopt.163 For Bacchylides 15, however, the stylization of the narrative which is one among a number of factors (p.310) designed to impress and affect an audience does not clash with any question about the status of the khoros per se, who are visibly Athenian citizens authorized to sing by access to Homeric myth and language. The ability to affect the emotions of an audience are crucial to success in rhapsodic competitions also, as Ion so brashly points out to Sokrates.164

The precise mechanisms by which texts engage their audiences come within the broad, if rather loose, category of mimesis, but it is to these rhetorical techniques that we need now to turn. One particular hallmark of Bacchylidean narrative and speeches is their vividness, enargeia. As Chris Carey has discussed, it is the way that Bacchylides also uses narrative to explore and evince moral character in order to create pistis, ‘credibility’, in his audience that is a hallmark of his style, and one that makes Bacchylides on occasion seem rather more akin to Homer than he does to Pindar.165 This is nowhere more true than with his Dithyrambs. Bacchylidean clarity or vividness of description is a constant in literary criticism, but in general this is equated far too regularly with stylistic simplicity, the result being that Bacchylides is damned with faint praise.166 It is no accident that enargeia is the quality that Ion picks up on as Sokrates in the Ion questions the rhapsode about his own emotional state when he affects the emotions of his audience through climactic narrations:

  • ΣΩ.’'Εχε δή µοι τóδε εἰπέ, ὦ’'Ιων, καὶ µὴ ἀποκρύψῃ ὅτι ἅν σε ἔρωµαι· ὅταν
  • εὖ εἴπῃs ἔπη καὶ έκπλήξτ,ς µαλιστα τους θεωµένουξ, η τον Οδυσσέα όταν
  • Ιπϊ τον ούδον €ϕαλλόµενον αδς, €κφανη γιγνόµενον τοις µνηστήρσι και
  • ίκχέοντα τους διστούς προ τών ποδών, η Αχιλλέα èπΐ τον Εκτορα
  • ορµώντα, η και τών περὶ Άνδροµαχην Ιλεινών τι η περὶ Εκαβην η περὶ
  • Πρίαµον, τoτε π Óτερον €µφρων εt η έξω σαυτοΰ γίγντ, καΐ παρα τοϊξ
  • πραγµασιν οεταí σου εiναι ή ψυχτ, οΐς λέγειs ενθουσιαζουσα, ἢ ἔν Ιθακν
  • ουσιν ν ἔν Τροία ἢ ὅπωs ἂν καὶ τὰ ἔπη ἔχῃ;
  • ΙΩν Ως ἔναργés µοι τούτο, & Σωκρατη, το τεκµήριον εἶπεs


Sokrates: Stop now and tell me, Ion, without reserve, what I ask: when you give a good recitation and particularly thrill your audience, either when you sing of Odysseus leaping forth onto the threshold, revealing himself to the suitors and pouring out his arrows at his feet, or of Akhilleus rushing at Hektor, or part of the pitiful story of Andromakhe or Hekabe or Priam, are you then still in possession of your senses, or are you carried out of yourself, and does your soul suppose in ecstasy it is part of the scenes you are describing, whether they be in Ithaka, or in Troy, or anywhere else the poems put them?

Ion: How vivid this part of your proof is, Sokrates.

Plato, Ion 535b-c

It is precisely these kinds of rhapsodic set-pieces, notable for their vividness, which Bacchylides appropriates for different performance form with different concerns.

Enargeia is a quality that Bacchylides shares not only with Homer, but also with other authors renowned for the style and impact of their narratives, most obviously with the poetry of his uncle Simonides, the vivid quality of whose work is noted by critics in antiquity.167 In the case of the orator Lysias, Dionysius of Halicarnassus states it is because of its ‘vividness’, enargeia, that his narrative grips its audiences or readers:

  • ἔχει δὲ καὶ τὴν ἐνáργειαν πολλὴν ἡ Λυσίου λέξις. αὕτη δ’ ἐστὶ δύναµίς τις ὑπὸ
  • τàς ἰισθήσεις ἄγουσα τà λεγόμενα, γίγνεται δ’ ἐκ τῆς τῶν παρακολουθούντων
  • λήψεως. ὁ δὴ προσέχων τὴν διáνοιαν τοῖς Λυσίου λόγοις οὐχ οὕτως ἔσται
  • σκαιὸς ἢ δυσáρεστος ἢ βραδὺς τόν νοῦν, ὃς οὐχ ὑπολήψεται γινόµενα τà
  • δηλούµενα ὁρᾶν καὶ ὥσπερ παροῦσιν οἷς ἂν ὁ ῥήτωρ εἰσáγῃ προσώποις
  • ὁµιλεῖν. ἐπιζητήσει τε οὐθέν, <οfον> εἰκός τοὺς µεν ἂν δρᾶσαι, τοός δὲ παθεῖν,
  • τοός δὲ διανοηθῆναι, τοός δὲ εἰπεῖν. κρáτιστος γàρ δὴ πáντων ἐγένετο
  • ῥητόρων ϕύσιν ἀνθρώπων κατοπτεῦσαι καὶ τà προσὶκοντα ἑκáστοις
  • ἀποδοῦναι πáθη τε καὶ ἤθη καὶ ἔργα.

Vividness is a quality which the style of Lysias has in abundance. He has a certain power of conveying the things he is describing to the perceptions of his audience, and it arises out of his grasp of circumstantial detail. Nobody (p.312) who applies his mind to the speeches of Lysias will be so obtuse, insensitive or slow-witted that he will not feel that he can see happening the actions which are being shown, or that he is encountering the characters in the orator’s story as if they were really there with him. And he will require no further evidence of the likely actions, feelings, thoughts or words of the different persons. He was the best of all the orators at observing human nature and ascribing to each type of person the appropriate emotions, moral qualities, and actions.

De Lysia, 7

Therefore, by thinking about enargeia as a purposeful rhetorical strategy,168 we can begin to see that the authority of Bacchylides’ khoros is derived from this ability, which he shares with Lysias and with rhapsodes, to engage an audience, and make them think they are part of the narrated situation, which, in Bacchylides’ case, is mythological.

This produces a creative tension in the utterance of Bacchylides’ khoros, comparable with, though different from, the situation with tragedy. Such a tension is not located primarily in the status of the khoreutai themselves, because they are identifiable as Athenians, unmasked as they are likely to have been.169 Rather, the tension is transferred onto the audience, since the enargeia of Bacchylidean narrative sucks the audience into the mythical world, and Menelaos’ closing words are thus directed in performance onto an audience whose identity is problematized by means of the Trojan myth. This is analogous in some ways to how the tragic khoros functions, but in that case the words of the khoros are picked up by both the characters on the stage and the members of the audience. With narrative choral poetry the doubleness of addressee that we find with tragic khoroi, who voice their words both to the actors on stage playing specific roles and to the external audience, is compressed because of the lack of choral interplay with actors (if we assume no formal separation of (p.313) roles between a khoros and its koruphaios).170 More weight therefore comes to rest on the external audience. In the case of Bacchylides 15, the external audience is Athenian, but there is a productive sense in which they are invited to think as Trojans.

As I pointed out in the previous chapter, the increase in the number of sons for Theano to fifty, as noted by the Homeric scholiast, creates a parallel external to the myth, in performance;171 this might allow for an imaginistic relation to be drawn between the parallel situations of the groupings of sons. This notwithstanding, members of the audience are still allowed to recognize the performing sons of Athens. And it is primarily the vividness of Bacchylides’ narrative that allows for the external audience to engage empathically with the mythical situation.

In the choral performance of Bacchylides 15, the focus of the narrative is on the responsibility of a wider group, rather than on the responsibility of a small set of individuals separated or opposed to this group. This is interestingly different from the situation with tragedy, where the tragic khoros generally operates as functionally ‘other’ in relation to the heroic protagonists of the play, and mirrors and explores a productive tension between group and individual integral to the functioning of democracy in the external world of Athens.172

Though we do know from the Iliad that the city of Troy was ultimately swayed by individual voices of the likes of Paris and Anti-makhos rather than Antenor, Bacchylides 15 focuses on the question of the Trojans’ response as a community. How will the Trojans react as a group to the suggestions and implied threats posed by Menelaos? How will they deal with the possible conflicts of opinion within their own ranks, conflicts pointed out by a detailed dependency on events or viewpoints narrated in the Iliad? Bacchylides 15 is able to highlight issues affecting a group, and to impose such issues onto external (p.314) audiences precisely because of the lack of dramatic interplay between khoros and individual protagonists allowed in tragedy.173

Within a democratic social framework, this and other extant works with pure mythical content which Bacchylides composed for Athenian festival performance do leave the answers to the questions they posed open, up for discussion. It is the constructed artificiality of closure in these poems that brings this about.174 Moreover, the narrative format creates such questions without allowing them to be resolved by appeal to any obvious frame of reference internal to the text. Importantly, this is in general contrast to epinician, where narrative myth is framed by, and thus grounded in, a specific encomiastic relationship.

Such openness is partly a result of the relative brevity of the lyric format, but the fact that questions are left without answers gives these myths their significance for contemporary audiences and provides these texts with their real political charge.175 The abrupt ending of Bacchylides 15 is another important feature which forces audiences and readers to play out in their own minds the possible moral contained in Menelaos’ speech both for Troy and for their own city. Once again, there is an important relation between openness at a textual, poetic level, and openness at a social level, at least within an Athens which wanted to project itself as an open democratic forum for debate.176 A concern for endings is fundamental for tragedy (one thinks of the paradigmatic opening words of the entire Oresteia, for instance). Yet Bacchylides makes a virtue of the much briefer compass of his style of lyric to allow much greater focus on such closural issues.

(p.315) The way that Bacchylides concentrates Homeric narrative only suddenly to break it off puts into even greater relief the moral and political questions that the poem raises. In the next section I look at how this might resonate with issues pertaining to the political context of Athenian Panathenaic performance.

Murder, Polis: The Panathenaea and the Problem of Civic Violence177

We can now put some more pressure on the relation between myth and specific context with Bacchylides 15. The poem functions as generalized civic parainesis, but there are further, more specific, cultural resonances. These are produced by one of the possible outcomes of the mythical embassy: the murder of the Greek ambassadors, as recalled by Iliad 11, and our poem’s allusion to it. Relating this to the ‘myth’ of another murder in an agora may provide us with interesting results. This other murder carried enormous symbolism for an early fifth-century Athenian audience: it is none other than the murder carried out by the tyrannicides, an act which was purported to have taken place during the Panathenaic procession. Thus we need now to consider Bacchylides 15 as an examination of Athenian political ideology in general, and of the ideology of the Panathenaic procession in particular.178

(p.316) The shift in locations within Bacchylides 15 points towards this. The Panathenaic procession moved from the Kerameikos, through the Agora, and on to the Akropolis. The narrative of Bacchylides 15 moves in the opposite direction: we start with Theano opening the doors of the temple of Athena on the Akropolis of Troy, but we close with the debate in the Trojan agora. This oppositional movement mirrors the ritual movement of the Panathenaic procession.179 As Thucydides and the Aristotelian Constitution of Athens famously asserted, the procession of the peplos was the moment chosen by the tyrannicides to do away with Hippias and/or Hipparkhos.180 As Victoria Wohl points out, what is important here is not what actually happened, but the ideological significance of what was thought to have happened.181 She suggests that the story of the tyrannicides, as well as the Panathenaic procession itself, represented an ideological struggle between democratic and aristocratic interests. The Panathenaea was a festival which put on show to the city, to outsiders, and to the gods, the very structure of the demos itself; and, given the fact that the tyrants were assassinated during the Panathenaic procession, the festival could be taken by the demos as the ideal representation of democracy in performance.182 On the other hand, the festival was an outlet for the nobility to put themselves on parade as natural leaders of the demos. It is the dynamic between these two aspects that is important.183

This is important for the mythology of Bacchylides 15 within its Panathenaic performance context, a context in which the statues of the tyrannicides would have been visible, set up as they were in the heart of the Agora close to the Panathenaic way, as a reflection of the purported location of the killing; they served as an insistent (p.317) reminder of the relation between the Panathenaea and tyrant-slaying, and the responsibilities of the demos.184 Bacchylides’ poem invites its audience to focus on a question at the heart of Athenian democracy: the tensions inherent in the citizen body. These tensions are worked out in the myth through allusion to tensions as to how to deal with problematic and threatening individuals within Trojan society (especially Paris, as shown by the debate in Iliad 7), but also, through allusion to Iliad 11.136–42, to how the elders of Troy did (or will) respond to the embassy. Antimakhos suggested murder; Antenor suggested appeasement. Here in Bacchylides 15, it is up to the assembled ranks of the Trojan people, Τρώων φάλαγγας, line 42, to listen to Menelaos’ words and to decide. However briefly, a division between elite individuals and the rank-and-file of Troy is established.

