Just as Thebes is the center of Southern Boeotia, Orchomenus is the center of the northern part of the province, together with the great and fertile plain at the lake of Copais. Orchomenus has always been famous for its bee-hive tomb, the so-called treasury of Minyas, which now is ruined but rivals the best examples of these stately domes at Mycenae. Mr. Schliemann made excavations at Orchomenus also. A Bavarian expedition took up the work at the beginning of this century and discovered important remains from the Mycenaean and the pre-Mycenaean ages. 1 Most remarkable and important are the numerous fragments of painted stucco. They once covered the walls of a palace of which no stone is left. Nor has any trace of other buildings
from the Mycenaean age been discovered, but the wall paintings suffice to prove that a palace was once standing at Orchomenus like those in Argolis and at Thebes, decorated by the hands of Mycenaean craftsmen. The paintings of Orchomenus are later in date than those of Thebes. A single specimen of a jar inscribed with Minoan characters was also found.
The most conspicuous architectural monument which the Mycenaean age left in Boeotia is, however, the large palace which was erected on the small island of Gla in the lake of Copais. 2 The area enclosed by the ring-wall is more than ten times as large as the area enclosed at Tiryns, but it shows only very slight traces of habitation. Even ceramics and other small finds are scarce. The very name of this mighty castle was forgotten. It is sometimes supposed to be old Arne, but this identification has been contested and is hardly probable. Other identifications are not more likely. 3 This is a kind of riddle, but one may suppose that something happened here like that which seems to have happened at Midea, the Mycenaean fortress in Argolis which has the largest area of any but plays very little part in myths; 4 viz., that the palace was inhabited
for a short time only and abandoned so early that its memory was obliterated. This supposition is consistent with the lack of ceramics and other small finds.
Further, one of the most extensive undertakings which ever was carried out in prehistoric Greece is not to be forgotten, the draining of the lake of Copais. Modern observations prove that the system of ditches with stone embankments which was built on the bottom of the lake in order to conduct its water to the katavothra, is ancient and in all probability belongs to Mycenaean times, as ancient tradition implies. 5 The immense attempt was also made to excavate tunnels through the mountains which separate the lake from the Euripus, but this work is of a later date.
If we, according to our principles, ask for the cycle of myths corresponding to the Mycenaean center of Orchomenus, the answer will be the myth of the Minyans. Since K. O. Müller more than a hundred years ago published his famous book on Orchomenus and the Minyans this tribe has loomed very large in the modern conception of Greek mythology. Criticism has, however, been directed against the mythical importance attributed to the Minyans, 6 and it is fair to acknowledge that old mythology has not very much to tell about the Minyans. The
great fame of the Minyans came in later days when the Argonauts were said to be Minyans. Hence it is inferred that the Argonauts are pseudo-Minyans, so called because many of them and especially Iason, were descended from Minyas' daughters.
It is frankly to be admitted that here seems to be an exception to the rule laid down that the mythical importance of a town corresponds to its importance in the Mycenaean age and civilization. Although our knowledge of the Boeotian cities in this age is only too fragmentary, so that it is difficult to discern their relative importance, according to the remains Orchomenus seems to rival Thebes, as myths say it did; but there is no cycle of myths connected with Orchomenus which in popularity and fame can be at all compared with the Theban cycle.
The mythical history of Orchomenus related by Pausanias 7 is a mosaic pieced together of incoherent and disparate elements. Of the first two kings, Andreus and Eteocles, the former is a mere name, the latter seems to be an old figure but has in fact no myth of his own; he belongs to aetiologic hieratic mythology as the founder of the cult of the Charites at Orchomenus. If Dr. Forrer, who believed that he discovered the names of these two kings in Hittite documents, is right, their historical existence would be proved; but although I am inclined to think that Dr. Forrer is right in the chief point, the existence of an Achaean empire extending to the southern coast of Asia Minor in the fourteenth and thirteenth centuries B.C., these identifications of
names are extremely questionable and are better left out of account. 8
This is, however, not the whole truth. Homer has two significant references to Orchomenus. In the Nekyia it is said that Neleus, the king of Pylos, married Chloris, the youngest daughter of the Iaside Amphion, the king of Orchomenus; 9 and in another passage 10 Orchomenus and Thebes in Egypt are mentioned side by side as the richest towns of the world. The eleventh book of the Iliad, the embassy to Achilles, in which this passage is found, is of course a relatively late poem and many scholars take the mention of the Egyptian capital to be a sign of its late date, but quite recently the opposite opinion was advanced by Miss Lorimer. 11 She remarks that Echenaton transferred his capital elsewhere in the first half of the fourteenth century B.C. and that Rameses II finally abandoned Thebes as the royal residence. She thinks that the raiding
northerners after about 1200 B.C. would not have been able to penetrate as far as Thebes and that consequently it looks as if the references to Thebes were derived from the fifteenth century B.C. There is an undeniable probability in this view, and it ought to be added that during the reign of the Theban priest-kings the Greeks did not come to Egypt--it was the dark intermediate age--and that Thebes was sacked thoroughly by the Assyrians in 663 B.C. 12 The Greek mercenaries who went to Egypt during the reign of the Sait kings in the beginning of the Orientalizing period 13 saw a ruined city. The glory of Thebes was irrevocably past.
A clue to the answer to this delicate question is given by the Egyptian objects found in Greece. 14 The great mass belong either to the XVIIIth or to the XXVIth dynasty; a few are more indistinctly labeled as belonging to the XXIId-XXVIth dynasties. Objects from the intermediate period are scarce and insignificant, the most notable exception being those found in the so-called tomb of Isis at Eleusis, which belong to the XXth-XXIId dynasties. That is to say, there is evidence of brisk connections with Egypt in the fifteenth to the thirteenth centuries B.C. and then again in the Orientalizing period from its beginning in the middle of the seventh century
[paragraph continues] B.C., viz., in the period after the sack of Thebes. This certainly gives considerable support to Miss Lorimer's opinion.
From the Homeric verses mentioned above it appears that the fame of Orchomenus was as great in the age of Homer as in that of K. O. Müller. This fame derives probably from the Mycenaean age, for in the later Geometric and in the Orientalizing periods its great glory was gone.
