Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-s5ss2 Total loading time: 0.226 Render date: 2021-03-06T06:02:37.549Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

MADNESS AND BESTIALIZATION IN EURIPIDES' HERACLES*

Οὔποτ' ἄκραντα δόμοισι Λύσσα βακχεύσει

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2013

Antonietta Provenza
Affiliation:
Università di Palermo
Corresponding

Extract

Against a background of anxious evocation of Dionysiac rites, Euripides' Heracles stages the extreme degradation of the tragic hero who, as a consequence of the hatred of a divinity, loses his heroic traits and above all his human ones in the exercise of brutal violence. By comparing Heracles in the grip of madness to a furious bull assailing its prey, the tragedian clearly shows the inexorability of the divine will and its arbitrariness, and emphasizes madness itself through images traditionally associated with the bull. However, the reference to monstrosity and animals does not only involve Heracles, but also concerns the representation of Lyssa, the demon of madness sent by Hera to induce Heracles to slaughter his own family. This representation of Lyssa includes the monstrous and disturbing Gorgon and the dog, set alongside the metaphor of hunting, which in turn highlight the link between the demon and the Erinyes, those other bringers of madness.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

Footnotes

*

I wish to thank Professor Andrew Barker, Professor Salvatore Nicosia and the anonymous reader of CQ for their interesting and useful comments. The verses from Euripides' tragedies quoted in the paper are from the edition of J. Diggle (Oxford, 1981–94); verses from Aeschylus are quoted from the Teubner edition by M.L. West (Stuttgart, 19982 [1990]). Points in which I differ from them will be indicated. All translations are my own.

References

1 According to the author of the Aristotelian Problemata (953a10–19), the tragic Heracles is an example of an ‘excessive’ character (περιττός), and hence affected by μελαγχολία, which is manifested in the form of ἱερὰ νόσος in the episode of the killing of his children. On Heracles' madness in the play of the same name see Simon, B., Mind and Madness in Ancient Greece: The Classical Roots of Modern Psychiatry (Ithaca, NY and London, 1978), 130–9Google Scholar; Silk, M.S., ‘Heracles and Greek tragedy’, G&R 32 (1985), 122Google Scholar; Furley, W.D., ‘Euripides on the sanity of Heracles’, in Betts, J.H., Hooker, J.T. and Green, J. (edd.), Studies in Honour of T.B.L. Webster (Bristol, 1986), 102–13Google Scholar; Hartigan, K., ‘Euripidean madness: Herakles and Orestes’, G&R 34 (1987), 126–35Google Scholar; Padel, R., In and out of the Mind: Greek Images of the Tragic Self (Princeton, 1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; ead., Whom Gods Destroy: Elements of Greek and Tragic Madness (Princeton, 1995)Google Scholar; Rocconi, E., ‘Eracle mainómenos e katauloúmenos: appunti sulla rappresentazione tragica della follia’, Rudiae 11 (1999), 103–12Google Scholar and, more recently, the careful and detailed analysis by Papadopoulou, T., Heracles and Euripidean Tragedy (Cambridge, 2005), especially 58128CrossRefGoogle Scholar and the recent introduction to the play by Griffiths, E., Euripides. Heracles (London, 2006) (71–81 on Heracles' madness)Google Scholar.

2 This is an element of painful reflection for the tragedian: cf. Herc. 347; 1087–8; 1309–10.

3 On Erinyes and madness, cf. Padel (n. 1 [1992]), 164–92.

4 The monstrosity of this image is already evident in the juxtaposition with another disturbing character that takes on taurine characteristics, the river Achelous, against which Heracles fights for Deianira (Archil. fr. 287 W2; Soph. Trach. 9–11; and – as to iconography – Berlin F 1851 = ABV 383.3, Attic black-figure amphora from Vulci, about 510 b.c., in which Achelous appears as a centaur). It also recalls the capture of the Cretan bull (Apollod. 2.5.7).

5 On the representation of madness in Euripides' plays and on its function see in particular Schlesier, R., ‘Der Stachel der Götter. Zum Problem des Wahnsinns in der Euripideischen Tragödie’, Poetica 17 (1985), 145Google Scholar; for a general overview see also Mattes, J., Der Wahnsinn im griechischen Mythos und in der Dichtung bis zum Drama des fünften Jahrhunderts (Heidelberg, 1970)Google Scholar; Ciani, M.G., ‘Lessico e funzione della follia nella tragedia greca’, Bollettino dell'Istituto di Filologia Greca dell' Università di Padova 1 (1974), 70110Google Scholar; Kosak, J. Clarke, Heroic Measures: Hippocratic Medicine in the Making of Euripidean Tragedy (Leiden and Boston, 2004)Google ScholarPubMed. On mania in ancient Greece see Simon (n. 1); Pigeaud, J., Folie et cures de la folie chez les médecins de l'antiquité gréco-romaine. La manie (Paris, 1987)Google Scholar; Guidorizzi, G., Ai confini dell'anima. I Greci e la follia (Milan, 2010)Google Scholar.

6 As Bierl, A.H., Dionysos und die griechische Tragödie. Classica Monacensia, Band 1 (Tübingen, 1991), 140Google Scholar has happily observed, the Dionysiac framework in the representation of Heracles' madness shows that for Euripides ‘keine Gottheit besser den Wechsel von einem Extrem in das andere ausdrücken kann als der Gott der Tragödie selbst’.

7 See Arist. Poet. 1451a13–15; 1452a22–9; 1452b34–1453a17; 1459b29–31. As Silk (n. 1), 14 has highlighted, Heracles ‘is indeed the gods’ victim, as before he was their beneficiary; yet he is also, himself, a divine force for evil, as before he was a divine force for good.

8 Reviewed by the chorus at 359–429. According to Euripides' version, the labours precede Heracles' madness and the slaughter of his family. Among the many studies on Heracles, Bonnet, C., Melqart: Cultes et mythes de l'Héraclès Tyrien en méditerranée (Namur, 1988)Google Scholar; Jourdain-Annequin, C., Héraclès au ports du soir: mythe et histoire (Paris, 1989)Google Scholar; Bonnet, C. and Jourdain-Annequin, C. (edd.), Héraclès: d'une rive à l'autre de la méditerranée. Bilan et perspectives (Brussels and Rome, 1992)Google Scholar; Padilla, M., The Myths of Heracles in Ancient Greece (Lanham, MD, 1998)Google Scholar are to be mentioned.

9 As Amphitryon stresses in the prologue, with his labours Heracles is atoning for a grave sin of his father, the killing of Electryon at Argos, after which Amphitryon himself had moved to Thebes (13–17). Eurystheus, the tyrant of Argos and the son of the dead man, subjected Heracles to his demands as reparation for this murder. However, the clash between Heracles and Eurystheus also reflects the jealousy of Hera (20–1; cf. Il. 19.96–133). Interesting observations on the etymological link between Hera and Heracles (literally ‘he who has fame from Hera’), particularly referring to the characteristics of the worship of Hera in Argolis, are expressed in O'Brien, J., The Transformation of Hera: A Study of Ritual, Hero, and the Goddess in the Iliad (Lanham, MD, 1993), 113–19Google Scholar.

10 Heracles' madness is carefully analysed against the background of Theban stasis and the Athens of Theseus – who intervenes to help the hero at the end of the play – in Kosak (n. 5), 151–74.

11 The problem of the ‘double’ at the origin of Heracles' evil and his excesses – considered in the framework of epilepsy – is examined in Filhol, E., ‘Hérakleiè nosos. L’épilepsie d'Héraclès’, RHR 206 (1989), 320CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 See for example the episode in which snakes are put in the crib of baby Heracles, evoked in 1266–8.

13 As Gregory, J., Euripides and the Instruction of the Athenians (Ann Arbor, 1991), 121–54Google Scholar, esp. 136–7 has highlighted, Zeus's absence from the drama of Heracles can be related to the difference between the spheres of influence of each divinity, in which the other does not act. Zeus has assisted Heracles in performing the ponoi, which are the fundamental and positive aspect of his heroic status, in that – as one can deduce from Iris' words (827–9) – it was destiny that saved Heracles (τὸ χρή νιν ἐξέσῳζεν), but is instead wholly extraneous to the episode of homicidal madness, which represents the field of action of Hera's power (on this subject Gregory mentions Il. 18.117–19). In the play, Zeus is even accused by the chorus of hating Heracles (1087–8).

14 This fundamental aspect of the play particularly emerges at two points. At 339–47, Amphitryon affirms that he has shared the paternity of Heracles with Zeus in vain, if the hero's children now risk being victims of Lycus. Indeed, Amphitryon says he exceeds Zeus, ‘a great god’, in virtue (342, ἀρετῇ σε νικῶ θνητὸς ὢν θεὸν μέγαν, cf. 696–7, Διὸς ὁ παῖς· τᾶς δ' εὐγενίας | πλέον ὑπερβάλλων <ἀρετᾷ > , ‘[Heracles] is a son of Zeus, but he is distinguished more by virtue than by nobility of birth’), in that, as a man, he has faced his paternal responsibilities, taking care of Heracles' children, while the god has only been able to act with deception to satisfy his own desire, entering his thalamos secretly (344, κρύϕιος). There seems to be an answer to these lines in what Heracles declares after becoming aware of the slaughter he has perpetrated (1265, πατέρα γὰρ ἀντὶ Zηνὸς ἡγοῦμαι σ' ἐγώ, ‘I believe you are my father, and not Zeus’). His scepticism towards the god is also vividly expressed through a phrase (1263, ὅστις ὁ Zεύς) traditionally used in hymns as a formula (on which see Bond, G.W., Euripides. Heracles [Oxford, 1981], 383–4Google Scholar), which the hero transforms, from a religious expression of surrender to the greatness and superiority of the divinity, into a manifestation of bitter disenchantment at the latter's substantial extraneousness to the vicissitudes of humanity. This phrase seems also to echo Amphitryon's desolate conclusion that Zeus is a god that does not know what he is doing, or else is unfair (ἀμαθής τις εἶ θεὸς ἢ δίκαιος οὐκ ἔϕυς, 347).

15 This is highlighted starting from the prologue (ἐξημερῶσαι γαῖαν, 20). Even after the slaughter, Heracles is said to be the ‘benefactor of Greece’, emphasizing the arbitrariness of the punishment by Hera (1309–10, λέκτρων ϕθονοῦσα Zηνὶ τοὺς εὐεργέτας | Ἑλλάδος ἀπώλεσ' οὐδὲν ὄντας αἰτίους, ‘jealous of the loves of Zeus, [Hera] destroyed the benefactor of Greece, guilty of nothing’; cf. 225–6, in which Amphitryon affirms the ingratitude of Hellas in failing to bring help to Heracles' children after the hero has freed it from grave threats by land and by sea).

16 In the first stasimon (348–450), the chorus enumerates the labours, causing Heracles to emerge as a hero of order and civilization, a defender of humanity against the threats of the ungoverned world of beasts, all connoted by the reference to violence: see e.g. 363 (δεινοῦ […] θηρός, ‘terrifying beast’, referring to the lion of Nemea); 365–73 (the wild Centaurs rage in Thessaly armed with uprooted pines; cf. 181, in which the Giants are referred to as τετρασκελές ὕβρισμα, ‘four-legged outrage’). Also significant is Heracles' reference to Typhon (1272), included in Pind. Pyth. 1.12–16 among ‘those whom Zeus does not love’ (ὅσσα δὲ μὴ πεϕίληκε Zεύς), who ‘are distraught from fear on hearing the voice of the Pierides’ (ἀτύζονται βοάν | Πιερίδων ἀΐοντα): Heracles prey to mania induced by perverse music will also become an ‘unmusical’ being, a bull that sends out appalling bellows (δεινὰ μυκᾶται 870).

17 Cf. 852–3: Lyssa affirms that Heracles ‘alone re-established the worship due to the gods, which had declined because of impious men’ (ἀνέστησεν μόνος | τιμὰς πιτνούσας ἀνοσίων ἀνδρῶν ὕπο). According to Silk (n. 1), 17–18, Heracles' madness could be connected to his ‘anomalous’ condition somewhere between the divine and the human, rather than to the punishment due to Hera's jealousy (see contra Hartigan [n. 1], 132).

18 Cf. 922–34 and 1145. It appears ironic that while Heracles is about to perform an act of pietas and expiation a punishment is inflicted on him, which therefore seems false and arbitrary. The upheaval induced by the punishment is emphasized by the ‘unfinished’ cathartic rite, which turns into a sort of distorted and blasphemous ‘Dionysiac’ rite in which there is cruel and blasphemous shedding of human and family blood. This contrast between the ‘unfinished’ cathartic rite and the madness that follows it, impressed with the evocation of Dionysiac ‘enthousiastic’ excitement, fully brings out the dimension of desperate alienation in the tragic situation. It highlights also the kinds of degeneration that religion too can undergo and of which it can become the instrument, and the inexorability of the arbitrary will of the gods, despite men's pietas.

19 This element is already made pertinent in Heracles in the Homeric formular phrase (see e.g. Il. 2.658 and Od. 11.601), while in Euripides' Heracles βία is proper to the gods, and in particular to Hera; see Chalk, H.H.O., ‘ΑΡΕΤΗ and ΒΙΑ in Euripides' Herakles’, JHS 82 (1962), 718, at 14–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On βία as a central element in the structure of the Heracles see Barlow, S.A., ‘Structure and dramatic realism in Euripides' Heracles’, G&R 29 (1982), 115–25Google Scholar.

20 Barlow, S.A. (ed.), Euripides. Heracles (Warminster, 1996), 910Google Scholar.

21 This effective image particularly concerns Hecabe and the chorus of female prisoners in Euripides' Hecuba (1076; cf. 685–7, βάκχεῖον ἐξ ἀλάστορος … νόμον. On this subject see Schlesier, R., ‘Die Bacchen des Hades. Dionysische Aspekte von Euripides Hekabe’, Mètis 3 [1988], 111–35)Google Scholar. In the tragedy of Heracles, the Erinyes too, evoked in 887 with the name Ποιναί, seem to be ‘bacchants of Hades’: they are referred to as λυσσάδες, ‘prey to insane delirium’, and ὠμοβρῶτες, ‘raw eaters’ (cf. Bacch. 139, where the bacchants devour raw animals). Behind this representation of ômophagia there also seems to be Hera (see Il. 4.35). As we shall see, another bacchant of Hades is Lyssa, who will sow destruction in the house of Heracles, ‘behaving in a Bacchic manner’ (οὔποτ' ἄκραντα δόμοισι | Λύσσα βακχεύσει, 896–7).

22 Megara previously made her children put on the clothes that they should have worn when dead (442–3; 548–9).

23 Oistros as a metaphor of pressing torment is already present in Od. 22.300–1 (Penelope's suitors persecuted by Athena are compared to a herd of cattle around which the gadfly hovers in spring), but it appears particularly productive – as will be seen subsequently (see pp. 87–9 below) – in Aeschylus' Prometheus and in Euripides' Bacchae.

24 Cf. e.g. 765–7 μεταλλαγαὶ γὰρ δακρύων, | μεταλλαγαὶ συντυχίας | < > ἔτεκον ἀοιδάς, ‘changes of tears, changes of fate produced songs’. On the ‘metatragic’ effect of the use of the term μεταλλαγή – comparable in meaning to μεταβολή in the codification of Arist. Poet. 1452a22–3 – and on the tragic role of ἐλπίς, the hope evoked by the chorus, see Bierl (n. 6), 143–6. On the ritual sphere evoked by the duplication, see Bond (n. 14), 265–6.

25 It is made explicit that the reference is to the swan in 692 (the white of the swan is a term of comparison for the hair of the old men in Ar. Vesp. 1064–5). The swan is attested as a singing bird at least from the time of Alcman (fr. 3.100–1 Calame = fr. 1 Page; cf. Hymn. Hom. Ap. 21.1), and appears for the first time as a bird intoning a lament at the end of its life in Aeschylus' Agamemnon (1444–5, τὸν ὕστατον … θανάσιμον γόον; cf. Eur. El. 151–8). On the swan and the worship of Apollo, in particular at Delos, see Bond (n. 14), 240–1 and Pollard, J., Birds in Greek Life and Myth (London, 1977), 144–6Google Scholar.

26 Cf. Eur. Or. 132–3, τοῖς ἐμοῖς θρηνήμασιν | ϕίλαι ξυνῳδοί, ‘my friends singing laments with me’.

27 On the threnodic features of the parodos of this tragedy, see Gostoli, A., ‘Genere lirico e struttura metrica del primo stasimo dell'Eracle di Euripide’, in Perusino, F. and Colantonio, M. (edd.), Dalla lirica corale alla poesia drammatica. Forme e funzioni del canto corale nella tragedia e nella commedia greca (Pisa, 2007), 183–94Google Scholar.

28 As von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, U., Euripides. Herakles (Darmstadt, 1959, repr. in three vols. of the second edition, Berlin, 1895), 2.140–2Google Scholar observes, it harks back to the link between Athens and the Apollonian cult at Delos.

29 The traditionally tender and frightened bird is the dove: see e.g. Il. 22.140–1 (τρήρωνα πέλειαν, | ἣ δέ θ' ὕπαιθα ϕοβεῖται) and Soph. Aj. 139–40 (μέγαν ὄκνον ἔχω καὶ πεϕόβημαι | πτηνῆς ὡς ὄμμα πελείας, ‘I am very hesitant, and I tremble with fear like the eye of the winged dove’).