Bacchylides’ use of the Homeric phrase Τρώων φαλάγγας creates another link with the Athenian context. For a fifth-century Athenian, the phalanx was the essential military grouping, representing, to some at least, the Athenian demos itself under arms.185 Goldhill relates this to presentations of Athenian civic identity at the City Dionysia through tragedy; I suggest that something similar occurs at the Panathenaea. Kuklioi khoroi in performance offer comparable plays on Athenian cultural symbolism. War was a constant concern for Athens throughout the fifth century. The use of φαλαγγας, a term relating in contemporary Athenian terms to a democratic grouping, within a poem presenting a mythical gathering of a Trojan citizen-group, as performed by a khoros, itself a paradigm example of a citizen-grouping for Athenians,186 cannot but pose important (p.318) questions for Athenian civic identity in relation to warfare. More particularly, the use of φáλαγγας invites questions about specifically demotic power and responsibility, because Bacchylides’ narrative implies that ranks that gather are summoned by heralds from across the whole breadth of the city, διεὐ - | ρεῖαν πόλιν, lines 40–1. It is the Trojan demos as a whole that is faced with the question of how to deal with members of the elite (Paris in particular) whose conduct may be contrary to the interests of the demos.

This stands in an interesting relation to the significance for an Athenian audience of the murder committed by the tyrannicides during the Panathenaic procession, an event which played an important, though contested, part in the foundation of democracy itself.187 According to one Athenian view, the murder was to be remembered and celebrated precisely as the sign of the demos taking control: statues were set up to celebrate the tyrannicides in public cult, their descendants were dined at public expense in the prytaneion, allowed exemption from taxation, and so forth.188 However, Thucydides states, offering a view confirmed by a passage in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, that this is a form of false-consciousness designed to provide a neat solution to the complex and problematic nature of the shift in power from tyranny to democracy, and it ignores the important role played by Sparta in the liberation of Athens from the tyranny.189 For Thucydides, the tyrannicides, far from being idealized democrats, are themselves aristocrats out of control; they kill Hipparkhos, who was not in fact tyrant at the time, because of an aristocratic dispute based upon very private pederastic concerns, rather than out of any altruistic or populist concern for the liberation of Athens: in fact, this ‘tyrannicide’ led to a period of intensified tyranny, since Hipparkhos’ brother Hippias clamped down on rival aristocratic factions. According to Thucydides, at 6.59, (p.319) and Herodotos, at 5.55, it is only some four years later in 510 that the outside influence of Sparta provides the solution to the political crisis. The importance of Sparta is also confirmed by Herodotos, at 5.55. The subtlety of Herodotos’ position on the shift from tyranny to democracy in Athens also confirms that any simple focus on the tyrannicides’ role in the liberation of the city is simplistic; alternative traditions involving the Alkmaionidai also carry weight, but neither is Herodotos uncritical in his reporting of their role.190

A recent discussion of the importance of the tyrannicide story throughout the fifth century has suggested that it offered the Athenians a rare example of what he calls ‘therapeutic’ civil conflict, ‘a moment in which it is (at least in retrospect) regarded as having been healthy and right for one citizen to run at another with a sword drawn and to shed blood in a public place’.191 Although the popularity of this way of reading the tyrannicide story is confirmed by Thucydides’ criticism of it, and although it was useful as a form of democratic false-consciousness, the case of Thucydides shows that this was not the only way of reading it. We know from one, and perhaps two, later sources that the tyrannicides are connected with the honouring of Athenian war-dead:192 any link of this kind is surely the ultimate externalization of conflict, making what was essentially an act of civic bloodshed into a triumphant idealization of the elimination of an external foe, and the liberation of the city.193 However, we might suspect that forms of Athenian discourse other than (p.320) oratory may have found the tyrannicide story useful as an allusive background for an exploration of the problem of violence in civic society: indeed, this is what I believe in the case of Bacchylides 15. This does not mean that other discourses might reject the democratic celebration of tyrannicide and replace it straightforwardly with a rival model of the demos as arrogant tyrant, as has been argued recently in relation to the positions of Thucydides and Plato: they would use the tyrannicide story to explore the stakes involved and the questions that remain in such a democratic celebration of civic violence, from within forms of performance that could themselves be viewed as celebrations of the democratic and participatory structures of the Athenian democracy; this would be the case with tragedy, and especially so with kuklioi khoroi. Such questioning would not be anti-democratic, but could be thought to represent democracy in action. The content of performances by kuklioi khoroi is here akin to myth in tragedy, and the way it relates in only a broad sense to political or civic issues affecting democratic Athens.194 Choruses of both the tragic and circular kind can be understood as operating on the level of general rather than specific exploration, whilst not undermining the importance of the issues being raised.

In Bacchylides’ and Homer’s myth, murder of the Greek ambassadors is the most extreme course imaginable, one that would ensure the destruction of the city by the Greek army: this is implied by Bacchylides’ allusion to Agamemnon’s aristeia in Iliad 11 and reference to Antimakhos’ suggestion. Bacchylides’ poem presents us with an act of diplomacy whilst also reminding us of the dangers of violence that might ensue if such diplomacy is rejected. If we accept reference to the tyrannicides in Bacchylides’ allusion to the Iliad’s mention of the plot to murder the ambassadors, we might suppose Bacchylides’ poem to be strongly questioning the act of tyrant-slaying. However, set against this are Menelaos’ words in the speech which closes Bacchylides’ poem, promoting the idea that the ruling class be accountable to the whole of the community for its actions.

(p.321) What Bacchylides is alluding to is an act of violence which would symbolize the failure of communication and diplomacy. Athenians are to think about the fundamental importance of communication and of words themselves for the resolution of civic conflict, as well as about the place that violence has in political discourse. Bacchylides’ allusions to the Panathenaea, the Panathenaic procession, and the act of tyrant-slaying in the Agora underline the way in which the ideology of the Panathenaic procession was itself an act of highly contested significance: Was it the demos itself which was on display, showing off its ability to control the elite in the performance of civic ritual for the benefit of all? Or does the strong and lingering impression that it is the elite who are on display, showing off their superiority, and pre-Kleisthenic roles, in the procession undermine this?

And what about the carrying of weapons in the heart of the city? We have already seen that Bacchylides’ poem raises an interpretative problem about whether or not the Trojans who gather in their agora are armed.195 According to Thucydides’ account of the tyrannicide, the Great Panathenaea was specially chosen as the only occasion when armed citizens were permitted to gather in numbers inside the city. According to the Aristotelian account, the bearing of arms in processions was a later democratic institution.196 I therefore suggest that the complexity of Bacchylides’ narrative is a response to the complexity of the issues of democratic freedom and democratic control of violence: it preserves a fundamental ambivalence in Athenian society about whether citizens could carry arms within the city, and what might happen if and when they did.

This also raises a question about the limits of diplomacy: when, if ever, is the demos justified in the use of other potentially violent means to rid itself of problematic elements in its own society? Though the tyrannicides can be thought to provide a paradigm for democratic responsibility, they only represent a single occasion when action was taken, and Bacchylides’ use of Homer’s Antimakhos and the fate of his sons to question civic violence highlights the dangers (p.322) involved in as extreme a course of action as murder.197 Though in Homer the act of murder would imply destruction of a city by outside forces, Bacchylides’ additional allusions to Solon’s Athenian focus on ‘our city’ in 4 W raises the spectre of civic strife and destruction of the city of Athens from within.

The importance and limits of diplomacy become more significant when we consider that Menelaos’ words to the Trojans are projected in performance by an Athenian khoros onto an Athenian audience who are implicated in another form of communication. Bacchylides has expressed doubts about the efficacy of communication, at least to a Trojan audience, whilst perhaps strengthening the importance that words and communication, rather than violence, should have in any democratic performance. One might then suppose that Bacchylides is therefore working with the premise that choral communication at this festival offers a rival kind of therapy for Athens, based on communication in words, rather than by the violence memorialized in the action of tyrant-slaying at the same festival.198 But even if (p.323) this were true, the questions raised by any such therapy, or ‘stasis-management’, are far from easy: they raise fundamental issues about the effectiveness of diplomacy and about Athens’ uneasy relation to civic violence. And the fact that Menelaos’ words end suddenly leaves it up to civic audiences to work out for themselves what to do, and to take responsibility for their own actions individually and as a community.199

The Representation of Non-Athenians

The representation of non-Athenians in Bacchylides 15 is analogous to the way in which tragedy explores nationality. Generic differences between the two performance forms need not imply differences in the characterization of non-Greeks. But tragedy’s relationship towards foreigners as culturally ‘other’ can be looked at afresh from our different perspective; and we may get an even better sense of how Bacchylides’ poem plays a part in the Athenian cultural context by exploring similarities and differences with tragedy as well as with other media.

The story of Antenor was a popular and informing piece of public mythology in Athens, from the middle of the first half of the fifth century on. There is the evidence of a lost play entitled Antenoridae (p.324) by Sophokles:200 only three exiguous quotations remain, but according to the summary of Strabo, Antenor’s house was spared in the sack of Troy by the sign of the leopard skin over the door, and his family then made its way in exile to Venice.201 Since in Sophokles’ version the family escaped death at the hands of the Greeks, through the help offered to the Greeks by Antenor, the plot may have hinged on Antenor’s betrayal of his own city to the Greeks in order to save his own family.202 This would provide a suitably tragic theme given that Sophoklean theatre, as well as tragedy more generally, frequently plays on oppositions between polis and oikos.

We also know from Pausanias that Polygnotos’ wall-painting of the Iliou Persis in the Knidian Leskhe at Delphi, datable to the middle of the first half of the century, contained a version of the myth largely similar to that presented by Sophokles.203 One of Antenor’s daughters was represented standing alone by an altar; Pausanias suggests that she was allowed to flee by the Greeks.204 Pausanias then describes the depiction of the house of Antenor and of the family preparing to leave Troy;205 once again, we have the leopard skin over the door suggesting that the family has been spared. Castriota in his discussion of the scene highlights the extent to which Athenian art and literature, including Bacchylides, sought to make a story that could easily have drawn an extremely negative picture of Greek hostility into a vision of Greek righteousness against polar opposites.206 The paintings offered positive heroic depictions of Greek achievement best paralleled, not by tragedy, but by epinician (p.325) and rhetoric.207 The scene depicting the family of Antenor holds a central position in Castriota’s view of Polygnotos’ differing treatment of the story of the Sack. The artist changed the image of Greeks to mollify their more outrageous acts and to create a subtle but detailed ethical antithesis between the positive portrayal of the Greeks as a whole. Lokrian Aias and Neoptolemos act as foils for the Greeks, with the family of Antenor as foils for the Trojans.208

Castriota draws Attic drama as well as the portrayal of Menelaos and the Trojans in Bacchylides 15 into this paradigm; he notes the sympathetic portrayal of Antenor and the welcoming figure of Theano in Bacchylides 15.209 However, he does not take sufficient account of the large contextual shift between different media. A presentation of an Athenian vision of Trojans in a panhellenic setting like Delphi would necessarily be different from a representation of non-Greeks in the context of Athenian choral festival poetry, whether dramatic or otherwise. These are both facets of Athenian ideological construction, but they offer competing and divergent models. Castriota’s analysis takes seriously the point of Bacchylides’ use of the Antenor myth in his poem, highlighting an important strand in the Athenian ideological representation of non-Greeks in the fifth century. He rightly stresses that Antenor and family are portrayed in a light different from the other uncommunicative Trojans. Given this parallel evidence, some members of an Athenian audience for Bacchylides’ poem could indeed have understood in the positive treatment of Antenor’s family an allusion to their escape from the fate of the other Trojans. But in view of both the problematic closure and the reference to the pitiful Iliadic deaths of even dutiful sons of the hospitable Antenor, attuned audiences would consider these sets of paradigms for community action as somewhat more problematic. Sophokles’ presentation of the story of Antenor’s leaving Troy would not itself have been without its own set of social questions to be worked through.

