Notes to

"The Horse and the Maiden" (Aeschines 1.182 etc.): An Urban Legend in Ancient Athens

Lowell Edmunds


1 For the division into three generic categories, see Dundes 1993: ix.

2 I have been guided in part by the general definition of legend given by Tangherini 1990: 385. For the truth-claim of legend, see Röhrich 1971: 3. For other definitions see Paolo Toselli, at his website for the Italian urban legend: Also

3 This element of the definition came from the second of the web sites cited in the preceding note.

4 No source suggests that the place was outside the city. Hoffmann 1990: 41 is mistaken when she says "en dehors des remparts."

5 Huxley 1973: 276: "original purpose of the story was to explain the place named ‘Horse and Maid’ (where the house of Hippomenes once stood), but Aristotle characteristically gives a political emphasis to it."

6 The story is a unique testimonium concerning Hippomenes. Further, the story is unique as regards the whole group of early rulers, the first kings and archons, who are only names in a list. There is no story about any of them except the one story about Hippomenes.

7 Wilamowitz 1898: 123. (Wilamowitz’ proposal concerning a funerary monument as the origin of the story may recall Il. 17.434-440, where the horses of Achilles as they grieve for Patroclus are compared to a stele. But these horses are not compared to horses on a stele; rather, in their motionlessness they are compared to the immobility of a stele. Cf. 23.280-84. Apropos of the prophecy of Achilles’ death by the horse Xanthos (19.404-17), Richardson 1993: 283 remarks: "There was an association between the horse and death in Greek thought," and gives references to scholarship on the matter.

8 Popham, M. R., P. G. Calligas, and Sackett, ed. 1993.

9 The only examples in myth are apparently Paus. 3.20.9 (Tyndareus sacrificed and buried a horse when he administered the oath to the suitors of Helen) and Plut. narr. amat. 3 = Mor. 774D (a certain Scedasus instructs the Theban generals, before the battle of Leuctra [371 B.C.E.], to sacrifice a white colt at the tomb of his daughters, who were raped and murdered by Spartans). For burial of horses at Marathon in Bronze Age see Appendix A. For Mycenaean burial of horses, see Vermeule 1979: 58-61, with Fig. 16. Cf. Palmer in Appendix A.

10 Note that two of the sources for "The Horse and the Maiden" say that the building in which they were enclosed was razed. The building at Toumba was damaged structurally and was then covered with a mound. Sources.

11 See Appendix B.

12 On this problem, see Olrik 1992: 99ff.

13 Ghiron-Bistagne 1985; Petrarca 1990.

14 There is now a need of a typology of typologies. The folkloristic one of the historical-geographical school, is based on motifs. Propp’s, based on thirty-one "functions," was an innovation. Greimas reduced these functions to a "canonical narrative schema." Burkert has argued for biologically based programs of action. Typology has also been the basis of the "monomyths" (Rank, Raglan, Campbell).

15 Burkert 1979: 7.

16 Hansen in Edmunds 1989 refers to Frazer’s comparative explanation of the myth of the marriage of Peleus and Thetis.

17 Bettini 1993.

18 1913: "Das Pferdeopfer hat wohl hier die Hereinziehung eines Hippo-menes veranlaßt." It is interesting that Eitrem conceived of a sacrifice. He does not explain.

19 1.3. The name is an emendation of the mss.’ leimôni.

20 LSJ s.v. leimôni II (E. Cyc.171). See Henderson 1991: 20 for a possible example in Hipponax 174W; and 136 for pedion as a metaphor for the pudenda.

21 Survey of the evidence in Richardson 1993: 187-88 (on Il. 23.166-76); cf. Vermeule 1979: 58-61.

22 Il. 23.241-42.

23 6.103.

24 Hoffmann 1992.

25 In Littré vol. 8, pp. 464-71. For the model of the female body implied by the passage that I quote, see Sissa 1990:121-22.

26 And the woman’s main purpose in marriage is to bear children: [Dem.] 59.122 (Against Neaira). (I have not seen Bolkestein 1933.) For a discussion of the relevant passages in Aristotle’s Generation of Animals, see Sissa 1990:160-62.

27 On the father’s control of the daughter, see Hoffmann 1990, ch. 4 ("La Cité des Pères Outragés").

28 Ovid. Ib. 573-76, the only source for the Crotopus’ execution of his daugher, perhaps suggests that Crotopos buried her alive. Massimilla 1996: 299 surveys the sources for the story.

29 Cf. Burkert 1979: 6-7 on the "girl’s tragedy."

30 Pellizer 1982, ch. 5 discusses others.

31 As observed by Sissa 1990: 89, in Ch. 8 ("Hidden Marriages"), all of which is illuminating for "The Horse and the Maiden."

32 See the discussion by Calame 1997: 238-44, with full reference to earlier literature.

33 Louvre Partheneion: girls are compared to beautiful race horses with respect to their running. Aesch Sept. 454-55 pôlikôn... hedôliôn "fillies’ (i.e., maidens’) quarters."

34 Hoffmann 1990: 41: the choice of punishment "renvoie ... à l’image qu’a désormais le père de sa fille: celle d’un animal fougueux et incontrôlable."

35 Calame 1997: 244.

36 6.126-31.

37 A-T 870C*. Reents and Köhler-Zülch 1992.

38 Jeanmaire 1951 describes this aspect. He mentions the horses Pegasus, born from the head of the decapitated Gorgon; Arion born from the Erinys impregnated by Poseidon; the horses of Achilles born from the Harpy, Podargê (282-283). He also discusses the Centaurs and Silens, creatures intermediary between human and horse (283-84).

39 Detienne and Vernant 1974: 178-202. Their intepretation of "The Horse and the Maiden": "Leimôné est condamnée à être déchirée par un étalon qui est une métaphore de son séducteur, mais dont la furie dévorante fait sentir également tout l’horreur des puissances de l’au-delà" (185).

40 As Ghiron-Bistagne 1985: 108 and Devereux 1975: 204 observe, the horse in the "Horse and the Maiden" is male, while the man-eating horses just named are femaled. Devereux refers to an interesting note by Barrett 1964: 204-205: the feminine when used of a team of horses is a question of gender, not of sex. See also Frazer 1921: 200 n. 1 on the sex of the horses. See Smyth 198 a for other examples. Cf. akris "cricket," which is always fem. Mario Geymonat reminded me of the vase-painting in which there is a horse with a human limb in its mouth.

41 Apollodorus 2.5.8; Diod. Sic. 4.15.3. The Thracian king Lycurgus was killed by horses in order to restore the fertility of his land: Apollod. 3.5.1.

42 Aesch. Glaukos Potnieus frag. *39 Radt. See, in addition to Radt’s comments, Weiker 1910.

43 75 B = 78 G = 88 D.

44 At Ar. Lys. 676-78, the old men say: "If they (the women) turn to horsemanship, forget about the knights. A woman is a most horsey thing and well-seated (hippikôtaton gar esti khrêma kapokhon gunê 677) and wouldn’t slip off when you run." Cf. Henderson 1991: 164-65.

45 Sources in Gantz 1993: 62.

46 There is a similar story about Zeus and the Dia, the wife of Ixion: schol. Il. 1.263 Dindorf. Cf. Brillante forthcoming.

47 Brillante forthcoming.

48 Cf. Adam et al. 1990: 263-68; Tangherini 1990: 380 "A broad view ... is necessary to understand how legend derives believability by tapping already existing beliefs and values. By constructing a symbolic reality which encompasses these values and beliefs, the legend not only maintains its vitality in tradition, but also reinforces those beliefs it makes use of."

49 See Oakley and Sinos 1993: 26-34.

50 Women were expected to remain indoors: see Hutchinson 1985: 83 (on 232).

51 Scheid and Svenbro 1996.

52 Turner 1967: 28. He was hearking back to an earlier formulation by Edward Sapir, who said of the symbol: "it expresses a condensation of energy, its actual significance being out of all proportion to the apparent triviality of meaning suggested by its mere form": Sapir 1934.

53 Turner 1967: 46.

54 See Appendix C.

55 For the horror film, see the excellent book by Clover 1992.