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Synthesis (La Plata)

versión impresa ISSN 0328-1205

Synthesis (La Plata) vol.17  La Plata ene./dic. 2010



The Construction of the Image of Peace in Ancient Greece: a few literary and Iconographic Evidences 1

Carlos A. Martins de Jesus

University of Coimbra

El presente artículo busca identificar y analizar algunas de los principales tratamientos poéticos y artísticos del binomio paz / riqueza en una perspectiva diacrónica y comparativa, intentando aislar las más frecuentes imágenes, metáforas y epítetos relacionados con ese tema. El estudio de los pasajes elegidos deja claro cómo ambos, poetas y artistas plásticos, conocían y manipulaban con su arte un mismo patrimonio bastante antiguo.

Palabras clave: Eirene; Paz; Ploutos; Riqueza; Lírica Griega; Iconografía.

The aim of this paper is to identify and analyse some of the main poetic and artistic manifestations of the pair peace / wealth, adopting a diachronic and comparative perspective and trying to isolate the most frequent images, metaphors and epithets in relation to that subject. The study of the selected passages intends to clarify how both poets and plastic artists knew and made use of the same very ancient heritage.

Key-Words: Eirene; Peace; Ploutos; Wealth; Greek Lyrics; Iconography.

The treaty known as the Peace of Nicias, signed between Athens and Sparta, in March of 421 BC, marked the first truce in one of the bloodiest wars of the Greek civilization, the Peloponnesian War. Upon this event Plutarch (Nic. 9.5) joyfully recalled the saying that in times of peace men are woken by cocks, not trumpets (οὐς ἐν εἰρήνῃ καθεύδοντας οὐ σάλπιγγες, ἀλλ' ἀλεκτρυόνες ἀφυπνίζουσι). The sleeper may also be awakened by the poet's song, the sweet sound of flutes and percussion of a city rejoicing over its peaceful foundations, deemed to be unwavering. However, the worst war scenario is often the inspiration for the poet's whimsical thoughts on peace and the gifts that it bestows on cities and men. The Chaeronean author's assertion, in the context of a biographical narrative, reactivates part of an ancient code, which can be traced back at least to the Homeric Poems, describing the benefits of peace.
In the Iliad (18. 490-496), when the poet describes the detailed scenes and figures chiselled in the shield Hephaistos forged for Achilles, next to the first exterior rim - dedicated to the "wreaths from heaven" (τά τ' οὐρανὸς ἐστεφάνωται: Il. 18.485) - the second level depicts two cities of men, the first of which immersed in peace and prosperity:

Ἐν δὲ δύω ποίησε πόλεις μερόπων ἀνθρώπων      490
καλάς. ἐν τῇ μέν ῥα γάμοι τ' ἔσαν εἰλαπίναι τε,
νύμφας δ' ἐκ θαλάμων δαΐδων ὕπο λαμπομενάων
ἠγίνεον ἀνὰ ἄστυ, πολὺς δ' ὑμέναιος ὀρώρει·
κοῦροι δ' ὀρχηστῆρες ἐδίνεον, ἐν δ' ἄρα τοῖσιν
αὐλοὶ φόρμιγγές τε βοὴν ἔχον· αἳ δὲ γυναῖκες      495
ἱστάμεναι θαύμαζον ἐπὶ προθύροισιν ἑκάστη.

On it he made also two fair cities of mortal men. In the one there were marriages and feastings, and by the light of the blazing torches they were leading the brides from their rooms through the city, and loud rose the bridal song. And young men were whirling in the dance, and with them flutes and lyres sounded continually. And the women stood each at her door and marvelled.2

The light of the bridal torches, the white of the bridal gowns, the sound of the epithalamia and the whirling dances of the young men complete the most ancient synaesthetic picture of a city at peace; this passage would further be recovered and developed, at least thematically, by other poets. It appears in Hesiod's3 more detailed description of Heracles' shield. Apparently describing Thebes (ἑπτὰ πύλαι, v. 272), Heracles' city and the Boeotian metropolis where Hesiod himself comes from, the poet alludes to parties and dances (ἐν ἀγλαΐαις τε χοροῖς, v. 272; πᾶσαν δὲ πόλιν θαλίαι τε χοροί τε/ ἀγλαΐαι τ' εἶχον, vv. 284-285), to the celebration of a wedding (πολὺς δ' ὑμέναιος ὀρώρει, v. 274) and to the fertility of mother-earth (αὐτὰρ ἔην βαθὺ λήιον, v. 288), in yet another picture rich in light, colour and flavours. Both these texts perfectly encompass ekphrasis, the poetic description of an artistic artifact plausibly existent, a category also defined as the poetic ability to make vividly synaesthetic pictorial descriptions; such an ability would also be explored by the poets we will study.
Eirene (Peace) and Ploutos (Wealth), the two deities that are also moral concepts, are the pair that poetically and pictorially best represent such a scenario of prosperity.4 Eirene, along with the two Horae, her sisters - Dike (Justice) and Eunomia (Order) - is the daughter of Zeus and Themis (the personification of divine Justice), as explained by Hesiod (Th. 901 sqq.), Apollodorus (1.13) or even the later Latin mythographer Hyginus (Fab. 103); they were the goddesses of the seasons, frequently represented carrying varied fruits and vegetation. Pindar (O. 13.6-12) refers to this perfect breed of deities in an excerpt that we will take as a starting point for our considerations:

ἐν τᾷ γὰρ Εὐνομία ναίει κασι-
γˈνήτα τε, βάθρον πολίων ἀσφαλές,  
Δίκα καὶ ὁμότροφος Εἰ-
ρήνα, τάμι' ἀνδράσι πλούτου,
χρύσεαι παῖδες εὐβούλου Θέμιτος·    10

ἐθέλοντι δ' ἀλέξειν
Ὕβριν, Κόρου ματέρα θρασύμυθον.

