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L’image dans le texte : statues de culte, représentations religieuses

Can iconography help to interpret Lycophron’s description of the ritual performed by Daunian maidens (Alexandra 1126-1140)?

Come può l’iconografia aiutare a interpretare meglio la descrizione del culto dauno di Cassandra, data da Licofrone nell’ Alessandra (Alex. 1126-1140)?
L’iconographie peut-elle nous aider à mieux comprendre la description par Lycophron du culte daunien de Cassandre (Alex. 1126-1140) ?
Giulia Biffis

Résumés

Dans l’Alexandra, Lycophron mentionne un culte célébré en Daunie. Cet article présente les résultats d’une enquête visant à déterminer s’il existe des parallèles iconographiques correspondant au rite daunien décrit par Lycophron. Il s’agit notamment d’examiner si l’iconographie nous permet de mieux comprendre certains aspects de la description que nous a livrée Lycophron. Tout en gardant bien en vue l’idée selon laquelle les images doivent davantage être entendues comme des constructions symboliques que comme les reflets fidèles et immédiats du réel, j’ai voulu m’interroger sur l’existence, dans la tradition iconographique, d’images présentant un lien éventuel avec le culte décrit par Lycophron. Le premier corpus auquel je m’attacherai est celui de la céramique figurée retrouvée dans la nécropole daunienne de Salpia Vetus, où le culte aurait pris place si l’on en croit le témoignage de l’Alexandra ; dans un deuxième temps, je considère de manière plus globale la céramique apulienne à figures rouges, dont le répertoire iconographique reflète vraisemblablement le goût et les préoccupations des acquéreurs locaux. L’examen de ces deux corpus sera enfin suivi de la confrontation avec un autre type de matériel, à savoir les plaques votives issues de sites archéologiques d’Italie du Sud ou de Sicile : celles issues du sanctuaire de Perséphone-Aphrodite à Locres Épizéphyriennes et du sanctuaire de Perséphone à Francavilla-Naxos.

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This research has been supported by the AHRC.

  • 1 In this paper what concerns with the Daunian cult refers mainly to the conclusions reached by the (...)
  • 2 E. Lippolis, T. Giammatteo, Salpia vetus. Archeologia di una città lagunare: le campagne di scavo (...)
  • 3 A.D. Trendall, A. Cambitoglou, The red-figured vases of Apulia, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1978-1982 (...)
  • 4 T.H. Carpenter, “The native market for red-figure vases in Apulia”, MAAR 48, 2003, p. 1-24, esp. p (...)

1In the Alexandra, Lycophron mentions a cult celebrated in Daunia, the northern part of Puglia in Southern Italy. This paper presents the result of an attempt to find an iconographical parallel for the Daunian ritual described by Lycophron.1 In particular, it focuses on how iconography can help to achieve a better understanding of Lycophron’s description. Bearing in mind the principle according to which an image is always a symbolic construction rather than a picture of reality, I ask whether there is a figurative heritage that presents affinities with the cult described by Lycophron. First, I will consider the figured pottery found in the Daunian necropolis of Salpia Vetus,2 where the cult would have taken place according to Lycophron’s text; I will then incorporate in my study the rest of Apulian red-figure vases,3 because their iconographic repertoire mirrors the interests and tastes of a native Apulian market;4 finally, I will consider a different class of materials, namely votive plaques belonging to Southern Italian and Sicilian contexts.

  • 5 Alexandra, lines 1126-1140:
    οὐ μὴν ἐμὸν νώνυμνον ἀνθρώποις σέβας
    ἔσται, μαρανθὲν αὖθι ληθαίῳ σκότῳ. (...)
  • 6 Cassandra’s prophecy refers to the tribute of the Locrian virgins too. Even though this rite does (...)
  • 7 On gestures of supplication: F.S. Naiden, Ancient supplication, New York and Oxford, Oxford Univer (...)
  • 8 Compare, for example, Aeschylus’ Oresteia: Ag. 462: κελαιναὶ Ἐρινύες ; Ch. 1049 : φαιοχίτωνες ; Eu(...)
  • 9 Compare Strabo’s testimony on the inhabitants of the Cassiterides islands in the northern part of (...)

2Let us look at the poetic text first.5 In Lycophron’s Alexandra, the heroine Cassandra foresees that her memory will be preserved for the future by a Daunian cult.6 She claims that the Daunian girls who do not want to marry will shun their suitors by clasping her wooden statue. These young women are described as if they followed the normal pattern of an act of supplication,7 but with a particularity: while they clasp Cassandra’s statue, they wear a special dress. Cassandra says that they clothe themselves in the garb of Erinyes (Ἐρινύων ἐσθῆτα), which means that they dress in black according to the established portrait of the Erinyes;8 then, they wear make-up made from magic herbs (θρόνοισι φαρμακτηρίοις) and they hold a staff/rod (ῥάβδος) in their hands.9

  • 10 M. Mari, art. cit., p. 421-422.

3In this description, the girls wear a ritual costume. This is a clear sign that we are not dealing with the description of a one-off act of supplication. On the contrary, this act of supplication must be interpreted as a proper ritual performed on a particular occasion, because ritual costume is a device often used to mark the difference between the dimension of reality and the dimension of the ritual itself.10 Therefore, the supplication of the Daunian girls should be interpreted either as a ritual by itself or as part of a wider ceremony, the details of which Lycophron does not provide.

  • 11 M. Mari, art. cit., p. 422.
  • 12 With full bibliography see R. Parker, Polytheism and society at Athens, Oxford, Oxford University (...)

4Lycophron describes a pre-marital ritual that was aimed not at preventing the marriage of the girls, but instead at assuring its accomplishment.11 In particular, the ritual would have been intended to prevent the maidens from living the tragic destiny of Cassandra, the paradigm of the violated parthenos, and meant to promote instead a happy union. The ritual would have enacted the undesired scenario in order to prevent it, in accordance with other rites, such as that of the Arkteia at Brauron, which was credited with the apotropaic power of averting the actual occurrence of the dangerous event played out during the rite itself.12

5In conclusion, the ritual described by Lycophron appears to have been intended to ensure a successful transition from childhood to adulthood for the girls of the Daunian community and to lead them to a happy marriage. In this respect the shift of vocabulary between the words παρθένειον (line 1131) and γυναιξίν (line 1140) in Lycophron’s lines does not seem to be casual, but to be meant to draw attention to the shifting status of the girls: once they have clutched the statue of Cassandra and performed the rite, they become women in the full sense. It is of course possible to interpret line 1140 as referring to all Daunian women, but the word ῤαβδηφόροις (line 1140) points to a ceremonial context and seems to add a new detail to the ritual costume described in the previous lines.

  • 13 Schol. Lyc. Al. 1137 = Timaeus FGrHist 566 fr. 55: ὁ δὲ Τίμαιός φησιν, ὅτι Ἕλληνες ἐπειδὰν ἀπαντήσ (...)

6The hypothesis that the staff could have been part of the costume of the young women performing the ritual is strengthened by the scholion to line 1137. This scholion reports that Timaeus had also talked about this particular kind of clothing worn by the Daunian women.13 Timaeus says that when the Greeks met the Daunian women who were dressed in black (ἐσθῆτα φαιάν), with broad belts (ταινίαις πλατείαις), boots (τὰ κοῖλα τῶν ὑποδημάτων), a rod in their hands (ἐχούσαις δὲ ἐν ταῖς χερσὶ ῥάβδον) and red makeup, they formed an idea of the Erinyes of the tragedies.

7The similarity between Lycophron’s lines and Timaeus’ fragment is remarkable and becomes even more striking with respect to the fact that both associate the Daunian women with Erinyes. Given that Timaeus’ fragment is more factually precise than Lycophron’s lines, it is tempting to suppose the dependence of the latter on the historian or at least a common ground shared by both authors.

  • 14 M. Mazzei, “Le figure rosse a Salapia: le associazioni. I servizi funebri e i modelli ideologici”, (...)

8I will now turn to the analysis of some iconographic material that could be connected with the interpretation of this Daunian ritual. Lycophron locates the temple of Cassandra next to the ancient lagoon of Salpe, with high probability at the Daunian site of Salpia Vetus. Marina Mazzei, who analyzed the red-figured vases found in the necropolis, concluded that its pottery belongs mainly to the so called “plain style”.14 There is no reference on the vases to mythological scenes and their iconographic repertoire is broadly constituted with Dionysiac themes, scenes from the life of women and representations of the pursuit of girls.

  • 15 C. Sourvinou-Inwood, “Series of Erotic Pursuit: Images and Meanings”, JHS 107, 1987, p. 131-153, e (...)
  • 16 E.g. A.D. Trendall, A. Cambitoglou, op. cit.RVA I, 1978, plat. 23: the Schiller Painter n. 3 Hi (...)
  • 17 C. Sourvinou-Inwood, art. cit., p. 136-141.
  • 18 E. Mugione, Miti della ceramica attica in Occidente: problemi di trasmissioni iconografiche nelle (...)

9Even though this last theme is not specifically concerned with cults, the underlying idea belongs to the same category of thought as the Daunian rite described by the poet. The Daunian girls shun their suitors in the same way as, in the scheme of the “fleeing woman”,15 a maiden runs away from a pursuer who is either a young ephebe, a satyr or Eros.16 According to Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood’s interpretation of this scheme, this flight is an erotic pursuit, in which running is associated with the initiation of both, maiden and boy: the capture of a girl should be understood on the one hand as a metaphorical domestication of the untamed girl who refuses the advances of men, on the other hand, as a sort of test in the context of the ephebic experience.17 The fact that in the scheme the maiden’s head is turned back towards the suitor, shows that there is also a mutual attraction between maiden and ephebe, and that the pursuit will lead to a union of the two just as in the case of the Daunian ritual. However, this scheme is very common in vase iconography throughout Southern Italy, not just at Salpia, and it is part of the iconographic Greek koiné. Moreover, the mythological representation of the theme of Theseus’ pursuit also belongs to the category of this iconographic scheme, one of those themes that cross from Attica to Italy.18

  • 19 A. Delivorrias, G. Berger Doer, A. Kossatz Deissmann, LIMC II (1984) s.v. “Aphrodite” 14, cat. n.  (...)
  • 20 M. De Cesare, Le statue in immagine. Studi sulle raffigurazioni di statue nella pittura vascolare (...)
  • 21 In addition, the numerous Apulian vases, also from Salpia, with images of Eros, either alone or in (...)
  • 22 F.T. Zeitlin, “Configuration of Rape in Greek Myth”, in S. Tomaselli, R. Porter (dir.), Rape: an h (...)
  • 23 C. Calame, op. cit., p. 145.

