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Recherches sur Hérodas/Hérondas

Fragile Characters in a Fragmented World: Hamartia in Herondas

Des personnages fragiles dans un monde fragmenté : hamartia chez Hérondas
Personaggi fragili in un mondo frammentato: amartia nella poesia di Eroda
Andreas Fountoulakis

Résumés

La notion d’hamartia dans la Poétique d’Aristote et ses écrits moraux fait référence à des actes nuisibles et pourtant involontaires commis dans l’ignorance. Dans la Poétique, cette notion est considérée comme une caractéristique importante du meilleur type d’intrigue tragique et de l’action de nombreux personnages tragiques, tandis que des exemples pertinents se trouvent à la fois dans la tragédie et la comédie. L’objectif de cet article est d’examiner l’hamartia dans les Mimiambes d’Hérondas, un genre littéraire qui s’inspire de la tradition de genres tels que le mime, la poésie iambique et le théâtre. On y avance que les Mimiambes 1 et 5 manifestent une conscience des usages d’hamartia chez Aristote et dans la poésie dramatique. Pourtant, chez Hérondas, ces usages ne sont pas très développés. Ils contribuent plutôt à l’élucidation d’aspects spécifiques des personnages qui apparaissent dans les mimiambes. Cela démontre l’intérêt d’Hérondas pour les normes éthiques dans l’expérience quotidienne et son utilisation aux multiples facettes du discours philosophique et des genres littéraires antérieurs.

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Introduction

  • 1 Internal evidence coming from mimiambs 1, 2 and 4 suggest that the mimiambs may be dated to the era (...)

1When Aristotle discusses in his Poetics the topic of the best type of tragic plot with reference to the qualities of the tragic characters, he employs at 1453a 7–17 the term hamartia in order to refer to the error that leads to misery a character who is not particularly good or bad. In the first half of the third century B.C., some decades that is after the composition of the Poetics, the same term occurs in Herondas’ mimiambs1 with respect to the actual, the hypothetical and the potential action of some of the characters found in those poems. This suggests a particular interest in the investigation and depiction of human character and ethical norms together with an Aristotelian perception of character and action.

  • 2 See A. Fountoulakis, “Herondas 8.66–79: Generic Self-Consciousness and Artistic Claims in Herondas’ (...)
  • 3 Cf. U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Hellenistische Dichtung in der Zeit des Kallimachos, I, Berlin, (...)
  • 4 Athenaeus 14.621c.
  • 5 Cf. I. C. Cunningham (ed.), op. cit., p. 15–16; G. Mastromarco, The Public of Herondas, Amsterdam, (...)
  • 6 Cf. O. Hense, “Zum zweiten Mimiamb des Herodas,” RhM 55, 1900, p. 222–31; T. B. L. Webster, Helleni (...)
  • 7 See W. G. Arnott, “Herodas and the Kitchen Sink,” G&R 18, 1971, p. 121–32, esp. p. 125.
  • 8 See A. Fountoulakis, “Herondas 8.66–79: Generic Self-Consciousness and Artistic Claims in Herondas’ (...)
  • 9 Mimiambs 1 and 5 are the principal extant texts of Herondas in which hamartia plays an important ro (...)

2This paper aspires to examine character drawing in Herondas in the light of the concept of hamartia occurring in his surviving work. Such an examination is inevitably linked with the generic identity of the mimiambs and their probable associations with a moral discourse current in Herondas’ times. Although the mimiambs are works composed in choliambic metre in a quasi-dramatic dialogical form drawing upon the world of everyday experience as well as upon the traditions of iambic poetry and the non-literary mime,2 generic strands such as those of epic, Sophron’s mimes, lyric poetry, tragedy and comedy find their way into those poems often mixed in a distinctively Hellenistic fashion.3 After all, mimic subgenres such as the hilarôidia and the magôidia were thought by Athenaeus citing Aristoxenus to derive from drama. The hilarôidia was thought to derive from tragedy and the magôidia from comedy (τὴν μὲν ἱλαρῳδίαν, σεμνὴν οὖσαν, παρὰ τὴν τραγῳδίαν εἶναι, τὴν δὲ μαγῳδίαν παρὰ τὴν κωμῳδίαν).4 Considering the mimetic character of Herondas’ poems, which would make possible a performative rendering of those texts along with reading and recitation,5 it would not be unreasonable to assume that the mimiambs would be formulated in terms of the traditions, trends and conventions of dramatic genres prevalent in their days6 even though the dramatic world they depict is only a fragmented form of the more complex world represented in drama. The filter of drama is used in the mimiambs’ detailed and acute representation of human characters in brief incidents depicting vivid aspects of ordinary or even ‘low’ life.7 This may be part of a long process through which in late antiquity the mime was regarded as an essentially dramatic genre.8 In this paper, terms, concepts and actions associated with hamartia in Herondas, 1 and 5 are subsequently examined in the light of such literary affiliations.9 The aim of this examination is to explore the mechanisms leading to the formation of Herondas’ characters through a multi-faceted exploitation of earlier and contemporary genres, and the appropriation of the language and systems of thought of his social and cultural context.

Setting the Stage: Hamartia in Aristotle and Beyond

  • 10 This does not mean that the notion of moral error was absent from earlier genres. For moral error i (...)
  • 11 Cf. K. J. Dover, Greek Popular Morality in the Time of Plato and Aristotle, Oxford, B. Blackwell, 1 (...)
  • 12 J. M. Bremer, Hamartia: Tragic Error in the Poetics of Aristotle and in Greek Tragedy, Amsterdam, H (...)
  • 13 T. C. W. Stinton, “Hamartia in Aristotle and Greek Tragedy,” CQ n.s. 25, 1975, p. 221–54 = Collecte (...)
  • 14 S. Saïd, La faute tragique, Paris, F. Maspero, Textes à l’appui, 1978.

3The notion of hamartia as a moral concept associated with the thought and action of fictional characters in drama is identified as such by Aristotle in his Poetics where he sets the stage for the exploration of that notion in tragedy.10 Aristotle’s views in the Poetics are related to perceptions of hamartia evidenced in his moral writings and apparently associated with—and perhaps deriving from—a morality that was prevalent in fourth-century Greek social contexts.11 The exploration of hamartia in Aristotle and Greek tragedy has attracted the attention of many modern scholars; most notably of Bremer in an important monograph entitled Hamartia: Tragic Error in the Poetics of Aristotle and in Greek Tragedy12 and of Stinton in his seminal article “Hamartia in Aristotle and Greek Tragedy”.13 Saïd has made a valuable contribution to the study of hamartia in tragedy.14 Although this is not the place to discuss at length the semantic breadth and the uses of the concept of hamartia before the age of Herondas, it is worth addressing some relevant issues which are important for the exploration attempted in this paper.

4The term hamartia occurs in Aristotle, Poetics, 1453a 7–17 in a reference to the best type of tragic plot with respect to the moral qualities and the action of the ideal tragic character:

ἔστι δὲ τοιοῦτος ὁ μήτε ἀρετῇ διαφέρων καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ μήτε διὰ κακίαν καὶ μοχθηρίαν μεταβάλλων εἰς τὴν δυστυχίαν ἀλλὰ δι’ ἁμαρτίαν τινά, τῶν ἐν μεγάλῃ δόξῃ ὄντων καὶ εὐτυχίᾳ, οἷον Οἰδίπους καὶ Θυέστης καὶ οἱ ἐκ τῶν τοιούτων γενῶν ἐπιφανεῖς ἄνδρες. ἀνάγκη ἄρα τὸν καλῶς ἔχοντα μῦθον ἁπλοῦν εἶναι μᾶλλον ἢ διπλοῦν, ὥσπερ τινές φασι, καὶ μεταβάλλειν οὐκ εἰς εὐτυχίαν ἐκ δυστυχίας ἀλλὰ τοὐναντίον ἐξ εὐτυχίας εἰς δυστυχίαν μὴ διὰ μοχθηρίαν ἀλλὰ δι’ ἁμαρτίαν μεγάλην ἢ οἵου εἴρηται ἢ βελτίονος μᾶλλον ἢ χείρονος.

Such a person is someone not preeminent in virtue and justice, and one who falls into adversity not through evil and depravity, but through some kind of error; and one belonging to the class of those who enjoy great renown and prosperity, such as Oedipus, Thyestes, and eminent men from such lineages. The well-made plot, then, ought to be single rather than double, as some maintain, with a change not to prosperity from adversity, but on the contrary from prosperity to adversity, caused not by depravity but by a great error of a character either like that stated, or better rather than worse.
(transl. S. Halliwell)

  • 15 Modern scholars do not agree on the exact meaning of hamartia in the Poetics. For relevant discussi (...)

