§ 4. Argive interpretation of the oracle. There is one remarkable sentence in the narrative of Herodotus, which commentators have omitted to explain. Ταύτα δή πάντα συνελθόντα τoίσι Αργείοις φόβον παρείχε.) “The conjunction of all these things caused alarm to the Argives” then encamped close to Sepeia. Taūta návra refers to the oracle just quoted and manifestly means that certain signs indicated therein had come to pass. Now the oracle indicates two signs. (1) It declares that many Argive women will be duqidquyées,

όταν η θήλεια τον αρσενα νικήσασα

εξελάση και κύδος εν 'Αργείοισιν άρηται, and (2) it implies a second téxu p in

δεινός όφις άέλικτος. 2) How were these portents realised in the opinion of the Argives? Herodotus does not tell us, and as it is not like him not to explain such a matter, perhaps he missed the point; but his narrative enables us to discover. The portent of the õgus was discerned in the place of encampment, a place of snaky name, Sýnata, which in very fact may been so called from local abundance of onnes. The sêps is a dangerous viper common in the eastern Peloponnesus and legend said that Aepytus was killed by its bite.) The place of snakes was in danger; that was one sign.

But in what sense could the Argives suppose that the female had expelled the male and won glory among them. The only glory that had yet been won among the Argives in this campaign, so far as the story tells us, had been won by the river Erasinus, which (by the unfavourable sacrifices) had turned the invader back. But Erasinus was male: what of the female? Herodotus, unconsciously as it seems, supplies us with the answer. He describes the Erasinus thus):

'Ερασίνον ός λέγεται ρέειν εκ της Στυμφαλίδος λίμνης την γαρ δή λίμνην ταύτην ές χάσμα αφανές εκδιδούσαν αναφαίνεσθαι εν

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1) 6, 77.

2) The epithet délixtos has not been rightly interpreted. It has been taken as simply equivalent to the inferior variant touélixtos (å-intensivum). Not so. The natural meaning (&-negativum) is the right one. opis åélixtos "Coilless snake”, “snake not a snake”, is a phrase of the same kind as πύρ ανήφαιστον, βάκχη άθυρσος, άρδις άπυρος, etc. a metaphorical expression applicable to many things and suitable in an ambiguous prophecy. Of course, if the need arose, Delphi could interpret the prefix as intensive.

3) Pausanias describes it from his own observation, 8, 4.7; compare Frazers note ad loc. Mount Sepeia in Arcadia probably got its name from the same cause. Macan (note on Herod. 6, 77. 13, p. 336 b) notes that “Sepeia or Hesepeia is another point of suggestion between the oracle and the event (ouw = öpıs)", but should have added that it must have been this suggestion which contributed to the alarm of the Argives. 4) 6. 76.


Αργεϊ, το ένθευτεν δε το ύδωρ ήδη τούτο υπ' Αργείων Ερασίνον καλέεσθαι.

The idea then was that the Erasinus, consisting of waters derived from the Stymphalian lake, was the male (notauós) driven forth by the female (aiuvm). Nor was this more farfetched than other interpretations of oracles.

That it was an interpretation not imagined at Delphi need hardly be said; and it is perhaps futile to speculate what meaning or meanings Delphi may have contemplated. But it is worth pointing out that the snake seems to have been an emblem or symbol of Sparta.") If Sparta had been defeated, the oqis might have been thus interpreted.

$ 5. Legend of Telesilla. This oracle may be partly responsible for the growth of a story unknown to Herodotus, which, if it were true, would explain the failure of ('leomenes after the battle of Sepeia. The story was preserved by the Argive historian Socrates in his Περιήγησις "Αργους, and was often cited as an example of female valour. It has come down to us through Pausanias, Plutarch, Polyaenus, and Suidas.) According to this tradition, the Argive women, at the instigation of the poetess Telesilla, defended their city against the attack of the Spartans. Some historians have thought that there may be a measure of truth in this tradition,") but it seems quite improbable that such a remarkable achievement should not have been noised about Greece and come to the ears of Herodotus. It could not have been hidden, and any Spartan version of the campaign must have taken account of it. Those who regard it as a late invention are assuredly right.“) There were perhaps three motives which determined the shape of the story. (1) It assigned an origin for the annual feast of Hybristika, at which the women dressed as men and the men as women.5) (2) Pausanias states that the statue of Telesilla stood in front of a temple of Aphrodite,") and Frazer acutely suggests that this

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1) Apollodorus, Bibl. 2, 8. 5 (F. H. G. i. p. 150): Éri rois pouois ois i'rvouv εύρον σημεία κείμενα οι μεν λαχόντες "Αργος φρύνον, οι δε Λακεδαίμονα λαχόντες δράκοντα.

2) Socrates fr. 4 (F. H. G. IV, p. 497) = Plutarch, Mulierum virtutes, 4, p. 425 II, pp. 204—5 ed. BernardAKIS). Also Plutarch, Apophth. Lacon., p. 223, 4-5

II, p. 142 ed. Bern.). Pausanias 2, 20, 8--10. Polyaenus, 8, 33. Suidas s. v. Τελέσιλλα.

3) Clinton; MacAN. E. Meyer thinks that though Cleomenes did not actually attack the city, an attack was expected, the women were prepared to defend it, and Telesilla was active in the organisation; Gesch. d. Altertums, III 319, 321.

4) (). Müller, Grote, Duncker, Busolt etc.

5) Plutarch and Polyaenus, locc. citt. Compare Frazer, Comm. on Pausanias, III, p. 197.

6) Pausanias, loc. cit. Frazer, loc. cit. and his note on 3. 15. 10 (ib. p. 338).

was the armed Aphrodite, which would explain Lucian's observation that Ares was regarded as a god of women at Argos, on account of Telesilla's victory,') and Plutarch's statement that Telesilla and her fellows built a temple to Enyalius. (3) The oracle, which we have been discussing would have suggested the occasion.?)

$ 6. The relations of Miletus, Branchidae, and Delphi: a problem.

The Milesian verses still call for criticism. It seems possible that one of these verses, viz:

σαι δ' άλοχοι πολλοίσι πόδας νίψουσι κομήταις, may be an interpolation ex eventu, but there is not the slightest reason to suspect the rest.") The words ähàoioi uehnoel are typically oracular, being susceptible of opposite interpretations secundum eventum: (1) will be saved by others (than the Argives), (2) will occupy the attention of the Persians. Yet it is implied that the god is interested in the fate of his sanctuary, and the words are clearly intended to suggest that the temple of Branchidae will be a care to friends. It is difficult not to suspect that there is some allusion to measures which were being taken, with the cognisance of Delphi, for the benefit of Didyma. That Didyma looked up with respect to Delphi, we have evidence in the circumstance that the Branchidae derived their origin from the Delphian Machaereus ;-) while this xenouós, at least prima facie, attests the goodwill of Delphi to Didyma.

On the other hand we find Miletus designated by a strong and almost startling phrase of censure, κακών επιμήχανε έργων, which implies that Miletus had offended the god or his interpreters. But how? It is quite useless to take it for a condemnation of the revolt itself, though the revolt may have seemed to Delphi, as to Hecataeus (and to Herodotus ex eventu), unwise.) The phrase must refer to some special and serious

" offence. Macan throws out the suggestion that the words are levelled at Hecataeus who proposed that the treasures of Branchidae should be

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1) Lucian, Amores, 30 ή Σπαρτιάταις ανθωπλισμένη Τελέσιλλα δι' ήν εν "Αργει θεός αριθμείται γυναικών "Αρης.

2) Pausanias and Suidas associate the oracle with the story.

3) HILLER v. GAERTRINGEN dismisses it as “ein schnödes, ex eventu gefertigtes Orakel über das um 500 zerstörte Milet und Didyma(Art. “Delphoi", in Paulys Real-Encycl., IV 2550, cp. 2553). This is hasty criticism. [I do not understand the chronology. The date 494 for the destruction of Miletus is certain).

4) Strabo, 9. 3. 9. H. v. GAERTRINGEN (op. cit. 2546—7) puts together the evidence for the repute of Delphi in Ionia.

5) In 480 B. C. Delphi, doubtless, medized, like the rest of northern Greece, and saved itself thereby. (This view is adopted by E. Meyer Gesch. d. Altertums, III, p. 383; H. v. GAERTRINGEN op. cit. shirks the question). But this act of selfpreservation has no bearing whatever on Delphic policy in 499–5 B. C.

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confiscated and used for the war.') This conjecture may seem insufficient; for the proposal of one citizen would not involve the city in the offence, seeing that the city rejected the proposal. But nevertheless the suggestion supplies the clue. Though the Milesians rejected the idea of Hecataeus at the outset, yet the Branchid priests knew well that, as time went on and the Milesians were hardpressed, the temptation to forget their scruples and borrow the temple-treasures would become almost irresistible -- especially as there was the cogent argument that, if they did not themselves use them, the precious things would fall into the hands of the enemy.) Certainly, it would have been surprising selfdenial if the Milesians persisted in their resolution up to the final catastrophe. Hence it is a reasonable conjecture that, when the oracle was given to the Argives, it was known at Delphi that the men of Miletus contemplated, or the Branchid priesthood apprehended, a seizure or forced loan of Didymaean treasures.

Now Herodotus records that, after the fall of Miletus, the temple and oracle at Didyma were plundered and burnt.) He adds that the Milesians who were taken alive ήγοντο ες Σούσα, but says nothing of the fate of the Branchidae in particular. Strabo, on the other hand, states 4) that the temple was burnt by Xerxes and that the Branchidae delivered up the treasures to him (after Salamis) and went with him to Persia in order to escape punishment for their treachery.5) As we have no other evidence, we must prefer the authority of Herodotus, general probability being entirely in his favour. Strabo's testimony (whatever

. his authority) is specially impaired by his statement that the other Greek temples of the Asiatic coast, except that of Ephesus, were burnt by Xerxes. This we must unhesitatingly regard as erroneous. Herodotus says 6) that the temples of the Greek rebels (the Samians excepted) were burnt by Darius. If the new temples, erected in the course of the ensuing fourteen years, had been burned by Xerxes in 480 79 B. C. the fact would assuredly have been known to Herodotus and noticed by him. But the act thus ascribed to Xerxes would in the circumstances have been so impolitic that it is quite incredible. We cannot doubt that Herodotus is right and that Darius burned the temple. Strabo's record confuses Darius with Xerxes.

1) Op. cit., note on 6. 19. 3, p. 282 a. Herod. 5. 36.
2) Hecataeus used this argument.

3; 6, 19 ovirjévra įveniu noaro. It seems to me hypercritical when Macan says that Herodotus is not explicit about the date. His statement is clearly inconsistent with that of Strabo.

4) 14, 1. 5.
5) Ιο. τού μη τίσαι δίκας της ιεροσυλίας και της προδοσίας.
6) 6, 25.

But there is one element in the record of Strabo which deserves attention and can hardly have been invented, perhaps it rests ultimately on the authority of Hecataeus. It is the imputation of "sacrilege and treachery” to the Branchidae, and the implication that they feared the vengeance of Miletus. Here is an enigma; and its solution, if we knew it, might bear closely upon the matter in hand; for the offence of the Branchidae must have been prior to the fall of Miletus.

We have in fact a problem with three elements: (1) the alleged treachery of the Branchidae and the resentment of Miletus; (2) the hostile attitude of Delphi to Miletus; and (3) its protective attitude to Branchidae. Now consider the situation in which the priesthood of the Didymaeon were placed at the close of 499 B. C. On one hand, it had been proposed by an influential citizen of Miletus to tamper with the sacred treasures, and, although the proposal had not been adopted, there was only too good reason to fear that it might, under stress of circumstances, be adopted at any moment. On the other hand, there was the danger that when the Persians came, as they would presently come, and laid siege to Miletus, the sanctuary would be seized and spoiled. The priests were between the devil and the deep sea. Obviously it is a possible solution of our problem that, placed in a grave dilemma, the priests of Didyma formed the plan of removing the treasures secretly from the temple out of the reach of Milesian friends and Persian foes alike,') and that they took the priests of Delphi into their confidence. By this hypothesis we can explain both the animosity of Delphi towards Miletus and the animosity of Miletus towards the Branchidae.

$ 7. An adventurous theory. We shall never know the truth. But I must refer to an ingenious theory propounded by C. NIEBUHR, ?) which bears upon this question, though he approaches it from a different side. He points out that there is something very odd about the dedicatory offerings of Cræsus which were shown to Herodotus at Delphi. Many of them, Herodotus says,") were uninscribed; that is in itself strange, as dedications usually bore the names of the donors. One of them, a gold perirranterion, was inscribed with the name of the Lacedaemonians; whereby, of course, hung a tale.

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1) It is hardly necessary to remark that the ovanotévra of Herod. 5, 19 cannot reasonably be pressed against this supposition. Herodotus, ex hypothesi, knowing nothing of the secret history of the treasures assumed that they were in the sanctuary when the Persians seized and burned it. Nor, if it comes to that, does the theory imply that all the things of value were removed.

2) Einflüsse orientalischer Politik auf Griechenland im 6. und 5. Jahrh. (Mitth. der Vorderasiatischen Gesellsch. 1899. 3.)

3) 1. 51.

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