Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 September 2015
To Professor E. R. Dodds, through his edition of Euripides' Bacchae and again in The Greeks and the Irrational, we owe an awareness of new possibilities in our understanding of Greek literature and of the world that produced it. No small part of that awareness was due to Professor Dodds' masterly and tactful use of comparative ethnographic material to throw light on the relation between literature and social institutions in ancient Greece. It is in the hope that something of my own debt to him may be conveyed that this paper is offered here, equally in gratitude, admiration and affection.
The working out of the anger of Achilles in the Iliad begins with a great scene of divine supplication in which Thetis prevails upon Zeus to change the course of things before Troy in order to restore honour to Achilles; it ends with another, human act in which Priam supplicates Achilles to abandon his vengeful treatment of the dead body of Hector and restore it for a ransom. The first half of the Odyssey hinges about another supplication scene of crucial significance, Odysseus' supplication of Arete and Alkinoos on Scherie. Aeschylus and Euripides both wrote plays called simply Suppliants, and two cases of a breach of the rights of suppliants, the cases of the coup of Kylon and that of Pausanias, the one dating from the mid-sixth century, the other from around 470 B.C. or soon after, played a dominant role in the diplomatic propaganda of the Spartans and Athenians on the eve of the Peloponnesian War.
Early versions of the paper here presented were read to the J.A.C.T. Summer School in Ancient Greek at Cheltenham in July 1969, and to branches of the Classical Association at Newcastle and Aberystwyth; the present version was read to the Oxford Philological Society in October 1972: to my audiences on all these occasions and to their criticisms I owe much. The present version was largely written in the sanctuary of the Fondation Hardt at Vandeouvres, Geneva: to the peace and hospitality of the Fondation, to its chatelaine, Mme de Marignac, and to my colleagues on that occasion, in particular Shalom Perlman and Alain and Annie Schnapp, I owe still more. Friends and colleagues have been unfailing in supplying me with information, criticism and advice: to them all, and especially to John Boardman, Nick Fisher, Peter Levi, David Lewis, Joe Loudon, Simon Pembroke and Chris Stray, I offer my thanks.
1 Il. i 407 ff., 427, 500 ff, 512 f., 557; viii 370 ff.; xv 76 f. Interestingly Chryses' appeal to the Greeks (i 12–34; cf. 370–80) is not described in language specifically descriptive of the act of supplication, but we should note and the word in the reaction of the Achaeans, on which see below, pp. 87 ff. Plato (Rep. iii 393.4) in fact refers to Chryses in Iliad i as a ἱκέτηс.
2 Il. xxiv 158, 187, 465, 477 ff., 570.
3 Od. vi 310 f.; vii 141 ff., 155–81.
4 Herod. v 70–1; Thuc. i 126.3–12; Plut. Solon xii.
5 Thuc. i 128. 1; 133–35.1.
7 I have been unable to discover any article on supplication in Pauly-Wissowa or in Der Kleine Pauly; the articles in Daremberg-Saglio on ‘asylia’ (E. Caillemer) and ‘hospitium’ (C. Lécrivain) contain some useful remarks on ἱκετεία and ξενία respectively. The best and most perceptive treatment to date is certainly Kopperschmidt, J., Die Hikesie als dramatische Form (diss. Tübingen, 1967) 11–53Google Scholar; by contrast Herten, J. van, Θρηсκεία, Εὐλάβϵια, Ἱκέτηс (diss. Utrecht, 1934Google Scholar) seems both superficial and over-schematic. There are useful discussions of the language of supplication in Corlu, A., Recherches sur les mots relatifs à l'idée de prière d'Homère aux tragiques 293–324Google Scholar, esp. 298–301, 313–14 and Schmidt, J. H. H., Synonymik der gr. Sprache, i 177–98Google Scholar. Some briefer but useful discussions: Schlesinger, E., Die gr. Asylie (diss. Giessen, 1933) 28–47Google Scholar; Bolkestein, H., Wohltätigkeit und Armenpflege im vorchristlichen Antike 91–3Google Scholar, 128 f., 244–8; Ducrey, P., Le Traitement des prisonniers de guerre dans la Grèce antique 56Google Scholar f., 295–300; Latte, K., Heiliges Recht 102–8Google Scholar; Gernet, L., Anthropologie de la Grèce antique 230–3, 295–9Google Scholar; Benveniste, E., Le Vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes i 92–101Google Scholar, 335–53 (on hospitality and φιλία); ii 245–54 (on prayer and supplication).
9 See the works by Corlu, Schmidt and Benveniste cited in n. 7 above.
10 For the distinction, see especially Sittl, , Die Gebärden der Griechen und Römer 157–8Google Scholar, 169–71; 178 n. 8; 182 n. 7; Bolkestein, H., Theophrastus' Charakter der Deisidaimonia als religionsgeschichtliche Urkunde (RGVV 21.2 ) 23–39Google Scholar. For a case where a failure to distinguish has misled, see Euripides: Medea, ed. D. L. Page, xix: Medea's acts are examples of ίκετεία, not προсκύνсιс.
11 Compare the (fictitious) supplication by Odysseus, of the Egyptian king: Od. xiv 276Google Scholar ff. (κύсα γούναθ' έλών).
12 The verb λίссϵсθαι occurs some 80 times in the Homeric poems, in contexts by no means all of which can unequivocally be classed as acts of supplication: see Corlu, , Recherches 293Google Scholar ff.
13 Compare Eur. Ion 891–2 ( of Apollo seizing Kreousa in the rape scene) and Hecuba 246 (Odysseus touches Hecuba's knees in supplication ). For the associations of έμφῦναι, cf. Il. vi 253 = Od. ii 302 = x 280 etc. and esp. Theoc. ii 56 (έμφύс ώс λιμνᾶτίс … βδέλλα: a leech!).
14 Touching the chin: Od. xix 473 (Eurykleia to Odysseus; greeting, not supplication); for other examples, see Neumann, , Gesten und Gebärden in der gr. Kunst 68–70Google Scholar. Kissing: Od. xvi 16 ff. (Eumaios to Telemachus, again greeting: note κύсεν περιφύс); xxi 222 ff. (Odysseus to Eumaios and Melanthios, again greeting).
15 Contact can be made with one hand or with both (cf. Sittl, , Gebärden 163–6Google Scholar): contrast, e.g., Lykaon, supplicating Achilles (Il. xxi 71Google Scholar f.: [Achilles' spear] ) with Phemius' supplication of Odysseus, (Od. xxii 340Google Scholar ff.), in which Phemius lays down the lyre which he has been holding (ibid. 332) in order to have both hands free for the act of supplication.
17 The distinction here adopted between ‘complete’ and ‘figurative’ supplication corresponds to Kopperschmidt's distinction between ‘formel’ and ‘formlos’; Die Hikesie 20 f. Compare also, in Raymond Firth's account of the respect-gestures of the Tikopia: ‘Whereas the [pressing of] nose to wrist and to knee is not uncommon in the more formal circumstances of Tikopia social life, nose to foot is very rare. Indeed, while theoretically it is an abject bodily apology made by someone who has insulted a chief, it is rather a verbal expression used to indicate that apology; it is figurative rather than actual. In this form it was used as a token of respect by a chief addressing his traditional gods.’ (‘Postures and gestures of respect’ in Échanges et Communkations: Mélanges Lévi-Strauss 200).
18 Or Electra begging the unrecognised Orestes to take a message to her brother (Eur. El. 302, 332), a message which he has already offered to take (292–3).
19 See below, pp. 80 ff.
21 See especially, Schlesinger, E., Die gr. Asylie, and artt. asylon, asylie, etc. in RE ii 1881–1886Google Scholar (Stengel), Daremberg-Saglio, i 505–10 (Caillemer, ), Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, ii 161–4Google Scholar (E. Westermarck); Ducrey, , Le Traitement des prisonniers de guerre 295–300Google Scholar; Berchem, D. van, Mus. Helv. xvii (1960) 21–33Google Scholar; Nilsson, , GGR i 377Google Scholar f.
22 For the position of the altar, cf. 376 (είс αύλήν) and compare Priam's pouring of a libation to Zeus (Il. xxiv 305 ff.) and Peleus' sacrifice to Zeus (ibid. xi 772 ff.), though in neither place is there explicit mention of an altar.
23 On the significance of the hearth in this scene, see below pp. 97 f. In Od. xix 388 f. Odysseus sits in the tense moments before Eurykleia washes his feet, and some ritual significance may be intended: on the other hand, a MSS. variant offers
24 For in the orators of a man face to face, see, for example, Lysias i 25, 29 (‘figurative’, since the suppliant's hands are tied behind his back): the same case produces an alleged instance of at an altar (ibid. 27); ci.fr. 71; Andocides i 44 ii 15. The paradigm case of ‘figurative’ supplication, that of an orator ‘supplicating’ a jury, is already common in Lysias: iv 20; vi 55; xv 23; xviii 27; xxi 21; xxii 21: cf. Antiphon, , fr. 77Google Scholar.
25 Nilsson, GGR i3loc. cit.; Plut. Solon xii 1.
27 Compare the story of Aristodikos and Apollo, below p. 84.
29 See below pp. 82 f.
30 See below pp. 97 f.
31 Od. vii 154 ff.
32 For the act of raising a suppliant to his feet, note also the Molossian king, Admetos, with Themistokles (Thuc. i 137.1 ); for the conferment of honour, see below n. 107.
33 Hence Priam's refusal to sit when a suppliant to Achilles until the body of his son is returned to him (Il. xxiv 521–2; 553–5; Achilles had already taken him by the hand, ibid. 508): we should, I think, compare Patroklos' refusal to sit when invited by Nestor, (Il. xi 645Google Scholar ff.), though there mere urgency would provide a ‘rationalising’ explanation.
34 For the ritual significance of washing in Homer, see, for example, Moulinier, L., Le pur et l'impur dans la pensée des Grecs 26–8Google Scholar and, more generally, 71–3; Rudhardt, J., Notions fondamentales de la pensée religieuse et actes constitutifs du culte dans la Grèce classique 240Google Scholar: I do not see how we can, with Moulinier, distinguish between the purely secular (‘hygienic’) washing of some passages and the ritual purification of others: all such acts are ritual, all equally are ‘hygienic’. The distinction is meaningful only to the outside observer. In any case, the present passage precedes one act (libation) of unambiguously ritual significance: see also Hesiod, , Works and Days, 724Google Scholar ff. For the significance of libation, Rudhardt, op. cit. 240–5; for the bond of solidarity, Rudhardt, 244–5 and next note. On the whole question of ‘purification’ and hygiene, see Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: an analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo.
35 On the significance of the common meal in creating solidarity, see Rudhardt, J., Notions fondamentales 158–60Google Scholar and more briefly but penetratingly, Finley, M. I., The world of Odysseus 145–6Google Scholar; Kopperschmidt, J., Die Hikesie 33–4Google Scholar. For the binding force of the common meal, see esp. the reference to the ‘table of along with the hearth and Zeus himself in Odysseus', oath at Od. xiv 158Google Scholar f. = xvii 155 f. = xix 303 f. = xx 230 f. and Il. xxi 75–7 (Lykaon to Achilles): (The force of πρώτῳ is also important: ‘you were the first with whom …’: the plea is rejected, but on this, see below p. 80; further Od. xxi 27–9, 34–8). Note Odysseus' refusal to eat or drink with Kirke until his companions have been transformed back into human form: Od. x 383 ff. For later Greek belief, Deinarchos, in Dem. 24 Aeschin. iii 224 with Demosthenes' reply: xix 189–91.
36 Note that though Achilles does not accept Lykaon, 's supplication, he nevertheless addresses him as φίλοс (Il. xxi 106Google Scholar) after being reminded of the common meal.
37 See below pp. 90 ff.
38 Though Dodds, , Greeks and the Irrational 32Google Scholar and 52 n. 19, is right in pointing out that the Iliad has no reference to Zeus as protector of suppliants, his apparent implication that in the Iliad (by contrast with the Odyssey) suppliants are never spared and supplication never successful is misleading (so too Wilamowitz, on Hesiod, , Works and Days 327Google Scholar): though it is true that no successful supplication on the field of battle is described in the Iliad, such are implied in the references to capture alive and sale into slavery (e.g. xxi 77 ff., 101–2; xxii 45; xxiv 751 ff.). For a case of rejected supplication in the Odyssey (apart from the case of the Cyclops), see Od. xxii 210 ff. (Leodes to Odysseus).
