MASt@CHS – Spring Seminar 2021 (Friday, April 16): Summaries of Presentations and Discussion

2021.06.10 | By Rachele Pierini and Tom Palaima

§1. Rachele Pierini opened the Spring session of the MASt@CHS seminars by welcoming the participants to the session. In addition to the regular members of the MASt@CHS network and colleagues and students who have already attended previous session, new guests joined the April 16 meeting: Elena Dzukeska, Massimo Perna, Kim Shelton, Trevor Van Damme, and Malcolm H. Wiener. This seminar session was the meeting of the two Morrises. The presenters for the Spring 2021 meeting were Sarah Morris, who is a regular member of the MASt@CHS group, and Morris Silver, who resumed his treatment of the cultural significance and economic importance of purple cloth that he began guiding us through in the Winter 2021 MASt@CHS session.

§2.1. Sarah Morris shared with us some thoughts based on results of her field project at the site of Methone in northern Greece in the region of Pieria lying roughly between the coast of the Thermaic Gulf and Mount Olympus (Figure 0). She outlined the possible relationship between this site and the Mycenaean texts. She discussed diverse evidence, extending from Homer to ancient Greek geographic literature, also including the archeological evidence at Thermaic Methone and Mycenae in the Argolid to specific entries on the Linear B tablets from Mycenae and Pylos.

Figure 0. Map of northern Greece showing Methone in relation to other ancient sites, by Myles Chykerda (from Morris et al. 2020:660, fig. 1).

§2.2. Morris Silver presented provocative points treated in the second part of his upcoming monograph, The Purpled World: Marketing Haute Couture in the Aegean Bronze Age. In the last meeting, he focused on the economic and ideological implications of the use of purple in the Mycenaean textile industry for the aesthetics and artistic production of the palaces. In this seminar, Silver presented his interpretation of Mycenaean religious festivals as events to promote the textile industry. Accordingly, he put forward alternative proposals about the circumstances and practices of particular ceremonies.

§3.1. Following Morris’s presentation (§§4–11.2), we discussed parallels for Mount Pieria from Greek literature (§12); the critical apparatus of MY Fo 101 (§§13.1–13.5); the dotted sign on MY Fo 101.5 and its palaeographic features in light of a comparison with si, di, and ni as well as implications of its reading for the interpretation of MY Fo 101 (§§14.1–14.7); the connection between geographical areas and professions (§§15.1–15.5); the chronology of Mycenae tablets (§16.1) and its implications for iconographic motives (§§16.2–16.3) and economic perspectives (§17).

§3.2. The discussion following Silver’s presentation (§§19–37) focused on representations of the horns of consecration (§§38–40) and the fenestrated axe (§§41–47), with emphasis on the constitutive features of each motif and the comparison between these elements and Silver’s interpretation of particular examples.

§3.3. Specifically, contributions to the seminar were made by Elena Dzukeska (see below at §§15.1, 15.3–15.4), Michele Mitrovich (§§38.1–38.3), Sarah Morris (§40), Gregory Nagy (§§12, 41), Tom Palaima (§§13.1–13.5, 14.7, 15.2, 15.5, 39, 42.1–42.3, 45.2, 45.4, 45.7), Vassilis Petrakis (§43), Rachele Pierini (§§14.1–14.6), Kim Shelton (§§16.1, 16.3), Morris Silver (§§ 17, 45.1, 45.3, 45.5–45.6), Trevor Van Damme (§§16.2, 46).

Topic 1: The Kingdom of Philoktetes and the Curse of Agamemnon: Pieria in the Bronze Age (A View from the South)

Presenter: Sarah Morris

§4. The first appearance of Thermaic Methone (Μεθώνη, Homeric Μηθώνη) is in the Catalogue of Ships, at Iliad 2.716–720:

οἵ δ’ ἄρα Μηθώνην καὶ Θαυμακίην ἐνέμοντο
καὶ Μελίβοιαν ἔχον καὶ Ὀλιζῶνα τρηχεῖαν,
τῶν δὲ Φιλοκτήτης ἦρχεν τόξων ἐῢ εἰδὼς
ἑπτὰ νεῶν· ἐρέται δ’ ἐν ἑκάστῃ πεντήκοντα
720 ἐμβέβασαν τόξων εὖ εἰδότες ἶφι μάχεσθαι.

[Editors’ note: We follow the Thomas Allen 1931 Oxford edition of the Iliad in reading ἐῢ in 718 and εὖ in 720.]

§5. Within the Catalogue of Ships, Methone represents the smallest mainland contingent ‘with seven ships’ (2.719, ἑπτὰ νεῶν), and remarkably it is the only contingent that includes archers in its military ranks (2.719–720, ἐρέται δ’ ἐν ἑκάστῃ πεντήκοντα … τόξων εὖ εἰδότες ἶφι μάχεσθαι). Although the association between archers and navigation might be unparalleled in the Homeric epics, some pictorial representations of archers on ships are found on Late Geometric vases and earlier οn a Mycenaean pictorial vase from Volos. Is it significant that this last piece of evidence is, at present, also the northernmost pictorial vase found? In the context of the above-mentioned Homeric passage, the peculiar status of this type of warrior relates to the mythological figure of Philoktetes.

§6. However, it is yet to be determined which site is the Homeric Methone. Within Greece, there are at least four places named Methone. Ancient geographers seem to have obtained and provided confusing information already in their own times. A fragment of Theopompus, cited by Strabo (VII fr. 20c = P. Colon. 5861), well illustrates this problem.

ἡ δ’ ἐ[στὶ]ν Μεθώ[νη, ὡς Θεόπ]ομπός φησιν[, χώρα τίς ποθ’] ὑλήεσσα, εἱς ἣν τὴ[ν [τῶν νεῶν ἐ]πισκευὴν κατὰ τὰς [σπονδὰς ἔθ]εντο οἱ παρ᾽ Ἀγαμέ[μνονος] ναυστολόγοι κα[λοῦντε]ς ἐπὶ τὴν στρατείαν, [οἱ δ’ ἀπειθ]οῦντες κατηρνή[σαντο δ]ύνασθαι. οἱ δ’ ἐπεῖ[πον εἶ]θε μὴ παύσαισθε τι[χοδομοῦ]ντες.

§7. The mythological account related to Methone attributed to Theopompus has the Methonians refusing to join Agamemnon’s expedition. This obviously does not accord with the Homeric passage, where their soldiers did go to Troy. Maybe, then, the Theopompus passage refers to another site. We would suggest the Magnesian Methone for two main reasons. It is located in another area that is known for ship-building timber and it is connected with a famous naval expedition, i.e. the voyage the Argonauts. However, an interesting point, which may well fit the geographical reality of the Northern Greek Methone (or of Mount Pelion?), is that Theopompus describes it as ‘wooded’ (ὑλήεσσα).