An interesting tragic parallel for representation of cultural oppositions here is Aiskhylos’ Persae. There are striking parallels between the speech of Menelaos in Bacchylides 15 and the final and climactic speech of Dareios’ ghost there; see in particular Persae 816–26:


  • τόσος γàρ ἔσται πελανὸς αὸµατοσϕαγὴς
  • πρὸς γήι Πλαταιῶν Δωρίδος λόγχης ϋπο·
  • θῖνες νεκρῶν δὲ καὶ τριτοσπόρωι γονῆι
  • ἄϕωνα σηµανοῦσιν ὄµµασιν βροτῶν
  • ώς οὑχ ὐπέρφευ θνητὸν ὄντα χρὴ ϕρονεῖν˙
  • ὕβρις γàρ ἐξανθούσ’ ἐκαρπωσε σταχυν
  • ἄτης, ὅθεν πáγκλαυτον έξαµαι θέρος.
  • τοιαῦθ’ ορῶντες τῶνδε τἀπιτίµια
  • µέµνησθ’ Ἀθηνῶν Ἑλλαδος τε, µηδέ τις
  • ύπερϕρονήσας τὸν παρόντα δαίµονα
  • ἄλλων ἐρασθεὶς ὄλβον ἐκχέηι µέγαν.

So great will be the bloody sacrificial slaughter on the earth of Plataea by Dorian spear. Piles of corpses will voicelessly sign to the eyes of men even three generations hence that mortals must learn not to think above their station. For hubris flowered and produced a crop of disaster, and from it reaped a harvest full of lamentation. Seeing what the penalties for this are like, remember Athens and Greece, and let no-one out of scorn for his present fortune lust after what others have, and pour away great prosperity.

The emphasis here on the exuberant crop of disaster, or moral blindness, produced by hubris, stands in a similarly strong relation to Solon’s Eunomia, fr. 4.34–5 W, as do Bacchylides 15.57 and following.210 Dareios is made to muse on the career of Xerxes in a way that echoes the kind of language we have seen Bacchylides’ Menelaos using in his Solonian speech; this means that audience responses would have to be played out in terms more complex than simple glorification at Xerxes’ demise. The fact that Dareios, played by an Athenian actor in front of an Athenian audience, uses Greek ethical concepts at all should have reminded any Athenian audience that the origins of this ethical language were in the context of moral exhortation and advice directed at them. So to see Bacchylides 15 as expressing only the same kind of imperialist ideology as Polygnotos’ painting is to fail to see its agora- and polis-oriented significance.

We have seen how, in a different way to tragedy, the audience of Bacchylides’ poem would be able to watch fellow citizens at least describing, and also ventriloquizing, ‘the other’. Members of the (p.327) audience are themselves invited to empathize with this ‘other’. The complexities and insecurities of communication and representation are not therefore an exclusively dramatic phenomenon. The khoros conjures up an impression of another, foreign (Trojan), agora in their own Agora.

The current orthodoxy that the City Dionysia, the major stage for tragic performances, was the Athenian arena where problematic dialogues between mythological and current poleis were explored and questioned needs itself to be questioned. Again, we do not need to bring in the Dionysiac to kuklioi khoroi performed at non-Dionysiac festivals to explain this. The Solonian undercurrent has shown how it is Athena herself who frames the questioning.

Pierre Vidal-Naquet offered up tragedy’s ‘expatriation’ of political conflict from the boundaries of its own polis, in contrast with how, in funeral oration, political conflict may be denied, and in comedy, derided.211 However, he offers no account of kuklioi khoroi; other performance forms are radically oversimplified. Application of this view to Bacchylides 15 would place a heavy stress on the Athenian politico-religious system as ordered and correctly functioning in the goddess’s honour. But this would not allow for the playing out, in Bacchylides, of the social tensions embedded within the mythology attached to the Agora and the Panathenaea. Vidal-Naquet does, however, allow himself to assert that ‘Troy acts as a permanent reminder of the fact that cities are mortal’.212 As Pelling points out, ‘rejected alternatives have a habit of coming uncomfortably near to home. Features of the Other usually distance, but occasionally zoom’.213 In Bacchylides 15 the intertexts which operated through audience-knowledge of the Iliad and Solon highlight ethical questions of direct relevance for democratic Athens, and hence ‘zoom’. Trojan prayers to Athena offer a rather worrying aetiology for the procession, prayers, (p.328) and offerings by Athenians which took place at the festival for which Bacchylides’ poem was commissioned.214

We know that episodes from the sack of Troy appear later in the fifth century on the Parthenon. Osborne argues that the correlation of the Parthenon metopes and the West Pediment brings into question the safety of cities protected by Athena, because of the deployment of scenes involving the flight of Aeneas, and Helen, Menelaos, and the Trojan cult image of Athena, on metopes on the north side of the temple.215 This is further evidence to show that artistic works central to the Panathenaea can indeed question the very nature of the ritual of Athens’ most important festival. Bacchylides 15 achieves a similar effect several decades before the construction of the paradigmatic architectural offering to the goddess.

Coming Full Circle. Kuklioi Khoroi, Homer, and Athenian Cultural Diversity

We should now be able to see exactly why Bernhard Zimmermann’s discussion of the politics of ‘dithyramb’ is disappointing.216 He sees the democratic aspect of Athenian ‘dithyramb’ as operative in the structures of choral provision, suggesting that the phyletic structuring of khoroi was an important means for creating tribal identity in the years after the reforms of Kleisthenes. The move to politicize such an important public performance form is obviously correct.217 However, he is obviously concerned with function, and we have already criticized functional arguments concerning tragedy: they offer ‘closed’ readings because they overly circumscribe meaning. In particular, Zimmermann makes no attempt to figure either the interrelation between the social make-up of performers and mythical content of the poems being performed, or the process of exemplification. The impact of mythical presentation becomes more significant, not less, given the numbers involved in and the (p.329) potentially huge symbolism of phyletic provision for kuklioi khoroi in Athens. It has been suggested, quite reasonably, that performance by kuklioi khoroi after the Kleisthenic reforms provided a new sense of an overarching democratic cohesion to the extraordinary richness and complexity of Athenian religious and festive life. If the number of khoreutai was canonically set at fifty, this would resonate in an interesting way with the same number of delegates to the boule¯ provided by each tribe.218 The democratic ideology of classical Athens after Kleisthenes would be driven home on every single occasion when a kuklios khoros of men or boys performed.

Peter Wilson has also suggested that the agonistic patterning of the kuklios khoros may have been a striking innovation in Greek khoreia: such large-scale participation and competition might have been intended to weaken the aristocratic connotations of traditional mousike¯ by devising new democratic cultural structures to contain and to exploit it.219 We have to be careful here, since, although the evidence is very meagre, we do know that agonistic competition per se was not a new feature of, or unique to, post-Kleisthenic Athens, since mousikoi agones were held earlier elsewhere.220 More importantly, huge, but nonetheless tantalizing, holes, exist in our evidence: to what extent might there have been competition built in to Spartan khoreia from Alkman on? What, for instance, of the situation in archaic Rhegion, where we hear of some sixty days of festivity set aside for performances of paeans, twelve per day:221 might not there have been some competitive element here too, honouring Artemis? And sixth-century Aigina might also have held agonistic choral competitions.222 Even in the case of Athens, the situation is far from (p.330) transparent. Although we know that kuklioi khoroi performed there from at least 500, and though the Parian Marble inscription shows that some change took place at the time of the Kleisthenic reforms, this evidence is not strong enough to show that agonistic performance by khoroi did not take place before this time.223

Even if the view that phyletically organized kuklioi khoroi were intended to reduce factional conflict within Athens, rather than continuing to remind audiences of the pre-Kleisthenic situation–audiences who might have been watching performers who were themselves predominantly aristocrats224–it is fascinating to note that Bacchylides 15, as performed by one of these kuklioi khoroi, is an exploration through myth of the social questions that had fractured Peisistratid Athens and that Kleisthenic Athens sought to incorporate and defuse. Indeed, it focuses on the Panathenaea itself as a festival whose location might be where conflict could arise, and where murderous conflict did break out. Viewing the poem in context in this way in fact matches Wilson’s conclusion about the dialectic between Athenian choral culture as a locus of contestation between elite and democratic interests, and the content of the literature that was produced for performance within it, though I suggest that this dialectic was present across the festival spectrum and not unique to the City Dionysia.225

The questions and issues that the mythology of Bacchylides 15 brings to the fore cannot be reduced to a denial of the possibility of social rifts, even if the competitive framework of ritual performance was an attempt to defuse tensions and to incorporate elites. This is the fundamental reason why it would seem possible to position (p.331) performances by kuklioi khoroi, at least from the evidence of Bacchylides 15, much closer to tragedy on an axis of Athenian systems of signification than has hitherto been considered, in view of the resonant myth-making that Bacchylides’ narrative style was able to produce.

Zimmermann’s own focus on the celebratory strand present in Athenian ‘dithyramb’ to the exclusion of its incorporation of potentially threatening mythology risks making it akin to epitaphios as a celebration of an idealized Athenian society.226 This denotes a failure to mark the difference between the significance of mythical paradigms and the significance of performance; a failure to go in search of meaning in the tension between mythical paradigm and symbolic performance.

We know that kuklioi khoroi, when they performed at the Dionysia and Thargelia, were arranged phyletically, though the exact arrangement was different. And it seems possible that a phyletic structure operated at the Panathenaea too, whatever the exact form this might have taken.227 If kuklioi khoroi within Athens were generally arranged to compete against one another phyletically, one might expect the mythologies of their respective poems to be related to the respective tribal eponyms. This is in fact possible in the case of Bacchylides 18, as suggested by Peter Wilson.228 However, if this is so, Bacchylides 15 might make matters slightly more complex. I raise the possibility here that the title of Bacchylides 15, Antenoridae (or at the very least the prominence of Antenoridai within its myth–from which the title of the poem must ultimately be derived)229 might resonate with the eponymic nomenclature of the performing tribal khoros, a possibility that might comment on the potential of the mythical eponyms to forge tribal identity, given the plural patronymic form of the names of the collective tribal groupings: Erekhtheidai, or Aigeidai, or Pandionidai, or Leontidai, and so forth, performing (p.332) Antenoridae. However, with Bacchylides 15 the very naming of the Antenoridai would thus further destabilize oppositions between Troy and Athens, because of this extra-fictional, though imprecise, parallel with the collective identity of the performing khoros. The number of tribal myths relating to, or indeed celebrating, the deeds of their eponyms, would be soon exhausted given the demands on tribes to provide khoroi several times each year. Therefore, given what we know about the very loose and general relation between tragic myth and choral identity, there is no good reason to impose a strict mapping of tribal onto mythical subject-matter with Athenian kuklioi khoroi. In fact, Bacchylides 15 shows how fruitful the potential for general questioning could be when based on a less direct interaction between mythical content and the identity of the performers.

If one or at most two days were allotted within festival structures for the performance of kuklioi khoroi, the essential brevity of these texts might be explained by their individual place within a much larger inter-tribal competition.230 Music and dance would have added much to the words of our texts, and may have extended performance time considerably, allowing the words and the closure of the myth to resonate during non-verbal sections of performance.