39 The cases are as follows: Iliad i 407 ff., 427, 500 ff., 512 f., 557 + viii 370 ff.; xv 76 f. (Thetis to Zeus); vi 45 ff. (Adrastus to Menelaus); ix 451 ff. (Phoenix' mother to Phoenix); ix 581 ff. (Oineus to Meleager [?]); x 454 ff. (Dolon to Diomedes); xi 130 ff. (Peisander and Hippolochos to Agamemnon); xv 660 ff. (Nestor to the Greeks); xvi 573 f. (Epeigeus to Peleus and Thetis); xviii 457 (Thetis to Hephaistos); xx 463 ff. (Tros to Agamemnon); xxi 64 ff., 115 f. (Lykaon to Achilles); xxii 240 (Priam and Hecuba to Hector); xxii 338 ff. (Hector to Achilles); xxii 414 ff. (Priam to the Trojans [?]); xxiv 158, 187» 465, 477 ff., 570 (Priam to Achilles). Odyssey iii 92 (Telemachus to Nestor) = iv 322 (Telemachus to Menelaus); iv 433 (Menelaus to ‘the gods’); v 449 f. (Odysseus to the river-god); vi 141 ff., 147, 149, 168 f., 193 + vii 292, 301 (Odysseus to Nausikaa), vi 310 f.; vii 141 ff., 165 = 181 (Odysseus to Arete and Alkinoos); ix 266 ff. (Odysseus to the Cyclops); x 264 (Eurylochos to Odysseus); x 324 (Kirke to Odysseus); x 480 f. (Odysseus to Kirke); x 521 = xi 29 (Odysseus to the dead); xi 66 (Elpenor to Odysseus); xi 530 (the dead Neoptolemos to Odysseus); xiii 231 + 324 (Odysseus to the disguised Athena); xiv 276 ff. (Odysseus to the Egyptian king); xiv 510 f. + xvii 573 (Odysseus to Eumaios [?]); xv 277 (Theoklymenos to Telemachus); xvi 67 (Odysseus to Telemachus); xviii 394 ff. (Odysseus to Amphinomos [?]); xxii 310 ff. (Leodes to Odysseus); xxii 332 ff. (Phemios to Odysseus); xxii 365 ff. (Medon to Telemachus). A further doubtful (imagined) case is Iliad xxii 220 f. (Apollo to Zeus), on which see below n. 102.
42 Hector, 's supplication of Achilles (Il. xxii 338Google Scholar ff.) is presumably to be classed as another case of rejected ‘figurative’ supplication: the point of Achilles' spear has passed through his neck and he falls to the ground. He pleads for honourable burial there is no reference to physical contact, but Achilles replies (345).
43 At one level of realisation, an extreme case of ‘figurative’ supplication is Odysseus' supplication of the river-god in Scherie, (Od. v 445Google Scholar f.: but the god accepts the act.
44 Herodotus' language does not make it altogether clear whether an attempt was in fact made, since he says of the Samians only but the infinitive suggests that the threat was potential, not actual.
45 For the dilemma involved (forcible removal of a suppliant or the chance that the suppliant will die on sacred ground), see Nilsson, , GGR i 378Google Scholar. For the use of starvation, the obvious parallel is the case of Pausanias (Thuc. i 134), and his removal from the ίεράν while still alive by the ephors: in that case it was adjudged by Delphi that the rules had been broken (134.4). Compare the analogous measures taken by Kreon to avoid the blood-guilt of Antigone, 's death (Soph. Ant. 773–6Google Scholar, 885–9) and the complex of ‘moves’ used to avoid the blood-guilt of the death of a sacrificial victim, Burkert, W., GRBS vii (1966) 106–11Google Scholar, 118 and n. 71; Homo Necans 10–20.
48 When the play opens, the suppliants are at the altar of Zeus (44 ff.); the tyrant Lykos is resorting to starvation (51–4). When he arrives, he attempts rhetorical persuasion (140–235), and when this fails, announces that he will build a fire round the altar and burn them alive: the suppliants then leave the altar (319 ff.). For a variant on the theme of trickery, see Andromache 309 ff.: Menelaus kidnaps Andromache's son Molossos to force her to leave her place of supplication; as she steps away, after long pleading and argument (319–412), Andromache is seized and bound. In her subsequent supplication of Peleus (572–4) she cannot grasp him as her hands are still bound: she can only fall on her knees and her supplication is ‘figurative’—the reference to her bound hands constitutes her fulfilment of the ritual.
47 In this case results, which the Aeginetans attempt to appease by sacrifice, but, says Herodotus, they were ejected from the island by the Athenians (that is, in 431 B.C.) the murder of the suppliants took place, in Herodotus' view, before 490. Here too the ritual consequences of a supplication and its violent breach last for more than half a century.
48 Yet others had earlier taken refuge in the ἱερόν of the Dioskouroi (75.3): they are not persuaded to leave by Nikostratos, the Athenian general, and their enemies are prevented from killing them by Nikostratos. Thereafter there is no explicit reference to their fate.
49 For the significance of αἱδώс in connection with supplication, see below, section 4 (pp. 87 ff.); on Theramenes' supplication, see Rhodes, P. J., The Athenian Boule 33–4Google Scholar.
50 Crises of indecision: cf. the Argive king (Aesch. Suppl. 376 ff., esp. 397; 407 ff., 439 ff.; 468–79).
51 The phrase in Greek would, of course, be a tautology (so Arist. Thesmophor. 180: Herodotus in fact says 159.1). For the derivation of see Frisk, Griechisches etymologisches Wörterbuch s.v.; Chantraine, Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue grecque s.v. The etymology is doubted by Kopperschmidt, , Die Hikesie 5Google Scholar n. 1, who quotes E. Fraenkel's suggestion of a root = beseech, plead, and found in the phrase but this last is itself too obscure a phrase to yield any light. The traditional etymology is supported and discussed by Benveniste, , Vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes ii 252–4Google Scholar, who suggests that the distinctive sense of the root is that of ‘reaching’ or ‘gaining’. Paktyes is a suppliant in the sense in which all are (‘arrivals’): Herodotus gives no description of the ritual elements of his at Kyme. On the relation between strangers and suppliants, see below, Section 5, pp. 90 ff.