10Themes of abduction, pursuit and rape evoke the same idea as the one implied by the erotic pursuit and they are well attested on vases discovered in Puglia, for example on the krater by the Sisyphus painter with the depiction of the abduction of the Leucippidae19 and on the hydria by the Meleager painter with Boreas’ pursuit of Oreithyia.20 Images related to transitional aspects seem to be among the most popular schemes.21 The scenes of abduction of young women in Greek myths refer to the moment in which a girl turns into a woman, but still refuses sexuality and marital union. Her refusal of the suitors provokes them to resort to a violent action that could lead to either abduction or rape.22 Nevertheless, as we just have explained, the sexual violence of the myths has to be understood “as a metaphorical domestication of the untamed girl” in the words of Claude Calame.23

  • 24 On statues in scenes of supplication see M. De Cesare, op. cit., p. 123.

11Lycophron’s description of the Daunian maidens clutching the statue of Cassandra relates also to another iconographic stock theme: supplication. In this motif young girls clasp the statue of a goddess who can be recognised as either Athena, Aphrodite or Artemis. However, they can also clasp the statue of a generic, and thus unrecognisable, female figure, as in the case of the representations of the abductions of the Leucippides and Oreithiya mentioned above. Young girls are represented touching the statue of a goddess as an act of supplication in order to be given divine protection against men. They can be understood as a symbolic image of a parthenos on the verge of becoming a woman. From such a perspective, the maidens depicted in this iconographic scheme correspond to the Daunian virgins of Lycophron’s description. Also, the statue of Cassandra, which they are said to clasp, matches the typological representation of female statues in these kinds of scenes:24 the statue of Cassandra serves the same function as those represented on the vases.

  • 25 On the iconography of cult statues see M. De Cesare, op. cit. On the difference between representa (...)

12Several topical scenes of abduction occur in mythological representations. For example, in the mythological scene of Cassandra taking refuge at the image of Athena, the statue of the goddess is a cult image, but this is necessary for the story itself. By contrast, we know of no myth that could justify the depiction of the statue of Cassandra as functional to the story. So we would not expect to recognise specifically a statue of Cassandra among these sorts of representations which are very common in the Greek iconographic heritage. Nevertheless, all the statues represented constitute a iconographic type for venerated female cult statues, and the type often does not present the details and elements that would allow us to identify a specific deity.25 Thus, it is plausible that a “real” cult statue of Cassandra would have been represented in accordance with this type in an area such as Daunia, characterised by Greek cultural influences since the fourth century BC at the latest.

  • 26 F. Veronese, “L’iconografia di Cassandra e l’Alessandra di Licofrone. Spunti di riflessione a marg (...)
  • 27 O. Touchefeu, LIMC I/1, 1981, s.v. “Aias II”, p. 344, n. 63.
  • 28 Compare the many vases depicting the scene of Cassandra’s supplication at the statue of Athena aga (...)
  • 29 On the difficulty in disentangling mythological scenes and cult scenes see I. Bald Romano, “Early (...)

13Recently, Francesca Veronese26 has suggested that a red-figure amphora from Tarquinia, attributed to the Ethiop Painter, dated to around 450 BC,27 presents a detail directly related to the Daunian cult. On this amphora Cassandra clutches the statue of Athena because she is threatened by Ajax and, near her, a smaller figure does the same. According to Veronese, this second woman represents a real Daunian girl who worships Cassandra during the rite described by Lycophron. Even though I find this hypothesis very tempting, I prefer to consider this vase as a further example of the popularity of the theme in Italy28 and leave open the question of the identity of the smaller female figure, especially as there are several other examples in which two women are depicted clutching the same statue. Moreover, all the scenes of supplication under consideration here refer to specific mythological happenings, none of these depicts a repetitive ritual. F. Veronese suggests that on the amphora the painter would have merged the mythological scene and the representation of the cult related to the myth, but it is difficult to confirm or infirm this hypothesis.29

  • 30 On cult images and the relationship between iconography and rites see J.T. Jensen, G. Hinge, P. Sc (...)

14It should be remembered that, first, the Daunian girls’ supplication is not a myth, but a rite. Second, the quite rare cult scenes30 that we have on vases are mainly sacrificial scenes, processions, dances and prayers. Thus, they do not match the key moment of the Daunian ritual described by Lycophron. Hence, trying to find an actual representation of this cult, let alone multiple attestations, is a remote possibility and only multiple attestations would constitute persuasive evidence. Most importantly, even though a scene directly related to the cult has not emerged, I have tried to show that the cult described by Lycophron is consistent with stock themes attested in Greek and Southern Italian iconography.