5Although the exact meaning of the term hamartia in this passage is by no means certain, it falls within the semantic field of ‘fault’ including a range of further meanings from ‘ignorance or mistake of fact’ to ‘moral error,’ ‘act due to passion or weakness of will,’ ‘offence’ and ‘wrongdoing.’15 This kind of fallibility is related to the action of complex plots and the type of tragic character referred to in this passage. That character is of high repute and happy. He or she is neither virtuous nor extremely evil, but is classified between these two types and is morally closer to the average spectator. This moral similarity enables the latter to feel pity and fear, as is peculiar to tragedy, when that character falls from happiness into a kind of misery due not to his or her wickedness, but to his or her fallibility. In this sense, hamartia may be associated with hybris and atê. According to Aristotle, Poetics 1452b 34 – 1453a 7, the passing of virtuous men from happiness to misery is not fearful or pitiful, but repulsive. The passing of evil men from misery to happiness is regarded as non-tragic and defective, whereas their passing from happiness to misery is thought not to arouse pity and fear. Pity cannot be felt for a man who deserves his misfortune and fear cannot be aroused with respect to one who does nor resemble the spectator. The commission of hamartia implies that the character has to suffer because of a wrong moral choice due to ignorance or misevaluation and consequent unjust action which is nevertheless not related to bad character traits or intentions, and renders the character’s fall into misery undeserved. It is, in fact, the fragility of human character that is brought to the foreground of the action as it is made clear that supposedly permanent character traits and the forms of behaviour deriving from them may be altered due to ignorance or bad evaluation. At the same time, the passing from happiness to misery must comply with a sense of philanthrôpia interrelated with a sense of justice with respect to human fortune.

  • 16 See Aristotle, Nic. Eth., 1109b 18 – 1111a 2. Cf. D. Konstan, Before Forgiveness. The Origins of a (...)
  • 17 Aristotle, Poet., 1450b 8–9.
  • 18 Aristotle, Rhet. 1374b 4–16, Nic. Eth. 1109a 34, 1110a 18–21, 1110b 25, 1135a 17–18, 1125a 18, 1135 (...)

6The relation between the type of action described as hamartia and human character, and the attitude one should adopt towards someone who is engaged in an action described as hamartia are issues which are clarified in Aristotelian texts such as the Rhetoric and the Nicomachean Ethics. In these texts the hamartêma is clearly distinguished from the atychêma and the adikêma. The hamartêma is associated with a man’s deviation from the middle way (mesotês) and is thought to be a fault due to carelessness, wrong evaluation and lack of self-restraint, the atychêma a mistake due to ignorance and thoughtlessness, and the adikêma an intentional wrong due to an evil character and bad intentions. Even though some types of action may appear similar to each other, their classification in one of those three categories, and their consequent evaluation depend on motivation, and more specifically on whether these types of action suit a picture gained from the whole of one’s character as well as on whether they are intentional. An act described as hamartêma may be morally wrong and harmful. At the same time, it is an unintentional action which might come as a result of external pressure, compulsion, lack of self-restraint, ignorance and wrong evaluation, but not as a result of one’s badness and evil character. It is for this reason that people engaged in such actions ought to be forgiven.16 Intention (prohairesis) is a key issue with respect to the classification of those actions.17 For the same reason, dramatic characters suffering because they have committed such actions, which, in fact, deserve forgiveness, develop qualities that are essentially tragic because of their undeserved suffering, and manage to arouse in the spectators pity and fear; emotions, that is, which, according to Aristotle, are peculiar to tragedy.18

  • 19 A. Fountoulakis, “Playing with the Dramatic Conventions: Demeas’ Invocations in Menander, Samia 325 (...)
  • 20 Gorgias, Hel. 15; Xenophon, Hell. 6.3.10; Id., Cyrop. 3.1.38 and 40, 4.4.19, 6.1.37; Isaeus 1.13; L (...)

7It is nevertheless worth bearing in mind that many concepts occurring in Aristotle’s moral treatises are formulated not in the field of Aristotelian philosophy, but in the socially and culturally determined field of Greek popular morality. Aristotle’s views are very often indebted to the observation of human behaviour and social interaction, while they may well be influenced by moral views developed in social contexts.19 The Aristotelian perception of hamartêma and its distinction from atychêma and adikêma, along with the emphasis on the importance of human character as a whole and not on occasional unintentional acts which ought to be forgiven, are aspects of a morality emerging in authors such as Gorgias, Xenophon, Isaeus, Lysias, Antiphon, Aeschines, Isocrates, Demosthenes and Menander even though it has been articulated more systematically in the works of Aristotle.20 This happens in contexts which recall real-life experience and suggests that such views were prevalent in fifth- and fourth-century Greek society and culture. It may therefore be argued that the pattern of thought and action pertaining to hamartia, which is found in the Poetics, constitutes part of Aristotle’s prescriptive references with respect to the best kind of tragic plot and character, which stem from his examination of some tragic plots, but reflect in fact moral views and concerns current in the wider context of fourth-century Greek culture.

  • 21 Aristotle, Poet. 1453a 7–11.
  • 22 Cf. D. Dawe, “Some Reflections on Ate and Hamartia,” art. cit., p. 116–21; L. Golden, “Hamartia, At (...)
  • 23 See J. M. Bremer, op. cit., p. 118–94; T. C. W. Stinton, art. cit., p. 161–85.

8Although fifth-century tragedy does not always appear to conform to the norms detected in it or prescribed by Aristotle, ideas and plots pertinent to an Aristotelian perception of hamartia, as this is articulated in the Poetics, occur in many tragedies and permeate the action of well-known tragic characters such as Oedipus, Hippolytus or Pentheus. Oedipus, in particular, is singled out by Aristotle along with Thyestes.21 Considered from an Aristotelian viewpoint, he may be seen as a paradigmatic tragic character whose self-blinding and fall in Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus come as a result of an intellectual ‘blindness’ leading him to the murder of his father and the marriage with his mother. His ignorance of fact and wrong evaluation, far beyond his prohairesis, bring to the foreground the question concerning the degree of his own responsibility, and appear interconnected with atê, despite the role of the gods.22 It is nonetheless worth noting that Aristotle’s comments are prescriptive rather than descriptive, while they do not always take into account important aspects of fifth-century tragedy such as, for example, the role of the gods or the implications of hamartia in the plot development of Euripides’ so-called recognition plays (e.g. Electra, Iphigeneia in Tauris, Ion, Helen).23 They may form a valuable and penetrative appreciation of classical tragedy, but should certainly not lead to a single theoretical schema on which the interpretation of tragedy would have to be based.

  • 24 See S. Dworacki, “‘Hamartia’ in Menander,” Eos 65, 1977, p. 17–24.
  • 25 See A. Hurst, “Ménandre et la tragédie,” in Relire Ménandre, A. Hurst, E. Handley (eds), Geneva, Dr (...)
  • 26 This is a common way in which tragic elements are incorporated in the comedies of Menander. See C.  (...)

9In later dramatic genres such as New Comedy, which is permeated by patterns of thought and action pertinent to classical tragedy, one may also note the occurrence of an Aristotelian perception of hamartia.24 This is due to the multi-faceted appropriation of classical tragedy occurring in Menandrean comedy and the Aristotelian influence upon Menander’s aesthetics, on the one hand,25 and the formation of the morality and ideology permeating the plots and characters of Menander’s plays in accordance with Peripatetic morality, on the other. In most cases the characters of New Comedy may act within a plot related to hamartia, but eventually employ that concept in order to explain or justify their action which is not fully developed according to the relevant Aristotelian pattern as this may emerge from tragedy. Displaying a kind of metatheatrical self-consciousness, those characters appear aware of the fallibility of human beings and its consequences in the course of the action of tragedy, count on a similar awareness on the part of other characters as well as of the audience, and manipulate such an awareness either in their own best interests or in order to achieve a better understanding of human nature. This serves the needs of specific developments of comic plots far beyond the tragic pattern of hamartia. That pattern together with Aristotle’s appreciation of it either in the Poetics or in his moral writings thus form meaningful subtexts which are considered as known by dramatic characters and spectators. This knowledge is implicitly evoked in order to further elucidate plot construction and character motivation in patterns of action which are very different from the tragic pattern of hamartia that derives from the Poetics and plays such as the Oedipus Tyrannus.26

  • 27 Cf. M. Anderson, “Knemon’s Hamartia,” G&R 17, 1970, p. 199–217; S. Dworacki, art. cit., p. 19–21; A (...)