52 For the theme of ‘quern deus vult perdere’, see Dodds, , Greeks and the Irrational 38Google Scholar ff.; Deichgräber, K., Der listensinnende Trug des Gottes (Göttingen, 1952) 108Google Scholar ff. With Aristodikos' attempt to force a different response from the oracle, compare Herod, i 91.4 (Kroisos) and vii 141.1–4 (Athenian θεοπρόποι before Salamis: another case of supplication!); Kirchberg, J., Die Funktion der Orakel im Werke Herodots 32Google Scholar f.; Klees, H., Die Eigenart des gr. Glaubens an Orakel und Seher 82Google Scholar f.
53 The commentators cite the obvious Biblical parallel, Matthew xxvii 6.
54 That it is ‘figurative’ (see 275 ff. for the language of supplication) is suggested by the length both of Hecuba's plea and of Odysseus' reply, by the extravagance of the apostrophe at 286 ff., and above all by Hecuba's words at 334 ff.: The full ritual act in this scene is constantly expected, constantly deferred and in the end does not take place, since Polyxena scorns to supplicate.
55 Hecuba's words at 753 f. constitute ‘figurative’ supplication only, as the whole slow-built crescendo of the following stichomythia, ending with their repetition at 787, makes clear; it is only with the renewed sweep of rhetorical crescendo that begins at 798 and is broken off suddenly at 811, that Hecuba prepares for the ritual act. 812–13 mark the low point of the scene: a new crescendo at 835 ff. takes Hecuba to the moment of touching Agamemnon's hand at 841 ff.; her completed supplication is acknowledged by Agamemnon at 851. The whole scene between Hecuba and Agamemnon has the moment of supplication as its centre-piece. A possible parallel for Agamemnon, 's movement away is to be found at Orestes 632–3Google Scholar, though there Menelaus' movement is construed by Orestes as an agony of indecision. Orestes' earlier supplication (382 ff.) was ‘figurative’: see di Benedetto's note on 383.
56 Taplin, Oliver, ‘Significant actions in Sophocles' Philoctetes‘, GRBS xii (1971) 25–44Google Scholar, esp. ‘the small stage actions—arrival, departure, embracing, separating, handing over objects—slight deeds such as these take on, in their context, greatly magnified significance and become the embodiments of tragedy’ (25): I would add the act of supplication to these ‘slight deeds’.
57 Further evidence for the ‘figurative’ nature of Medea's first supplication is to be found in the combination of (324): compare Hector's supplication of Achilles, (Il. xxii 338Google Scholar; n. 42 above).
58 χερόс is Wilamowitz' emendation for the MSS reading χθονόс. It is rejected by Page and not mentioned in his apparatus, yet it is surely right. The emendation was suggested to Wilamowitz, (Analecta Euripidea 247Google Scholar f.) by the corresponding passage Hippolytus 324 ff. (on which see below, p. 86): Wilamowitz saw, as subsequent commentators have not always, that the act of supplication was the kernel of this scene, and that in this respect the two scenes, in Hippolytus and Medea, were parallel: see also Regenbogen, O., Eranos xlviii (1950) 32Google Scholar.
59 On changes of mind in Greek tragedy, see Knox, Bernard, GRBS vii (1966) 213–32Google Scholar (on Medea, 222–5).
60 The stichomythia is most recently discussed by Schwinge, E.-R., Die Verwendung der Stichomythie in den Dramen des Euripides 68–70Google Scholar: he analyses the scene without reference to the act of supplication, and sees its development in purely psychological terms—Medea ‘realises’ that she cannot achieve what she has been attempting; this ‘realisation’ is then acted upon and she reduces her demand to a minimum: hence her success.
61 (244): Phaidra's first connected utterance after her return to awareness.
62 The verbal obscurity of 324, which has led to a variety of interpretations (see Wilamowitz, , Analecta Euripidea 247Google Scholar: it must mean, so Barrett ad loc, ‘it will be at your door that my failure will lie’), would be palpably less obscure in performance, since it is with these words that the Nurse completes the ritual act of ἱκετεία.
63 For αίδώс before a suppliant see the passages collected by Barrett on 11. 333–5 and add, for example, Od. v 447; vii 165 = 181; ix 269; xv 373; xvii 578; Aesch. Suppl. 28, 192, 194, 345, 362, 455, 478 f., 491, 641; Eur. Hecuba 286, 806; Herakles 556; IT 949: Satyros showed himself ἀναιδέсτατοс in using force against the suppliant Theramenes (above, p. 83).
64 There is a close connection between face to face supplication and stichomythia, especially in Euripides: the connection stems from the peculiar dramatic quality of stichomythia, which serves to present moments where forces in opposition meet in an ambiguous tension and a breakthrough is always a felt possibility. It is precisely because of their increasingly ambiguous tone and atmosphere that stichomythia plays an ever larger part in Euripides' later plays. The scene between Phaidra and the Nurse is discussed by Schwinge, , Die Verwendung der Stichomythie 182–4Google Scholar.
65 See, for example, Ebeling, Lexicon Homericum s.v. αἰδοῑοс 1 (b) and (c); Lexikon des frühgriechischen Epos s.v. αἰδοῑοс B.1.a.β, 2.a, b and c.
66 See Lexikon d. frühgr. Epos s.v. αἰδοῑοс B.1.a, γ; αὄδομαι B.1.c; n. 63 above and the examples given below.
67 With Aeschylus' usage we may compare Empedocles' phrase, of Akragas, (fr. 112.3 DK).
70 See, for example, the repeated Homeric formula for staying a rout: (Il. v 787; viii 228; xiii 95; xv 502) and the ‘rationalisation’ of this appeal: v 529 ff. = xv 561 ff. The fullest and most perceptive treatment of the concept is still von Erffa, C. E. Frhr.'s und verwandte Begriffe (Philologus, Supplementband 30.2), 1937Google Scholar; on supplication, see esp. 13 f., 86–90, 113 f., 135–9, 194.
71 For example, Od. xvii 578; Hes. Works and Days 317 ff. (poor men); Od. iii 14 with 22 ff. (the young); for women, see n. 65 above; Eur. El. 341 ff., Phoen. 88 ff. with 193 ff. and for αἰδώс generally, Hipp. 385 on which see, most recently, Claus, D., Yale Class. Studies xxii (1972) 223Google Scholar ff.
72 For example, Od. viii 544; ix 270 f. (together with ἱκέται); xix 191, 316; cf. Il. ix 639 f.; Od. xxi 25 ff.
73 Alcestis 551 ff. For the honorific and competitive character of hospitality to a ξένοс, compare the attitude to hospitality of the Sarakatsani: ‘Men do not often visit kinsmen of low prestige, since such association only draws attention to a relationship which is best forgotten: on the other hand, they take every opportunity to pay a call on a kinsman of position and repute to cultivate a relationship that is a source of possible support in future misfortune, and, of itself, brings a measure of vicarious prestige … Indeed, the number of visitors that a family receives is generally a reliable index of its reputation. It is always known in the neighbourhood when a family has had guests; their quality, relationship, and the possible reasons for their visit are debated in detail by the other families. In hospitality (φιλοξενία), a virtue in which the Sarakatsani believe they are naturally pre-eminent, there is always a strong element of competition.' (Campbell, J. K., Honour, Family and Patronage: a study of institutions and moral values in a Greek mountain community 299Google Scholar f.).
74 Note, for example, the well-established connection between αἰδώс and the eyes: the characteristic demeanour of the αἰδοίοс is the abashed down-casting of the eyes: cf. Sappho fr. 137 LP, Aesch. fr. 242 N2 = 420 Mette, fr. 355.20 ff. Mette, Eur. Hipp. 244 ff., Hec. 968 ff., Herakles 1198 ff., I.A. 851, 993 f., 1341 ff., and contrast I.A. 378 fr., Ar. Wasps 446 f., where ἐναιδεία is reflected in the unflinching gaze of the eyes; more generally, Theognis 83–6, Hom. Hymn Dem. 194, 214–16, Eur. fr. 75 Austin = 457 N2; Arist. Rhet. ii 1384a 33 f., and Malten, L., Die Sprache des menschlichen Antlitzes im frühen Griechentum, esp. 22Google Scholar f., 24, 29.
76 Pitt-Rivers, J., The People of the Sierra 60–1Google Scholar: the ‘gypsy’ beggar is the ‘cara dura’ (hard-faced) or ‘sin verguenza’ (shameless one). Compare further the ‘gypsy’ beggar's use of the honorific title, ‘Senorito’: ‘Senorito is used as a term of affectionate respect with reference to or in addressing a young adult of superior status … gypsy beggars used it to any person dressed in urban dress, for the attribution flatters. Using it carries an implication of subservience.’ (Pitt-Rivers, ibid. 74.)
75a See below, p. 91.
76 On Euripidean ‘altar-scenes’, see Strohm, H., Euripides: Interpretationen zur dramatischen Form, chap. 1, esp. 17–32Google Scholar; Kopperschmidt, , Die Hikesie 129–213Google Scholar, with further references, pp. 6–9; Burnett, Anne, Catastrophe survived, esp. 76Google Scholar ff., 119–22, 131 ff., 157 ff.
77 On the connection between supplication and sanctuary, there is still no better account of the Greek evidence than Schlesinger, , Die gr. Asylie, esp. 28–52Google Scholar. The Greek term for sanctuary is properly φύξιμον (first in Od. v 359); for ὕροι marking the boundaries of ίερά, see Robert, L., Hellenica vi (1948) 33–8Google Scholar: the earliest from Corinth, fifth-century.
78 See below, n. 100a; for the ἀγώνιοι θϵοί, see Fraenkel, on Agamemnon 513Google Scholar: like the Plataians at Athens (Herod, vi 108.4), the Danaids take refuge at the altar of the ‘assembled gods’.
80 For as the object of the Danaids' supplication, see 27 219, and compare Prometheus 860: (of the Danaids), if the MSS. reading there is sound. Further, the case of the Epidamnian suppliants at Corcyra: (Thuc. i 24.7).
81 Cf. 239, 419, 919 f.; P. Oxy. 2161, col. 1, 4 = Aesch. fr. 474 Mette (Diktyoulkoi: Silenus offers himself to Danae, who is a ).
82 The public and political language of 605 if. is adequate testimony of this: see especially Podlecki, A. J., Political Background of Aeschylean tragedy 45–50Google Scholar. Herzog, Rudolf (Abhandlungen preuss. Akad., Berlin, 1928Google Scholar, Phil.-hist. Klasse, no. 6, p. 36), supported by Schlesinger (op. cit. 44–6), saw in the source of the Athenian system of metic-rights. That Aeschylus' dramatic imagination so construed it in Suppliants is clear: the historical question is different, but Herzog's suggestion is tempting.
83 See in particular Theseus' rhesis 195–249, and the scene between Theseus and the Theban herald, 399–584.
84 On the sense of the sacredness of place in Oedipus at Colonus, see esp. Jones, John, On Aristotle and Greek tragedy 218Google Scholar ff.
85 References to Athens and Thebes in πόγιс-terms are too numerous to list, but see in particular 2, 47, 108, 236, 432, 440, 613, 733, 758, 772, 837, 917, 929, 1013, 1032, 1298, 1507. Note also сύμμαχοс 450, 815, 1310, 1376, 1395.
86 See Köstler, Rudolf, ‘Die homerische Rechtsund Staatsordnung’ in Zur griechuchen Rechtsgeschichte (Wege der Forschung 45Google Scholar), esp. 178, 185 ff.
87 On ‘guest-friendship’, see Finley, , World of Odysseus 114–20Google Scholar; Walcot, , Greek peasants: ancient and modern 80Google Scholar; Benveniste, , Vocabulaire des institutions indoeuropéennes i 92–101Google Scholar: Benveniste stresses the reciprocity of the institution and draws attention to the modern Persian word érmán (‘guest’, related to old Iranian Aryaman) and deriving from a root which means ‘of the same race and language’.
88 Hence the reaction of Admetus to Herakles' arrival in Euripides' Alcestis.
89 Thus it is Peisistratus, not Nestor, who goes to greet Telemachus and the disguised Athena: Od. iii 36.
90 See also Od. iii 31 ff., iv 20 ff.: each time we encounter taking by the hand, seating and offering of food and drink. For θέμιс in connection with the rules of ξενία, note also Od. ix 266–8; xiv 56–7; xxiv 284–6. In Pindar, Ol. viii 21–2Google Scholarθεμιс is the παρέδροσ of Zeus ξένιοс: see Ehrenberg, V., Die Rechtsidee im frühen Griechentum 16Google Scholar, 40.
