The Athenian Expounders of the Sacred and Ancestral Law

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JAMES H. OLIVER Profu,o r of Cla11ie1 at The John, ll opkin, University




1950, TnE JonNs



To J.











c. 0.



HE ATHENIAN basileus and the Roman rex are seldom mentioned in the following pages, but one of the questions which the author has asked himself and which have given the following investigation a new direction is this: What happened to the sacral and patriarchal functions of the kingship when through revolution or ernlution the king lost so much of his importance for the (secular) constitution of the city state that his prestige and experience no longer were adequate for all his original functions elsewhere? At Athens he remained an important official to the end, but his great functions were a mere remnant of what he once had. True, Aristotle, Constitution of Athens 57, notes," In a word, all sacrifices (that were taken over from, or came down in, the) Ancestral Law are in his department: indictments for impiety are brought to him, and any dispute over a priesthood; for gene and for priests he adjudicates claims concerning their --." Aristotle was interested in the king solely as an organ of the Law of the Polis. But both at Athens and at Rome there were two systems of law, and this reflection too has given the author an impulse toward new answers to old problems of Athenian and Roman history. The author here submits to his reader a synthesis of literary and epigraphical evidence bearing on the official exegetes of Athens. The first three chapters trace the rise of a movement and the development of a popular attitude preparing the way for the creation of a board of expounding priests and discover-so the author ventures-the period and circumstances in which the exegetes were first appointed. The basic fourth chapter examines the evidence concerning the number and functions of these expounding priests, except that inferences drawn from the reflection of the institution in Plato's Laws are reserved for separate treatment in Chapter V. What may seem a long digression concerning the early history of Attica in the second half of Chapter V provides a way of testing our theory concerning the method of appointment. The rest of the book carries the idea of authoritative exposition, the idea which vii



in Chapters I-III was traced to an Athenian climax in the creation of the exegetes, along a new path, that of the influence of the Athenian institution through Plato and the orators upon the concepts and terminology of those Greek writers who treated Roman institutions. In an unexpected manner questions concerning the high priesthood of the imperial cult were found to bear upon questions concerning the expounderships and the exegesis of Athenian sacred law even as far back as the fifth century B. C. Therefore the writer has devoted Chapter VI to the high priests. He would have liked it, however, to be much shorter, but it seemed desirable to face all the evidence, which is not only indirectly pertinent lo our subject but of interest to all students of Roman history. For students of Roman history, particularly for those who must deal with the llistoria Augu.,ta and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the author has written also Chapter VII. In the Appendix are gathered the literary and epigraphical references to the official exegesis at Athens. Each epigraphical reference is accompanied by a reference to the Corpus and to a preceding collection by Ehrmann; occasionally other editions or discussions to which the author wishes to direct the reader's attention are mentioned but a complete bibliography is not envisaged. Since today confusion between excgetes and manteis is widespread, the epigraphical references to manteis have been included. In the important case of I (nscription) 3, where the author finds neither manteis nor official exegetes, the entire text had to be reproduced. in order to justify the author's decision. The indispensable indices are the deeply appreciated contribution of the author's wife Janet Carnochan Oliver, to whom the author is in many other ways indebted. Thanks are due also to Robert K. Sherk for his generosity in checking hundreds of references and to the departmental secretaries l\Irs. Annarie Peters Cazel and l\Iiss Angela Pardington for their conscientious preparation of the text. The interest, efficiency and cheerful assistance from the staff of the Johns Hopkins Library where the book was written call for special acknowledgment. Financial assistance came from the Classics Department of the Johns Hopkins University. Finally the author wishes to express his appreciation to Harold E. Ingle, the resourceful Director of the Johns Hopkins Press, for his help in making

possible the publication of this book, also to the rest of the staff and to the printer, J. II. Furst Co. of Baltimore. A book must be judged partly by comparison with previous studies of the same subject. The author differs from his predecessors not only in more extensive coverage but also radically in his interpretation of some of the old material to which his predecessors had access. Nevertheless he has a feeling of gratitude for the advances which they have made and of which he has tried to take advantage. These predecessors in a comprehensive survey of the subject are:



Ottfried MUiier, Aeschylos Eumenidcn (G0ttingen, ISSS), 162-164, an excursus entitled "Die Exegesis des heiligen Rechls "; Ch. Petersen, "Ursprung und Auslegung des heiligen Rechts bei den Griechen, oder die Exegeten, ihre geschriebenen Satzungen und milndlichen tJberlieferungen," Ph;lologus, Suppl. I (1800), ISS-212: Ph. Ehrmann, "De iuris sacri interpretibus Atticis," Religionsgcschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbciten, IV, S (1908); A. W. Persson, "Die Exegeten und Delphi," Lund.a Universitets Arsskrift, N. F., Avd. !, Bd. 14, N.. 22 (1918); An earlier work by Ch. Petersen, " Excurs om Exegeterne," Kgl. Danske Viderskabernes Selskabs Skriften, 1847, was inaccessible.

The author regrets that he was unable to consult M. P. Nilsson, Geschichte der griechischen Religion (1041). JAMES

Baltimore, Maryland May I, 1040











I. - The Chresmologi II. -The


Exposition of the Sacred Law of Eleusis Prior to the Fourth Century B. C.


III. - The Emergence of the Exegetes. - The Origin of the Term 1t~n"I"·


IV. -The

Number and Types of Athenian Exegetes: A List of the Known Incumbents. -The l\Ianner of their Selection. - Position of the Exegetes within the Framework of Attic Law. .


V. - The Exegetes Proposed for the New Colony in Plato's Laws. -Inferences concerning the Selection of Exegctes at Athens. -The Broad Significance for the Early History of Attica. -The Attic Region and Plato's Aggregate. .


VI. - The High Priests. - The Claudii Herodes of l\Iarathon. -The Flavii of Diomeia. -The Claudii of l\Iclite. - Direct References to the High Priests. -The Iloplite General in the Imperial Cult. The Permanent Priest of the Emperor. -The honorary Title Philokaisar Philopatris. - Reconstructions. - Conclusion.


\'II. - Rome and Athens. -The Influence of Athenian Terminology upon Greek Writers about Roman Affairs. - The Common Background of Official Exegesis at Rome and Athens. 102 Xl


Contents PAGE

APPENDIX.- Genuine and Alleged References to the •~y~u,s Twv ''P'"'at Athens and Other Significant Passages. PARTI: Testimony from Literary Sources, Scholiasts and Lexicographers. PART II: Epigraphical References to Exegesis, Exegetes and :Manteis at Athens.










FrnuRE I. - The Claudii of l\Ielite, a genealogical table


FIGURE2. - Categories of Official Exegetes at Athens .


FIGURE3. - Categories of Official Exegetes in Plato's Plan for a New Colony



Expounding Priesthoods Instituted in Roman Colonies of the Time of Julius Caesar . 106


Roman Expounding and Interpreting Priests According to the Concept of Dionysius of Halicarnassuus 107


Expounding and Interpreting Priests in the Plan Proposed by Cicero, De legibus, II 8 and 12 . 107


Gellii of Delphi and Athens, a genealogical table






'E,p. 'Apx.

F.D. I l, etc.


I.L. S. I. v.O.

J.H.S. J.R.S. P.A. R.E.

S.I.G.' S.I.G.' T 1, etc.

Amer~can Journal of Archaeology Arner1~an Journal of Philology Bulletin de Correspondance IIellCnique Annual of the British School at Athens Ph. Eh~man,n, De iur~, sacri interpretibus Atticis (= Religionsgesc~1chthche Versuche und Vorarbeiten, IV, 3 [1908]), Sectwn I, No. 1, etc. 'Erf>TJµ.Ep1s 'ApxaioXo-y,K~

Fouilles de Delphes The Athenian Expounders, Appendix, Part II (Inscriptions), No. l, etc. lnscriptiones Graccae (edited by the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin) I, etc. = editio maior I', etc. = editio minor Dessau, lnscriptiones Latinae Selectae W. Dit~enberger and K. Purgold, Die lnschriften von Olympia (Berlm, 1896) Journal of Hellenic Studies Journal of Roman Studies J. Kirchner, Prosopographia Attica Pauly, Wissm~:a, Kroll, etc., Real-Encyclopiidie dcr JdassU/chcn Altertums-wisunRchaft Dittenbcrger, Sylloge lnscriptionum Graecarum first ed't' 1 S ll I • , ' ion. Dittenber ~r, Y oge nscnptwnum Graecarum, third edition The Athenian Expounders Appendix Part I (T t' ( Literary Sources)' No. etc. ' es Imony rom



THE CIIRESUOLOGI 1rtdisistratus, were driven into exile, they immediately effected with Onomacritus what to Herodotus appeared a reconciliation. Thereafter Onomacritus became a most useful agent of the Pisistratidae at the Persian court _becauseof bis_great knowledge of oracles and because of his one-sided presentatrnn of the oracular evidence. Thus a corpus of ancient verses circulating under the names of Orpheus and l\Iusacus was being collected in the time of the Pisistratidae for Orpheus and l\Iusaeus are really inseparable. It is possible that part or none of the collection was cons!dered to _be the work of l\Iusacus alone, while the rest or the entire collectrnn owed its oriO'in to " the voice of Orpheus" and "the hand of O :i\Iusacus." zo The material is attributed at one time to i\iusa_eus and at another to Orpheus. It was the text of Orpheus which, according to Aristotle and Philoponus, 0 nomacr1·t ns fgd" or e . Finally the painters of Attic pottery display in Orpheus a great interest beginning with the Late Black Figure." In the time of the Pisistratidae, moreover, as Herodotus, V, 90, explicitly states, chresmoi were collected or w~itten out. When Cleomenes expelled the Pisistratidae, be_found m ~ sanctuary on the Acropolis chresmoi including prophecies concermng Sparta, and he carried the latter off. So M. P. Nilsson, Greek Popular Religion (New York, i94~),}i8. 201. Linforth, The Arts of Orpheu$ (Berkeley, 1941), p. 1£a_:. Perhaps every Orphic poem reprcsente..Oyo'> «al. µ.&vn'i), or, for that matter, a mantis. The same man might be described in all these ways. 30 There was no office, hence no exact title. Thus Lampon, the friend of Pericles, may be called chresmologus (T 17 and 19) or mantis (T 6, 10 and 13). Hierocles may be described as ~ chresmolo~us-mantis (T 16). It is quite clear that chresmolog1 interpreted the meaning of a chresmos whether it contained a commandment or an obscure prophecy. When war came men felt a greater need for divine guidance, and the chresmolo;us-mantis had an important role as an adviser. Lampon received the right to public maintenance in the Prytaneum." So did IIierocles apparently, but Aristophanes (T 14) implies that once the war is over, the chresmologus no longer shall

the speech of Aeschylus apud Aristophanes, Frogs, 1030-1034, where

poets are judged as teachers; Plato, Apology, 41 A, 77 aO 'OprjJe"iUIJ"f"(eviuOa, Kai

Movaal't' K«l 'Ho-,661t1Kal 'Oµ'TJplfl.These and other passages are cited by I. Linforth,

The Arts of Orpheus (Berkeley, 1941), 104-107. In reference to Orpheus and Musaeus a suggestion may be quoted from Linforth (p. 73 f.) to the effect that "when Plato found a place for teletae and chresrnodiae in his list of educational activities (Protagoras, 516 d), he was intending to designate by these words the activity which we in this connection should denominate by the modem word 'religion.'" On Homer and IIesiod see also l\.L P. Nilsson, Greek Piety, Translated Crom the Swedish by II. J. Rose (Oxford, 1948), 1-5. 12 Aeschylus, Eumenides, 615-6il. "S. Dow, Ilarvard Thrological Revi~, XXX (1937), 184 f. According to Plutarch, Nicias IS, Ammon had promised the capture of Syracuse, but perhaps this was Delphian propaganda. Plato, Laws V 738 b-c, proves that Ammon retained his place among the reputable sources of religious truth and knowledge: oiroels Emxe,fYTJcrt:t Kt11e'i11 11oii11 lxw11 6crci Eic tleA.rj,W11 -i} Aw8W1111s -i} 1rcip' "Aµµwvos 11 nvu l1rew·civ 1rciAci,olA6"(ot.

For repercussions of this discovery see I. Linforth, The Arts of Orpheus (Berkeley, 1941), 158-169. 19

The Chresmologi

30 Liternry testimony to interpreters or the sixth and fifth centuries is collected in Appendix I and is here cited as TI, T 2, etc. The testimony ~ partly that or scholiasts front the Jlcllenistic and Roman Period, but the schohasts do not use the terminology of Ilcllenislic and Roman Athens, nor of fourth century Athens. The scholiasts' information probab]y goes back to authentic info.rmation from the fifth century, for which the appropriateness of their tenninol~gy is attested by the usage of Ilerodotus and Thucydides. Scholiasts and lex1co~aphers, however, occasionally garbled and expanded the core of genuine informat10n,. but _the confusions of the scho1insts at least are fortunately not with the exegetic priesthoods of Hellenistic and Roman Athens. th 31 The common hearth was located in the Prytaneum on the north slope of e Acropolis. Here the four Eleusinian priests, the victors i~ the. sacred games, the eldest male descendant of Ilannodius, likewise that of Ar1stoge1ton, and both _the public benefactors and the foreign ambassadors with an inv_itation from. the city, dined at public expense. The prytanes, on the other hand, dmed at pubhc e1:J>ens; in the Tholos down in the Agora. See E. Vanderpool, "Tholos and Prytanikon, llespcria, IV (193/j), 470-475; II. A. Thompson, The Tholos of Athens and Its Predecessors (= Ilesperia, Supplement IV [1940]), 44, 147 f,


Athenian Expounders of the Sacred and Ancestral Law

cat in the Prytaneum.

It is an honor connected not with a regular 3 The chresmologus might ~ have enioyed such a privilege as a benefactor, but then it would not be revoked. The expected termination of the privilege indicates that he did not, in this case at least, receive it as a benefactor. Still i~ L~mpon and Ilieroclcs received the privilege because they were md1spensablc advisers rather than benefactors, one would expect them to cat in the Tholos with the prytanes. The situation office b~t with a special assignment.

may reflect a compromise. It is nowhere stated that Lampon, for example, was a eupatrid,

but it is well known that throughout the first half and the middle of the fifth century the Athenian political leaders were still being drawn from the old eupatrid families. Clcon was the first man of the people. Now the name of Lampon heads both lists of the Athenian signatories to the Peace of Nicias in 421 B. C.,33 and over twenty years earlier Lampon had been sent out to Thurii as one of the leaders of the colonization. When the Athenians were regulating the offerings of first fruits at Elcusis, Lampon was chosen all alone to prepare the recommendations concerning the first fruits from the olive crop." The man came obviously from one of the eupatrid families which dominated the political life of the period and which with the help of adoptions and adlections dominated the religious life throughout the whole history of Athens to the fifth century after Christ. Since in Athens of the fifth century B. C. the exposition of the sacred law of tradition and of venerable chresmoi concerning purifications and sacrifices was not sharply differentiated from the exegesis of chresmoi concerning future events and from the interpretation of signs and portents, cupatrid experts in religious literature had pretensions to authoritative interpretations of all these subjects, and the pretensions were widely respected. The Demos frequently but not always accepted their version. The successful opposition of Thcmistocles to the experts' interpretation of the u There is no indication that the priests called exegetes ever enjoyed public maintenance, and the absence of the exegctes from the lists of aisiti appended to prytany ealalogues of the second and third centuries after Christ make it very unlikely that they ever had the prh·i!t"ge. u Thucydides, V, 10, 2, and V, 24, I. 34 I. G. P, 76 = Tod, Greek Ilistorieal Inscriptions, I, 74, ]ine 60.

The Chresmologi


chresmos from Delphi before the Battle of Salamis shows the absence of a recognized right, al though Themistoclcs may have been a cupatrid himself. A generation later, the l\Iilesian Anaxagoras contradicted the interpretation given by a eupatrid expert to the phenomenon of a one-horned sheep, it is said (T 5). Lampon had interpreted the prodigy as presaging the rise of Pericles to a position of unrivalled authority. Anaxagoras cut open the animal's head and showed that the phenomenon had a natural explanation, by which some people were much impressed, at least until Lampon's prediction came true. The pretensions of both Hierocles and Lampan became the butt of ridicule for the comic poets of the second half of the century. Cratinus, Callias and Lysippus in holding Lampon up to ridicule for his appetite criticized the grant of public maintenance in the Prytaneum (T 6). Instead of calling Lampon a X,p71uµoAOyo,; ,c:alµ0.Pw>, Cratinus in the Runaway lVomen (T 7) called him an UyVprr,,;,cai ,c:u/371'Atur!,,;;. The latter phrase, by suggesting the former, heightens the contrast ,vith comic effect. The ,c:iW A,,;, as the scholiast explains, was the sacri71 ficial axe, and the poet derides the mantis with this novel title which refers to Lampon's profession of knowledge concerning sacrion the other hand was common. fices and omens. The ,vord Uy'VpTTJ'> One can sec from Plato"' that the difference between an &yvp.,.,,, and a chrcsmologus lay in the irresponsible claims of the former and the authority of the latter. Not only Cratinus but also Lysippus (T 7) applied the uncomplimentary word to Lampon. Aristophanes derides chiefly three pretensions of the chresmologimantcis, ,vho are to Le identified as the cupatrid experts in religious affairs: (1) that they can foretell the future, above all from exotic oracles, (2) that without waiting to be consulted they can intervene in public business to give commands, (3) that they receive maintenance in the Prytancum. Aristophanes neither attacked the irrationality of divination nor derided chresmoi as such. When the chresmologus Hierocles refers in the Peace to the chresmoi of Bacis, Trygaeus counters with a ritual description from Homer (T 14). The Homeric verses are· distorted for comic effect, yet still recognizable as Homeric. "Noth811 Republic, II, 363 A to 366 B, with commentary of I. Linforth, The Arts of Orpheus (Berkeley, 19-11), 00-01.


Athenian Expounders of the Sacred and Ancestral Law

ing I know of these," says Hierocles, " these did not come from the Sibyl." Aristophanes contrasts a respectable kind of revelation, that through Homer, and a fraudulent revelation, that through Bacis or through the wandering Sibyl of Euboea. In the Birds the chresmologus, the fraud, comes on the stage with an absurd chresmos of Bacis again; Peisthetaerus counters with an amusing chresmos but with a chresmos of the right sort, namely from Apollo (T 18). Serious authority for what constitutes ritual propriety (or even a basis for true predictions) comes from Homer or from the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. The chresmologi who persuade the Athenians by inventing or discovering exotic utterances of prophets unestablished in Athenian religious life are frauds. Trygaeus, who is making a sacrifice to Peace, asks the chorus, "Don't you think I've laid the wood like a mantis? " This is no reference to divination by fire as a scholiast misinterprets it but a reference to the exegesis of a chresmologus-mantis concerning the proper rites. Could an expert, a eupatrid interpreter of sacred Jaw, omens, prodigies, and ceremonial procedure, have done any better? Then, when the smoke gets in his lungs, Trygaeus coughs, "Your Stilbides is nearly choking." To be sure Stilbides was an interpreter of signs and portents, the most successful one among the advisers of Nici as (T 21) . But we commit an anachronism if we assume for the fifth century the specialization of the scientific fourth, and we miss the point of the sacrificer's question. The art of interpreting signs and portents formed only a part of what Stilbides was supposed to have mastered. While Trygaeus and the servant are cooking the meat, they see a queer figure approaching with laurel around his head. "Who can he be? " asks Trygaeus. The servant says, " He looks an arrant humbug. Some mantis, I think." Trygaeus then places comic emphasis on a special nuance of the word mantis. "No, no," he says, " 'tis Hicrocles, the chresmologus from Oreus." The correction reminded the audience that certain predictions of the expert had not turned out well. The scholiast comments, " This man was a mantis and chresmologus, who interpreted ancient chresmoi" (T 16) . The scholiast who explained the reference to Oreus as a place where Hierocles had estates was only guessing. The reference to Oreus on Euboea concerns the chresmoi which made the reputation of Hierocles for good or evil. They are surely chresmoi of the

The Chresmologi


wandering Sibyl of Euboea, specifically mentioned in lines 1095 and lll6 as his specialty. Hierocles rose to fame as a collector of chresmoi in the dangerous time of the revolt of Euboea. The last article in the decree of Anticles 36 in 446/5 B. C. called upon "three men, whomsoever the Boule should choose from its own number, to offer with Hierocles for Euboea as soon as possible the sacrifices prescribed in the chresmoi." In the Poleis, produced in 422 B. C. Eupolis with a delightful parody of Aeschylus 37 (noted by Dindorf), had Hierocles addressed as the best of the chresmodoi (T 16). The latter term is effectively substituted for "chresmologi" in order to convey an impression of unacceptable originality in the chresmoi of Hierocles, who is thus represented as producing chresmoi out of his own inspiration or imagination. Hierocles no longer appears as a mere expert in the literature, he is taken for another and better Orpheus. The pomposity, the literary allusion and the absurd comparison combine to produce in these four words an explosion of wit. In the fifth century the Athenians made experiments with new collections of ritual poetry, but on the whole, aside from the reaction against unlucky exploitation of oracular material, the religious conservatism of Athenian taste affected the reception of this literature. To this conservatism and to fresh memory of unfulfilled prophecies, Aristophanes and Eupolis appealed."' Another influential chresmologus, Diopeithes, 88 author of the I. G. 11 S9 = Tod, Greek Ilistorical Inscriptions, I, No. 42. Seven Against Thebes, 89, 'Ere6,cX1:e~,q>EpiureKa6µdwJJ a'.va~. Eupolis, fr. 212, 'I1:p6KX€H,f3iX1ttTU Xfl7JCTµwaw,, 11 • On common sense as an ideal attitude toward oracles see A. D. Nock, "Religious Attitude of the Ancient Greeks," Proc. Am. Philos. Soc., LXXXV (1942), 47~482. "The line between the supposedly divine and the obviously human element in divination was not clear: but few save professed Cynics and Epicureans denied the former" (Nock, 476). 38 The fanatic and chresmologus Diopcithes is, as Swoboda, R. E. V, 1046 f., surmised, the same as the chresmologus Diopeithes active at Sparta in 401 B. C. during the contest between Agcsilaus and Leotychidas for the throne. The coincidence or two contemporaries with the unusual name Diopeithes having the same great reputation would be excessive. Xenophon, Ilellenica, III, S, S, relates that Diopeithes, a great expert in chresmoi (µ,11>-.a XP7Jctp,oA6-yos a,,~p), came up at the trial with a chre.smos or Apollo. Plutarch, Agesilau.s, S, 6, ~" 8£ dio1rel871~&v7/p L'7r67rAew1, ,cal 8oKWP 7rEp1.rct 0eia xp71ctµoM-yo1 f,, ~1r&.pr71,µaJJutWP re 1ra>-.a.tWP rroq>laelva, Kai. 1repirr6s. This is a perfect description for an Athenian chresmologus of the late fifth century, .. a man lull of ancient oracles with a reputation for knowledge and skill in religious matters." On Diopeithes see also E. Derenne, Les 38



The Chresmologi

Athenian Expounders of the Sacred and Ancestral Law

control over the expounding and divining colleges for their caste (Order), so that a true struggle between patricians as such and non-patricians occurred. At Athens certain eupatridae ,vho were experts in religious literature exploited their eupatrid descent for for the advancement of their own personal influence on the city's political life. They were not fighting in defense of the inherited privileges of their caste; hence they did not rally the support of all eupatridae and the reaction did not take the form of an attack on the eupatridae as such but on presumptuous politicians who posed as supreme experts or almost prophets and who sometimes went so far as to pass off any doggerel as divinely inspired utterances. On the other hand, the comic poets exaggerated the selfishness of the chrcsmologi. The Athenians needed help from religious experts, because ever since 487 B. C., when sortition replaced election, particularly after 457 when the office was opened to the third class, the basileus could no longer have had the background to serve Apollo Patrous properly and to settle satisfactorily all questions concerning the 1eal 11'ci-rpta. This link between the Ancestral Law and the polis had worn thin, but although men of weight, the patriarchs of Athenian society, no longer sat even in the Arcopagus, the need for a new institution to tie the Ancestral Law more securely into the framework of the polis was not yet conceded. A kind of official vacuum had developed, and into the vacuum came the chrcsmologi.

famous decree against atheists," was assailed as a little mad by the comic poets Aristophanes, Phrynichus, Tcleclidcs and Ameipsias (T 18 and 20). The chrcsmologi were under continual attack from the poets of the Old Comedy because until late in the ninth decade of the fifth century the political influence of the chresmologi was regarded with apprehension. Eupatrid descent constituted the sociological basis for the prestige of the chresmologi. Draco's publication of the code had broken the eupatrid monopoly of the interpretation of the laws; Solon's reforms had broken their monopoly of political office and had given the Demos a weapon; the reforms of Clcisthcnes had broken the sure hold of the old cupatrid families on the electorate; the democratic reforms of the fifth century had captured from the eupatridae the citadel of the Areopagus. But their preeminent position in the religious life had never been shaken, and when their political advnntages were taken away, individuals among them tried to use their religious prestige for political purposes. One chapter in the struggle between the Roman Orders may be compared to the fight against the pretensions of the chresmologi. The patricians originally controlled all seats in the college of pontiffs and in the college of augurs, and these religious offices gave them not only social but also political advantages. Inevitably the patricians lost their monopoly and plebeians were admitted, although with other priesthoods which had no political influence the plebeians did not interfere. In fifth century Athens the situation was different. There were no colleges of expounding and divining priests comparable to the Roman colleges, but there were experts who were called in on occasion, and these experts were of course eupatridae (i. c., the Athenian equivalent of patricians). At Rome prominent patricians used their personal influence to preserve the procCs d'impiCtCintenfes aux philosophes d AthCnes au ymc et au JVmesiCcles avant J..c., 19•25 (= Bibliotht!que de la Faculte de Philosophie et Lettres de l'Universite de LiCge, Fascicule XLV [HlSO]). :i, .A scholium to Aristophanes, Knights, 1085, reads: Kal 1f~r/)t(1µa. ~w-,r£l071~ l"'(pa'fo el11a."'("'(f'JI.X,118a.i 'Toh 'Ta 8,ia. µ1'} voµl{ovrns 'Y/ M"'(ovs .,,,,pi 'TWv,ura.pcrlwv 6u5..111r10V.


proof, hitherto overlooked is to be found in I. G. IP 4071, line• 21-27:


The genealogical table for the Claudii of l\Iclitc was worked out and presented by P. Graindor, B. C. II., XXXVIII (1914) opposite p. 428, before the publication of I. G. II'. In order to find the proper references and details, however, the reader will consult the genealogical table presented by J. Kirchner in the commentary to I. G. IP (1035) 3609. The main fault with the reconstruction by Graindor, who was followed by the editors of the new (second edition) Prosopographia Imperii Romani, and even by Kirchner, lies in the failure to distinguish between Demostratus the exegete and Dcmostratus the son of Sospis, whose names appear in the ancient genealogy I 53. Demostratus the son of Sospis is mentioned in lines 10-13 of I 53 as follows: 10

The High Priests


8uyaripa iP[tAl,,-] 1rTJ'> K.,\ 6.1)µ.0rITpdrov~A017valov, Op!av-ro,;iv 71] [1rarpl8i] 'n}v lrrWvvµ.ovUpx¥, urpa"1)'~uaVTO'ii1r[t rU. 01r.\a], yi•µ,vauiapx1/uavro'i, K1JpvKEVuavro'i -nj'i [ l~ •ApElov] 1rayov {3ov.\ij'i, d.ywvo0Er~uav-ro'iIlav[a071valwv] ,cal 'E.\wunvlwv, i~yvroV ,cal d.116µ,oia,µf11d.AA~Aats,M-yov Of 6:(tat. The speech was written for Demostra:us,

al least in part, by his friend and relative the sophist Julius Theodotus who himself cautiously refrained from an open break with Herodes Atticus. 'Hesperia, XI (194~), p. S9.


Athenian Expounders of the Sacred and ,incestral Law CJ'TpaTOV


In llesperia X (1041) p. 261, we republished I. G. II' 4007 with a new fragment. The inscription honors the wife of the sophist Apsines (of Gadara), who was raised to consular rank by the emperor i\Iaximinus (235-238 A. D.). Since the new fragment gives the title E7rlf3wiui,for one of the woman's Athenian ancestors and shows that the title dpx«piws belongs to the other ancestor and not to the husband, we can no longer retain the restoration Oc_u)oVxwv in the last line, for each ancestor is described by only one priestly office, by the highest office he held. Since, moreover, the Athenian demotic is really indispensable, we should substitute the restoration MEAtTl(Jw for the 81,180Uxwv of Oikonon10s. The inscription reads accordingly: '¥174> [ uraµ.fl''}'>nj'i at:p.vo]

,,;;~, ,Bou?-[~s TWV


..avyvva[[Ka] ,-oii Kpa-rl uTov Ol,aAt:[p]lov 'Aijllvov TOii


8f K.\m:8[ovAvuufBov ,cal brl ,B~p,[~ KA]au8{ov 'S~um

The lligh Priests

personal name (i. e. cognomen) during his tenure of office. Thus C_la'.'dius Sospis became K,\ 'E,,., BwP- mentioned by Philostratus, Vit. soph. 2, 11, in the chapter on the sophist Chrestus of Byzantium, whom Philostratus rated as the best of the pupils of Ilerodes Atticus. Chrestus is said to have taught many famous men, among them the " well known philosophers " Ca\lacschrus the Athenian " and the i,rl ,Bwp.,jSospis. The altar priesthood was one of the great Eleusinian priesthoods, and the incumbent, like the hicrophant, sacred herald and daduchus, lost his name during his lifetime." The title replaced the 1 ° For the family connections 0£ this man see Commenwrative Studies in Ilonor of Theodore Leslie Shear, 248 (= lle~eria, Supplement VIII {19491)• 11 W. Diltenberger, "Die eleusinischen Keryken," llermes XX (1885) 1-40.


5!8w,;'A-rnKO,; 'H/)W81}'> 1\Iapa0Wvto'i /, apx«pw' EKTWv[l8twv] TOii i.Eplo,; aVrij[ i.XwvosJ:{I~[rp[i,011 'A'll'"oX[>..oOWpou -roii ........ ra]n11nlou, as restored by A. E. Raubitschek, Commemorative Studies in llonor of Theodore Leslie Shear, 279 f. (= Hes-peria, Supplement VIII [1949]). See 1,G. II' 3173, 3242 and 3270.


Athenian Expounders of the Sacred and Ancestral Law

The high priesthood of the Augusti lasted into the fourth century. Plutarchus was high priest in 308 A. D. The lettering and the use of the term that Flavius Septimius l\Iarcellinus came very much later in the fourth century. Or rather the high priesthood reappears after a long absence from sometime in the reign of ~farcus Aurelius to that of l\Iaximinus Thrax. Around 176 A. D. the Sacred Gcrusia was created with the encouragement and support of ~Iarcus Aurelius apparently to administer the investments and supervise the expenditures of the Athenian religious cults."' This development tKU)




pii.,n J{17')'?j'T~S



ol aiKa lepeis, ol 1revuKall>eKall.vtipH, ol 1revnKall>eKaKa"ll.ol'µ,evoi

Rome and Athens

refer to an author of any work of exposition, particularly, however, a work describing sacred rites or sacral institutions. Such works were often called Exegetica even by Attic writers. In the fifth century after Christ Proclus " refers to the prolific Athenian author Philochorus of the early third century before Christ as an exegete, whereas Suidas calls him a mantis. Of course, in the third century before Christ the same man, as we have seen, could not be both an official exegete and a mantis." There can be no doubt as to which office Philochorus held, because he himself tells us that he functioned publicly as a mantis and successfully so.28 Hence Proclus means that Philochorus was a writer on sacral affairs. Since the Greeks often translated the word pontifex as i['IY~''l", Latin writers, beginning with the second century after Christ, reversed the process by mistranslation of the Greek word 1&,y,rr/i,as pontifex and 1$fiy~,m as pontificium. Georg Rohde " notes that l\Iacrobius or his sources used the word pontifex for every writer on sacral affairs. This later usage reflects the dominant position once enjoyed by the Greek language in the literature and scholarship of the Roman Empire from Hadrian to Diocletian. A distant wave radiating from the misapplication of the terminology of Athenian Public Law by Dionysius of Halicarnassus possibly still rolls in the sixth century, when, as Georg Rohde notes,'° the Greek writer Lydus calls writers on sacral affairs 1,po,f,avm,. Thereby Lydus may have erroneously retranslated the mistranslation pontifex of Latin writers like Macrobius."

Further confusion arose through the very common and very ancient, non-technical but not un-Attic use of the word 1&,y~,~-to also on the front of the Sarapion :Monument (for which see the new date in He.speria, Supplement VIII [19·19], 243-!U:)). The incumbent was always an Athenian citizen, one o! the most respected. From the way in which the name of the epimelete appeared on monuments erected in public places P. Graindor, Athl:nes de TibCre ll Trajan (Cairo, 19-11), 81, inferred that the functions of the epimelete were somewhat like those or the Roman aediles. An bnµe>..17T7ls1r6Xeosis attested also in Roman Sparta by I. G. V (1) 32A nnd B. S. A. XXVI, p. 200. If a Greek writer called Severus Alexander's high ranking curatores regionis at Rome bnµeX17ral. T,js 1r6Xews,it seems possible to in£er 1) that he had the functions of an epimelete of the city such as those at Athens and Sparta in mind, and 2) that the senatorial curatares reqionis were intended not so much as a cons-ilium (so Mommsen, Staatsrecht, 11'3, 1036) but to relieve the urban prefect of supervisory or administrative duties so that he might have more time to give to his expanding judicial duties.









In the Augustan Period the expounding priests of Rome and Athens seem very far apart, but if one compares the expounding 1

° Frag.

183 (MUiier, F. II. G.). Since this was not realized, it has been customary to describe Philochorus as an official exegete of Athens, e. g. U. v. Wilamowitz1\Ioellendorff, Aristoteles und Athen (Berlin, 1893), I 280, and L. Pearson, The Local Ilistorians of Attica (= Papers and Monographs Published by the American Philological Association, XI [1945!}), 107, 108, 147. n Frag. 146 (Miiller, F. II. G.). n Die Kultsatzungcn der rOmischen Ponti/ices (= Rdigionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten, XXV [Hl36]), 46. 10 Op. cit., 50. 11 But see also Philo, Life of Moses II 40. n _See p. 5!9 supra.


Athenian Expounders of the Sacred and Ancestral Law

priesthoods of the early Republic, which were the three pontiffs, the Ilviri sacris faciundis, and the three augurs, with the number and types of exegctes and manteis who appear in Athens of the fourth century B. C. and in Plato's Laws, one is impressed by the similarity, a parallel so close that it can best be explained by the theory of a common borrowing. In the case of the JI viri sacris Jaciundis, who had charge of a collection of XP~"µ,o[ reputedly from Cumae, it would seem that this advanced system of expounding priests functioning as three colleges with separate and complementary spheres owed something to Cumae. As expounding priests, sacerdotes publici, the three colleges stand together, so that the system goes back to the date at which the Ilviri sacris faciundis were created or received their functions as expounders. The Sibylline collection was acquired, according to the tradition, in the time of the last Tarquin, but the fully developed system of authoritative exegetes and manteis was probably not introduced until the old kingship became a fossilized priestly institution of no importance. That time to some would now appear to be around 450 B. C." It does not follow that because the system of exegetes and manteis at Rome dates from around 450 B. C., the pontiffs and augurs were first created around 450 B. C. The augurs have a title connected with the verb augeo, a title in striking contrast with their well known duties. Obviously the augurs existed but had other duties before the system of authoritative exegetes and manteis was introduced into Rome. Pontifices for the cult of a single deity arc attested at Rome and elsewhere. Therefore, the pontiffs like the augurs came out of the old Italic priesthoods and were reorganized into exegetcs of a Greek or rather Italiote character around 450 B. C. Pontiffs and augurs belonged to the religion of" Numa" but the organization into expounding priests occurred much later than the stratum of Roman history connected with the name of Numa Pompilius. The writer believes that the idea of a board of expounding priests came to Athens from the Greeks of Southern Italy. The similarity of the institutions at Rome and at Athens constitutes the only 39 K I-IaneII Das altrOmi.vche eponyme Amt, especially 200-208 (= Acta Inst. Roma~i Regn/ Sueciae, Series in 8°, II [1946]). For a recent treatment of the Jlviri s. f. see A. A. Boyce, "The Development of the Decemviri sacris faciundis," Trans. Amer. Phil. Assc., LXIX (1938), 161-187.

Rome and Athens


evidence but is enough. The public boards of expounding priests may have found their Athenian champions in prominent men like Lampon who knew Southern Italy. For example, Lampon may have proposed the establishment of official exegetes, whereupon the Athenians consulted Delphi. Apollo replied that he himself would serve as their exegete (I 2) so that human exegetes would be unnecessary. The movement for Athenian exegetes gained momentum in the last quarter of the fifth century. A compromise was worked out by giving Apollo a limited choice for the human exegete who would specialize in purificatory rites. The writer would say that the Italiote system of specialized officials to expound the Ancestral Law was introduced from fifty to a hundred-and-ten years earlier at Rome than at Athens. And precisely at Athens what years they were! But even at the end of the sixth century Athens had already moved much further out of the patriarchal age than Rome. Between Rome and Athens the main difference in the original position of the exegetes can be formulated as follows. The system was introduced at Athens after the polis had taken over a vast amount of both the sacred and the private law, whereas the system was introduced at Rome while both the sacred and the private law were still, for the most part, the ancestral law of the patriarchs. The system was introduced at Athens at a period when the relative importance of the Ancestral or Patriarchal Law had greatly declined in respect to the Law of the Polis, and therefore the Athenian exegetes could never exercise the influence of the Roman pontiffs.


T 3. Herodotus concerning Salamis:





SouncEs, ScuoLrAsTs



T I.



Theseus. ElnraTplBm'i 8£ yivWaK£tV

, e~ Ta £ta

(ed. Lindskog)


8t8a.u,c&Aov'> t:lvai ,cal Oulwv Kal ifpWv l'rrY1JT0s.

Plutarch follows the Attic tradition which attributes their ancient constitution to the mythological Theseus. This pass.age attests the weU known fact that the eupatridae at one time monopolized the magistracies, membership in the Areopagus, and the i~1TYYJ..iura. -ror;, or. 01.w~va. a~ OKw J.1W'Tr€L 7J'>.

Can. Is all that in it? PEI. Take the book and see. 990 Get out! be off, confound you! (Striking him.) Cnn. O!O!O! PEr. There, run away and soothsay (XP~.oy~ «al p.dVTt'>,o/ «CUT1}vr.l,. ".$V/3ap,11 TWv 'A071valwv ci.rrotKlavfvwt 1rr.pU1:1rrovaw, aVrOv .;,y~uaa0a, Aiyovn µ.a11rt1.'Apx,, 1899, 2II. Ehrmann II 4. ['H ,BouA~]~ E~ 'Ap~o[v 1rcfyouKai iJ /JovA]~rWv Ega,co[crlwv Kal t,

lfplw,; llv0o)(p~crrov -6.Ws-'OAvµ7rlov l~'Y'l'JTOV


8~µ.]o~Kal -rOyfv[oi TDEVµ.oA,r ]i8Wv -rOvEHriY1JTTJv IIaµ,µ.lVl]]vITaµ.f,Uvov[~ Mapa0~vwv d.p]£T·i;~,cal uwcp[poCTVv1J~ Evc,ca],cal Toii7rEplra[~ OE.Us K6uµ.ov].

Under Augustus or Tiberius. Pammenes, who is honored also in the two following texts, belonged to a family very prominent in the second and first centuries B. C., when it produced an epimclete of Delos and other officials. The exegete is identified by Kirchner as a son of the second Pammenes in the genealogical table drawn up by Sundwall, Nachtriige, p. 85. This family, in which the names Zenon and Pammenes are particularly common, is studied in the light of new evidence by B. D. l\Ieritt, Ilesperia, IX (1940), 86-95. The elder Pammenes, Zenon's son, of l\Iarathon, who is presumed to b~ the exegete's father, belonged around 37/6 B. C. to the Gephyrae1 and to the Erysichthonidae. Hence also the exegete must have belonged to these gene as well as to the Eumolpidae. The restoration of his title as exegete from the Eumolpidae rather than from the eupatridae rests on the absence of the phrase "appointed by the Demos " and on the circumstance that his honors were erected at Eleusis, in one case by a genos that is far more likely to be the Eumolpidae than the Erysichthonidae.

I 30.

ELEUSIS. I. G. II' 3524.

l£plw,; .6.wVVuov

1.plw, AW'i Ilo.\dw,;

[[- _ -]] 0V'TJx6ov





U:pOfl,V'r]JJ,OVO..[Awv]o,; ITv0lav ,cat frpdi,; ~Epµ.oV Ilarplf,ov [K]11pV«wv [[,\wv] 4>[,\wvo,;1Iapa0Wvw,;,i.r.po-


Athenian Expounders of the Sacred and Ancestral Law


1roulS· Ilo[.\l]µ[wv (J>[,\wvJo._l\lapa0Wvw,., µ'>

K71pV,cwvKa-t EVvtt8Wv Ilo [A,]p.wv /,\wvo [ s Map-] aO~vw'A1r6Uwv]o,. l1v0[ov •1mrClpxouToii

,[ ,\ Hp.wv •A{~'" [us' au,\~T>/S

['HpW8ov l\Iapa0wvlo]v, lv [dEA Of:i.Eplwr.Toii IIvBlov TOii &pxtlplwi. T,. KA. 'ImrUpxou



Mapa0wvl[ov, it:pl-J

81[.... ]va![ov TDii

[ . . ]yov[ ....••.•




'Aya0i, [niX1J.Tov] p.r t:oo;€V TOt~ oaµ.w~pyoi~ xaTa ryv dU1fY~1J