10In Menander’s Dyskolos, for instance, Knemon confesses at 720‒21 that his hateful attitude towards society was due to his false belief that nobody cared about other people, and this is presented as a wrong type of knowledge and evaluation forming the core of his hamartia. What differentiates if from tragic hamartia is the fact that he appears conscious of his own hamartia : he explicitly states at 713–14 that he committed hamartia (ἓν δ’ ἴσως ἥμαρτον at 713) when he considered himself as a self-sufficient man who did not need anybody else. This is enhanced by the fact that his fall into a well forms a punishment which may be easily overcome providing him with the opportunity to realize his hamartia and reconsider his stance towards society. His fall into the well, which is certainly not as serious or fatal as the wider fall in abstract terms of a character in tragedy, brings to his as well as to the spectator’s mind the disastrous results hamartia may have especially in tragedy and results in a change of his attitude. By changing up to a certain point what he considers as a wrong attitude towards society, he provides the play’s plot with a totally new direction and makes possible the marriage of the play’s young couples, the restoration and continuity of the oikos, and the narrowing of the gap between rich and poor. In this manner, hamartia is not used as part of a course of action that causes his destruction, but as a moral concept originating in both tragic and social contexts, which eventually brings him close to real-life characters and enables the play’s focusing on ideological goals pertinent to the value of the oikos and the cooperation between human beings and social classes.27

Hamartia in Mimiamb 1

  • 28 This may be inferred from her words along with the poem’s second title (μαστροπός). Cf. G. Zanker, (...)
  • 29 Cf. L. Di Gregorio, “La figura di Metriche nel primo mimiambo di Eronda,” in Studia classica Iohann (...)
  • 30 This is suggested by Metriche’s use at 7 of ἀμμία, meaning ‘Madame’. See R. G. Ussher, “The Mimic T (...)
  • 31 The text of Herondas’ mimiambs, which appears in this paper with minor amendments, comes from Herod (...)

11In Herondas’ mimiamb 1 Gyllis, an old woman who is most probably a procuress,28 pays a visit to Metriche, a younger woman, who is likely to be, or to have been, a hetaira.29 Metriche might have been working in the past for Gyllis.30 The aim of Gyllis is to persuade Metriche to yield to Gryllos’ erotic passion for her, even though the young woman is having an affair with another man called Mandris. It is in this context that she urges Metriche at 61–62 to respond positively to Gryllos and commit a hamartia as an offering to the goddess of love :31

ἀλλ’, ὦ τέκνον μοι Μητρίχη, μίαν ταύτην
ἁμαρτίην δὸς τῇ θεῷ

So, Metriche my child,
grant the Goddess this one little peccadillo.
(transl. G. Zanker)

  • 32 Athenaeus 14.620d–621d.
  • 33 See D. Kutzko, “Enacting Drama: Herod. 1 and A.P. V.181 (Ascl. 25, Gow-Page),” art. cit., p. 161–70 (...)
  • 34 See L. Di Gregorio (ed.), Eronda. Mimiambi (I-IV), op. cit., p. 47–50; G. Zanker, op. cit., p. 21–2 (...)

12The character of Gyllis has counterparts in both comedy and the popular mime. It is likely that go-betweens appear in Menander’s Synaristosai and Adelphoi. They are present in plays of Latin comedy such as Plautus’ Asinaria 1.3 and 3.1 (Cleaereta) and Cistellaria 1.1‑2, 3 and 4.1 (Syra and Melaenis) or Terence’s Hecyra 1.1‑2 (Syra) apparently having as models similar characters from plays of Greek New Comedy. According to Athenaeus, drawing on Aristocles and Aristoxenus, women entangled in love affairs or arranging such affairs for other women, were common characters of the non-literary mimic subgenre of the magôidia, one of the subgenres of the popular mime, and those roles were performed by men in female clothing.32 Such characters also appeared in Sophron’s literary mimes. David Kutzko has also drawn attention to the use of comic plot patterns and dramatic techniques in mimiamb 1. Unfaithful lovers and lovers coming back from abroad as well as scenes of knocking on a door and eavesdropping, which are common in New Comedy, are handled in mimiamb 1 in a metatheatrical manner. This reveals the theatricality of the genre and the conscious reworking of established dramatic conventions before an audience capable of recognizing and appreciating them as such.33 Moreover, mimiamb 1 bears affinities to Theocritus’ Idylls 2.14 and 15 in terms of plot construction and character drawing.34

  • 35 A. Fountoulakis, “Herondas 8.66–79: Generic Self-Consciousness and Artistic Claims in Herondas’ Mim (...)
  • 36 See Euripides, Hipp. 123–202.

13Although those genres and works are indeed probable sources for the literary affiliations, intertextual allusions and perhaps debts, of Herondas’ poems, Greek tragedy is another probable literary field of exploration for these poems, though it has often been overlooked by critics as such. The character of an old woman trying to bring together a man and a woman, and the themes of rejection and unrequited love occur in both Herondas’ mimiamb 1 and Euripides’ Hippolytus.35 In Euripides’ play Phaedra, being in love with her stepson Hippolytus and exhibiting a series of consequent symptoms of a nosos such as lack of appetite and inability to sleep, think reasonably, move and look happy,36 confesses her love to her Nurse who reveals in turn everything to Hippolytus in the hope that the latter will yield to her mistress’ passion. Hippolytus rejects Phaedra’s feelings and reacts in an aggressive manner. Although Metriche’s reaction is not as aggressive as that of Hippolytus, her response to Gyllis’ proposals is negative as well.

  • 37 See Aristotle, Nic. Eth. 1145a 16 – 1150b 20; A. O. Rorty, “Akrasia and Pleasure: Nicomachean Ethic (...)
  • 38 See Euripides, Hipp. 239–66.
  • 39 See Euripides, Hipp. 392–97, 507–24.
  • 40 See Euripides, Hipp. 725–31.
  • 41 See Euripides, Hipp. 715–21.

14Hamartia appears to have a central role in the plot of Euripides’ Hippolytus and the delineation of the play’s characters. Phaedra commits hamartia when she falls in love with her stepson without being able to control her feelings, which in Aristotelian terms is a case of akrasia, a weakness of will, that is, or an indication of incontinence.37 This is how it is conceived by her and this is one of the main reasons why she feels shame and guilt irrespectively of the intervention of Aphrodite who is, in fact, responsible for her secret love for Hippolytus.38 The fact that Hippolytus is her stepson is another reason why she feels shame and guilt. The same fact turns her akrasia into a more serious hamartia. Phaedra also errs when she confesses her love to the Nurse. Despite Phaedra’s hesitations, she does so under the false impression that the Nurse has a cure for her illness. Phaedra ignores the Nurse’s intentions of revealing everything to Hippolytus in the hope that such a revelation might lead to their union and the cure of her mistress’ illness.39 As regards Hippolytus’ accusation of rape or attempted rape on the tablet Phaedra leaves before her suicide, an accusation that leads to Theseus’ curse and Hippolytus’ death, it may be difficult for it to be considered as a hamartia, since Phaedra’s intentions of having him punished for his attitude towards her are made clear.40 Yet even in this case Phaedra acts under the influence of her nosos and her intentions of preserving her own and her family’s honour.41 The fact that she acts in a state of extreme passion diminishes her moral responsibility and makes possible the consideration of her action against Hippolytus as a hamartia.

  • 42 See Euripides, Hipp. 10–22.
  • 43 See Euripides, Hipp. 601–62.
  • 44 For these forms of hamartia in the Hippolytus, see J. M. Bremer, op. cit., p. 175–79; T. C. W. Stin (...)

15Hippolytus also commits hamartia when he rejects Aphrodite and sexual pleasure.42 In addition to the responsibility of divine intervention, his arrogant and excessive aggression towards the Nurse, and his failure to understand that the Nurse’s revelation is not made according to Phaedra’s will, are forms of hamartia.43 Finally, Theseus commits hamartia when he fails to see that Phaedra’s accusation is false, makes no attempt to discover the truth and in a state of passion curses Hippolytus leading him to death. In addition to the power of the divine will, concealment of the truth, ignorance and failure of understanding form important elements of situations that shape the attitudes of those characters, prompt them to err and lead to their fall. Being in accordance with a course of action associated with hamartia, as this occurs in a prescriptive manner in Aristotle’s Poetics, the play’s plot deals with a transition from happiness to misery due to attitudes, misconceptions and actions that may be described as hamartiai.44

  • 45 See Euripides, Hipp. 123–202; Herondas 1.59–60.
  • 46 Euripides, Hipp. 613–15.

16In Herondas’ mimiamb 1, which provides representations of ordinary people placed in a realistic setting and deprived of the high stature of tragedy’s characters, it is a woman who rejects the love of a man and not a man who rejects the love of a woman, as happens in the Hippolytus. Yet in both cases the suffering of those in love appears to make the older women act as go-betweens.45 Although Metriche cannot claim to be as virtuous as her tragic male counterpart as she may well be a hetaira or a former hetaira who may have an affair with a man beyond marriage, they both consider as morally inappropriate the proposals of the older women: the former because she wishes to remain faithful to her lover Mandris, the latter because he refuses to have any kind of sexual encounter and also because the proposal is supposed to be coming from his father’s wife. As happens in Herondas 1.61–62, the Nurse in the Hippolytus conceives Phaedra’s illicit passion and her potential yielding to it as hamartia. This becomes apparent in her reaction to Hippolytus’ consideration of Phaedra as adikos:46

Τρ.  ὦ παῖ, τί δράσεις; σοὺς φίλους διεργάσῃ;
Ιπ.  ἀπέπτυσ’· οὐδείς ἄδικός ἐστί μοι φίλος.
Τρ.  σύγγνωθ’. ἁμαρτεῖν εἰκὸς ἀνθρώπους, τέκνον.

