Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-77ffc5d9c7-n2wdk Total loading time: 0.226 Render date: 2021-04-23T15:33:59.127Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }


Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 September 2015

José Marcos Macedo
Universidade de São Paulo
E-mail address:


The month name Ἀγαγύλιος is attested in Thessaly and Achaia Phthiotis. Recently, excavations at a Thessalian temple of Apollo in Pythion, at the foot of Olympus, have brought to light numerous ex-votos dedicated to Apollo, Poseidon and to an Artemis whose epiclesis is Agagylaia. Neither the month name nor the epiclesis, which is certainly to be connected with the month name, has yet received an explanation.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 2015 

Access options

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



The author gratefully acknowledges the financial support provided by FAPESP. I would also like to thank Dr Daniel Kölligan (Cologne), Prof. Dr J.L. García Ramón (Cologne) and the anonymous reviewer for their helpful remarks and suggestions on this paper. All shortcomings and mistakes are of my own responsibility.


1 C. Trümpy, Untersuchungen zu den altgriechischen Monatsnamen und Monatsfolgen (Heidelberg, 1997), 229 n. 923.

2 Ramón, J.L. García and Helly, B., ‘Εννοδια Κορουταρρα (“celle qui dote de nourriture, de croissance”) et autres divinités kourotrophes en Thessalie’, RPh 80 (2007), 291312 Google Scholar, at 310.

3 Trümpy (n. 1), 224 remarks: ‘Wie der Monatsname Ἀγαγύλιος zu deuten ist, ist ungewiss.’ García Ramón and Helly (n. 2), 310 n. 81 also note that the epiclesis ‘reste à expliquer’.

4 Schol. DGe Ψ 111 [ἀξέμεν ὕλην] κόπτειν ὕλην. ἢ παρὰ τὸ ἄξαι, ὅ ἐστι φέρειν· ἄγεται γὰρ τὸ ζῷον. Eustathius (4.639.15) makes the same mistake: τὸ δὲ ὕλην ἄγειν δύναται καὶ ἀντὶ τοῦ κλᾶν καὶ θραύειν εἶναι κατὰ τὸ “νέα μέν μοι ἔαξε Ποσειδῶν”. τὸ δὲ τοιοῦτον ἄγειν καὶ ἀγνύειν λέγεται. Cf. also Eust. 4.680.8; 4.695.1; and LfgrE s.v. ἄγω II.b.

5 This time Eustathius (4.988.9) gets it right: ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἀγινέμεν ὕλην, ὅ ἐστιν ἄγειν, φέρειν, μετακομίζειν, δηλοῦται ὡς καὶ τὸ ὕλην ἀξέμεν τὸ ἀγαγεῖν μᾶλλον δηλοῖ, οὐ μὴν τὸ κλάσαι. πάντως γὰρ ἀγινεῖν μόνον τὸ ἄγειν, οὐ μὴν καὶ τὸ κλᾶν. τὴν δὲ ὕλην ξύλα πρὸ βραχέων ὁ γέρων ἔφη.

6 This distinction, if indeed valid, between carrying wood by means of carts and mules (ἄγειν) and on one's own arms or back (φέρειν) was apparently lost to Quintus Smyrnaeus (5.618): ἀπ’ Ἰδαίων ὀρέων φέρον ἄσπετον ὕλην (cf. Hom. Il. 24.784, quoted above).

7 Cf. Diod. Sic. 2.16.6.

8 See further in the text (7.5): ἓξ ὄνοι δι’ ἐνιαυτοῦ ὑλαγωγοῦσιν. Later, ὕλη meaning ‘matter’ can also be used with ἄγω, cf. Chrysipp. fr. 444 τὴν ὕλην ὁ ἀὴρ ὧδε μὲν συναγαγὼν καὶ πυκνώσας γῆν ἐποίησεν.

9 Cf. Hsch. (υ 150) ὑλάσασθαι· ξύλα συναγαγεῖν; Poll. 7.101 Ἐκ δὲ τῶν τὰς ὕλας παρασκευαζόντων εἶεν ἂν ὑλουργοί, φυτουργοί, γεωργοί, ὑλοτόμοι, ὑλαγωγοί, ξυλουργοί, πισσουργοί, σμηνουργοί· καὶ ἡ πρᾶξις ὑλουργία, ὑλοτομία, ὑλαγωγία, ξυλουργία, πισσουργία, κηπουργία, σμηνουργία; 109 Τῶν δὲ ξύλων ὑλοτομηθέντων οἱ ἐργάται ὑλοτόμοι καὶ δρυτόμοι καὶ ὑλαγωγοί, καὶ τὰ ἐργαλεῖα πελέκεις, καὶ τὰ ῥήματα ὑλοτομεῖν καὶ ὑλαγωγεῖν καὶ ὑλάζεσθαι.

10 Schol. Ar. Ach. 272 ὑληφόρον] ξυληφόρον; Men. Her. 52 ξυλοφορῶ; Men. Kol. 31 ξυλοφορῶν; Dosiad. Hist. fr. 1.12–13 θεράποντες ξυλοφόροι; Lys. fr. p. 270.22 ξυλοφορίαν; Strabo ἡμίονον κατέλιπε ξυλοφοροῦντα καὶ ἡμιονηγόν. Cf. also Joseph. BJ (describing the Jewish feast of Tabernacles): Τῇ δ’ ἑξῆς τῆς τῶν ξυλοφορίων ἑορτῆς οὔσης, ἐν ᾗ πᾶσιν ἔθος ἦν ὕλην τῷ βωμῷ προσφέρειν, ὅπως μήποτε τροφὴ τῷ πυρὶ λείποι, διαμένει γὰρ ἄσβεστον ἀεί; Poll. 7.130.1-3 οἱ ἐξ ἀγορᾶς ἢ ἐκ λιμένος κομίζοντες ἀχθοφόροι, ἀμφορεαφόροι, καὶ τὰ ῥήματα ἀχθοφορεῖν καὶ ἀμφορεαφορεῖν, ὑδροφόροι, ξυλοφόροι, σκευοφόροι, ὑληφόροι καὶ ὑληφορεῖν; Suda (υ 98) Ὑληφόρον· ξυληφόρον.

11 On the question of compound univerbation of set expressions see O. Hackstein, ‘When words coalesce: chunking and morphophonemic extension’, in H.C. Melchert (ed.), The Indo-European Verb. Proceedings of the Conference of the Society for Indo-European Studies, Los Angeles 13–15 September 2010 (Wiesbaden, 2012), 87–104. On the semantic difference between ἄγω and φέρω with regard to the conveyance of wheat, see J.L. García Ramon, ‘Der thessalische Name Σπύραγος, σπυρός “Weizen(korn)”: att. πυρός und πυρούς ἄγειν “Weizen(korn) zu Wasser transportieren”’, in G. Schweiger (ed.), Indogermanica: Festschrift Gert Klingenschmitt. Indische, iranische und indogermanische Studien dem verehrten Jubilar dargebracht zu seinem fünfundsechzigsten Geburtstag (Taimering, 2005), 127–43. See also J.L. García Ramón, ‘Anthroponymica Mycenaea: 5. a-wi-to-do-to /Awistodotos/ und die unsichtbaren Götter im Alph.-Griechischen. 6. we-re-na-ko /Wrēn-āgos/ oder /Wrēn-ā̆kos/ und Myk. /wrēn/ *: alph.-gr. °ρρην- ἀρήν “Lamm”*’, Živa Antika 55 (2005), 85–97, at 91–4.

12 See above, (n. 1), 255 n. 1040.

13 See D.F. McCabe, Chios Inscriptions. Texts and List (Princeton, 1986), text no. 46; cf. F. Graf, Nordioinische Kulte (Rome, 1985), 47–9.

14 Trümpy (n. 1), 245 n. 992 remarks: ‘Wir müssen im böotischen Ort Alalkomenai den Hauptkultort dieser Göttin sehen, der ihr offenbar den Namen gegeben hat’. Cf. Ἀλαλκομενεύς, one of Zeus’ epithets (EM 56.10). There are admittedly no other compounds with ἀγαγ°, but that of course does not hinder our hypothesis.

15 J. Bendahman, Der reduplizierte Aorist in den indogermanischen Sprachen (Egelsbach, 1993), 56–7. Both Indo-European forms, going back to an original amphidynamic declension *h 2 éĝ-h2ĝ-(e-), *h 2 ĝ-h2ĝ-ént- :: *h 2 él-h2l̥k-t-, *h 2 l̥k-h2l̥k-ént- would have been then thematized in proto-Greek to *h 2 əĝ-h2əĝ-é/o- :: *h 2 əl-h2əlk-é/o- respectively.

16 Cf. Trümpy (n. 1), 217 n. 6.

17 One of the words associated with the epiclesis of her brother Apollo in Cyprus is Ὑλάτης; cf. J.-B. Cayla, ‘Appolon ou la vie sauvage: à propos de quelques épiclèses d'Apollon à Chypre’, in N. Belayche, P. Brulé, G. Freyburger, Y. Lehmann, L. Pernot and F. Prost (edd.), Nommer les dieux. Théonymes, épithètes, épiclèses dans l'antiquité (Turnhout, 2005), 227–40, at 232–4. One may envisage at least two possible but inferior alternatives for the etymology advanced here:

(i) with a different segmentation for Artemis’ epithet, namely Ἀγα-γυλαια, it might be argued that the compound roughly means ‘big shout’ (< *m̥ĝh 2 -guh2-lo-). The second member would then be related to the root *geu̯h 2 - ‘to call, to shout’ seen in Gk. γοάω ‘to wail, to mourn’. In phraseological terms, this might be supported by the collocation μέγαν γόον (Hom. Hymn Dem. 82); cf. Ramón, J.L. García, ‘El antropónimo pilio e-ri-ko-wo y la fraseología poética: /Erikōwos/ (: μέγα κῶας Hom.+) o más bien /Erigowos/ (: μέγαν γόον HHCer., ἐρικλάγκταν γόον Pind. y μέγα βοήσας Hom., Ἐριβόας Pind.)’, Faventia 30 (2008), 3345 . One may recall as well that one of Artemis’ epithets is κελαδεινή ‘loud-voiced’. In this case, the name of the month would be derived from the epithet or from the (unattested) festival, but the morphology leaves much to be desired: -lo- suffix added to a compound?

(ii) still with ἀγα°, one might risk a meaning ‘big cult stone’ for the second member (< *ἀγα-γυλ[λ]-). In the decision of Molpoi concerning the cults of Apollo Delphinios and others in Miletus, an obscure block of stone that must be carried for cultic purposes in honour of Hecate is mentioned: καὶ γυλλοὶ φέρονται δύο, καὶ τίθεται παρ’ Ἑκάτην τὴν πρόσθεν πυλέων ἐστεμμένος καὶ ἀκρήτω κατασπένδετε, ὁ δ’ ἕτερος ἐς Δίδυμα ἐπὶ θύρας τίθεται. Cf. D.F. McCabe, Miletos Inscriptions. Texts and List (Princeton, 1984), text no. 10.25–7; M.P. Nilsson, Geschichte der griechischen Religion, vol. 1 (Munich, 19673), 722; and S.I. Johnston, Restless Dead: Encounters between Living and Dead in Ancient Greece (Berkeley, 1999), 207 n. 17. The month name, as well as Artemis’ epiclesis, would then be derived from the (unattested) name of a festival, where the relevant cult would take place. Given the enigmatic nature of the cultic object, this hypothesis is to a large extent no more than mere speculation.

Google Scholar

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: 14
Total number of PDF views: 64 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure 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 or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ 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.

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.

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.

Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *