Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus has traditionally been regarded as the poet's primary tragedy involving hero cult; this essay explores the more subtle but no less ritually explicit hero cult of the Aias first outlined by Burian. The passage, as Burian saw, occurs when the young Eurysakes kneels at his father's body and Teukros conducts an unusual combination of rites: supplication, curse, offering of hair, and magic (1168-84). One crucial direction to the child, kai phulasse (1180), however, is here not understood to be a paradox of the suppliant who "protects" what he seizes but rather his physical attachment to the locus where he abides as well as his ritual dependence on the source of protection (as with Orestes in Eum. 242f., 439f.). By saying a curse and obtaining protection, Teukros and Eurysakes indicate how the still-warm body of the dead hero has already acquired special powers after death: specifically, the power to bestow both blessings and curses on mortals. The argument turns from the body to the tomb, the physical and lasting monument of hero cult, which the Sophoclean audience would know. The preceding scene ends with a pivotal choral passage where the hero's burial and cult are prescribed in highly Homeric terms (1163-67). This passage forms an important link between the opposing views of the fate of the corpse (Menelaos vs. Teukros) and also between the hero's death and burial. This choral celebration of the hero's future status is cast in traditional Homeric language, but with some revealing inversions. One is the reversal of the verb whereby the earth "holds" (katechei) or possesses heroes in Homer, while Aias occupies and possesses his tomb (1167, kathexei). The evolution of Homeric views of death is traced (Archilochos, Simonides). In Sophocles' Aias the chorus performs the burial as a ritual act establishing a cult, long before it happens at the end of the play. The article concludes with a discussion of the historical cults of Aias known to the Athenians and of the more significant way that Aias (a suicide) becomes a hero: not self-consciously, as Oedipus did, but through rituals performed by his family and community. In the Aias, the poet's sense of hero cult lies closer to Homer and the epic tradition than it does, for instance, to Aeschylus.

[Footnotes]

[Footnotes]
1
Antonaccio 1987
1993
Morris 1988
Snodgrass 1988
Whitley 1988
Alcock 1991.
2
Burian 1972.155
Taplin 1978.64f., 108f.
Segal 1981.143
Heath 1987.200f.
4
Burian 1972.154
Taplin 1978.109
Ai. 1180
Scodel 1984.22
Easterling 1988.94
Blundell 1989.93
Mikalson 1991.219.
5
Verrall 1908.78
Eu. 443 (440)
Italie 1964.323
Eu. 243, 440
6
Eu. 242f.
Sommerstein 1989.125
supra, at n. 4
8
Burian 1972.153
Mikalson 1991.220.
Fraenkel 1962, 2.757f.
A. Ag. 1602
Taplin 1978.65.
9
Henrichs 1991.162-69.
Winnington-Ingram 1980.58 n. 2
Burian 1972.156
10
Aias 835-44
Lloyd-Jones and Wilson 1990.28), 1177-79
Segal 1981.143
Henrichs 1991.166f.
11
Burian 1972.155
Segal 1981.142-46, 1989-90.401.
Taplin 1978.189, n. 4 on chap. 7 ("too literal")
Winnington-Ingram (supra, n. 9).
12
Porphyry ap. Eust. Comm. ad Il. 285.34f. (vol. 1, 439.35f.
Mikra Ilias fr. 3 Bernabé 1987
fr. 3 Davies 1988, transl. Holt 1992.319.
Apollod. Bibl. epit. 5.7
Hadrian (Paus. 1.35.4f.
Philostr. Her. 8.1
Rohde 1925.187f. n. 33
Holt 1992
Philostr. Her. 35.15
Bremmer 1983.95f.
Hdt. 1.68
Snodgrass 1982, 1988.23
Snodgrass 1971.140-212
Morris 1987.18-22
Whitley 1991.38f., 84, 101f., 131, 137f., 156-62
13
LIMC 1 s.v. Aias 1 no. 140
Taplin 1978, pl. 11
Davies 1973
Garland 1985.24f.
Shapiro 1991.630-40, 646-49
14
infra, nn. 29, 35
Stanford 1963.145, 177
Knox 1979.134
Segal 1981.117.
15
Burian 1972
Easterling 1988.92f.
Blundell 1989.93
16
Segal 1981.144f., 1989-90.401f.
17
Day 1989
Loraux 1986.113-18.
18
D.L. 4.20
TrGF IV
Winnington-Ingram 1980.15-19
Easterling 1984
Goldhill 1986.155-61
Garner 1990.49-64.
19
Il. 24.797
Ai. 1403-4
Lloyd- Jones and Wilson 1990.40-41
Stanford 1963.204
Easterling 1988.96f.
Garner 1990.54
Garner 1988.64f.
Alk. 897-98
20
Od. 10.512
Il. 20.64-65
Chantraine 1968.388
Richardson 1974.315
HH Dem. 482
West 1966.361
Hes. Th. 731
Lloyd-Jones and Wilson 1990.35-36.
21
Il. 16.629
Od. 13.427, 15.31
Od. 11.301
infra, n. 29.
22
Il. 7.86; 23.45, 331; 24.799
Od. 11.75
Nagy 1979.340-43, 1990a.215-20, 1990b.209-11
Nagy 1979.94-117, 174-210
Segal 1985, esp. 208-12
Aias 1165-67
Segal 1989- 90.401-2
Hipp. 1423-30
Hek. 1270-73
Tro. 1188-89, 1242-47
Segal 1989
23
Il. 23.619f.
Nagy 1990a.218.
Eichler 1914.143
Ebeling 1885.1111
24
Aias 1166f.
Il. 23.619f.
Plat. Phd. 81d1
Hansen 1983, e.g., nos. 21.2, 25.1, 304.2
Eichler 1914
Loraux 1986.350 n. 36
Svenbro 1988, esp. 45-48, 63
Day 1989.22-27
Kannicht 1969, 2.137
Hel. 466
Lys. 32.21
Hdt. 7.167.2
Thuk. 5.11.1
Eur. Tr. 39
Il. 23.619
Hek. 221
Strabo 13.32, 596C
Paus. 10.25.10
Paus. 2.16.6
Eur. El. 323-31
Eur. IA 1442-44
Paus. 1.43.1
Eur. Hel. 64, 315, 466
Eur. Ba. 6
Paus. 9.16.7
Eur. Hik. 936-38
Eur. Hik. 663
Ph. 145
Paus. 9.17.4
25
Archil. fr. 196a.12
26
Simon. 531(26)3-5 Page
27
Lattimore 1942, esp. 227-30, 243-45.
IG 9.2.252
Peek 1955.1255
Lattimore 1942.243f.
28
Segal 1981.143
Aias 1168ff.
Segal 1989.
29
Peek 1955.120-45
[Unrepresented Characters], nos. 488, 493, 499, 505, 540, 542
[Unrepresented Characters], nos. 500, 547
[Unrepresented Characters], nos. 491, 495, 544-46.
IG I2 987.2
Hansen 1983.32, no. 46.2
SEG 1.457.1
Peek 1955.128, no. 527
30
IG I2 927.2
Hansen 1983.71, no. 131.2
A. Pers. 307, 368
S. Aias 134f.
31
Soph. Ant. 409-10
32
Lloyd-Jones and Wilson 1990.229.
33
Hik. 24-25
Tucker 1889.8 ad loc.
Lloyd-Jones and Wilson 1990.229
OK 380f.
Johansen and Whittle 1980, 2.25-27 ad loc.
supra, n. 9
34
Vernant 1989.41-79, esp. 62-63, 77
35
Ag. 452-55
Renehan 1976.11-27, esp. 20
Ag. 452-55
A. Ch. 350f.
S. OK 1763
36
Ag. 1537-41
37
S. Ant. 609f.
Ar. N. 603f.
Xen. Kyropaid. 2.1.1
38
A. Th. 732
Wilamowitz 1959, 3.221
Eur. Her. 1016
Fraenkel 1962, 2.171, 233
Ag. 320, 455
Lloyd-Jones and Wilson 1990.229
Snodgrass 1982
Morris 1987.193f., 1988
J. Whitley 1988, 1991.59-61
Alcock 1991.453-56
Alcock 1991.454
39
infra, n. 41
Shapiro 1989.154
Strabo 13.30, 595C
supra, n. 24
Paus. 1.35.5
Philostr. Her. 8.1
40
Shapiro 1989.154-57
supra, n. 30
Paus. 1.35.3-4
Deubner 1966.228
Herodotus (5.66.2).
Kearns 1989.164
Kearns 1989.203
Jebb 1896.xxx-xxxii
Farnell 1921.305-10
Kron 1976.172-74
Kearns 1989.82, 141f.
41
Edmunds 1981.222-28
Kearns 1989.50-52, 189, 208f.
Philoktetes (727-29, 1420)
Stinton 1990.479-90
Davies 1991.xx-xxii
Easterling 1981
Holt 1989
Ortiz, "Greek Tragedy and Hero Cult," UCLA 1993.
42
Winnington-Ingram 1980.58 n. 2
supra, n. 9
43
Burian 1974
Edmunds 1981.227-32
Henrichs 1983
Blundell 1989 chap. 7 (esp. 253-59), 1990.10-14, 91- 106.
44
Knox 1979.142-44
Burian 1972.156
Winnington-Ingram 1980.48-55

References

References
Alcock, S. E. 1991. "Tomb Cult and the Post-Classical Polis." AJA 95: 447-67.
Antonaccio, C. M. 1987. "The Archaeology of Early Greek 'Hero Cult.'" Diss. Princeton University.
_____. 1993. "The Archaeology of Ancestors." In C. Dougherty and L. Kurke, eds., Cultural Poetics in Archaic Greece, 46-70. Cambridge.
Bernabé, A. 1987. Poetae Epici Graeci: Testimonia et Fragmenta, Pars I. Leipzig.
Blundell, M. W. 1989. Helping Friends and Harming Enemies: A Study in Sopho- cles and Greek Ethics. Cambridge.
_____. 1990. Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus: Translated with Introduction, Notes and Interpretive Essay. Newburyport, Mass.
Bremmer, J. 1983. The Early Greek Concept of the Soul. Princeton.
Burian, P. 1972. "Supplication and Hero Cult in Sophocles' Ajax." GRBS 13: 151-56.
_____. 1974. "Suppliant and Savior." Phoenix 28: 408-29.
Chantraine, P. 1968. Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque. Paris.
Davies, M. 1988. Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta. Göttingen.
_____. 1991. Sophocles: Trachiniae. Oxford.
Davies, M. I. 1973. "Ajax and Tekmessa." Antike Kunst 16: 60-70.
Day, J. W. 1989. "Rituals in Stone: Early Greek Grave Epigrams and Monu- ments." JHS 109: 16-28.
Deubner, L. 1966. Attische Feste. 2d ed. Berlin.
Easterling, P. E. 1981. "The End of the Trachiniae." ICS 6: 56-74.
_____. 1984. "The Tragic Homer." BICS 31: 1-8.
_____. 1988. "Tragedy and Ritual." Metis 3: 87-109.
Ebeling, H. 1885. Lexicon Homericum. Leipzig.
Edmunds, L. 1981. "The Cults and the Legend of Oedipus." HSCP 85: 221-38.
Eichler, F. 1914. [Unrepresented Characters] in älteren griechischen Grabinschriften." Mitteilungen des Kaiserlich Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Athenische Abteilung 39: 138-143.
Farnell, L. R. 1921. Greek Hero Cults and Ideas of Immortality. Oxford.
Fraenkel, E. 1962. Aeschylus: Agamemnon. Corrected reprint. Oxford.
Garland, R. 1985. The Greek Way of Death. Ithaca.
Garner, R. 1988. "Death and Victory in Euripides' Alcestis." ClAnt 7: 58-71
Garner 1990: 64-78
_____. 1990. From Homer to Tragedy: The Art of Allusion in Greek Poetry. London.
Goldhill, S. 1986. Reading Greek Tragedy. Cambridge.
Hansen, P. A. 1983. Carmina Epigraphica Graeca Saeculorum VIII-Va. Chr. n. Texte und Kommentare 12. Berlin.
Harrison, S. J. 1989. "Sophocles and the Cult of Philoctetes." JHS 109: 173-75.
Heath, M. 1987. The Poetics of Greek Tragedy. London.
Henrichs, A. 1983. "The 'Sobriety' of Oedipus: Sophocles OC 100 Misunder- stood." HSCP 87: 87-100.
_____. 1991. "Namenlosigkeit und Euphemismus: Zur Ambivalenz der chthoni- schen Mächte im attischen Drama." In H. Hofmann and A. Harder, eds., Fragmenta dramatica: Beiträge zur Interpretation der griechischen Tragiker- fragmente und ihrer Wirkungsgeschichte, 161-201. Göttingen.
Holt, P. 1989. "The End of the Trachiniai and the Fate of Herakles." JHS 109: 69-80.
_____. 1992. "Ajax's Burial in Early Greek Epic." AJP 113: 319-31.
Italie, G. 1964. Index Aeschyleus. 2d ed. Leiden.
Jebb, R. C. 1896. Sophocles: The Plays and Fragments. Part 7, The Ajax. Cambridge.
Johansen, H. F., and E. W. Whittle. 1980. Aeschylus: The Suppliants. 3 vols. Copenhagen.
Kannicht, R. 1969. Euripides: Helena. 2 vols. Heidelberg.
Kearns, E. 1989. The Heroes of Attica. BICS Suppl. 57. London.
Knox, B. M. W. 1979. Word and Action: Essays on the Ancient Theater. Baltimore.
Kron, U. 1976. Die zehn attischen Phylenheroen: Geschichte, Mythos, Kult und Darstellungen. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Athe- nische Abteilung, Beiheft 5. Berlin.
Lattimore, R. 1942. Themes in Greek and Latin Epitaphs. Illinois Studies in Language and Literature 28.1-2. Urbana.
Lloyd-Jones, H., and N. G. Wilson. 1990. Sophoclea: Studies on the Text of Sophocles. Oxford.
Loraux, N. 1986. The Invention of Athens: The Funeral Oration in the Classical City. Cambridge, Mass.
Mikalson, J. D. 1991. Honor Thy Gods: Popular Religion in Greek Tragedy. Chapel Hill.
Morris, I. 1987. Burial and Ancient Society: The Rise of the Greek City-State. Cambridge.
_____. 1988. "Tomb Cult and the 'Greek Renaissance': The Past in the Present in the Eighth Century B.C." Antiquity 62: 750-61.
Nagy, G. 1979. The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry. Baltimore.
_____. 1990a. Greek Mythology and Poetics. Ithaca.
_____. 1990b. Pindar's Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past. Baltimore.
Peek, W. 1955. Griechische Vers-Inschriften. Vol. 1, Grab-Epigramme. Berlin.
Renehan, R. 1976. Studies in Greek Texts: Critical Observations to Homer, Plato, Euripides, Aristophanes and other Authors. Hypomnemata 43. Göttingen.
Richardson, N. J. 1974. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Oxford.
Rohde, E. 1925. Psyche: The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality among the Greeks. London.
Scodel, R. 1984. Sophocles. Boston.
Segal, C. 1981. Tragedy and Civilization: An Interpretation of Sophocles. Cam- bridge, Mass.
_____. 1985. "Messages to the Underworld: An Aspect of Poetic Immor- talization." AJP 106: 199-212.
_____. 1989. "Song, Ritual, and Commemoration in Early Greek Poetry and Tragedy." Oral Tradition 4: 330-59.
_____. 1989-90. "Drama, Narrative, and Perspective in Sophocles' Ajax." Sacris Erudiri 31: 395-404.
Shapiro, H. A. 1989. Art and Cult under the Tyrants in Athens. Mainz.
_____. 1991. "The Iconography of Mourning in Athenian Art." AJA 95: 629-56.
Snodgrass, A. 1971. The Dark Age of Greece. Edinburgh.
_____. 1982. "Les origines du culte des héros dans la Grèce antique." In G. Gnoli and J.-P. Vernant, eds., La mort, les morts dans les sociétés anciennes, 107-19. Cambridge.
_____. 1988. "The Archaeology of the Hero." AION ArchStAnt 10: 19-26.
Sommerstein, A. H. 1989. Aeschylus: Eumenides. Cambridge.
Stanford, W. B. 1963. Sophocles: Ajax. London.
Stinton, T. C. W. 1990. Collected Papers on Greek Tragedy. Oxford.
Svenbro, J. 1988. Phrasikleia: Anthropologie de la lecture en Grèce ancienne. Paris.
Taplin, O. 1978. Greek Tragedy in Action. Berkeley and Los Angeles.
Tucker, T. G. 1889. The 'Supplices' of Aeschylus. London.
Vernant, J.-P. 1989. L'individu, la mort, l'amour: Soi-même et l'autre en Grèce ancienne. Paris.
Verrall, A. W. 1908. The 'Eumenides' of Aeschylus. London.
West, M. L. 1966. Hesiod: Theogony. Oxford.
Whitley, J. 1988. "Early States and Hero Cults: A Re-Appraisal." JHS 108: 173-82.
_____. 1991. Style and Society in Dark Age Greece: The Changing Face of a Pre- Literate Society 1100-700 B.C. Cambridge.
von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, U. 1959. Euripides: Herakles, 3 vols. Reprint: Darmstadt.
Winnington-Ingram, R. P. 1980. Sophocles: An Interpretation. Cambridge.
This content is only available via PDF.