Nurse:  Son, what will you do? Destroy those near to you?
Hipp.:  Pah! No criminal shall be near and dear to me!
Nurse:  Forgive! To err is mankind’s lot, my son!
(transl. D. Kovacs)

  • 47 Cf. I. C. Cunningham (ed.), Herodas: Mimiambi, 1971, op. cit., p. 74 for the connection of this lin (...)

17The use of the terms ἄδικος and ἁμαρτεῖν in these lines may be related to a perception very similar to the relevant Aristotelian perception which is based on the distinction drawn in the Rhetoric and the Nicomachean Ethics between hamartêma and adikêma. As has already been noted, the adikêma is due to an evil character and bad intentions, whereas the hamartêma comes as a result of ignorance or wrong evaluation. It is for this reason that the former ought to be punished, while the latter has to be forgiven. The occurrence of such perceptions in Euripides’ Hippolytus suggests that they are much older than Aristotle and perhaps prevalent in a social and cultural ambience upon which Euripides draws in order to build the dramatic world of his plays. Phaedra’s love for her stepson, which is by social convention considered as shameful and disastrous, is unintentional and cannot be controlled since it is due to her passionate desire. This is the reason why it is perceived and presented as hamartia, while it becomes part of a major reasoning associating hamartia with forgiveness, which is also endorsed by Aristotle. When Hippolytus focuses on its conception as a moral flaw and regards it as an adikia at 614, the Nurse, apparently focusing on the lack of intention and self-control on the part of Phaedra responds with the use of terms that bring to mind Aristotle and presents it at 615 as hamartia, while for the same reason she seems to believe that Phaedra ought to be forgiven. After all, committing hamartia is regarded by the Nurse at 615 as an intrinsic feature of human beings.47 The consideration of this kind of error as peculiar to humankind is closely related to the philanthrôpia deriving from Aristotle’s consideration of tragedy’s depiction of the human condition.

  • 48 Euripides, Hipp. 1334–35.

18Towards the end of the play Artemis addresses Theseus, who has caused Hippolytus’ fatal wounding by means of his curses, by saying that the cruelty he has shown towards his son is due to his ignorance and not to his intentions. For this reason, he has to be forgiven for his hamartia:48

      τὴν δὲ σὴν ἁμαρτίαν
τὸ μὴ εἰδέναι μὲν πρῶτον ἐκλύει κάκης.

      Ignorance acquits
your misdoings of baseness.
(transl. D. Kovacs)

19The reasoning which determines Phaedra’s action and associates hamartia with lack of bad intentions and forgiveness, emerges also from Artemis’ perception of the acts of Theseus. That reasoning thus becomes part of a recurrent motif which is evoked or partly employed with several variations in the course of the play determining its action and plot.

20The analogies between Euripides’ Hippolytus and Herondas’ mimiamb 1 that have been noted so far enable the detection of further analogies and intentional differences between the two works with respect to the use of such ideas and actions. The occurrence of the term hamartia in Herondas 1.62 suggests the attempt of Gyllis to fit Metriche’s potential action into the same kind of plot development. Setting aside the disastrous consequences of Hippolytus’ and Phaedra’s hamartiai, she appears to take for granted that yielding to passion is not as serious as adikia, but only a minor occasional fault which is unimportant and may easily be forgiven. It is for this reason that she apparently thinks that it may easily be committed with no particular consequences. With the use of the term hamartia such an assumption is projected before the eyes of Metriche as a fact capable of convincing her to yield to Gryllos’ desire.

  • 49 Considering the amatory context of Gyllis’ reference to that goddess and the fact that she is a pro (...)
  • 50 Cf. R. G. Ussher, “The Mimic Tradition of ‘Character” in Herodas,” art. cit., p. 49–50.
  • 51 Gyllis’ advice to Metriche to offer a hamartia to the goddess of love may echo similar tragic phras (...)

21At first sight, Gyllis’ reference at 62 to an unnamed goddess, who is apparently Aphrodite,49 seems to have nothing to do with the plot of mimiamb 1 which relies upon the extent of human motivation and not upon the impact of divine intervention. In the mouth of Gyllis such a reference conforms to the references to, or invocations of, the divine often found in the speech of people belonging to a lower social ranking. Gyllis’ reference to Metriche’s potential hamartia as an offering to the goddess of love at 62 as well as to her own visit to Metriche as an offering to the gods at 82–83, suggests her attempt to create a setting dominated by a divine will that could eliminate her own moral responsibility : everything is supposed to be happening because of a god.50 This is another element that brings it closer to Euripides’ Hippolytus and tragedy, in general.51

22At the same time, it differentiates it from its tragic intertext in a significant manner. Taking for granted an awareness of the Hippolytus’ plot on the part of Metriche, on the one hand, and Herondas’ addressees, on the other, Gyllis, in fact, begs Metriche not to become either another Hippolytus by rejecting the power of Aphrodite or another Phaedra by trying to suppress her desire, and hence insult Aphrodite, so as to remain faithful to the man she has been attached to. Taking also for granted that a hypothetical union of Hippolytus and Phaedra could have been forgiven as a hamartia, she presents a similarly hypothetical yielding of Metriche to Gyllis’ proposals as a compulsory offering to the goddess of love, which would have practically no repercussions upon her. Like the Nurse of the Hippolytus, Gyllis appears to believe that the union of the Metriche and Gyllos is the only desirable and beneficial course of action.

23What she fails to hint at is the fact that the hamartiai of Hippolytus and Phaedra were not forgiven, and that if one is conscious of committing an action that might have been considered a hamartia, then one cannot commit a hamartia. This happens because the action can no longer be unintentional or due to ignorance and wrong evaluation. The absence of an active divine agent from the more realistic setting of mimiamb 1 brings to the foreground the importance of human reason, moral standards and everyday experience in the handling of human affairs. By setting aside the possible influence of the divine on human lives, Herondas’ poem sheds light on the complexities of human character and morality under circumstances which may find analogues in the realm of drama, but are, in fact, deeply rooted in a social reality. Considered from this perspective, Herondas’ use of hamartia might be seen as a depiction of a common way of securing forgiveness in the world of everyday experience.

  • 52 Cf. See D. Kutzko, “Enacting Drama: Herod. 1 and A.P. V.181 (Ascl. 25, Gow-Page),” art. cit., p. 16 (...)

24Yet the term hamartia in mimiamb 1 appears semantically fortified through its usage in tragedy and in Aristotelian philosophy. This is highlighted by the analogies between mimiamb 1 and the Hippolytus that have been noted so far. That term is used in Herondas so as to bring to the foreground a concept that may reveal the possibilities of human action and the possible fragility of a female character. This results in the creation of a dramatic conflict between desire and morality which permeates Metriche’s consciousness and produces an extremely interesting dramatic effect not much different from that achieved by Phaedra’s internal conflicts. At the same time, the use of hamartia with the nuances it already had in tragedy and Aristotle turns it into a rhetorical device aiming at the persuasion of Metriche and not as a term which describes the plot development of mimiamb 1, which is closer to comic plots. Metriche, acting like a typical bona meretrix of New Comedy, knows how to be faithful to her lover as happens with Pamphile and Glykera in Menander’s Epitrepontes and Perikeiromene respectively.52 She is neither overcome by passion, as happens with Phaedra, nor led to isolation, as happens with Hippolytus. Being aware of the moral implications of an affair with Gryllos, she could not commit hamartia. Mimiamb 1 thus explores the perception of hamartia as the action which is harmful, morally wrong, and disastrous for the lives of those involved in it, but has to be forgiven because it is unintentional, as this perception occurs in tragedy and Aristotle. Yet such an exploration takes place from a distance as the poem’s principal characters use such patterns of thought and action as elements that may elucidate in a dramatically interesting manner the possibilities of human action and the fragility of human character without being actually involved in them. The use of the term on the part of Herondas betrays his knowledge of a culturally nuanced vocabulary and its skilful manipulation in a poetry that makes a fruitful use of earlier texts, while it reconstructs a social reality very close to everyday experience.

25As regards the effect of such a treatment of hamartia in Herondas, it is upon the ironical distance between the secure ordinary world depicted in the mimiambs and the extremity of human passion found in the precarious world of tragedy that the humour of Herondas lies. Even if Metriche had yield to Gryllos’ passion, this could have hardly been considered as a hamartia in tragic terms. The evocation of Euripides’ Hippolytus in mimiamb 1 and its consideration through the filter of Aristotle render the presentation of a sexual misdemeanour on the part of a character such as Metriche as hamartia nothing but a comic exaggeration as the tragic text shows the kind of action that may be considered as hamartia, the kind of character that may be involved in it, and the fatal repercussions it may have.

Hamartia in Mimiamb 5

  • 53 For the social status of Bitinna, see A. Fountoulakis, “Bitinna and the Tyrant: Some Remarks on Her (...)
  • 54 Herondas 5.14–17.