30 As Barlow (n. 20), 117–22 has stressed, this hymn of exaltation of the hero has its counterpart in the speech in which the messenger reports the slaughter (910–1015), so that in the economy of the play the highest moment and lowest point in the vicissitudes that Heracles experiences are represented in two parts, corresponding both in the number of lines (94 in each case) and in their positions (after Amphitryon's defence against Lycus in the first case, and after the scene between Iris and Lyssa and Amphitryon's lyric dialogue with the chorus in the second case).

31 The first reference to λίνος (whose oriental origin is attested in Hdt. 2.79) is in Il. 18.569–71, where it appears as a farmers' song during the harvest (τοῖσιν δ' ἐν μέσσοισι πάϊς ϕόρμιγγι λιγείῃ | ἱμερόεν κιθάριζε, λίνον δ' ὑπὸ καλὸν ἄειδε | λεπταλέῃ ϕωνῇ, ‘among them a boy with a sonorous lyre spread around the charm of his music, and intoned a linos with a delicate voice’). Its threnodic features (see Σ B on Il. 18.570), connected with the death of the mythical poet Linus, who gives his name to the song itself (and also not conflicting with the Iliad context, as the crop involves joy consequent on the ‘death’ of the cut vegetables, alluding in turn to the death of a god, e.g. Adonis) are attested since Hesiod (fr. 305 M–W) and appear strongly confirmed by Pind. fr. 128c S–M = Thren. frag. 56 Cannatà Fera (on the subject of which see also the rich comment of the editor, Fera, M. Cannatà [ed.], Pindarus. Threnorum Fragmenta [Rome, 1990], 136–56Google Scholar). Other tragic references to λίνος are in Aesch. Ag. 121; Soph. Aj. 627; Eur. Hel. 171.

32 Gostoli (n. 27), 188–90.

33 According to Bremmer, J.N., ‘Linos’, DNP 7 (1999), 252–3Google Scholar, Linus is the personification of the song, while for Häussler, R., ‘Λίνος ante λίνον’, RhM 117 (1974), 114Google Scholar this character, as a divinity connected with vegetation, chronologically precedes the song of the same name. For the evidence on Linus see Bernabé, A. (ed.), Poetae epici Graeci. Testimonia et Fragmenta, 2.3 (Berlin and New York, 2007), 54104Google Scholar. For the tradition concerning Linus as a wise man and a poet see West, M.L., The Orphic Poems (Oxford, 1983), 5667Google Scholar.

34 Paus. 9.29.6 (shortly before, Pausanias has spoken of a previous Linus, supposedly killed by Apollo for having dared to consider himself equal to him in song). On Heracles and Linus cf. Nicomach. Exc. 1, p. 266 Jan; Apollod. 2.4.9. In Diod. Sic. 3.67.2 Heracles is said to have killed Linus by striking him with his kithara after suffering a punishment. The latter motif is present in Attic vases from the first half of the fifth century b.c., and is very probably connected with the theatre (see Alexis, fr. 140 K.–A.; Anaxandrides, fr. 16 K.–A.; Achaeus, TGF 20 F 26, from a satyr play): in this connection I limit my reference here to the cup from Vulci attributed to Douris, in which Linus defends himself by holding the lyre in front of him as Heracles strikes him (Munich, Antikensammlungen 2646 = ARV 2 437.128; see LIMC IV2, s.v. ‘Herakles’, 1671).

35 According to Silk (n. 1), 16, the Linus episode could afford an important reference for the audience to see Lyssa as the madness proper to Heracles, and not only as an external agent that sets in motion the new course of events (same opinion also in Hartigan [n. 1], 131: ‘Lyssa was the external representation of Herakles' internal mania, a genuine mental distraction’).

36 For which see Parry, H., ‘The second stasimon of Euripides' Heracles’, AJPh 86 (1965), 363–74Google Scholar, where it is examined as an example of eulogistic poetry connected with the Pindaric epinicia.

37 Cf. Hes. Theog. 94–7, ἐκ γάρ τοι Μουσέων καὶ ἑκηβόλου Ἀπόλλωνος | ἄνδρες ἀοιδοὶ ἔασιν ἐπὶ χθόνα καὶ κιθαρισταί, | ἐκ δὲ Διὸς βασιλῆες· ὁ δ' ὄλβιος, ὅντινα Μοῦσαι | ϕίλωνται· γλυκερή οἱ ἀπὸ στόματος ῥέει αὐδή, ‘from the Muses indeed and from Apollo with long arrows on earth there are the singers and the lyre-players, while kings come from Zeus; happy is he whom the Muses love; sweetly the voice flows from his mouth’.

38 This condition is due to the prevalence of violence that is expressed as overcoming and raging against the weak and founded on arbitrariness, and it is generally expressed in the theatre through adjectives like ἄμουσος (see e.g. Eur. Phoen. 807), παράμουσος (Aesch. Cho. 467; Eur. Phoen. 784–90), ἀχόρευτος (Soph. El. 1069; Eur. Tro. 121), ἀϕόρμικτος (Aesch. Eum. 332 = 345), ἄλυρος (Aesch. Ag. 790; Soph. OC 123, 1222; Eur. Hel. 185, Phoen. 1028; Alc. 447), ἀκίθαρις (Aesch. Supp. 681), ἄναυλος (Eur. Phoen. 790), through which music emerges by contrast as an essential condition of ‘tranquillity’ and of harmony between the community and the individual.

39 Lines 673–700 are considered an example of a paean preluding a disaster; see Rutherford, I., Pindar's Paeans: A Reading of the Fragments with a Survey of the Genre (Oxford, 2001), 114–15 and 123–6Google Scholar.

40 This exhortation is repeated in 762–4 and 783.

41 See B. Kowalzig, ‘“And now all the world shall dance!” (Eur. Bacch. 114). Dionysus’ choroi between drama and ritual', in Csapo, E. and Miller, M. (edd.), The Origins of Theater in Ancient Greece and Beyond. From Ritual to Drama (Cambridge, 2007), 221–51Google Scholar, at 240, who stresses that this reference to Apollo Paean constitutes an answer to 673–700.

42 The unitary and cohesive structure of Heracles, even in the various parts into which it is divided, has been illustrated by Kamerbeek, J., ‘Unity and meaning in Euripides' Heracles’, Mnemosyne 39 (1966), 116CrossRefGoogle Scholar, who stresses that from this arrangement of things the madness of the protagonist proves to be closely connected with the events that precede it in the play.

43 Bond (n. 14), 281. On the dialogue between Iris and Lyssa, see Lee, K.H., ‘The Iris-Lyssa scene in Euripides' Heracles’, Antichthon 16 (1982), 4453CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

44 οἷον ϕάσμ' ὑπὲρ δόμων ὁρῶ; (817). There is a cloaked bust of a female figure on the cornice of the roof of Lycurgus' house on an Apulian column crater from about 350 b.c. (Ruvo, Museo Jatta 36955 [inv. 32] = RFVAp 10/50; see LIMC VI1 s.v. ‘Lykourgos’ 1.14* = ‘Lyssa’ 10; Séchan, L., Études sur la tragedie grecque dans ses rapports avec la céramique [Paris, 1967 2], 70 and fig. 19Google Scholar; Taplin, O., Pots and Plays: Interactions between Tragedy and Greek Vase-painting of the Fourth Century b.c. [Los Angeles, 2007], 6970Google Scholar, who believes the scene represented may be connected to Aeschylus' Edonoe). That bust probably represents Lyssa appearing from the μηχανή. In the depictions on vases, as Padel (n. 1 [1995], 20) has pointed out, Lyssa becomes ‘a visual signifier of the tragic stage’, while her presence as a tragic character (Pollux 4.142 mentions her mask) seems to be attested for Aeschylus' Xantriai (fr. 169 Radt) and, probably, Bassarai and Toxotides. On Lyssa see also Duchemin, J., ‘Le personage de Lyssa dans l'Héraclès Furieux d'Euripide’, REG 80 (1967), 130–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Aélion, R., Euripide héritier d'Eschyle, vol. 2 (Paris, 1983), 202–5Google Scholar.

45 See also line 905, θύελλα σείει δῶμα, συμπίπτει στέγη, ‘a hurricane shakes the house, the roof collapses’. The demolition of the house as a metaphor of the ruin of the stock is also found in Iphigenia's dream in Eur. IT 44–58.

46 A different image is that of the follower of Dionysus who turns back his soft hair in the wind in Eur. Bacch. 150 (τρυϕερόν <τε> πλόκαμον εἰς αἰθέρα ῥίπτων). This characteristic movement of the head of individuals prey to Dionysiac delirium is effectively represented in iconography (see e.g. the cup by the Brygos Painter on the bottom of which Dionysus is depicted playing the barbitos between two satyrs dancing and playing the krotala, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Cabinet des Médailles, 576 = ARV 2 371.14; 1649; Para: 365, 367; Add.2: 225).