For there dwell Order with her sister Justice,
firm foundation for cities,
and Peace, steward of wealth for men,
who was raised with them -
the golden daughters of wise-counseling Themis.

They resolutely ward off
Hybris, the bold-tongued mother of Excess.

In the initial praise of Corinth, the birthplace of Xenophon - the athlete who obtained a double victory at the stadium and the pentathlon in Olympia, in 464 BC - Pindar identifies the town as the symbolic dwelling of the three Horae, who warrant prosperity to the city and its children. The adjective ἀσφαλές (v. 7) accurately represents the idea that these deified values are the unwavering foundations of the victor's community, a notion also expressed in Olympian 4 (v. 16), where Tranquility (Ἡσυχία), not Eirene, is said to be φιλόπολιν ("friend of the city"). Wealth (πλούτου, v. 9) is the consequence for a city living under the auspices of Eirene and the Horae in general, in reference to which the epithet ὁμότροφος ("steward of wealth for men", v. 8)5 is quite expressive. In an adespota fragment once attributed to Pindar, an authorship rejected by D. L. Page and D. A. Campbell (fr. adesp. 1021 PMG), two single verses characterize Eirene as such:

ὦ γλυκεῖ' Εἰράνα,
πλουτοδότειρα βροτοῖς.

O sweet Peace,
wealth-giver to mortals!

It is clear that only a city at peace, prosperous and focused on the life of its citizens, not wasting time and resources on wars which bring no advantage, will breed a son capable of surpassing mortality by means of athletic triumph. The victor's valour, in this regard as well, stems from the community that witnessed his birth and educated him,6 a society bestowed upon by the gods with all kinds of prizes and crowned by the Horae with an admirable destiny of peace and harmony.
In regard to Bachyllides, something very similar is found in Ode 13 (vv. 175-189), dedicated to Pytheas from Aegina upon his victory in the pankration at Nemea, around 487-480 BC:7

οὐ γὰρ ἀλαμπέϊ νυκ[τὸς   175
πασιφανὴς Ἀρετ[ὰ
κρυφθεῖσ' ἀμαυρο[ῦται καλύπτραι,
ἀλλ' ἔμπεδον ἀκ[αμάται
βρύουσα δόξαι
στρωφᾶται κατὰ γᾶν [τε 180
καὶ πολύπλαγκτον θ[άλασσαν.
Καὶ μὰν φερεκυδέα ν[ᾶσον
Αἰακοῦ τιμᾶι, σὺν Εὐ-
κλείαι δὲ φιλοστεφ[άνωι
πόλιν κυβερνᾶι, 185
Εὐνομία τε σαόφρων,
ἃ θαλίας τε λέλογχεν
ἄστεά τ' εὐσεβέων
ἀνδρῶν ἐν εἰ[ρ]ήναι φυλάσσει.

For Excelence, shining among all men, is not dimmed, hidden by the lightless (veil) of night: flourishing constantly with undying fame she ranges over the land and the sea that drives many from their course. Look, now she honours the glory-winning island of Aeacus and with garland-loving Eucleia steers the city, she and wise Eunomia, who has festivities as her portion and guards in peace the cities of pious men.

The city receives glory - a sparkle of which the winning athlete has also received eugenically - from Virtue (Ἀρετ[ὰ], v. 176), which acts in accordance with Good Fame (Εὐκλείαι, vv. 183-184) and wise Concord or Good Order (Εὐνομία τε σαόφρων, v. 186), thus ensuring a peaceful and festive environment. The use of the traditional image of the ship of state (πόλιν κυβερνᾶι, v. 185) acknowledges that the city depends on its captain, in this instance both the goddesses Eukleia and Eunomia, who sail a ship of prosperity towards the land of memory, overcoming oblivion. The adjectivation of these concepts-deities is noteworthy: φιλοστεφ[άνωι (v. 184) refers to the crowned heads of either the victors or the playful young men of a prosperous city,8 whereas σαόφρων (v. 186) alludes to the caution and moderation that ought to be observed, even amidst celebration, so as not to attract the wrath of the gods. The laudatory insistence on Aegina makes sense in the context of the city's continuous hostilities with Athens,9 which would ultimately drive the latter to accuse the former of Medism, of conspiring with the Persians against the Greek interests. The triumph of the athlete and the atmosphere of his birthplace are therefore the means by which the poet presents to the entire Greek world a prosperous city which will not engage in pointless wars; thus the epinikion, amongst other artistic forms, may also be read as defensive propaganda against the accusations by Athens.10
Such an environment of festivity and euphoria can also be found in the famous fr. 4 Maehler of Bacchylides11 (vv. 61-80), an emotional and rather expressive hymn to Peace that places the author in the ranks of the most significant writers of the 5th century BC, regarding the poetic expression of peace. The text seems to be a paean, a genre originally linked to the cult of Apollo, the god mentioned in the initial part of the poem.
The first twenty verses refer to Heracles' stay at Ceÿx' home in Trachis, as already noted by Athenaeus (178b) and Zenobius (2.19). In two verses of the heroe's speech there is an explicit reference to a Greek proverb, according to Zenobius. At stake in the first sixty verses - thirty-eight of which entirely lost (vv. 1-20 e 25-39) - is the ethiology of the temple dedicated to Apollo Pythaieus in Asine, 10 Km from Nauplion, in Argolis, a place widely known in Antiquity, as stated by Pausanias (2.36.4-5).12
Pausanias (4.34.9) tells us that, according to the myth, the people initially known as the Dryopes lived in the Parnassus before moving to Asine. Heracles fought them, for arguable motives, and took them to Delphi, where he consecrated them to Apollo, who ordered him to take them to Asine, in Argolis (vv. 41-43). The Dryopes were to establish themselves in Argolis, and Alcmena's son was to demarcate the new territory with olive trees bent to the ground (vv. 44-48). It was much later that the soothsayer Melampus built there an altar and a sanctuary dedicated to Apollo (vv. 48-53), which Bacchylides claims to be "the root of this [temple" (v. 54). The conclusion of the mythical narrative is an admission to the ethiological intent behind its inclusion in the text. It is not clear how the original text transfers to the laudatory hymn on the benefits of peace. However, verses 55 ff. apparently describe the graces that the god, appeased by the temple dedicated to him, dispensed to that place; the reference to prosperity (ὄλβ[ον, v. 59) indicates that this might be the tie between the final of epode 2 to strophe 3. Let us analyse verses 61-80:

τίκτει δέ τε θνατοῖσιν εἰ-
ρήνα μεγαλάνορα πλοῦτον
καὶ μελιγλώσσων ἀοιδᾶν ἄνθεα
δαιδαλέων τ' ἐπὶ βωμῶν
θεοῖσιν αἴθεσθαι βοῶν ξανθᾶι φλογί 65
μηρί' εὐμάλ]λων τε μήλων
γυμνασίων τε νέοις
αὐλῶν τε καὶ κώμων μέλειν.
Ἐν δὲ σιδαροδέτοις πόρπαξιν αἰθᾶν
ἀραχνᾶν ἱστοὶ πέλονται, 70
ἔγχεα τε λογχωτὰ ξίφεα
τ' ἀμφάκεα δάμναται εὐρώς.


χαλκεᾶν δ' οὐκ ἔστι σαλπίγγων κτύπος, 75
οὐδὲ συλᾶται μελίφρων
ὕπνος ἀπὸ βλεφάρων
ἀῶιος ὃς θάλπει κέαρ.
Συμποσίων δ' ἐρατῶν βρίθοντ' ἀγυιαί,
παιδικοί θ' ὕμνοι φλέγονται. 80

62. εἰρήνη μεγάλα πλοῦτον Stob. 63. ἀοιδῶν Stob.: Boeckh 65. ἔθεσθε Stob.: L. Dindorf, Schneidewin 66. μηρίταν εὐτρίχων Stob.: Barrett 69. πόρπαξιν Plut., ὄρπαξιν (vel ἕρπαξιν) Stob. 73-74. lacunam indicavit Maas 75. χαλκέων δ' οὐκέτι Stob. 78. ἆμος (ἇμος) Stob.: Bl.

Peace gives birth to noble wealth for mortals, to the flowers of honey-tongued songs, to the burning for gods of thighs of oxen and fleecy sheep in yellow flame on elaborate altars, to young men's concern with the gymnasium, with pipes and revelry. On iron-pinned shieldgrips are found the spinnings of red-brown spiders, and sharp-pointed spears and double-edged swords are subdued by rust. (…)
There is no din of bronze trumpets, and sleep, honey for the mind, still soothing the heart at daybreak, is not pillaged from men's eyelids. The streets are laden with lovely feasts, and the songs of boys rise like flames.

Stobaeus (4.14.3) transmitted these verses, attributing them to Bacchylides, as a hymn to Peace, preceded by the epigraph ΠΕΡΙ ΕΙΡΗΝΗΣ. Eirene (vv. 61-62) is the prime subject of the first seven verses of this excerpt (vv. 61-68); she originates all benefits mortals can achieve, the first and most concrete of which is wealth, measurable in all aspects of human life and a warrant of fame (μεγαλάνορα πλοῦτον, v. 62), leading men beyond the oblivion of centuries. Bacchylides proceeds with the symbolic depiction of this relation, painting with words two of the richest and most synaesthetic pictures of his preserved production, certainly the cause for the vast indirect transmission of these verses in Antiquity.
Only in times of peace do songs of the sweetness of honey (μελιγλώσσων ἀοιδᾶν ἄνθεα, v. 63) flourish and sacrificial victims burn in altars, consumed by the "yellow flame" (ξανθᾶι φλογί, v. 65).13 Hesiod (Op. 227-229) said that Peace made cities and their inhabitants bloom (λαοὶ δ' ἀνθεῦσιν ἐν αὐτῇ, v. 227) and, referring to the birth of the goddess (Th. 902), qualified her with the epithet τεθαλυῖαν ("blooming"). The visual impressions attained in the narrative are remarkable, when the author speaks of the rich-carved altars (δαιδαλέων τ' ἐπὶ βωμῶν, v. 64),14 of the sacrificial victims immolated there and the purity of their wool (εὐμάλ]λων τε μήλων, v. 66).15 To the (implicit) marble of the altars, the soft touch of the hair of the animals consumed by the golden flame, the poet adds the excitement and noise of euphoric youth engaged in physical exercising, music and religious practices, thus composing an initial picture of intense synaesthetic flavour and deep detail (vv. 67-68).
In a last moment (vv. 69-72 and 75-80) the scenery is of war, albeit of a dimmed bellicism, as if serenely asleep in the dark cold quietness of an abandoned armoury no one has entered for a long time. Delicate and precise brush strokes depict by words the "iron-pinned shieldgrips", conquered by the webs of dark small spiders (vv. 69-70),16 like dark dots on an iron-colour canvas. The poet goes on speaking of abandoned useless weapons, noting with content the decaying action of time and rust on them (vv. 71-72). Since there is no war to proceed with the following morning17 in the context of this poem, the rising Dawn does not bring the proud din of the trumpets, a detail that Plutarch would use to describe the absence of war, as we have noted above (Nic. 9.5). As sweet as honey, like the song, is also sleep (μελίφρων ὕπνος, vv. 76-77), no longer necessary to interrupt at daybreak for an inglorious fight.18 Recovering the festive scene that, in the mythological narrative at the beginning of the poem, Heracles found in his visit to Ceÿx (v. 22) - could it also be a scene of peace and prosperity capable of summoning the final hymn? - once again the poet alludes to the streets filled with joyous banquets and homoerotic (παιδικοί θ' ὕμνοι φλέγονται, v. 80) chants to boys.19
The hymn to peace is an unparalleled literary text, particularly because of its ritualistic function as part of a ceremony in the temple of Apollo, for which it was commissioned. The complicated, politically and militarily-wise years throughout the 5th century BC - the war against the Persians and the internal strife between Athens and Sparta - drove Aeschylus, Euripides and Aristophanes to praise the virtues of peace, whether as a utopia, whether as a real but frail brittle state. It is not safe to ascertain the direct knowledge of Bacchylides' passage - already famous by then -, but the coincidence among the texts justifies at least the conclusion that these artists used the same poetic material to describe the sceneries of peace, for they apply the same images, metaphors or even linguistic expressions. So there was a dynamic semantic and linguistic code to describe the benefits of peace - the description of Achilles' shield is but the most ancient example known in Greek literature -, a collection of images and expressions, a pallet of colours for an artist to readily use with distinct originality and innovation.
Let us first consider Aeschylus. Although we do not find in his work as many reflections on peace (at least as developed as in the Bacchylides' paean), in Suppliant Maidens20 the chorus sings a long benedictory ode to Argos and depicts the traditional setting of a city where there is peace and wealth, the earth and the women are fertile, the young play and amuse themselves and the poets repeatedly chant thankful praises to the gods. We can analyze, for example, vv. 667-673 e 688-697, two antistrophes of the choral songs:
{[ἀντ. β.}

καὶ γεραροῖσι πρε-
σβυτοδόκοι γέμου-
σαι θυμέλαι φλεγόντων.
τὼς πόλις εὖ νέμοιτο 670
Ζῆνα μέγαν σεβόντων,
τὸν ξένιον δ' ὑπερτάτως,
ὃς πολιῷ νόμῳ αἶσαν ὀρθοῖ.

And may the altars, whereat the elders gather, blaze in honour of venerable men. Thus may their State be regulated well, if they hold in awe mighty Zeus, and, most of all, Zeus the warden of guest-right, who by venerable enactment guideth destiny aright.

{[ἀντ. γ.}
καρποτελῆ δέ τοι
Ζεὺς ἐπικραινέτω 690
φέρματι γᾶν πανώρῳ·
πρόνομα δὲ βότ' ἀγροῖς
πολύγονα τελέθοι·
τὸ πᾶν τ' ἐκ δαιμόνων λάχοιεν.
εὔφημον δ' ἐπὶ βωμοῖς 695
μοῦσαν θείατ' ἀοιδοί·
ἁγνῶν τ' ἐκ στομάτων φερέ-
σθω φήμα φιλοφόρμιγξ.

And may Zeus cause the earth to render its tribute of fruit by the produce of every season; may their grazing cattle in the fields have abundant increase, and may they obtain all things from the heavenly powers. May minstrels sing hymns of praise at the altars; and from pure lips let there proceed the chant that attends the harp.

Aeschylus does not allude explicitly to the goddess Eirene, but the scenery that these women plead for Argos, the kind town that has just provided them with the much sought asylum, is the same that the goddess inspires in the poetic depictions, Bacchylides' paean being the broadest known example. It is worth noting, on account of its similarity with Bacchylides' text, the image of the blazing sacrificial altar (θυμέλαι φλεγόντων, v. 669), where Argos potentially becomes a synaesthetic macrospace of scents, colours and sounds of prosperity. There has been much debate on whether an alliance between Argos and Athens was at the core of the production of the play.21 However, its implicit praise of democracy seems to point at a mythical Argos, characterized by its anachronistic democracy, as a symbol of Greece or any Greek city. A city at peace is by definition ruled by the people, and so will not tolerate the whims of a tyrant.
The thorough study of this theme in Euripidean plays such as Hecuba (424-423 BC) or Trojan Women (415 BC), where it is tied to the drama of the vanquished rather than the joy of the victors, is by no means the object of this paper. Nonetheless let us remember some passages that show the same imagery Bacchylides was inspired by. Sharing the democratic ideas present in Aeschylus' text we have just analyzed, Euripides' Suppliant Women (424 BC) deals with the duality democracy/tyranny, especially in the argument between Theseus and the Herald of Thebes. It is the latter who proclaims, in a gnomic fashion, the benefits of peace over war, in an attempt to dissuade Theseus from retrieving by force the bodies of the leaders befallen at the seven doors (vv. 486-491):

καίτοι δυοῖν γε πάντες ἄνθρωποι λόγοιν
τὸν κρείσσον' ἴσμεν καὶ τὰ χρηστὰ καὶ κακὰ
ὅσωι τε πολέμου κρεῖσσον εἰρήνη βροτοῖς·
ἣ πρῶτα μὲν Μούσαισι προσφιλεστάτη
Ποιναῖσι δ' ἐχθρά, τέρπεταί τ' εὐπαιδίαι 490
χαίρει δὲ πλούτωι.

All men know which of two words is better: between peace and war, which is evil and which good, and how much more peace benefits humankind. She is most dear to the Muses, hated by Vengeance. She loves strong children, she rejoices in wealth.22

Although in this passage peace is more of a concept than a deity, the devotion of the muses, goddesses of song, to peace, the source of the wealth and fertility, everything suggests the same scenery we have found in the aforementioned texts. In Bacchae, known only to have been written after the poet's exile in Macedonia, which took place in 408 BC, the chorus of maenads, in one of its many praises to Zeus, also exalts Eirene (vv. 417-420):

ὁ δαίμων ὁ Διὸς παῖς
χαίρει μὲν θαλίαισιν,
φιλεῖ δ' ὀλβοδότειραν Εἰ-
ρήναν, κουροτρόφον θεάν. 420

The god, Zeu's son,
rejoices in the feast,
he loves wealt-giving
Peace, the goddess who rears boys to manhood.

The established association of peace with wealth achieved great importance during the 5th century BC and theatre became its foremost form of expression. While we do not find any previous usage of the epithet ὀλβοδότειρος ("giver of wealth"),23 the following, κουροτρόφος (meaning "breeder of men", but well translated in the aforementioned text in its literal sense, "who rears boys to manhood"), dates back at least to the Odyssey (9. 27), where Ithaca is mentioned as ἀγαθὴ κουροτρόφος, and became widely used.24 Both express two notions at the core of a collective image of peace - prosperity and fertility. We will consider one more example taken from this tragedian's work, choral verses from the lost tragedy Cresphontes (fr. 453 Nauck2), from the Heraclidae cycle, presumably written before 425 BC:

Εἰρήνα βαθύπλουτε καὶ στρ.
καλλίστα μακάρων θεῶν,
ζῆλός μοι σέθεν ὡς χρονίζεις.
δέδοικα δὲ μὴ πόνοις
ὑπερβάληι με γῆρας,
πρὶν σὰν προσιδεῖν χαρίεσσαν ὥραν
καὶ καλλιχόρους ἀοιδὰς
φιλοστεφάνους τε κώμους.
ἴθι μοι, πότνια, πόλιν.
τὰν δ' ἐχθρὰν στάσιν εἶργ' ἀπ' οἴ- ἀντ.
κων τὰν μαινομέναν τ' ἔριν
θηκτῶι τερπομέναν σιδάρωι.

Peace, with your depths of wealth, fairest of the blessed gods, I pine for you, so long you are in coming; I fear old age may overwhelm me with hardships before I can look upon your graceful beauty, your songs adorned with dancing, your garland-loving revels. Come, mistress, to my city! Ban from our homes the hateful Discord, and raging Strife that delights in whetted iron.

Speaking of the precarious and unstable situation that has befallen the city, the internal revolution that caused the death of Cresphontes, the chorus sings what is truly a hymn to peace, turning to the traditional glorification of the goddess. The word βαθύπλουτος is another poetic epithet frequently symbolising prosperity,25 but by now it should be clear how Eirene is tied to the choruses of dances and the garlands of flowers (καλλιχόρους ἀοιδὰς/ φιλοστεφάνους τε κώμους, vv. 7-8), as in the paean of Bacchylides. Colour, sound, movement and even smell (implicit) are the elements of yet another common synaesthetic picture herein expressed by two epithets equally frequent in the preserved Greek poetry: καλλιχόρος26 and φιλοστεφάνος.27 In the last verse of the fragment, the very iron of the weaponry - which in Bacchylides' text is overcome by rust and inhabitated by spinning spiders - is the symbol of a situation of effective war, for the scenery of peace is, in the context of the tragedy, nothing but an illusion or a very far expectation.
The case of Aristophanes is special - deserving a longer analysis which cannot be done here -, first and foremost because he dedicated two comedies, precisely called Eirene (421 BC) and Ploutos (388 BC), to the pair peace/wealth on which we have been focusing. In these plays we find the same imagery and epithets: Peace is said to be πότνια ("mighty": Pax 445, 520, 675, 975, 1055, 1108), and is even named Λυσιμάχη ("she who ends the battle": Pax 992);28 in an obvious allusion to the imagery of Bacchylides, the author coins the epithet μισοπορπακιστάτη ("shield-handle-hating": Pax 662). It has also a peculiar occurrence in Thesmophoriazousae, where it is qualified as φιλέορτος ("fun-loving", v. 1147), as well as in the lost play Farmers (fr. 111 K-A), where it is called βαθύπλουτε ("deeply rich"), in a passage that scholars consider an Aristophanic parody of Euripides' Cresphontes, namely the above-mentioned fr. 453 Nauck2, based on the use of the epithet and temporal proximity between the two poets.
Iconographically Eirene must be seen from two perspectives. First of all, as one of the Horae she is also one of the three goddesses of the seasons and atmospherical phenomena, frequently represented holding the flowers of the seasons, as pictured on the external decoration of the famous Berlin attic red-figured cup, by the Sosias Painter, dated around 500 BC (ARV2 21.1; 1620 = LIMC 'Horai' 42 = plate 1), where Heracles is welcomed to the Olympus, with the three Horae (inscr.) in his retinue, carrying the natural symbols of autumn: a grape vine, several branches and an unidentified fruit. The scenery in this painting concerning the three Horae can be dated further back. It is depicted, for instance, on a black-figure pyxis from Boeotia (Berlin Vasen II.1010 nº 3989 = LIMC 'Horai' 20). In Portugal, in the Manuel de Lancastre's collection, there is a red-figured pelike from the first quarter of the 5th century BC signed by the Brygos Painter (= plates 2a, 2b);29 presumably inspired by the aforementioned Sosias Painter's cup, it depicts Hermes and three more goddesses, who may well be the three Horae. Eirene, one of three goddesses of the seasons, represented spring, flora and the rebirth of Nature; thus, after the goddesses became abstract moral concepts - already in Hesiod -, the poetic association of Peace with flowers, the rebirth of flora and fertility became common.

Plate 1
Attic red-figured cup in Berlin, from the Sosias Painter. About 500 BC.
(ARV2 21.1; 1620 = LIMC 'Horai' 42)

Plates 2a, 2b
Red- figured pelike signed by the Brygos Painter. First quarter of the 5th century BC.
(Portugal, Manuel de Lancastre's Collection = Vasos Gregos em Portugal, n.º 16)

As goddess of peace, the artists represented Eirene in the company of her son Ploutos (Wealth), in a traditional literary and iconographic association familiar to the writers we have already considered. This representation can be seen on a set of Panathenaic amphorae (LIMC 'Eirene' 6, 7) from the archonship of Callimedes (360-359 AC),30 aside from the most famous statue group erected in Antiquity in honour of the goddess, the Eirene of Cephisodotus (c. 375-370 BC),31 of which only roman copies remain (plates 3a, 3b). It was probably displayed in Athens around 370 BC, but there are only copies and reconstructions of it showing the goddess carrying her son (Εἰρήνη φέροθσα Πλοῦτον παῖδα, in the words of Paus. 1.8.3),32 the personification of Wealth, exchanging tender glances, thus symbolising the prosperity only a city at peace can achieve.

Plates 3a, 3b
Roman copy of Cephisodotus the Elder's Eirene (1st quarter of the 5th century BC).
(Glyptothek Museum, Munich = LIMC 'Eirene' 8)

The official cult to the goddess, also existent in Rome (Suet. Vesp. 9; Paus. 6.9.1) probably began in Athens after the truce in 371 BC.33 We also know that, in 465 BC, Cimon erected an altar in her honour in celebration for his victory against Sparta in the previous year (Plut. Cimon 13. 5). It is thus fair to say that when Aristophanes (Pax 973-1016) parodies what appears to be a sacrifice to Eirene, he was well aware of the cult he fools with. It is not our contention that it existed in Athens already in 421 BC, but only that peace, in the aftermath of the Peace of Nicias, had such a political importance that comedy could not have been impervious to it. Our iconographic data suggest that the official cult to Eirene and Ploutos as a whole became relevant only in the 4th century BC. The vase painting and the literary tradition, particularly that of the 5th century BC, will have laid the foundations for Cephisodotus' well-known statue group.
Peace, wealth, prosperity, abundance. All this inspires the depiction of literary and iconographic sceneries of peace that propagate either during periods of war - such praise is then a much-needed reward -, or during periods of flourishing and productive calm. Since the dawn of time, from when Eirene was but a goddess of the seasons, until she became an abstract deified concept (a process usual in Greek religion), certain motifs are recovered and reused poetically and pictorially: flowers, crowns, altars, feasts and partying young people, and also abandoned weapons, for long are the days of combat gone. While Bacchylides' paean seems to be the most ancient text with such an encomiastic tone about the goddess and her benefits (it seems sure that the author will have influenced other poets, essentially the dramatic authors of the 5th century BC), Cephisodotus' Eirene is the culmination of a cultural, literary and iconographic tradition - the ultimate artistic crystallization of the inspiring attributes of the deity, both poetic and iconographic.


1 I would like to thank Professor J. Ribeiro Ferreira for his readings and suggestions on this paper, the result of an oral communication formerly presented at the congress "Pindar, Bacchylides and the memory of the city", held at the University of Coimbra in 2008. My thanks are also addressed to the UI&D Centro de Estudos Clássicos e Humanísticos for providing the financial help for the translation of the Portuguese paper.

2 All translations, except when stated otherwise, are from the Loeb Classical Library collection.

3 Stesichorus (6th century BC), Megacleides the Athenian (4th century BC) and Apollonius Rhodius (3rd century BC) attributed to Hesiod the authorship of the Scutum, today believed to be from another author.

4 Although none of them are seen as such in the Homeric Poems, the association of peace with wealth was already evident, as in Od. 24.485-486 (πλοῦτος δὲ καὶ εἰρήνη ἅλις ἔστω), referring to Ithaca.

5 The epithet, strongly related to the notion of fertility, appears, among other examples, in hAp. 199 (Ἄρτεμις ἰοχέαιρα ὁμότροφος Ἀπόλλωνι), hDian. 2 (ὁμότροφον Ἀπόλλωνος) and Ar. Av. 329 (ὁμότροφά… πεδία).