26Hamartia plays a far more important role in Herondas’ mimiamb 5, where it appears to shape the formation of the mimiamb’s main characters and the development of its plot. Focal point of mimiamb 5 is the violent outburst of jealousy of Bitinna, a former hetaira or a woman of a similar social status.53 Bitinna has discovered that her slave Gastron, who has also been her lover, has had an affair with another woman called Amphytaie. The first reference to hamartia in this poem occurs when Bitinna admits that it has been her own mistake to have elevated a slave to the level of a free human being by making him her lover:54

ἦρ’ οὐχὶ μᾶλλον Φρύξ; ἐγὼ αἰτίη τούτων,
ἐγᾦμι, Γάστρων, ἥ σε θεῖσ’ ἐν ἀνθρώποις.
ἀλλ’ εἰ τότ’ ἐξήμαρτον, οὐ τὰ νῦν εὖσαν
μώρην Βίτινναν, ὡς δοκεῖς, ἔθ’ εὑρήσεις.

Aren’t you really a [proverbial] Phrygian slave? I’m at fault,
I think, Gastron, the one who placed you, a mere slave,
among [free] men.
If I made that big mistake in the past, you are not going to find
Bitinna so stupid any more now, as you think.
(transl. G. Zanker)

27The meaning of the word ἐξήμαρτον at 16 has the culturally nuanced semantic overtones attached to hamartia, which are attested in Aristotle. In the first place, Bitinna’s hamartia appears to stem from her misapprehension of Gastron’s actual status as a slave and her ignorance concerning the implications of his social identity. That is why she treated him as a free human being and had erotic relations with him. The fact that Bitinna now realizes what she had been unable to realize in the past, namely that a slave should not be considered as a human being of a social status similar to hers, suggests that her actions were based on wrong evaluation and were unintentional.

  • 55 For akrasia in Aristotle, see above n. 36.
  • 56 Cf. Aristotle, Pol. 1253b 1–18, 1254a 4–18, 1254b 25–27, NE 1149a 9–12; M. I. Finley, Ancient Slave (...)

28In the second place, her hamartia may be considered from the perspective of the moral implications of her erotic affair with a slave. Given their difference in terms of social status, which would make their relationship unthinkable in a social context, her actions may be seen as incited by her uncontrollable desire for that man, which implies that her behaviour was determined by lack of self-restraint. As has already been noted with respect to the Euripidean Phaedra, this emotional incontinence may be seen as an indication of akrasia, as this was perceived by Aristotle. This was a type of hamartia or could lead to forms of behaviour that would develop within wider courses of action dominated by hamartia.55 In fact, Bitinna does not say that she was unaware of Gastron’s status. It was the fact that she was overridden by passion that made her transgress the social barriers between them and treat him as a free human being by making him her lover. The realization of the kind of mistake Bitinna has made illustrates another aspect of the social and cultural colouring of her words. When she admits that it has been a mistake to consider Gastron a human being, she highlights the belief that slaves were not much different from inanimate objects or domestic animals, which was quite widespread in the Greek world in classical and post-classical times and is also attested in Aristotelian thought.56

29Although Bitinna’s conception of hamartia is formed according to relevant norms developed in Greek society and culture, it does not fully fit into the plot development attested in the Poetics with respect to tragedy. Bitinna’s fault does not lead from happiness to misery. It is a minor mistake which can easily be remedied despite her temporary distress. The plot of mimiamb 5 relies not upon the moral implications of her actions or their impact on her life, but upon her jealous reaction which provides her with an emotional outlet and aims at the restoration of order within both her household and society. The consideration of her affair with Gastron as hamartia is based on the assumption that it deserves forgiveness and opens the way for such a restoration of order. At the same time, Bitinna’s hamartia brings to the foreground not the fact that she has made a mistake, but the type of mistake she has made. In what may be seen as the indication of a narrative mirroring or even a ring composition, this is cleverly taken up by Gastron who uses a similarly nuanced vocabulary in order to develop his own rhetoric concerning matters of misapprehension of status and sexual misconduct.

  • 57 Herondas 5.26–28.

30Taking for granted that he possesses the moral substance of a free human being, Gastron presents his affair with another woman as a hamartia and expects Bitinna’s forgiveness:57

Βίτινν’, ἄφες μοι τὴν ἁμαρτίην ταύτην.
ἄνθρωπός εἰμ’, ἥμαρτον· ἀλλ’ ἐπὴν αὖτις
ἕλῃς τι δρῶντα τῶν σὺ μὴ θέλῃς, στίξον.

Bitinna, forgive me this mistake.
I’m a human being, I made a mistake. But if ever you
catch me doing anything you don’t like again,
disgrace me with a tattoo.
(transl. G. Zanker)

  • 58 However, David Konstan observes that Gastron does not actually ask for Bitinna’s forgiveness, but e (...)

31The fact that Gastron asks Bitinna at 27–28 to have him punished in case he is caught again acting against her will suggests that his action is presented as an occasional mistake that happened only once apparently due to misapprehension or wrong evaluation and not as an intentional action associated with his character. Gastron does not deny his sexual relationship with Amphytaie. Yet it is due to the alleged nature of that relationship that, according to him, it ought to be forgiven. The relationship itself was motivated by sexual impulse and this implies that it was due to lack of self-restraint (akrasia) and not to bad intentions. As has already been pointed out, in Aristotelian terms and in the wider context of Greek culture these features render his actions hamartiai. This is stressed twice by the use at 26 and 27 of the words ἁμαρτίην and ἥμαρτον by Gastron, who goes further and reproduces the commonly held view that committing hamartia is an intrinsic part of human nature which is not related to prohairesis or permanent character traits and for this reason has to be forgiven. That is why at 26 he asks so emphatically Bitinna to forgive him: Βίτινν’, ἄφες μοι τὴν ἁμαρτίην ταύτην.58 As has been noted, this view is endorsed by many Greek authors while it is more clearly articulated in the moral writings of Aristotle.

  • 59 See Aristotle, Nic. Eth., 1109b 18 – 1111a 2.

32It is worth observing that at 27–28 Gastron asks her to punish him with branding in case he is caught again committing similar acts (ἀλλ’ ἐπὴν αὖτις / ἕλῃς τι δρῶντα τῶν σὺ μὴ θέλῃς, στίξον). As may be inferred from the ἀλλ’ at 27, this is contrasted with the consideration of the commission of hamartia as an intrinsic element of human nature in the same line (ἄνθρωπός εἰμ’, ἥμαρτον), which is associated with the belief, put forward at 26, that a hamartia ought to be forgiven (Βίτινν’, ἄφες μοι τὴν ἁμαρτίην ταύτην). Repetition of the same or similar unjust acts by the same person cannot be due to perpetual misconceptions, errors of judgment, or passionate outbursts. It suggests, by contrast, a major character flaw which may result in wrongdoing. As is noted by Aristotle, in such a case the committed action may be regarded as adikêma and has to be punished.59 This is perhaps the only way in which a moral flaw can be remedied and further action of the same kind can be prevented. Gastron’s words at 26–28 may be seen as a reflection of the Aristotelian distinction between hamartêma and adikêma, which underlines his presentation of his action as hamartia and strengthens his plea for forgiveness.

33Yet Gastron’s reasoning is based on another hamartia concerning his actual social status. This hamartia consists of a misapprehension pertinent to the implications of his identity as a slave, and has already been committed by Bitinna, as has been admitted by her at 14–17. When at 27 he says that he committed hamartia because he is a human being (ἄνθρωπός εἰμ’, ἥμαρτον), he elevates himself to the sphere of a free man who is capable of developing moral thought, evaluating the circumstances around him, making decisions, acting according to his will and making mistakes as every other human being. Being, however, a slave, he is not supposed to have such abilities. As has already been noted, a slave in social contexts was not considered to be very different from an inanimate object or an animal. The fact that Gastron commits the same hamartia as Bitinna is part of his wider hamartia that culminated in his erotic relationship with both her and another woman. At the same time, it is likely that he implicitly takes up Bitinna’s words at 14–17 and exploits such a consideration of his status on her part in order to persuade her that like a free human being he is capable of committing hamartia. The admission of such an ability might enable the consideration of his action as hamartia and this could make possible her forgiveness.

  • 60 Cf. D. Konstan, “The Tyrant Goddess: Herodas’s Fifth Mime,” ClAnt 8, 1989, p. 267–82, esp. p. 274; (...)
  • 61 Cf. B. Akrigg, “Aristophanes, Slaves and History,” in Slaves and Slavery in Ancient Greek Comic Dra (...)

34Even Gastron’s reaction to the accusations of Bitinna is a similar kind of hamartia. When he employs the complex reasoning concerning hamartia and forgiveness that is also found in Aristotle as well as in social contexts, and dares employ an argument before Bitinna so as to persuade her, he displays a transgressive attitude which is not peculiar to his identity as a slave.60 Freedom of speech and an ability to develop and express complicated moral thought would appear to Herondas’ addressees as inappropriate to slaves in social contexts. Even more inappropriate would have been his attempt to stand in front of a free woman in order to act as her instructor. In a social ambience a slave would not dare behave in such a manner and display this kind of social superiority. Considering, however, that from the fifth century onwards slaves in comedy were by convention portrayed as enjoying a much greater freedom of speech and action than their real-life counterparts, as is the case with Xanthias and Karion from Aristophanes’ Frogs and Wealth respectively or with Parmenon from Menander’s Samia,61 it is likely that Gastron’s attitude would appear as an echo of the freedom of speech and action enjoyed by comic slaves.

