Ritual Dynamics, Daidala, Burkert, inscriptions, Dynamics, transfer, ancient Mediterranean, continuities, the Mediterranean, rituals, festival, ritual, ideological context, ritual observances, social context, mystery cult, diachronic studies, Mediterranean studies, Eastern Mediterranean, Ritual Dynamics Rome, Mediterranean, Mediterranean culture, Tiberius Claudius Damas, Theseus
Originalverцffentlichung in: W.V. Harris (ed.), Rethinking the Mediterranean, Oxford 2005, S. 141-166 6 Ritual Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean: CASE STUDIES
in Ancient Greece and Asia Minor
Angelos Chaniotis 1. M E D I T E R R A N E A N R I T U A L S 1 One of the many monuments the Athenians proudly showed their youth and the visitors to their city was the ship with which Theseus was believed to have sailed to Crete. In the course of the centuries the ship's wooden parts rotted, and the Athenians had to replace them, providing ancient philosophers with an unsolved puzzled: did Theseus' ship remain the same even though its rotten components were continually being replaced?2 I cannot help thinking about this puzzle when I am confronted with diachronic studies on 'the' Mediterranean. Can the M e d i terranean be a somehow distinctive object of historical and cultural study, given the continual change of its living (and therefore, ephemeral) components (human population
s and their cultures, animals, and plants)? O r is the Mediterranean as a historical and cultural entity just a construct of the collect ive imagination of scholars w h o contribute to journals, books, or Conferences that have the name 'Mediterranean' in their title? 1 T h e views expressed here stem from the project 'Ritual and C o m m u n i cation in the Greek cities and in R o m e ' , which is part of the interdisciplinary projects 'Ritualdynamik in traditionellen und modernen Gesellschaften' funded by the Ministry of Science of Baden-Wьrttemberg (1999-2000) and 'Ritualdynamik: Soziokulturelle Prozesse in historischer und kulturvergle ichender Perspektive' funded by the German Research Council (2002-5); references to my o w n preliminary studies on relevant subjects are, unfortunately, unavoidable. I have profited greatly from theoretical discussions with m y colleagues in this project. 2 P l u . Theseus 23.
T h e question of the unity of the Mediterranean should be asked not only 'vertically' (with regard to diachronic development
s); it m u s t be asked 'horizontally' as well. C a n the M e d i t e r r a n e a n in its entirety be a meaningful and distinctive object of study in any given period of the antiquity, given the heterogeneity of cultures and environments in this geographical region? A n d lf continuities, convergences, and homogeneities can somehow be detected in a non-anthropogenous framework--for example t h e r e is s u c h a t h i n g as a M e d i t e r r a n e a n c l i m a t e , w e can s t u d y Mediterranean seismic activities, and we know from personal Observation the Mediterranean karstic landscapes--can we characterize cultural p h e n o m e n a as 'Mediterranean p h e n o m ena'? Is there such a thing as a Mediterranean mentality, a Mediterranean way of life, typical Mediterranean cultic practices or rituals, or even Mediterranean values?3 These questions sound rhetorical. Most of us would spontaneously deny the existence of a Mediterranean culture, a Mediterranean religion or a Mediterranean w a y of life, perhaps only making allowances for certain historical periods
or certain limited aspects. It is necessary to rethink what is specifically 'Mediterranean' in Mediterranean studies, to distinguish between objects and Observation a n d c o n s t r u c t s -- b u t also to ask ourselves if there is any legitimacy for Mediterranean studies other than the natural geographical limits of this closed sea, and if yes, which Parameters w e should take into consideration. I have chosen to explore this issue by treating a cultural phenomenon for which geographical factors do not seem to be determinant: rituals. Admittedly, religious responses to space and landscape have often been observed, and P. Horden and N. P u r c e l l h a v e v e r y a p t l y i n c l u d e d i n their Corrupting Sea a chapter on territories of grace.4 T h i s chapter deals
with a great variety of subjects pertaining to the relation between religion and the physical environment
and to geographical parameters, such as the topographical features of cult places (holy waters, high places, woods and groves, natural catastrophes such as bad weather, earthquakes and vulcanic activity), the
3 See e.g. J . G . Peristiany (ed.), Honour and Shame. The Values of Mediter- ranean Society ( L o n d o n , 1965). 4 CS 4 0 1 - 6 0 .
sacralized economy, and the mobility of religious practices. T h e questions of continuities, survivals, and changes, convergences and divergences naturally occupy an important position in their discussion. A l t h o u g h no claim is m a d e in this book (or has ever been m a d e , at least to the best of m y knowledge) that there is a 'Mediterranean' religion or that there is anything specifically Mediterranean in the religions of the ancient Mediterranean, still continuities in worship are detected in certain sites--the 'classical' example being the use of the same sacred space
by pagans, Christians and Muslims; also similarities in the religious use of Space and landscape practices with a wide geographical distribution in the Mediterranean have been observed. Interestingly, this discussion of continuities, survivals, and similarities in the sacred landscapes of the Mediterr a n e a n refers to cult, religion, worship, or the sacred; it does n o t to refer t o rituals. A l t h o u g h rituals are o f t e n a l l u d e d to b y H o r d e n and Purcell, there is hardly any direct reference to the t e r m ritual or to i n d i v i d u a l rituals, a n d v e r y p r u d e n t l y so, for reasons that will be given in a moment.
2. F R O M M E A N I N G S T O F U N C T I O N S But despite the prudence and caution that should be shown in the treatment of rituals as objects of a comparative or a diachronic study, yet rituals are essential for the understanding of cult, religion, and worship, for the use of sacred space, but also for the cultural profile of a group, in the ancient Mediterranean as in any other region and period. It was with the description of differences in rituals (especially burial customs and the rituals of dining) that many ancient historians (notably Herodotus) established cultural difference
and identity between Greeks and barbarians or among the Greek communities.5 In one of the longest and most detailed ancient treatments of rituals, in Athenaeus' description of the dining rituals of various peoples, the peculiarities of each group are detected through a comparison of the rituals at the dining table.6 T h e r e is an unspoken, but 5 e.g., F . Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus. The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History (Berkeley and L o s Angeles, 1988); R . Bichler, Herodots Welt (Berlin, 2000), esp. 4 8 - 5 6 , 8 4 - 9 3 , 123-31, 151-78. 6 Athen. 4.148-54d.
relatively widespread view (in G e r m a n y in particular), perhaps influenced by the spirit of Protestantism, that religious beliefs
and doctrines have a supremacy over rituals, that rituals are meaningless. A n d yet, scholars still search for the meaning of rituals no less than some antiquarians did in antiquity. Agatharchides narrates a very instructive anecdote:7 ' T h e Boeotians sacrifice to the gods those eels of the Kopaic Lake which are of surpassing size, putting wreaths on them, saying prayers over them, and Casting barley-corns on fhem as on any other sacrificial victim; and to the foreigner w h o was utterly puzzled at the strangeness of this custom and asked the reason, the Boeotian declared that he knew one answer, and he would reply that one should observe ancestral customs, and it was not his business to justify them to other men.' This anecdote of Agatharchides, rather than confirming the view of those w h o regard rituals meaningless, advises us to shift the focus of the discussion from meaning to functions. T h e Boeotians continued to sacrifice eels, not because of an original, now forgotten, obscure and entirely insignificant meaning, but because of the importance attached to the preservation of ancestral traditions for the coherence and identity of a Community. O n e of the primary functions of rituals, at least in the civic communities in Greece, was the communication between humans and other beings within and without human society
.8 Public religious rituals--sacrifice in particular, and other activities connected with sacrifice (the singing of hymns, ritual dances
, etc.), rituals of purification and rituals of dedication-- are privileged means of communication between mortals and gods; ritual activities establish the communication between the l i v i n g and the dead, in the f u n e r a r y cult a n d the cult of heroes; it is also with rituals--the secret rituals of m a g i c -- t h a t m e n establish a contact with superhuman beings
. Public rituals (such as
7 FGrH 86 F 5 (from A t h e n . 7.297d). 8 e.g. F. G r a f , 'Zeichenkonzeption in der Religion der griechischen und rцmischen Antike', in R. Posner, K . Robering, and T . A . Sebeok (eds.), Semiotik. Ein Handbuch zu den zeichentheoretischen Grundlagen von Natur und Kultur (Berlin and N e w Y o r k , 1997), 939-58. C f . N . B o u r q u e , ' A n A n t h r o p o l o g i s t ' s V i e w of Ritual', in E . B i s p h a m and C . S m i t h (eds.), Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy: Evidence and Experience ( E d i n burgh, 2000), 21-2.
oath ceremonies, banquets, processions, and initiatory rituals) play an important part also in the communication between communities, groups and individuals; the Performance of rituals expresses symbolically roles, hierarchical structure
s, and ideals; rituals include or exclude individual persons or w h o l e groups f r o m c o m m u n a l life. C o m m u n i c a t i o n is also the aim of all those forms of ritual and ritualized behaviour that accompany the social and political life of the Greeks--the drinking party or the celebration of a victory, the honouring o f b e n e f a c t o r s o r the a s s e m b l y , the e n t h r o n i z a t i o n or the adventus o f a ruler, or e v e n d i p l o m a t i c negotiations, as m y n e x t anecdote will hopefully demonstrate. I n 86 BC Sulla was at war with Athens. After a long siege of their city the Athenians sent a delegation to negotiate with the R o m a n general. Plutarch reports:9 ' W h e n they (the envoys) made no demands which could save the city, but talked in lofty strains about Theseus and Eumolpus and the Persian wars, Sulla said to them: 'Be off, m y dear sirs, and take these speeches with you; for I was not sent to Athens b y the R o m a n s to learn its history, but to subdue its rebels.' T h i s anecdote m a y present more than the confrontation of Athenian oratory and Roman pragmatism. I think we have here the case of a misused and misunderstood ritual, the function of which would have been the establishment of the basis of communication, but which failed to do so. F r o m the t i m e s o f P l a t o ' s Menexenus to A e l i u s A r i s t i d e s , t h e A t h e n i a n s reminded themselves and others stereotypically and in an almost ritualized way of the same three victories over barbarians: the victory of Theseus over the Amazons, Erechtheus over the Thracians of Eumolpus, and the victory in the Persian Wars.10 These standardized components of their cultural m e m o r y are to be found not only in orations held in festivals (in other words within the framework of a ritual), but also in their diplomatic contacts, e.g. with Sparta.11 This ritualized use of history as an argument that can be observed in m a n y occasions and in many forms in the history of Greek diplomacy, from the Peloponnesian W a r to the 'kinship diplomacy' of the
9 Plu. Sulla 13. 10 Plat. Menex. 239b-40e; A e l . Arist. Panath. 8 3 - 7 , 92-114. 11 Xen.Hell. 2.2.20; 6.2.6.
Hellenistic and Imperial period, established and Facilitated Communication
among the Greek communities that shared the same cultural m e m o r y and values.12 T h i s diplomatic ritual failed in the case of Sulla, and quite naturally: Sulla himself was a barbarian aggressor, not unlike the Amazons, the T h r a cians and the Persians that had threatened the freedom of the Athenians in the remote past.
3. R I T U A L S A N D C U L T U R A L T R A N S F E R I have stretched out this communicative function of rituals and ritualized activities because I think it shows w h y w e should include rituals and ritualized behaviour in comparative and diachronic studies of the ancient Mediterranean, despite all the obstacles and methodological problems that confront us. It w o u l d be misleading, for instance, to ignore the ritual components in discussions of continuities in the use of sacred space. T w o Cretan sanctuaries with the longest record of an uninterrupted use as sacred places, the sanctuary in Simi V i a n n o u and the Idaean C a v e , d e m o n s r a t e that it is exactly the change of the rituals that reveals substantial breaks in the tradition, discontinuities rather than continuities. In Simi Viannou there was a shift in the worship from sacrificial rituals and banquets to the initiatory rituals of ephebes in the historical period.13 In the Idaean C a v e the offering of food items in the M i n o a n period is replaced by blood sacrifices, the dedication of weapons--again, possibly in connection with military rites of passage--in the early historical period, and the celebration of a cult of death and rebirth.14 That the continuity of use can be accompanied by
12 See most recently C . P . J o n e s , Kinship Diplomacy in the Ancient World (Cambridge, Mass., 1999). 13 A . Lebessi and P. M . M u h l y , 'Aspects of Minoan Cult: Sacred Enclos- ures: T h e E v i d e n c e f r o m the S y m e Sanctuary (Crete)', Archдologischer Anzeiger (1990), 3 1 5 - 3 6 ; A . L e b e s s i , 'Flagellation ou autoflagellation? D o n n e e s iconographiques p o u r une tentative d'interpretation', Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique 115 (1991), 103-23; K . S p o r n , Heiligtьmer und Kulte Kretas in klassischer und hellenistischer Zeit (Heidelberg, 2002), 8 5 - 9 (with the earlier bibliography). 14 J . Sakellarakis, ' T h e Idean C a v e : M i n o a n and G r e e k W o r s h i p ' , Kernos 1 (1988), 207-14; S p o r n , Heiligtьmer 218-23 (with the earlier bibliography).
a radical d i s c o n t i n u i t y in ritual practices is also d e m o n s t r a t e d by the conversion of pagan temples. Scholars often refer to the existence of Christian Church
es on the ruins of pagan sanctuaries as a case o f c o n t i n u i t y in t h e u s e o f sacred space; s o m e t i m e s it was not the sanctity of the space that invited the Christians to b u i l d their places of w o r s h i p there, b u t o n the contrary its unholiness; not the effort to continue the sacred use of a site, but the effort to expel the pagan demons; the effort to conquer a n u n h o l y a n d i m p u r e p l a c e a n d make i t s a c r e d . A s H o r d e n a n d P u r c e l l p u t it: 'the " h a r d w a r e " o f locality a n d physical f o r m , i n c l u d i n g t e m p l e , c h u r c h or t o m b , is in practice i n f u s e d w i t h changing structures of meaning b y ritual and observance.'15 Rituals have been and should remain an intrinsic part of c o m p a r a t i v e studies in the M e d i t e r r a n e a n . T h e r e is a p l e t h o r a of comparative studies on rituals that not only contain the n a m e of the M e d i t e r r a n e a n in their title, but also address the convergences and divergences in rituals in the ancient Mediterranean.16 Without claiming the existence of a Mediterranean
15 CS 422. F o r a methodological approach see P . Pakkanen, ' T h e Relationship between Continuity and Change in Dark A g e Greek Religion: A M e t h odological S t u d y ' , Opuscula Atheniensia 25--6 (2000-1), 71--88. 16 T o give only a few examples from the last decade or so, a Conference in R o m e was devoted to dedicatory practices in the ancient Mediterranean ( G . Bartoloni, G . C o l o n n a and C . Grotanelli (eds.), Atti del corwegno internazionale Anathema. Regime delle offene e vita dei santuari nel mediterraneo antico, Roma 15-18 Giugno 1989, in Scienze dell'antichitд 3-4 (1989-90) (1991)); ariцther Conference in L y o n had Mediterranean sacrificial rituals as its subject ( R . Etienne and M . - T . L e D i n a h e t (eds.), L'Espace sacrificiel dans les civilisations mediterraneennes de l'antiquite: Actes du colloque tenu д la Maison de l'Orient, Lyon, 4-7 juin 1988 (Paris 1991); R . E. D e M a r i s , has studied the cult of Demeter in R o m a n Corinth as a 'local development
in a Mediterranean religion' ('Demeter in Roman Corinth: Local Development in a Mediterranean Religion', Numen 42 (1995) 105-17); D . J . T h o m p s o n approached Philadelphus' procession in Alexandria as an expression of 'dynastic power in a Mediterranean context' ('Philadelphus' Procession: Dynastic P o w e r in a Mediterranean C o n t e x t ' , in L . M o o r e n (ed.), Politics, Administration and Society in the Hellenistic and Roman World: Proceedings of the International Colloquium, Bertinoro 19-24 July 1997 ( L o u v a i n , 2000) 3 6 5 88); and L . LiDonnici has recently studied 'erotic spells for fever and c o m pulsion in the ancient Mediterranean world' ('Burning for it: Erotic Spells for F e v e r and C o m p u l s i o n in the A n c i e n t Mediterranean W o r l d ' , Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 39 (1998), 63-98). See also B. G l a d i g o w , 'Mediterrane