§8.1. Turning our attention to the Northern Greek Methone, a distinction has to be made between the ancient location of the city (Ancient Methone) and a later site, following the replacement of the city to the northwest after the Macedonian destruction. Ancient Methone is located at the south-west edge of the Thermaic Gulf, in a very deep bay, protected from the southern winds. Moreover, it is a rich source of timber, which was used in historical times to produce wood for the oars for the Athenian fleet (recall the adjective ὑλήεσσα in Strabo’s passage).

§8.2. The wood in this locale is ideal to this end, since it is not heavy and is also very flexible. This wood is pinus sylvestris, which grows best in the Pierian mountains. It is ideal for trireme oars: strong but pliable, light enough for rowers but not too brittle or easily shattered. Athenian naval need for this wood shaped the relationship between Methone and Athens, until Philip of Macedon needed to rid himself of the eyesore of Pella to build his own naval power in north.

§8.3. A great chapter on all this is forthcoming by Angelos Boufalis, a recent CHS fellow (for his doctoral research on Greek inscriptions and dialect in northern Greece) and contributor to our Methone project volume in press with Cotsen Institute (Boufalis forthcoming).

§8.4. There have also been numerous speculations on the name of the city of Ancient Methone. One traditional account reconstructs a folk etymology after the noun μέθυ ‘wine’ and relates the toponym to the concept of drunkenness. In other accounts, the place name Methone is sometimes taken to derive from the name of the founder hero, Methon, an ancestor of Orpheus. This identification would also convey a relation to the Muses and poetry, a landmark of Pieria. Although it is possible that the name contains a Pre-Greek suffix, -ώνᾱ/-ώνη (see e.g. Δωδώνα and also on the Thermaic Gulf Σκιώνη), a Greek etymology has been recently proposed by Blanc (2018), who relates Μεθώνη to the verb μεθίημι ‘release’ (possibly as a place for ships to “release” from sailing?). A crucial point, which is yet to be defined, is also when this name was created and assigned to the site.

§9. In terms of archaeological remains, Methone is critical in relation to our geographical definition of Mycenaean Greece. The northern frontier of “Mycenaean” Greece normally corresponds to the northernmost of the palatial sites, i.e. the palace of Iolkos (Thessaly, modern Volos). North of Volos, architecturally speaking, we find ourselves in a totally different territory. We no longer find any fortified citadels, tholos tombs, or Cyclopean walls. Nevertheless, we do find some Bronze Age burials at Methone with local pottery that resembles the Mycenaean standards. In earlier discoveries, not only gold but also amber artifacts were found. These point to a Nordic or Balkan pre-historic cultural background. Moreover, the tomb clusters found in the territory of the site can be dated to the Late Palatial and early post-Palatial period. The contracted shape of some burials, indeed, may belong even to the Early Bronze Age. All these elements characterize Methone as a Bronze Age city of fairly long standing in Northern Greece.

§10. Finally taking into account also the Linear B records, we do find traces of a Mycenaean Pieria. The critical point here is whether the Mycenaean Pieria corresponds to the site in northern Greece that we have been examining, or not. The place name of Pieria is attested in some (potential) ethnic adjectives and/or personal names on the Mycenaean tablets listed below:

MY Fo 101: pi-we-ri-ṣị
MY Oe 103: pi-we-ri-di
PY Jn 389: /pi-we-ri-ja-ta/
PY Aa 1182: pi-we-re

§11.1. The first two tablets come from the House of the Oil Merchant at Mycenae (i.e. a non-palatial archive). The form pi-we-ri-ṣị on MY Fo 101 is probably a dative plural (final sign uncertain: ṣị?) indicating some ‘Pierian women’ receiving an allocation of oil. One might wonder who these women were and what role they had at Mycenae. They might be captives, or workers in the textile industry—the same text lists the a-ke-ti-ri-ja-i (‘finishers, embroiderers’?) involved in cloth production.

§11.2. On MY Oe 103 we find the dative singular form of the same ethnic designation, namely pi-we-ri-di, a ‘Pierian lady’, as a recipient of wool. At Pylos, the name of a smith is restored on PY Jn 389, whereas on PY Aa 1182 a place called pi-we-re is mentioned, which was located in the Hither Province (an area associated with the many collective foreign-named labor forces). This last identification, together with the etymological interpretation of Πιερία as ‘rich’ or ‘fertile’ (see πῖαρ ‘fat’), prevents us from ruling out the possibility of a southern Pieria, maybe within the kingdom of Pylos, which was well-known for its fertile lands.

Discussion following Morris’s presentation

§12. Gregory Nagy provided a famed parallel to the Pierian one, namely the existence of another (and even more than just one) Mount Olympus. The mythical one is, of course, in the region of Olympia and Pisa, but there is another one in Northern Greece. His considerations can be read in full here.

§13.1. Tom Palaima drew our attention to the critical apparatus of MY Fo 101.

MY Fo 101 House of the Oil Merchant

.1   a-ne-a2        V 3         pa-ṇạ-ki         V 1
.2   ma-no         V 1       a-na-*82          V 1
.3   to-ti-ja        V 1       we-i-we-sa      V 1
.4   ke-ra-so[ ]  V 1
.5   pi-we-ri-ṣị  S 1        tu-mi-[       ]     Ṿ 1      
.6   ko-ma-ta    V 1       na-ta-ra-ma    V 1
.7   pe-ta-[•]     V 1       pu-ka-ro          Ṿ 1
.8   o-ta-ki        V 1[                 ]  vacant    [
.9   e-ro-pa-ke-.jạ        OLE + ẈẸ 1
.10 a-ke-ti-ri-ja-i         V 4
.11–.14  vacant
.15 to-so   OLE + ẈẸ 2   S 1  V 1

§13.2. The dotted, i.e. uncertain, sign in line .5 read tentatively as ṣị may be left unfinished. Alternatively it is noted that the right hand vertical stroke in the syllabogram now read as –ṣị is placed uncharacteristically high, making a reading of sign –ni possible. Provided that we perform a fresh examination of the text, the configuration of strokes described even makes it more remotely possible that this sign actually is a –di. (See §§14.1–6 below.) In this case, this would be a dative singular form, maybe designating the same woman appearing in MY Oe 103, also from the so-called House of the Oil Merchant.

MY Oe 103 House of the Oil Merchant

.1   a-pi-e-ra [
.2   di-we-se-ja [
.3   a-qi-ti-ta
.4   ku-po          LANA
.5   pi-we-ri-di  LANA              
.6–.8 vacant

§13.3. Palaima pointed out that a single woman on MY Fo 101.5 would be consistent with the rest of the entries in the first section (lines .1–.8). The opening section has two subsections (lines .1–.4 and lines .5–.8). There are seven entries to each subsection. Each section is formatted in two columns, four individuals in the left column and three in the right. The fourth slot of the right column in each section (line .4 and .8) is left empty, thus marking the end of each subsection. Such precise parallelism would seem to be intentional. Thirteen of the fourteen entries are clearly single individuals. The lead entry of the subsection (line .5), whether we read it as pi-we-ri-ṣị or pi-we-ri-ṇị or pi-we-ri-ḍị, is the only entry that is unambiguously in the dative. (See DMic 2:130–131 s.vv.) This is reinforced by the dative plural occupational term a-ke-ti-ri-ja-i in line .10. Therefore, all thirteen other entries in lines .1–.8 are read as datives.