Current findings suggest that within the developing structure of a single tragedy, lyric metres are socially challenging because of their complex generic and formal heterogeneity.231 Within a single lyric poem designed for performance by a khoros andron or paidon, metrical patterning is more static and therefore more predictable. But for an audience watching a sequence of five or ten individual performances with, one might suppose, individually very different metrical structures, the effect might actually be quite similar to witnessing the metrical diversity of a single tragedy in performance. The phyletic structure of competition would have made interpreting such performances, let alone judging between them, even more complex.

In addition to questioning, offering civic advice, and educating, Bacchylides’ poem and its performance, was a celebration. A celebration of Athenian cultural heritage by reference to the mythological (p.333) paradigms we have been discussing.232 This means Homer specifically, in the context of the festival that offered up various performance forms as a celebration of the culturally Athenian. Performances of the Homeric poems were themselves set up there as celebrations of Athens’ cultural superiority: ‘Peisistratus and his associates proclaimed themselves to be reconstituting the glorious Panhellenic narratives for definitive recitations at Athens. Indeed the Panhellenic nature of the Iliad and Odyssey was a precondition for this reconsti-tution.’233 In the context of rhapsodic performances of Homer at the Panathenaea, which it has been argued continued throughout the festival, in order for the whole epics to be recited correctly and in sequence,234 it is intertextually, inter-performatively, and culturally significant that Bacchylides has referred us throughout his poem to language and episodes occurring in the course of the Iliad. Indeed, we might even be able to suggest that the very choice of myth and the form it takes, while playing to Bacchylidean Homerizing strengths that we have seen elsewhere in the case of Bacchylides 13, provides an individual demonstration of how the content of Panathenaic kuklioi khoroi might be attracted towards, and form a response to, the expectations of the Panathenaic audience about a specifically Homerizing repertoire.

In a general atmosphere where, as we have seen in the first part of this chapter, traditional texts form the site of tensions between elite and democratic interests, it is a small and natural step to go from imitation and emulation of characters for their pedagogic value,235 to imitation and redeployment of the Homeric text itself, on the kind of systematic level that we have witnessed in Bacchylides 15. In fact, the two fuse together. Knowledge of Homer and other poets was a (p.334) characteristic of the ‘traditional education’ in Athens, rather than some later fifth-century development. The sophists may be seen to represent the next logical step in the progression, in terms of a more systematic professionalization concerning knowledge and interpretation of archaic poetry, rather than as something completely new. Archaic poets themselves can and do play on audience appreciation and understanding of traditional poetry, by recourse to mythology and diction familiar from epic.

On the one hand, as seems likely from my discussion in § 1, in the early fifth century during the decades of Bacchylides’ activity, full and continued access to the poetic texts that he draws on were only available to a small elite. On the other hand, Homer was intermittently but directly available to a much wider group at the Panathenaea. How therefore do the texts which Bacchylides uses resonate within the intertextual framework that Bacchylides 15 has provided? There would have been a deep-seated ambivalence to such public usages of these texts, even within socially sanctioned performances like kuklioi khoroi. Later members of the elite could pour scorn on sophists and the demos for popularizing their own cultural heritage.236 Members of the aristocratic elite may have been displeased with poetry performed by kuklioi khoroi too, if new phyletic structuring represented for some a democratization of elite cultural forms. On the one hand, the Hipparkhos of the Platonic dialogue would certainly have felt aggrieved that the demos was appropriating traditionally aristocratic sophia for its own interests. On the other, we have seen already how Old Comedy lampoons traditional education and perhaps therefore reflects democratic unease at continued aristocratic control of such modes of education.

The major reason for this general feeling of unease is because of the centrality of schooling and education—and by extension performance itself—in the formation of canons of works with paradigmatic cultural value.237 Andrew Ford points out that such traditional education would have engendered techniques suited to (p.335) the complex practices of forensic oratory, especially in helping interpretation of archaic laws, in order to inform the wider populace as to their legal position.238 But the essential point here is that, since there was no official schooling, and so no state-controlled compulsory systematization of learning, individuals of whatever ideological streak were free to use and abuse traditional texts in any way they wished.239 Yet the very struggle between different social groups over linguistic cultural capital is embedded in the language of the literary texts themselves.240

We know little about the precise operations of choral provision for the kuklios khoros in Athens.241 More information on this aspect of the Athenian khoregic system would help to indicate how the poet, the wealthy aristocratic khoregos, the officials working on behalf of the democratic city,242 and the khoros, worked together to produce performance art of this kind. A main point here is that poets themselves, with the famous exception of the frequently derided Kinesias, were generally non-Athenian. Wilson explains this by suggesting that praise by others was more acceptable and effective than praise by Athens’ own citizens.243 But we have already seen here that matters are more complex; poetry of this sort cannot be reduced simply to polis-encomium. Recruitment of non-Athenian poets, with pre-established connections with the Athenian aristocracy, could be understood in different ways: on the one hand, it could have been (p.336) thought to appropriate the ties of xenia between poets and patrons for the benefit of the demos, or might perhaps have allowed Athenians a sense of cultural supremacy over poets from allied or even inimical states.244 The testimony concerning the fine Pindar incurred from Thebes for praising Athens, though apocryphal, may preserve some perception of this kind of inter-state rivalry.245 On the other hand, the personal, elitist, and potentially anti-democratic connections between external poets and aristocratic khoregoi contained the potential to be read back into, and thus even to underwrite, democratic khoregia and mousike. The conjunction of khoregos and poet by lot would have gone some way to undermine any possible charge of aristocratic collusion, but it wouldn’t have eliminated it completely.246 Competitive tribal performances may also have weakened any perceived anti-democratic force, though the possibility, still remaining, that such performances were a part of Athenian culture under the tyranny, might have suggested to some that aristocratic competitiveness was alive and well. Nevertheless, the fact that khoregoi of kuklioi khoroi as well as of tragedies felt the need to commission separate epinician epigrams (by the same poets) for the khoregic monuments in celebration of their victories goes to show that members of the aristocracy felt the need to find other, more personal, and potentially more elitist, ways of self-expression.247 It is here that any ties of xenia would have been worked out. Such ties would have broken through, and operated beyond, the democratic and phyletic stratifications of the democratic polis by means of far-reaching inter-polis family networks. But even in the act of projecting their elite power through some monuments, khoregoi are tied to their tribal victories, showing their dedication to ‘adorning the city’.

To conclude, against such an elaborate and conflicting social background provided by Athens of the earlier fifth century, we can see that the deployment of poetry with cultural baggage attached in a democratic state-authorized performance form and setting allows for an analysis or questioning of embedded class distinctions: a discussion of the stakes involved in contesting class-based claims to (p.337) Homer and Solon as elite, or demotic, cultural capital. This means that we can view Bacchylides 15 as operating along the same general lines as tragedy according to recent ideologically charged readings of the latter.248 Where my account differs is through the way in which Bacchylides 15 offers a truncated view of a social group—the Trojans—as a generally undifferentiated mass, asked to respond to the suggestions and implied threats of members of a mythological (and hostile) elite; Griffith’s account of the Oresteia chooses to stress the systematic expression of elite interests.

Bacchylides’ text allows for a contestation of class interests that constitute the tensions within, but also bears witness to the very diversity of, contemporary Athenian society. On one reading, the Athenian elite, through their rigorous education in traditional poetry beyond the public realm of poetic performance, could be seen as most able to pick up the references and analogies that were in part directed at their own unsettling position in Athenian society. Alternatively, an aristocratic reading could suggest that the final references to Solon suggested that the hubristic nature of the demos needed to be challenged and undermined. The fact that Solonian texts were performed by Athenian παιδε? as part of their entry into the phratry could mean that Athenian citizens would have been generally able to interpret Bacchylides 15 as democratic, and indeed traditionally grounded, parainesis; but the fact that the text which provides us with our only evidence for this has an intensely elitist spin, providing the basis for Kritias’ discussion in Plato’s Timaeus, bears witness to the systematic challenge to democratic readings of key Athenian performances by rival elite ones.

The balance between these readings is necessarily a delicate one. But my interpretation of Bacchylides 15 has offered these up for investigation. The poem offered meaning, enjoyment, and challenge to its contemporary audience, and should continue to do so for subsequent readers and critics.


(1) van Groningen (1960a) 192, discussing Bacch. 15.

(2) Goldhill (1994) 60.

(3) Above, pp. 240–1.

(4) For discussion of Ajax see e.g. Easterling (1984); Goldhill (1990), 115–18; for Troades, Croally (1994); Goldhill (1986) ch. 6 for both. The fact that tragedy is constantly negotiating with Homer shows how essential both Homer and tragedy are as parts of the cultural complex that was 5th-cent. Athens.

(5) See Aiskhylos’ view of the ‘divine Homer’ at Ar. Ran. 1033–6, but also, e.g., thegloss of the wise Nestor of Il. 1.248 and 4.293 as αγορητή; by the sophistic WorseArgument at Nub. 1055–7. For plays with specifically Homeric subject matter, seethe introduction to the fragments of Kratinos’ Odyssês in K–A. For more detailon 5th-cent. sympotic dexterity with Homeric and lyric texts, see Ford (2002) ch. 8,esp. 191–2.

(6) Ford (1999) 236.

(7) Ibid. 240, with Ehrenberg (1951) 289.

(8) Demokr. 68 B 20a D–K; cf. 68 A 101 D–K (Arist. De an. 404a27); see in generalHenrichs (1971) 99–100; Ford (2002) 169–70. For the late evidence linking Demokritos with Athens, see Guthrie (1965) 349 and n. 2. Despite the likelihood that thecloseness of the relation between the thought of Demokritos and Protagoras is likelyto be a construct of the later Epicurean tradition (for which see Warren (2002) 15–18,with 15 n. 17), a link between Demokritos and Athens does sound plausible given hisrough contemporaneity with Protagoras who we know travelled there. For Demokritos’ political thought, see Taylor (2000), who concludes that he had a democraticoutlook; though this may have been related to local Abderan politics, his work mighthave been fostered by contact with Athens.

(9) iγωδαε l µέν αληθή τον λόγον τούτον ηγούµαι και βούλοµαι, ώς αροι θεοl σώζουσιν ηµών τήν πόλιν.

(10) Dem. 19.251. For comment on the statue of Solon, see Ma (2006) 333.

(11) 3.130 οιϊδεµίαν τοι π O ποτε ίγωγε µαλλον πόλιν ίώρακα ύπο µέν τών θεώνσοιζοµίνην, ύπο δè τών ρητόρων ΐνίων απολλυµίνην; cf. Parker (1997) 143–4; ingeneral, Thomas (1994).

(12) Thomas (1994) 124.

(13) Though see Irwin (2005) 276 for the possibility that Solon was himself open tocriticism, perhaps implied by Dem. 19.255.

(14) See below, pp. 388 ff

(15) Solon 22 W: Pl. Tim. 20e; Wilson (2003a) 187 with 201 n. 39.

(16) Solon ibid: Pl. Charm. 157e. One should include Theognis in this roster: cf. LaneFox (2000), 45–51.

(17) Arist. Rhet. 1375b32; Aristotle provides a version of the first line of a Soloniandistich: επεν µοι Κριτία πυρρότριχι πατρός ακούειν.

(18) Provided by Prokl. In Tim. 20e, 1.81.27 D: ου γαρ αµαρτινόωι πείσεται ήγεµόνι.

(19) See primarily Bowie (1986).

(20) Krit. A 13 D–K, Σ Aiskhin. 1.39 (82 p. 22 Dilts): µνήµα τόδ’ eστανδρών αγαθών,ο?τόν καταρατον | δήµον Αθηναίων ολίγον χρόνον ύβριος ίσχεν.

(21) Solon 4.7-8 W: δήµου θ’ ηγεµόνων αδικο S νoοs, οίσιν τοΓµον | ΰβριοζ Íκ µεγαληζαλγεα πολλα παθείν.

(22) Perhaps we are even meant to think of ολίγον χρόνον as a pun on oligarkhia,understood as ‘rule for a short time’ rather than ‘rule by the few’), and thus to readthe epitaph as an appeal to oligarchic solidarity based on sympathy as well as anoutraged rejection of all that democracy stands for.

(23) e.g. Pl. Prt. 325e–f. with Ford (1999) 233; Ion passim; notoriously, Rep. 3.386–92.Plato’s banishment of poetry (because of its disturbance of psychic harmony: Lear(1992)) in the majority of its forms from his ideal city belies its paraenetic andpaedeutic importance in 5th- and 4th-cent. Athens; cf. e.g. Goldhill (1986) 142; Too(1998) ch. 2.

(24) Il. 9.441:… αγορεων, ίνα τανδρεs αριπρεπέες τελίθουσιν.

(25) Ford (1999) 237 with 237 n. 20.

(26) For more on the importance of the Agora for Plato’s Gorgias, and Sokrates’rival claim to authority based on familiarity with the Agora, see Ober (1998) 193–4;201–13.

(27) ‘Simonides’ FGE XL. See Castriota (1992) 6–8.

(28) τών αίθ’ ήγεµόνευ’ υιός Πετεώιο Μενεσθεύς. | τώι δοΰ πώ τις 6µοΙος έπιχθόνιοςγeνετανήρ | κοσµήσαι ίππους τε καΐ ανéραs ασπιδκάτας·

(29) ίφ’ ώτε µη ίπιγραφειν το ονοµα το εαυτών, ίνα µη τ O ν στρατηγών, αλλα τούδήµου δοκί, εναι το επίγραµµα.

(30) Although I agree with Morris (1996) 21 that, in the case of Athens at least, elite ideology was dominant only in the sense that it ‘reinforced solidarity within awould-be elite’. The aristocratic elite position was not securely grounded in ‘false-consciousness’ as such, but was negotiated in opposition to democratic interests, working best outside the civic space, in aristocratic symposia and inter-polis tieswithin gene and between xenoi. It was always contested by a rival, open, democraticposition.

(31) Castriota (1992) 7.

(32) ARV2 431.48; Beck (1975) 31, pll. 53–4.

(33) Lissarrague (1990a) 138–9. For more on book rolls in Attic vase-painting, seeImmerwahr (1964) and (1973).

(34) Lissarrague (1999).

(35) See, for instance, Wilson (2003a) 188–9 for Kritias as a tragedian.

(36) Whatever the historicity of the Peisistratean recension of Homer (see e.g. Jensen (1980) 128–58, Seaford (1994) 149–51; M. L. and S. West (1999) 71 for comment), the important point which is often lost in discussion of this text is its radically elitist standpoint on the relation between mousike and paideia in Athens, and on the place of Homer in this. I disagree with the view of Wohl (1996) 44 that Hipparkhos is here democratized, in order to eliminate phthonos of the elite by the demos; the (presumably early 4th-cent.) aristocratic author is using Hipparkhos’ authority in an attempt to undermine rival and contemporary claims that it is democracy that underwrites Athenian paideia. This approach, via what we might call ‘tyrannical biography’, is rather different in tone from the outrage shown by the Old Oligarch (see in esp. [Xen.] Ath Pol. 1.13—perhaps from the pen of the notorious oligarch Kritias who wrote tragedies and other poetry for Athenian performance: Wilson (2003a)) or by Plato, e.g. in Laws (esp. Leg. 3.701a–b; see above, Ch. 3, pp. 186–8), but it has a similar source and aim, presumably preaching to the already converted, in private and not in public. For a comparable view of Plato’s use of Sokrates for private antidemocratic purposes, see Ober (1998), esp. ch. 4; see also Morgan (2003a), esp. 204. This passage from the Hipparchus is not, in my view, using the Panathenaic authority of Homer to bridge the gap between classes (Wohl, 43). Given the mention of Anakreon in the passage, see also the appropriation of him by Kritias, discussed by Wilson (2003a) 190–5.

(37) PEG I 42. The names of Odysseus and Menelaos are supplied by Apollod. Epit.3.28: Maehler II 131.

(38) Later I develop contextual reasons for this privileging of the Iliad throughconnections with the performance setting.

(39) Griffin (1977), esp. 43, with PEG I Cypria 12; Davies (1989) 48–9. The Cypriagives Helen a son, Aganos, by Paris, as well as a son, Pleisthenes, by Menelaos. TheIliad takes pains to portray Helen as childless.

(40) Jebb 365 ad loc. 46.

(41) As reasonably argued by Burgess (2001) contra Espermann (1980), with Gantz (1993) 594–6, 651–4; Scaife (1995) 186–9; Anderson (1997); Kullmann (1960); Wathelet (1989). However, contra Scaife (1995) 189, I seriously doubt that consideration of Bacch. 15 will shed any more light on the content of the Cypria, for reasonsthat will become obvious.

(42) Pfeijffer (1999a).

(43) Ibid. 50; cf. Zimmermann (1992) 67–8.

(44) Given the importance of θέλγω in the Odyssey, especially in relation to storytelling by Odysseus: see esp. Od. 17.518–21.

(45) Pfeijffer (1999a) 51.

(46) Cf. Kirk (1985) ad loc: Do Odysseus’ words come thick and fast, or are weto imagine a slow, cumulative, build-up? Although Pfeijffer cites both Kirk’s andWillcock’s comments, he conflates their divergent accounts, smoothing over thetextual indeterminacy just as the words of his Odysseus hide ‘any unevenness fromview’: Pfeijffer (1999a) 46.

(47) Pfeijffer (1999a) 46.

(48) Lines 23–4 = fr. 26, located in Bacch. 15 by Blass, and printed in this positionby Maehler. Blass noted a connection between φωνάεντα λόγον and αδαεις λόγος in44 and βροτοι̑σι and θεοι̑ς in 45. This parallel is marked strophically if Blass’ verses areinserted at 23–4 (the second and third lines of the second strophe to match thesecond and third lines of the third strophe, with θεοι̑ς and βροτοι̑σι matching eachother at the openings of their respective lines), but not if the verses were placed elsewhere.

For interest in Antenor’s description of Menelaus and Odysseus in ancient rhetorical theory, see Kennedy (1957), esp. 26 ff., and Russell (1964) p. xxxvi; I take Bacchylides’ use of the Homeric passage as evidence for earlier poetic interest in issues of speech, style, and communication that Homeric poetry generated, at a time before subsequent rhetorical and theoretical systematizations.

(49) Cf. Maehler II 131.

(50) Note also the early textual critics’ lack of consensus as to whether in fact the odeis complete as we now have it preserved on papyrus: Wilamowitz was in the vanguardof critics who wished to see Bacchylides 15 as incomplete, because the question ‘Whofirst spoke?’ raised by the narrator in line 47 actually seems to suggest that a secondspeech must have surely followed (though note that Bacchylides didn’t choose towrite, for instance, πρότερος, instead: cf. van Groningen (1960a) 192). But see Stern(1970) 294 and further Carey (1999) 26.

(51) Cf. Kenyon xxxix. Kenyon 147 points out that, although the starts of the lines are lost at this point on the papyrus, the start of a new poem is guaranteed by a change in metrical structure (though still dactylo-epitrite).

(52) See the mixed reaction of the Trojan elders, with Antenor among them, at theapproaching Helen at the start of the teikhoskopia at Il. 3.156–60.

(53) For euboulia in the Iliad see Schofield (1986).

(54) van Groningen (1960a) 193 suggests alternatively that Antenor’s good counselis meant to contrast markedly with the lack of counsel of his own sons. My view isthat interpretation of the responses of all the Trojans apart from Antenor and hisfamily is pointedly underdetermined.

(55) Rosenmeyer(1991) 11.

(56) It should therefore be obvious that we cannot argue, with Kirkwood (1966) 103,that Bacchylides puts moral maxims in the mouths of his characters because he didnot have the poetic skill to carry them off in his own person.

(57) I note here that communication and interpretation through narrative are atissue in Hor. C. 1.15, a poem which uses Bacchylidean ‘dithyrambic’ lyric narrative asits main paradigm: see Lowrie (1997) 123–37, esp. 126 and 130; Lowrie (1995) 41–2.This is important, since Horace has captured exactly the theme of communicationand interpretation as represented in an originally choral work by Bacchylides. I willdevelop a model of communication for Bacch. 15 later, when I consider the questionof choral authority. For further work on C. 1.15 see e.g. Athanassaki (2002), thoughI would perhaps emphasize more than she does the communicative issues for whichHorace must have been indebted to Bacchylides, and also probably Simonides: seeabove for Sim. fr. 543 PMG with Rosenmeyer (1991).

(58) Pfeijffer (1999a) 48. The parallel is mentioned by Jebb 363 and Maehler II 136ad loc. 2. Peppas-Delmousou (1971) 64 n. 38. I discuss in a later section theissue of Athenian cultic background to this episode.

(59) Pfeijffer (1999a) 49.

(60) This verb is itself exceedingly rare. Apart from these instances—see too Il.15.588 (in a simile) and 19.54—it does not occur again until Bacchylides. Elsewhereit is only used in poetry: apart from 20 instances in Nonnus and one in Quintus, byKall. Hymn 4.18 and Ap. Rhod. Arg. 1.863, Hellenistic poets whose intertextualsophistication is widely appreciated. Its epic credentials are assured by the glosses inApollonius Sophistes’ Homeric Lexicon (37.20) and in Hesykhios.

(61) Cf. Kirk (1990) ad loc. Il. 6.257; the same form ἀνίσχοντες is used at Il. 8.347 and15.369.

(62) Τρώων… φάλαγγας / -ες occurs nine times in the Iliad.

(63) Il. 3.245: the fetching of animals for sacrifice; Il. 8.517: the announcement to theold men and boys to keep watch on the towers of Troy overnight.

(64) Although a sense of urgency is expressed with ὀρνύµενοι (41); this urgency iscontinued in the metonymous imagery of line 44, especially with the repetition of thepreposition δι’ as a prefix in διέδραµεν 44: cf. Silk (1974) 172 (momentary impressionof a human runner). Such urgency is transmuted to the level of communication andλόγος that is at the very heart of the poem, as we shall see.

(65) And see Maehler II 141–2 ad loc. 44.

(66) Though as Rose (1992) 168 notes, given the previous military domination overthe Delphian Amphiktyonic League by Thessaly (the ode’s victor is Thessalian), theusage is not devoid of military connotations. Pind. Pyth. 6.12 refers to storm cloudsfrom abroad as a στρατός ἀµείλιχος, but in the context of the contemporary threatfrom Persia (the ode is dated to 490), this usage is also militarily coloured. A peacefulsetting does, however, seem certain in Alkman 3.73 PMGF: Ά]στυµέλοισα κατὰστρατόν.

(67) Cf. also Eum. 762.

(68) Pind. Pyth. 2.86–7. Gildersleeve (1890) ad loc. cites Milton’s ‘fierce democratie’(Paradise Regained 4.269).

(69) Though there is no evidence for formal military gatherings in the AthenianAgora before campaigns (and given the large numbers involved this is hardly surprising), two sets of evidence do show that the Agora was an important location forAthenian citizen-soldiers immediately prior to departure: first, the fact that, from atleast the middle of the 5th cent., phyletic call-up lists were set up in front of thestatues of the respective eponymous heroes in the Agora (Ar. Pax 1179–81 with Olson(1998) 293 ad loc; Pritchett (1971) 33); second, the functioning of the Agora as afood-market would have been important for soldiers buying their three-days’ provisions: circumstantial evidence is provided by Aristophanes (e.g. Ach. 1085 ff.; Lys.554 ff.), and we know independently that food-markets were set up on campaign forsoldiers continually to be provided for (Pritchett (1971) 37). The strategeion was alsoin the Agora: Aiskh. 2.85.

(70) From the Polygnotan Knidian Leskhe at Delphi from the second quarter of thecentury: again, discussed later.

(71) Porph. Tyr. Quaest. Hom. 1.524.28; Eust. Comm. ad Hom. Il. 2.482.4; Σ Il.7.403–4.

(72) Agora in the usual Homeric sense of ‘meeting’: Il. 7.345–6.

(73) Il. 7.400–2.

(74) Il. 7.406.

(75) Cf. Jebb 365 and Maehler II 142 ad loc.

(76) Il. 11.218–19; 14.508–9; 16.112–13.

(77) de Jong (1987) 51.

(78) It is, of course, also highly appropriate that the most strongly felt intertextualnegotiation of the poem should be marked by the narrator’s request for informationfrom the Muse, the same goddess to whom appeal is made at the very start of theIliad, which provides the most significant intertexts for Bacchylides’ poem.

(79) See de Jong (1987) 12 on the pathos of the passage, with Σ Il. 11.243c1 and c2. Also Griffin (1980) 133–4.

(80) Hainsworth (1993) 248.

(81) Fisher (1992) 227–8.

(82) This may be significant: see Parry (1972) 19–20 for a discussion of this secondepisode involving a Peisandros in the light of the book 11 scene.

(83) Elsewhere at 1.203, 214 (of Agamemnon); 11.694 (Nestor of the Epeans).

(84) See Maehler II 144 ad loc.

(85) Cf. Fisher (1992) 228.

(86) See Pfeijffer (1999a) 47.

(87) Line 497.

(88) An ekphrasis that has been the recipient of recent work, relating it to events ofthe Iliad’s main narrative: Alden (2000) ch. 3, esp. 57-60 on the trial-scene. See alsothe study by Dubois (1982).

(89) Cf. Wilson (2003b) 168, with Khoregia 305–7 for the extremely limited evidencefor performance by kuklioi khoroi in the demes, unlike with drama.

(90) Pfeijffer (1999a) 45.

(91) Esp. Od. 1.32 ff. Cf. Maehler II 144–5 ad loc. 51 and 52.

(92) Noted by Zimmermann (1992) 68.

(93) Ζεὺς ὑψιµέδων is also Hesiodic (and not Homeric): Theog. 529, with West(1966) 316 ad loc. Furthermore, as West (1978) 224 points out ad loc. WD 268,επιδίρκεται is only used in this passage of Hesiod of Zeus: elsewhere in Homer andHesiod the verb is confined to Helios.

(94) Fisher (1992) 227 and Zimmermann (1992) 68; see too Maehler II 145 ad loc.52; earliest, and perhaps most detailed, Romagnoli (1899). No one has, however, yetasked why Solonian influence might be significant, except to provide additionalstrength for the grounding of a performance context in Athens.

(95) See now Irwin (2005) ch. 6 passim.

(96) See Anhalt (1993) 70 on this fundamental feature of Solon’s thought in poems 4and 13; again, Irwin (2005) ch. 6. The thought is also used in Theognis (833–6), butas Anhalt (1993) 63 n. 76 points out, Theognis offers a less consistent view of humanversus divine responsibility.

(97) In poetry preceding or contemporary with Bacchylides, this adjective is onlyused elsewhere at Thgn. 501, and Pind. Isth. 8.26 (cf. also Il. 7.289 as a noun), and innone of these other passages is it used in connection with Eunomia.

(98) Especially if the poem originally opened with a contrast between Athens andTroy: so Anhalt (1993) 73; cp. Irwin (2005) 95. However attractive, this must remain aspeculation. The δέ of line 1 is possibly an inceptive usage (Denniston 172–3); or itmight mark the opening of a new piece in a sequence of orally performed texts, giventhe probability of early sympotic transmission: see further Mülke (2002) 100; Irwin(2005) 86 n. 4.

(99) Again, Anhalt (1993) 73.

(100) Ibid. (1993) 75.

(101) See too Hy Hom. 28.3 for Athena as παρθένον αἰδοíην ἐρυσίπτολιν ἀλκήεσσαν;Hy. Hom. 11.1 for Athena as ἐρυσίπτολιν. Athens would have provided a plausibleperformance context for such compositions, whatever their date.

(102) Another interesting and suggestive parallel for Trojan prayers to Athena is Hdt.7.43 where Xerxes offers sacrifices on an ‘epic’ scale to the Trojan Athena at the firsthalt on the way from Sardis. Here Herodotos is surely alluding to the same Il. 6passage, to align Xerxes too closely with Troy for his own good (in the tradition ofartistic parallels made between Troy and Persia): he thus offers an intertextual pointertowards Xerxes’ future downfall. See also Castriota(1992) 103.

(103) I consider the specific relevance of the focus on children for an Atheniancontext below, 300 ff

(104) See Carey (1999) 29 for the expression of these sentiments.

(105) For brief discussion, see Fisher (1992) 139 with Hdt. 5.77. That the inscriptionwas deemed to be of continued significance for the Athenians is confirmed by theexistence of two versions, one to replace the original damaged in the Persian sack.

(106) Goldhill (1994) 70.

(107) Fisher (1992) 228.

(108) Cartledge (2000) 11–12, with Vernant (1985) 238–60; Lévêque and Vidal-Naquet (1996[1964]) 9–17. See also e.g. Detienne (1999 [1967]) 89–106; de Polignac(1984) 87–90; Croally (1994) 165–6; cf. e.g. Herodotos’ loaded introduction toOtanes’ proposal of popular government in the constitution debate at Hdt. 3.80.2with the formula is ἐς µέσον… καταθει̑ναι τὰ πράγµατα, with Pelling (2002)140 n. 54.

(109) We are here talking about the classical Agora, which should now be dated to thestart of the 5th cent.: Robertson (1998) 283 with T. L. Shear (1994) 228–45. This newAgora will have been used for the Panathenaea even if there was some overlap in usebetween the archaic and classical locations, since this would fit with Peisistratos’refocusing of the festival procession to the north-west of the Akropolis: Robertson(1998) 290–1.

(110) See above n. 89 for the extreme paucity of evidence for kuklioi khoroi in thedemes.

(111) We might consider at this point whether the presence of Trojan prayers toAthena in Iliad 6 is itself a later Athenian interpolation, as argued by Lorimer (1950)442–3 and Sealey(1990) 130–1, following Bethe (1922) 310–20. Kirk (1990) 165suggests that the method of electing Theano priestess at Il. 6.300 might be anaddition sometime later in the tradition, perhaps relating to an Athenian recontextu-alization of the poem in the later archaic or classical period. However, Homer is notat all specific about the process of selection, so stronger evidence would be needed toprove the influence of Athens on the text. Nor is there anything necessarily anachronistic or specifically Athenian about the details of Athena’s temple or statue in Troy.

(112) Plut. Per. 13.11–12 (not in the time of Themistokles, as Vitr. De arch. 5.9.1, paceDavison (1958)); see now M. C. Miller (1997) 221ff.; Mosconi (2000); Musti (2000) 8.For choral spaces in the Agora, see Stephen G. Miller (1995) 219 and n. 148. Althoughwe do not know of the precise date of Bacch. 15, his career roughly spanned from 495to 450; as we saw in the previous chapter, Bacch. 17 may date to the early years of theDelian League immediately after the Persian Wars, but this does necessarily shed anylight on the date of Bacch. 15.

(113) For the importance of the Agora for the Panathenaea, see Kolb (1981) 25:‘Schwerpunkt auf der Agora’.

(114) Cf. Maehler II 135–6, suggesting a close relationship between the reference tothe gigantomachy myth mentioned at the poem’s close and the gigantomachy sceneon the peplos being paraded through the Agora in the context of the festival. More onthis shortly.

(115) Agora XIV 126; Neils (1992a) 18 with 19 fig. 4; T. L. Shear (1975) 362–3; Travlos(1971) 3. These are likely to be connected with events at the Panathenaea. SeePickard-Cambridge (1946) 10–15 for discussion of the testimonia.

(116) On the ‘theatricality’ of the procession through the Agora, see Stephen G.Miller (1995) 218 n. 140 and Agora XIV 129.

(117) See Winkler (1990a) 38; Sourvinou-Inwood (1994) 271–2 on the City Dionysiaand Panathenaea as archetypally polis-oriented festivals; Goldhill (1990) on the City Dionysia. Sourvinou-Inwood (2003) 63 n. 120 criticizes Goldhill for an overly schematic distinction between poetry and ritual based on modern assumptions, but the very importance of Goldhill’s article lies in the way it invites us to look at tragedy as a space within ritual that allows questions to be asked about such ritual; this point is re-emphasized by Goldhill (2000) in response to Griffin (1998). Sourvinou-Inwood (2003) 250–1 seems to me to subscribe to precisely this view of the relation of tragedy to ritual, in her claim to be reading tragedy without the ‘“secular” filters’ of others.

(118) See the assault of Griffin (1998), with responses by Goldhill (2000) and Seaford(2000). I return later to discuss Zimmermann (1992).

(119) See Griffin (1998) 41 against Longo (1990), though perhaps something of astraw target considering the age of Longo’s 1978 original.

(120) Gellrich (1995).

(121) Griffith (1995).

(122) Pelling (1997a) 226.

(123) Ibid. 225; Goldhill (2000) 47.

(124) The ‘text’ versus ‘context’ paradigm has had a potent effect here. See Pelling(1997a) 224–5 for tragedy as part of an ideological system.

(125) Goldhill (2000) 47.

(126) This should be self-evident, considering, for instance, the ‘serious’ claims ofcomedy: see Silk (2000); recall the generalizable claim made at Ar. Ran. 1055 thatpoets have important things to teach the city. The possibilities of kuklioi khoroi, are,however, still generally ignored.

(127) Griffin (1998) 48–9.

(128) Rhodes (2003) wonders how close such questioning of political topics mightbring us to thinking specifically about Athenian theatre as a distinctively democraticinstitution. In the case of Bacchylides’ Dithyrambs, these works were written for awide range of contexts relating to panhellenic sanctuaries in addition to multiplepoleis. What I would say in the case of Bacchylides’ Athenian poems is that, especiallyin the case of 15 and 18, there is a strong element of questioning with reference to apolis (Troy; mythical Athens), in addition to the kind of celebration that we feel inBacch. 19; and I would suggest that this is something that is not present to anythinglike the same degree in Bacch. 16 or 20, the latter (despite its fragmentary state)looking like a far more conservative use of myth—in fact recalling Alkman—in orderto uphold the traditions of Spartan ritual: see my discussion in the previous chapter. I disagree with Rhodes’ conclusion (119). If 5th-cent. Athens, as a democracy, was a city which allowed at least some questioning of its own institutions—as Rhodes admits—and managed to welcome and promote the work of an extraordinarily diverse range of poets, artists, and intellectuals, in order, in part at least, to allow this, I do not see that such a substantial jump is needed in order to allow for the possibility that at least some of the Athenian festival-going public might notice that such freedom to ask questions was what made Athens, as a democratic state, so very different from other, rival, non-democratic places such as Sparta. I note here the view set out in Parker (2005) 181–2: ‘Hymning the god and dancing for the god are fundamental forms of Greek worship. and yet it is remarkably hard to find Athenian men engaging in them in their simple form in the classical period. … [T]he great gap that emerged between Athens and, say Sparta in the fifth century concerned not just the presence in Athens of a new cultural element absent from Sparta, drama, but also the transformation undergone there by a traditional element, choral song, which lived on in Sparta in more or less its old form.’ We should query Parker’s idea of a ‘simple form’ of Greek worship through song for any period (see again Feeney (1998) 22–5), and I would add that Bacch. 20 shows that new ‘choral songs’ were produced in Sparta; but Bacch. 20 does seem to indicate a use of Spartan myth to figure the poem itself as strongly traditional rather than innovatory.

(129) See the response of Seaford (2000) 35–6.

(130) Ibid. 36.

(131) Ibid. Seaford’s refusal here to deal with civic institutions in the Iliad is aproduct of his view that the total failure of polis-institutions in the Homeric poems(as he reads them) is a hallmark of their specifically aristocratic context of production: see e.g. Seaford (1994) 5–6; however, this is to neglect, for instance, the role ofthe cities on the shield of Akhilleus in Iliad 18 (which Alden (2000) 54–67 has arguedfunction in parallel to the main narrative of the Iliad and offer comment upon it), aswell as the importance of the Iliad’s own, admittedly fragmented, references to theembassy picked up by Bacchylides.

(132) Haubold (2000) 188–95.

(133) Note how reference to the agora is delayed in order for it to take up a prominentposition at the start of the third triad at line 43.

(134) Bowie (1986) argues for the symposium as the initial context, whilst stressingthe problems of interpreting the occasionality of these poems; he dismisses West’ssuggestion of ‘some kind of public meeting’: see esp. 18–19. Tedeschi (1982) 41 ff.argues that Solon’s Salamis was originally performed in the Agora. Irwin (2005) 136–42 focuses on the rhetorical construction of a specifically Odyssean public identityfor Solon here.

(135) Solon 8.1–3 W.

(136) Cf. Wilson (2003b) 187, with 210 n. 39 on Pl. Tim. 20e; see above, pp. 261–2,for Kritias’ use of Solon to create an Athenian authority for his own oligarchic poeticoutput.

(137) Stehle (1997) 65–6. Cf. Lambert (1993) ch. 4, esp. 160–1 with n. 103. Cf. Wilson(2003b) 168 on dancing for Dionysos by paides. For more on the Apatouria, see now Parker (2005) 458-61.

(138) See above, ch. 4, p. 241.

(139) e.g. GSAP 155 and fig. 199; Shapiro (1989) 12, 15, 38 and pll. 4 d–e.

(140) e.g. Pl. Euthyphr. 6b–c.

(141) See e.g. Castriota (1992) 138–43.

(142) Loraux (1993) 47–8.

(143) Ibid. 224.

(144) Here I take issue with Parker (1997) 153 when he suggests a contrast betweenthe treatment of delayed divine punishment between Solon and oratory on the onehand, and tragedy on the other. Punishment of the innocent can be interpreted asa further problem rather than a solution: the varied responses to delayed divinepunishment across genres from Theognis (731–42), through Euripides (TrGF Vfr. 980), to Plutarch (De ser. num. vind., esp. 12–14, 556e–8f) bear witness to continued conflict of opinion about whether such punishment of the innocent is unjustor not. At the very least, the fact that Solon leaves it unclear exactly how and whenjustice will come home to roost might strike some as disturbing. Parker is of coursestill correct to state the tragedy presents a more intense exploration of the issue ofdelayed divine punishment, through its frequent use of the theme of inherited guilt.

(145) Interestingly comparable, but even more extreme, is Gellrich’s (1995) readingof Euripides’ Bacchae.

(146) See Parker (2005) 265–6; 397–9 with Eur. Ion 1528–9.

(147) Indeed it is possible that Panathenaic kuklioi khoroi were influenced by amilitary strand present in Panathenaic pyrrhikhe which was likely to have beenperformed, at least in the earlier post-Kleisthenic period, in the Agora also: see esp.Ceccarelli (1998) 87 with n. 279; Ceccarelli (2004) 93–9 for a brief survey of Panathenaic pyrrhikhe. For khoreutai exempted from military service, see Stehle (1997) 13and esp. Winkler (1990a) 48 with Dem. 21.15 and 39.16; cf. Winkler (1990a) 56 forAristoxenos’ evidence for boys’ training in both khoroi and military dancing; Foley(2003) 8–9, with nn. 33 and 36.

(148) The classic formulation of Winkler (1990a) 20.

(149) See Pelling (1997a) 229; 235.

(150) Absence of masks: see above Ch. 3, n. 90.

(151) Goldhill (1996) 245 on tragedy.

(152) See Gould (1996) 226 on tragedy.

(153) It is not clear that there was any strict distinction of parts between khoros andkoruphaios in early performances by kuklioi khoroi. No division of parts is visible inBacch. 15; and even in the case of Bacch. 18 it is far from certain that Aigeus’ wordswould have been sung by a single voice rather than by the khoros en masse; in any case, the existence of some separate parts for a koruphaios would not imply that a koruphaios did not also sing with the khoros in other sections. See more below on thesignificance of group identity in kuklioi khoroi.

(154) Above, Ch. 3, p. 207.

(155) For the later New Musical output, see above Ch. 3, p. 188 ff., with Csapo(2004); mimeticism: Zimmermann (1992) 127–8.

(156) Rep. 3.396c-d: ’Ο µέν µοι δοκεî, ήν δ’ έγώ, µέτριος àνήρ,έπειδàν àφίκηται έντή διηγήσει ίπϊ λέξιν τινà ή πραξιν ανδρός αγαθού̂, έθελήσειν ώς αύτóς ών εκεîνοςαπαγγλλειν έαì ούκ αισχυνείσθαι Ιπϊ τη τοιαύτη µιµήσει, µαλιστα µέν µιµούµενοςκτλ. Cf. Plato’s earlier discussion, Rep. 3.393a–b, of Homer’s imitation of Khryses inthe opening of the Iliad.

(157) Leg. 2.655d: 'Επειδή µιµήµατα τ ρόπων έστρ τà περί τας χορείας, έν πρàξεσί τεπαντοδαπαΐς γιγνόµενα καΐ τύχαις, καΐ ήθεσι καΐ µιµήσεσι διεξιóντων έκαστων, οϵς µεναν πρóς τρόπου τα βηθντα ή µελωδηθέντα ή καì óπωσοϋν χορευθέντα κτλ.

(158) Poe. 1448a19–29.

(159) έποποιία δή καì ή της τραγωδίας ποίησις ετι δε κωµωδία καΐ ή διθυραµβοποιη-τική καì της αύλητικής ή πλείστηκαΐ κιθαριστικής πασαι τυγχàνουσιν οêσαι µιµήσειςτó σύνολον.

(160) Rotstein (2004).

(161) In addition to these better-known texts, compare the following fragments ofBacchylides, all of which contained direct speech: Bacch. 24 (ταΰτ’ ε[ì]πε, 13); Bacch.27, Khiron(?) (direct and reported speech: ένέπει, 35, φατί, 36); Bacch. fr. dub. 60(τοι[α]ύτα φατις, 21, following a section containing female first-person subjectslamenting on a Trojan theme).

(162) Stesikhoros and Homeric performance: Burkert (1987). See earlier, Ch. 3,p. 188 for Bacchylides’ place in this branch of the lyric tradition.

(163) Silk (1998), esp. 16–17.

(164) Pl. Ion 535e.

(165) Carey(1999,), esp. 17–21.

(166) In particular [Long.] De subl. 33.5, followed by Kirkwood (1966), e.g. 101on his use of epithets: ‘On the whole the effect is of great naïveté rather than ofcleverness of application, of fervor, or of philosophical profundity. The impressionin general is simplicity, tunefulness, color, and pictorial effect. In other words, Bacchylides’ use of epithets is essentially a part of his narrative and descriptive art.’

(167) See Sim. fr. 557 PMG = [Long.] De subl. 15.7 for Simonidean enargeia (no-one represented more vividly, έναργέστερον, the appearance of Akhilleus’ phantom at his tomb); notice also the analogy between painting and poetry attributed to Simonides by Plutarch, Glor. Ath. 346f: ‘Painting is silent poetry, poetry a speaking picture’; the most striking example of enargeia from Simonides’ extant poetry is of course the Danae fragment, fr. 543 PMG.

(168) The sophistication of enargeia had already been discussed as an importantrhetorical phenomenon in Arist. Rhet. 3.11, 1411b–13b; cf. Demetr. Eloc. 209–20.

(169) Compare the situation with tragedy: see Goldhill (1996) 254: ‘It is… thetension between authoritative, ritual, mythic utterance and specific, marginal, partialutterance that gives the chorus its special voice in tragedy’ This view is qualified alittle by Foley (2003), but Goldhill is fundamentally correct to focus the issue on theinterplay between the situation internal to the fictional world of the drama and thegroup identity of the khoros within the specific Athenian festival structure.

(170) See above, n. 153. Again, the situation may have been somewhat different withthe later New Music, where we do hear of actors playing roles in works that weresometimes thought of as dramas: see above, Ch. 3, nn. 88, 89, and 93 for discussion ofsome of the ancient evidence concerning Philoxenos and Telestes.

(171) Above, Ch. 4, pp. 240–1.

(172) Gould (1996) 219, 224; Goldhill (1996) 248–9. It is importantly true that arecurrent theme of tragedy is the interplay and tension between, on the one hand, individuals, and, on the other, groups, whether represented internally by a polis oroikos, or mimetically by the khoros: cf. e.g. Goldhill (2000) 45. Cf. Silk (1998) 15–17.

(173) Here again Bacch. 18 may be different because of the quasi-dramatic dialoguebetween group and individual.

(174) Contrast, however, the use of the interplay between myth and performancecontext in Bacch. 19, for the City Dionysia, whereby the ancestry of Dionysos istransformed at the poem’s close into a self-referential celebration of Athenian choralprovision.

(175) This contrasts with the case of Sparta with Bacch. 20, discussed in the previouschapter: there it seems the poem’s opening provides a conservative aetiologicalframework in which the myth of Idas and Marpessa was situated; compare above, n. 128.

(176) The importance of (amongst much besides) the mapping of social and poeticconcerns arising from issues of textual closure are brilliantly explored by Fowler(1989) and (1997b).

(177) I have benefited greatly in this section from the work on the tyrannicides byJulia Shear: see J. L. Shear (forthcoming); many thanks to Julia for sharing herfindings with me.

(178) The link I offer below between Bacchylides 15 and Athenian discourse aboutviolence, diplomacy, and the significance of the tyrannicides is far from being anallegorical oversimplification. The fact that Bacchylides 15 cannot be dated with anyprecision prevents us from viewing the poem as offering any exact references to, orexplicit conclusions about, how to deal with the complex relation between thearistocracy and the demos within Athens and about external influence in Athenianaffairs. Yet even if the events that took place during the Panathenaic procession of 514 BCE were no longer exactly current, the stories that Athenians could continue to tellabout them, and indeed the songs which they could sing in memory (the tyrannicideskolia, 893-6 PMG with 911 PMG: Ath. 15.695a–b, Ar. Lys. 632 with Σ, Ar. Ach. 980with Σ; Ar. Vesp. 1225), throughout the 5th cent. and beyond make it clear that, atwhatever stage Bacchylides 15 was performed, tyrant-slaying would have been inpeople’s minds when they watched the various performances at the festival. For alist of selected political events coinciding with Great Panathenaic years in 5th-cent.Athens, see Phillips (2003) 208–10.

(179) And in itself it may be a movement towards death: as Loraux (1993) 42 ff. pointsout, there is a strongly oppositional relation between the Panathenaic procession tothe Akropolis, and the funeral procession for Athenian war-dead to the Kerameikos;both play on the autochthony of Athenian offspring.

(180) Thuc. 6.56.2; [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 18.2.

(181) Wohl (1996) 33–4.

(182) Ibid. 26 with n. 4 citing e.g. Neils (1992a) 27. See also Kavoulaki (1999)298–306; Maurizio (1998).

(183) Wohl (1996) 27.

(184) J. L. Shear (forthcoming); cf. Ajootian (1998).

(185) See Goldhill (1990) 108–12, with Loraux (1986) and Perikles’ funeral oration;Ober (1989) 160. Recall the possibly democratic resonances of δεξίστρατον in line43, discussed above (pp. 279–80). Of course, we have also to remember that therelation between the hoplite class and the demos as a whole was at best synecdochic;see Ober (1989) 83 for discussion of the relation between hoplite and naval successesand constitutional change in 5th-cent. Athens, with n. 70 for elite construction ofAthens as a city of hoplites not reliant upon lower-class sea power.

(186) However, we should bear in mind that though they may be drawn fromall across a tribe (and thus the demos itself), khoreutai do not seem to havebeen representative of the demos socio-economically; the choral paradigm is notnecessarily, if at all, a democratic one: see below n. 224.

(187) Moreover, the relation may in fact be suggested further by some slippage oficonographic detail between the portrayal of the gigantomachy and that of the tyrannicides: see J. L. Shear (forthcoming) on the iconography of the second tyrannicidegroup and its impact on the iconography of vase-painting.

(188) Thomas (1989) 257-61; Rauflaub (2003) 66; Pliny NH 34.16–17 (statues); seealso Sim. I EG with SEG ? 320; privileges for descendants (sitesis, ateleia, prohedria):IG ?.2 77.5; Dem. 19.280, 20.29, 20.159–62; Din. 1.101; Isai. 5.46–7.

(189) Thuc. 6.53–9; Ar. Lys. 1150–6; Thomas (1989) 244–7.

(190) See esp. Thomas (1989) 247–51.

(191) Ober (2003); quote from 225.

(192) [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 58.1; Hyp. 6.39. Some reservations have been voiced as to theexact wording of the former text, and any link between rituals for the war-dead andfor the tyrannicides has been questioned: J. L. Shear (forthcoming). This notwithstanding, the evidence of Hyp. 6.39, from the epitaphios for Leosthenes and otherAthenians who fought and died in the attempt to ward off the Macedonians, suggeststhat Harmodios and Aristogeiton were ideal exemplars for Athenians to follow, andindeed surpass, in wars against foreigners: ‘[W]hat these men did was no less a taskthan theirs [the tyranncides’]; it was indeed, if judgement must be passed, a greaterservice still. Those two brought low the tyrants of their country, these the masters ofthe whole of Greece.’ This text does not say that Harmodios and Aristogeiton wereactually honoured as war-dead, but the association made between the two groups isimportant nonetheless. Compare Ekroth (2002) 83–5.

(193) Cf. J. L. Shear (forthcoming) for a shift in the early 5th-cent. representation ofthe tyrannicides: from ‘deliverers’ of the city, to ‘saviours’ and ‘liberators’ subsequentto the Persian Wars.

(194) See e.g. Pelling (2000) ch. 9, esp. 170–1 on ‘topicality’, and the famous evidence of Hdt. 6.21 for the Athenians’ fining of Phrynikhos for reminding them of their own oikeia kaka in his play ‘The Sack of Miletos’.

(195) See above, pp. 279–80.

(196) Thuc. 6.56.2; [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 18.4.

(197) The presence of the sculptures in the Agora made it seem that slaying ofwould-be tyrants was an ongoing, and endlessly recycled, possibility; cf. especially therenewed interest in the tyrannicides at the end of the 5th-cent. as a way of conceptualizing rejection of oligarchic tyranny and the return of exiled democrats: again, J. L. Shear (forthcoming). However, whilst the absence of a representation ofHipparkhos from the sculptural group would have allowed individual Athenians tohave had some experience of the dangers of becoming another Hipparkhos, the veryincompleteness of the grouping, and the absence of the actual moment of the killing, at the same time made the actualization of violence more remote; and see Neer(2002) 168–81, esp. 180: ‘The statues allowed Athenians to skip over the factionalstrife that had come in the wake of the tyrant’s fall: to repress the years of stasis andsubstitute for them a glorious instant in which democratic and aristocratic sentimentcoincided’.

(198) For discussion of the way that the very organization of the kuklios khoros stoodin a very immediate relation to the political upheavals at the end of the 6th cent., andthat its institutionalization worked as a form of performed stasis-management, see Wilson (2003b). Griffin (1998) 42 is right to point out that it is not obviouslytrue that Athenian drama had a simple and conscious aim of strengthening socialcohesion: ‘No doubt the experience of being part of a large audience at a powerfuland spectacular public presentation produced, among other things, a sense of pridein the city that put it on; but had the city had as its unambiguous purpose to fostercivic consciousness, then it surely could have found many simpler and clearer ways.’I suggest that this is the case with what we can glean from at least the content of themajority of Bacchylides’ Athenian poems too, even if competitiveness in kuklioi khoroi was a democratic invention to reduce more serious civic conflict and competitiveness, as Wilson (2003b) suggests. I would seek, however, to correct Griffin’s Griffin’s assertion ((1998) 43) that the only kinds of question that khoroi raise are ethical, not political: as we see with Bacchylides 15, the question of ethical choice has emphatically political consequences. Bacchylides 19, which celebrates Dionysos’ role in Athenian competitiveness, especially in its final lines, can be understood to match what Griffin sees as a choral expression of civic pride.

(199) Again, this does not mean that I would recommend reading Bacch. 15 as a direct or pointed reference to contemporary events. Griffith (1995) 90–6, esp. nn. 101 and 112, argues that the presentation of Orestes and Pylades in Aiskhylos’ Choephoroe suggests an analogy with the tyrannicides, but I would suggest that such resemblance might only be a passing one; in any case, Griffith is right not to make this analogous juxtaposition allegorical. The tyrannicide contextualization that I have offered for Bacch. 15 is one that might allow it to play on the thoughts of, and stories familiar to, members of the Panathenaic audience, to raise basic issues without offering a solution to them.

(200) See Leigh (1998) 83 for the view that Antenoridae and Helenes Apaitesis wereseparate plays; cf. TrGF IV for separate entries. The view that they were the samerelies too heavily on the double title of Bacch. 15. Double titles of tragedies arecommon, but in the case of these plays it would be safe to assume that they treateddifferent temporal sections within the same general myth.

(201) Strabo 13.1.53; see TrGF IV 160–1.

(202) Though as Leigh (1998) 82 n. 4 points out, the earliest substantial evidence forthis angle on the myth is Hellenistic: Lykophr. Alex. 340–3.

(203) For reconstruction of the scenes see Castriota (1992) 110 and 113 figs. 10a–cand 11d, with Stansbury-O’Donnell (1989) 208–9 figs. 3–5.

(204) Paus. 10.26.7–8.

(205) Paus. 10.27.3–4.

(206) Castriota (1992) 96–7. For general discussion of Polygnotos’ revisionist treatment, see 96–118.

(207) Ibid. 100–1, with 87.

(208) Ibid. 116.

(209) Ibid. 102; 115.

(210) See Fisher (1992) 260–1 on the specific link with Solon’s Eunomia in Persae; cf. Hall (1996) 164–5 ad loc. 821–2, esp. 164: ‘Dareios’ theological views could not sound more Greek if he tried’, especially from an Athenian perspective.

(211) Vidal-Naquet (1988) 332–3.

(212) Vidal-Naquet(1997) 113. But I think here of Il. 4.30 ff. where the gods discussthe destruction of other cities in the light of Troy’s fate. This is exactly the point madeby Anhalt (1993) on her reading of Solon 4W that we have already discussed, andbehind the words of Dareios in Persae.

(213) Pelling (1997) 228–9, citing at n. 51 Sourvinou-Inwood (1989) for the‘cinematic analogy’.

(214) Again, see Gellrich’s (1995) reading of Euripides’ Bacchae along similar lines.

(215) Osborne (1994) 146–7 with metopes 24–8. See also Ferrari (2000).

(216) Zimmermann (1992), esp. 35–8.

(217) See also Wilson (2003 b), esp. 167–70 and 182–4.

(218) See Khoregia 17 with 315 n. 33; Wilson (2003b) 182–4.

(219) Ibid. 182.

(220) Ibid. with n. 76.

(221) Burnett (1988); West (1990); Khoregia 279–80 with Aristox. fr. 117 Wehrli. Thefact preserved by Paus. 5.25.2 that khoroi from other neighbouring localities performed in Rhegion might also suggest competition. Moreover, despite a differentmusical context, the legendary kitharoidic agon between Ariston of Rhegion andEunomos of Lokri suggests that musical competitiveness was not new to Rhegion as abasis on which to play out social or political rivalries: see Berlinzani (2002) fordiscussion; and I note that Eunomos is also associated with khoroi (Luc. Ver. Hist.2.15).

(222) The possible parallel with the Athenian situation is noted at Khoregia 385 n. 70.

(223) Wilson (2003b) 179 with n. 66 and 182–3 with n. 78; Khoregia 17, 216–18;Marm. Par. Ep. 46. The possibility that Lasos of Hermione, the supposed inventor ofthe kuklios khoros, was involved with the tyrants (Hdt. 7.6.3; cf. DTC1 23–5; D’Angour(1997) 335) causes some difficulties for this reading; cf. DFA 72. Cf. Ceccarelli (2004)97–8 on pyrrhikhe and evidence that even in the 4th cent. the Panathenaea preservedelements of pre-Kleisthenic organization.

(224) For the socioeconomic background of khoreutai and the role of the aristocratickhoregoi, see Khoregia 75–6, 128–30, esp. 128–9: ‘Against any notion of the radical“democratisation” of khoreia is the persistent association, evident into the late fifthcentury, between participation in khoroi and highly traditional, conservativeeducational and social values’, with 352 n. 70; Ar. Ran. 727–9; Nub. 983 ff.; Plut.1162–3.

(225) Khoregia 108.

(226) Zimmermann (1992), esp. 35–8. This notwithstanding the riders alreadydelivered by Pelling (1997) 230 ff. on the stability of this view for epitaphios itself.

(227) See above, Ch. 4, p. 240 n. 42.

(228) Wilson (2003b) 169.

(229) Although the date of the association of titles to these works is unknowable; itmay have been a decision taken by the Alexandrian editors with nothing to go onbeyond mythological content.

(230) Cf. DFA 66 for the possible arrangement at the City Dionysia.

(231) Stehle (2004).

(232) Note too the potentially glorificatory note struck if a link is made betweenBacchylides’ use of hubris and the use of hubris to denote unprovoked foreign hostility in an official dedicatory epigram: above, pp. 292–3 with CEG i.179 = M–L 15.

(233) Seaford (1994) 152–3. We have seen above, however, how the aristocratic spinto Plato’s Hipparchus appropriates Homeric epic as well as lyric poetry, by theirassociation with the Peisistratids, as specifically elite cultural capital.

(234) West(1992a) 20.

(235) See, classically, Loraux (1986) 145: ‘The same system of representations bywhich the city lived… extracted from the Homeric epic examples that still had realmeaning, and made Athenian history a repetitive gesture, in which the battles of thepresent copied those of the past and foreshadowed exploits to come.’

(236) Cf. above, n. 36.

(237) Guillory (1993) 55: ‘Canonicity is not a property of the work itself butof its transmission, its relation to other works in a collocation of works….’ Cf.Martindale (1993) 24.

(238) Ford (1999) 239–40.

(239) Again, see Wilson (2003a) for an investigation of Kritias’ use of Anakreonwithin the anti-democratic counter-culture of the elitist symposium. Systematiza-tions of schooling have the effect of ossifying, decontextualizing, and dogmatizing, inorder to reproduce the social institutions themselves with all their problematic socialhierarchies, without necessarily questioning these hierarchies: Guillory (1993) 57.Indeed, this is what has happened with Bacchylides himself: see Ch. 3 above. But inan era before systematic schooling, the situation would have been far more fluid, involving the thoroughgoing contestations we have been discussing.

(240) Guillory (1993) 63ff., developing a Marxist approach to Bakhtin’s heteroglossia.As my own approach to intertextuality should make clear, social contestation isembedded in the nexus of relations between different types of text that constitute theliterary texts we have been discussing.

(241) What we do know has been examined in detail by Khoregia 66–70.

(242) If Bacchylides’ compositions are datable before the limited reforms of the early460s, the arkhons would themselves still have been drawn from the upper echelons ofAthenian society.

(243) Khoregia 66–7.

(244) See Khoregia 63-4 for the nationality of dithyrambopoioi.

(245) Isokr. 15.166; Eust. Prooem. 300.12 Dr.

(246) Cf. Khoregia 67.

(247) Ibid. 120–3.

(248) Esp. Griffith (1995).