  • 62 For the element of irony in mimiamb 5, see A. Fountoulakis, “Punishing the Lecherous Slave: Desire (...)

35At the same time, the sharp contrast between Gastron’s status as a slave and his self-fashioning as a human being who can stand as a socially superior man capable of instructing free people, committing hamartia and deserving forgiveness, would generate an irony which in terms of the plot of mimiamb 5 would be one of the poem’s main literary effects.62 This irony, which stems from the image of a slave pretending to be a free human being, is enhanced by the disproportionate use of the concept of hamartia and this applies also to its use by Bitinna. Despite the obvious tragic colouring of that concept in mimiamb 5, it is only employed in order to describe an act of infidelity and a misconception of status with little or no actual effect on human lives. Ordinary characters, humble feelings and everyday settings may acquire further dimensions through means normally determining tragic characters and actions. Yet the main result of such an appropriation of tragic hamartia is humour. Bitinna’s and Gastron’s exaggeration creates a comic effect which results from the contrast between the use of concepts known from tragedy and Aristotle, on the one hand, and trivial matters and humble characters, on the other. Bitinna’s use of the intensitive prefix ἐξ in the word ἐξήμαρτον at 16 is an instance which is particularly suggestive of the humour generated by an elevated vocabulary pointing towards serious drama and philosophy, which is used by base ordinary characters in a low social setting.

  • 63 Herondas 5.15, 27, 78.
  • 64 See A. Fountoulakis, “Punishing the Lecherous Slave: Desire and Power in Herondas 5,” art. cit., p. (...)

36Gastron’s sophisticated reasoning and terminology, which do not suit his status as a slave, are permeated by the philanthrôpia through which Aristotle approaches the human action depicted in tragedy, but this happens in an untragic plot. At the end of mimiamb 5 Gastron appears to be released even for a while and, despite his hamartia and the temporary trouble he is into, he is not led from happiness to misery. Moreover, despite various references throughout the mimiamb to his consideration as a human being,63 he is still a slave who is subject to the power of his owner and this important aspect of his character makes him very different from the man of high repute Aristotle has in mind as the one who commits hamartia in tragedy. The tension between a free man and a slave or between human and non-human attested in mimiamb 5 may invest the presentation of his condition with irony, but does not manage to change his social status and enable him to fully adopt all the features of a free human being such as the ability to dispose himself as he wishes or the right to err and be forgiven.64

  • 65 In classical Athens the use of oratory for the deception of the audience in the law courts and the (...)

37Gastron’s references to hamartia forms part of an argument aiming at the avoidance of his punishment. The verbal exchange between Bitinna and Gastron resembles verbal exchanges between judges and people charged with serious offenses. Soon after the use of his argument relating to hamartia, which aims explicitly at Bitinna’s forgiveness, Gastron notes at 35–36 that she has not examined first whether the accusations are true or false, implying that the examination of the facts must have come first is this quasi-judicial procedure. His point is being dismissed by Bitinna who reminds him at 37–38 that, by stating earlier that what he did is a hamartia, he has actually pleaded guilty to the alleged offence. Gastron’s statement that he had earlier lied to her in order to calm her down appears as part of a typical behaviour of a man who is being accused of a crime and tries desperately to avoid punishment even by telling lies.65 The fact that it is difficult to assess which statement reflects the truth and which is a mere lie, undermines the persuasive force of his argument concerning the consideration of his act as hamartia and turns that argument into a tool created in the interest of his rhetoric. Like a judge, Bitinna specifies at 32–34, 48–49 and 65–66 the form of his punishment (two thousand lashes and tattooing). Finally, Cydilla, Bitinna’s female slave, appears as Gastron’s counsel at 55–62. At 69–71 Cydilla goes even further and asks Bitinna to spare him for the sake of her daughter Batyllis, while at 72–73 she adopts Gastron’s main argument aiming at his acquittal. Gastron should accordingly by acquitted for his action which is again projected as his one and only hamartia that ought to be forgiven:

ἄφες, παραιτεῦμαί σε˙ τὴν μίαν ταύτην
ἁμαρτίην

forgive him, I beg you. Just this one
mistake…
(transl. G. Zanker)

  • 66 For the emergence of popular morality in oratory, see K. J. Dover, op. cit., p. 8–14.
  • 67 Cf. e.g. Lysias 31.11; Aeschines 3.20; Demosthenes 18.274–75.

38This implies that Gastron’s defence by Batyllis is based on the assumption that as a free human being he committed an occasional hamartia and should therefore be forgiven. Such a defence is consistent with what he has already said in order to defend himself. Yet, as happened earlier with Gastron’s similar argumentation, the argumentation of Cydilla is not successful. It is only when Cydilla mentions the forthcoming festival of the Gerenia that Bitinna is persuaded not to cancel, but to postpone only for a while Gastron’s punishment for Cydilla’s sake. Seen from such a perspective, Gastron’s and Cydilla’s use of the concept of hamartia in connection with the former’s actions may have to do with the occurrence in mimiamb 5 of a popular morality attested in a world of ordinary experience and emerging in forensic oratory.66 The transference to such a world is enhanced by their status as slaves and the realistic representation of a social ambience. The notion of hamartia in mimiamb 5 may have a semantic load associated with moral philosophy or the Poetics, but it is in fact employed so as to contribute to the development of arguments, as happens in the speeches of fourth-century orators and their perception of human action in social contexts.67

  • 68 See A. C. Scafuro, The Forensic Stage. Settling Disputes in Graeco-Roman New Comedy, Cambridge, CUP (...)
  • 69 For the rhetorical aspects of the speeches of both Moschion and Demeas in a quasi-judicial context, (...)

39It should nevertheless be noted that in New Comedy matters of honour and sexuality are often being settled in a manner that recalls forensic oratory.68 The use of such a reasoning is found, for instance, in Menander’s Samia with reference to Moschion’s actual or supposed sexual misdemeanours.69 Plangon’s sexual assault by Moschion, either her rape or her seduction, is carefully presented by him in the opening lines of the play as a hamartia when he says at 3 ἡμάρτηκα γὰρ [I’ve done wrong, you see], (transl. W. G. Arnott). Similar terminology is used by Moschion at 622 with respect to his father’s assumptions that Moschion has had an illicit affair with his Samian concubine : ἐφ’ οἷς μ’ ὁ πατὴρ ὑπέλαβεν ἡμαρτηκέναι [at what my father thought that I’d done wrong], (transl. W. G. Arnott). Plangon’s assault is referred to by Parmenon in a similar manner at 646–47: ὁ τρόφιμος ἐξήμαρτεν εἰς ἐλευθέραν / κόρην [Moschion seduced a free young lady], (transl. W. G. Arnott). Unlike what one might have expected in a tragic context, Moschion’s actual or supposed hamartia does not result in his fall and the transition from happiness to misery. The outcome of hamartia in tragedy is avoided in the Samia for the sake of a different dramatic goal that brings to the foreground not destruction and death, but the continuation of life and the preservation of the oikos.

  • 70 Cf. A. C. Scafuro, op. cit., p. 181; A. Fountoulakis, “The Rhetoric of Erôs in Menander’s Samia,” a (...)

40In the course of the play, the destruction of the oikos according to a distinctively tragic plot development of hamartia is vividly recalled, but only as a possibility used for the construction of its plot which evolves around the characters’ efforts in order to avoid it. Moschion tries to conceal his own hamartia, that is Plangon’s assault and her extra-marital pregnancy, so as to protect the welfare of their oikoi and their position in them. For similar reasons, Demeas blames Chrysis and not his son for the supposed affair between her and Moschion, and expels her from his house stressing her identity as a dangerous outsider. In this way, he manages to protect his oikos from the supposed intruder and avoid the direct conflict with his son, which would threat the oikos’ stability and his son’s position within its boundaries. In this way, the repercussions a hamartia might have had in a tragic context are being avoided, while the continuation of life and the preservation of the oikos are achieved through the reconciliation between father and son, and the marriage of Moschion and Plangon.70 The partial use of the tragic plot of hamartia might have drawn the audience’s attention to what such a plot could have brought about in the lives of the play’s characters. It might have also drawn attention to the deviations from such a plot and the aim of that deviation with respect to the ideology promoted throughout the play.

  • 71 Note that the same supposed misconduct is described by Demeas at 351 as atychêma. Cf. A. Fountoulak (...)
  • 72 See further S. Dworacki, art. cit., p. 17–18, 21–22; A. Fountoulakis, Αναζητώντας τον Διδακτικό Μέν (...)