  • 31 On Locri see M. Cardosa, E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, I pinakes di Locri Epizefiri, (...)
  • 32 M. Torelli, “I culti di Locri”, in Locri Epizefiri. Atti del XVI Convegno di studi sulla Magna Gre (...)

15Following this line of thought, I would suggest that the iconographic context of Southern Italy and Sicily can offer an interesting parallel to the “staff-carrying women” in Lycophron’s poem (ῥαβδηφόροις γυναιξίν, line 1140) and strengthen an interpretation of the Daunian rite as a premarital and transitional rite. Votive reliefs discovered in Southern Italy in the sanctuary of Persephone-Aphrodite at Locri Epizephyri and in Sicily in the sanctuary of Persephone at Francavilla-Naxos have been related to pre-marital celebrations.31 These plaques show a staff that Mario Torelli interprets as a symbol of the transition from childhood to womanhood.32 The word used by Lycophron must be interpreted in accordance with this observation.

  • 33 P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque. Histoire des mots, Paris, Klincksie (...)
  • 34 LSJ and F.J.M. de Waele, The magic staff or rod in Graeco-Italian antiquity, Gent, Erasmus, 1927, (...)
  • 35 F.J.M. de Waele, op. cit., p. 118, n. 2 : Pausanias says that (V, 18, 2), on the chest of Kypselos (...)

16The word ῥάβδος essentially means a rod, something lighter than a walking stick (βακτηρία).33 It is a flexible piece of wood and can be related to “twig” and “shoot”,34 but is not a branch such as that which is carried by supplicants (κλάδος). It could also mean a “crook” or a “magic wand”. Finally, it could mean “rod for chastisement”. Indeed, the staff of Dike and the Poenae, which is an instrument of castigation, is called ῥάβδος rather than σκῆπτρον.35 This usage is interesting, because the Daunian girls dress as Erinyes and these are often represented with whips and beating rods. Nevertheless, as I have pointed out above, in Lycophron’s description the staff is not directly connected to the costume worn, but is in the hands of women who worship Cassandra, although they do not necessarily correspond to the maidens performing the rite.

  • 36 Compare the Roman litus in ThesCRA, vol. 5, p. 394-396.
  • 37 Compare F.J.M. de Waele, op. cit., p. 145-153 ; G. Salapata, Lakonian Votives Plaques with Particu (...)
  • 38 M. Torelli, art. cit., p. 161.
  • 39 F.J.M. de Waele, op. cit., p. 153.

17When Lycophron refers to the ῥαβδηφόροι γυναῖκες, he might allude to Daunian priestesses. Indeed, the compound created by Lycophron is a variation on the word ῥαβδοφόρος, a rare word for ῥαβδοῦχος. This word is used for those who carry a staff of office as a mark of superiority,36 first said only of divinities, but among men, of rulers, heralds, magistrates, seers37 and priests. There is evidence of priestesses called ῥαβδοῦχοι attending the Thesmophoric cults at Alexandria in the third century BC (Polybius 15. 29. 13) and in the sanctuaries of Larissa and Andania according to inscriptions dated around the third and second century BC (IG IX.2, nn. 735 and 1109 (l. 24)).38 In addition, the priestess of Branchidae at Didyma also held a “ῥάβδος” (Jambl. De Myster. 3.11.127,4: p. 127 Parthey).39 This interpretation is not advanced by any commentators on the text, while in fact the majority think that the poet is here referring to the entire body of Daunian women. This impression of totality is in fact given by the climactic composition of the passage. Cassandra draws attention to her future cult in Daunia and gradually involves in it all the members of the community from the chiefs (ἄκροι, line 1128), citizens (οἵ τε Δάρδανον πόλιν ναίουσι, lines 1129-1130), maidens (κοῦραι, line 1131) to, finally, women.

18It is quite improbable that Daunian women would have carried a staff in normal life. As I suggested above, the staff seems to indicate a ceremonial context. Thus, I propose that it was an object that symbolised the accomplishment of the ritual and the entrance of the maidens into the world of women. This thesis finds iconographical support in a number of votive reliefs, pinakes, discovered in the sanctuary of Persephone-Aphrodite at Locri Epizephyri and in the sanctuary of Persephone at Francavilla-Naxos. I have assumed that the comparison between these artefacts is legitimate, even if they were found in different archaeological contexts, because the plaques discovered in the two sanctuaries share significant iconographical characteristics. In particular, these reliefs present scenes that are clearly related to the transition from childhood to adulthood such as the image of the couple receiving pomegranates, cocks, flowers and eggs as an offer, all symbolic objects connected to this theme.

  • 40 For an introduction on group number 5, see E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, op. cit., v (...)
  • 41 Specifically on group 5/15, M. Rubinich, in E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, op. cit., (...)
  • 42 D. Callipolitis-Feytmans, “Déméter, Corè et les Moires sur des vases corinthiens”, BCH 94, 1970, p (...)
  • 43 For an introduction on group number 8, F. Barello, M. Cardosa, E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal (...)
  • 44 See R. Schenal Pileggi, in F. Barello, M. Cardosa, E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, op. (...)
  • 45 Specifically on group 5/19 and 5/20, M. Rubinich, in E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, o (...)
  • 46 Compare the fact that in the Pyrrhic dance, which could be performed by young women and was relate (...)