91 Compare, under different and more fabulous circumstances, Odysseus' reception by Kirke, 's servants: Od. x 348Google Scholar ff.
93 Compare the fictitious case (Od. xiv 276 ff.) of Odysseus as suppliant (279) of the Egyptian king: it is the anger of Zeus ξένιοс (283 f.) that the king fears. Odysseus is received by Eumaeus as a ξένιοс (see esp. Od. xiv 56 ff. and 388–9), but in describing his arrival and reception to Telemachus, , Eumaeus refers to him as a ἱκέτηс (Od. xvi 65–7Google Scholar; cf. xiv 510 f.); so too Odysseus, before Nausikaa is both ἱκέτηс (e.g. vii 292Google Scholar, 301) and ξένοс (vi 206 ff.). For a later equation, see Ap. Rhod. Argonautica ii 1131 ff.
94 See above, pp. 78 f.
94a The question of demarcation of roles between stranger and suppliant is one which must arise for the ‘arrival’ when he presents himself for acceptance by a ‘foreign’ community: the choice lies between waiting at the porch to be acknowledged and conducted within or crossing the threshold and adopting the ritual of ἱκετεία. In part the issue will be determined by the existence or otherwise of obligations previously incurred: so it is with Athena in her guise as the Taphian Mentes, as she makes clear in answer to Telemachus', explicit question (Od. i 187Google Scholar ff. answering i 175–7). But in addition the problem of the arrival's capacity to incur obligations will be a key factor: so again, with the presumed Mentes' economic resources (i 180–4), there is no problem in accepting the offered ξεινήια and promising return gifts (i 309–18). One who ‘arrives’ in less fortunate circumstances might well hesitate. We have seen that Odysseus seems to oscillate between the role of ξένοс and that of ἱκέτηс: it is notable that in his identification of himself, where he uses the word ξένοс to describe his role, thoughts of reciprocity seem to be uppermost (Od. ix 16–18). But Odysseus' is a peculiar, even a unique, case. His first encounter with a Phaeacian, Nausikaa, takes place not in the πόλιс of the Phaeacians, but in the wilds, on ‘neutral’ ground, the sea-shore and the river-mouth—and he is naked. There are other signs too that in this setting feelings of inhibition prevail which would otherwise not determine behaviour: we should compare Odysseus' refusal to be bathed by Nausikaa, 's maidservants in the river (Od. vi 212–22Google Scholar) with his later bath in Alkinoos' palace (viii 449–57). With Odysseus', decision to supplicate Nausikaa on the sea-shore, we may compare his supplication of Athena disguised as a shepherd, on the sea-shore of Ithaca (Od. xiii 219Google Scholar ff., especially 231).
95 For the range of usage of the root ξεν-, see H. Frisk, Gr. etym. Wörterbuch s.v. ξένοс.
96 So Ameis-Hentze-Cauer ad loc. ἀλλήλοιсιν is in itself sufficient to rule out the suggestion of Nägelsbach, , Homerische Theologie 3270Google Scholar, that the reference of ἱκέταс is simply to Telemachus, as (in some vague sense) Zeus' suppliant.
97 For exchange of ἕδνα (gifts and services) in marriage, see Finley, M. I., ‘Marriage, sale and gift in the Homeric world’, Rev. int. des droits de l'antiquité iii (1955) 167Google Scholar ff.; Lacey, W. K., JHS lxxxvi (1966) 55CrossRefGoogle Scholar ff. and The family in classical Greece 41. See also on αἰδώс (p. 87 above) and compare χάριс (as a mark of solidarity and mutual obligation): ‘goodwill’, ‘favour’, ‘gift’, ‘counter-gift’, etc.: note esp. Arist. Eth. Nic. 1133a 2. On χάριс and the significance of reciprocity in marriage, see Detienne, Marcel, Les Jardins d'Adonis 165–70Google Scholar.
98 Note κηδεсτήс, an affine, but originally ‘one who is an object of concern, and to whom one is oneself an object of concern’: for the ramifications of usage of the root κηδ-, see Frisk, Gr. etym. Wörterbuch s.v. κῆδοс.
99 I borrow the term ‘spiritual kin’ from the ethnography of modern Greece and the Balkans, where it is used to describe the relationship of koumbaroi: see, for example, Campbell, J. K., Honour, Family and Patronage 217–24Google Scholar. Hammel, Eugene A., Alternative social structures and ritual relations in the Balkans, in discussing the analogous Jugoslav institution of kumstvo prefers the term ‘ritual kinship’: see esp. 7–10Google Scholar, 43–5, 63–70, 77–88.
100 In 335 B.C., after the capture of Thebes, Alexander's troops raze the city to the ground, and enslave the population, sparing only the priests and priestesses—and those who were ξένοι of Alexander and his father, Philip: Arrian, , Anab. i 9Google Scholar. 9.
100a At this point I am tempted to offer two general conclusions of some importance. The first is that the origins of supplication (as indeed the word ἱκέτηс itself suggests) are to be sought, like those of ξενία, in the ritual in its ‘domestic’ form, deriving from the arrival of an outsider at the hearth of the community, that is, in a case such as that of Odysseus on Scherie, and not, as seems frequently to be inferred or assumed, in its ‘battlefield’ form: the latter is merely a crisis extension, a metaphorical adaptation, of the former. The defeated warrior seeks to save his life by a ritual which implies an already accepted form of appeal to be admitted within the ‘kindred’ of his conqueror. The second conclusion, which I put forward more tentatively, is that public supplication at an altar is already a secondary development which is to be seen as stemming from a separation of the idea of the public altar (or hearth) as symbol of the solidarity of the community from that of the king's hearth as symbol of his personal οἶκοс. It is perhaps plausible to suggest that these two ideas were once single and inseparable (in the context of a Bronze Age ‘palace’ society) and that their separation is to be placed at some later date: thus supplication at an altar is an appeal to the community, either through a king, as in the supplication plays of Aeschylus and Euripides, or directly to the community as a political unit, as in the supplication stories of Paktyes and the Plataians in Herodotus.
101 Since the claim may, in the result, go ungranted by the human being to whom it is, directly or indirectly, addressed, while the act of abdication is complete, it is Zeus in the last resort who ‘gives honour to’ the suppliant: so (Od. ix 270): see Adkins, A. W. H., ‘“Honour” and “Punishment” in the Homeric poems’, BICS vii (1960) 23–32Google Scholar, esp. 25 f.
102 For the association of ideas between supplication and (painful) self-abasement, Athena, 's imagined picture of Apollo pleading with Zeus for the life of Hector is instructive: Il. xxii 219–21Google Scholar, esp. That supplication is what Athena's words imply is suggested by the near parallel in Il. xxii 414 ff., where Priam appeals to the Trojans and is associated with For a further instance of the network of ideas connected with see Od. xvii 524 ff. (of the disguised Odysseus)
103 For extending one's hands empty as a gesture of submission and respect, see Sittl, , Gebärden 147Google Scholar f.
104 See Firth, Raymond's interesting article, ‘Postures and gestures of respect’ in Échanges et Communications: Mélanges Lévi-Strauss 188–209Google Scholar. It is significant that the Greek word for ‘beggar’ (πτωχόс) means literally one who crouches, skulks or cringes: the parallel with the suppliant is exact. Compare further πτώξ, a ‘hare’ and see Frisk, Gr. etym. Wörterbuch s.vv. On crouching and bending as self-abasement and as presentation of respect, see also Firth in Fontaine, J. S. La (ed.), The interpretation of ritual: Essays in honour of A. I. Richards 18–19Google Scholar, 31–2; Esther Goody, ibid. 48–50.
105 I use Gouldner's term ‘contest system’, for which see Enter Plato, chapter 2. ‘Temporarily’, since once admitted into the group whose representative agent he supplicates, he may, within the limits of propriety for a guest, resume his competitive role, as Odysseus, does on Scherie: Od. viii 165Google Scholar ff.
106 (Themistokles) The choice of reading here lies between of the second hand in K or the reading of the correction in H Valla's se… multo imbecilliorem might translate either. On the other hand, the reading of the medieval tradition makes no sense (‘exige de vraies acrobaties’: de Romilly).
107 See above, pp. 78 ff., and compare Firth, , Échanges et Communications 200Google Scholar f.: ‘between initiator and recipient of such gestures (of respect) there is mutual interaction. The Common pattern is for one who has been the recipient of nose-to-knee pressing to lift up the head of the other person and then press nose to nose. This is what the Tikopia describe as ‘making the face good’ (fakamatamata lavi)… A chief too likewise lifts up the head of a man who has pressed nose to his knee that they may press nose to nose. So a respect gesture in acknowledgement of superior status which is relevant to one situation may demand an equalisation gesture in acknowledgement.’
108 Pitt-Rivers, Julian, ‘Women and Sanctuary in the Mediterranean’, in Échanges et Communications: Mélanges Lévi-Strauss 862–75Google Scholar (quotation taken from p. 865). See also his earlier article ‘The Stranger, the Guest and the hostile Host’, in Contributions to Mediterranean Sociology (1968) 13–30 (a French version appeared in Les Temps Modernes, no. 253 (June, 1967) 2153–78, under the title ‘La loi de l'hospitalité’).
109 Compare the same expression used of the suppliant slave to Herakles, at his τέμενοс at the Nile delta: Herod. ii 113.2.Google Scholar Gobryas supplicates Cyrus with the words Xen. Cyrop. iv 6.2. See further, Herten, J. van, Θρηсκεία, Εὐλάβϵια, Ἱκέτηс 69Google Scholar f., 89. Kopperschmidt, , Die Hikesie 18Google Scholar takes in Herod, ii 113.2 to imply participation in the god's strength (Kraftquelle), but the analogous language used of the Plataians clearly indicates that submission is what is implied.
110 For inversion of roles between simile and event in Homeric, similes, compare Il. v 554–60Google Scholar (Trojan victims compared to marauding lions killed by humans) and, less closely, Od. v 430–5.
111 It does not seem to have been remarked that this simile, with its peculiar sense of the social, and perhaps religious, tension involved in a face to face encounter with one who has shed blood, deserves to be set against those Homeric passages so often quoted to establish the absence of a sense of ‘pollution’ in the Homeric world: see Dodds, , Greeks and the Irrational 35Google Scholar f. and 54 f. (nn. 39–41); Lloyd-Jones, , The Justice of Zeus 70Google Scholar ff. As a further index of the tension of the moment, note Achilles', leaping up and out of the hut λέων ὥс (572)Google Scholar.
112 See the passages cited above, n. 14 and for the hand, add Onians, , Origins 198Google Scholar n. 1. We have seen that reference to the hand in supplication is relatively rare (above, p. 77): in the case of Priam and Achilles the explanation might lie in the special significance in this context of Achilles' hands, but cf. also Odysseus', hiding of his right hand in a supplication context (Eur. Hec. 342Google Scholar f.: see above, p. 84). For the symbolic role of the knees in birth and adoption, note the vases showing the new-born Athena standing on the knees of Zeus (Cook, A. B., Zeus iii 681–5Google Scholar) and compare knee-born Dionysus (ibid. 80–9); Demosthenes' father, before his death, places his son on the knees (εἰс τὰ … γόνατα) of his sister's son Aphobos in token of his adoption (Dem. xxviii 15–16). Compare also the same ritual in the Old Testament: de Vaux, R., Les Institutions de l'ancien Testament i 73Google Scholar.
114 Inside, since the whole episode in Euripides' play was in all probability reported in a messenger-speech: so Webster and Handley in Handley, and Rea, , The Telephus of Euripides 37Google Scholar. See further Séchan, L., Études sur la tragédie grecque 503Google Scholar ff.; Jouan, F., Euripide et les légendes des Chants Cypriens 222–44Google Scholar; Rau, P., Paratragodia 19–26Google Scholar; Bauchhens-Thüriedl, C., Der Mythos von Telephus in der antiken Bildkunst 8–19Google Scholar. For a defence of the assumptions made here about Telephus, see Additional note: ‘Telephus at the “altar”’, pp. 101 ff. below.
114a See his important and illuminating article, ‘Hestia-Hermès: sur l'expression religieuse de l'espace et du mouvement chez les Grecs’, in Mythe et pensée chez les Grecs (2nd ed., 1969) 97–143 (the phrase quoted at p. 101 f.).
115 Vernant, op. cit. 103 and n. 23. On the ritual of καταχύсματα, see especially Ar. Plutus 768–9, 788 ff.; Dem. xlv 74; Theopompus, fr. 14Google Scholar Kock; Hesychius s.v. καταχύсματα. The scholiast on Ar. Plutus 768 adds the significant detail that the newly acquired slave sat at the hearth for the ‘pouring’ ritual.
116 On the role played by women and slaves as outsiders in the structure of Greek myth and tradition about society and the fabric of social relations, see Vidal-Naquet, P., ‘Esclavage et gynécocratie dans la tradition, le mythe, l'utopie’, in Recherches sur les structures sociales dans l'antiquité classique 63–80Google Scholar; for the part played by women in Greek tradition on ‘inversions’ of the social order, see Pembroke, Simon, ‘Women in charge: the function of alternatives in early Greek tradition and the ancient idea of matriarchy’, in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes xxx (1967) 1–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
117 Vernant, op. cit. 115–16.
118 58 C 4 Diels-Kranz (i 464, 30 f.): cf. 58 C 5 Diels-Kranz (i 465, 17 f.). For the text of the pseudo-Aristotle passage, see Burkert, W., Weisheit und Wissenschaft 152Google Scholar, n. 12.
119 So, convincingly, Burkert, op. cit. 150–75, esp. 172 f.; 451–3.
120 Above, n. 108.
121 See further Abou Zeid, A. M. in Peristiany, J. G. (ed.), Honour and Shame: the values of Mediterranean society 253–6Google Scholar. Peters, E. L., ‘Some structural aspects of the feud among the camel-herding Bedouin of Cyrenaica’ (Africa xxxvii  261–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar) puts forward a penetrating and illuminating analysis of vengeance and feud and their inter-relation among the Bedouin. Incidentally he offers an instructive example of sanctuary through physical contact, in the case of a man who had killed his paternal first cousin, and who re-entered the camp simultaneously with Peters, ‘pitching his tent rope on rope with [Peters']’ while Peters' in turn was pitched rope on rope with that of the camp's shaikh: as Peters points out, ‘the tent is an area of sanctuary, and this extends to include the ropes also’ (loc. cit. 264 and n. 1).
122 Échanges et Communications 865.
123 For Klytaimestra's role, see Hyginus 101.2, and the arguments put forward by Handley, (Telephus of Euripides 30Google Scholar f., 36 f.).
124 Eur. Suppl. 8 ff., 24 ff., 92 ff.; Aithra is ‘besieged’ (102 f.: ) by the Argive women at Demeter's altar, but their plea is addressed through her to her son.
126 See Lysias iii 6–7, 23; Dem. xxi 79; xxxvii 45; xlvii 53, 55–6: compare Lys. xxxii 11; Isoc. Epist. ix 10.
128 See in general, Lacey, , The family in classical Greece 167Google Scholar ff. with notes on 308 f.
129 137.1: the reference is specifically to Themistokles' sitting at the hearth with the child in his arms; it is not altogether clear which element in the situation is uppermost in Thucydides' mind.
130 Commentators quote the obvious mythological parallels: Thyestes, Lykaon, and more distantly Tantalus, Prokne and Philomela. Once again it is not the historicity of Herodotus' story, but the association of ideas within it, that is important.
131 Hyginus' words (the best evidence we have) are: monitu Clytaemnestrae Orestem infantem de cunabulis rapuit [Telephus], minitans se eum occisurum nisi … (Hyg. 101.2).
133 Plut. Numa 10; R.E. art. Vesta, col. 1735 (C. Kock); Kopperschmidt, , Die Hikesie 16Google Scholar. The connection with the hearth is again significant.
134 Paus. vii 25.1: the oracle introduces Pausanias' account of the anger (μήνιμα) of Zeus ἱκέсιοс against breaches of supplication: cf. ibid. 24.6; i 45.5; iii 17.9.
135 See, for example, n. 24 above. Of some thirty references to supplication in Demosthenes, eighteen are cases of a speaker or his client ‘supplicating’ the jury, four more are instances of ἱκετηρίαν τιθέναι before the Boule or assembly, and a further example involves a speaker ‘supplicating’ the clerk of the court to read a document. It is perhaps worth noting that all the cases of speaker supplicating the jury are found in private cases, and all occur in either prooemium or epilogue.
136 IG ii2 192.2; 211.1; 218.8; 276.5; 336b.15; 337.34; 404.4; 502.14: all of the mid-fourth century or later. On ἱκετηρίαι before the assembly, see Arist. Ath. Pol. xliii 6; Rhodes, The Athenian Boule 55–7, 72–3. It is clear from references in the orators (Aeschin. i 104; ii 15; Dem. xviii 107; xxiv 12) that citizens could also ‘place a suppliant's branch’ before the Boule or assembly: the cases cited concern trierarchs in dispute over liturgies, an ἱδύνατοс petitioning the Boule to be restored to the register of invalids, and the οἰκεῑοι of two Athenian citizens who had been captured at Olynthus. The case of Andocides (Andoc. i 110–16) is somewhat different since the question of whether Andocides is or is not ἄτιμοс is precisely in dispute.
137 I do not mean to suggest that supplication in the traditional, ‘complete’ form did not take place in the fourth century, nor that it was never accepted: Xenophon is loud in praise of Agesilaus for his εὐсεβεία towards suppliants (Ages, xi 1: cf. ii 13); Arrian reports Alexander, 's grant of ἄδεια to the suppliants of Tyre (Anab. ii 24.5Google Scholar: the phrase ἂδειαν διδόναι is itself indicative of changed attitudes: cf. Curtius iv 4.13). Arrian does not report Alexander's massacres of suppliants (D.S. xvii 13.6, Thebes; Curtius vii 5.33, Branchidae).
138 See above, n. 21.
139 See above, nn. 108 and 121.
140 Schapera, I., Handbook of Tswana Law and Custom (2nd edn.) 295Google Scholar f.; cf. 74. Schapera points out that ‘the fact that under such circumstances he entered the late Chief's house is a sign of his complete submission to the Chief. He is said “to have entered the Chief's belly”, and comes out of it completely absolved.’
141 Les rites de passage (English translation) 26–35, esp. 32.