r e l i g i o n or o f Mediterranean rituals, these scholars r e g a r d a COMPARATIVE STUDY
of rituals limited to this area as a meaningful task. A n d there are good reasons for doing so, at least in certain historical periods. T h e Mediterranean Sea has more often been a facilitator of communication than a barrier, and c o m m u m cation contributes to the wide diffusion not only of flora, fauna, and artefacts, but also of culture. A n d rituals are an important component of cultural traditions
. Ritual transfer is, therefore, neither a rare nor a surprising phenomenoh.17 T h e mechanisms of the transfer and the factors that contribute--in certain periods--convergences in ritual practices are manifold and have so often been studied that a brief reference to the most common forms would suffice: massive movements of population--invasion, migration, conquest, and of course colonization, with the introduction of the rituals of the mother-city to the colony--were sometimes no more influential than the settlement of small groups of foreigners (especially merchants, garrisons, and exiles: for e x a m p l e , Ptolemaic mercenaries w e r e as important for the diffusion of the cult of Egyptian deities, as the Roman army for the diffusion of many Oriental cults).18 In addition to this, administrative measures of empires and even diplomatic contacts contributed to the uniformity of ritual practices. O n e should also underscore the missionary activity of individuals or organized groups. Finally, we should not forget the importance of canonical texts, either orally transmitted or written, for ritual transfer for instance, the uniformity of magical rituals throughout the Mediterranean or the uniformity
Religionsgeschichte, Rцmische Religionsgeschichte, Europдische Rehgionsgeschichte: Z u r G e n e s e einse Faktkonzeptes', in Kykeon: Studies in Honour of H. S. Versnel ( L e i d e n , etc., 2002), 49-67. 17 See, e.g. E. R. Gebhard, 'The G o d s in Transit: Narratives of Cult T r a n s f e r ' , in A . Y . Collins a n d M . M . M i t c h e l l (eds.), Antiquity and Humanity. Essays on Ancient Religion and Philosophy presented to D. Betz on his 70th Birthday ( T ь b i n g e n , 2001), 4 5 1 - 7 6 . 18 M . L a u n e y , Recherches sur les armees hellenistiques (reimpression avec addenda et mise д j o u r en postface par Y . G a r l a n , P h . Gauthier, C l . O r r i e u x , Paris, 1987), 1026-31; A . Chaniotis, 'Foreign Soldiers--Native Girls? Constructing and Crossing Boundaries in Hellenistic Cities with Foreign Garrisons', in A . Chaniotis and P . D u c r e y (eds.), Army and Power in the Ancient World (Stuttgart, 2002), 108-9.
of rituals of mystery cults was to a great extent the result of the existence of ritual handbooks.19 In what follows, I will not discuss the mechanisms of ritual transfer and uniformity in the Mediterranean, but simply address some problems w e are confronted with when w e attempt to make rituals a meaningful subject of Mediterranean studies-- either diachronically or in particular periods.
4. T H E E L U S I V E N E S S O F R I T U A L S Rituals belong to the most elusive phenomena of ancient religious and social behaviour. A s widely established, stereotypical activities, followed consistently and (at least in theory) invariably, they are rarely described and hardly ever explained by those w h o perform them; they are rather described b y those w h o observe t h e m and are astounded at the differences from the rituals of their o w n culture, or they are described by puzzled antiquarians. Whereas religious activity at a site can be established b y various means (e.g. through the existence of a cult building, ex-votos, or dedicatory inscriptions), we often lack any knowledge of the rituals involved; and the cult of a divinity may be practised continually, even though the rituals of the worship change. T o give a few examples, there was a decline in the offering of blood sacrifice in the later part of the Imperial period, and instead a preference for the singing of hymns and the offering of libations.20 Another change w e may observe 19 F o r rrragical h a n d b o o k s see F . G r a f , Gottesnдhe und Schadenzauber: Die Magie in der griechisch-rцmischen Antike ( M u n i c h , 1996) 10; M . W . Dickie, 'The Learned Magician and the Collection and Transmission of Magical L o r e ' , in D . R . J o r d a n , H . M o n t g o m e r y , and E . T h o m a s s e n (eds.), The World of Ancient Magic: Papers from the First International Samson Eitrem Seminar at the Noruiegian Institute at Athens, 4-8 May 1997 (Bergen, 1999), 163-93. A n impression of initiatory liturgical books is provided by the so-called 'Mithrasliturgie' in a p a p y r u s in Paris (Papyri Graecae Magicae 4 475-824); see R . M e r k e l b a c h , Abrasax III. Ausgewдhlte Papyri religiцsen und magischen, Inhalts I I I ( O p l a d e n , 1992). 20 S. Bradbury, 'Julian's pagan revival
and the Decline of Blood Sacrifice', Phoenix 49 (1995), 331-56; see e.g. F . Sokolowski, Lois Sacrees de l'Asie Mineure (Paris, 1955), no. 28; A . R e h m , Didyma I I . Die Inschriften, ed. R. Hдrder (Berlin, 1958), no. 217; R. Merkelbach and J. Stauber, 'Die Orakel des A p o l l o n v o n K l a r o s ' , Epigraphica Anatolica 27 (1996), 1-54, nos. 2 (Pergamon), 4 (Hierapolis), and 11 (Sardes or Koloe).
Ritual Dynamics thanks to inscriptions w i t h sacred regulations is a shift f r o m the preoccupation with the ritual purity of the body to a preoccupation with the purity of the mind;21 the relevant evidence
dates f r o m the fourth Century BC o n w a r d s and is w i d e l y diffused in the eastern Mediterranean (in Macedonia and mainland Greece, in Crete and many islands of the Aegean, and many places in Asia Minor). Both changes in rituals occurred in sanctuaries used without any interruption and devoted to the same divinity. All this has been observed thanks to the rather unusual abundance of literary texts
and above all of inscriptions (sacred regulations) in the respective periods. Such changes have a social parameter as well. B o t h aforementioned changes seem to have influenced only part of the worshippers, the intellectual elite and the persons that stood under its influence. Social and intellectual differentiations in the practice of rituals s h o u l d be taken into consideration, but it is o n l y in exceptional cases that our sources allow us to do so. Another example of continual use of a sacred place connected with a disruption of ritual practices is provided b y the altar of the Jerusalem temple. It was used as an altar for blood sacrifices throughout the Hellenistic period, with no interruption in its u s e -- a wonderful case of continuity in rituals, one might have thought, if w e did not have the literary evidence that informs us that for a period of three years and six months during the reign of Antiochus I V the altar was used for the sacrifice of swine;22 the change of just one component of the ritual of blood sacrifice (the species of the sacrificial animal) provocatively demonstrated a disruption of the ritual tradition. In this particular case we happen to know of this short-term interruption, in others w e do not, and it has often been observed that continuity in use of the same space does not necessarily m e a n its identical use.23 It is 21 A . Chaniotis, 'Reinheit des Kцrpers--Reinheit der Seele in den griechischen Kultgesetzen', in J . A s s m a n n and T h . S u n d e r m e i e r (eds.), Schuld, Gewissen und Person ( G ь t e r s l o h , 1997), 142-79. 22 J o s e p h . Ant.Jud. 12.253. 23 A . Chaniotis, in J . Schдfer (ed.), Amnisos nach den archдologischen, topographischen, historischen und epigraphischen Zeugnissen des Altertums und der Neuzeit (Berlin, 1992), 8 8 - 9 6 ; L . V . W a t r o u s , The Cave Sanctuary of Zeus at Psychro. A Study of Extra-Urban Sanctuaries in Minoan and Early Iran Age Crete ( L i e g e , 1996), esp. 1 0 6 - 1 1 ; CS 4 0 4 - 1 1 .
Ritual Dynamics often this elusiveness of rituals that makes scholars very prudently talk about continuity of cult, but not of continuity of rituals. But except for interruptions and disruptions that escape our notice, sometimes there are elusive continuities. Rites of passage in particular, long abolished or neglected, have the tendency to emerge in unexpected places and forms (very often as the background of literary narratives--an important subject that cannot be addressed here).24 T h e activities of the Athenian ephebes in the Hellenistic period, after the artificial revival of the ephebic institutions but without the institutionalized Performance of initiatory rituals, present an interesting case. A n honorific decree of 123 BC describes these activities, w h i c h included participation in festivals, processions, and athletic competitions, attendance at philosophical schools, military exercises, visits to important historical monuments and sanctuaries, and acquaintance with the borders of Athenian territory; these activities are more or less standardized, since w e find references to t h e m in similar decrees. It is in this passage that we find the following report:25 and they made an excursion to the border of Attic territory carrying their weapons, acquiring knowledge of the territory and the roads [lacuna] and they visited the sanctuaries in the countryside, offering sacrifices on behalf of the people. W h e n they arrived at the grave at Marathon, they offered a wreath and a sacrifice to those who died in war for freedom; they also came to the sanctuary of Amphiaraus. A n d there they demonstrated the legitimate possession of the sanctuary which had been occupied by the ancestors in old times. A n d after they had offered a sacrifice, they returned on the same day to our own territory. W h a t at first sight seems a harmless excursion, acquires another dimension w h e n we take into consideration the fact that in this p e r i o d t h e s a n c t u a r y o f A m p h i a r a u s w a s not part o f the A t h e n ian territory, but belonged to the city of Oropos. T h e Athenians had lost this territory less than a generation earlier (this was the occasion of the famous embassy of the Athenian philosophers to 24 C f . J . M a , 'Black H u n t e r Variations', Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 40 (1994), 4 9 - 8 0 . 25 IG I I 2 1006 lines 6 5 - 7 1 .
! g 2 Ritual Dynamics Rome). T h e Athenian ephebes marched under arms into foreign territory, reminding their audience with Speeches that the Athenians were the legitimate owners of the sanctuary, and then withdrew behind the Athenian border. This looks very much like the survival of an initiatory ritual: Separation from urban life, liminality through visit of the borders of the territory, exp'osure to a danger and achievement of an important deed, and reintegration--return to Athens and acceptance into the Citizen body. 5. A R T I F I C I A L R E V I V A L S A second problem involved in the study of continuities in rituals (but also in the study of religious continuities in general) is the fact that what at first sight seems a survival m a y well be an artificial revival. S o m e time in the fifth Century AD, a pagan priest in Megara, one Helladios, set up an inscription on the monument of the dead of the Persian Wars, restoring S i m o m des' epigram (written almost one millennium earlier) and adding the remark that 'the city offered sacrifices up to this d a y ' . 2 6 It w o u l d be a big mistake to take this Statement as p r o o f that this ritual had been continually performed in Megara for ten centuries. A long time after the prohibition of pagan sacrifices, Helladios provocatively defies the laws of the Christian e m p e r o r s -- a phenomenon to which I will return later. Here, w e are more probably dealing with a revival rather than a survival. T h i s is more clear in m y second example, a Milesian decree of the mid-first Century concerning a banquet which should be o f f e r e d b y t h e prophetes (the priest o f A p o l l o D i d y m e u s ) at D i d y m a t o t h e kosmoi ( p r o b a b l y a b o a r d o f sacred officials responsible for some kind of decoration in the sanctuary) and b y the stephanephoros to the molpoi, t h e o l d , r e s p e c t e d p r i e s t l y board of singers.27 This decree was brought to the assembly by Tiberius Claudius Damas, a well-known Citizen of Miletus. 26 IG V I I 53. 27 P . H e r r m a n n , Inschriften von Milet, Part 1 (Berlin, 1997), no.134 (with the earlier bibliography); F . S o k o l o w s k i , Lots sacrees de l'Asie Mineure (Paris, 1955), no. 53. For a detailed discussion of the religious context of Damas' initiative and further examples see A . Chaniotis, 'Negotiating Religion in the Cities of the Eastern R o m a n Provinces', Kernos 16 (2003), 177-90.
Thanks to numerous inscriptions and coins we know a few t h i n g s a b o u t his p e r s o n a l i t y . H e h e l d t h e office o f the prophetes for at least t w o terms and he initiated a coinage with representations of A p o l l o D i d y m e u s and Artemis Pythie.28 W e are dealing with an individual with a particular interest in the old, revered, but also often destroyed and neglected sanctuary at D i d y m a . T h e actual subject of the decree is presented in fewer than six lines: T h e a c t i n g prophetes a n d the stephanephoros are o b l i g e d 'to o r g a n i z e t h e b a n q u e t o f t h e kosmoi a n d the molpoi a c c o r d i n g to ancestral custom and in accordance with the laws and the decrees which have been previously issued.' Surprisingly enough, this short text is followed by twenty-four lines, devoted to measures preventing future violations of this decree and the punishment of wrongdoers. T h e responsible magistrates were not allowed to Substitute this celebration with a money contribution.29 A n y future decree which did not conform to this decree should be invalid; its initiator would have to pay a fine, in addition to the divine punishment which awaits the impious; and the ritual would have to be performed, nonetheless. T h i s decree is declared to be 'a decree pertaining to piety towards the gods and the Augusti and to the preservation of the city'. Damas w a s obviously afraid that his decree w o u l d be as persistently ignored b y future magistrates as all those earlier laws on the same matter which he quotes. His concern must have been j u s t i f i e d . D a m a s h i m s e l f s e r v e d as a prophetes, v o l u n t a r i l y ; in the text which records his first term in this office Damas underscores the fact that 'he performed everything which his predecessors used to perform'. Such Statements in honorific inscriptions indicate that some magistrates were less diligent in the fulfilment of their duties. Damas served a second term later, after a year of vacancy in this office;30 not a Single
28 L . Robert, Monnaies grecques. Types, legendes, Magistrats monetaires et geographie ( G e n e v a and Paris, 1967), 50. 29 T h a t this occasionally happened, following the demand of the Commu- nity, is demonstrated b y a new inscription f r o m Dag'mara/Karakцy ( T e m p sianoi?): a priest acceded to the request of the city and provided the money he was supposed to spend for banquets for the construction o f an aqueduct (c.AD 180-92). See H . M a l a y , Researches in Lydia, Mysia and Aiohs (TAM, E r g a n Eungsband 23) (Vienna, 1999), 115 no. 127. 30 R e h m , Didyma, no. 268.
M i l e s i a n h a d b e e n Willing to s e r v e as a prophetes--not a n u n usual Situation at D i d y m a . Numerous inscriptions document a general unwillingness a m o n g s t t h e Citizens to s e r v e as prophetai a n d an e v e n greater u n w i l l i n g n e s s to p e r f o r m all the traditional rituдls. I n t h e l o n g series of more than one hundred inscriptions that record the n a m e s o f the prophetai m a n y texts i n f o r m u s t i m e a n d again o f t h e d i f f i c u l t i e s in f i n d i n g c a n d i d a t e s . O n e o f t h e prophetai, C l a u d i u s C h i o n i s , e x p l i c i t l y states that he s e r v e d b o t h as archiprytanis a n d as prophetes in a y e a r in w h i c h ' n o Citizen w a s Willing to accept either office'.31 W e get some information a b o u t D a m a s ' s e c o n d t e r m as a prophetes f r o m t h e a b o v e i n scription from D i d y m a . It reports that Damas served voluntari l y a s e c o n d t e r m as a prophetes, at t h e age o f 81, a n d that 'he revived the ancestral customs' and celebrated the banquet in the sanctuary at D i d y m a twelve days long. Similar references t o t h e rites p e r f o r m e d b y t h e prophetes a p p e a r o c c a s i o n a l l y in the i n s c r i p t i o n s o f t h e prophetai. T h e e x p l i c i t certification that the particular priest had fulfilled his duties indicate that this was not always the case. A n d some officials seem to have done m o r e t h a n t h e i r p r e d e c e s s o r s . A n a n o n y m o u s prophetes, for e x a m p l e , p r o v i d e d the f u n d s for a banquet for all the Citizens for 13 days; he distributed m o n e y to w o m e n and virgins in a festival; he offered a dinner for the boys w h o officiated in a celebration; and he distributed money to the members of the Council on Apollo's birthday.32 These sporadic references to revivals seem to me to reflect failures rather than success. T h i s evidence (and there is m u c h more from other cities) show us h o w an individual with a vivid interest in ancestral customs revived rituals long forgotten and neglected. T h e fact that inscriptions which refer to these initiatives survive does not permit the conclusion that the success of these initiatives was lasting. Damas' decree offers an interesting example of a revival which was apparently accepted by the people, but whose success was ephemeral. F r o m his o w n
31 Ibid. no. 272. Similar problems are alluded to in nos. 214 B, 215, 236 B I I I , 241, 243, 244, 252, 269, 270, 277, 278, 279 A , 286, 288, and 289. 32 Ibid. no. 297. T w o other prophetai claim that they had revived ancient customs, but their inscriptions are too fragmentary to allow us to see what exactly the object of the revival had been: nos. 289 and 303.
i n s c r i p t i o n s w e k n o w that at least he f o l l o w e d t h e c u s t o m , b u t otherwise there are only sporadic references to this celebration. W h e n the driving force of a revival was an individual, not the C o m m u n i t y , the revival often died w i t h its initiator, exactly as certain festivals or cults did not survive the death of their founders. I have discussed this case in such detail, because it seems to m e a very characteristic example of h o w misleading it may be to try to draw conclusions about the continual Performance of rituals from isolated pieces of evidence. T h i s example also demonstrates the role of individual personalities and idiosyncrasies for the Performance of rituals, a subject to which I return later. Needless to say artificial revivals sometimes are accompanied with changes in meaning. T h e initiatory ritual of the flagellation in the sanctuary of Artemis Orthia in Sparta ( k n o w n also f r o m Crete) was revived as a touristic attraction in the imperial period.33
6. M I S L E A D I N G A N A L O G I E S : T H E D A I D A L A OF PLATAIA AND ITS MODERN EXEGETES A third p r o b l e m is that sometimes similarities in isolated elements of rituals attested in distant parts of the Mediterranean are regarded as proof of the identity of these rituals, or of an analogy between them. Let us take, for example, the carrying of the wooden image in a procession, the central ritual of the festival of the Daidala.34 T h e aetiological m y t h is narrated b y Plutarch and Pausanias:35 once Hera had quarrelled with Zeus and was hiding. A l a l k o m e n e s advised Z e u s to deceive Hera, b y acting as if he were going to marry another w o m a n . W i t h Alalkomenes' help, Zeus secretly cut down a big and very beautiful oak-tree, gave it the shape of a w o m a n , decorated it as a bride, and called it Daidale. T h e n they sang the w e d d i n g song for her, the nymphs of the river Triton gave her the nuptial bath, and Boiotia provided for flautists and revellers. W h e n all this was 33 P l u . Mor. 239d. 34 F o r a more detailed discussion see A . Chaniotis, 'Ritual Dynamics: T h e Boiotian festival of the Daidala', in Kykeon: Studies in Honour ofH. S. Versnel (Leiden, 2002), 23-48 (with the earlier bibliography). 35 Plutarch, FGrH 388 F 1 (peri ton en Plataiais Daidalon); Pausanias 9 . 2 . 7 9.3.3.
Ritual Dynamics almost completed, Hera lost her patience. She came down from M t . Kithairon, followed by the w o m e n of Plataia, and ran fьll of anger and jealousy to Zeus. But when she realized that the 'bride' was a doli, she reconciled herseif with Zeus with joy and laughter and took the role of the bridesmaid. She honoured this wooden image and named the festival Daidala. Nonetheless, she b u r n e d the image, although it was not alive, because of her jealousy. Pausanias gives us the most detailed description of the ritual: In this way they celebrate the festival. N o t far from Alalkomenai is a grove of oaks. Here the trunks of the oaks are the largest in Boeotia. T o this grove come the Plataians, and lay out portions of boiled flesh. T h e y keep a strict watch on the crows which flock to them, but they are not troubled at all about the other birds. T h e y mark carefully the tree on which a crow settles with the meat he has seized. T h e y cut down the trunk of the tree on which the crow has settled, and make of it the daidalon; for this is the name that they give to the wooden image also. T h i s festival the Plataians celebrate b y themselves, calling it the Little Daidala, but the Great Daidala, which is celebrated with them b y the Boeotians, is a festival held at intervals of fifty-nine years, for that is the period during which, they say, the festival could not be held, as the Plataians were in exile. T h e r e are fourteen wooden images ready, having been provided each year at the Little Daidala. Lots are cast for them by the Plataians, Koronaians, Thespians, Thangraians, Chaironeis, Orchomenians, Lebadeis, and Thebans. For at the time when Kassandros, the son of Antipater, rebuilt Thebes, the Thebans wished to be reconciled with the Plataians, to share in the common assembly, and to send a sacrifice to the Daidala. T h e towns of less account pool their funds for images. Bringing the image to the A s o pos, and setting it upon a wagon, they place a bridesmaid also on the wagon. T h e y again cast lots for the position they are to hold in the procession. After this they drive the wagons from the river to the summit of Kithairon. O n the peak of the mountain an altar has been prepared, which they make in the following way. T h e y fit together quadrangular pieces of w o o d , putting them together just as if they were making a stone building
, and having raised it to a height they place brushwood upon the altar. T h e cities with their magistrates sacrifice a cow to Hera and a bull to Zeus, burning on the altar the victims, fьll of wine and incense, along with the daidala. Rieh people, as individuals sacrifice what they wish; but the less wealthy sacrifice the smaller cattle; all the victims alike are burned. T h e fire seizes the altar and the victims as well, and consumes them all together. I know
of no blaze that is so high, or seen so far as this (trans. W . H . S. Jones, modified). F r o m Frazer's times onwards the Daidala of Boeotia have fascinated scholars studying the relation between myth and ritual. Amongst the many studies on the Daidala the most influential approach recognizes the heterogeneity of the details described by Pausanias, but focuses on the construction and burning of the wooden image or images, investing this ritual with a variety of meanings which rдnge from the idea of an annual fire expressing the rejuvenation of nature to the appeasement of a mighty chthonic goddess. T h i s approach associates the Daidala with the spring and mid-summer bonfire festivals of modern E u r o p e (of the M a y p o l e or Johannesfeuer-type), at w h i c h a w o o d e n image is brought to the settlement and burned. According to Frazer's interpretation, the Daidala represent the marriage of p o w e r s of Vegetation; Hera's retirement is a mythical expression for a bad season and the failure of crops.36 M . P. Nilsson speculated that the image which was burned represented a demon of Vegetation that had to go through fire in order to secure the warmth of the sun for everything that lives and grows. Since this fire ritual had the p u r p o s e of p r o m o t i n g fertility, it was understood as a w e d d i n g ; H e r a w a s associated w i t h this festival at a late stage, as the goddess of marriage; the discrepancies in the myths and the rituals reflect the late conflation of two separate festivals, a fire festival and a festival of Hera.37 T h e prominent position of a holocaust offering at two festivals of Artemis, the Laphria and the Elaphebolia, led A . Schachter to the assumption that the burning of the images at the D a i d a l a w a s also originally dedicated to A r t e m i s and at some later point connected with the cult of Hera.38 Needless to say, the similarity between the Daidala on the one hand and the L a p h r i a and the Elaphebolia on the other is rather
36 J . G . Frazer, The Golden Bough: A Study in magic and religion
. Part I: The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, 3rd edn. ( L o n d o n , 1913), ii. 140-1. 37 M . P . Nilsson, Griechische Feste von religiцser Bedeutung mit Ausschluss der attischen ( L u n d , 1906), 54-5; Geschichte der griechischen Religion, 3rd edn. (Munich, 1967), i. 130-1, 431. 38 A . Schachter, Cults of Boiotia ( L o n d o n , 1981), i. 247.
superficial; the b u r n i n g of slaughtered sacrificial victims at the Daidala cannot be compared with the throwing of living animals on the p y r e at the Laphria. In addition to this, I can see no evidence for the assumption that in the holocausts of the L a p h r i a and the Elaphebolia A r t e m i s was conceived as the patroness of childbirth; and of course there is no evidence for the sacrificial burning of wooden images in these festivals of Artemis. Finally, W . Burkert has attributed the Daidala to a category of m y t h s and rituals the c o m m o n t h e m e of w h i c h is the departure and return of a goddess of fertility--well known from Oriental iconography and myth.39 Burkert recognized an ancient G r e e k parallel in a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o n a pithos o f the n i n t h Century BC f o u n d at K n o s s o s . A w i n g e d goddess, richly dressed a n d w i t h a h i g h polos, Stands o n a chariot. S h e is r e p r e s e n t e d in t w o different ways in two panels on the two opposite sides of the pithos. I n t h e o n e p a n e l t h e g o d d e s s raises h e r h a n d s o n w h i c h t w o birds are seated. O n the other panel the goddess has dropped her arms, her wings are lowered, the birds fly away. T h e trees in the first representation blossom, the trees on the other side do not. According to Burkert's plausible interpretation, the t w o panels are connected with a festival of the Coming and the departure of the great goddess of fertility; the chariot implies that an image of the goddess was brought into the city. T h e r e are indeed obvious analogies to the myths and the ritual of the Daidala: the departure of an (angry) goddess and her return, the carrying of an image on a chariot. But there are also o b v i o u s differences: the representation f r o m K n o s s o s is t h e i m a g e o f a g o d d e s s ; the w o o d e n daidala w e r e n o t ; t h e daidala w e r e b u r n e d ; a n d there is n o i n d i c a t i o n that t h e i m a g e o n the K n o s s i a n pithos is that o f a b r i d e . Another parallel was recognized by Burkert in the report of Firmicus Maternus concerning a festival of Persephone.40 A tree was cut and was used for the construction of the image of
39 W . Burkert, 'Katagцgia-Anagцgia and the Goddess of Knossos', in R. H д g g , N . M a r i n a t o s , and G . N o r d q u i s t (eds.), Early Greek Cult Practice. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute at Athens, 26-29 June 1986 ( S t o c k h o l m , 1988), 8 1 - 7 . 40 Err. prof. rel. 27.2.
a m a i d e n , w h i c h w a s then brought to the city; there, it w a s mourned for forty days; on the evening of the fortieth day, the image w a s b u r n e d . T h i s ritual is s u p p o s e d to reflect the annual cycle of nature. T h e j o y at the Coming of the goddess was f o l l o w e d b y the sadness at her departure in the fall. A g a i n , the differences from the Daidala are no less striking than the similarities. Persephone's periodical death finds no analogy in any k n o w n cult o f H e r a ; t h e w o o d e n daidala w e r e n o t b r o u g h t to t h e city, they were not mourned, and they were not supposed to represent the periodical death of a virgin. Aelian and Athenaeus have reports of a similar festival at E r y x in Sicily, this time for A p h r o d i t e -- t h e festival Anagogia. It o w e d its name to the departure of Aphrodite, w h o was thought to leave for Africa, followed b y birds (pigeons). N i n e days later a very beautiful pigeon was seen coming f r o m the south, and its coming was celebrated as the festival Katagogia. W e observe, however, that in this festival there is no image, no marriage, n o pyre. Burkert suggested associating this group of festivals with mankind's primordial fears: threatened by drought, bad harvests, infertility, and bad weather, people from time to time leave the area of agricultural activity and return to the forest, where they used to find f o o d at the stage of hunters and gatherers. T h e burning of an image may be a survival of the great pyres on peak sanctuar- ies in M i n o a n Crete. M o d e r n research has not only isolated these two important components of the Daidala, the sacred marriage and the fire ritual; it has also pointed out that the burning of the Daidala can be conceived of as a sacrifice, and this is a v e r y important d e m e n t w h i c h is difficult to reconcile with the other t w o approaches. K . Meuli has assigned the sacrifice of the Daidala to the category of the 'chthonische Vernichtungsopfer', sacrifices offered to chthonic deities whose dangerous power should be appeased;41 the myth about the quarrel between Hera and Zeus and the goddess' withdrawal can be associated with this interpretation, which, however, fails to explain other components of the ritual in the Imperial period (especially the allusions to a w e d d i n g ) . T h e fact that t h e daidala c a n n o t b e c o n c e i v e d as
41 K . M e u l i , 'Griechische Opferbrдuche', in Phyllobolia fьr Peter von Mьhll zum 60. Geburtstag am 1. August 1945 (Basel, 1946), 209-10.
divine images led E. Loucas-Durie to the assumption that their burning was the Substitute for a human sacrifice
, which may have constituted a central part of the ritual in its early phase.42 I have dealt with the Daidala at some l e n g t h -- w i t h o u t m e n tioning all the interpretations offered so f a r -- b e c a u s e it offers a characteristic example of the problems we face with similarities and analogies between rituals, especially when our sources come f r o m a p e r i o d in w h i c h the P e r f o r m a n c e o f the ritual is the result of amalgamations and syncopations.
7. R I T U A L S A N D T H E P H Y S I C A L E N V I R O N M E N T A fourth obstacle in the w a y of studying rituals in a Mediterranean context is the fact that rituals present an aspect of w o r s h i p that seems to be least related to geography, physical environment and landscape. O n e may raise one's hands in prayer, kneel before a cult statue, kiss an object of worship, pour a liquid during an oath ceremony, or take a ritual bath near the banks of the Nile or in the rocky landscape of K a p p a d o k i a -- o r virtually anywhere eise. N o geographical factors seem to be directly in Operation when people perform rites of passage according to the threefold structure established by van Gennep and modified by Turner and others, whether they are in ancient Greece, medieval India, or a contemporary Student fraternity. This position which dissociates rituals from geographical factors and landscapes is related to a widespread attitude in the study of rituals that reappears in different forms from Frazer's Golden Bough to B u r k e r t ' s Creation of the Sacred: rituals are primeval, they are not invented but transmitted--either through natural processes of acculturation or even biologically--and adapted to new cultural environments. According to this view, rituals observed in various cultures should be regarded as mutations or variants of archetypal forms. It should not therefore be a surprise that the study of rituals in modern scholarship has primarily been a study of origins. Even when we have detailed descriptions
of rituals from the Imperial period, such as the description of the Daidala in 42 E. Loucas-Durie, ' S i m u l a c r e h u m a i n et offrande rituelle', Kernos 1 (1988), 151-62.
Boeotia, the question asked is not w h a t the function of the ritual was in the period from which the eye-witness reports come, but how w e can reconstruct the ritual's original form and meaning. T h i s is not the place to discuss the ethological background of rituals43 or how meaningful the discussion of origins may be. Nonetheless, given the Mediterranean context of this v o l u m e , it is not inappropriate to emphasize the importance of physical environment, not for the origin of rituals perhaps, but certainly for their evolution and diffusion. Again, Horden and Purcell have presented a strong case for a distinctively Mediterranean sense of place and have shown that place can be a useful instrument of analysis.44 T h e most important feature of the Mediterranean, in this respect, is the fragmented topography, a factor that contributes to divergences and divisions between cultural Systems, but has in many periods also challenged Mediterranean populations to overcome this fragmentation. T h e challenge has made the Mediterranean a zone of 'lateral transmission of ideas and practices', including the transmission of rituals.45 T h e significance of the physical environment as the setting in which rituals are performed can sometimes, unexpectedly, be observed w h e n an attempt is made to reproduce the physical environment of a particular ritual in a new environment, the transmission not only of the environment, but also of its original setting. T h e best k n o w n example is the reproduction of Nilotic landscapes in sanctuaries of the Egyptian deities outside Egypt;46 similar phenomena are the construction of artificial caves for the celebration of the Mithraic mysteries or for Dionysiac celebrations (compare the construction of caves in m o d e r n India to reproduce the cave of St M a r y at L o u r d e s ) . One can include here the construction of pools for the worship of the nymphs,47 and perhaps even peak sanctuaries on eleva- 43 W . Burkert, Creation oj the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions (Cambridge, Mass. and London, 1996); id., 'Fitness oder Opium? Die Fragestellung der Soziologie im Bereich alter Religionen', in F . Stolz (ed.), Homo naturaliter religiosus. Gehцrt Religion notwendig zum Mensch-Sein? (Bern, 1997), 13-38. 44 CS 4 0 1 - 6 0 . 45 CS 404, 4 0 7 - 8 . 46 e.g. R . S a l d i t - T r a p p m a n n , Tempel der дgyptischen Gцtter in Griechenland und an der Westkьste Kleinasiens ( L e i d e n , 1970), 1-25. 47 C f . CS 431. Bakchic caves: A t h e n . 4.148bc. Cf. the term androphylakes ('the guardians of the cave') in an inscription of a Dionysiac associatton in
tions that do not deserve the designation mountain, but present 'imaginary mountains'.48 T h e Samaritans on Delos were so bound to the holy place of their homeland that they designated their association as 'those w h o sacrifice in the h o l y sacred M t . A r g a r i z e i n ' (aparchomenoi eis hieron hagion Argarizein).49 F i n a l l y , even if it w o u l d be futile to look for rituals originating in the Mediterranean or practised only in the Mediterranean, one can observe certain preferences that to some extent are favoured by the physical environment, fцr example the prominent part played by processions or the widespread custom of setting up tents, attested in a variety of contexts, from the H e b r e w succah to the G r e e k T h e s m o p h o r i a a n d f r o m t h e P t o l e m a i a o f A l e x a n d r i a to t h e skanopageia o f K o s . 5 0
8. T H E R O L E OF R E L I G I O U S I D I O S Y N C R A S I E S A factor of enormous importance for the evolution of rituals-- no matter whether we are dealing with revival or transmission, amalgamation or syncopation, aesthetic or ideological transformation--is the part played by individuals, their idiosyncrasy, personal piety, social position, education, or even political agenda. I have already referred to two men (unfortunately our sources mostly refer to men) whose role was essential for the revival of rituals: the priest Helladios in Megara and the prophetes D a m a s in M i l e t u s . W e o f t e n hear o f p e r s o n s w h o o n their o w n initiative introduced cult and rituals f r o m one place at another, for instance the Telemachos w h o introduced the cult of Asklepios in Athens or Demetrios w h o founded a sanctuary of the Egyptian deities at Delos.51 Sometimes w e hear of persons R o m e (G. Ricciardelli, 'Mito e Performance nelle associazioni dionisiache', in M . Tortorelli G h e d i n i , A . Storchi M a r i n o , and A . V i s c o n t i (eds.), Tra Orfeo e Pitagora. Origini e incontri di culture nell'antichitд. Atti dei seminari napoletani 1996-1998 ( N a p l e s , 2000), 274). 48 F o r 'imaginary m o u n t a i n s ' see R . B u x t o n , Imaginary Greece: The Contexts ofMythology ( C a m b r i d g e , 1994), 8 1 - 9 6 . R. Goggins, 'Jewish Local Patriotism: T h e Samaritan Problem', in S. J o n e s and S. Pearce (eds.), Jewish Local Patriotism and Self-Identification in the Graeco-Roman Period (Sheffield, 1998), 7 S - 7 . T h e s m o p h o r i a : H . S. V e r s n e l , Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion ( L e i d e n , 1993), ii. 236 n. 25. 51 H . E n g e l m a n n , The Delian Aretalogy of Sarapis ( L e i d e n , 1975).
who revived a neglected ritual, for example Damas w h o revived the ritual banquet at D i d y m a , S y m m a c h o s of L y t t o s w h o revived the distribution of money to tribal subdivisions in his Cretan city on the occasion of the festivals Welchania and Theodaisia,52 or Mnasistratos in Andania w h o gave the sacRed Book
s of the mysteries to the city, thus contributing to a reorganization of this cult.53 L e t us take one of the most interesting cases of ritual transfer, the mysteries of the rural sanctuary at Panцias in northern P o r t u g a l . 5 4 A lex sacra i n f o r m s us that the Senator C . C a l p u r nius Rufinus founded a mystery cult dedicated to Hypsistos S a r a p i s , to deities o f the u n d e r w o r l d (Diis Severis), a n d t h e local g o d s o f t h e L a p i t e a e . T h e texts m e n t i o n a t e m p l e (templum, aedes) a n d v a r i o u s cult facilities c o n s t r u c t e d o n the n a t ural r o c k (quadrata, aeternus lacus, a gastra); their f u n c t i o n is e x p l a i n e d in s e v e r a l texts: hostiae quae cadunt hic immolantur. Extra intra quadrata contra cremantur. Sanguis laciculis superfunditur (1), in quo hostiae voto cremantur (3), lacum, qui voto miscetur (5). F r o m these i n s t r u c t i o n s g i v e n to the initiates Alfцldy reconstructs the ritual, which included the preparation of sacrificial animals, the offering of their blood to the gods of the underworld, the burning of their intestines, a banquet, and purification. T h e mystery cult was probably introduced from P e r g e (cf. the D o r i a n f o r m mystaria, for mysteria), R u f i n u s ' place of origin. If we only had the dedicatory formula (Rufinus dedicated to Hypsistos Sarapis), we would naturally have assumed that Rufinus' activity was similar to that of Telemachos in Athens or Demetrios in Delos. T h e detailed description of the rituals shows that under the guise of mysteries of Sarapis we have an amalgamation of different ritual traditions. Rufinus is not an isolated case. T h e cult foundation o f A l e x a n d e r , the 52 /. Cret. 1. xviii 11 (2nd/3rd Century). 53 F . S o k o l o w s k i , Lois sacrees des cites grecques (Paris, 1969), no. 65. F o r the cult see most recently L. Piolot, 'Pausanias et les Mysteres d'Andanie: Histoire d'une aporie', in J . Renard (ed.), he Peloponnese. Archдologie et Histoire. Actes de la rencontre internationale de Lorient, 12-15 mai 1998 (Rennes, 1999), 1 9 5 228 (with earlier bibliography). 54 G . Alfцldy, 'Inscriciones, sacrificios y misterios: El santuario rupestre de Panцias/Portugal', Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archдologischen Instituts-- Abteilung Madrid 36 (1995), 252-8: id., ' D i e Mysterien v o n Panцias (Vila Real, Portugal)', ibid. 38 (1997), 176-246.
false prophet, at A b o n o u t e i c h o s is v e r y similar, including the adaptation of heterogeneous elements from the cult of Asclepius, different oracular practices, Neopythagorean observances and doctrines, and the mysteries of Eleusis.55 A n d a certain Dionysios w h o founded a mystery cult and a cult association at P h i l a d e l p h i a composed a sacred regulation with strict moral and ritual observances not modelled according to a particular m y s t e r y cult, b u t i n f l u e n c e d b y m a n y different traditions.56 It is certainly not necessary to underline h o w difficult it is to grasp the personal religiosity of the individuals that introduced or revived rituals, not to mention the case of persons w h o performed rituals. H o w can we ever know how an Epicurean philosopher thought and feit w h e n he served as a priest responsible for the traditional rituals scorned by his fellow philosophers?57
9. T H E M A N I F O L D C H A R A C T E R OF R I T U A L T R A N S F E R Ritual transfer means not only the transmission of rituals from one place to another, it implies a far more complex process: the transfer of a ritual from a particular context to another--to
55 See tnost recently U . V i c t o r , Lukian von Samosata, Alexander oder Der Lьgenprophet ( L e i d e n , etc., 1997); G . S f a m e n i G a s p a r r o , 'Alessandro di A b o nutico, lo "pseudo-profeta' o v v e r o Come construirsi un'identitд religiosa I', Studi e Materiali di Storia delle Religioni 62 (1996) (1998), 565-90; ead., 'Alessandro di Abonutico, lo "pseudo-profeta" ovvero come costruirsi un'identitд religiosa I I ' , in C . Bonnet and A . M o t t e (eds.), Les syncretismes religieux dans le monde mediterraneen antique. Actes du colloque international en l'honneur de Franz Cumont (Brьssels and R o m e , 1999), 275-305; A . C h a niotis, 'Old W i n e in a N e w Skin: Tradition and Innovation in the Cult F o u n d a t i o n o f A l e x a n d e r o f A b o n o u t e i c h o s ' , in E . D a b r o w a (ed.), Tradition and Innovation in the Ancient World ( K r a k o w , 2002), 67-85. F o r the influence of magical rituals on Alexander of Abonouteichos, see A . Mastrocinque, 'Alessandro di A b o n o u t e i c h o s e la magia', in Imago Antiquitatis. Religions et iconographie du monde romain: Melanges offerts д Robert Turcan (Paris, 1999), 341-52. 56 S. C. Barton and G . H . R. Horsley, 'A Hellenistic Cult Group and the N e w T e s t a m e n t C h u r c h ' , Jahrbuch fьr Antike und Christentum 24 (1981), 7-41. 57 R e h m , Didyma, no. 285. F o r personal religiosity see F . G r a f , ' B e m e r kungen zur bьrgerlichen Religiositдt im Zeitalter des Hellenismus', in M . W ц r r l e and P. Zanker (eds.), Stadtbild und Bьrgerbild im Hellenismus (Munich, 1995), 103-14.
a new Social Context
, a new cultic context, a new ideological context. M y last examples aim at demonstrating this complexity. T h e first concerns the transfer of sacrificial rituals from the cult of the gods to the cult of the dead, the ruler cult, and the appeal to superhuman powers in magic. In all these cases the transfer is accompanied either b y reversals or b y syncopations. In the case of magic, for instance, the sacrifice takes place in the dark and involves the killing of unusual animals in unusual ways.58 Analogous reversals can be observed in t h e enagismoi o f f u n e r a r y cult; in t h e ruler cult, the d e m e n t o f prayer, integral part of the sacrifice, hardly plays any role.59 M y second example concerns the transfer of a ritual into a new ideological context. Let us take again the ritual of blood sacrifice. U n t i l the late fourth Century AD it was a w i d e l y attested and accepted practice. It was performed in private and in the Community; it did not have a liminal position. O f course things changed after the year 391, when sacrifices were forbidden. T h e sporadic Performance of sacrifices, attested by several inscriptions after this prohibition (e.g. the inscription of the priest Helladios in Megara), acquires a different meaning in the n e w historical context
. It is not just the Performance of a custom, but the demonstrative defiance of Christian legislation and observance of ancient customs in a period of religious intolerance.60 But even before the prohibition, we know from
58 G r a f , Gottesnдhe, 203-4. C f . n o w S. I. J o h n s t o n , 'Sacrifice in the G r e e k Magical P a p y r i ' , in P . Mirecki and M . M e y e r (eds.), Magic and Ritual in the Ancient World ( L e i d e n , 2002), 344-58. 59 S. R . F . Price, Rituals and Power: The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor ( C a m b r i d g e , 1984), 118-21; M . Clauss, Kaiser und Gott: Herrscherkult im rцmischen Reich (Stuttgart and L e i p z i g , 1999), 413-19. In the East, the only unecjьivocal reference to a prayer (euche) to an emperor is in an inscription at T h y a t e i r a (IGRRP4A273, lines 11-13). M o r e problematic are the references to euche in the context o f the emperor cult in SEG 2.718 and 45.1719. F o r a discussion see D . F i s h w i c k , ' V o t i v e Offerings to the E m p e r o r ? ' , ZPE 80 (1990), 121-30, and A . Chaniotis, 'Der Kaiserkult im Osten des Rцmischen Reiches im Kontext der zeitgenцssischen Ritualpraxis', in H . Cancik and K . H i t z l (eds.), Die Praxis der Herrscherverehrung in Rom und seinen Provinzen: Akten der Tagung in Blaubeuren vom 4. bis 6. April 2002 ( T ь b i n g e n , 2003), 3-28. 60 G e n e r a l s u r v e y of the evidence: F . R . T r o m b l e y , Hellenic religion and Christianization, c.370-529 ( L e i d e n , 1993-4). Examples: A . Chaniotis,
the fourth Century several cases of late pagans w h o emphasize in their inscriptions that they have observed the pagan rituals. N o t so many people bothered to write epigrams commemorating the fact that they had offered sacrifices before the fourth Century AD. In the period of advancing Christianization many did--for e x a m p l e P l u t a r c h , praeses insularum d u r i n g t h e reign of J u l i a n , w h o mentions in an epigram on Samos the fact that he had sacrificed in the Idaean Cave,61 or Vera in Patmos (fourth C e n t u r y ) , selected b y A r t e m i s to b e h e r priestess; as a hydrophoros she c a m e to P a t m o s f r o m L e b e d o s in o r d e r t o c e l e b r a t e a festival which included the sacrifice of a pregnant she-goat.62 Finally, ritual transfer may imply a radical change in the social context of its Performance. It has been observed, for instance that initiatory rituals in early times performed b y all the m e m b e r s of a C o m m u n i t y , s u r v i v e d as rituals of a privileged g r o u p (e.g. in A t h e n s t h e ritual o f t h e arkteia).63
10. C O N T E X T U A L I Z I N G M E D I T E R R A N E A N R I T U A L S T h e plethora of 'Mediterranean' studies makes clear how urgent the need to conceptualize the Mediterranean is. T h i s can only w o r k if it goes along w i t h the continual effort to contextualize 'Mediterranean' phenomena. I hope that the case studies presented here have shown the necessity to contextualize rituals and ritual behaviour in the ancient Mediterranean and their survivals in later periods. T h e title of the book w i t h w h i c h t h e heros ktistes o f o u r c o m m o n s u b j e c t , F e r n a n d Braudel, inaugurated Mediterranean studies, reminds us that the study of the Mediterranean is the study of historical contexts. 'Zwischen Konfrontation und Interaktion: Christen, Juden und Heiden im spдtantiken A p h r o d i s i a s ' , in C . A c k e r m a n n and K . E . M ь l l e r (eds.), Patchwork: Dimensionen multikultureller Gesellschaften (Bielefeld, 2002), 101--2. 61 SEG 1. 405. F o r the identity of Plutarch see A . Chaniotis, 'Plutarchos, praeses I n s u l a r u m ' , ZPE 68 (1987), 227-31. 62 R . M e r k e l b a c h and J . Stauber, Steinepigramme aus dem griechischen Osten (Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1998), i. 169-70. 63 O n the arkteia see recently N . D e m a n d , Birth, Death, and Motherhood in Classical Greece (Baltimore, 1994), 107-14, and B. G e n t i i i and F . Perusino (eds.), Le orse di Brauron: Un rituale di iniziazione femminile nel santuario di Artemide (Pisa, 2002).