41In the course of the Samia it becomes apparent that the presentation of Moschion’s action against Plangon as hamartia is a rhetorical way of describing an unjust act in order to recall a moral code prevalent in popular morality and Aristotelian thought, according to which a hamartia should be forgiven. This happens with respect to various characters in contexts recalling forensic speeches delivered during a trial. It is for this reason that Demeas, thinking that his son Moschion has had an affair with his Samian concubine, soliloquizes at 328 by saying to himself οὐδὲν γὰρ ἀδικεῖ Μοσχίων σε [for Moschion’s not wronging you], (transl. W. G. Arnott], this time recalling the Aristotelian distinction between hamartêma, atychêma and adikêma. The ultimate aim of such a reference is Moschion’s acquittal and the avoidance of his punishment in a quasi-judicial ambience.71 Similarly, at 397 Demeas considers his Samian concubine’s supposed unfaithfulness as her own hamartia. He thus tries to put the blame for her supposed affair with Moschion only on her: καὶ γνώσει τίς οὖσ’ ἡμάρτανες [you’ll find out what you are and how you blundered!], (transl. W. G. Arnott). At the same time, such a consideration turns her supposed conduct into a conduct that may be forgiven. In this way, it diminishes its seriousness and possible impact upon his oikos. At 703–12 Demeas asks for Moschion’s forgiveness by presenting his unfair attitude towards his son and Chrysis as his own hamartia stemming from misapprehension and ignorance. At 703 he exclaims ἠγνόησ’˙ ἥμαρτον˙ ἐμάνην [didn’t know the facts, made an error, I was crazy], (transl. W. G. Arnott). He refers to his attitude towards Chrysis as hamartia at 704 (ἁμαρτών) and 707 (ἁμαρτίαν) in an attempt to present his thoughts and actions as part of an unintentional mistake he made so as to defend his family. It is for this reason that at 709–10 he asks Moschion to judge him according to his permanent character traits and forgive him without taking into account a minor mistake he made on a single day: μὴ μνημονεύσῃς ἡμέραν μου τοῦ βίου / μίαν ἐν ᾗ διεσφάλην τι, τῶν δὲ πρόσθεν ἐπιλάθῃ [don’t just remember one day in my life when I made a slip, and overlook the times that came before], (transl. W. G. Arnott).72

  • 73 Menander, Phanion, fr. 389 K.‑A.
  • 74 See Aristotle, Poetics 1452b 33 – 1453a 17.

42To return to Gastron’s attempt to present his sexual misconduct as hamartia, one may note a similar handling of socially informed moral norms as rhetorical devices in the way this may happen in comedy. Even on a linguistic level, Gastron’s ἄνθρωπός εἰμ’, ἥμαρτον at 27 echoes the phrase ἄνθρωπος ὢν ἥμαρτον which belongs to Menander’s Phanion and illustrates a similar link between hamartia and human nature.73 Both phrases echo the Aristotelian perception of the average man as a being who is neither extremely virtuous nor extremely evil, but is prone to the commission of errors.74 What emerges as an important aspect of Herondas’ mimiambs is the development of a kind of courtroom drama known from Menander, which employs as tools moral concepts known in its social environment, but often further exploited and developed in tragedy in order to construct its characters and short plots in an ambience permeated by the norms and concerns of the mimiambs’ social contexts. As has already been pointed out, the contrast between such an ambience and the use of notions known from tragedy and philosophy is a fundamental component of the mimiambs’ humour.

  • 75 See W. G. Arnott, art. cit., p. 125.
  • 76 Diomedes, Art. Gramm. Lib. III, Keil (I, p. 491, l. 15–16).
  • 77 For Herondas’ mimiambs as a form of ‘para-comedy’ transferring scenes and ideas taken from comedy a (...)

43In an important article on Herondas Geoffrey Arnott notes the ‘mosaic’ technique employed by Herondas in the construction of his characters. According to that technique, “the author takes a character who begins by representing a general type or basic emotion (here jealousy), and he goes on to individualize this type figure by encrusting on to it a mosaic of little details, individual details of behaviour that have been observed from real life”.75 The notion of hamartia is part of those details. Yet despite its occurrence in social contexts, it emerges in mimiamb 5 shaped in the fields of tragedy and Aristotelian philosophy and further explored in the field of comedy. It is likely that the definition of the mime as μίμησις βίου τά τε συγκεχωρημένα καὶ ἀσυγχώρητα περιέχων [an imitation of life containing things acceptable and unacceptable], which is preserved by Diomedes,76 reflects a wider interest of the genre in themes that can be considered as moral and immoral and consequently in themes some of which may be associated with hamartia. Yet these themes provide glimpses of a fragmented world which appears in a more complete form in comedy and is suggestive of a fruitful appropriation of tragedy and philosophy in settings deeply rooted in those poems’ social and cultural ambience.77

Conclusion

44The notion of hamartia in Herondas’ mimiambs 1 and 5 embodies most of the semantic nuances it has in Aristotle’s moral writings and the Poetics. Yet when it comes to its function in Herondas, it is used in often unexpected ways in terms of the demands of the more ordinary world represented in the mimiambs’ plots. The handling of hamartia in Herondas may echo its occurrence in tragedy, but is closer to its handling in New Comedy where it retains the semantic nuances it has in the moral writings of Aristotle and the views concerning the best type of tragic plot expressed in the Poetics. At the same time, the comic appropriation of hamartia is not confined into an intrinsically tragic plot of error and fall, but exploits the main features of hamartia as possible determinants of human action. In many cases hamartia is turned into a rhetorical device employed in arguments pertaining to the explanation or the justification of a character’s action. This happens in a manner that presupposes an awareness of the relevant Aristotelian concepts and the ways these may be materialized in the field of popular morality and the action of tragedy. New Comedy thus keeps an ironical distance from tragic action and comes closer to the world of everyday experience. The same irony occurs in the handling of the same concepts on the part of Herondas.

  • 78 Considering the artificial literary language, the subtlety of characterization and the literary aff (...)
  • 79 Cf. E. Esposito, “Herodas and the Mime,” art. cit., p. 270.

45Moreover, Herondas’ mimiambs shed light on human character and action from the perspective of a mixing of genres which involves iambic poetry, on the one hand, and non-literary mimic genres and subgenres, on the other. This makes the appropriation of concepts occurring predominantly in the realm of high drama even more ironical in the eyes of an educated public capable of appreciating such generic distinctions and the ways in which one genre interacts with another with respect to the use of techniques, conventions, stereotypes and concepts.78 The focusing of the mimiambs on single characters or on small episodes from their lives functions as a magnifying glass that brings to the foreground the literary tissue of those characters and the irony generated by the mimiambs’ handling of other genres along with values and norms occurring in their social context. It is the contrast, in particular, between serious and non-serious that generates the kind of humour associated with Herondas’ use of hamartia. The literary and dramatic effect, either comical or not, of the mimiambs relies on such an irony and humour, which are interrelated with their generic identity. That effect stems from distinctions drawn between real and fictional, low and high, common and sophisticated or coarse and refined.79 This happens in a manner which betrays the generic formation of the mimiambs in a cultural ambience which encouraged their skilful exploitation of genres such as tragedy and, most importantly, New Comedy or even of Aristotle’s texts along with ethical norms and situations developed in the wider context of Greek society and culture.

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Notes

1 Internal evidence coming from mimiambs 1, 2 and 4 suggest that the mimiambs may be dated to the era of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–247 B.C.). This is suggested, in particular, by the references to the shrine of Ptolemy and Arsinoe in mimiamb 1, 30 (θεῶν ἀδελφῶν τέμενος), the city Ἄκη in mimiamb 2, 26, which was named Πτολεμαΐς only at some point between 286 and 266 B.C., and the sons of Praxiteles together with Apelles in mimiamb 4.25–26 and 76–77. For such a probable dating of Herondas, see Herodas, Mimiambi, ed. with introd., commentary and appendices by I. C. Cunningham, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971, p. 2, 66, 84–85, 128; B. G. Mandilaras (ed.), Οι Μίμοι του Ηρώνδα (2nd ed.), Athens, Kardamitsa, 1986, p. 39–40; Herodas, Mimiambs, ed. with a transl., introd. and commentary by G. Zanker, Oxford, Aris and Phillips, 2009, p. 1.

2 See A. Fountoulakis, “Herondas 8.66–79: Generic Self-Consciousness and Artistic Claims in Herondas’ Mimiambs,” Mnemosyne 55.3, 2002, p. 301–19.

3 Cf. U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Hellenistische Dichtung in der Zeit des Kallimachos, I, Berlin, Weidmann, 1924, p. 211–12; R. M. Rosen, “Mixing of Genres and Literary Program in Herodas 8,” HSCP 94, 1992, p. 205–16; E. Esposito, “Allusività epica e ispirazione giambica in Herond. 1 e 8,” Eikasmós 12, 2001, p. 141–59; M. Fantuzzi, R. Hunter, Tradition and Innovation in Hellenistic Poetry, Cambridge, CUP, 2004, p. 17–26; A. K. Petrides, “Μίμος, Μιμίαμβος, Μάχων, Παρωδοί, Σιλλογράφοι: Ελληνιστικές Μεταμορφώσεις του Κωμικού Τρόπου,” in F. P. Manakidou, K. Spanoudakis (eds), Αλεξανδρινή Μούσα: Συνέχεια και Νεωτερισμός στην Ελληνιστική Ποίηση, prologue A. Rengakos, Athens, Gutenberg, 2008, p. 441–99, esp. p. 458–64; E. Esposito, “Herodas and the Mime,” in A Companion to Hellenistic Literature, J. J. Clauss, M. Cuypers (eds), Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010, p. 267–81, esp. p. 270–80.