19Among the pinakes of Locri, I want to focus especially on those in which the rhábdos appears. First, the group 5/3 portrays a procession in which there are one or more female figures alongside one taller woman with rod and phiale.40 This woman probably represents the priestess which, in the nuptial agogé, replaced the mothers of the maidens; in group 5/15, she is still present at the moment in which the girls make the offerings to the goddess.41 M. Torelli compares this scene to one on a Corinthian vase42 which shows a nuptial procession in which a maiden is followed by a woman with a staff who will put the girl into the hands of her future husband and draws the attention to the use of the staff in a similar context. Second, a rhábdos appears in the hand of a woman, recognised as Persephone, to whom the votive offerings are presented as a symbol of bidding farewell to childhood (in 8/943 and in 8/132xB).44 Third, the rhábdos is depicted either in the moment of falling from the hand of the goddess over the bridal trousseau set before her or lyin on the kibotós (5/19 and 5/20).45 This object obviously plays a central role, because it happens to belong to the three major characters of the ceremony: worshipper, priestess and goddess. Before the ritual is accomplished it is held by the priestess and after the ritual, as a sign of the protection granted by the goddess, it becomes part of the possessions of the maiden who, at that moment, becomes a woman. Hence, I follow M. Torelli’s reading of the rhábdos as representing the idea of transition.46

  • 47 U. Spigo U., “I pinakes di Francavilla di Sicilia”, BdA 111, 2000, p. 32-37.

20The rhábdos shows up in the pinakes of Francavilla as well. The iconographic schemes are very similar to those of Locri just mentioned. In particular, the group V/1, in which the staff is depicted between the open hand of the goddess and the trousseau of the bride, and the group V/2, in which the goddess holds the staff, while receiving the ball and the cock(erell) as offerings from the maiden.47 I would like to argue that the symbolic meaning held by the staff at Locri may also apply to the Sicilian context.

  • 48 Amyclae Pl. A6231/2 in G. Salapata, op. cit., p. 1022.
  • 49 G. Salapata, op. cit., p. 144-146.

21In this light, it seems valuable to consider a type of ex-voto coming from the sanctuary of Alexandra at Amyclae, the only sanctuary of the Greek world that produced archaeological evidence for a cult of Cassandra. In one of the groups of pinakes there is a seated couple and, in the background, a woman holding a staff.48 According to Georgia Salapata’s interpretation of the votive plaques of this sanctuary, at Amyclae a cult related to female transition from the status of parthenos to that of a guné took place49 just as in Locri and Francavilla. Thus, the identity of ritual function between the sanctuaries and the similarities of representations in the votive reliefs discovered in these three different places invite us to stretch the interpretation of the staff towards this cultural context as well. Women with staff in the cult of Cassandra in Daunia would mirror the existence of the same attribute in another cult of Cassandra, this time attested also by material evidence.

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Notes

1 In this paper what concerns with the Daunian cult refers mainly to the conclusions reached by the most recent secondary literature on this topic: F. Russo, M. Barbera, “Ambiguità espressive in Licofrone: la dardanos polis della Daunia”, Studi Linguistici e Filologici Online 5-1, 2006, p. 181-220 ; R. Ciardiello, “Il culto di Cassandra in Daunia”, Annali dell’Istituto italiano per gli studi storici 14, 1997, p. 81-136 ; M. Mari, “Cassandra e le altre : riti di donne nell’Alessandra di Licofrone”, in C. Cusset, É. Prioux (dir.), Lycophron : éclats d’obscurité, Actes du colloque international de Lyon et Saint-Étienne, 18-20 janvier 2007, Saint-Étienne, PUSE, 2009, p. 405-440. Complex interpretative points are more exhaustively addressed in my forthcoming doctoral thesis.

2 E. Lippolis, T. Giammatteo, Salpia vetus. Archeologia di una città lagunare: le campagne di scavo del 1967-1968 e del 1978-1979, Venosa, Osanna, 2008.

3 A.D. Trendall, A. Cambitoglou, The red-figured vases of Apulia, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1978-1982 (= RVA) and M. Denoyelle, E. Lippolis, M. Mazzei et C. Pouzadoux (dir.), La Céramique apulienne. Bilan et perspectives, Naples, Centre Jean Bérard, 2005.

4 T.H. Carpenter, “The native market for red-figure vases in Apulia”, MAAR 48, 2003, p. 1-24, esp. p. 1.

5 Alexandra, lines 1126-1140:
οὐ μὴν ἐμὸν νώνυμνον ἀνθρώποις σέβας
ἔσται, μαρανθὲν αὖθι ληθαίῳ σκότῳ.
ναὸν δέ μοι τεύξουσι Δαυνίων ἄκροι
Σάλπης παρ’ ὄχθαις, οἵ τε Δάρδανον πόλιν
ναίουσι, λίμνης ἀγχιτέρμονες ποτῶν.
κοῦραι δὲ παρθένειον ἐκφυγεῖν ζυγὸν
ὅταν θέλωσι, νυμφίους ἀρνούμεναι,
τοὺς Ἑκτορείοις ἠγλαϊσμένους κόμαις,
μορφῆς ἔχοντας σίφλον ἢ μῶμαρ γένους,
ἐμὸν περιπτύξουσιν ὠλέναις βρέτας,
ἄλκαρ μέγιστον κτώμεναι νυμφευμάτων,
Ἐρινύων ἐσθῆτα καὶ ῥέθους βαφὰς
πεπαμέναι θρόνοισι φαρμακτηρίοις.
κείναις ἐγὼ δηναιὸν ἄφθιτος θεὰ
ῥαβδηφόροις γυναιξὶν αὐδηθήσομαι.Nor shall my worship be nameless among men, nor fade hereafter in the darkness of oblivion. But the chiefs of the Daunians shall build for me a shrine on the banks of Salpe, and those also who inhabit the city of Dardanus, beside the waters of the lake. And when girls wish to escape the yoke of maidens, refusing for bridegrooms men adorned with locks such as Hector wore, but with defect of form or reproach of birth, they will embrace my image with their arms, winning a mighty shield against marriage, having clothed them in the garb of the Erinyes and dyed their faces with magic simples. By these staff-carrying women I shall long be called an immortal goddess (translated by A.W. Mair, Loeb edition).

6 Cassandra’s prophecy refers to the tribute of the Locrian virgins too. Even though this rite does not depict Cassandra as a direct recipient of cult, the violence perpetrated against her by Ajax constitutes its aition, and therefore in Cassandra’s eyes the rite is a further way in which her honour will be recognised. The bibliography on the historical reconstruction of the Locrian tribute is extensive. Most recent contributions on this, with detailed exam of previous bibliography, are G. Ragone, “Il millennio delle vergini locresi”, in B. Virgilio (dir.), Studi ellenistici. 8, Biblioteca di studi antichi 78, Pisa e Roma, Istituti editoriali e poligrafici internazionali, 1996, p. 7-95 ; M. Mari, “Tributo a Ilio e prostituzione sacra: storia e riflessi sociali di due riti femminili locresi”, RCCM 39, 1997, p. 131-177 ; J.M. Redfield, The Locrian Maidens: Love and Death in Greek Italy, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2003, esp. p. 83-150 ; V. Ghezzi, “I tiranni siracusani e le vergini locresi”, PP 59, 2004, p. 321-360. Specifically on Lycophron, see E. Manni, “Licofrone, Callimaco, Timeo”, Kokalos 7, 1961, p. 3-14; id. “Le Locridi nella letteratura del III sec. a.C. ”, in A. Rostagni (ed.), Miscelllanea di studi alessandrini in memoria di Augusto Rostagni, Torino, Bottega d’Erasmo, 1963, p. 166-179; M. Mari, “Commento storico a Licofrone (Alex. 1141-1173)”, Hesperìa 11, 2000, p. 283-296 ; id., M. Mari, “Cassandra e le altre : riti di donne nell’Alessandra di Licofrone”, in Lycophron: éclats d’ obscurité, op. cit., p. 406-415.

7 On gestures of supplication: F.S. Naiden, Ancient supplication, New York and Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 43-62.

8 Compare, for example, Aeschylus’ Oresteia: Ag. 462: κελαιναὶ Ἐρινύες ; Ch. 1049 : φαιοχίτωνες ; Eu. 52: μέλαιναι ; Eu. 370 : μελανείμοσιν.

9 Compare Strabo’s testimony on the inhabitants of the Cassiterides islands in the northern part of the coast of the Iberic peninsula (at the extremity of the western side of the world: Hdt. 3.115.1), who are said to wear black cloaks, go clad in tunics that reach to their feet, wear belts around their breasts, walk around with rods (ῥάβδος) and resembling the goddesses of the Vengeance (Poinái) in tragedies (Strabo III 5. 11. 175 = Poseid. FGrHist 87 F 115; Athen. XII 25, 523 B (Geffcken, 1982, p. 10): Αἱ δὲ Καττιτερίδες δέκα μέν εἰσι, κεῖνται δ᾽ ἐγγὺς ἀλλήλων πρὸς ἄρκτον ἀπὸ τοῦ τῶν Ἀρτάβρων λιμένος πελάγιαι· μία δ᾽ αὐτῶν ἔρημός ἐστι, τὰς δ᾽ ἄλλας οἰκοῦσιν ἄνθρωποι μελάγχλαινοι, ποδήρεις ἐνδεδυκότες τοὺς χιτῶνας, ἐζωσμένοι περὶ τὰ στέρνα, μετὰ ῥάβδων περιπατοῦντες, ὅμοιοι ταῖς τραγικαῖς Ποιναῖς. This ethnographic notation seems completely unrelated to Lycophron’s passage. G. Cruz Andreotti, M.V. García Quintela and F.J. Gómez Espelosín (Presentación, notas y comentarios de Estrabón, Geografía de Iberia [trad. F.J. Gómez Espelosín], Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 2007, p. 353) interpret the strange dress of the inhabitants of the Cassiterides Islands as a way of connecting them to the primitive justice of the time of Cronos.

10 M. Mari, art. cit., p. 421-422.

11 M. Mari, art. cit., p. 422.

12 With full bibliography see R. Parker, Polytheism and society at Athens, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 228-248.

13 Schol. Lyc. Al. 1137 = Timaeus FGrHist 566 fr. 55: ὁ δὲ Τίμαιός φησιν, ὅτι Ἕλληνες ἐπειδὰν ἀπαντήσωσι ταῖς Δαυνίαις ὑπεσταλμέναις μὲν ἐσθῆτα φαιάν, ἐζωσμέναις δὲ ταινίαις πλατείαις, ὐποδεδεμέναις δὲ τὰ κοῖλα τῶν ὑποδημάτων, ἐχούσαις δὲ ἐν ταῖς χερσὶ ῥάβδον, ὑπαληλιμμέναις δὲ τὸ πρόσωπον καθάπερ πυρρῶι τινι χρώματι, τῶν Ποινῶν ἔννοιαν λαμβάνουσι τῶν τραγικῶν.

14 M. Mazzei, “Le figure rosse a Salapia: le associazioni. I servizi funebri e i modelli ideologici”, in Salpia vetus, op. cit., p. 404-406.

15 C. Sourvinou-Inwood, “Series of Erotic Pursuit: Images and Meanings”, JHS 107, 1987, p. 131-153, esp. p. 137.

16 E.g. A.D. Trendall, A. Cambitoglou, op. cit.RVA I, 1978, plat. 23: the Schiller Painter n. 3 Hildestein F 3299; plat. 35: the Painter of Lecce n. 3 Naples 2094.

17 C. Sourvinou-Inwood, art. cit., p. 136-141.

18 E. Mugione, Miti della ceramica attica in Occidente: problemi di trasmissioni iconografiche nelle produzioni italiote, Taranto, Scorpione, 2000, p. 66-67.

19 A. Delivorrias, G. Berger Doer, A. Kossatz Deissmann, LIMC II (1984) s.v. “Aphrodite” 14, cat. n. 48.

20 M. De Cesare, Le statue in immagine. Studi sulle raffigurazioni di statue nella pittura vascolare greca, Roma, L’Erma di Bretschneider, 1997, p. 127, fig. 66.

21 In addition, the numerous Apulian vases, also from Salpia, with images of Eros, either alone or in scenes of bridal preparation or in the company of a maiden, seem to be connected to the same sphere of interest and probably hint at a special position held by the god in the culture of the Apulian peoples, for whom Eros was not just an attribute of Aphrodite, but more a symbol of the passage of age and of the transition of status that this requires (see M. Rubinich, in F. Barello, M. Cardosa, E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, I pinakes di Locri Epizefiri, Musei di Reggio Calabria e di Locri, Parte III, Atti e Memorie della Società Magna Grecia, Quarta serie III, Rome, Società Magna Grecia, 2004-2007, 6 vol., p. 642).

22 F.T. Zeitlin, “Configuration of Rape in Greek Myth”, in S. Tomaselli, R. Porter (dir.), Rape: an historical and cultural enquiry, Oxford and New York, Blackwell, 1989, p. 122-151 and C. Calame, Choruses of young women in ancient Greece: their morphology, religious role and social function, London, Rowman & Littlefield, 1997, p. 100.

23 C. Calame, op. cit., p. 145.

24 On statues in scenes of supplication see M. De Cesare, op. cit., p. 123.

25 On the iconography of cult statues see M. De Cesare, op. cit. On the difference between representations of cult statues in mythological scenes and cult scenes see B. Alroth, “Changing modes in the representation of cult images”, in R. Hägg (dir.), The Iconography of Greek cult in the archaic and classical periods (Proceedings of the first international seminar on ancient Greek cult: Delphi, 16-18 November 1990), Liège, Presses universitaires de Liège, 1992, p. 9-46.

26 F. Veronese, “L’iconografia di Cassandra e l’Alessandra di Licofrone. Spunti di riflessione a margine di un incontro apparentemente mancato”, in L. Braccesi, F. Raviola, G. Sassatelli (dir.), Hesperìa 21: Studi sulla grecità d’Occidente, Roma, L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2006, p. 67-89, esp. 88-89.

27 O. Touchefeu, LIMC I/1, 1981, s.v. “Aias II”, p. 344, n. 63.

28 Compare the many vases depicting the scene of Cassandra’s supplication at the statue of Athena against Ajax quite numerous in Magna Graecia and particularly in Puglia. For this myth the LIMC (O. Touchefeu, LIMC I/1, 1981, s.v. “Aias II”, p. 339-349) takes into account 11 Italiote pots of which 7 happen to be Apulian. An attic polychrome Lecythos (LIMC I/1, s.v. “Aias II”, p. 345, n. 72) could be added to these, because discovered in the Daunian Canosa and so commissioned by Daunian people.

29 On the difficulty in disentangling mythological scenes and cult scenes see I. Bald Romano, “Early Greek Cult Images and Cult Practices”, in R. Hägg, N. Marinatos, G. Nordquist (ed.), Early Greek cult practice. Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium at the Swedish Institute in Athens (Athens 1986), Stockholm, Swedish Institute at Athens, 1988, p. 127-134.

30 On cult images and the relationship between iconography and rites see J.T. Jensen, G. Hinge, P. Schultz, B. Wickkiser (dir.), Aspects of ancient Greek cult: context, ritual and iconography, Aarhus, Aarhus University Press, 2010; S. Estienne, D. Jaillard, N. Lubtchansky, C. Pouzadoux (dir.)., Image et religion dans l’Antiquité gréco-romaine (Actes du colloque de Rome, 11-13 décembre 2003), Naples, Centre Jean Bérard, 2008 and R. Hägg (dir.), The iconography of Greek cult in the archaic and classical periods, op. cit.

31 On Locri see M. Cardosa, E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, I pinakes di Locri Epizefiri, Musei di Reggio Calabria e di Locri, Parte I, Atti e Memorie della Società Magna Grecia, Quarta serie I (1996-1999), Rome, Società Magna Grecia, 1996-1999, 4 vol.; E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, I pinakes di Locri Epizefiri, Musei di Reggio Calabria e di Locri, Parte II, Atti e Memorie della Società Magna Grecia, Quarta serie II (2000-2003), Rome, Società Magna Grecia, 2000-2003, 5 vol.; F. Barello, M. Cardosa, E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, I pinakes di Locri Epizefiri, Musei di Reggio Calabria e di Locri, Parte III, Atti e Memorie della Società Magna Grecia, Quarta serie III, Rome, Società Magna Grecia, 2004-2007, 6 vol. On Naxos see U. Spigo, “I pinakes di Francavilla di Sicilia”, BdA 111, 2000, p. 1-60; U. Spigo, “I pinakes di Francavilla di Sicilia, II”, BdA 113, 2000, p. 1-78.

32 M. Torelli, “I culti di Locri”, in Locri Epizefiri. Atti del XVI Convegno di studi sulla Magna Grecia (Taranto 3-8 ottobre 1976), Naples, 1977, p. 147-184, p. 161.

33 P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque. Histoire des mots, Paris, Klincksieck, 1968, p. 964.

34 LSJ and F.J.M. de Waele, The magic staff or rod in Graeco-Italian antiquity, Gent, Erasmus, 1927, p. 25.

35 F.J.M. de Waele, op. cit., p. 118, n. 2 : Pausanias says that (V, 18, 2), on the chest of Kypselos, Dike strikes Adikia with a ῤάβδος.

36 Compare the Roman litus in ThesCRA, vol. 5, p. 394-396.

37 Compare F.J.M. de Waele, op. cit., p. 145-153 ; G. Salapata, Lakonian Votives Plaques with Particular Reference to the Sanctuary of Alexandra at Amyklai, PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1992, p. 604-606.

38 M. Torelli, art. cit., p. 161.

39 F.J.M. de Waele, op. cit., p. 153.

40 For an introduction on group number 5, see E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, op. cit., vol. 2, p. 229-261, and in particular on group 5/3 M. Rubinich, p. 286-308; on the priestess with rhábdos and philae, see p. 242 and 247-248.

41 Specifically on group 5/15, M. Rubinich, in E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 447-466.

42 D. Callipolitis-Feytmans, “Déméter, Corè et les Moires sur des vases corinthiens”, BCH 94, 1970, p. 45-65, esp. p. 47-49 and tav. XVI, 3 in M. Torelli, art. cit., p. 177.

43 For an introduction on group number 8, F. Barello, M. Cardosa, E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 3-75, and in particular for the note on the rhábdos see M. Cardosa, p. 11.

44 See R. Schenal Pileggi, in F. Barello, M. Cardosa, E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 21.

45 Specifically on group 5/19 and 5/20, M. Rubinich, in E. Grillo, M. Rubinich, R. Schenal Pileggi, op. cit., vol. 3, p. 496-587.

46 Compare the fact that in the Pyrrhic dance, which could be performed by young women and was related to the transition form the status of maiden to that of women, the use of the staff serves a very important role as explained by P. Ceccarelli, La pirrica nell’antichità greco romana: studi sulla danza armata, Pisa and Rome, Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, 1998, p. 62.

47 U. Spigo U., “I pinakes di Francavilla di Sicilia”, BdA 111, 2000, p. 32-37.

48 Amyclae Pl. A6231/2 in G. Salapata, op. cit., p. 1022.

49 G. Salapata, op. cit., p. 144-146.

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Giulia Biffis, « Can iconography help to interpret Lycophron’s description of the ritual performed by Daunian maidens (Alexandra 1126-1140)? », Aitia [En ligne], 4 | 2014, mis en ligne le 19 janvier 2015, consulté le 26 juin 2017. URL : http://aitia.revues.org/1025 ; DOI : 10.4000/aitia.1025

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Giulia Biffis

University College London

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