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p. 90


If we now turn to the remaining parts of the Peloponnesian peninsula, to Arcadia, the central mountain land, to Elis, the northwestern district, and to Achaea, the coastal province on the south side of the Corinthian gulf, Mycenaean remains are remarkably scarce. Finds from Achaea were first reported quite recently: late Mycenaean tombs at Goumenitza near Kalaveyta, 1 chamber tombs near Prostovitza on the west slopes of Mount Erymanthus, chamber tombs and three tholos tombs near Chalandritza, twelve miles south of Patras. 2 Only the last mentioned find seems to be of any importance; and the report, barely mentions that and gives no details. In Arcadia Mycenaean remains seem to be still less important; most remarkable are the tholos tombs at Sarandapotamos near Tegea, of which one has been explored. 3 Elis has yielded still less, Olympia a single Mycenaean sherd, and the hill where ancient Pisa was situated a few sherds. 4

To this scarcity of Mycenaean finds the paucity of myths closely corresponds. Arcadia has a number of curious old-fashioned cults and even myths, but

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the most interesting of these are divine, not heroic myths, e.g., those of Calliste and of Auge. The few heroic myths are of a late make. Atalanta is sometimes said to be an Arcadian, sometimes a Boeotian; she is perhaps one of those folk-tale personages who were not localized originally and of whom stories were told in different places.

In Elis likewise the number of myths is very few. Salmoneus, the eponymous hero of the town of Salmone at Alpheus, has been much discussed lately and has been thought to be a reflection of an old kingly magician. 5 This is probably true and shows that his importance for heroic mythology is small. His myth was a local sacral myth which was attached to the Pylian-Thessalian genealogy. 6 It is a curious and, from the point of view of the history of Greek religion, interesting fact that the most famous seers and soothsayers are connected with Elis. The Iamidae and the Clytiadae did service at Olympia, 7 and the celebrated mythical seers Melampus and Bias are said to be sons of the Elean hero Amythaon, who was connected genealogically with Neleus. For our purpose these myths have hardly any interest; their elaboration is probably due to the religious ideas of the early archaic age.

It would have been a sheer miracle if the foundation of the Olympian games had not been projected into the heroic age and surrounded with myths. Our concern is not to enucleate the origin of these

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famous games and their mythical history, which has been discussed very vividly, 8 but to try to see how it agrees with our general principles. Except for a single sherd, Mycenaean remains are absolutely lacking at Olympia, which has been searched thoroughly, and they are few and insignificant at the neighboring town of Pisa, which in an earlier age controlled the games. The myths attached to Olympia ought consequently to be later creations, even if earlier elements were used in arranging them. Their relatively late date is indicated by the fact that quite a number of aetiologic myths concerning the foundation of the games exist but that none was generally accepted so as to oust the others.

Pausanias has two quaint myths, 9 one is that Heracles--who here is said to be one of the Idaean Dactyls to whose care the child Zeus was entrusted--with his four brothers founded the games; 10 the other is that Zeus himself founded them after his victory over Cronus. Both are apparently late inventions and need not detain us.

More widespread is another myth according to which Heracles instituted the games, having killed the Molione. 11 These strong twins have apparently been borrowed from the Pylian myth. Nestor mentions

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them twice; he says that they took part in the war on the side of the Epeans and that he nearly killed them, 12 and in another passage he says that they were victorious in the chariot race at the funeral games of Amarynceus at Bouprasion. 13 Heracles killed them in the course of a war which he waged against King Augeias of Elis because Augeias had withheld the fee which he had promised him for the cleaning of his stables. Augeias appears in the Pylian epos as king of Elis. 14 In this epos Heracles was the foe of the Pylians; in the myth here treated he is the foe of the Eleans.

This change may perhaps be connected with a change in the dominating population. The Eleans of the historical age spoke a northwestern dialect; they were a northwestern tribe, kindred of the Aetolians, who had traversed the Strait of Naupactus. If the Dorians who invaded the Peloponnese took the same way, they came earlier and were ousted by the Eleans. This view implies of course that the Epeans who warred with the Pylians belonged to the earlier Dorian invasion. In the Homeric age the last invasion had already taken place, and Homer confused of course Epeans and Eleans, but, as we remarked, the latter name is a local and not a tribal one. However this hypothesis may be judged, the myth of Heracles' war with Augeias and his killing of the Molione is apparently a late creation, composed of elements of which certain parts were taken from the Pylian cycle. 15

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Much more celebrated is the myth of Pelops and Oenomaus which was chosen as the subject of the sculptures in the east pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia. We have seen above 16 that Pelops was the eponymous hero of the tribe of the Pelopes, which gave its name to the Peloponnesian peninsula, and that he was made an ancestor of the Atreidae. Oenomaus appears curiously isolated; he is not attached to the genealogy of the Elean kings. The goal of the race is by some authors said to have been on the Corinthian isthmus; personages and events of the myth were localized partly in the north-eastern Peloponnese, partly even on Lesbos. Thus the inference is near at hand that the myth was transferred to Olympia from Lesbos 17 or from the northeastern Peloponnese. 18 It must, however, be conceded that there is nothing which proves with certainty that these localizations are earlier than its localization at Olympia. 19

More important is the fact to which several scholars have pointed that the running of the course originally implied not a race but the carrying off of the bride according to the primitive custom known also to the Greeks. This is a rather common mythical motif. 20 It appears that the myth of the race of Pelops and Oenomaus was remodeled profoundly

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in order to be applied to Olympia. It is uncertain where it was originally at home.

For our point of view the important fact is that neither in this nor in other myths concerning the institution of the Olympian games is there anything which can be referred to the Mycenaean age. Just as Mycenaean remains are lacking at Olympia, so the myths attached to Olympia do not cling to that place from Mycenaean times. They are recent inventions transferred from other places or remodeled with some use of earlier elements. We must be content with this general statement; here, as often, it is impossible to discern how the myths were developed in the archaic age.


90:1 Deltion archaiologikon, IX (1924-25), App. pp. 14 et seq.

90:2 Journal of Hellenic Studies, XLIX (1929), p. 235. Recent finds ibid., L (1930), p. 241 and Bulletin de correspondence Hellénique, LIII (1929), p. 501 et seq.

90:3 Not published but mentioned by Dr. Fimmen, loc. cit., p. 10.

90:4 Dörpfeld, Athen. Mittheilungen, XXXIII (1908), p. 319, does not mention anything Mycenaean; in the Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1909, p. 121, it is expressly stated "nothing Mycenaean," but as the very conscientious Dr. Fimmen, who knew the materials personally, mentions Mycenaean ceramics, some, though not considerable, Mycenaean finds must have been made in the meantime.

91:5 J. G. Frazer, The Golden Bough (ed. 3), I, p. 310, and II, p. 181. S. Reinach, Cultes, Myths et Religions, II (1906), pp. 159 et seq.

91:6 Cp. below p. 141.

91:7 L. Weniger, "Die Seher von Olympia," Archiv für Religionswissenschaft, XVIII (1915), pp. 53 et seq.

92:8 Summary in N. Gardiner, Olympia (1925), p. 58, et seq. A sound criticism of the speculative hypotheses in H. J. Rose, The Greek Agones in Aberystwyth Studies, III (1922), p. 1 et seq. Last treatment by R. Vallois, "L’origine des jeux olympiques," Revue des études anciennes, XXVIII (1926), pp. 305 et seq., and XXXI (1929), pp. 113 et seq.

92:9 Paus. v. 7, 8 et seq.

92:10 Cp. Vallois loc. cit. (1926). This myth seems to be connected with certain facts in the actual cult. It is judged very contemptuously by Farnell, Greek Hero Cults, pp. 125 et seq.

92:11 Pindarus, Ol. x. v. 26 et seq.; Apollodorus, ii. 7, 2, 5, etc.

93:12 Il. xi. vv. 709 et seq.

93:13 Il. xxiii. v. 638.

93:14 Il. xi. vv. 701 and 739.

93:15 N. Gardiner, Olympia, p. 60, calls it justly a part and parcel of the myth of the return of the Heraclidae.

94:16 Above p. 44.

94:17 Robert, Die griech. Heldensage, pp. 209 et seq.; with some modifications J. Kakridis in his book Ἀραί (Athens 1929), and in the periodical Hermes, lxvi (1928), pp. 119 et seq.

94:18 Weiszäcker in Roscher's Lexikon der Mythologie, III, pp. 767 et seq.

94:19 Vallois, loc. cit. (1929), p. 122.

94:20 The race for the bride is a fairly common motif used in tales of the suitors of the Danaides, of Penelope, of Pallene, and of Thebe, the eponymous heroine of Thebes beneath Mt. Plakos.

Next: 5. The Ionian Islands