§13.4. One argument used in favor of interpreting the entry as a dative plural recipient pi-we-ri-ṣị is that this entry is allocated a larger quantity of oil S 1 (= V 6) whereas the other six entries in subsection 2 (lines .5–.8) receive V 1. However, the first entry in the first subsection a-ne-a2 (line .1) receives V 3, which is three times as much as the normal allotment. The larger amount that the single individual a-ne-a2 (line .1) receives, perhaps as a supervisor, would be parallel to the single individual (our tentative pi-we-ri-ṇị or pi-we-ri-ḍị) in the first position of the second subsection, who is also receiving a higher apportionment, in her case V 6. The occurrence of the name *pi-we-ri in one of the two supervisory slots and with six times the standard quantity of oil marks her out as special.

§13.5. Palaima also remarked that at Pylos, pi-we-re in PY Aa 1182 might well function as a “locatival” ethnic, just as pa-ki-ja-ne does as an alternative to pa-ki-ja-na and pa-ki-ja-ni-ja, to indicate a locality rather than stricto sensu a community of people. Alternatively, it may be a “pure” ethnic (or, as he calls such forms, a “toponymic adjective” Palaima 2011:58, 66–67) to go along with the “ethnics” from Anatolia / Asia Minor attested in the same series of texts: mi-ra-ti-ja (Aa 798 and Aa 1180), ki-ni-di-ja (Aa 792), ki-si-wi-ja (Aa 770), although there are other tablets in the Aa set that have “pure” and otherwise well attested place names: pu-ro (Aa 61), ro-u-so (Aa 717 and Aa 798), me-ta-pa (Aa 752 and Aa 779). All three here are in the Hither Province of Pylos. In this case, the term pi-we-re might designate women who have come down from the North, if it does not designate a specific minor locality in the region of Messenia. In effect, in PY Aa 1182 as on other tablets in the Aa set, women are listed and sometimes designated in clusters by “ethnicity” (= toponymic designation of point of origin) or occupation, and this may fit Morris’s hypothesis.

§14.1. Rachele Pierini remarked that MY Fo 101 is the only tablet we have thus far from the scribal hand 53 (H 53), which unfortunately prevent us from a comparison with characteristic palaeographic features of signs di, si, and ni as drawn by H 53. However, Pierini added that the dotted sign can be fruitfully compared with signs from other scribal hands from the corpus of Linear B tablets from Mycenae. By way of example, she offered a comparison between the dotted sign on MY Fo 101.5 (§14.2) and sign di on MY Oe 103.5 (§14.3), sign si on MY Au 102.1 (§14.4) and, finally, sign ni on MY Oe 111.4 (§14.5).

14.2. Pierini offered a reproduction of the dotted sign on MY Fo 101.5 (Figure 1). The sign shows the following characteristics: (i) a lateral and slightly oblique stroke in the left part; (ii) a vertical stroke in the central, lower part; (iii) and horizontal stroke surmounting, with some distance, the central vertical stroke; (iv) two oblique strokes on top of the horizontal stroke; and (v) in the upper part, a vertical stroke crossing the right oblique stroke.

Figure 1. Dotted sign on MY Fo 101.5 (H 53). Drawing by Pierini after the image of MY Fo 101 on LiBER.

§14.3. As a comparison for the dotted sign on MY Fo 101.5 and di, Pierini chose the sign di appearing in the word pi-we-ri-di on MY Oe 103.5, a tablet written by the scribal hand 52. Hence, she remarked that di on MY Fo 101.5 (Figure 2.1) shows all the palaeographic features usually characterizing the sign, i.e. (i) a central vertical stroke in the lower part, (ii) three vertical strokes in the upper part, and (iii) a horizontal stroke on top of the three vertical strokes.

Figure 2.1. Sign di as appearing in the word pi-we-ri-di on MY Oe 103.5 (H 52). Drawing by Pierini after the image of MY Oe 103 on LiBER.

§14.4. Next, Pierini compared the dotted sign on MY Fo 101.5 with si as drawn by H 52 on MY Au 102.1, and highlighted that on this tablet si shows (Figure 2.2) the following characteristics: (i) two lateral and slightly oblique strokes, (ii) a vertical stroke in the central and lower part, (iii) an horizontal stroke on top of the central stroke, and (iv) a vertical stroke in the central and upper part, on top of the horizontal stroke.

Figure 2.2. Sign si on MY Au 102.1 (H 52). Drawing by Pierini after the image of MY Au 102 in LiBER.

§14.5. Finally, Pierini drew a comparison with ni as appearing on MY Oe 111.4 (H 51), and remarked that the sign ni (Figure 2.3) has here its characteristic crossing strokes since it shows (i) in the left part, an oblique stroke crossed by a smaller oblique stroke, and (ii) in the right part, an oblique stroke crossed by a smaller oblique stroke.

Figure 2.3. Sign ni on MY Oe 111.4 (H 51). Drawing by Pierini after the image of MY Oe 111 on LiBER.

§14.6. As a concluding remark, Pierini cautioned two points. First, that the palaeographic comparison she outlined between the dotted sign on MY Fo 101.5 and the signs si, di, and ni as drawn by H 51 and H 53 does not favor its interpretation as di. Second, that her comparison is based on photographic material and not on an autoptic examination, implying that it cannot be conclusive. Hence, she remarked that further palaeographic analyses may shed light on the issue, especially by considering that Morris’s and Palaima’s remarks fit the contextual information well.

§14.7. Palaima agrees with Pierini. He also points out that no reading (si or ni or di) is without palaeographical problems and missing elements. He adds that all Linear B tablets are written for an “inner circle” of literate administrators. Often the tablet writer who wrote the tablet would be the very person consulting it later. There are other conspicuous cases of tablet writers—very much like modern doctors writing prescriptions—being satisfied with end results that, while frustrating to us to try to read as outsiders to the system, were obviously satisfactory for the purposes of the specific record in Mycenaean times (Palaima 2011:64–72, 121). On balance, he would call pi-we-ri-ṣị a lectio facilior, pi-we-ri-ḍị a lectio maxime difficilior and pi-we-ri-ṇị a lectio probabilis that is arguable on palaeographical grounds, but difficult to justify in the meaning it produces unless we imagine an “ethnic” name Πῑερίς with genitive Πῑερῖνος and dative Πῑερῖνι—which is not entirely unthinkable given the geographically widespread references in historical times to people called Τελχῖνες (from Τελχίς, -ῖνος).

§15.1. Elena Dzukeska addressed the question of why it was important in these records to mention the place of origin of groups of women, e.g. in Pylos, in the Aa–Ad sets, having in mind the detailed occupational designations. She agrees with the hypothesis that it was due to a common association between a particular geographical area and a particular profession. In this light, the adjectives denoting these women’s origin became a sort of trade mark since groups of women coming from certain places were known for their particular type of work.