If we turn to the myths, we do not find any proper Orchomenian cycle of myths; but Orchomenus and the Minyans appear very often in a great many mythical connections, and we must try to find out what their rôle was in the early age of Greece. The clues which we are compelled to use are the localizations of the myths and the genealogies, but the latter must always be regarded with a certain diffidence and the localizations cannot be accepted without additional proofs. We must try to find out the results of such an analysis.
Minyas himself is nothing but the eponymous hero of the tribe and has no myths of his own. The myth of his daughters who resisted the cult of Dionysus and went mad is well known, but belongs to the late type of Dionysiac myths, which are of no importance for our subject.
The myth of Athamas is on the contrary very important. Athamas is believed to be the eponymous hero of the tribe of the Athamanes. 15 This tribe had never any importance in Greek history; it lived on Mount Pindus and sometime belonged
in historical times to the Molossian kingdom. If this view concerning Athamas is right, the Athamanes must have been a relict, driven up into the mountains, of a tribe which once dominated a much larger district toward the southeast, but this seems at least doubtful. For our inquiry this idea may be put aside.
I need not relate the well-known myth of Athamas, his children by Nephele, Phrixus and Helle, their stepmother Ino, and their escape from the sacrifice, riding on the ram. Happily the elements from which this myth was derived are discernible, and what I observed many years ago 16 still holds good. The kernel of the myth is the sacrifice of a member of the house of Athamas; such a rite was practiced at Halus in Thessaly even in historical times. This kernel was enlarged and developed in various manners. According to another and simpler version, 17 Athamas himself, not Phrixus was the sacrifice. Drought, failing of the crops, and hunger are always given as the causes of this sacrifice, and this is consistent with old cult customs which required human sacrifices to avert such calamities.
From this point of view it is possible to explain the outstanding rôle of the fleece in the myth. On the top of Mount Pelion there was a sanctuary of Zeus Acraeus to which a procession went in the severest heat of the summer, about the time of the rising of Sirius; the men were girt with sheep fleeces. This Zeus is the cloud-gatherer and rain-giver, and the procession is in accord with quite a number of
similar customs the aim of which was rain-magic. That the fleece served as a means for weather-magic is proved by various known facts. 18 Hence we are able to understand the curious fact that the Cloud, Nephele, is said to be the wife of Athamas. She is the longed for rain-cloud which in another instance of weather-magic, people saw rising from the well of Hagno on Mount Lykaion. 19
The historical sacrifice of the Athamantidae took place at Halus in southern Thessaly in the cult of Zeus Laphystius; consequently Athamas is said to be at home in Thessaly. Around Halus was the field of Athamas, 20 but there is no Mount Laphystion. The mountain with this name is situated in Boeotia, between Coronea and Orchomenus. We do not know the source of Pausanias' statement 21 that the sacrifice of Phrixus took place on this mountain--it may be an inference, but such an inference is right, for since there is no other mountain with this name, it is evident that this Boeotian mountain was the original
home of the cult of Zeus Laphystius. 22 It follows of course that Athamas himself and the cult originally belonged to the Boeotian Mount Laphystius and, like many other cults, was transferred to another place.
This localization, depending on the cult, is corroborated by the numerous traces of Athamas, preserved in myths around the lake of Copais. Athamas is said to have founded the town of Acraephia at the east side of the lake, 23 and here, says Pausanias, there was also a field of Athamas as one proceeded on the direct road to the lake. 24 Quite a number of his sons are mentioned as eponymous heroes and founders of various Boeotian towns and localities, Ptous as early as the time of the epic poet Asius. 25
Consequently the statements that Athamas was a son of Minyas, 26 that he was king of Orchomenus, and lived there, 27 are not unfounded. He is of old connected with the plain around the lake of Copais and with Mount Laphystion; that is, with the district of Orchomenus.
With the myth of Athamas is connected that of the Argonauts. The Argonauts set out to fetch the golden fleece from Colchis. The harbor from which they sailed was Iolcus near ancient Pagasae and
modern Volo in Thessaly, and here the famous cycle of myths corresponds to the Mycenaean remains, for Iolcus was the northernmost Mycenaean town.
Mycenaean sherds and minor finds are reported from all Thessaly, just as they are from other provinces of Greece, 28 but only scattered minor and unimportant finds have come from parts of the province other than from the neighborhood of Iolcus. 29 There the remains are so numerous and important as to prove that Iolcus was an important center in the Mycenaean age. It is now generally acknowledged that Professor Tsoundas discovered the site of old Iolcus on a hill in the plain of Volo, called Old Volo or the Kastro of Volo. 30 This hill consists of remains of old habitations. Many late Mycenaean sherds and some vases were discovered. 31 Recently it has been reported that trial excavations were undertaken on this hill, and that remains of a Mycenaean palace built upon neolithic layers were unearthed. It appears to have been extensive and well built; the floor was covered with cement and the walls with painted stucco. 32 It is to be regretted that no more detailed report is forthcoming of this apparently interesting discovery. The really convincing facts are the rich finds from the Mycenaean age in the neighborhood of Iolcus. At Kapakli
quite near Iolcus Dr. Kuruniotes excavated a tholos tomb which was almost untouched and yielded rich finds, especially gold objects; this has been one of the richest and most important discoveries of remains from the Mycenaean age. The vases are referred to the second Mycenaean period. 33 To the same period are ascribed vases found in tombs on a small peninsula just south of Volo within the area of what formerly was called old Pagasae but more justly is called Demetrias. 34
Less than an hour to the west Professor Tsoundas excavated the mound of Dimini, where two tholos tombs were discovered, and another neighboring mound, Sesklo, 35 with a small tholos tomb which yielded late Mycenaean vases. Proceeding toward the west we come to the Phthiotic Thebes, with a ring-wall of uncertain date. Mycenaean terracottas, sherds, and painted stucco were found here. Halus, farther toward the south, near the sea, is not yet explored, but the old town is surrounded by Cyclopean walls which may be Mycenaean. In the village of Goura in the interior on the northern slope of Mount Othrys another tholos tomb was discovered by peasants, but the contents were dispersed so that nothing can be said of it with certainty.
It appears that the Mycenaean civilization had an important center in Iolcus and, as we observed above, this corresponds to the localization of the famous cycle of the Argonauts in that place. After this
survey of the Mycenaean remains in Thessaly we come back to the fact that the Argonauts are said to be Minyans. We find this statement in Pindarus; 36 Herodotus has much to tell about the Minyans; 37 and Apollonius Rhodius still more. Modern scholars generally embrace the view that they are pseudo-Minyans, accepting the opinion professed by Apollonius Rhodius and his scholiast that they were so called because they and especially Iason were descended from the daughters of Minyas. But Buttmann, whose paper on the Minyans 38 is forgotten but is more solid than Müller's book, remarked justly that the myth gives us no reason whatever why the inhabitants of Iolcus were called Minyans; 39 the name is one of these ever recurring old stock expressions which the poets use by tradition without knowing their sense. The statement of Apollonius Rhodius and his scholiast 40 is no real explanation but merely an attempt to explain the old stock expression: in order to give a reason why the Argonauts were called Minyans they made them sons of Minyas' daughters, for they could not be made sons of Minyas himself. Buttmann's conclusion that the real reason was that the Minyans inhabited not only northern Boeotia but also southern Thessaly seems to be well founded. The Argonauts were not called Minyans because they were descended
from Minyas' daughters: these genealogies were invented in order to give a reason for the traditional phrase describing the Argonauts as Minyans.
The myth itself corroborates this connection, for the goal of the expedition is the fetching of the golden fleece, the fleece is inseparable from the cult of Zeus Laphystius, and the original home of this cult is Mount Laphystion, south of Orchomenus. It follows that the cycle, that of the Athamantidae and the Argonauts, is connected with both northern Boeotia and southern Thessaly, and this is comprehensible if we accept Buttmann's conclusion that the Minyans inhabited not only northern Boeotia but also the seaboard toward the north, including southern Thessaly. 41
This conclusion is corroborated by cults and place names common to Boeotia and southern Thessaly. In addition to the cult of Zeus Laphystius, which was our starting point, that of Athena Itonia may be especially mentioned. Among place names the Phthiotic Thebes was mentioned above. There is a Coronea not only in Boeotia but in Thessaly also, situated on the northern slopes of Mount Othrys. Another Orchomenus in Thessaly is mentioned by several authors, 42 and lastly, a Thessalian town Minya is known by an inscription. 43 This is too much to be accidental and testifies to ethnical interrelations between the districts.
In this light the varying genealogies must be considered. Athamas is by Hellanicus said to be
the son of Minyas; in the common genealogy he is the son of Aeolus. Aeolus is clearly a late creation, the eponymous hero of the Aeolian tribe. In this genealogy Athamas is the brother of Cretheus, Salmoneus, Sisyphus, and Perieres, king of Messenia. The two latter are undoubtedly late creations. Even Cretheus is not much more than a genealogical connecting link, the father of Aison, Pheres, and Amythaon, who in turn are nothing but eponymous heroes, Aison and Pheres of two Thessalian towns, but curiously enough Amythaon of the district of Amythaonia near the Triphylian Pylos. 44 The source of this genealogy is, however, late and here we merely state the fact of its existence.
With Tyro, the daughter of Salmoneus and wife of Cretheus, we strike old ground. She is mentioned in the Odyssey, together with Alcmene and Mycene, as one of the most famous heroines. 45 Her story is fully told in the Nekyia 46 but without certain features which are conspicuous later. But here a bewildering state of things appears. Where is Tyro at home and where is the scene of her love affair with Poseidon from which sprang the twins. Pelias and Neleus? She is said to be the daughter of Salmoneus, and Salmoneus is the eponymous hero of the town of Salmone in the Alpheus Valley. Her wedding takes place in the river of Enipeus. There is a large river with this name in Thessaly but also another of the same name, a small tributary to Alpheus in Pisatis. She is the wife of the Thessalian
hero Cretheus and by him mother of the Thessalian heroes Aison and Pheres, but she is also mother of the Triphylian hero Amythaon. Of the twins whom she bore to Poseidon one, Pelias, is closely related to Thessaly; the other, Neleus, as closely to Pylos.
Attempts have been made to find out whether Tyro is at home in Thessaly or in Pisatis. 47 I think this is lost labor. We are unable to come to any decision and have plainly and solely to admit that Tyro from of old was connected both with Thessaly and with Pisatis-Pylos. Two heroes may be made brothers without being originally related, e.g., Cretheus and Sisyphus; but if they are said to be twins, obviously their relation cannot be fortuitous. The mythical connections between Thessaly and Pylos, including the neighboring Pisatis, which belonged to the dominion of Pylos, are recognized facts. The genealogy is closely interwoven with these interrelations, which must be founded on some reality.
In this connection the passage in the Nekyia quoted above 48 deserves attention. Here it is said that Neleus married Chloris, the youngest daughter of the Iaside Amphion, who was king of Orchomenus. This links the genealogy of the house ruling at Pylos with Minyan Orchomenus. The passage involves a heresy and even modern mythographers are not fond of heresies. But it is highly improbable that such a passing mention of a famous hero contains a chance invention: the passage is certainly derived
from old tradition which was abandoned later because it could not be fitted into the prevailing quasi-historical scheme. Amphion is said to be king of Orchomenus and an Iasides. Greek mythographers have deduced from this passage a King Iasius or Iasus, the husband of Persephone, a daughter of Minyas, 49 of course an invention without any value. We have only to admit that the story that a Pylian queen was a daughter of the king of Orchomenus reflects the connections of the Minyans with the dominion of Pylos; moreover these connections are corroborated in other ways, especially by the mention in Homer of a river Minyeios near Pylos, 50 evidence the value of which is generally recognized even by scholars who are skeptical in regard to the myths of the Minyans.
There is nothing new in what has been set forth here. It is recognized that the interrelations between the Thessalian and the Pylian heroes are too close and manifold not to be of ancient and genuine origin; furthermore, the connections between the Minyans and the Pylians are acknowledged even by those whose opinions are opposed to the wide distribution attributed to the Minyans. The inevitable conclusion from these two facts should receive only its due emphasis, viz., that as Pylos was closely connected on one hand with Thessaly and on the other with the Minyans, the connections of
the Minyans with Thessaly cannot have been late inventions.
The interrelations between northern Boeotia and southern Thessaly on one hand and the west coast of the Peloponnese on the other cannot be arbitrary inventions. There is some reason for even such mythological connections, but we ought to realize that they are a most embarrassing fact. As far as we know Greek history there is no trace of relations between these two very distant districts. These relations are, however, proved to have existed and to have been very lively. It follows that they existed in prehistoric times. For nobody will be inclined to ascribe their origin and development to the dark intermediate age between the downfall of the Mycenaean civilization and the rise of culture in the Geometric period. They belong consequently to the Mycenaean age. This view is supported and stressed by the fact that both districts were centers of Mycenaean civilization.
In order to understand this embarrassing fact, it is useful to consider another case, the amphictyony of Calaureia, 51 which comprised the towns of Prasiai, Nauplia, Hermione, Epidaurus, Aegina, Athens, and the Minyan Orchomenus; 52 i.e., seaside towns on the Argive peninsula and in Attica, and the inland town of Orchomenus in Boeotia. Two German scholars observed that Mycenaean sherds are found
in all these towns and therefore they ascribed this amphictyony to the Mycenaean age. 53 That opinion was contested 54 and is of course not established beyond doubt, but the really important question is why the Minyan Orchomenus which was situated in the interior of Boeotia was a member of this league of seaboard towns. 55 The league must needs belong to an age in which Orchomenus had interests on the sea, and this was not the historical age so far as we know it. But this position of Orchomenus agrees with the wealth ascribed to it in the Iliad.
Furthermore, another observation drawn from mythology may be added. The fleet gathered in a Boeotian harbor, Aulis, and set out thence for Troy. This rallying place has aroused wonder for, it has been said, the king of Mycenae being the commander-in-chief, one would expect the fleet to gather in some harbor of Argolis. Dr. Leaf has tried to show that Aulis was most unsuitable as the rallying place of a fleet. He demonstrates, however, a little too much; for it would follow from his arguments that Chalkis never can have been a trading place from which colonists and merchants sailed. We have to admit that Aulis was the harbor of Boeotia on its western coast, no other being
available. 56 A myth is not consistent; it connects facts from different ages in an arbitrary manner: though the two facts mentioned are not consistent we have to admit both, only realizing that they originally belonged to different contexts. The other great sea expedition of the Greek myths, that of the Argonauts, started from a harbor also said to have been Minyan, Iolcus. Both Aulis and Iolcus are situated on the seaboard, covered by the Minyan name. 57
If we put these traces of a sea power concentrated in the tracts inhabited by the Minyans together with the great wealth ascribed in Homer to Orchomenus, the solution is at hand. The Minyans were a trading people. That trade was considerable in the late Mycenaean age is certain; vases of this period are found in many foreign countries, especially in Sicily and southern Italy. The harbors of the Minyans, of Which Iolcus was one, were on the coast; but their chief city was inland Orchomenus, the wealth of which depended also on the fertile
plains recovered by the draining of the lake of Copais. There is nothing improbable in the fact that the chief town of this trading people was an inland town. Perhaps its inhabitants tilled the ground in autumn and spring and went to sea during the summer, as Hesiod describes the Boeotian peasants of his time as doing and as did the peasants of Gotland, the great trading center of the Baltic sea in the Middle Ages,
This trade and sea power lead to an understanding of the connections of the Minyans with the western coast of the Peloponnese. We have seen above 58 that the dominion of Pylos is a typical seaside state founded by people who came oversea. I should not venture to say that it was founded by the Minyans, for the finds in both the towns which are said to be the Homeric Pylos are earlier than anything found in the Minyan area, even if some of the finds in Thessaly are ascribed to the second Mycenaean period, 59 but I think it to be a fair inference that Pylos served as an intermediate station for the Minyan trade. This will give a satisfactory explanation of the connections discussed above.
I cannot end this reasoning without giving a hint as to the possible trade routes, in spite of the great uncertainty of the matter. The Minyans may have sailed round the Peloponnese in order to reach Pylos, but it is also possible that they took a shorter route. Orchomenus is not much more distant from the Corinthian gulf than from the Euripus.
[paragraph continues] The Minyans may have taken the road past Delphi and Crisa to the harbor of Cirrha. 60 Not only the oracle of Delphi but also the wealth of the temple are mentioned in Homer, 61 and Delphi was already a cult place in the Mycenaean age. Remains of this cult have been found on the very spot where the temple and the great altar were built and in another place, in the suburb called Marmaria. West of the temple precinct is a Mycenaean cemetery with a small tholos tomb. 62 It may be guessed that Delphi in this age was not only a cult place but also a trading station. Thus its rise to wealth and importance may be better understood.
Finally, it may be asked what bearing this view has on our scanty and hypothetical knowledge of the history of the Mycenaean age. The greatest center of Mycenaean power is found in Argolis, where the remains are both the richest and the earliest. History and mythology point to connections toward the south and the southeast, with Crete and the Orient, especially with Egypt. The power of Mycenae and Argolis must be related in our minds with the destruction of Cnossus, the down-fall of Minoan civilization, and the raids which reached the Delta of the Nile. The inhabitants of Argolis were Vikings in the usual sense of the word. But the Vikings known to history were not only pirates but tradesmen also, and the same may be
supposed in regard to the Mycenaeans, even in regard to the inhabitants of Argolis.
It has been supposed that Mycenae owed its wealth to its control of trade. Its situation is favorable for trading not only to the southward on the Argive gulf but also to the northward on the Corinthian gulf. To corroborate this opinion the roads radiating from Mycenae toward the south and the north are referred to. 63 There may be a certain truth in this view but I cannot help thinking that the rulers of Mycenae were more warring than trading kings.
It has been remarked that the overwhelming power of Mycenae covers only a part of the Mycenaean age and that we have to suppose several changes and vicissitudes in the political status and power of the various towns during this age. The northerly connections of Mycenae and Argolis explain, as was observed above, the unlucky attempt to conquer Thebes, an episode the memory of which was preserved in myths.
It is comprehensible that when the great expedition toward the east came to an end, the people turned more and more to trading, not, however, without incidental piracy. The Phoenicians acted similarly, for trade and piracy were closely bound up even in the Homeric age. It seems as if this late period of the Mycenaean age was represented
especially by the Minyans. Their sea power seems to be a fact as well as their connection with the distant dominion of Pylos. They were more a trading than a warring people. Epical poetry prefers to chant great and valorous deeds in war and has a certain disesteem for trade. Thus it has little to say about the Minyan Orchomenus, but the recollection of the wealth of the city and the importance of its people loomed in the background of tradition.
There were great sea expeditions starting from Minyan harbors, which were the most lively in Greece in the late Mycenaean age. For this reason the myth told that the expedition which set out for Troy gathered in the harbor of Aulis, but according to a still older tradition the king of Mycenae was made its commander-in-chief. Another expedition, bound up with Minyan myths, acquired a fame of its own, the expedition which fetched the golden fleece from Colchis. It started from Iolcus, the Minyan center on the Gulf of Volo.
I cannot leave this subject without adding another observation. When treating the other provinces of Greece we have generally had to speak of cities, not of tribes; in this chapter almost the reverse takes place. We have spoken of a tribe which had two great centers, many minor ones, and several harbors. This falls in with the conditions of old Boeotia as described by tradition; 64 various tribes never play so great a part in old tradition in any province as in that of Boeotia. In addition to the Minyans, we have first the Phlegyans who are mentioned as early as in the Homeric poems and by later authors
are described as a reckless and impious people. It is notable that they, like the Minyans, belong both to Thessaly and to Boeotia. Probably they were a tribe to the rear of the Minyans who tried to push forward and invade the neighboring civilized country. Other tribes are the Temmikes, the Aones, the Graikoi, the Gephyraioi, and the Hyantes, but we know too little of them to say what their importance was and to which ages they belonged.
Perhaps we have here a picture of the continual attempted invasions by Greek tribes coming down from the north and striving to invade Greece. One of these tribes, the Minyans, took over the Mycenaean civilization during its late period when the warring enterprises toward the east already belonged to the past. They were cut off from the routes toward the south and the southeast by the inhabitants of Argolis. Consequently they turned toward the northeast, or, perhaps going overland and across the Corinthian gulf, they went toward the west. According to the conditions of the time they turned to trading or to cultivation of their land, but these peaceful occupations diminished their importance in mythology.
The Minyan power declined; things were changing rapidly in this age. The Minyans were exposed to the pressure of the tribes in their rear coming down from the mountains in the north and northwest, but they seem to have had foes in the south too. For the myths telling of their war with Thebes probably have a historical background. Our sources are late. Euripides is the first who mentions Heracles as the vanquisher of the Minyans and the liberator of
Thebes. 65 Diodorus has an extensive and picturesque tale of how Heracles overcame the Minyans and their king Erginus, who had conquered Thebes and made it tributary to Orchomenus. 66 Another version is that Heracles blocked the katavothra through which the lake of Copais was drained, so that the district of Orchomenus was inundated. 67 It is the same fact, the catastrophe which overtook the power of Orchomenus, in various mythological settings. In the latter version it is combined with the fact that the plain made dry by the draining of the lake of Copais was again flooded, but the blocking of the katavothra may have come about through negligence. That the Minyans of Orchomenus lost their power through a disastrous war with Thebes is a generally received opinion.
It is hardly possible to proffer any well founded opinion as to the time at which this war took place. Dr. Fimmen's opinion 68 that the inhabitants of Thebes were the Boeotians who immigrated into the province to which they gave their name seems unlikely to be correct. Our information concerning their immigration is given by Thucydides, 69 who says that they came from Thessaly; and it seems a priori probable that they came from the north or northwest, not from the south or southeast. The war with Thebes is probably earlier. What was left of the Minyan power was destroyed when the Dorians invaded both Boeotia and Thessaly and overturned
the old conditions. One of the components of the historical Boeotian dialect is Doric or more justly West Greek. Some of the Minyans seem to have emigrated. There are traces showing that they took part in the colonization of the western coast of Asia Minor at the very end of the Mycenaean age. Herodotus enumerates many peoples of whom the Asiatic Ionians were composed and among these are the Minyans of Orchomenus. 70 Further, Pherecydes says that the Minyan king Athamas founded Teos, 71 and Anacreon therefore calls this town, in which he was born, an Athamantian town. 72
In Ionia we encounter the Pylians again. According to Strabo, the colonization of Ionia was begun by Androclus, a son of Codrus, the last king of Athens. 73 According to Pausanias, Codrus' father, Melanthus, was a descendant of Neleus who, together with many Pylians, had been expelled by the Heracleidae. 74 Neleus, a son of Codrus, founded Miletus and other sons founded other towns. Priene was founded by Neleus' son Aepytus, who has the same name as an Arcadian hero, and Colophon was, according to Mimnermus, founded by the Pylian Andraimon. Teos, which first was founded by Athamas, is said to have been founded for a second time by Nauclus, Codrus' son.
These foundation legends are reshaped by the logographers, and the tendency to make Athens the mother city of the Ionian towns in Asia Minor
appears clearly. Pausanias says that the Pylians expelled by the Heracleidae emigrated to Athens, where Melanthus, a descendant of Neleus, became king instead of Thymoites, a descendant of Theseus. Hellanicus says that Erythrae was one of the Ionian towns founded by Codrus' son Neleus. 75
There cannot be any doubt that the participation of the Pylians in founding the Ionian towns on the western coast of Asia Minor is the fundamental fact, and this fact the logographers tried to harmonize with the claims of Athens to be their mother city. Therefore a double of Neleus was invented and made a son of Codrus; therefore, also, the expelled Pylians are said to have emigrated first to Attica and from Attica to Ionia; and therefore the last kings of Athens are said to be descendants of Neleus. For it was natural to connect the colonization of Ionia, if it was due to the Athenians, with the end of the kingdom at Athens and the emigration of the kingly family. Attica may have contributed to the colonization of Ionia, but the fact ought not to be overlooked that in the old form of the legends the Pylians play the foremost part.
This is probably a historical fact. For the Mycenaean dominion of Pylos was conquered by the immigrating Dorians, and it is only natural that the old ruling classes and part of the people should have emigrated. That they took the way eastward to Ionia is to be explained by their connections with the Minyans, of whom a part took the same way when they were ousted by other tribes. There is every chance that old, good tradition is preserved in
these foundation legends, which go back into the sixth century B.C.; they give us a valuable outlook on the migrations of the peoples in the stormy age which put a definite end to the Mycenaean civilization and led to the colonization of the western coast of Asia Minor, a movement which archaeological evidence proves to belong to this time. This gives the finishing touch to the picture of the sea-faring Minyan people, whose connections were so wide and who evidently played a very important part in the late Mycenaean age.
The question may be put to which of the great Greek tribes the Minyans belonged. That they are connected genealogically with the Aeolians, Aeolus being put at the head of their genealogy, does not prove anything, for this genealogy was invented at a time when Boeotia and Orchomenus were considered to be Aeolian. Nor is it good evidence that the Orchomenians of the historical age spoke the common Boeotian dialect. For the areas of the various dialects have changed thoroughly because of the migrations. There seems to me to be a certain probability that the Minyans were Ionians--in the first place because they contributed so largely to the colonization of Ionia. The Greek colonists of Ionia were very mixed, but its language proves of course the predominance of the Ionian element. Secondly, Euboea was Ionian and it is only natural to suppose that the Minyans inhabited this island also and when expelled from the mainland retired to it. The existence of not a few Mycenaean remains in Euboea, among which are small bee-hive tombs, proves that the island shared in the Mycenaean
civilization; moreover, there is a town called Eretria in Euboea as well as in Thessaly, just as Boeotian place names recur in Thessaly.
These considerations are of a certain importance in connection with the few words which I have to add concerning other Thessalian myths, primarily the myth of Achilles. Like Boeotia, Thessaly is a country of many tribes, Achaeans, Myrmidons, Hellens, Magnetes, Dolopes, Perrhaiboi, etc., thus reproducing the conditions that we find in historical times in the mountain countries to the west, where a great number of small tribes were living. It will be well to keep in mind the steady push of tribes referred to above.
Achilles 76 owes his fame and his glory to the great poet who made him the chief personage of the Iliad. His mythical importance ought not to be measured accordingly, but he belongs certainly to old mythology. For we have seen that folk-tale motifs were attached especially to old mythical heroes, and such motifs are conspicuous in the myth of Achilles. He was born of Thetis, a sea nymph, to a mortal, Peleus, who wrestled with her and won her in spite of her metamorphoses. Here we have a widely spread motif of fairy tales, which shows that Thetis originally was no goddess but a nymph.
The myth of Achilles is, however, to be tested in order to see if it, like others, has any historical background. The Iliad includes, in the dominion of Peleus, Phthia and Hellas, both populated by the tribe of the Myrmidons. The name of Phthia is preserved in historical times in Achaia Phthiotis in
which the Phthiotic Thebes was situated; it is the tract north of Mount Othrys and west of the Pagasaean gulf. It is to be supposed that in an earlier time it included the northern coast of the gulf and Mount Pelion also, because of the relation of the name of Peleus and his myth to Mount Pelion whose eponymous hero he is.
In regard to Hellas, I think that Dr. Leaf is eminently right in taking it to be the Spercheus Valley, 77 for as Spercheus is the river near which Achilles is brought up, every other view will involve unsolvable difficulties. The myth which makes the man of Mount Pelion the father of the votary of Spercheus supposes that these two districts were united, viz., that they were inhabited by the same tribe, the Myrmidons. This is the northern part of the region covered by the Minyans.
There is no direct proof showing that the myth of Achilles goes back into the Mycenaean age, in fact he has no cycle; nor is there any proof to the contrary. But supposing that it does so by reason of its apparent antiquity and connections with the folk-tale, we must tentatively try to see how the above statements fall in with what has been set forth concerning the Minyans.
We have supposed that there was a steady push of tribes coming down from the north and northwest and that the Minyans were expelled, first of course from Thessaly, and retired in the other direction, to Boeotia, to Euboea, and finally to Asia Minor. If they were Ionians, as we surmised, the newcomers were Achaeans, after whom the country was called
[paragraph continues] Achaea with the distinguishing epithet the Phthiotic. The dialect of this region is Doric but with Aeolic traces. 78 That is to say, the Achaeans possessed themselves of Thessaly, and after them the Dorians, but the Dorian element was much stronger in the southern part of the province. Thus it seems that the Achaean tribe of the Myrmidons represents an intermediate stage between the domination of the Minyans and the final Dorian invasion.
The rest of Thessaly, where Mycenaean remains are unimportant, has no important myths. Most known because of many works of art, is the battle of the Centaurs and the Lapiths. This battle appears in art, however, much later than their battle with an archer, who perhaps may be called Heracles. Centaurs without any adversary appear in the earliest art of the archaic period and as early as the Late Mycenaean age. 79 It is to be observed that they are
met with in other provinces too, in Aetolia in the story of Nessus and in Arcadia in the story of Pholus. They appear consequently to be a mythical conception common to the Greeks, 80 but according to the prevailing Greek ideas their myths were localized in definite but various places, of which Thessaly was only one. The real riddle is the connections of their foes, the Lapiths. I return to this question in the chapter on the Attic myths.
127:1 H. Bulle, "Orchomenos," I, "Die älteren Ansiedelungsschichten," Abhandlungen der bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, I. Kl., XXIV: 2 (1907); II, E. Kunze, Die neolithische Keramik, ibid. N. F. III (1931).
128:2 Bulletin de correspondence hellénique, XVIII (1894), p. 271 et seq.; Tsoundas-Manatt, The Mycenaean Age (1897), p. 375 et seq. Cp. F. Noack, Homerische Paläste (1903), p. 19.
128:3 Phlegya: A. W. Gomme, "The ancient name of Gla," in Essays and Studies to W. Ridgeway (1913), p. 116 et seq. Glechon: T. W. Allen, Classical Review, XVII (1903), p. 239 et seq. This equation is contested by A. W. Persson, Schrift and Sprache in Alt-Kreta (Uppsala, 1930), p. 29, n. 2, who points to the fact that the name of Gla is of Turkish origin.
128:4 See above p. 182.
129:5 Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, XVI (1892), p. 121 et seq.; Frazer in his commentary on Pausanias, vol. V, p. 110 et seq.; survey by Geiger in Pauly-Wissowa's Realenzyklopädie der klass Altertumswissenschaft, s.v. Kopais, XI, p. 1351 et seq.
129:6 By Fimmen, "Die Besiedelung Böotiens bis in frühgriechische Zeit," Neue Jahrbücher für das klass. Altertum, XXIX (1912), p. 536 et seq., and by Robert, Die griechische Heldensage, p. 56.
130:7 Paus. ix. 34, 6-37.
131:8 E. Forrer, Mitteilungen der deutschen Orientgesellschaft, No. 63 (1924); recent survey in the Reallexikon der Assyriologie s.v. Ahhijava, and in his article, "La découverte de la Grèce mycénienne dans les textes cunéiformes de l’ empire Hittite," Revue des études grecques, XLIII (1930), p. 279 et seq. His assertions gave rise to lively polemics. They were contested by J. Friedrich, "Werden in den hettitischen Keilinschriften Griechen erwähnt?" Kleinasiatische Forschungen, I (1927), p. 87 et seq.; Forrer's reply: "Für die Griechen in den Boghaz-köi Inschriften," ibid., p. 273 et seq. P. Kretschmer, "Zur Frage der griechischen Namen in den hethitischen Texten," Glotta, XVIII (1930), p. 161 et seq., is inclined to support Forrer.
131:9 Od. xi. v. 281 et seq.; v. 459 is of no importance.
131:10 Il. ix. v. 379 et seq.
131:11 In the Journal of Hellenic Studies, XLIX (1929), p. 153 et seq. A late date is advanced by Wilamowitz, Die Heimkehr des Odysseus (1927), p. 173.
132:12 For the thoroughness of the sack see Cambridge Ancient History III, p. 285.
132:13 The date of the mercenaries' inscriptions from Abu Simbel is now fixed with certainty in the reign of Psammetich II. (593--588 B.C.): G. Lefebure, "Ποτασιμπτώ," Bulletin de la société archéologique d’Alexandrie, No. 21 (1925), p. 48 et seq.
132:14 They are now very easy to survey in the useful compilation of J. D. S. Pendlebury, Aegyptiaca, A Catalogue of Egyptian objects in the Aegean area (1930).
133:15 This suggestion seems doubtful; there is a difference in the forms, Ἀθαμᾶνες but gen. Ἀθάμαντος.
134:16 In my Griechische Feste (1906), p. 10 et seq.
134:17 Herodotus, vii. 197.
135:18 See my Griechische Feste, p. 8.
135:19 Paus. viii. 38, 3. It is interesting that the Cloud appears in another Thessalian myth also, that of Ixion. (Concerning the Phlegyans see below pp. 150 et seq.) A cloud instead of Hera was given him for a wife. He was punished by being attached to a fiery wheel whirling around in the air; this can hardly be anything but the lightning. We find in this myth the same elements. Cp. also the myth of Salmoneus who nowadays is considered to be a kingly sorcerer and rain-magician and who is attached to the same genealogy. The story that Ixion cunningly precipitated his father-in-law into a pit of burning charcoal refers perhaps to the custom of fire-festivals in Central Greece; cp. my article "Fire-festivals in Ancient Greece," Journal of Hellenic Studies, XLIII (1923), p. 144 et seq.
135:20 According to Apollonius Rhodius, ii. v. 154.
135:21 Paus. ix. 34, 5.
136:22 The scene of the madness of the Minyades was laid on the same mountain, Schol. Lycophr. Alex. v. 1237, and it is given as an aition of the festival of Agrionia in Orchomenus; see my Griechische Feste, p. 273 et seq.
136:23 Steph. Byz. s.v.
136:24 Paus. ix. 24, 1.
136:25 See Robert, Griechische Heldensage, p. 44.
136:26 Schol. Apoll. Rhod., i. v. 230.
136:27 Hellanicus, ibid., III. v. 265, cp. i. v. 763.
137:28 See the lists in Fimmen, Die kretisch-mykenische Kultur, p. 2 et seq., and in Wace and Thompson, Prehistoric Thessaly (1912), p. 8 et seq. and p. 206 et seq.
137:29 Cp. the article "Iolkos" by Stählin in Pauly-Wissowa's Realenzyklopädie der klass. Altertumswissenschaft.
137:30 Chr. Tsoundas, Αἱ προϊστορικαὶ ἀκροπόλεις Διμηνίου καὶ Σέσκλου, (1908), p. 16.
137:31 Wace and Thompson, loc. cit., p. 207; cp. p. 2.
137:32 Bulletin de corespondence hellénique, xlv (1921), p. 530.
138:33 Wace and Thompson, loc. cit., p. 206.
138:34 Beloch in Klio, xi (1911), p. 442 et seq.; cp. his Griechische Geschichte, iv:1 (ed. 2), p. 224, n. 1.
138:35 Sesklo is identified with the ancient town of Aison or Aisonia by Robert, Griechische Heldensage, p. 34 and n. 4.
139:36 Pindarus, Pyth., iv. v. 69.
139:37 Herodotus, iv. 145-150.
139:38 Ph. Buttmann, Mythologus (1829), ii. p. 203.
139:39 This is first mentioned by Simonides ἐν τοῖς Συμμίκτοις according to Schol. Apollon. Rhod., i. v. 763. Whether this Simonides is from Ceos or the younger Simonides from Amorgus is doubtful.
139:40 Apollon. Rhod. i. v. 230 and the scholion ad 1.
140:41 Buttmann, loc. cit., II, p. 207.
140:42 See Robert, Griechische Heldensage, p. 57.
140:43 Inscr. graecae, IX:2, No. 521 from Larissa; Steph. Byz. s.v.
141:44 According to Rhianos in Steph. Byz. s.v.
141:45 Od. ii. v. 120.
141:46 Od. xi. v. 235 et seq.
142:47 Robert, "Tyro," Hermes, li (1916), p. 290 et seq.
142:48 Above p. 86.
143:49 Paus. ix. 36, 8, and Pherecydes frag. 117 Jacoby. It is, of course, amazing to find Persephone as his wife. I think that the explanation may be found in the Homeric passage Od. v. v. 125 et seq. concerning Demeter's wedding with Iasion; the daughter was substituted for her mother.
143:50 Il. xi. v. 722.
144:51 Wilamowitz, "Die Amphiktyonie von Kalaurea," Nachrichten der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, phil.-hist. Kl., 1896, p. 158 et seq., esp. p. 169 et seq. contested K. O. Müller's hypothesis of the prehistoric origin of the league of Calaureia. I hope that it will seem more probable in the light of the new evidence adduced.
144:52 According to Strabon, viii. p. 374.
145:53 A. Frickenhaus and W. Müller in the Athenische Mitteilungen, XXXVI (1911), p. 37.
145:54 By Fimmen in the Neue Jahrbücher für das klass. Altertum, XXIX (1912), p. 537.
145:55 E. Curtius in Hermes, X (1876), p. 388, solved this difficulty violently by cancelling the words "the Minyan." Arbitrarily he supposed Orchomenus to be the Arcadian town with this name and consequently wondered why Argos was omitted. The underlying presumption is that the league was one of Argive inland states, contrary to the evident fact that the league centers around the Saronian gulf.
146:56 W. Leaf, Homer and History (1916), p. 99 et seq., relies upon geography and the "Mediterranean Pilot" according to which Aulis is said to be a most impossible harbor for the gathering of a fleet. He concludes that the assembly at Aulis did not belong to the old myth but was added by a Boeotian poet. I do not, of course, take the gathering of the fleet at Aulis to be a historical fact, but I want only to point out that the story is not so silly as it appears in Leaf. Boeotia had no other harbor on its eastern coast, it must for good or for bad rely on Aulis for its trade. This fact would be sufficient reason to a poet for representing Aulis as the rallying place of the fleet. In the archaic age Chalcis certainly took over part of the Boeotian trade.
146:57 Near Aulis is Hyria, where Amphion and Zethus are said to have lived (cp. above p. 125), and where the Rhampsinites legend was localized and applied to King Hyrieus. One is inclined to suppose that there was a bee-hive tomb at Hyria which gave cause for the localizing of the story there.
147:58 Cp. above p. 85.
147:59 Above p. 138. Wace and Thompson, Prehistoric Thessaly, p. 8 et seq., and p. 206.
148:60 An unimportant Mycenaean tomb was found accidentally near Itea, the modern harbor town of Delphi, Deltion archaiologikon, VI (1920-21), p. 147.
148:61 Il. ix. v. 405; the oracle Od. viii. v. 80 and xi. v. 581.
148:62 See my Minoan-Mycenaean Religion, p. 400 et seq.; cp. Evans, The Palace of Minos, II, p. 832 et seq.
149:63 This view was put forth by V. Bérard, Les Phéniciens et l’Odyssée, I (1902-03), p. 11 and p. 78, according to whom Mycenae was a fortress built at a junction of the mountain passes for the purpose of levying taxes on all traffic going through. It was modified by G. Murray, The Rise of the Greek Epic (ed. 3; 1923), p. 57, who thought that Mycenae kept open a safe trade route between the northern and the southern sea. For a sound criticism see W. Leaf, Homer and History, p. 220 et seq. For the roads see R. Steffen, Karten von Mykenai (1884), Text, p. 8 et seq.
150:64 See Fimmen's article mentioned p. 129, n. 6.
152:65 Euripides, Heracles, v. 48 and v. 220.
152:66 Diodorus, iv. 10; cp. Apollodorus, ii. 4, 11.
152:67 Diodorus, iv. 18; Paus. ix. 38, 7.
152:68 Fimmen, loc. cit., p. 538.
152:69 Thucydides, i. 12.
153:70 Herodotus, i. 146.
153:71 In Schol. Plat. Hipparch., p. 229 D; Frag. 102 Jacoby.
153:72 In Strabo, xii. p. 633.
153:73 Strabo, xiv. p. 632.
153:74 Paus. ii. 18, 8.
154:75 Hellanicus in his Atthis quoted by Harpocration s.v. Ἐρυθραϊοι.
156:76 Cp. Wilamowitz, "Die griechische Heldensage," II, Sitzungsberichte der preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften (1925), p. 239 et seq.
157:77 W. Leaf, Homer and History, p. 110 et seq.
158:78 O. Kern, Neue Jahrbücher für das klass. Altertum, XIII (1904) p. 16 et seq. The inscriptions show, however, the northwest κοινή. Chadwick's identification of the Achaeans and Achilles with the north-western Greek tribes in his Heroic Age (1912) p. 280, et seq., is unfortunate. These arrived in Greece latest, even after the Dorians whom Homer neglects.
158:79 See above p. 34 and n. 31. The representation on the M. M. gem in Baur's list (= Evans, Scripta Minoa, I, p. 11, fig. 5b) does not show a centaur. Terracottas and bronzes representing centaurs appear as early as the Geometric period; e.g., at Olympia, where some of them are from the deepest layers, a winged centaur is represented on a Dipylon cup. The representations of the centaurs' combat with an archer goes back perhaps into the eighth century B.C.; whilst those of their combat with the Lapiths begin with the sixth century. This combat is, however, mentioned Od. xxi. v. 295 et seq., and Il. i. v. 263 et seq. P. V. C. Baur, The Centaurs in Ancient Art (1912). The subject was treated recently by P. Demargne, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique, LIII (1929), p. 117 et seq.; but his assumption that the centaur was borrowed from Oriental art seems questionable in view of the fact that there are no good Oriental prototypes.
159:80I am, however, unable to believe in the recent attempt by G. Dumézil, Le problème des Centaures (1929), to make them an old Aryan heritage.