A sampling of comments on Pausanias: 1.1.1–1.2.1

2017.10.19 | By Gregory Nagy

My comments here continue from where I left off in Classical Inquiries 2017.10.10, revised 2017.10.14, where I focused on the first two sentences in the text of Pausanias 1.1.1. Now I start with the remainder of 1.1.1, continuing from there to 1.2.1. Among the many points of interest noted by Pausanias in this stretch of text is his mention of Antiope the Amazon at 1.2.1.

Katharine Hepburn in the 1932 Broadway production of The Warrior's Husband. Image via.
Katharine Hepburn in the 1932 Broadway production of The Warrior’s Husband. Image via.


{…1.1.1} translation by Jones 1918, modified by GN 2017.10.18:

Farther on is Laurion, where once the Athenians had silver mines, and a small uninhabited island called the Island of Patroklos. I-say-this-because [gar] a fortification was built on it and a palisade constructed by Patroklos, who was admiral in command of the Egyptian trireme ships sent by Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy, son of Lagos, to help the Athenians, when Antigonos, son of Demetrios, was ravaging their country, which he had invaded with an army, and at the same time was blockading them by sea with a fleet.[1]

{…1.1.1} subject heading(s): Island of Patroklos; defamiliarization

{…1.1.1} Island of Patroklos… Our first impression, as we read the name Patroklos, may be that the referent here is the Homeric hero Patroklos. As we read on, however, we are quickly defamiliarized: this Patroklos is a historical figure, stemming from the Hellenistic era—which is the period of time starting with the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE and lasting up to the time when the Roman Empire takes possession of Hellas or ‘Greece’ in the second century BCE. I think that Pausanias, by way of his defamiliarizing gesture in introducing the name of Patroklos, is creating a signature, as it were, for the genre in which he is expressing himself. I agree with Cohen 2001:95 when she says that the work of Pausanias is one of the few surviving examples of this genre, which has “a Hellenistic background.” [[GN 2014.04.03.]]

{1.1.2} translation by Jones 1918, modified by GN 2017.10.18:

The [harbor city] Peiraieus was a deme [dēmos] from early times, though it was not a seaport [epi-neion] before Themistocles became an archon [arkhōn] of the Athenians. Their seaport [epi-neion] had been Phaleron, for at this place the sea comes nearest to Athens, and from here it is said that Menestheus sailed off with his fleet for Troy, and before him Theseus, when he went off to give compensation to Minos for the death of Androgeōs. But when Themistocles became archon [arkhōn], since he thought that the [harbor city] Peiraieus was more conveniently situated for those who sail, and had three harbors [limenes] as against one at Phaleron, he made it [= Peiraieus] the Athenian seaport [epi-neion]. Even up to my time there were ship-sheds [neōs oikoi] there, and near the largest harbor [limēn] is the tomb of Themistocles. For it is said that the Athenians repented of their treatment of Themistocles, and that his relatives took up his bones and brought them from Magnesia. And the children of Themistocles certainly returned [to Athens] and set up in the Parthenon a painting [graphē] in which [the figure] of Themistocles has been painted [graphesthai].

{1.1.2} subject heading(s): Peiraieus; dēmos ‘deme’; epineion ‘seaport’; Themistocles; spelling of Greek names; arkhōn ‘archon’; Phaleron; Athenian thalassocracy; neōs oikoi ‘ship-sheds’; Menestheus: Athenian signatures in Homeric poetry; Theseus; Minos; Minoan thalassocracy; Androgeos ‘man born of Earth’; speaking name; limēn ‘harbor’; tomb of Themistokles at Peiraieus

{1.1.2} spelling of Greek names… I offer a general comment on the spelling of Greek names, with primary reference to the name of Themistocles here at 1.1.2… The name of this famous Athenian statesman could have been spelled here and elsewhere in the hellenized way, as Themistokles. The same can be said about the name of another famous Athenian statesman, Pericles, who is first mentioned by Pausanias at 1.25.1: here as well, the name could have been spelled in the hellenized way, as Perikles. In general, however, I spell any Greek name in a latinized way wherever the said name has become a “household word” in English, as in the case of Themistocles and Pericles. When I say latinized I mean spellings where Latin lettering is substituted for the corresponding hellenized lettering: so, c for k, ch for kh, ae for ai, oe for oi, u for ou, -us for –os, and so on. Besides Themistocles and Pericles, I will spell in a latinized (and anglicized) way such other “household words” as represented by the following Greek names: Academy (not Akademeia), Achilles (not Akhilleus), Acropolis (not Akropolis), Aeneas (not Aineias), Ajax (not Aias), Alcibiades (not Alkibiades), Alexander (not Alexandros), Anacreon (not Anakreon), Andromache (not Andromakhe), Apollo (not Apollon), Arcadia (not Arkadia), Attica (not Attike), Cambyses (not Kambuses), Cassandra (not Kassandra), Chersonesus (not Kherronesos), Chios (not Khios), Chrysippus (not Khrusippos), Cleisthenes (not Kleisthenes), Corcyra (not Kerkura), Corinth (not Korinthos), Cyclades (not Kuklades), Cyrene (not Kurene), Cythera (not Kuthera), Delphi (not Delphoi), Dionysus (not Dionusos), Euboea (not Euboia), Herodotus (not Herodotos), Hesiod (not Hesiodos), Hippolytus (not Hippolutos), Homer (not Homeros), Isocrates (not Isokrates), Lacedaemonia (not Lakedaimonia), Lyceum (not Lukeion: see my comments on Pausanias 1.19.3), Lycurgus (name of the Athenian statesman, as also of the early Spartan ‘lawgiver’; not Lukourgos), Maeander (not Maiandros), Menander (not Menandros), Musaeus (not Mousaios), Oedipus (not Oidipous), Palladium (not Palladion), Peloponnesus (not Peloponnesos), Phaedra (not Phaidra), Philip (not Philippos), Pindar (not Pindaros), Philoctetes (not Philoktetes), Plato (not Platon), Pluto (not Plouton), Polygnotus (not Polugnotos), Polyxena (not Poluxene), Ptolemy (not Ptolemaios), Socrates (not Sokrates), Sophocles (not Sophokles), Syracuse (not Surakoussai), Tarentum (not Taras), Thermopylae (not Thermopulai), Thucydides (not Thoukudides). All these examples come from Pausanias 1.1 through 1.30. Some “household names” of the past, however, are less likely to qualify as such today, and I include in this smaller list such names as Antipatros (not Antipater), Kassandros (not Cassander), Aratos (not Aratus), Eurydikē (not Eurydice), Oitē (not Oeta), Rōxanē (not Roxana), Khairōneia (not Chaeronea), Aigeus (not Aegeus), Daidalos (not Daedalus), Ikaros (not Icarus), Hipparkhos (not Hipparchus). I have included in this shorter list even the names of the father of Theseus, Aigeus (not Aegeus), after whom the Aegean Sea is named, and of the Ptolemaic queen Eurydikē, despite the association of the mythical figure Eurydice with Orpheus, as in Pausanias 9.30.6. In many cases, it is relatively easy to recognize the latinized versions underneath the more hellenized spellings. A shining example is the father-and-son pair Daidalos and Ikaros, for Daedalus and Icarus. Another such example is Kleopatra, for Cleopatra. In many cases, my reasons for preferring the hellenized spelling over the latinized version have to do with word-associations that become evident in contexts highlighted by Pausanias. In the case of Daidalos, for example, the meaning of his name is relevant to the name of a festival, the Daidala, as described by Pausanias 9.3.2–6. [[GN 2017.10.05.]]

{1.1.2} archon [arkhōn]… As we see later in our readings, Pausanias 4.5.10, this word ‘archon’ [arkhōn], meaning literally ‘leader’, was the Athenian title of an official who was appointed yearly by lot. The traditional Athenian way of dating any given year when any event happened was by remembering the name of the archon [arkhōn] who was in charge during that year.

{1.1.2} thalassocracy… In the history of Athens, the era of the Athenian Empire was most noted for the city’s maritime power, the Greek word for which was thalassokratiā or ‘thalassocracy’. For background on this word, see 1§§5–6 in Nagy 2017.04.11, “Diachronic Homer and a Cretan Odyssey.” [[GN 2014.04.13]]

{1.1.2} ship-sheds [neōs oikoi]… In the glory days of the Athenian Empire, a most celebrated visual marker of the magnificence as well as the power of its thalassocracy was the architectural complex of colossal buildings known as neōs oikoi ‘ship-sheds’ at the dockyards of seaport of Peiraieus. I have invited Mills McArthur to write a comment here about these buildings. [[GN 2014.04.13]]

The neōs-oikoi ‘ship-sheds’–literally ‘ship houses’–of Peiraieus sheltered the warships so critical to the military success of the city of Athens. Ships would be drawn up out of the water on ramps into their ‘houses’. But these utilitarian dockyard structures ultimately transcended their function, gaining great symbolic importance for the Athenians—so much so that Demosthenes (fourth century BCE), enumerating some of the prominent symbols of Athens’ glory, grouped the ship-sheds of the dockyards of Peiraieus together with the Parthenon itself (Speech 22 section 76)! The atmosphere of the docks on the verge of an expedition is vividly captured in Greek literature, ranging from the hustle and bustle (Aristophanes Acharnians 544–554) to a mixture of hope and foreboding on occasions when the ships were launched in the glory days of the Athenian Empire (Thucydides 6.30–32). Even after the empire went into decline, the glory of the dockyards of the Peiraieus was still very much in evidence, as we see from the testimony of Demosthenes. See also Pausanias 1.29.16, where he speaks about the rebuilding of the neōs oikoi ‘ship-sheds’ of the Peiraieus in the era of the statesman Lycurgus of Athens, who dominated the cultural and political life of Athens in the late fourth century BCE. The Roman general Sulla sacked the Peiraieus in 86 BCE, and so Pausanias in the second century CE would have seen just a trace of the structures that formerly highlighted the naval power of Athens. [[MM 2014.04.15.]]

{1.1.2} Magnesia-at-Maeander… The city of Magnesia, contiguous with the river Maeander, is situated on the mainland of Greek Asia Minor. In the time of Themistocles, Magnesia was part of the Persian Empire. After Themistocles was banished from his native city of Athens, he eventually defected to the king of the Persians, Artaxerxes I, who appointed him as ruler of Magnesia. See Pausanias 1.26.4, also the comments of Habicht 1998:5. On the symbolism implicit in the name of Magnesia, see HC 3§§77–94. [[GN 2017.10.15.]]

{1.1.2} tomb of Themistocles at Peiraieus… This detail in Pausanias 1.1.2 is of special interest to me. I find it intriguing that Pausanias, visiting Athens in the second century CE, is foregrounding here a detail about Themistocles that could easily be ignored by professional Classicists who study only the testimony of the Classical period of the fifth and the fourth centuries BCE. It is as if he were saying to such professionals: here is something that I bet you did not know—or had ignored… Themistocles was rehabilitated by the Athenians, despite his having defected to the Persian Empire after his political successes in Athens had gone sour. And the visible sign of his rehabilitation is his tomb. The tomb of Themistocles, as a visible reminder, reconnects the memories about Themistocles with the present. Here the medium of Pausanias, which is a visual journey that reconnects with the history of the past, shows its power to reshape or even restore history as he sees it. I see a comparable gesture of rehabilitation in my comment on a later passage, Pausanias 1.23.9. [[GN 2014.04.13.]]

{1.1.2} Parthenon… The political as well as the cultural significance of the Parthenon here is made evident by the context. We see here in Pausanias 1.1.2 his first mention of the Parthenon. The author has not wasted much time in making mention of this all-important monument. [[GN 2017.10.15.]]

{1.1.3} translation by Jones 1918, modified by GN 2017.10.18:

Worthy of viewing [théā] in the Peiraieus is a precinct [temenos] of Athena and Zeus. Both their statues [agalmata] are of bronze; Zeus holds a scepter and a Nike, Athena a spear. Here is [a painting of] Leosthenes and [of] his sons, painted [graphein] by Arkesilaos. This Leosthenes at the head of the Athenians and the united Greeks [Hellēnes] defeated the Macedonians in Boeotia and again outside Thermopylae forced them into Lamia over against Oitē, and hemmed them in there.[2] It [= the painting] is in the long portico [stoā], where is located a marketplace [agorā] for those living near the sea—those farther away from the harbor [limēn] have another—but behind the portico near the sea stand a Zeus and a [personified] Dēmos, the work [ergon] of Leokhares. And by the sea Konon[3] built a sanctuary [hieron] of Aphrodite, after he had crushed the Lacedaemonian warships off Knidos in the Carian peninsula.[4] I say-this-because [gar] the people of Knidos honor [tīmân] Aphrodite greatly, and they have sanctuaries [hiera] of the goddess [theos (feminine)]; the oldest is to her as Doritis [‘Bountiful’], the next in age as Akraia [‘of the Headland’], while the newest is to the Aphrodite called ‘of Knidos’ by people generally, but Euploia [‘Good Sailing’] by the people of Knidos themselves.

{1.1.3} subject heading(s): théā ‘seeing’

{1.1.3} worthy of viewing [théā]… To translate this phrase as ‘worth seeing’ is to blur the significance of théā ‘viewing, seeing’ as a ritual activity. [[GN 2017.10.18.]]

{1.1.4} translation by Jones 1918, modified by GN 2017.10.18:

The Athenians have also another harbor [limēn], at Mounukhia, with a temple [nāos] of Artemis of Mounukhia, and yet another at Phaleron, as I have already stated, and near it is a sanctuary [hieron] of Demeter. Here there is also a temple [nāos] of Athena Skiras, and one of Zeus some distance away, and altars of the gods named Unknown [Agnōstoi], and of heroes [hērōes], and of the children of Theseus and Phaleros; for this Phaleros is said by the Athenians to have sailed with Jason to Kolkhis. There is also an altar [bōmos] of Androgeōs, son of Minos, though it is called that of Hērōs; those, however, who pay special attention to the study of their local-antiquities [enkhōria] know that it belongs to Androgeōs.

{1.1.4} subject heading(s): hērōs ‘hero’; hero cult; Phaleros; Argonauts; Phaleros as culture hero linked with myth of the Argonauts; Androgeōs; hero cult of Androgeōs; mystical name of cult hero as Hērōs; epichoric myths and rituals

{1.1.4} heroes… So, already at this early stage in his narrative, Pausanias shows a special interest in hero cults. [[GN 2017.10.15.]]

{1.1.4} those, however, who pay special attention to the study of their local-antiquities [enkhōria] know that… We see here Pausanias in the role of a researcher interested in epichoric myths and rituals. [[GN 2017.10.20.]]

{1.1.5} translation by Jones 1918, modified by GN 2017.10.18:

Twenty stadium-lengths away is the headland [akrā] called Kōlias; to this place, when the Persian fleet was destroyed, the wreckage was carried down by the waves. There is here a statue [agalma] of the Aphrodite surnamed Kōlias, together with goddesses [theai] called Genetyllides [presiding-over-childbirth]. And I am of the opinion that the goddesses [theai] of the people of Phokaia in Ionia, whom they call Gennaides, are the same as those at Kōlias. On the way from Phaleron to Athens there is a temple [nāos] of Hērā with neither doors nor roof. It is said that Mardonios, son of Gobryas, burned it. But the statue [agalma] there today is, as report goes, the work of Alkamenes.[5] So that this, at any rate, cannot have been desecrated by the Persians.

{1.1.5} subject heading(s): Ionia as a region of Asia Minor; Pausanias as a researcher of Ionian traditions

On observations made by Pausanias about the cultural identity of Ionia and the Ionians in Asia Minor, I have comments on one of the examples in Nagy 2017.06.25 §33, with reference to Pausanias 7.3.3. [[GN 2017.11.05.]]

{1.2.1} translation by Jones 1918, modified by GN 2017.12.16:

As one enters the city, there is a tomb [mnēma] of Antiope the Amazon. This Antiope, Pindar says, was abducted [harpazein] by Peirithoös and Theseus, but Hegias of Troizen has created-poetically [poieîn] about her such things as I will now tell. Hēraklēs was besieging Themiskyra at [the river] Thermodon, and could not take it, but Antiope, having-conceived-a-passion [erastheisa] for Theseus, who was aiding Hēraklēs in his campaign, surrendered the stronghold. These things has Hegias created-poetically [poieîn]. But the Athenians assert that when the Amazons came [to attack Athens], Antiope was shot by Molpadia [the Amazon], while Molpadia was killed by Theseus. The Athenians have a tomb [mnēma] of Molpadia as well.

{1.2.1} subject heading(s): mnēma ‘tomb’; Antiope the Amazon; first impressions of the visual kind; Antiope the Amazon as first impression; name of Amazon Antiope as ‘rivaling in looks/appearances’; Murinē the Amazon; Amazons as cult heroes; Molpadia the Amazon; war between Amazons and Athenians; Theseus; abduction of Antiope by Theseus; theme of Amazon falling in love with her abductor; Hippolyte the Amazon; Megara; lupē ‘pain’; Pindar F 174; Pindar F 175

{1.2.1} As one enters the city, there is a tomb [mnēma] of Antiope the Amazon
We read in Frazer 1913 II 37 about the wording here: “it appears that the tomb of Antiope was just inside the city-wall of Athens”; Frazer also comments here on the relevant information provided by Plutarch Life of Theseus 27. I find it most significant that the tomb of Antiope the Amazon should be the very first thing to be seen by Pausanias as he enters the city of Athens. We have already seen that first impressions of the visual kind are very important to Pausanias. In the case of the temple sacred to the goddess Athena at Sounion, for example, the traveler’s first impression of the goddess there is linked to the view, from there, of the tip of Athena’s spear on the Acropolis of Athens. And now, as Pausanias enters the city of Athens, the very first thing he says he sees is the mnēma ‘tomb’ of Antiope the Amazon. Once again, the traveler’s first impression becomes a dominant theme in his narrative. From the wording at Iliad 2.811–815, we can see that the tomb of the Amazon Murinē is pictured there as the monument of a cult hero: see the comments at I.02.811–815 in A Sampling of Comments on the Iliad and Odyssey. Similarly here, the tombs of the Amazons Antiope and Molpadia are pictured as monuments of cult heroes. On the symbolism of Athenian myths about a primordial antagonism between Athens and the Amazons, I refer to my analysis in HC 4§§213–215, 4§224. According to one myth, this antagonism was precipitated by the abduction of Antiope, queen of the Amazons, by Theseus, king of Athens. The idea that Antiope then falls in love with Theseus as her abductor, as mentioned by Pausanias here at 1.2.1, is a topic that disturbs—and that needs further investigation. Relevant, I think, is what we read later on at 1.41.7 in the narrative of Pausanias, where he says that he saw in the city of Megara a mnēma ‘tomb’ of another Amazon, Hippolyte, who was sister of Antiope. Pausanias says that this tomb was linked with a myth about Hippolyte: how this hero became queen of the Amazons after her sister Antiope was abducted by Theseus, king of the Athenians, and how Hippolyte and her fellow Amazons then went to war against Athens to avenge the abduction. The outcome was a bitter defeat for the Amazons, and most of them perished in the war, but Hippolyte survived and sought refuge at Megara, where she died from her lupē. This word lupē as used by Pausanias at 1.41.7 can best be translated as the ‘pain’ of mourning. By combining what we read at 1.2.1 and at 1.41.7 in the narrative of Pausanias, we can piece together a central theme in the overall myth that is linked to the hero cults of the Amazons Antiope, Molpadia, and Hippolyte: that all the pain resulting from the war between the Amazons and the Athenians can be traced back to the primal abduction of Antiope, queen of the Amazons, by Theseus, king of the Athenians. That abduction must have been highlighted in a song of Pindar as mentioned by Pausanias 1.2.1. Classicists track this mention by referring to it this way: Pindar F 175 ed. Maehler. In Pausanias 7.2.6, we read another mention of these Amazons, and Classicists refer to this mention as Pindar F 174 ed. Maehler. One final word about the references made by Pausanias to Amazons as cult heroes: I deliberately use the word “hero” and not “heroine” in such contexts because I seek to challenge the assumption, common to native speakers of English, that only men are heroes. In terms of ancient Greek hero cults, both men and women could become cult heroes after death, and the wording of Pausanias at 1.2.1 and at 1.41.7 makes it clear that the Amazons Antiope, Molpadia, and Hippolyte were all three considered to be cult heroes. [[GN 2017.11.06.]]


Theseus carrying off Antiope. Red-figure kylix (ca. 520–500 BCE). Image via.
Abduction of Antiope by Theseus. Red-figure kylix (ca. 520–500 BCE). Image via.


Red-figure amphora by Myson, ca. 500 BCE: Abduction of Antiope by Theseus, with help from Peirithoös (all named in inscriptions). Paris, Musée du Louvre, G197.
Abduction of Antiope by Theseus, with help from Peirithoös (all named in inscriptions). Red-figure amphora by Myson, ca. 500 BCE. Paris, Musée du Louvre, G197.


Close-up of the Myson vase. Image via.
Close-up of the Myson vase. Image via.


Colorized cast reconstruction is by Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann and Vinzenz Brinkmann, originally created for the exhibition "Penelope rekonstruiert: Geschichte und Deutung einer Frauenfigur," Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke in Munich, 10 October to 15 December 2006. The original sculpture is from the pediment of the Temple of Apollo at Eritrea, ca. 510 BCE, now in the Archaeological Museum of Eretria. Image via.
Abduction of Antiope by Theseus. Colorized cast reconstruction is by Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann and Vinzenz Brinkmann, originally created for the exhibition “Penelope rekonstruiert: Geschichte und Deutung einer Frauenfigur,” Museum für Abgüsse Klassischer Bildwerke in Munich, 10 October to 15 December 2006. The original sculpture is from the pediment of the Temple of Apollo at Eretria, ca. 510 BCE, now in the Archaeological Museum of Eretria. Image via.


Antiope and Theseus (c. 1600–1601). Adriaen de Vries (c. 1556–1626). Image via.
Abduction of Antiope by Theseus (c. 1600–1601). Adriaen de Vries (c. 1556–1626). Image via.



See the dynamic Bibliography for APRIP.


Inventory of terms and names

See the dynamic Inventory of terms and names for APRIP.



[1] circa 267–263 BCE.

[2] 323 BCE.

[3] floruit circa 350 BCE.

[4] 394 BCE.

[5] floruit 440–400 BCE.