6 In the context where an individual was meaningful only as a member of his polis, the importance the Greeks attributed to victory in the Games was such that cities not only compensated victorious athletes with substantial economical benefits but often even erected a statue in their honor with public funds. They could also receive other benefits and privileges exclusive of minorities, like public offices. See, in this regard, Heat (1988: 180-195) and Bernardini (1980: 81-111).

7 Bacchylides' poem celebrates the victory also sung by Pindar (Nemean 5), a poet who also dedicated both Isthmians 5 and 6 to Phylakidas, brother of Pytheas. Although dating these texts is not entirely safe, an excerpt of Isthmian 5 (vv. 48-51) may give us a clue, as it seems to refer to the Greek victory in Salamis, known to have happened in September 480 BC. Given that the victory of Phylakidas reported in Isthmian 5 is the most recent, his first triumph at the Isthmian games would not have been before 478. Consequently, as Pytheas' victory took place before these two, the dating of its triumph should be around 487-480. Maehler (1982: 250-251) seems to think so. On the other hand, Severyns (1933: 50) went back to 487, opening the possibility of its occurrence at the next Nemean games. Pfeijffer (1995: 318-332) concludes that the year 485 should be taken as terminus post quem for the composition of the two epinikia, by noticing that the excerpts of both poems referring to the athlete's trainer, the Athenian Menander (Pi. N. 5.48-51; B. 13. 190-198), suggest their presentation at the time when Aegina and Athens were at war.

8 Both realities are described by the poet in the epinikion, which presents us the athlete returning home with his head crowned with a garland (πανθαλέων στεφάνοισιν/ ἀνθ]έ[ων] χαίταν, vv. 69-70), as well as a chorus of girls celebrating his triumph (ταὶ δὲ στεφανωσάμε[ναι φοιν]ικέων/ ἀνθέων, vv. 90-91).
Although there are no concrete references to the local and circumstances regarding the public performance of the ode, the quantity of references to flower garlands, together with the explicit mention by Pindar (N. 5.53-53 + schol. Pi. N. 5.94e-f) to the ceremony of the victory garland awarding at the Aiakeia festival seems to suggest, according to Fearn (2007: 119), that Bacchylides' poem will have been composed to be performed in the same context, relating to the cultural activity of the festivities in honour of Aiakos.

9 This might well be the conflict referred in Hdt. 6.73, 85-93, which will have started after Cleomenes' death, not before 490/489 BC. For a broad vision of the hostilities between the two cities see Podlecki (1976: 396-413) and Figueira (1985: 49-74).

10 A much debated question on this issue relates to Bacchylides' praise of Pytheas' trainer, the Athenian Menander (vv. 190-198). Jebb (1905: 212-216) proposed to date ode 13 at the year 481 BC, thus refuting the arguments of Blass (1898: 283-307), who considered that the hostilities between Aegina and Athens, which ended only in 481 BC, would not have allowed an Aeginetan to send his son to be trained by an Athenian, or even the poet to consider praising him in his ode.
More recently, Fearn (2007: 153) rightly considered that the political rivalry between two cities would not hinder private relations and that the odes, as seems clear, will not have been commissioned by the state, but rather by the winner's family, an important cell of commercial aristocracy on the island. Moreover, Bacchylides apparently tried to justify early on in the poem the later mention of Menander, when referring the strong hospitality of Aegina, said to be a
παγξε[ίνου χθονός (v. 95).

11 This is surely one of the most commented texts of Bacchylides, yet the longest fragment of his work available prior to the publication of the so-called London Papyrus (P. Lit. Lond. 733) by Kenyon (1897). It was transmitted to us indirectly by Ath. 5.178b (vv. 21-25), Stob. 4.14.3 (vv. 61-80) and Plut. Num. 20.6 (vv. 69-77), later completed by the P. Oxy. 426.

12 The author informs us that although the city had been destroyed by the Argives in the 8th century BC, the sanctuary was spared and went on as the religious centre of the region. It is therefore possible that Bacchylides presented the poem in loco. Regarding the archeological traces of this sanctuary and its historical evidences see Wells (1990: 157-161); on Bacchylides' text see Barrett (1954: 421-444).

13 Cf. B. 3.56 (ξανθὰ[ν φλόγα); Pi. fr. 70b.11 (ξανθαῖ̣σι πεύκαις).

14 This adjective, which conveys the detailed visual impression of Bacchylides' poem, like a camera objective progressively zooming from a wide frame view into a close-up, was astonishingly famous in archaic Greek poetry, especially in choral lyrics, where it has the most occurrences. See Simon. 543.2 PMG (δαιδαλέαι [λάρνακι]), 77.2 PMG (δαιδάλεον τρίποδα); Pi. P. 4.296 δαιδαλέαν φόρμιγγα]), fr. 106.7 (ὄχημα δαιδάλεον); B. 5.140-141 (δαιδαλέας ἐκ λάρνακος). The recurrence of this adjective in Simonides, in just the few remaining fragments of his work, suggests that Bacchylides might have learned it from his uncle.

15 See Pi. I. 5.62 (εὔμαλλον μίτραν) and O. 6.100 (εὐμήλοιο Ἀρκαδίας).

16 This image would have been famous in Greek literature. See Eur. fr. 369 Nauck2, Theoc. 16.96-97. Maehler (1997: 336) considers that Bacchylides' paean was plausibly famous in the time of Euripides, at least the verses on Peace herein transcribed, which could have circulated separately.

17 This is basically the difference between Bacchylides' depiction of the abandoned arms and that previous one from Alcaeus (fr. 357 PLF). In the latter, the weaponry is described not as abandoned but only at rest, hinting that by dawn it will cause carnage.

18 See Pi. P. 9. 23-25.

19 There are two possible interpretations for παιδικοί θ' ὕμνοι: either songs intoned by boys or love songs in honor of boys, therefore with a homoerotic theme. Maehler (2004: 234) prefers this second option - as we do -, particularly on account of the verbal form used in this verse (φλέγονται), which alludes to the image of fire and passion as flames spreading in the air.

20 Suppliant Maidens was thought to be the oldest of the preserved tragedies from Aeschylus - and as such the most ancient western drama - for a long time, until the publication of Papyrus 2256 (no. 3) from the Oxyrhynchus collection in 1952, when that idea was abandoned and the second quarter of the 5th century BC was considered an acceptable date for the drama. Nonetheless, some critics still refuse to accept this dating and in some cases even doubt the authenticity of the papyrus itself.

21 Podlecki (1966: 42-62) thoroughly analyses the possible political conditioning of Suppliant Maidens. For an overall look at the different hypotheses see Garvie (22006: 141-162).

22 Translated by Warren - Scully (1995: 38).

23 The epithet would later be used in the Palatine Anthology (9.655.2: αἰχμὴν ὀλβοδότειραν), by Oppian (Cyneg. 1.45: δεξιτερὴν πανίλαον ὀλβοδότειραν) and in the Sibylline Oracles (11.219: Αἰγύπτου μεγάλην πόλιν ὀλβοδότειραν). In regard to the passage from Oppian see the comment on the schol. ad loc.: ὀλβοδότειραν· πλουτοδότειραν.

24 We provide just a few examples from the many occurrences of the epithet: Hes. Th. 450 (Κρονίδης κουροτρόφον), Op. 228 (γῆν κουροτρόφος); Archil. fr. 112.6 M-W (πόλιν Κουροτρόφος); Pi. fr. 109.5 (ἐχθρὰν κουροτρόφον); Eur. Tr. 555-556 (στέφανον ἔφερεν Ἑλλάδι κουροτρόφον); Call. Hymn. 4.2 (Δῆλον Ἀπόλλωνος κουροτρόφον), 4.276 (Ἀπόλλωνος κουροτρόφος); Theoc. 18.50 (Λατὼ κουροτρόφος). As an attribute of various deities and cities, it implies (as we have seen) the notion of fertility and abundance.

25 E.g. B. 3.81-82 (ζωὰν βαθύπλουτον); A. Supp. 554 (βαθύπλουτον χθόνα); A.P. 16.40 (βαθυπλούτου κραδίης).

26 See also Eur. Heracl. 359-360 (καλλιχόροις Ἀθάναις), HF 690 (εἱλίσσουσαι καλλίχοροι), Hel. 1454-1455 (καλλιχόρων δελφίνων), Ph. 786 (καλλιχόροις στεφάνοισι). Among the many poetic occurrences, see e.g. Od. 11.581 (καλλιχόρου Πανοπῆος); Simon. fr. 146.2 D. (ἀγορῆς καλλιχόρου), 117.3 D. (καλλιχόρου περὶ πατρίδος); Pi. fr. 70b.25 (Ἑλλάδι κα[λ]λ̣[ιχόρῳ), P. 12.26 (καλλίχορον ναίοισι); B. 5.106 (καλλίχορον Καλυδῶν), 11.32 (ἐν χθονὶ καλλιχόρῳ).

27 hHom Cer. 102 (φιλοστεφάνου Ἀφροδίτης); B. 13.184-185 (φιλοστεφ[άνῳ] κυβερνᾷ); Anacr. 109.1 D. (Παιδὶ φιλοστεφάνῳ Σεμέλας); fr. adesp. 117.1.1 PMG (παιᾶ̣ν̣ι̣ φιλοστε̣φ̣ά̣[νωι]).

28Similar intentions were the source of the name Lysistrata (Λυσιστράτη, literally meaning "Army-disbander"), a character after which the comedy from 411 BC is named.

29 A study of this vase can be found in Rocha Pereira et alii (2007: 92-93).

30 Note that in at least two of these amphorae we see Eirene holding both the infant son Ploutos and the cornucopia. The latter would become, in the roman epoch, almost a substitute for the child.

31 We refer to Cephisodotus the Elder, who will have attained artistic maturity around 400-360 BC, and was possibly the father of Praxiteles. He should not be confused with the son of Praxiteles, his grandson, Cephisodotus the Younger, also a sculptor. According to Pliny (34. 37), Cephisodotus will have also sculpted a Hermes carrying the child Dionysus, which seems to indicate that the artist specialized in personifications of deities in pairs.
Regarding the style, as has been noted, this sculpture presents several similarities with those from the 5th century, such as the draping with folds, which are very close to what is seen e.g. in the Caryatids from the Parthenon. Nevertheless, details as the tender expression of the goddess, the complicity with her infant son or even the folds of her drapery hint at a new style, other than the classical.

32 Pausanias (1.18.3) mentions yet another statue of the goddess located close to the one of Hestia, in the Prytaneion.

33 Philoch. FGrHist 328F 151; Isocr. 15.109-110.


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Para una correcta visualización de los artículos de Synthesis se recomienda tener instalada la fuente Palatino Linotype.

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