§15.2. Palaima cautioned that there are other reasons for designating women in, for example, the Pylos Aa, Ab, and Ad tablets by adjectives pertaining to their places of origin. One such reason is that they are relatively new arrivals and have not yet had their specialties identified, but they are still being maintained in their arrival groups.

§15.3. Dzukeska also offered some thoughts about the occurrence of pi-we-ri-di/-si on Linear B tablets. By considering that the adjectives in -ιδ- fit well for female ethnics but are also used as patronymics, she wonders whether pi-we-ri-d- can be a feminine counterpart of a patronymic stemming from a personal name (pi-we-re?), as shown by examples like Χρυσηίς from Χρύσης.

§15.4. In Greek mythology, Dzukeska continued, the Pierides were the daughters of Pierus, Πίερος, the eponym of Pieria and Mount Pierus; and the Mycenaean tablets may testify to a similar relationship. On the other hand, the comparison with the feminine forms of adjectives in -e-jo stemming from masculine names and used to describe groups of women on Linear B tablets indicates that the relationship between the feminine and the personal name may also be a relationship denoting ownership or administrative responsibility or something similar. By way of example, see: ma-ri-ne-we-ja-i (TH Of 25.1; 35.2), dat. pl. fem. and PN ma-ri-ne-u (ma-ri-ne-wo wo-i-ko-de, KN As(2) 1519.11); ko-ma-we-te-ja (TH Of 35.1), dat. fem. and PN ko-ma-we (ko-ma-we, PY An 519.10; Jn 750.9, ko-ma-we-to MUL 2, KN Ap 618.2); pu2-ke-qi-ri-ne-ja (TH Of 27.3), dat. fem. and PN pu2-ke-qi-ri (PY Ta 711.1); we-we-si-je-ja (PY Aa 762; Ab 217.B), nom. pl. fem, we-we-si-je-ja-o (PY Ad 318), gen. pl. fem. and PN we-we-si-jo (we-we-si-jo, KN Ak 9173.1; PY Jn 431.18; we-we-si-jo-jo, [/ ko-wa , me-zo-e [, KN Ak 622.1.2).

§15.5. As a note of caution, Palaima mentioned that, among the 38 terms designating women’s groups in the Pylos Aa, Ab, and Ad tablets, the number of terms with the -ιδ- suffixation is zero (Chadwick 1988:78–84).

§16.1. Kim Shelton remarked that the Linear B tablets shown by Morris are to be dated to the Mid-IIIB, but the destruction of the Mycenae citadel is End-IIIB. Hence, she assumes that there are predecessors to the Ivory Houses.

§16.2. With regard to the sudden increase in pictorial representations of soldiers and ships in the post-palatial period noted by Palaima, Trevor Van Damme remarked that we should take into consideration that many of these iconographic representations do appear in other media during the palatial period (especially glyptic and wall paintings). In his view, there is not so much an explosion of new motifs but rather a great deal of adoption and adaptation of motifs from other media by vase painters.

§16.3. Shelton remarked that pictorial pottery was the outlet of many other types of iconographic genres deriving from metal and stone vessels as well as ivories.

§17. Morris Silver added that the post-palatial period was more alive from an economic perspective. In his view, the palatial economies were vertically integrated in terms of economic theory, and then replaced by vertically disintegrated small firms in the post-palatial period. He also highlighted that one might then scale down the impact of the catastrophe we reconstruct at this point in history, and see this passage even rather as a change for the better in the economic system.

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Topic 2: The to-no Festival and Textile Trade in the Bronze Age Aegean

Presenter: Morris Silver

§19. The Pylos Fr tablets mention a festival that appears that to have had two phases or perhaps variants: (1) the re-ke-e-to-ro-te-ri-jo (Fr 343 and Fr 1217), rendered as lechestrōtērion which finds a Latin parallel in the lectisternium: “the making/spreading of the bed/couch”; and (2) the to-no-e-ke-te-ri-jo (mentioned only in Fr 1222) in which the word to-no is taken to be a metathesized form meaning either thorno– < throno– “throne” or *thornon < *thronon, meaning “flower patterned woven garment” (Iliad 22.441). This contribution is largely based on Chapter 11.5 of my forthcoming monograph (see Silver forthcoming).

§20. As documented in Silver (forthcoming), the mutual interpenetration of “flower” with “perfumed and dyed textile” is evident in later Greek literature including Pindar. This second festival variant, I will argue, finds a Latin parallel in the Latin sellisternium: “the opening/spreading of a chair/stool.”[1] The to-no festival,[2] I submit, involved the “carrying of thrones” in the sense of stools plus the luxury textile cushions that would be placed over their seats. These “thrones” (seats of honor) were for strangers who were to be treated as if they were gods. In the normal ancient course of events, as was surely well understood, the visiting strangers would be mostly traders.

§20.1. The dates of the festivals are not mentioned in the Linear B texts but there are indications that they were held during the navigation season. There is some uncertainty in the meaning of the month name po-ro-wi-to-jo (Plowistos or Phlowistos or Prowistos) because, as Palaima (2004:240n120) explains: “Given other occurrences of this word in the ‘recipient’ slot of oil offering texts [the Pylos Fr series], it is most reasonable to interpret it as the name of a deity, linked alternatively with ‘sailing’ or ‘flowering’ “or ‘knowing’” (emphasis added). I cannot comment on the linguistic aspects, but deification and the observed diversity in possible linkages is suggestive of the fundamental place occupied by this time of year in Minoan/Mycenaean life. More narrowly, month of “flowering” and/or month of “navigation” and/or month of “knowing (strangers?)” all can reasonably be argued as referring to the spring.[3]

§21. There are many Minoan/Mycenaean depictions of flowers being carried to or presented to or smelled by the figure identified textually and iconographically as the Potnia of the Labyrinth as in Figures 3 and 4. Note the presence in Figure 3 of prominent symbols of Potnia including double-headed axe, figure-of-eight shield, and rosette. These scenes, I suggest, do not merely celebrate the annual blossoming of plants but rather refer to the use of flowers as inputs in the textile industry.[4] The flowers are transformed into perfumes that are applied to textiles to enhance their aroma/commercial quality.[5] (No small matter considering the use of murex-dyed cloth.) In addition, the image of the flowers may be woven into the textiles. A flower becomes a finished cloth and the finished cloth becomes/remains a flower. This is the “flowering” that takes place / is accomplished in the navigation season.

Figure 3. Presentation of Flowers to Potnia. Seal from Mycenae Acropolis (CMS I 17). Courtesy of the Heidelberg Corpus of Minoan and Mycenaean Seals.
Figure 4: Smelling the Flowers Seal from Routsi (CMS I 279). Courtesy of the Heidelberg Corpus of Minoan and Mycenaean Seals.

§22. There is more, however. The final step in the process of “flowering” is the “sailing” of the textiles to overseas markets. This all-important final step is, I think, hinted at in the apparent presence of the so-called “horns of consecration” in Figure 4. There is no settled meaning of the “horns” among scholars; and I was led to a ship-inspired interpretation of “horns” by an informed back-and-forth discussion of the status of an “object of red clay” from a pre-palatial cemetery in Mochlos: Is it a boat or is it horns? (see Soles 2012:193–195). That this discussion could take place convinced me that, despite doubts in the literature (Banou 2008:32), the “horns” represent a stylized version of the raised bow and stern of a (type) of ancient ship especially utilized by what I call the Labyrinth (the central authority ruling from the Palace of Minos at Knossos) to transport its textiles and personnel.

§23. Now let us take a closer look at the meaning of the festivals. The Roman lectisternium is sometimes described as a festival wherein visiting gods are given special treatment by worshippers. I think this misses the point. In the ancient world, humans and gods were intimate because they had to be useful to each other. In the to-no festival variant, I would understand that visiting strangers—traders—were treated as if they were gods by their trader hosts in Pylos or Knossos.[6] That is, the visiting traders were seated on stools made into “thrones”—seats of high honor—by making them up with luxury textile cushions.

§24. There is an element of uncertainty concerning this point, but it seems that some goddesses and their main priestesses did not sit on (only?) conventional thrones but rather on textile cushions. This is the case with the goddess in the “Crocus Gatherers Fresco” at Akrotiri and with the priestess of Athena in historical times (Herodotus 5.72.3). In Roman sources, Juno and Diana had such seats (Taylor 1935:123–124).

§25. The identification of the foreign trader with a deity explains why the campstool, a seat with no back and with an X-shaped cross-piece for legs, is sometimes identified in iconography with the incurved altar (as in Pylos). In frescoes from Pylos and Knossos the modern observer is able to glimpse feted individuals who wear long banded “Syrian” robes while seated on campstools (or incurved altar-bases). Is it reasonable to identify these individuals as honored foreign traders?

Figure 5. Figure on Throne in Syrian Banded Robe. Seal from Mochlos (CMS VS.1B 332). Courtesy of the Heidelberg Corpus of Minoan and Mycenaean Seals.

§26. The initial question is whether the banded robes depicted in the frescoes are really Syrian. In Figure 5 the worshipped figure seated on the throne/cushioned stool wears the characteristic ankle-long, [only seemingly] flounced robe usually described as a kaunakēs [gaunakēs, Assyrian gunakku], a thick woolen cloak that passes under the right arm-pit leaving the arm with the shoulder bare. All the individuals depicted have pronounced Syrian noses. Further, the “sun-disk in moon-crescent” is reportedly a familiar symbol in Syrian glyptic. Thus, there is a linkage among Syrians, banded robes, and cushioned stools: a Syrian who wears a characteristic Syrian banded robe is worshipped by other Syrians while seated on a cushioned stool/throne.

§27. Mochlos, the findspot of the seal, as noted below, is subject to “Canaanite” involvement (Brogan et al. 2002). Taking the running spiral symbol, notable in iconography and in palaces at Zakros and Knossos, as representing a combination of twisted thread and waves of the sea, the worshipped individual / the worshipper arguably represents / is associated with a Syrian “House of the Sea” (Labyrinth)[7] who went to Mochlos to do business there. The presence of Syrians traders on Minoan/Mycenaean soil finds additional support in the finding of the “sun-disk in moon crescent” symbol on ceramics from in the “Zakros Pit Deposit.”

§28. The banded robe worn by the Syrian individual with the prominent nose in Figure 6 is again the Syrian garment.[8] Further, I cannot think of a more likely seal-owner than a Syrian. If so, what is the carried ceremonial object and why would a Syrian present in Laconia (the seal’s findspot) carry it? It is clear that the carried symbol is not the “sun-disk in crescent” displayed in the Syrian “House of the Sea” (Figure 5). Some scholars associate the object with a Syrian or Egyptian “fenestrated axe” and/or say it resembles a unique object from the Vapheio tholos (the “Vapheio Axe”).[9] In my opinion, the evidence does not convincingly support these resemblances. For me, the more basic question is why would a Syrian active in Laconia wish to be depicted carrying an object of this kind with no known Minoan/Mycenaean connection? Of course, this is possible in the case of a ceremonial object. However, there are alternative identifications of the carried object such as with the papyrus flower (or perhaps “sacral knot”) in Figure 7.

Figure 6. Man in Syrian Banded Robe Holds Ceremonial Object. Seal from Vatheia in Laconia (CMS I 225). Courtesy of the Heidelberg Corpus of Minoan and Mycenaean Seals.
Figure 7. Papyrus Flower on Prism Seal from Mochlos (CMS II.2 250a). Courtesy of the Heidelberg Corpus of Minoan and Mycenaean Seals.

§29. The papyrus symbol has known local connections as is attested in the presence of a papyrus fresco in Knossos’s throne room and in the depiction of the plant at Pylos in the “Megaron Hall” (36 C 17; Lang 1969, plate 136). These connections, together with other indications (in Silver forthcoming, Chapter 10.8), suggests that the papyrus plant has a special meaning to Potnia and might even be identified with her. Thus, a Syrian carrying a stick with a papyrus flower symbol in Laconia might well be recognized as being under the protection of Potnia or even as an agent of Potnia.[10] This “safe conduct” would be especially important for traders moving from one political jurisdiction to another or while traversing a wilderness.

§30. Mochlos, a harbor on Crete’s north coast, is well situated for Syrian trade and its “House A,” a relatively well-built house of eight rooms served by a cobbled road had “Canaanite” amphora fragments of LM III date. Somewhat later finds include engraved and miniature double headed axes. The excavated site may have hosted a branch of the Labyrinth.

§31. Several seals depict an individual in the Syrian banded robe holding a griffin by a leash. Based on this connection with a fantastic creature with strong palatial connections, it has been suggested that the individuals are Minoan/Mycenaean priests or officials. This is possible. However, it is not explained why Minoan/Mycenaean priests or officials wear a Syrian garment.[11] In addition, a foreign commercial origin for the wearers of the banded robes is not excluded by an association with/control of griffins. The griffin symbolizes not only palatial power but also the overseas projection of palatial power. The griffin serves the palace not only by guarding Potnia and the wanax but also by guarding the lives and property of foreign traders. Griffins are conceived as a mobile security force but not to be confused with lions. Thus, a way to understand a leashed griffin is that it is one who has been assigned to protect/serve the Syrian holder of the leash as in Figure 8.

Figure 8. Griffin Opens Campstool for Syrian in Banded Robe Seal (CMS X 268). Courtesy of the Heidelberg Corpus of Minoan and Mycenaean Seals.

§32. This cylinder or roll-seal, purchased in Beirut, links Syrians in banded robes, griffins representing Palace/Labyrinth, and campstools. Importantly, a dotted rosette and a leash are in / close to the hand of the Syrian while at the same time a griffin places its front legs on a campstool. The rosette and griffin and papyrus place the scene in the palace/labyrinth (Silver forthcoming, Chaps. 4.1, 4.2, 7.3, 7.5). My reading developed in the book is that the griffin, acting on behalf of the palace, has secured the safe arrival of the Syrian trader and now is opening the campstool for him to sit on. In this interpretation, the dotted rosette the Syrian “holds” indicates that he is being honored. The rosette may be understood as a garland/chaplet (stephanos) (Warren 1985). Simultaneously, as a decorative fixture on garments from Minoan to Mycenaean times (Shaw 1998:70), the rosette recalls the underlying flower (= fine textile) motive of the to-no festival. I understand the rosette to refer to the textile cushion that will be placed on the campstool seat to transform it into a throne—that is, a seat of worship.

§33. The central, tall papyrus plant almost seems to emerge from the campstool. It recalls the papyrus symbol of safe conduct possibly carried by the Syrian in Figure 7. More certainly, it announces the arrival/presence of Potnia herself (Silver forthcoming, Chap. 7.5) at the ceremony, as does the date-palm in Figure 9. The latter figure shows two griffins with their front legs on a campstool. The adoring griffins are surmounted by a symbol of the labyrinth in the form of either a stylized double headed axe or a stylized palm tree. Above this symbol floats the goddess herself with so-called “snake frames” (verified by the sealing CMS I 379). Marinatos (1984:119–120) deserves credit for identifying the protruding objects at either end of “snake frame” as dates. Thus, the “snake frames” are best understood as stylized palm branches. I submit the hypothesis that the papyrus flowers and the palm branches above the campstools correspond to the Latin “heads of gods” (struppi), actually bundles made from grasses, which are placed on the couches in the Latin festival.

Figure 9. Griffins, Campstool, Entrance of Potnia. Seal (CMS XIII 39). Courtesy of the Heidelberg Corpus of Minoan and Mycenaean Seals.

§34. We turn now from glyptic to fresco evidence. At Pylos, in the fragmentary “Procession in the Vestibule,” men carry indeterminate objects, one of which is described by Lang (1969:64) as “the upright of a rectangular frame which rests on his shoulder cushioned by a large white pillow.” “It is perhaps a stool,” comments Wright (2004:161–162). On the wall of the megaron itself is the “Bard at the Banquet” scene that shows a lyre-player (actually lyre-holder) seated on rocks (?) who wears a robe with alternating bands of brown and white together with a flying bird, a bull, and two individuals wearing white robes with tan (brown) diagonal bands, who are seated on “campstools” (actually incurved altar-bases) on either side of a three-legged table. The upper bodies of the figures, my Syrian traders, seated across the table from each other are missing with the result that their genders are indeterminate (Lang 1969: II 64, 80–81, 194–195, nos. 43–44 H6, pls. 27–28, 125–126, col. pl. A; Wright 2004:161–162). Returning to Lang’s reconstruction, it seems credible that some of the figures in the Pylos Room 5 Procession carry cushions (see Wright 2004:162, fig. 12). However, cushions cannot be seen on the campstool-like seats depicted in the “Bard at the Banquet” fresco, including for the seated figures who wear “Syrian” robes (see Wright 2004:163, fig. 13).

§35. The Knossos “Campstool Fresco” was found in fragments outside the walls of the palace but is believed to have come from an upper hall on the west side. As reconstructed, it includes figures holding goblets who are sitting on campstools across from one another. The best known figure of the whole composition is the so-called “La Parisienne” who wears the “sacral knot.” A second partially preserved woman “wears a yellow skirt with a multi-colored flounced overskirt” (Lenuzza 2012:257). There is uncertainty about her presence, however. Thus, at least one important local figure is interacting with the seated celebrants.

§36. By contrast to the campstool-like altar-base seats in the Pylos “Bard at the Banquet” fresco, at Knossos a real campstool and one campstool cushion are clearly visible in the original (not reconstructed) fresco. In addition, two hand-held goblets, one in blue and the other in yellow, are visible in the original (Hood 2005:55). The gender of the figure on the cushion cannot be determined from the original fresco remains but this figure wears a striped or banded garment. However, in the original version, another seated figure, whose garment is not visible, clearly has red skin, which indicates male gender (see Silver forthcoming, Chaps. 6.3, 11.4). The one visible seat cushion is white. However, in this connection, it is well to note Lang’s (1969) references to a number of Pylos processions (e.g. 53 H nws) in which female participants carry bouquets of red and white flowers.

§37. The fragmentary seated figures from Knossos and Pylos are my feted Syrian traders come to avail themselves of the luxury textiles made available in the palaces. I trust that the picture developed of the to-no festival is much more informative than one generated from the Linear B texts alone.

Discussion following Silver’s presentation

§38.1. Michele Mitrovich highlighted that there are elements speaking against the interpretation of the so-called horns of consecration as a ship, i.e. (1) a typical convex curvature of the inner lines of horns of consecration, as in the example from Knossos, as well as (2) an angle between a base and a “horn” and a ratio of length to width. Also (3) the ships, such as the ones seen on the frescoes from Akrotiri, display concave inner curvature of the aft and the bow which curve out from the ship’s hull at an obtuse angle (4) instead of the ninety-degree angle seen on most horns of consecration.

§38.2. She also pointed out that the goddess seated on the rocks, depicted on the seal from Mycenae, CMS I 17, holds three floral stems that have been identified as poppies rather than lotus flowers. This connection of poppies and goddesses on Crete can be seen in the so-called Poppy Goddess, a LM III terracotta figurine from Gazi, Crete.

§38.3. The final point that Mitrovich highlighted was related to the pattern on the Syrian seal from Mochlos, which represents the traditional Guilloché or guilloche pattern characteristic of the Near Eastern iconographic vocabulary, rather than the Aegean spiral motif proposed by Morris Silver. The running spiral motif is formed by interconnected concentric circular elements, while the guilloche pattern is constructed by two undulating lines crossing each other in an alternating fashion.

§39. Tom Palaima remarked on horns as mountain peaks by drawing attention to two recent works: Banou 2008 and Vlachopoulos 2021 forthcoming. Banou 2008:38, building on an all but neglected article by B. B. Powell (1970), points out that a disc rising between the horns of consecration resembles the Egyptian symbol for the “horizon,” that is similar to representations of the Egyptian goddess Hathor as a cow “bearing the sun disc between its horns.” Hathor was a solar deity and the motif of a disc or rosette between the horns has been diffused all over the Eastern Mediterranean. Palaima also cautioned that in Iliad 22.441 the word thronon does not mean “flower patterned woven garment” as Silver proposes above in §19. In fact, it is always used in the neuter plural (i.e. throna) in Greek. It literally means ‘flowers’ modified as being ‘of variegated colors’ that Andromache while weaving metaphorically ‘sprinkled’ upon the ‘purple bifold garment’: δίπλακα πορφυρέην, ἐν δὲ θρόνα ποικίλ᾽ ἔπασσε. The garment is ἡ δίπλαξ. The θρόνα are the decorative motif. That this is so is proved by a parallel passage in Iliad Book 3 (126–127), where Helen is also weaving a δίπλακα πορφυρέην, but is sprinkling ‘many contests of the horse-taming Trojans and the bronze-khitoned Achaeans’, i.e. a different kind of figural elements, upon it. Thirdly, with regard to thrones consisting of stools surmounted by cushions and offered as seating for distinguished figures (§§23–24 above) in the crocus gathering fresco from Akrotiri and supposedly for the priestess of Athena as attested in Herodotus 5.72.3, the Herodotus passage offers no such support. All Herodotus says on this matter is quite flatly: ἡ δὲ ἱρείη ἐξαναστᾶσα ἐκ τοῦ θρόνου, literally ‘the priestess having stood up from the thronos’. There is no reference to a stool and cushion.

§40. Sarah Morris highlighted a recent paper on the naval fresco from Pylos, namely Brecoulaki, Stocker, Davis, and Egan 2015.

§41. On the fenestrated axe, Nagy drew attention to the observations he provided in his recent paper A plane tree in Naflio. See in particular §14A:

In a vast hall straight ahead as you enter, which houses Mycenaean antiquities, we find at the farther end of this hall a slanted-horizontal display case containing seals and sealings. One seal, found in a Mycenaean tholos tomb at Vapheio near Sparta, shows the image of a man in a long robe who is carrying a fenestrated axe (CMS I 225). This axe is shaped like a capital P with a vertical bar bisecting the semicircle attached to the straight line of the P. In a vertical display case nearby—it is to our right as we face the two posts from the “Treasury of Atreus”—we actually see the fenestrated axe (National Archaeological Museum inventory no. 1870): this object had been buried together with the seal that shows the picture of the man carrying the axe. And the man who is pictured on the seal is the same man who had been buried in the tomb containing both the axe and the seal that shows the man carrying the axe; in fact, the seal was attached to the man’s wrist (Yasur-Landau 2015:141). It has been observed about this axe that, by the time it was buried with its owner in the Mycenaean tomb at Vapheio, it was already “a centuries-old ceremonial weapon,” dating as far back as sometime between the 20th and 18th centuries BCE (Yasur-Landau 2015:139, 146); both the axe and the seal had been acquired from Minoan Crete (Yasur-Landau 2015:141).

§42.1. About the fenestrated axe, Palaima re-emphasized the importance of the paper by Yasur-Landau (2015).

§42.2. In addition, Palaima remarked that seated females figures are rare, and even then extremely few are literally ‘enthroned’, i.e. seated on a throne per se. He stressed that Morris Silver’s examples are well-chosen: CMS I 17 shows a figure who is seated on what looks like rocks and leaning against a ‘tree’ or big plant of some sort that is bearing ‘fruit’. Palaima also underscored that of the 10,972 images in the IconAegean data base on sphragistic surfaces of all kinds, the motif of the sitting female figure as the focal point for humans, animals, plants, landscapes and architectural structures appears a mere 11 times. Very few have the female figure sitting on a formal ‘chair’ or ‘stool’. Jared Petrol is now working on this topic.

§42.3. Moreover, on Powell and sun disks and ‘horns of consecration’ as mountain peaks, Palaima highlighted the recent contribution by Stocker and Davis 2020.

§43. Vassilis Petrakis added that Maran 2015 provides abundant detailed information on the fenestrated axe from Vapheio in connection with western Asiatic and Egyptian axe-manufacturing techniques and traditions and the particular identification of the Vapheio axe-head as from a “rare group of Levantine semicircular axes.”

§44. Morris Silver and Tom Palaima engaged in a discussion that we summarize here below.

§45.1. MS: I was familiar with Yasur-Landau (and Maran) and remain unconvinced about the “fenestrated axe.” Perhaps he is correct. It will be interesting to see how he and others react to the papyrus seal from Mochlos.

§45.2. TP: So the figure on the seal is carrying a papyrus token on a vertical shaft as an identifier? Is that what you are saying? You do know that Maran 2015:266, figures 2 and 3, gives a convincing reconstruction and a closeup image of the impression of seal CMS I 225. And Yasur-Landau 2015:140, figure 2, shows a photo and an accurate drawing of the actual axe-head found in the same tomb. This leaves little doubt that the physical object is a Levantine-style fenestrated axe-head and that the seal shows a male figure carrying one as on other seals shown together by Yasur-Landau 2015:140, figure 1. None of these images is of a papyrus.

Furthermore, the identification of the plants on the fresco from the throne room at Knossos and the fresco fragment from the Pylos throne room (actually found in Room 17) as papyrus is highly problematical. But we hope to take this up at a future MASt@CHS meeting. Furthermore, I agree that in your figure 6, the seal with griffin and campstool that the central motif rising up from below the campstool resembles a papyrus plant. But this plant is very different from the so-called papyrus plant from the “Megaron Hall” at Pylos (36 C 17; Lang 1969, pl. 136) (§29 above). There is also little resemblance between the Mochlos so-called “papyrus flower” and the clear papyrus flower in the scene on your cylinder seal in your figure 8.

§45.3. MS: With respect to “emblems of safe conduct” one model is the Champagne fairs first sponsored by towns, then by the Count, and then by the King. As Syrian traders traveled from one palatial jurisdiction to another they would have become vulnerable. Grave danger would have threatened as they traveled through each “no man’s land,” if not for the universal (material and ideological) threat of retribution at the hands of gods such as Poseidon and Potnia. I wonder if those traveling to later Greek fairs carried such “passports” from the gods.

§45.4. TP: Forgive me, Morris, but I do not understand exactly what your point is here. Is it that the object and the images on at least four seals that other scholars from long close-up firsthand study identify as a fenestrated axe is somehow to be taken as another kind of emblem, whose significance is known within the Aegean sphere and would provide a visible symbol broadcasting the protection of the bearer by the potnia within that sphere?

§45.5. MS: Yes, I am of the view that the symbols were functional and that the functions need to be explained. My hypothesis is that the symbols carried by the Syrian trader (in the banded robe) were intended to protect the trader in Aegean territory. Perhaps, if better understood, the “fenestrated axe” was a universal symbol that played a protective role in Egypt, Syria, and the Aegean.

§45.6. MS: With respect to Davis Stocker and “horns” as mountains there is the question of why two mountains are needed. Why not two genii with only one horn = mountain on which grows the tree = Potnia? I think the plant/tree between the two horns is Potnia, a circuiting goddess. That is, she is in a ship.

§45.7. TP: So what do you do then with two plants on the Routsi seal? Two potnias? And the examples with double axes set inside the ‘horns’? Let me say this is all very intriguing and the example of Powell’s now rehabilitated interpretation of the horns of consecration, even if not believed by you, indicates that new proposed interpretations have the great benefit of getting us to rethink old assumptions. So thank you for bringing all these important questions about our established scholarly beliefs or rather assumptions to the fore for further examination.

§46. Trevor Van Damme added to the discussion a recent find from Agios Vassileos. In particular, in the 2016 Praktika, Adamantia Vasilogamvrou reported on a spectacular altar with horns of consecration found with in situ wheel-made bull figures and figurines (particularly relevant are pp. 146–149 and figs. 6–9). This seems like a very exciting new piece of evidence for understanding how horn of consecration were employed on the mainland beyond architectural and iconographic settings. It also, at least in my opinion, strengthens the likelihood that they do in fact represent bull horns.

§47. Silver Bibliography

Ando, C. 2011. “Praesentia numinis. Part 2: Objects in Roman cult.” ASDIWAL 6:57–69.

Banou, E. 2008. “Minoan ‘Horns of Consecration’ Revisited: A Symbol of Sun Worship in Palatial and Post-Palatial Crete?” Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 8:27–47.

Brecoulaki, Ch., S. Stocker, J. Davis, and E. Egan. 2015. “An Unprecedented Naval Scene from Pylos: First Considerations.” In Mycenaean Wall Painting in Context: New Discoveries, Old Finds Reconsidered, ed. H. Brecoulaki, J. L. Davis, and S. R. Stocker, 257–287. Athens.

Brogan, T. M., R. A. K. Smith, and J. S. Soles. 2002. “Mycenaeans at Mochlos? Exploring Culture and Identity in the Late Minoan IB to IIIA1 Transition.” Aegean Archaeology 6:89–118.

Hood, S. 2005. “Dating the Knossos Frescoes.” In Aegean Wall Painting: A Tribute to Mark Cameron, ed. L. Morgan, 45–81. London.

Kramer, S. N., and J. R. Maier. 1985. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. Oxford.

Lang, M. 1969. The Palace of Nestor in Western Messenia. Vol. 2, The Frescoes. Princeton, NJ.

Lenuzza, V. 2012. “Dressing Priestly Shoulders: Suggestions from the Campstool Fresci.” In Kosmos: Jewellry, Adornment and Textiles in the Aegean Bronze Age: Proceedings of the 13th International Aegean Conference/13e Rencontre égéenne internationale, University of Copenhagen, Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research, 21–26 April 2010, ed. M.-L. Nosch and R. Laffineur, 255–264. Leuven.

Maran, J. 2015. “Near Eastern Semicircular Axes in the Late Bronze Age Aegean as Entangled Objects.” In Ein Minoer im Exil: Festschrift für Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier, ed. D. Panagiotopoulos, I. Kaiser, and O. Kouka, 243–270. Bonn.

Marinatos, N. 1984. “The Date-Palm in Minoan Iconography and Religion.” Opuscula Atheniensia 15:115–122.

Palaima, T. G. 2004. “Sacrificial Feasting in the Linear B Documents.” Hesperia 73:217–246.

Petrakis, V. 2002-2003. “To-no-e-ke-te-ri-jo Reconsidered.” Minos 37–38:293–316.

Powell, B. 1977. “The Significance of the So-Called ‘Horns of Consecration’.” Kadmos 16:70–82.

Shaw, M. C. 1998. “The Painted Plaster Reliefs from Pseira.” In Pseira II: Building AC (the “Shrine”) and other Buildings in Area A, ed. P. Betancourt and C. Davaras, 55–76. Philadelphia.

Silver, M. Forthcoming. The Purpled World: Marketing Haute Couture in the Aegean Bronze Age.

Soles, J. S. 2012. “Mochlos Boats.” In PHILISTOR: Studies in Honor of Costis Davaras, ed. E. Mantzourani and P. Betancourt, 187–199. Philadelphia.

Stocker, S., and J. Davis. 2020. “An Early Mycenaean Wanax at Pylos? On Genii and Sun-Disks from the Grave of the Griffin Warrior. Current Approaches and New Perspectives.” In Aegean Iconography, ed. F. Blakolmer, 293–299. Louvain-la-Neuve.

Taylor, L. R. 1935. “The Sellisternium and the Theatrical Pompa.” Classical Philology 30:122–130.

Walters, H. B. 1892–1893. “Poseidon’s Trident.” Journal of Hellenic Studies 13:13–20.

Warren, P. 1985. “The Fresco of the Garlands from Knossos.” Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique Supplement 11:187–208.

Vlachopoulos, A. G. Forthcoming. “Divine Acolytes: The Animals and their Symbolism in the Xeste 3 Wall-Paintings.” In Zoia: Animal-Human Interactions in the Aegean Middle and Late Bronze Age, ed. R. Laffineur and T. G. Palaima, 249–280.

Wright, J. C. 2004. “A Survey of Evidence for Feasting in Mycenaean Society.” Hesperia 73:133–178.

Yasur-Landau, A. 2015. “From Byblos to Vapheio: Fenestrated Axes between the Aegean and the Levant.” Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research 373:139–150.

[1] The sella is defined as a chair but may (typically) be of a type lacking a back and arms. On Roman coins, it seems to be depicted in this way and it is shown draped with fringed textiles (called Babylonica) over the seat upon which sits a portable cultic emblem.

[2] My main source is Petrakis (2002–2003). Previous scholarship on the meaning of the festival is more fully acknowledged in my forthcoming monograph.

[3] The month name occurs several times in the Pylos Fr series of tablets.

[4] The stick/nightstick/baton held by the individual wearing the figure-of-eight shield offers the hint that the delivery is mandated by contract or law.

[5] Note in the famous Akrotiri frescoes the sympathetic attention given to the (actually tedious) collection of the many, many small and fragile crocus stamens used for the production of precious saffron dye (see Chap. 2 of my book: Silver forthcoming).

[6] The welcome given to the strangers loosely fits Livy’s (5.13.5–8) description of Rome’s first lectisternium in which private individuals also prepared lavish couches and entertained on them even complete strangers.

[7] In the third millennium BCE, the god Enki possessed a “house of the sea” whose “interior is a twisted thread” (Kramer and Maier 1985:49).

[8] Several different views of the banded robe are available. The version shown above provides the best view of the ceremonial object but does not clearly show the bare right shoulder. The best view of the bare right shoulder is in CMS II.3 198. See also CMS IS 113).

[9] References are provided in Silver forthcoming.

[10] An alternative safe conduct symbolism is that the ceremonial object carried by the Syrian is Poseidon’s triaina “trident.” Homer uses the word three times, twice for hitting something (Iliad 12.27, Odyssey 4.506) and in Odyssey 5.291 for stirring up the waves when Odysseus departs from Calypso. “Hence, we see that as far as Homer is concerned, we have no literary evidence about the attribute of Poseidon, except as to the purposes for which it was employed. There is nothing to indicate its shape, except that that it must be more or less of tripartite shape; that such a shape does not necessarily imply the three-pronged object familiar to us, I will endeavor to show later” (Walters 1992–1893:14; emphasis added). As Walters (1892–1893, esp. 17) shows, the trident has taken many forms in Greek art including a number that have a floral character.

[11] Making a Syrian into a priest of the god would be a way of making the Syrian sacred to the god and thereby placing him under the god’s protection. Recall that in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo the god Apollo seeks out and captures a ship loaded with Cretan merchants in order to make them his priests. Even more promising as a symbol of safe conduct and wealth generation is Hermes’s “staff with three branches” (Homeric Hymn to Mercury 528–532). The tripetēlos seems comparable to the object carried by the Syrian and to an ornament on the prow of ships depicted on the Mochlos “Ship Cup” which has been compared to a fleur-de-lys (references in Silver forthcoming).