47 This symptom – together with the foaming at the mouth which the messenger is subsequently to refer to – also characterizes Agave about to kill her own son in Eur. Bacch. 1122–3, ἡ δ’ ἀϕρὸν ἐξιεῖσα καὶ διαστρόϕους | κόρας ἑλίσσουσ(α); cf. 1166–7, ἐν διαστρόϕοις | ὄσσοις, referring to Agave; and Soph. Trach. 794–5, διάστροϕον ὀϕθαλμόν, referring to Heracles prey to suffering after having put on the poisoned tunic. The link between wild look and angry madness is also evident in Eur. Or. 253–4, οἴμοι, κασίγνητ', ὄμμα σὸν ταράσσεται, | ταχὺς δὲ μετέθου λύσσαν, ἄρτι σωϕρονῶν, ‘my brother, your look is becoming disturbed, you are quickly changing to madness, though you just now showed self-contol’.

48 Once he has come round, Heracles says he breathes heavily and with great effort (πνοὰς θερμὰς πνέω | μετάρσι', οὐ βέβαια πλευμόνων ἄπο, 1092–3).

49 These divinities of death are often assimilated to the Erinyes: see e.g. Aesch. Sept. 1055, Κῆρες Ἐρινύες; Eur. El. 1252. The image of the bull appears appropriate to the destruction of the house, as the bellowing of the bull and the heaviness of its steps on the ground were traditionally connected with earthquakes, believed to be caused by Poseidon (to whom the term taureios was also applied; see e.g. [Hes.] Sc. 104, ταύρεος Ἐννοσίγαιος).

50 Diggle in his text, accepting a conjecture by Jackson, J., Marginalia Scaenica (Oxford, 1955)Google Scholar, gives ἀνακαλῶ, attributing the evocation of the Keres to Lyssa; however, as Bond (n. 14), 294 observes, the pronoun ἐγώ in the next sentence appears more justified if the subject is different. In defence of the reading ἀνακαλῶν, in the manuscript tradition, cf. also Franzino, E., ‘Euripides' Heracles 858–73’, ICS 20 (1995), 5763Google Scholar.

51 Cf. Il. 9.239, κρατερὴ δέ ἑ λύσσα δέδυκεν; 21.542–3, λύσσα δέ οἱ κῆρ | αἰὲν ἔχε κρατερή. On the Homeric λύσσα, which ‘possesses’ the warrior, and which the warrior in turn ‘possesses’, Lincoln, B., ‘Homeric λύσσα: wolfish rage’, Indogermanische Forschungen 80 (1975), 98105Google Scholar (repr. in Lincoln, B. [ed.], Death, War and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice [Chicago, 1991], 131Google Scholar7). Proposing a convincing derivation of the term λύσσα from λύκος (‘wolf’), the scholar concludes that ‘it is only when a domesticated species begins to act “wolfish” that something is wrong – unless of course, the species in question is man itself, in which case his lyssa is represented as regarded as if it were heroism’.

52 Cf. Aesch. Cho. 167, ὀρχεῖται δὲ καρδία ϕόβῳ, ‘my heart dances in fear’, and 1024–5, in which, after the attack by the Erinyes, fear sings in Orestes' heart, and the heart itself dances to the rhythm of hate (πρὸς δὲ καρδίᾳ ϕόβος | ᾄδειν ἑτοῖμος ἡ δ' ὑπορχεῖσθαι κότῳ, accepting ἡ δ'(ε), a conjecture by Abresch in the place of the manuscript tradition ἠδ᾿(ε), accepted by Page). On music and ecstatic trance, see Rouget, G., Music and Trance: A Theory of the Relations between Music and Possession, trans. rev. by Biebuyck, B. (Chicago and London, 1985Google Scholar, or. ed. La musique et la transe: esquisse d'une theorie general des rélations de la musique et de la possession, Paris, 1980Google Scholar).

53 Λύσσα and μανία also appear connected to one another in Eur. Or. 270, 325–7 (cf. 845, θεομανεῖ λύσσῃ); Soph. fr. 941.4 Radt; Ar. Thesm. 680. Cf. also Ammon. De adf. voc. diff. 313, λύσσα> δ' ἐπιτεταμένη μανία. In the only iconographic testimony certainly referable to the representation of a tragedy on Heracles killing his children (Madrid, Museo Arqueológico Nacional 11094 [L 369], a calyx crater signed by Asteas, coming from Paestum and datable to about 350 b.c., on which see RVP 84/127 and plates 46–7, discussed on 89–90; LIMC IV1 s.v. ‘Herakles’, 1684; VI1 s.v. ‘Mania’, 1; I2 s.v. ‘Alkmene’ 18*; IV1 s.v. ‘Herakleidai’ 8; VIII1 s.v. ‘Megara’ I, 2; Séchan [n. 44], 524–6 and fig. 155; Taplin [n. 44], 143), it is Mania – not Lyssa – that appears as a woman looking out of a window.

54 Cf. Aesch. Eum. 332–3, in which the ὕμνος δέσμιος of the Erinyes is referred to as ἀϕόρμικτος. In both cases, the absence of the ritually prescribed instruments connotes a situation of disquieting blasphemy, arising from the distortion of the religious routine and producing ruin.

55 Cf. Eur. Bacch. 1230: Agave heads towards the royal palace βακχείῳ ποδί, taking her son's head with her as a trophy.

56 From this point of view the degradation of Heracles by Lyssa, turning him into the hunter of his own children, seems to continue from the degeneration of the hero into a hunter already present in the contemptuous words of Lycus (157–61), who blames Heracles making him a hunter and not a warrior in that he uses a bow.

57 Cf. Aesch. fr. 58, 1 Radt: ἐνθουσιᾷ δὴ δῶμα, βακχεύει στέγη. Βακχεύω is used causatively in Eur. Or. 411 (Menelaus to Orestes: αὑταί σε βακχεύουσι συγγενῆ ϕόνον, ‘[the Erinyes] infuse in you the madness of the maternal blood shed’).

58 As Ciani (n. 5), 73 and 89 has pointed out, it is an animal metaphor (see for example Aesch. PV 599; 675, ἐμμανεῖ σκιρτήματι, referring to Io transformed into a heifer; cf. Eur. Bacch. 166–7, in which the term denotes the cheerful leaps of the Bacchant that runs happily like a filly to the pasture with her mother). Cf. also below, n. 124.

59 In this case the instrument mentioned is the lōtos. The exact nature of this instrument is uncertain, but it is certainly an aulos, either a perfectly ordinary one under a different name, or an aulos of some special type. The precise connotations of the word lōtos – which Euripides is the first writer to use in this sense – are obscure, except that it refers to the tree from whose wood the instrument was made. Euripides sometimes calls it ‘Libyan’ (see for instance Hel. 170–1), and Theophrastus (Hist. Pl. 4.3.1–4) tells us that the lōtos tree grew in Libya. On the presence of this instrument as an accompaniment in hymeneals cf. Eur. IA 438, 1036.

60 For the connection between mania and phobos cf. also Eur. Or. 270 and 532; Hippoc. Morb. sacr. 14–15.

61 The connection between Lyssa's deadly intervention and the interrupted sacrifice seems to be emphasized in the case of Lycurgus who, like Heracles, killed his own son (in his case, the offended divinity is Dionysus, whose rites Lycurgus has persecuted; cf. Il. 6.130–40 and Soph. Ant. 955–65). Indeed, on an Apulian calyx crater (about 350 b.c., London, British Museum F271, = RFVAp 16/5 and pl. 147; LIMC VI1, s.v. ‘Lykourgos’ 1.28; II1 ss.vv. ‘Aphrodite’ 1521; ‘Apollon’ 927; ‘Ares’ 92*; VI1 s.v. ‘Lyssa’ 8*; VII1 s.v. ‘Sterope’ 1.2; Trendall, A.D. and Webster, T.B.L., Illustrations of Greek Drama [London, 1971], 3.1, 15Google Scholar; Séchan [n. 44], 71–2 and fig. 21) in which Lycurgus appears to be on the point of inflicting the final blow on his wife, while his son's dead body is being taken away, human and divine characters are represented on two registers separated halfway round the composition by an altar and made to communicate by the figure of Lyssa, deprived of animal and monstrous attributes but with a sting (κέντρον), which she is about to throw at Lycurgus. Aeschylus' trilogy on Lycurgus (on which see West, M.L., Studies in Aeschylus [Stuttgart, 1990], 2650CrossRefGoogle Scholar) may have influenced Euripides' Heracles. See Sutton, D.F., ‘A series of vases illustrating the madness of Lycurgus’, Rivista di Studi Classici 23 (1975), 356–60Google Scholar and Seaford, R., Reciprocity and Ritual: Homer and Tragedy in the Developing City-State (Oxford, 1994), 353–5Google Scholar.

62 Cf. Aesch. Sept. 498 (the maenad strikes fear in people with her gaze). The blood in Heracles' eyes seems to recall the Erinyes' blood-dripping eyes: cf. Aesch. Cho. 1058, κἀξ ὀμμάτων στάζουσι αἷμα δυσϕιλές (West accepts νᾶμα, ‘flowing humour’ – a correction by Burges based on Aesch. Eum. 54 – instead of αἷμα, in the manuscript tradition: in favour of αἷμα see Garvie, A.F. (ed.), Aeschylus. Choephori [Oxford, 1986], 347–8, ad loc.)Google Scholar; Eur. Or. 256, τὰς αἱματωποὺς καὶ δρακοντώδεις κόρας (using the same adjective as in Heracles 933, and also alluding to the similarity between the Erinyes and the Gorgon, on which see below, p. 81 and n. 81).

63 This symptom – which makes Heracles even more similar to a mad dog – evidently recalls the epileptic attack of Hippoc. Morb. sacr. 7 (cf. [Arist.] Probl. 953a10–19, quoted above, n. 1). On the influence of Hippocratic medicine on Euripides see Ferrini, F., ‘Tragedia e patologia: lessico ippocratico in Euripide’, QUCC 29 (1978), 4962Google Scholar; Craik, E.M., ‘Medical reference in Euripides’, BICS 45 (2001), 8195Google Scholar; Kosak (n. 5).

64 Cf. Soph. Aj. 303, γέλων πολύν.

65 The sinister and destructive melody that serves as a background to Heracles' madness also appears distant from the νόμος βακχεῖος that Hecabe intones for the violent and disorderly grief to which the killing of her son Polydorus gives rise (Eur. Hec. 685–6) and from the ‘song of maenads’ (μέλος θυιάς) that the chorus intend to intone for the death of Eteocles and Polynices (Aesch. Sept. 835–9).

66 Cf. Eur. fr. 472.15 Kannicht, βάκχος ἐκλήθην ὁσιωθείς.

67 In addition to features of hunting – which we will see later – the slaughter also has those of the blasphemous sacrifice: see e.g. 994–5 (δεύτερον δὲ παῖδ' ἑλὼν | χωρεῖ τρίτον θῦμ' ὡς ἐπισϕάξων δυοῖν, ‘having killed the second child, he approaches the third sacrificial victim to cut his throat in addition to the other two’). Through Lyssa and the divine will, Heracles is transformed from the pious head of a family with the role of the hiereus of a cathartic sacrifice, from which to begin a better life, into the cruel sacrificer shedding his own children's blood.

68 Cf. 1154, μύσος. The blood shed is inauspicious and contaminating (προστρόπαιον αἷμα, 1160).

69 Theseus defines the slaughter by Heracles as a new kind of evil, never seen before (καινὸν … κακόν, 1177), but rejects the idea that contact with the murdering hero – a victim of Hera's will – can contaminate him. According to Kosak (n. 5), 172, cf. 105, the attitude of the Athenian sovereign alludes to the rejection by Hippocratic medicine of the religious idea of contagion through contact.

70 Dodds, E.R. (ed.), Euripides. Bacchae (Oxford, 1960 2), 82Google Scholar.

71 A clear allusion to this insane and unmusical dance seems to be made by the term πίτυλος. It returns in two circumstances: at 816, where the chorus, on seeing Iris and Lyssa, says it is prey to a new ‘wave’ of fear (ἆρ' ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν πίτυλον ἥκομεν ϕόβου), and at 1189, where Amphitryon illustrates to Theseus what has happened, defining Heracles' bloodthirsty fury as a μαινόμενος πίτυλος, ‘mad impetus’. The use of this term – referring to the rhythmical beating of oars on water (see e.g. Σ in Ar. Vesp. 678b 1; Aesch. Sept. 854–6; Eur. Hypsipyle, fr. 752g.9–14 Kannicht, in which it is the music played by Orpheus that communicates the correct rhythm to the rowers of the ship Argo) – tends to highlight a sort of ‘rhythmic course’ of madness (cf. Wilamowitz [n. 28], 3.179, where πίτυλος is defined as ‘der Rhythmus der Disharmonie’, and Ciani [n. 5], 94, ‘per la prima volta con Euripide la follia stessa non è più un'agitazione scomposta, ma assume una ritmica, anche se aberrante, cadenza’). Cf. Eur. IT 307, πίπτει δὲ μανίας πίτυλον ὁ ξένος μεθείς.

72 The degeneration of Dionysianism into madness with consequent shedding of human blood is also well represented with reference to Lycurgus (on whom see above, n. 61), who in a volute crater from Lucania (about 360 b.c. Naples, Museo Nazionale 82123 [H 3237], in LIMC VI1, s.v. ‘Lyssa’ 7 = ‘Lykourgos’ 1.27*; ‘Lyssa’ 11 = ‘Lykourgos’ 1.20; LCS 114, 593 pl. 59,7; Trendall and Webster [n. 61], 3.1.16) is depicted threatening his wife, on the ground, with a double axe, while a woman to his left holds up her son's body: indeed, top left there appears the bust of a maenad with a tympanum, while to the right Lyssa is represented, winged and with a torch, throwing her sting (κέντρον) at Lycurgus.

73 Lines 966–7 (οὔ τί που ϕόνος σ' ἐβάκχευσεν νεκρῶν | οὓς ἄρτι καίνεις;), 1119 (Ἅιδου βάκχος), 1122 (οὐ γάρ τι βακχεύσας γε μέμνημαι ϕρένας), 1142 (ἦ γὰρ συνήραξ' οἶκον †ἢ βάκχευσ' ἐμόν†; – which Wilamowitz [n. 28], 2.250 emends to ἐν βακχεύμασιν). Referring to the two different states induced by Dionysiac ecstasy – which can cause enthusiasm on one side, and on the other can be destructive and a bringer of illness – Wilamowitz (n. 28), 3.196 considers the verb βακχευεῖν in the sphere of cheerful ritual exaltation and μαίνεσθαι as a verb of deadly madness.

74 Cf. Gregory (n. 13), 138: both ‘behave in a Bacchic manner’ (898, 1119, 1122), have the features of the Gorgo (883, 868, 990), drive an imaginary chariot (880 and 947–8) and incite with a sting (882, the ‘real’ κέντρον of Lyssa's madness and 949, the κέντρον with which Heracles imagines spurring on the horses towards Mycenae). The image of the κέντρον λύσσης also concerns Ajax in Fr. Adesp. 110 Kannicht–Snell.

75 Heracles described as a bacchant prey to fury alludes to a female model of madness but none the less preserves the characteristic masculine traits of violence and strength becoming homicidal fury, just like what happens to Agave and her retinue in Bacchae. On this aspect in particular see Zeitlin, F.I., ‘Playing the other: theater, theatricality and the feminine in Greek drama’, in Winkler, J.J. and Zeitlin, F.I. (edd.), Nothing to Do with Dionysos? Athenian Drama in Its Social Context (Princeton, 1990), 6396, at 74–5Google Scholar; Padel (n. 1 [1992]), 113; Hershkowitz, D., The Madness of Epic: Reading Insanity from Homer to Statius (Oxford, 1998), 36–7Google Scholar.

76 As Padel (n. 1 [1992]), 151 highlights, ‘animality, intermingled with the daemonic, defines humanity by contrast and simultaneously threatens to invade and mar it’. Cf. ead. (n. 1 [1995]), 141–4.

77 Cf. Pind. Pyth. 12.9 and 18–23; Aesch. PV 799–800 δρακοντόμαλλοι Γοργόνες. The Gorgo is already shown as snake-haired in the famous Archaic pediment of the temple of Artemis in Corfu (about 580 b.c.).

78 Cf. Aesch. PV 356, ἐξ ὀμμάτων δ' ἤστραπτε γοργωπὸν σέλας (referring to Typho, the ἑκατογκάρανον monster).

79 The snakes sent by Hera to Heracles' crib are called γοργωπούς (1266). Cf. Eur. Hyps. fr. 754a, 3 Kannicht (P Oxy. 852, fr. 18), [γ]ọγωπὰ λεύσσω[ν. Hector also has Gorgon eyes (Γοργοῦς ὄμματα) in Il. 8.349.

80 On Ajax and Heracles in the tragedies about them, Barlow, S.A., ‘Sophocles' Ajax and Euripides' Heracles’, Ramus 10 (1981), 112–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar; on Ajax's madness, Simon (n. 1), 124–30.

81 Cf. Aesch. Eum. 48–9; Eur. Or. 260–1 (the Erinyes have the Gorgon look and dogs' faces, κυνώπιδες γοργῶπες). A fundamental aspect of the identification of Gorgon and Erinyes is constituted by the snake-like head of hair with which they are depicted. According to Pausanias (1.28.6), Aeschylus was the first to use this imagery (Cho. 1048–50: Orestes sees the Erinyes ‘like the Gorgones, with black robes and densely woven snakes’, Γοργόνων δίκην, | ϕαιοχίτωνες καὶ πεπλεκτανημέναι | πυκνοῖς δράκουσιν; cf. Eum. 128, in which it is the Erinys herself that is describer as a ‘terrible snake’ [δεινῆς δρακαίνης], and Eur. Or. 256, [δρακοντώδεις], and in fact there is no iconographic evidence of an anthropomorphic depiction of them before the Oresteia; see H. Sarian, ‘Erinys’, LIMC III1 (1986), 825–43, esp. 839–842. However, one difference in appearance is that the Erinyes have no wings (Aesch. Eum. 51).

82 For Lyssa, see lines 834, 843; for the Erinyes, Aesch. Eum. 321–2, 745, 791–2, 844, 1034 (but in Hes. Theog. 183–5 the Erinyes are born from Γαῖα, the Earth). Other daughters of Night are the Moirae (Hes. Theog. 217; Aesch. Eum. 961–2) and Thanatos (Fr. Adesp., 405 Kannicht). Cf. Hes. Theog. 211–32: Night generates entities that punish and torment human beings and represent the hypostasis of their suffering.

83 This extreme condition of the Erinyes is effectively translated into the oxymoron γραῖαι παλαιαὶ παῖδες (‘old maidens’), with which Apollo characterizes them in the prologue of the Eumenides (69) emphasizing the refusal not only of the gods, but also of men and even of wild beasts to hold intercourse with them (69–70, αἷς οὐ μείγνυται | θεῶν τις οὐδ' ἄνθρωπος οὐδὲ θήρ ποτε); cf. 1034, Νυκτὸς παῖδες ἄπαιδες (‘Night's childless daughters’). In Heracles (834), Lyssa is a ‘virgin without hymeneals’ (ἀνυμέναιε παρθένε).

84 He is in his turn persecuted by both entities: see Eur. Or. 254, 326, 401, 793, 845. A valid comparison between Heracles' madness and that of Orestes in Euripides' tragedy of the same name can be found in Hartigan (n. 1).

85 The Erinyes attribute this name to themselves in Aesch. Eum. 323. These divinities – already foreshadowed in Iris' discourse (831: Hera wants Heracles to shed κοινὸν αἷμα) – are expressly evoked by Amphitryon after the slaughter (πρὸς δὲ κακοῖς κακὰ μήσε- | ται πρὸς Ἐρινύσι θ' αἷμα | σύγγονον ἕξει, ‘he will prepare other evils that will be added to those already perpetrated, to the persecution by the Erinyes, he will shed other blood of his stock’, 1076–7).

86 On the Maenad as the central image of madness in ancient Greece, Schlesier, R., ‘Mixtures of masks: maenads as tragic models’, in Carpenter, T.H. and Faraone, C.A. (edd.), Masks of Dionysus (Ithaca, NY and London, 1993), 89114, at 94 and 99–101Google Scholar; R. Seaford, ‘Dionysus as destroyer of the household: Homer, tragedy, and the polis’, in Carpenter and Faraone (this note), 115–146, at 129–133; Seaford (n. 61), 344–57; Padel, R., ‘Women, model for possession by Greek daemons’, in Averil, C. and Kuhrt, A. (edd.), Images of Women in Antiquity (London and Canberra, 1983), 319Google Scholar; ead. (n. 1 [1992] and [1995]).

87 On the image of the dog used in representating the Erinyes, see Petrounias, E., Funktion und Thematik der Bilder bei Aischylos (Göttingen, 1976), 173–9, 394CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

88 Cf. also Cho. 924. In Soph. El. 1388 they are ‘dogs that admit no escape’ (ἄϕυκτοι κύνες).

89 For canine barks as unpleasant and inauspicious sounds cf. Aesch. Ag. 1629–33, Eum. 131–2; Eur. Alc. 760 and fr. 907 Kannicht (ἄμουσ' ὑλακτῶν).

90 Taplin, O., Greek Tragedy in Action (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1978), 107CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

91 The λύσσα is designated as a canine illness – rabies – by Aristotle (Hist. an. 604a4–10), but the link between λύσσα and canine rabies already seems clear in Il. 8.299, where Hector is metaphorically referred to as a ‘rabid dog’ (κύνα λυσσητῆρα, see also Ar. Lys. 298, κύων λυττῶσα). On canine λύσσα cf. Franco, C., Senza ritegno. Il cane e la donna nell'immaginario della Grecia antica (Bologna, 2003), 56–7, 67–9, 99 n. 53Google Scholar.

92 On these lines of Euripides' Bacchae cf. Dodds (n. 70), 199 and Franco (n. 91), 189–91.

93 Diggle also accepts from Jackson (n. 50) the reading ἐπιρροιβδεῖν in place of ἐπιρροίβδην.

94 In this connection see the exhaustive comment by Bond (n. 14), 293–4, who agrees with Diggle.

95 On bestialization and the hunting metaphor in Bacchae, cf. Segal, C., Dionysiac Poetics and Euripides' Bacchae (Princeton, 1982), 31–6Google Scholar.

96 This process appears to be summed up in 865, in which Lyssa first affirms that she wants to kill Heracles' children (τέκν' ἀποκτείνασα), and immediately afterwards transfers the execution of the deed to Heracles, who is unaware of being possessed by her (ὁ δὲ κανὼν οὐκ εἴσεται).

97 The Bacchae also contains multiple examples of the blurring of humans and animals (cf. e.g. below, p. 84–6, on Dionysus as a bull).

98 Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 00.346 (in LIMC, VI2, s.v. ‘Lyssa’ 1 = ‘Aktaion’, 81* = ‘Artemis’ 1400; ARV 2 1045, 7; Trendall and Webster [n. 61], 3.1.28; Shapiro, H.A., Personification of Abstract Concepts in Greek Art and Literature to the End of the Fifth Century [Ann Arbor, 1987], 150–1Google Scholar and 187 n. 80). This is the first certain representation of Lyssa, identified by the inscription ΛϒΣΑ. The play alluded to could be Aeschylus' Toxotides (Aesch. frr. 241–6 Radt).

99 On this myth and its representations, Frontisi-Ducroux, F., ‘Actéon, ses chiens et leur maître’, in Cassin, B. and Labarrière, J.-L. (edd.), L'animal dans l'antiquité (Paris, 1997), 435–49Google Scholar. As observed by Seaford (n. 86), 143, the first idea of the link between Lyssa and dogs that tear people to pieces is found at Il. 22.70, where Priam refers to how his dead body will be torn to pieces by the dogs that he himself has raised at his table, after drinking his blood and going mad (ἀλύσσοντες, from ἀλύσσω, a form of ἀλύω influenced by λύσσα, as in Chantraine, s.v. ἀλύω).

100 A useful and complex study on the bull and on the imagery associated with it in the ancient world is Linacero, C. Delgado, El toro en el Mediterraneo: análisis de su presencia y significado en las grandes culturas del mundo antiguo (Madrid, 1996)Google Scholar. Rice, M., The Power of the Bull (London, 1998)Google Scholar concentrates instead on the bull as a sacrificial victim. Regarding the presence of the bull in Greek religion cf. Bodson, L., ἹΕΡΑ ZΩΙΑ. Contribution à l'étude de la place de l'animal dans la religion grecque ancienne (Brussels, 1978), 144–51Google Scholar.

101 Cf. Papadimitropoulos, L., ‘Heracles as tragic hero’, CW 101 (2008), 131–8, at 135Google Scholar: ‘bestiality is the common denominator of the forces that cause Heracles’ fall'.

102 Carm. Pop. fr. 25 (871) PMG = Plut. Quaest. Graec. 36, 299B:  Ἐλθεῖν, ἥρω Διόνυσε, | Ἀλείων ἐς ναὸν | ἁγνὸν σὺν Χαρίτεσσιν | ἐς ναὸν | τῷ βοέῳ ποδὶ θύων, | ἄξιε ταῦρε, | ἄξιε ταῦρε (I quote the text printed in Furley, W.D. and Bremer, J.M., Greek Hymns, vol. 2, Greek Texts and Commentary [Tübingen, see also 2001], 371Google Scholar); see also Plut. De Is. et Os. 364F.

103 LIMC III1, s.v. ‘Dionysos’, 154–9.

104 Cf. Stesimbr. FGrHist. 107 F 13 = Etym. Magn. 277.35: Διόνυσος· Οἱ μὲν Διόνυξον αὐτὸν ὀνομάζουσιν, ὅτι σὺν κέρασι γεννώμενος ἔνυξε τὸν Διὸς μηρὸν, ὡς Στησίμβροτος, ‘and they call him Dionyxos since, born with horns, he pierced the thigh of Zeus, as Stesimbrotus (says)’.

105 This image of snakes in the hair – proper, as we have seen (nn. 3 and 81), to the Erinyes and Lyssa too – also helps to make the maenad the ‘model’ of madness.

106 Dionysus is also referred to as a ‘bull’ in Lycoph. Alex. 209. An interesting scholium to the Alexandra itself (1237) – mentioned in Guidorizzi (n. 5), 199 n. 74 – says that the Bacchae of Macedonia, called mimallones, imitated Dionysus wearing bull's horns on their heads (κερατοϕοροῦσι γὰρ καὶ αὗται κατὰ μίμησιν Διονύσου). In Bacchae (1185), it is Agave that ‘mistakes’ her son's head for that of a young bull (μόσχος; cf. Dodds [n. 70], 224–5, and Seaford (n. 61), 288–91, in which the sparagmos of Pentheus is presented as an example of ‘anti-sacrificial human sacrifice’).

107 Dionysus is called ὠμηστής (‘raw-eater’) by Alcaeus (fr. 129.9 LP, Zόννυσον ὠμήσταν); cf. Phanias fr. 25 Wehrli = Plut. Them. 13 (Themistocles orders Sandaces' children to be sacrificed to Διόνυσος ὠμηστής). This element too has its counterpart in the distorted Dionysianism in Heracles as far as the Erinyes – which are called ὠμοβρῶτες (887) – are concerned.

108 Also used in relation to Heracles with parodic intention in the comic context of Aristophanes' Frogs, when the hostess remembers that Heracles, when the time came to pay the bill, gave her a grim look and began to ‘low’ (ἔβλεψεν εἴς με δριμὺ κἀμυκᾶτό γε, 562).

109 The verb μυκάομαι is also associated with a ritual context in the comic parody of the rites in Ar. Vesp. 1488.

110 The term βόμβυξ, which designates the ‘reed’ – that is the main pipe – of the aulos (Poll. 4.70), here is a synecdoche for the instrument itself. Indeed, the passage in which Pollux affirms that ‘the sound of the bombykes arouses enthousiasmos and Dionysiac frenzy’ (τῶν δὲ βομβύκων ἔνθεον καὶ μανικὸν τὸ αὔλημα, 4.82) can be interpreted bearing in mind the custom of using the fingers to block all the holes in the βόμβυξ making it resound in its ‘entirety’, so as to get the lowest notes from the instrument. Such notes would precisely arouse Dionysiac mania. The line in Edonoe in which the melody aroused by the fingers (δακτυλόδικτον … μέλος, 4) is a ‘clamour that induces madness’ (μανίας ἐπαγωγὸν ὁμοκλάν, 5) seems to allude precisely to this custom. On the βόμβυξ cf. Mathiesen, T.J., Apollo's Lyre: Greek Music and Music Theory in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Lincoln, NE and London, 1999), 184–6Google Scholar.

111 Also see Aristoph. Nub. 292, ᾔσθου ϕωνῆς ἅμα καὶ βροντῆς μυκησαμένης θεοσέπτου;.

112 In the depictions of this tragic episode on vases, Lyssa is once more represented as inspiring madness.

113 The bull's look as a prelude to an attack is also found in Ar. Ran. 804.

114 Aesch. PV 871–2 σπορᾶς γε μὴν ἐκ τῆσδε ϕύσεται θρασὺς | τόξοισι κλεινός, ‘from this seed a brave man will be born, famous for arrows’. The character alluded to in these lines is already identified as Heracles in Alexandrian scholia. On the influence of the Aeschylean Io on the Euripidean Heracles cf. Aélion (n. 44), 233–9.

115 The metaphor of cattle pursued by the οἶστρος is found first in Od. 22.299–301 (cf. above, n. 23). In Io's case there is also a reference to the κέντρον, ‘sting’ (Aesch. PV 597 and 693; cf. Eur. HF 20–1).

116 Padel (n. 1 [1992]), 121: ‘the oistros-sting is image, accompaniment, symptom, and cause of her madness and wanderings’; ead. (n. 1 [1995]), 14–17; Guidorizzi (n. 5), 28–9.

117 Cf. PV 836 (οἰστρήσασα) and Supp. 16–17 (οἰστροδόνου βοός), 541 (οἴστρῳ ἐρεθομένα), 573 (οἰστροδόνητον). On madness represented as a sting, see also De Martino, E., La terra del rimorso. Contributo a una storia religiosa del Sud (Milan, 1961), 199208Google Scholar.

118 The reading ζάπυρος – a conjecture by A. Askew noted by the scholar himself in the margin of the edition by J.C. De Pauw (Aeschyli Tragoediae superstites, Hagae Comitum 1745) preserved in Cambridge (Bibl. Univ. Adv. b. 51.1–2) – is accepted by West in the place of the manuscript tradition μ' ἄπυρος or ἄπυρος.

119 A link between οἶστρος and λύσσα seems to emerge from an anonymous tragic fragment concerning Io in which the former is winged (Fr. Adesp. 144a Kannicht–Snell, πτερωτὸν οἶστρον ἄϕετος ἐν μορϕῇ βοός).

120 Cf. Eur. IT 1455–6, in which Athena recalls the sufferings that Orestes has undergone ‘wandering around Greece under the torment of the Erinyes’ (περιπολῶν καθ' Ἑλλάδα | οἴστροις Ἐρινύων).

121 The οἶστρος also returns in Euripides' Orestes as an instrument of possession by the Erinyes (μὴ θεαί μ' οἴστρῳ κατάσχωσι, 791). Moreover, the link between οἶστρος and the Erinyes appears particularly evident in iconography, with the representation of Οἶστρος as a personification of the harassing madness (cf. LIMC VII1, s.v. ‘Medeia’ 29*, Apulian volute crater, about 320 b.c., attributed to the Afterlife Painter, München, Staatliche Antikensammlungen 3296) analogous to that of the Erinyes, just as we have seen above (pp. 81–2) in the case of Lyssa.

122 Cf. Bacch. 119 (women who devote themselves to the rites, abandoning their domestic occupations, are οἰστρηθεὶς Διονύσῳ); 665 (οἶστρος induces the Bacchants to rush out of the city); 1229 (Cadmus reports that he saw Ino and Autonoe still οἰστροπλῆγας on the mountain while he was bringing down the remains of Pentheus). Also see Nonnus, Dion. 14.344 (the Maenad is οἰστρομανής).

123 The link between this simile in the Argonautica and the myth of Io pursued by the οἶστρος has been stressed by Hershkowitz (n. 75), 29–30.

124 Cf. Eur. Bacch. 167–9 ἡδομένα | δ' ἄρα πῶλος ὅπως ἅμα ματέρι | ϕορβάδι κῶλον ἄγει ταχύπουν σκιρτήμασι βάκχα, ‘happy as a filly when grazing together with her mother, the bacchant moves her fast step, jumping’ (cf. 445–6 ϕροῦδαί γ' ἐκεῖναι λελυμέναι πρὸς ὀργάδας | σκιρτῶσι Βρόμιον ἀνακαλούμεναι θεόν, ‘those [sc. the bacchants] went away after getting free, they jump towards the countryside invoking the god Bromius’); Phoen. 1124–7 Ποτνιάδες δ' ἐπ' ἀσπίδι | ἐπίσημα πῶλοι δρομάδες ἐσκίρτων ϕόβῳ | … ὥστε μαίνεσθαι δοκεῖν, ‘the fillies of Potniae, an emblem on shield, jumped swiftly prey to fear … so that they seemed insane’; Hec. 525–527 λεκτοί τ' Ἀχαιῶν ἔκκριτοι νεανίαι | σκίρτημα μόσχου σῆς καθέξοντες χεροῖν | ἕσποντο, ‘chosen young people of the Achaeans followed, who should have held back with their hands the leaps of your young daughter’ (μόσχος, literally ‘young cow’, is a metaphor for Polyxena); and Ciani (n. 5), 73.

125 Eurystheus sacrifices to Hera the cattle of Geryon, given to him by Heracles himself, which Hera dispersed at the foot of the mountains of Thrace after having sent a gadfly to them (οἶστρος, Apollod. 2.5.10).

126 Besides Aeschylus' Prometheus, in which she is not a priestess, on the myth of Io cf. Apollod. 2.1.3; Phoronis, fr. 4 Bernabé (κλειδοῦχος, on which see O'Brien [n. 9], 152–5); [Hes.] frr. 124–6 and 294–6 (Aigimios) M–W; Acusilaus, FGrHist 2 F 26–7; Pherekydes, FGrHist 3 F 66–67; Aesch. Supp. 291–305; Ov. Met. 1.625–727.

127 Σ in Eur. Phoen. 1116 = [Hes.] Aigimios fr. 294 M–W (a four-eyed monster never prey to sleep); Aesch. PV 568, 678–9; Aesch. Supp. 304; Ar. Eccl. 80; Apollod. 2.1.2 (πανόπτης).

128 Hermes is called bouphonos in Hymn. Hom. in Merc. 436.

129 As O'Brien (n. 9), 150–6 has pointed out, this would represent a ‘pan-Hellenic’ version of the myth, originating from the Mycenaean myth – which continues in the Geometric period – in which the cult of Argive Hera was connected with the tying of bandages to the sacred olive tree (afterwards it is Io herself who is tied to it).

130 Apollod. 2.1.2; Σ in Eur. Phoen. 1116.13. A list of the vase depictions with Argos wearing the animal skin is provided in Burkert, W., Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth, tr. Bing, P. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1983Google Scholar; or. ed. Homo Necans. Interpretationen Altgriechischer Opferriten und Mythen, Berlin, 1972), 166 n. 21Google Scholar.

131 Cf. Burkert (n. 130), 164–5.

132 The references relating to this ancient version are taken from the rich and documented reconstruction by O'Brien (n. 9), 119–56.

133 The sanctuary of Hera was built at Prosymna – the name given to the north-western side of the hill called Euboia, between Argos and Mycenae – between the eighth and the seventh centuries b.c., but archaeological excavations in the zone attest the cult of a Potnia with the characteristics of Argive Hera – shield, bovine element and tree column – as early as the Neolithic.

134 Corresponding to the Attic Bouphoniai (Burkert [n. 130], 164–6 and 136–43).

135 Of the two citadels that represent the settlement of Argos in the Bronze Age, the ‘lower’ one – in which the Mycenaean settlement is fundamentally located – is called Aspis, while the ‘upper’ citadel, i.e. the hill, is called Larisa. The shield contest is one of the fundamental moments of the feast (among the literary sources, see Pind. Nem. 10).

136 The link between these and the territory is evident in the place name Euboia.

137 On this epithet, frequently associated with the goddess in Homer, cf. O'Brien (n. 9), 134–7, who shows that the bovine element is proper to the cult of Argive Hera from the Mycenaean age.

138 Phoronis, fr. 4 Bernabé. On the basis of Hesych. s.v. Ἰὼ Καλλιθύεσσα = Hes. fr. 125 M–W = Callim. fr. 769 Pfeiffer, the editor considers Καλλιθόη – which in the epic fragment is the name of the priestess of Argive Hera (κλειδοῦχος, as Io is also called in Aesch. Supp. 291; on this noun cf. O'Brien [n. 9], 152–5) who first performed this rite – to be another name for Io, but it appears more natural to think that one character has been superimposed on the other by the lexicographer.

139 As O'Brien (n. 9), 152–5 shows, this Mycenaean evidence clarifies the sense of fr. 4 of Phoronis.

140 The oxhide covering of the most ancient shields (see e.g. Il. 7.238, in which βοῦς metonymically designates the shield itself) connects Argos, the defender of the city that takes its name from him – and a part of which is called Aspis – with the shield contest of the Heraia in the Archaic Age which Pindar (Nem. 10.40–2) speaks of.

141 In Apollod. 2.1.3, Io is either the daughter of Iasos, in his turn the son of Argos – called πανόπτης and the killer of the bull of Arcadia, whose skin he puts on (ὑπερβάλλων δὲ δυνάμει τὸν μὲν τὴν Ἀρκαδίαν λυμαινόμενον ταῦρον ἀνελὼν τὴν τούτου δορὰν ἠμϕιέσατο) – or the daughter of Inachus. For the former version cf. Paus. 2.16.1; for the latter cf. Aesch. PV 589–90, 705; Hdt. 1.1.3.

142 Acusilaus, FGrHist 2 F 27 = Apollod. 2.1.6 οὗτος ἐκ τῆς ἐλαίας ἐδέσμευεν αὐτὴν ἥτις ἐν τῷ Μυκηναίων ὑπῆρχεν ἄλσει.

143 Moreover, the imagery of the holocaust can well be associated with the ending of Sophocles' Trachiniae, as C. Calame has clearly shown; see his Héraclès, animal et victime sacrificielle dans les Trachiniennes de Sophocle?’, in Bonnet, C., Jourdain-Annequin, C. and Pirenne-Delforge, V. (edd.), Le Bestiaire d'Héraclès. IIIe Rencontre héracléenne, Liège – Namur 16–18 nov. 1996 (Liège, 1998), 197215CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

144 Paus. 5.16. 3.

145 The first sacrifice of a bull – which also becomes the first killing by a divine hand, the killing of Argos by Hermes when Argos is dressed in the skin of the Argive bull – is performed in the Heraion at which Io is a priestess, and is remembered in the Heraia; see Burkert (n. 130), 162–6. For other sacrifices of bulls to Hera, cf. e.g. Theo. Id. 4.20–2 (sacrifice to Hera Lacinia). On the religious-anthropological meaning of Hera Boôpis in Mycenaean Argolid, cf. O'Brien (n. 9), 134–7.

146 One example is the Athenian feast of Dipolieia (or Bouphoniai), corresponding to the Argive Heraia; cf. Burkert (n. 130), 136–43. It is Heracles himself who sacrifices cattle to Zeus in Soph. Trach. 760–1 (ταυροκτονεῖ μὲν δώδεκ' ἐντελεῖς ἔχων | λείας ἀπαρχὴν βοῦς). The birth of Zeus in Crete seems to be at the basis of his link with the bull, which, as Rice (n. 100), 49 states, represented ‘the noble sacrifice, the universal expression of the mystical idea of the dying god’.

147 Burkert, W., Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical, tr. Raffan, J. (Cambridge, MA, 1985Google Scholar, or. ed. Griechische Religion der archaischen und klassischen Epoche, Stuttgart, 1977), 223Google Scholar.

148 Aesch. Xantriae, frr. 168 a–b Radt; Burkert (n. 130), 178; Guidorizzi (n. 5) 39–40.

149 Moreover, like Dionysus the bull, Heracles is at the same time hunter and prey.

150 See in particular lines 1307–10, in which Heracles himself affirms that he cannot address prayers to a goddess who, because of her jealousy at Zeus's love affair with a mortal woman, has caused the downfall of the hero who is the benefactor of Greece and is devoid of all blame (τοιαύτῃ θεῷ | τίς ἂν προσεύχοιθ'; ἣ γυναικὸς οὕνεκα | λέκτρων ϕθονοῦσα Zηνὶ τοὺς εὐεργέτας | Ἑλλάδος ἀπώλεσ' οὐδὲν ὄντας αἰτίους).

151 Plut. Thes. 15–19; Apollod. Epit. 1.7–9.

152 Diod. Sic. 4.59.6 and Paus. 1.27.10 identify it with the Cretan bull faced by Heracles.

153 On the representation of Theseus at the end of the tragedy, cf. Walker, H.J., Theseus and Athens (Oxford, 1995), 127–35Google Scholar. The ethical aspect in this tragedy is acutely dealt with in Cerri, G., ‘L'etica di Simonide nell'Eracle di Euripide. L'opposizione mitica Atene-Tebe’, in Bernardini, P. Angeli (ed.), Presenza e funzione della città di Tebe nella cultura greca. Atti del convegno internazionale, Urbino 7–9 luglio 1997 (Pisa and Rome, 2000), 233–63Google Scholar.

154 Kowalzig (n. 41), 241–2.

155 Silk (n. 1), 16 has defined Theseus as ‘homo ex machina, whose humanitas, literal and spiritual, presents Heracles at last with the perspective from which to dismiss and disown his divine patrimony’.

156 Cf. Chalk (n. 19), 18: Theseus' friendship provides an effective foil to the amorality of the gods, allowing Heracles to understand ‘the tragic nature of action’.

157 Simon (n. 1), 136–9, refers to Theseus' intervention in these terms.

158 Heracles has freed him and his friend Pirithous from Hades (1169–70 and 1236).

159 According to a recent interpretation by Papadimitropoulos (n. 101), 133, Theseus offers Heracles – who has wholly broken away from the human dimension of the oikos through the slaughter for which, in the last analysis, Zeus is responsible – the opportunity to acquire honours ‘that equate to a kind of postmortem apotheosis’, in a ‘deification’ that extols the bonds of community.

160 εἰ σὺ μὲν θνητὸς γεγὼς | ϕέρεις ὑπέρϕευ τὰς τύχας, θεοὶ δὲ μή; (1320–1).

161 Kosak (n. 5), 173–4.

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 109
Total number of PDF views: 319 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 6th March 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

MADNESS AND BESTIALIZATION IN EURIPIDES' HERACLES*
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

MADNESS AND BESTIALIZATION IN EURIPIDES' HERACLES*
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

MADNESS AND BESTIALIZATION IN EURIPIDES' HERACLES*
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *