Logos and Art:    

The Performing and the Reperforming of Masterpieces of Verbal Art at a Festival in Ancient Athens

For the ancient Greeks, performing and reperforming the Iliad and Odyssey at the Panathenaia compared to the distinction between the weaving and reweaving of fabric.


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The Performing and the Reperforming of Masterpieces of Verbal Art at a Festival in Ancient Athens

The Argument

The Logos that figures in the wording Logos & Tekhnē, which is the heading for Panel Three of the Six Panels of the Athens Dialogues of 2010, is not just the Word. It is the art of the Word. And that art is the Art that is Tekhnē in the combination Logos & Tekhnē. In other words, Logos is a verbal art and is thus one form of Tekhnē, just as visual art is another form of Tekhnē. As Richard Martin and I argue jointly in our contributions to the Dialogues, such verbal art was equated with the visual art of fabric weaving. And, as I argue specifically in my contribution, such an equation came to life in the performing and the reperforming of two masterpieces of verbal art at a seasonally recurring festival celebrated every four years in ancient Athens. Those two masterpieces, as we will see, were the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey . And the seasonally recurring Athenian festival, as we will also see, was the Great Panathenaia.

From the start, I make a distinction between performing and reperforming . Then, at a later point, I will make a parallel distinction between the weaving and the reweaving of fabric. Both these distinctions, I argue, were being made in ancient Athens every time the Athenians celebrated the Great Panathenaia, which was for them their most important festival.[1]

The Historical Background

The seasonally recurring celebration of the Great Panathenaia, which lasted several days and required several months of preparation, was quadrennial or penteteric : that is, it took place every fourth year if we count by starting from zero—or every fifth year if we count, as the ancient Hellenes did, by starting from the number one in the absence of the idea of zero. This festival, according to Athenian traditions, was officially started in 566 BCE.[2] It was celebrated every fourth year thereafter, well into the third century CE. And it was evidently designed to rival the four most prestigious older festivals celebrated in the Peloponnesus, that is, in the region recognized by all Hellenes as the cradle of their ancient Hellenic civilization:

  • The Olympics, operating on a four-year cycle, was celebrated at Olympia in the summer of every fourth year of the calendar as we number it, starting with 776 BCE.
  • The Pythia, also operating on a four-year cycle, was celebrated at Delphi in the summer of every second year after the Olympics.
  • The Isthmia, operating on a two-year cycle, was celebrated at the Isthmus of Corinth in the spring of each even-numbered year of the calendar as we number it, before the summer festivals of the Olympia and the Pythia.
  • The Nemea, operating on a two-year cycle, was celebrated at Nemea on odd-numbered years of the calendar as we number it, one year before and one year after the festival of the Olympia.

The Panhellenic prestige of these four festivals, headed by the Olympics as notionally started in 776 BCE, was rivaled by the newer Panhellenic prestige of the festival of the Great Panathenaia as notionally started in 566 BCE. This newer festival, operating on a four-year cycle, was celebrated at Athens in the late summer after the earlier summer celebration of the Pythia on that same year, which as we have seen took place every second year after the Olympics.[3]

The two clearest signs of this rivalry are

  • the parallelism between the athletic competitions (agōnes) at the Great Panathenaia and at the Olympics
  • the parallelism between the ‘musical’ competitions (agōnes) at the Ǧreat Panathenaia and at the Pythia.

I will explain later what I mean when I refer to ‘musical’ competitions here. For now, however, it is enough for us to note that the ‘musical’ competitions of the Great Panathenaia, together with the athletic competitions, were features that distinguished this festival as Panhellenic .

To be contrasted with this Panhellenic festival of the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia was a corresponding local festival of the Athenians, the annual or Lesser Panathenaia, celebrated every year except for every fourth year reserved for the celebration of the Great Panathenaia. The local festival of the annual or lesser Panathenaia lacked the Panhellenic features of the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia.[4]

Despite the lack of Panhellenic features in the annual or Lesser Panathenaia, this local festival did have features in common with the Panhellenic festival of the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia. Foremost among these shared features was the Panathenaic Procession, a ritual held in honor of the goddess Athena, patroness of the city of Athens.

This ritual of the Panathenaic Procession was linked with a foundational myth of the Athenians, which told how Athena was born fully formed and fully armed from the head of Zeus, and how the newborn goddess immediately proceeded to join her father Zeus and the other Olympian gods in a cosmic battle against the giants (Hesiod Theogony verses 886–900, 924–926; Homeric Hymn [28] to Athena verses 4–6).[5] This myth of the birth and the battle, to which I will refer hereafter simply as the Gigantomachy, was represented in the monumental relief sculptures of the Parthenon in Athens, dating from the 440s and 430s BCE: the East Pediment showed the birth of Athena while the East Metopes showed the Gigantomachy.[6] And, as I say, the ritual of the Panathenaic Procession was linked with the myth that told of these two events, the birth of Athena and the Gigantomachy.

It was all a matter of ritual timing. The seasonally recurring day of the Panathenaic Procession was equated in this ritual with the primordial day when the events of the myth took place. And the ritual of the Panathenaic Procession, as a feature that was common to the annual or Lesser Panathenaia and to the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia, indicates a common origin for both these Athenian festivals.

The Panathenaic Procession as celebrated at the annual Panathenaia was far smaller in scale than the corresponding Panathenaic Procession as celebrated at the quadrennial Panathenaia, just as the annual Panathenaia as a local festival was far smaller in scale than the corresponding quadrennial Panathenaia as a Panhellenic festival.[7] Also, much less is known about the annual Panathenaia by comparison with its quadrennial counterpart, especially in the earlier and more formative phases of these Athenian festivals. Accordingly, I will concentrate here on the Panathenaic Procession as celebrated at the Great Panathenaia in the classical era of the fifth and the fourth century BCE. The sources of information we have from this era are fragmentary but most revealing, as we will see later from the details provided by Aristotle himself in the Constitution of the Athenians (60.1–3).[8] And I highlight here another important source of information about the Panathenaic Procession as celebrated at the Great Panathenaia: it is the representation of this ritual event in the monumental relief sculptures of the Panathenaic Frieze of the Parthenon.[9]

The Panathenaic Procession of the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia culminated with the sacrifice of a hundred oxen and the public presentation of a gigantic peplos or sacred ‘robe’ woven for Athena the goddess of Athens—a robe to which I will refer from here on simply as the Peplos.

The relief sculpture of the Panathenaic Frieze actually shows the ritual moment when the woven Peplos of Athena is handed over to a representative of the goddess.[10] The Peplos is shown at the moment of its being ritually folded, and its ribbed edge (or selvedge) is visible (Figure A).[11]

The positioning of this ritual moment as sculpted into the Parthenon Frieze is most significant: “the human procession, starting from the south-west corner, proceeds in two directions along the north and south sides of the temple to converge over the east end where the gods are assembled to witness the culmination of the ceremony.” [12] It is at this point of convergence in the narrative of the Panathenaic Frieze that the presentation of the Peplos takes place.

The Panathenaic Procession took place on the twenty-eighth day of the month Hekatombaion.[13] The name of this month means ‘the season of sacrificing a hundred oxen’, and it was the first month of the Athenian year. I focus here on the presentation of the Peplos to Athena on that climactic day.

Leading up to the presentation of the Peplos on that day was the weaving of this fabric, starting on the thirtieth day of the month Pyanopsion, which was the day of a festival named the Khalkeia (s.v. Χαλκεῖα in the Suda , in the Etymologicum Magnum , and in the collection of Harpocration).[14] We can count a span of nine months separating this official day of inception from the official day of completion, which as we have seen took place on the twenty-eighth day of the month Hekatombaion, the day of the Panathenaic Procession, which culminated in the presentation of the Peplos to the goddess Athena on the acropolis of Athens. That same day in the quadrennial festival was viewed as the day of Athena’s birth (s.v. τριτογενής in the Suda and in the Lexicon of Photius; also in the scholia for Iliad VIII 39).[15] So the period of time required for the weaving of the Peplos from start to finish was nine months, matching symbolically the period of gestation leading up to the birth of the goddess.[16]

Reweaving the Peplos

This weaving of the Peplos was thought to be a reweaving . As I have argued in previous work, the very idea of weaving the Peplos of Athena was the ritual equivalent of narrating the Gigantomachy.[17] The myth of the Gigantomachy was intrinsic to and inextricable from the ritual of weaving the Peplos of Athena—both the quadrennial weaving and the annual weaving. To that extent, I agree with those who argue that the pictorial narratives woven into the Peplos of Athena in Athens were variations on one basic theme, the myth of the Gigantomachy.[18]

Pursuing the idea of a reweaving of the Peplos at the Panathenaia, I now turn to the Pandora Frieze, a work of bronze that adorned the base of the statue of Athena Parthenos inside the Parthenon (Pliny Natural History 36.19). In order to appreciate the significance of this frieze, we must consider its visual relationship to other features of the Parthenon.Let us take the perspective of a viewer standing before the entrance to the Parthenon: [19]
Facing the east side of the temple and looking for highlights that catch the eye, starting from the top, we would first of all see the birth of Athena sculpted into the pediment on high; next, looking further below, we would see the battle of the gods and giants sculpted into the metopes; next, looking even further below and into the interior, we would see the presentation of the Peplos of Athena sculpted into the Panathenaic Frieze that wraps around this interior above the columns of the porch.[20] Next, ascending the steps of the temple and entering its open doors, we would see the gigantic figure of Athena Parthenos standing on top of a commensurately gigantic base; and we would see worked into the metallic surface of this base the Pandora Frieze.

Let us now follow the perspective of a viewer who has just entered the interior of the temple: [21]
As we enter, we see straight ahead the glittering figure of Pandora at the center of the Frieze, her radiance enhanced by her reflection in the pool of water at the front of the base; this view gives the viewer “a premonition of what, once he had accustomed himself to the semi-darkness in the cella, he would, on directing his gaze upwards, experience in the statue of the Athena Parthenos herself.” [22] Even before the viewer “could have been alerted to the astonishing height and polychromatic splendour of the chryselephantine statue of Athena itself, he would have looked straight ahead and glanced at its base.” [23]

As Pausanias says, the myth that is narrated by the relief work on the base of the statue of Athena Parthenos is the genesis of Pandora (1.24.7). What Pausanias does not say, however, is that Pandora is the first Athenian woman in the Athenian version of the myth, and that she is represented as wearing the first peplos. The narrative of this myth about Pandora, as worked into the frieze of the base of the statue of Athena Parthenos, can be reconstructed primarily on the basis of vase paintings that narrate this myth.[24] In terms of these narrations, Pandora is represented as wearing the first peplos, given to her by the goddess Athena herself: [25]
This robe, the first peplos, might have been understood in the widest sense of the word as the archetypal peplos, given by Athena to the primordial woman. For that reason its concept was not confined to the bare image of a beautiful garment, but involved women’s ability to weave peploi as well.[26] Thus the peplos of Pandora could have represented the mythical pattern or prototype for all the peploi in the world.[27]

Let us consider the narratives of two relevant vase paintings. Both paintings are dated to the second quarter of the fifth century BCE; so they predate the Pandora Frieze itself.[28] The first of these paintings shows a frontal view of the newly created Pandora. She is wearing a peplos and is flanked by Athena, who presents her with a garland of flowers (Figure B).[29]

The second of these two paintings shows Pandora flanked by Athena and Hephaistos on either side. It is the moment when the two divinities have just finished creating this female prototype by way of their combined crafts (Figure C).[30]

I quote an incisive description: [31]

The mention here of Athena Erganē is relevant to the Athenian festival that inaugurated the weaving of the Peplos of Athena, the Khalkeia, the name of which is derived from the word khalkos ‘bronze’. This festival celebrated the synergism of the divinities Athena and Hephaistos as models for the work of craftsmen. As the synergistic partner of Hephaistos, Athena was worshipped as Erganē, that is, the divinity who presides over the work (ergon) of craftsmen.[33] Since the weaving of the Peplos was begun at the festival of the Khalkeia, it is relevant that the name for the female weavers of the Peplos presented to Athena at the annual or Lesser Panathenaia was Ergastinai.[34]

As we will see presently, the goddess Athena demonstrates her control over the art of weaving by weaving her own Peplos. And there is a parallelism between the work of Athena, who practices the craft of weaving her own peplos, and the work of Hephaistos, who practices the craft of metalwork in bronze. I argue for a link between the work of the weavers who produced the Peplos of Athena and the work of the metalworkers who produced artifacts made of bronze in the sacred space of Athena. The fact that Athena presides over the craft of weaving the Peplos in conjunction with the craft of bronze metalwork is relevant to the fact that the relief work of the Pandora Frieze, which shows Pandora being dressed in a prototypical peplos given to her by Athena, is an artifact of metalwork in bronze. It is also relevant to the fact that the metalworker who sculpted the narrative about Pandora and her peplos was none other than Pheidias himself (Pliny Natural History 36.19).[35] This sculptor also metalworked the narrative of the Gigantomachy into the concave interior of the Shield of Athena (Pliny Natural History 36.18)—matching the narrative of the Gigantomachy woven into the Peplos of Athena.[36]

Here I stop to note a basic difference: [37]
The metalwork of the Gigantomachy on the concave interior of the Shield of Athena, as performed by Pheidias, was of course a singular historic event. To be contrasted is the weaving of the Gigantomachy, which was a seasonally recurring event. There was the weaving of the annual Peplos, as performed by female weavers, and there was the weaving of the quadrennial Peplos, as performed by professional male weavers (called poikiltai in Plutarch Pericles 12.6).[38] Each time the Peplos was woven—or, better, rewoven—it was notionally the same but historically different. So the woven version of the Gigantomachy can be seen as an ongoing classical process in contrast to the metalworked version, which is a single classical moment created by Pheidias.

The ritual reweaving of Athena’s Peplos every year at the Panathenaia—especially every four years at the Great Panathenaia—is a ritual re-enactment of Athena’s own weaving of her own peplos, which she wears as a ‘robe’: [39]
Homeric poetry says explicitly, in Iliad V (734–735), that the goddess herself had woven—with her own hands—the peplos she is shown as wearing; when she goes to war, she takes off this peplos (V 734) before she puts on a khiton (V 736), over which she wears her suit of armor (V 737). Because it is a divinity who is doing these things, what Athena does or what she makes is absolute and thus permanent. Female and male weavers keep on repeating the absolute and permanent archetype, and their repetition formalizes the permanence. So, while the sculpting of a statue of the goddess is a single act that achieves notional permanence, the weaving of a web for the goddess is an act that has to be reperformed year after year for ever and ever in order to achieve, in the fullness of time, that same kind of notional permanence. The woven web of Athena is a multiple and fluid eternity, ever recycled, whereas the sculpted statue of Athena is a single and static moment of that same eternity, ever the same.

Here we need to take into account two sculpted statues of Athena on the Parthenon: on the one hand, there is the archaic statue of Athena Polias residing in the old temple of Athena, and, on the other hand, there is the classical statue of Athena Parthenos residing in the Parthenon. As we see from the explicit testimony of Pausanias (1.24.7), the statue of Athena Parthenos is featured as wearing a khiton under her armor, and so she is not even wearing a peplos. It is not necessary, in any case, that that a statue of Athena should wear a peplos that is sculpted into the statue. As we are about to see, the peplos to be worn by Athena was not sculpted but woven for her. And the statues of both Athena Polias and Athena Parthenos can be seen as appropriate recipients of the Peplos that is forever being ritually rewoven for the goddess.[40] In previous work, I have this to say about the notional permanence of this reweaving, matching the notional permanence of the statues of Athena: [41]
The ritual reweaving is what makes the weaving permanent. So long as the reweaving goes on forever, which is the ideology of ritual, the Peplos is just as permanent as the statue is notionally permanent. The eternity of reweaving makes the rewoven Peplos the same thing, ritually speaking, as the Peplos that Athena had originally woven. She can receive for eternity that same Peplos she once wove because it is rewoven for her by successive generations of weavers weaving into eternity.
Conversely, Athena can also give the Peplos once and for all to the first woman, Pandora, as we see from the evidence about the relief metalwork of Pheidias known as the Pandora Frieze.[42] In terms of Athenian myth as represented in this relief metalwork created by Pheidias, the Peplos given to Pandora by Athena would have been woven once and for all. In terms of Athenian ritual, on the other hand, women will be weaving a new Peplos for Athena on a seasonally recurring basis, year after year for all time to come. The Peplos given by the goddess to the primal woman will be rewoven and given back to the goddess again and again for the rest of time on the seasonally recurring occasion of the feast of the Panathenaia, which celebrates the genesis of Athena.

Reweaving the Peplos, Reperforming the Epic

For the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia, as we have seen, the reweaving of the Peplos was performed by professional male weavers, and it was only for the annual or Lesser Panathenaia that the reweaving continued to be performed by women.[43] Such a differentiation of professional male weavers from nonprofessional female weavers is relevant to traditional metaphors that equate the weaving of fabric with the performing of epic. A prime example is the word oimē, which refers metaphorically to the ‘story-thread’ that begins the epic performance of the singer Demodokos in Odyssey viii 74.[44] Such a beginning of epic, as we see from the wording of Pindar’s Nemean 2 (line 3), is a prooimion, which is metaphorically the starting point of the threading, of the oimē. Comparable to this Greek prooimion is the Latin exordium . Like the Greek word prooimion, the Latin word exordium is applicable to the beginning of a song, a poem, or a speech. Like the Greek prooimion, the Latin equivalent exordium shows a closely comparable etymology: this noun too refers metaphorically to the starting point of the threading, as we see from the meaning of the corresponding verb ordīrī , which refers to the actual process of ‘threading’.[45] And it can also be argued that the specific meanings of the Greek nouns oimē and prooimion are related to the general meaning of the noun humnos, which can be interpreted etymologically as the overall process of weaving as expressed by the verb huphainein ‘weave’.[46] So the question is, can we say that the performing of epic at the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia is visualized metaphorically as the work of male weavers in particular?

In formulating an answer, I start with the metaphor inherent in the technical poetic term prooimion. In terms of this metaphor, a performance started by a singer is like a web started by a weaver. Performing the prooimion is like weaving the exastis, which is a technical term for the initial phase of the weaving.[47] From the wording of Pindar, we see the application of this metaphor to the start of Homeric performance
῞Οθεν περ καὶ Ὁμηρίδαι | ῥαπτῶν ἐπέων τὰ πόλλ᾿ ἀοιδοί | ἄρχονται, Διὸς ἐκ προοιμίου.
[starting] from the point where [hothen] the Homēridai, singers, most of the time begin [arkhesthai] their stitched-together [rhaptein] words, from the prooimion of Zeus
Pindar Nemean 2.1–3

The idea of fabric work, implicit in the word prooimion, is made explicit here through the word rhaptein ‘sew, stitch’, which conveys the idea of integrating woven fabric into a totality.[48] The metaphorical world of rhaptein ‘sew, stitch’ is specific to the word rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’, which means etymologically ‘stitchers of song’.[49] In the logic of Pindar’s wording, the primary fabric workers of song are the Homēridai, the ‘descendants of Homer’ themselves, and the starting point for their fabric work is the web of song that addresses the primary god, Zeus.[50] So the metaphorical fabric workers of epic are specifically male fabric workers. As such, they are analogous to the poikiltai, as mentioned in Plutarch’s Pericles (12.6), who reweave the Peplos that the Athenians present to their goddess Athena on the occasion of the Great Panathenaia.

Here I return to the point I made at the start about the reperforming of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey at this same festival. During the days of the Panathenaia that led up to the climactic presentation of the Peplos to the goddess Athena, the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey were reperformed by professional performers called rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’. The basic meaning of this word, as we have seen, is they who stitch together the song . And this meaning is shaped by a traditional metaphor that can be paraphrased this way: they who put together the whole song just as fabric-workers stitch together the whole fabric .[51]

I focus here on two distinct mythologized versions of this concept of the rhapsode, both of which are reported in the scholia for Pindar Nemean 2.1:
οἱ δέ φασι τῆς Ὁμήρου ποιήσεως μὴ ὑφ᾿ ἓν συνηγμένης, σποράδην δὲ ἄλλως καὶ κατὰ μέρη διῃρημένης, ὁπότε ῥαψῳδοῖεν αὐτήν, εἱρμῷ τινι καὶ ῥαφῇ παραπλήσιον ποιεῖν, εἰς ἓν αὐτὴν ἄγοντας
And some say that—since the poetry of Homer had been in a state of not being brought together under the heading of one thing , [52] but instead, in a negative sense [= ἄλλως], had been in the state of being scattered and divided into parts—whenever they [= the rhapsodes] would perform it rhapsodically they would be doing something that is similar to sequencing or sewing , as they brought it together into one thing .
[version 1 at scholia for Pindar Nemean 2.1c]
οἱ δέ, ὅτι κατὰ μέρος πρότερον τῆς ποιήσεως διαδεδομένης τῶν ἀγωνιστῶν ἕκαστος ὅ τι βούλοιτο μέρος ᾔδε, τοῦ δὲ ἄθλου τοῖς νικῶσιν ἀρνὸς ἀποδεδειγμένου προσαγορευθῆναι τότε μὲν ἀρνῳδούς, αὖθις δὲ ἑκατέρας τῆς ποιήσεως εἰσενεχθείσης τοὺς ἀγωνιστὰς οἷον ἀκουμένους πρὸς ἄλληλα τὰ μέρη καὶ τὴν σύμπασαν ποίησιν ἐπιόντας, ῥαψῳδοὺς προσαγορευθῆναι, ταῦτά φησι Διονύσιος ὁ Ἀργεῖος
Others say that previously—since the poetry had been divided into parts , with each of the competitors [ agōnistai ] singing whichever part he wanted, and since the designated prize for the winners had been a lamb—[those competitors] were in those days called arnōidoi [= lamb-singers] , but then, later on—since the competitors [ agōnistai ], whenever each of the two poems was introduced, were mending the parts to each other, as it were, and moving toward the whole poem—they were called rhapsōidoi. These things are said by Dionysius of Argos [between fourth and third centuries BCE; FGH 308 F 2]
[version 2 at scholia for Pindar Nemean 2.1d] n.53

As I argue in my previous work, these two mythologized versions of the concept of the rhapsode amount to an aetiology of the Panathenaic Regulation .[54] When I say aetiology here, I mean a myth that motivates an institutional reality, especially a ritual.[55] And when I say Panathenaic Regulation , I mean an institutional reality that we find described in several ancient sources. I can sum up this reality in the following formulation: at the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia, rhapsodes collaborated as well as competed in the process of reperforming, by relay, successive parts of the two integral epic compositions that we know as the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey .[56]

Among the ancient sources that describe the Panathenaic Regulation is a work attributed to Plato and named after Hipparkhos son of Peisistratos. The words of the relevant passage I am about to quote are spoken by Plato’s Socrates, and he is just on the verge of naming Hipparkhos as an Athenian of the past who deserves the admiration of Athenians in the present:
… Ἱππάρχῳ, ὃς ἄλλα τε πολλὰ καὶ καλὰ ἔργα σοφίας ἀπεδέξατο, καὶ τὰ Ὁμήρου ἔπη πρῶτος ἐκόμισεν εἰς τὴν γῆν ταύτην, καὶ ἠνάγκασε τοὺς ῥαψῳδοὺς Παναθηναίοις ἐξ ὑπολήψεως ἐφεξῆς αὐτὰ διιέναι, ὥσπερ νῦν ἔτι οἵδε ποιοῦσιν.
[I am referring to] Hipparkhos, who accomplished many beautiful things in demonstration of his expertise [sophia], especially by being the first to bring over [komizein] to this land [= Athens] the verses [epos plural] of Homer, and he required the rhapsodes [ rhapsōidoi ] at the Panathenaia to go through [diienai] these verses in sequence [ ephexēs ], by relay [ ex hupolēpseōs ], just as they [= the rhapsodes] do even nowadays.
“Plato” Hipparkhos 228b–c

This story is an aetiology in its own right. And, as I argue in previous work, the institutional reality described here, where rhapsodes compete with each other as they perform by relay and in sequence the epics of Homer at the festival of the Panathenaia, is a ritual in and of itself.[57] Moreover, the principle of equity that is built into this ritual event of rhapsodic competition corresponds to the need for equity in the ritual events of athletic competition.As Richard Martin observes, “The superb management of athletic games to assure equity could easily have been extended by the promoters of the Panathenaic games in this way.” [58] As we will see presently, this parallelism of athletic and rhapsodic competitions as ritual events is conveyed by the word agōnes , which applies to both kinds of competition.

In the era of the Athenian democracy, which started in 510 BCE and lasted through the fifth century and beyond, it was not Hipparkhos but the earlier Athenian figure of Solon who was highlighted as the culture hero of the Panathenaic Regulation:
τά τε Ὁμήρου ἐξ ὑποβολῆς γέγραφε ῥαψῳδεῖσθαι, οἷον ὅπου ὁ πρῶτος ἔληξεν, ἐκεῖθεν ἄρχεσθαι τὸν ἐχόμενον
He [= Solon as Lawgiver of the Athenians] has written a law that the words of Homer are to be performed rhapsodically [ rhapsōideîn ], by relay [ hupobolē ], so that wherever the first person left off [ lēgein ], from that point the next person should start [ arkhesthai ].
Dieuchidas of Megara FGH 485 F 6 via Diogenes Laertius 1.57

The predemocratic version of the aetiology of the Panathenaic Regulation, however, featuring Hipparkhos, makes more sense than this democratic version featuring Solon. As I argue in previous work, the predemocratic version is consistent with a whole nexus of additional information concerning the earlier phases of the Panathenaia.[59] This is not to say, however, that Hipparkhos himself should be credited with instituting rhapsodic competitions in the performance of epic at the Panathenaia.[60] It is only to say that he instituted a reform of these rhapsodic competitions by introducing the Panathenaic Regulation.

I now turn to a third source about the Panathenaic Regulation. The speaker in the passage I am about to quote avoids any direct attribution of the Panathenaic Regulation to Solon, despite the fact that he speaks in terms that presuppose the prevailing ideologies of the Athenian democracy; instead, he attributes the Regulation to the initiative of unnamed ancestors of the Athenians of his day.[61] Here is the passage, taken from a speech delivered by the Athenian statesman Lycurgus in 330 BCE: [62]
βούλομαι δ᾿ ὑμῖν καὶ τὸν Ὅμηρον παρασχέσθαι ἐπαινῶν. οὕτω γὰρ ὑπέλαβον ὑμῶν οἱ πατέρες σπουδαῖον εἶναι ποιητήν, ὥστε νόμον ἔθεντο καθ᾿ ἑκάστην πενταετηρίδα τῶν Παναθηναίων μόνου τῶν ἄλλων ποιητῶν ῥαψῳδεῖσθαι τὰ ἔπη, ἐπίδειξιν ποιούμενοι πρὸς τοὺς Ἕλληνας ὅτι τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν ἔργων προῃροῦντο.
I wish to adduce for you Homer, quoting [ epaineîn ] him, [63] since the reception [64] that he had from your [Athenian] ancestors made him so important a poet that there was a law enacted by them that requires, every fourth year of the Panathenaia, [65] the rhapsodic performing [ rhapsōideîn ] of his verses [epos plural] —his alone and no other poet’s.In this way they [= your (Athenian) ancestors] made a demonstration [epideixis] , [66] intended for all Hellenes to see, [67] that they made a conscious choice of the most noble of accomplishments.[68]
Lycurgus Against Leokrates 102

The Concepts of Epic and Lyric in the Historical Context of Performance Traditions at the Panathenaia in Athens

The epē ‘verses’ (= epos plural) to which the Athenian orator is referring in the last of the three passages I quoted in the previous section represent the epic poetry performed by competing rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’, not the lyric song performed by other kinds of competing craftsmen known as kitharōidoi ‘citharodes’ and aulōidoi ‘aulodes’.[69] I propose here to analyze the distinction between epic poetry and lyric song in the context of performances by rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’ and kitharōidoi ‘citharodes’ and aulōidoi ‘aulodes’ at the Great Panathenaia in Athens.

What we know as epic and lyric were forms of verbal art that evolved into their classical forms in the historical context of separate competitions among performing rhapsodes, citharodes, and aulodes at the Great Panathenaia in Athens. We can situate these classical forms in such a historical context by reviewing all the major classical forms of verbal art as viewed in the fourth century BCE by Aristotle himself in his Poetics :
Περὶ ποιητικῆς αὐτῆς τε καὶ τῶν εἰδῶν αὐτῆς, ἥν τινα δύναμιν ἕκαστον ἔχει, καὶ πῶς δεῖ συνίστασθαι τοὺς μύθους εἰ μέλλει καλῶς ἕξειν ἡ ποίησις, ἔτι δὲ ἐκ πόσων καὶ ποίων ἐστὶ μορίων, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων ὅσα τῆς αὐτῆς ἐστι μεθόδου, λέγωμεν ἀρξάμενοι κατὰ φύσιν πρῶτον ἀπὸ τῶν πρώτων. ἐποποιία δὴ καὶ ἡ τῆς τραγῳδίας ποίησις ἔτι δὲ κωμῳδία καὶ ἡ διθυραμβοποιητικὴ καὶ τῆς αὐλητικῆς ἡ πλείστη καὶ κιθαριστικῆς πᾶσαι τυγχάνουσιν οὖσαι μιμήσεις τὸ σύνολον· διαφέρουσι δὲ ἀλλήλων τρισίν, ἢ γὰρ τῷ ἐν ἑτέροις μιμεῖσθαι ἢ τῷ ἕτερα ἢ τῷ ἑτέρως καὶ μὴ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον.
Concerning the craft of poetic composition [poiētikē (tekhnē)] in and of itself, and its {1447a} forms [eidē, plural of eidos] , and what is the potential of each form; and how mythical plots [muthoi] must be put together if the poetic composition [poiēsis] is to be good at doing what it does; and how many parts it is made of, and what kinds of parts they are; and, likewise, all other questions that belong to the same line of inquiry—let us speak about all these things by starting, in accordance with the natural order, from first principles.
So, the composition of epic [epopoiia = the poiēsis of epos] and the composition [poiēsis] of tragedy [tragōidia], as well as comedy [kōmōidia] and the poetic craft [poiētikē (tekhnē)] of the dithyramb [dithurambos] and most sorts of crafts related to the aulos [70] and the kithara [71] —all of these crafts, as it happens, are instances of reenactment [mimēsis plural] , [72] taken as a whole. There are three things that make these instances of reenactment different from each other: [[1]] reenacting [mimeîsthai] things in different media, or [[2]] reenacting different things, or [[3]] reenacting in a mode [tropos] that is different and not the same as the other modes.
Aristotle Poetics 1447a.8–18

The idea of mimeîsthai in this formulation of Aristotle, which I translate as ‘reenact’, is the equivalent of the idea of reperforming as I have formulated it so far. As I have argued in previous work, all nine of the media of reenactment mentioned by Aristotle in his formulation can be analyzed as media of performance and reperformance as well as composition .[73] And, as I have also argued, Aristotle views all nine of these media in Athenocentric terms.[74] Without saying it explicitly, he situates all nine media in the historical context of the first and the second most important festivals of the Athenians:

  • the Great Panathenaia, featuring (a) epic recited by rhapsodes and accompanied by no musical instrument, (b) lyric sung by aulodes and accompanied by the aulos, (c) lyric sung by citharodes and self-accompanied by the kithara, (d) instrumental music played on the aulos, without words, (e) instrumental music played on the kithara, without words
  • the City Dionysia, featuring (a) tragedy, (b) comedy, (c) dithyramb, and (d) satyr drama.

For the moment, I restrict my scope here to the five media linked with the first of these two festivals, the Great Panathenaia. Aristotle starts with the medium I have listed as 1a, which is practiced by rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’. Later, he refers to the media 1b and 1d of the aulōidoi ‘aulodes, aulos-singers’ and the aulētai ‘auletes, aulos-players’, and to the media 1c and 1e of the kitharōidoi ‘citharodes, kithara-singers’ and the kitharistai ‘citharists, kithara-players’. We learn directly about these categories from an Athenian inscription dated at around 380 BCE, IG II2 2311, which records Panathenaic prizes.[75] We learn about these categories also from Plato Laws VI 764d–e (mention of rhapsodes, cithara-singers, and aulos-players), where the wording makes it clear that the point of reference is the Panathenaia.[76] To sum up, it can be said in general that epic and lyric were defined by the media of rhapsodes on the one hand and of aulodes and citharodes on the other.

In the classical period as described by Aristotle, the epic repertoire of the rhapsodes who were competing with each other in rhapsodic competitions at the Panathenaia was restricted to reperformances of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey , as I have argued in pre vious work.[77] But what about the lyric repertoire of the aulodes and the citharodes who were competing with each other in their own separate aulodic and citharodic competitions at the Panathenaia? As I have also argued in previous work, the classics of lyric composition that were reperformed by the aulodes and by the citharodes of the Panathenaia were compositions attributed to the great lyric poets of the preclassical and the early classical era, the foremost of whom were Alcman , Stesichorus , Ibycus , Sappho , Alcaeus , Anacreon , Simonides , Bacchylides, Pindar .[78] In terms of my argument, I offer this formulation: Just as Homer becomes a classic by way of rhapsodic reperformances of Homeric poetry at the Panathenaia, so also the lyric masters become classics by way of corresponding aulodic and citharodic reperformances of their lyric songs at the same Athenian festival, the Panathenaia .[79] Although this formulation applies to aulodic as well as citharodic reperformances, I will concentrate here only on the citharodic, which I will juxtapose with the rhapsodic reperformances.

The evidence I have adduced so far about these categories of competition at the Panathenaia is supplemented by what we read in Aristotle’s Constitution of the Athenians (60.1), where the author refers to these same Panathenaic categories of competition and where the overall competition is specified as the ‘competition [agōn] in mousikē’ (τὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς μουσικῆς). We learn further details from this same source: ten magistrates called athlothetai ‘arrangers of the contests [athloi] ’ were selected by lot every four years to organize the festival of the Panathenaia, and one of their primary tasks was the management of the ‘competition [agōn] in mousikē’. According to Plutarch’s Pericles (13.9–11), the Athenian statesman Pericles reformed this competition in mousikē when he was elected as one of the athlothetai.[80] What, then, does the author of the Constitution of the Athenians actually mean when he says mousikē? In Aristotelian usage, this word mousikē is a shorthand way of saying mousikē tekhnē, meaning ‘craft of the Muses’, that is, ‘musical craft’. It would be a misreading, however, to think of ancient Greek mousikē simply in the modern sense of music , since the categories of ‘musical’ performers at the Panathenaia included not only kitharōidoi ‘kithara-singers’ and kitharistai ‘kithara-players’ and aulōidoi ‘aulos-singers’ and aulētai ‘aulos-players’ but also rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’. The performative medium of rhapsodes in the era of Aristotle was recitative and thus not ‘musical’ in the modern sense of the word. By recitative I mean (1) performed without singing and (2) performed without the instrumental accompaniment of the kithara or the aulos.[81] In this era, the competitive performances of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey by rhapsodes at the Panathenaia were ‘musical’ only in an etymological sense, and the medium of the rhapsode was actually closer to what we call ‘poetry’ and farther from what we call ‘music’ in the modern sense of the word. Still, the fact remains that the performances of rhapsodes belonged to what is called the ‘competition [agōn] in mousikē’ (τὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς μουσικῆς), just like the performances of citharodes, citharists, aulodes, auletes, and so on.[82]

Of all the performers at the Panathenaia, I highlight here not only the rhapsodes performing the masterpieces of epic that we know as the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey but also the citharodes, who as I argue were performing masterpieces of Greek lyric at this same festival. By viewing together these two kinds of performers, we can arrive at a unified explanation for two important rival trends, as noticed by Richard Martin, in the history of the Panathenaia: (1) the prioritizing of rhapsodes who recited epic without any instrumental accompaniment and (2) the rival prioritizing of citharodes who sang lyric while accompanying themselves on a stringed instrument called the kithara.

The second of these two rival trends reflects the influence of another great festival, the Pythia, on the Great Panathenaia. At the Pythia, as Martin shows, the art of the citharodes was strongly prioritized.[83] As for the first of these same two rival trends at the Panathenaia, the prioritizing of rhapsodes, it reflects the influence of yet another great festival, the Panionia, which took shape in the late eighth and early seventh century in the historical context of the Panionion, a sacred meeting space for a federation of twelve Ionian cities in Asia Minor known as the Ionian Dodecapolis.[84] At the festival of the Panionia, the art of the rhapsodes was strongly prioritized. As Douglas Frame has shown, this festival was the historical setting for the evolution of a rhapsodic tradition of performing the epics that we know as the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey , which were divided into six rhapsodic performance units each, adding up to twelve rhapsodic performance units representing each one of the twelve cities of the Ionian Dodecapolis; each one of these twelve rhapsodic performance units corresponds to four rhapsōidiai ‘rhapsodies’ or ‘books’ of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey as we know them from their Panathenaic phase of transmission (‘books’ 1–4, 5–8, 9–12, 13–16, 17–20, 21–24).[85] And this Panathenaic phase of transmission for the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey seems to have started when Hipparkhos the son of Peisistratos introduced what we know as the Panathenaic Regulation in Athens, as described in the passage I quoted previously. It has been conjectured, plausibly, that Hipparkhos arranged for the first complete performance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey by rhapsodes competing at the festival of the Panathenaia that was celebrated in the summer of 522 BCE.[86]

We have already seen how the reperformance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey every four years at the Panathenaia was equated metaphorically with a reweaving of these epics by rhapsodes. But we have yet to see how such a metaphorical reweaving of these epics was linked with the ritual reweaving of the Peplos of Athena every four years for the same festival of the Panathenaia.Here again I come back to Aristotle, who gives a brief outline of five main features of the Panathenaia at Athens in his Constitution of the Athenians (60.1–3): [87]

1. agōn ‘competition’ in mousikē (τὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς μουσικῆς); prizes awarded: gold and silver.

2. agōn ‘competition’ in athletics (τὸν γυμνικὸν ἀγῶνα), including equestrian events (horse-racing and chariot-racing: ἱπποδρομίαν); prizes awarded: Panathenaic amphoras containing olive oil.

3. peplos ‘robe’ = the ceremonial robe, Peplos (τὸν πέπλον); woven for the goddess Athena, it was formally presented to her at the Panathenaia.

4. pompē ‘procession’ = the Panathenaic Procession (τήν τε πομπὴν τῶν Παναθηναίων); at the climax of this procession, the Peplos was formally presented to Athena.

5. athlothetai = a board of ten magistrates, with one from each phulē appointed (by lot) every four years for a term of four years; their function was to organize and supervise all the events of no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, and no. 4, including the arranging and awarding of prizes in the case of no. 1 and no. 2.

Aristotle’s general reference here in the Constitution of the Athenians to an overall agōn ‘competition’ in mousikē (τὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς μουσικῆς) leaves him free to be unspecific about the specific forms of agōnes ‘competitions’ in mousikē. Aristotle’s lack of specificity has contributed to the confusion I mentioned previously about the ‘musical contests’ of the Panathenaia. As we saw, the conventional but anachronistic translation ‘musical’ is confusing because the English word seems to suggest, misleadingly, an exclusion of rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’ and the inclusion only of kitharōidoi ‘citharodes’, aulōidoi ‘aulodes’, and so on.[88] Still, what is only implicit in Aristotle’s general reference is made explicit in a corresponding reference to the Panathenaia by Isocrates ( Panegyricus 159), whose words specify that Homeric performances were taking place ‘in athla [contests] of mousikē’, ἐν τοῖς μουσικοῖς ἄθλοις.[89] Other sources too provide explicit evidence about the institution of rhapsodic contests at the Panathenaia, and many of these specify the correlation of contests in athletics with contests in mousikē.[90]

The essential fact, then, that we can see emerging from the testimony of Aristotle’s Constitution of the Athenians is that the quadrennial reweaving of the Peplos for the Great Panathenaia was institutionally linked with what he calls the agōn ‘competition’ in mousikē (τὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς μουσικῆς), which we know was the historical context for the quadrennial reperforming of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey by rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’ at the same festival.

This institutional link between a quadrennial reweaving of the Peplos of Athena and the quadrennial ‘musical contests’ held at the Great Panathenaia applies directly to the contests among rhapsodes, whose simultaneously competitive and collaborative performance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey was understood to be a reperformance, repeated every four years for all eternity. Such a mentality of repetition evokes for me a work of Kierkegaard, entitled Repetition (1843).I quote from this work: “repetition and recollection are the same movement, except in opposite directions, for what is recollected has been, is repeated backward, whereas genuine repetition is recollected forward.” [91] This model of repetition, as I interpret it, combines the idea of sameness as something old and the reality of variation as something new. In the ideology of ritual, I must add, such repetition is understood to be eternal.[92]

We can see such a notional eternity in the seasonally recurring reperformances of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey , just as we see it in the seasonally recurring reweavings of the Peplos of Athena. Both the reperformances and the reweavings are achieved by way of a seasonally recurring ritual renewal. And while we see the idea of sameness in the seasonally recurring competitions among rhapsodes at the Great Panathenaia, since their epic repertoire is understood to the same for all eternity, we see also the reality of variation in the likewise recurring competitions among citharodes and aulodes, since their lyric repertoires would have varied on each quadrennial occasion of celebrating the festival of the goddess.

At the Great Panathenaia, the sameness of epic and the variation of lyric are perfectly fused in the ritual mentality of reweaving the Peplos every four years for all eternity to honor the goddess who presided over her beloved city of Athens. It is my fondest hope that this city, the venue of the Athens Dialogues, will continue to foster such an eternal reweaving.


BA. See Nagy 1979.

Barber, E. J. W. 1991. Prehistoric Textiles: The Development of Cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, with Special Reference to the Aegean. Princeton.

———. 1992. “The Peplos of Athena.” In Neils 1992a:103–117, plus notes at pp. 208–210.

Bell, M. 1995. “The Motya Charioteer and Pindar’s Isthmian 2.” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 40:1–42.

Berczelly, L. 1992. “Pandora and Panathenaia: The Pandora Myth and the Sculptural Decoration of the Parthenon.” Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia 8:53–86.

Blech, M. 1982. Studien zum Kranz bei den Griechen. Berlin and New York.

Durante, M. 1976. Sulla preistoria della tradizione poetic greca II. Risultanze della comparazione indoeuropea. Incunabula Graeca 64. Rome.

Elmer, D. F. 2005. “Helen Epigrammatopoios.” Classical Antiquity 24:1–39.

Frame, D. 2009. Hippota Nestor. Cambridge, MA and Washington, DC.

GM. See Nagy 1990b.

HC. See Nagy 2008/2009.

HPC. See Nagy 2009/2010.

HQ. See Nagy 1996b.

HR. See Nagy 2003.

HTL. See Nagy 2004.

Kierkegaard, S. 1843 [1983]. Fear and Trembling. Repetition. Translation, with introduction and notes, by H. V. Hong and E. H. Hong. Princeton.

Kotsidu, H. 1991. Die musischen Agone der Panathenäen in archaischer und klassischer Zeit: Eine historisch-archäologische Untersuchung. Quellen und Forschungen zur antiken Welt 8. Munich.

Leipen, N. 1971. Athena Parthenos: A Reconstruction. Toronto.

Martin, R. P. 2000. “Synchronic Aspects of Homeric Performance: The Evidence of the Hymn to Apollo.” Una nueva visión de la cultura griega antigua hacia el fin del milenio (ed. A. M. González de Tobia) 403–432. La Plata.

Mikalson, J. D. 1975. The Sacred and Civil Calendar of the Athenian Year. Princeton.

Nagy, B. 1992. “Athenian Officials on the Parthenon Frieze.” American Journal of Archaeology 96:55–69.

Nagy, G. 1979. The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry. 2nd ed., with new Introduction, 1999. Baltimore.

———. 1990a. Pindar’s Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past. Baltimore.

———. 1990b. Greek Mythology and Poetics. Ithaca, NY.

———. 1996a. Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond. Cambridge.

———. 1996b. Homeric Questions. Austin.

———. 2002. Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music: The Poetics of the Panathenaic Festival in Classical Athens. Cambridge, MA and Athens.

———. 2003. Homeric Responses. Austin.

———. 2007a. “Did Sappho and Alcaeus ever meet?” Literatur und Religion I. Wege zu einer mythisch–rituellen Poetik bei den Griechen (eds. A. Bierl, R. Lämmle, and K. Wesselmann) 211–269. MythosEikonPoiesis 1.1. Berlin / New York. 2nd ed. 2009 online at

———. 2007b. “Lyric and Greek Myth.” The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology (ed. R. D. Woodard) 19–51. Cambridge.

———. 2008/2009. Homer the Classic. Cambridge, MA and Washington, DC. The 2008 online version is available at The 2009 printed version is distributed by Harvard University Press.

———. 2009/2010. Homer the Preclassic. Berkeley / Los Angeles. The 2009 online version is available at The 2010 printed version is published by the University of California Press.

———. 2010. “Ancient Greek Elegy.” The Oxford Handbook of the Elegy (ed. K. Weisman) 13–45. Oxford.

Neils, J., ed. 1992a. Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens. Princeton.

———. 1992b. “The Panathenaia: An Introduction.” In Neils 1992a:13–27. Plus notes at pp. 194–195.

Nick, G. 2002. Die Athena Parthenos: Studien zum griechischen Kultbild und seiner Rezeption. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts. Athenische Abteilung 19. Mainz.

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———. 1994. Le chant de Pénélope: Poétique du tissage féminin dans l’Odyssée. Paris. Part I of Papadopoulou-Belmehdi 1992.

———. Forthcoming (2011). L’art de Pandora. La Mythologie du tissage en Grèce ancienne. ed. 2. online. Cambridge, MA and Washington, DC.

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PP. See Nagy 1996a.

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Note 1
My overall argumentation is set forth most comprehensively in a set of twin books: HC = Homer the Classic (2008/2009) and HPC = Homer the Preclassic (2009/2010). On the historical context of the Panathenaia, I highlight two other books of mine: PP = Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond (1996), PR = Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music: The Poetics of the Panathenaic Festival in Classical Athens (2002). I will occasionally refer also to the following related books: BA = Best of the Achaeans (1979; 2nd ed. 1999), PH = Pindar’s Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past (1990a), GM = Greek Mythology and Poetics (1990b), HQ = Homeric Questions (1996), HR = Homeric Responses (2003), HTL = Homer’s Text and Language (2004).

Note 2
The primary sources are analyzed by Frame 2009:465n241, 511.

Note 3
Nagy 2007a:236, following Bell 1995:18.

Note 4
This distinction between the Panhellenic Athenian festival of the quadrennial Great Panathenaia and the local Athenian festival of the annual Lesser Panathenaia is highlighted by Shear 2001:231. For more on the Panathenaia in general, see Neils 1992a and b.

Note 5
HC 1§131, 4§§105, 191.

Note 6
HC 4§224.

Note 7
Shear 2001:75–76, 97–103.

Note 8
I analyze this most valuable source, along with other sources, in PR 86–88; also in HC 4§191.

Note 9
That the Panathenaic Frieze is a stylized representation of the Panathenaic Procession at the Great Panathenaia is argued effectively by Shear 2001 chapter VIII. See also PR 50–51, following B. Nagy 1992.

Note 10
There is ongoing debate over whether the Panathenaic Frieze depicts the woven robe or Peplos of Athena “realistically.” See Barber 1992:114-115, with further citations.

Note 11
Barber 1992:113; see also Barber 1991:361; see also p. 272, with further illustrations of selvedges as represented in the sculpture of the Parthenon Frieze.

Note 12
Leipen 1971:48.

Note 13
The evidence is surveyed by Mikalson 1975:34, who notes that the time span of the festival of the Great Panathenaia may have extended through the twenty-ninth and the thirtieth days of Hekatombaion; he also notes various different reconstructions of the overall time span of the festival, which may have commenced as early as the twenty-first of Hekatombaion.

Note 14
Mikalson 1975:78 gives an inventory of the testimonia.

Note 15
By contrast with the annual and the quadrennial birthday of Athena, which was the twenty-eighth of Hekatombaion, her lunar birthday was the third day of each month. On the lunar birthday, I value the comments of Mikelson 1975:23 and of Shear 2001:37 who both review the relevant ancient testimony (s.v. τριτομηνίς in the collection of Harpocration; also s.v. τριτομηνίς in the Suda and s.v. τριτογένεια in the Etymologicum Magnum ). In response to those comments I need to point out that the variant ideas of a lunar birthday on the third day of each month and of an annual and quadrennial birthday on the twenty-eighth day of Hekatombaion are not mutually contradictory, in that each one of these two ideas represents a variation on the theme of cyclic recurrence.

Note 17
HC 4§§202–203.

Note 18
HC 4§210, following Barber 1992:114.

Note 19
The following is a revised version of HC 4§225.

Note 20
Berczelly 1992:54.

Note 21
HC 4§226.

Note 22
Berczelly 1992:55.

Note 23
Berczelly 1992:54–55.

Note 24
Berczelly 1992:61–67.

Note 25
HC 4§227.

Note 26
The author refers here to Hesiod Works and Days 63–64.

Note 27
Berczelly 1992:61.

Note 28
Berczelly 1992:61.

Note 29
On the association of Pandora with garlands of flowers, see also Hesiod Theogony 576–580 and Works and Days 74–75. See also Blech 1982:34 and Berczelly 1992:63.

Note 30
HC 4§228.

Note 31
Berczelly 1992:62.

Note 33
Parke 1977:92–93.

Note 34
HC 4§206, with reference to the work of B. Nagy 1972.

Note 35
HC 4§§225–226.

Note 36
HC 4§§213–214.

Note 37
HC 4§232.

Note 38
HC 4§203, with special reference to Plato Euthyphro 6b-c as well as Plutarch Pericles 12.6.

Note 39
HC 4§233.

Note 40
HC 4§188.

Note 41
HC 4§§234–235.

Note 42
Berczelly 1992; also Nick 2002:6.

Note 43
Because of the introduction of male professional weavers for the weaving of the Peplos for the Great Panathenaia, the idea of Pandora as the first weaver by virtue of being the first woman was neutralized. Still, the craft of weaving the Peplos continued to be associated primarily with the nonprofessional work of women. See HC 4§236.

Note 44
HC 2§290.

Note 45
PR 80.

Note 46
HC 2§91.

Note 47
PR 82.

Note 48
HC §§237–246. For more on the metaphorical world of rhaptein ‘sew, stitch’ in the sense of a virtuoso integration of woven fabric, see PR 71. The sewn fabric may in the end suit a body that is not human but divine.

Note 49
PP 61–76, BA 17§10n5, PH 1§21 (= p. 28), with reference to Schmitt 1967:300–301 and Durante 1976:177–179.

Note 50
PP 62–64.

Note 51
PP 68–69.

Note 54
PR 46–47.

Note 55
BA 16§2n2 (= p. 279).

Note 56
PR 36–69, HR 41–45, HTL 28–30, HC 2§§297, 304, 325; 3§§4, 6, 33.

Note 57
PR 42–47. For a comparative perspective on the concept of competition-in-collaboration, see PP 18.

Note 58
Martin 2000:422.

Note 59
HPC I§43.

Note 60
Shear 2001:366.

Note 61
PR 14.

Note 62
Further discussion of this passage in PH 1§10n20 (= pp. 21–22), PR 10–12, HPC I§43. See also Shear 2001:367.

Note 63
To make his arguments here in Against Leokrates 102, the orator is about to adduce a quotation from Homer, the equivalent of what we know as Iliad XV verses 494–499. On my reasons for translating epaineîn as ‘quote’, see PR 27–28. Adducing a Homeric quotation is presented here as if it were a matter of adducing Homer himself. In the same speech, at an earlier point, Lycurgus ( Against Leokrates 100) had quoted 55 verses from Euripides’ Erekhtheus (F 50 ed. Austin). At a later point ( Against Leokrates 107), he quotes 32 verses from Tyrtaeus (F 10 ed. West), whom he identifies as an Athenian (so also does Plato in Laws 1.629a). On the politics and poetics of the Athenian appropriation of Tyrtaeus and of his poetry, see GM 272–273. I suggest that the Ionism of poetic diction in the poetry of Tyrtaeus can be explained along the lines of an evolutionary model of rhapsodic transmission: see PH 2§3 (= pp. 52–53), 14§41 (= pp. 433–434) and HQ 111; see also PH 1§13n27 (= p. 23) on Lycurgus Against Leokrates 106–107, where the orator mentions a customary law at Sparta concerning the performance of the poetry of Tyrtaeus. For more on epaineîn, see now Elmer 2005.

Note 64
I deliberately translate hupolambanein as ‘receive’ (that is, ‘reception’) here in terms of reception theory . In terms of rhapsodic vocabulary, as we saw above in “Plato” Hipparkhos 228b–c, hupolēpsis is not just ‘reception’ but also ‘continuation’ in the sense reception by way of relay . Further analysis in PR 11n8.

Note 65
In the orignal Greek, the counting is inclusive: every ‘fifth’ year.

Note 66
Comparable is the context of epideigma ‘display, demonstration’ in “Plato” Hipparkhos 228d, as discussed in PH 6§30 (= pp. 160–161); see also PH 8§4 (= pp. 217–218) on apodeixis ‘presentation, demonstration’. The basic idea behind what is being ‘demonstrated’ is a model for performance . The motivation as described here corresponds closely to the motivation of Hipparkhos as described in the first of the three passages that I have been analyzing.

Note 67
By implication, the Panhellenic impulse of the ‘ancestors’ of the Athenians in making Homer a classic is mirrored by the impulse of Lycurgus, statesman that he is, to quote extensively from such classics as Homer, Tyrtaeus, and Euripides. See also “Plutarch” Lives of the Ten Orators 841f on the initiatives taken by Lycurgus to produce a State Script of the dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides (commentary in PP 174–175, 189n6, 204).

Note 68
I infer that the erga ‘accomplishments’ include poetic accomplishments: on the mentality of seeing a reciprocity between noble deeds and noble poetry that becomes a deed in celebrating the deed itself, see PH 2§35n95 (= p. 70), 8§5 (= pp. 218–219).

Note 69
For more on the concept of lyric, see Nagy 2007b.

Note 70
The aulos was a double reed, most similar in morphology to the oboe. Aristotle is referring here to two media that involved the aulos. One is the medium of aulōidia ‘aulos-singing’, where the aulōidos ‘aulode, aulos-singer’ sings to the accompaniment of the aulos. The other is the medium of aulēsis ‘aulos-playing, where the aulētēs ‘aulete, aulos-player’ plays the aulos without any singing.

Note 71
The kithara was a seven-string lyre. Aristotle is referring here to two media that involved the kithara. One is the medium of kitharōidia ‘kithara-singing’, where the kitharōidos ‘citharode, kithara-singer’, sings while accompanying himself on the kithara. The other is the medium of kitharisis ‘kithara-playing’, where the kitharistēs ‘citharist, kithara-player’ plays the kithara without any singing.

Note 72
Here the word is in the plural, and I render it as ‘instances of reenactment’. In the singular, the basic idea of mimesis is ‘reenactment’: see PH 1 §§ 46 50 .

Note 73
PP 81–82.

Note 74
PP 81–82; see also Rotstein 2004.

Note 76
For evidence in the visual arts on rhapsodic competitions at the Panathenaia, see Shapiro 1993, who disputes some commonly-held assumptions about representations of competing rhapsodes (for example, he argues convincingly that the performer represented on Side A of the red-figure neck amphora [London, British Museum E270], c. 500–490 BCE, is an aulode, not a rhapsode).

Note 77
PR 10–11.

Note 78
Nagy 2007a:226, 236, 242–248, 252. On the canonical status of the “big nine,” I find it useful to return to the perspectives of Wilamowitz in his Textgeschichte der griechischen Lyriker (1900).

Note 79
In the case of citharodic reperformances at the Panathenaia, I have in mind especially the compositions attributed to Sappho, Alcaeus, Anacreon, and Ibycus. I cite again Nagy 2007a:226, 236, 242–248, 252. In the case of aulodic performances at the Panathenaia, I propose that elegiac poetry might have been performed there to the accompaniment of the aulos: see Nagy 2010:38, with reference to the Plataea Elegy of Simonides (Poem 22 ed. West). The monodic singing of this elegy, at its original performance, was evidently a public act of festive lamentation for the citizen warriors who died in the battle of Plataea in 479 BCE. Though the original venue for this elegiac performance has yet to be ascertained, I think that Simonides may have entered his Plataea Elegy for performance or reperformance in the aulodic competitions at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens.

Note 80
Background in Rhodes 1981:670–671.

Note 81
PR 36, 41–42.

Note 82
HC 3§§29–30. There I also analyze a reference to such rhapsodic ‘competition [agōn] in mousikē’ in Plato’s Ion (530a–c). See also PR 22, 37–38, 99.

Note 83
On the art of the citharodes, Martin cites the foundational work of Power 2010.

Note 84
HPC I§38, following Frame 2009 ch. 11.

Note 85
Frame 2009 ch. 11.

Note 86
West 1999:382.

Note 87
PR 40–41. Aristotle follows a different order, however, in his listing of these five features: 5, 4, 1, 2, 3.

Note 91
Kierkegaard 1843 [1983]:131.

Note 92
PP 52.