4 Athenaeus 14.621c.

5 Cf. I. C. Cunningham (ed.), op. cit., p. 15–16; G. Mastromarco, The Public of Herondas, Amsterdam, J. C. Gieben, 1984, p. 5–19; R. Hunter, “The Presentation of Herodas’ Mimiamboi,” Antichthon 27, 1993, p. 31–44; A. Cameron, Callimachus and His Critics, Princeton, N.J., PUP, 1995, p. 89–90; Eronda, Mimiambi (I‑IV), a cura di L. Di Gregorio, Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 1997, p. xv–xix; K.‑H. Stanzel, “Mimen, Mimepen und Mimiamben – Theokrit, Herodas und die Kreuzung der Gattungen,” in Genre in Hellenistic Poetry, M. A. Harder, R. F. Regtuit, G. C. Wakker (eds), Groningen, E. Forsten, Hellenistica Gronigana 3, 1998, p. 143–65; J. Hordern, Sophron’s Mimes. Text, Translation and Commentary, Oxford, OUP, 2004, p. 9; G. Zanker (ed.), op. cit., p. 5–6; E. Esposito, “Herodas and the Mime,” art. cit., p. 277–78; D. Kutzko, “Enacting Drama: Herod. 1 and A.P. V.181 (Ascl. 25, Gow-Page),” in Drama and Performance in Hellenistic Poetry, M. A. Harder, R. F. Regtuit, G. C. Wakker (eds), Leuven, Peeters, 2018, p. 157–71, esp. p. 157–60.

6 Cf. O. Hense, “Zum zweiten Mimiamb des Herodas,” RhM 55, 1900, p. 222–31; T. B. L. Webster, Hellenistic Poetry and Art, London, Methuen, 1964, p. 91–93; A. P. Smotrytsch, “Die Vorgänger des Herondas”, AAntHung 14, 1966, p. 61–75; B. Veneroni, “Allacciamenti tematici tra la commedia greco-latina e il mimo do Eroda,” RIL 107, 1973, p. 760–72; R. G. Ussher, “The Mimiamboi of Herodas,” Hermathena 129, 1980, p. 65–76; R. M. Rosen, art. cit.; C. Miralles, “La Poetica di Eroda,” Aevum(ant) 5, 1992, p. 89–113; R. L. Hunter, “Plautus and Herodas,” in Plautus und die Tradition des Stegreifspiels. Festgabe für Eckard Lefèvre zum 60. Geburtstag, L. Benz, E. Stärk, G. Vogt-Spira (eds), Tübingen, G. Narr, 1995, p. 155–69; A. K. Petrides, art. cit., p. 441–69.

7 See W. G. Arnott, “Herodas and the Kitchen Sink,” G&R 18, 1971, p. 121–32, esp. p. 125.

8 See A. Fountoulakis, “Herondas 8.66–79: Generic Self-Consciousness and Artistic Claims in Herondas’ Mimiambs,” art. cit., p. 311–14.

9 Mimiambs 1 and 5 are the principal extant texts of Herondas in which hamartia plays an important role. The use of the term hamartia or its cognates in Herondas, 4.95 is doubtful. See L. Di Gregorio (ed.), Eronda. Mimiambi (I-IV), op. cit., p. 309.

10 This does not mean that the notion of moral error was absent from earlier genres. For moral error in the Homeric poems, see A. W. H. Adkins, Merit and Responsibility: A Study in Greek Values, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1960, p. 30–60.

11 Cf. K. J. Dover, Greek Popular Morality in the Time of Plato and Aristotle, Oxford, B. Blackwell, 1974, p. 144–46, 152–53; E. Schütrumpf, “Traditional Elements in the Concept of Hamartia in Aristotle’s Poetics,” HSPh 92, 1989, p. 137–56.

12 J. M. Bremer, Hamartia: Tragic Error in the Poetics of Aristotle and in Greek Tragedy, Amsterdam, Hakkert, 1969.

13 T. C. W. Stinton, “Hamartia in Aristotle and Greek Tragedy,” CQ n.s. 25, 1975, p. 221–54 = Collected Papers on Greek Tragedy, with a forward by H. Lloyd-Jones, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1990, p. 143–85.

14 S. Saïd, La faute tragique, Paris, F. Maspero, Textes à l’appui, 1978.

15 Modern scholars do not agree on the exact meaning of hamartia in the Poetics. For relevant discussions, see, among others, R. R. Dyer, “Hamartia in the Poetics and Aristotle’s Model of Failure,” Arion 4, 1965, p. 658–64; A. W. H. Adkins, “Aristotle and the Best Kind of Tragedy,” CQ n.s. 16, 1966, p. 78–102, esp. p. 82, 89–90; R. D. Dawe, “Some Reflections on Ate and Hamartia,” HSPh 72, 1968, p. 89–123; J. M. Bremer, op. cit., p. 13–24; T. C. W. Stinton, art. cit., p. 143–52 ; E. Belfiore, Tragic Pleasures. Aristotle on Plot and Emotion, Princeton, N.J., PUP, 1992, p. 166–70; S. Halliwell, Aristotle’s Poetics (2nd ed.), London, Duckworth, 1998, p. 215–26, 228–30; S. Halliwell, “Learning from Suffering: Ancient Responses to Tragedy,” in A Companion to Greek Tragedy, J. Gregory (ed.), Malden, Blackwell, 2005, p. 394–412; S. Østerud, “Hamartia in Aristotle and Greek Tragedy,” SO 51, 1976, p. 65–80; H. Kim, “Aristotle’s Hamartia Reconsidered,” HSPh 105, 2010, p. 33–52; L. R. Lanzillotta, “Hamartia”, in The Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy, H. M. Roisman (ed.), II, Malden, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014, p. 1–2.

16 See Aristotle, Nic. Eth., 1109b 18 – 1111a 2. Cf. D. Konstan, Before Forgiveness. The Origins of a Moral Idea, Cambridge, CUP, 2010, p. 26–28.

17 Aristotle, Poet., 1450b 8–9.

18 Aristotle, Rhet. 1374b 4–16, Nic. Eth. 1109a 34, 1110a 18–21, 1110b 25, 1135a 17–18, 1125a 18, 1135b 16 – 1136a 9, 1149b 13, 1150b 30–31, 1152a 18; A. H. W. Adkins, “Aristotle and the Best Kind of Tragedy,” art. cit., p. 89–90; J. M. Bremer, op. cit., p. 52–57; T. C. W. Stinton, art. cit., p. 144–61; R. Sorabji, Necessity, Cause, and Blame: Perspectives on Aristotle’s Theory, London, Duckworth, 1980, p. 295–98; J. L. Moles, “Aristotle and Dido’s Hamartia,” G&R 31, 1984, p. 48–54, esp. p. 48–50; N. Sherman, The Fabric of Character. Aristotle’s Theory of Virtue, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1989, p. 18–19; A. Fountoulakis, “Playing with the Dramatic Conventions: Demeas’ Invocations in Menander, Samia 325–26,” C&M 62, 2011, p. 81–98, esp. p. 93–94.

19 A. Fountoulakis, “Playing with the Dramatic Conventions: Demeas’ Invocations in Menander, Samia 325–26,” art. cit., p. 93, n. 43.

20 Gorgias, Hel. 15; Xenophon, Hell. 6.3.10; Id., Cyrop. 3.1.38 and 40, 4.4.19, 6.1.37; Isaeus 1.13; Lysias 31.11; Antiphon 6.1; Aeschines 3.20; Isocrates 5.35.8.106; Demosthenes 18.274–75; Menander, Phanion, fr. 389 K.‑A.; Aristotle, Rhet. 1374b 4–16, Nic. Eth. 1110a 18–21, 1110b 25, 1135a 17–18, 1135b 16 – 1136a 9, 1149b 13, 1150b 30–31, 1152a 18; J. M. Bremer, op. cit., p. 47–59.

21 Aristotle, Poet. 1453a 7–11.

22 Cf. D. Dawe, “Some Reflections on Ate and Hamartia,” art. cit., p. 116–21; L. Golden, “Hamartia, Ate, and Oedipus,” CW 72, 1978, p. 3–12; R. Hull, “Hamartia and Heroic Nobility in Oedipus Rex,” Philosophy and Literature 17, 1993, p. 286–94; W. Rösler, “Ödipus und der Speerwerfer. Zur Hamartia-Konzeption des Aristoteles und zu ihrer Anwendung auf den König Ödipus des Sophokles,” Archiv für Papyrusforschung 57, 2011, p. 335–44; R. Glassberg, “Uses of Hamartia, Flaw, and Irony in Oedipus Tyrannus and King Lear,” Philosophy and Literature 41, 2017, p. 201–206, esp. p. 202–204.

23 See J. M. Bremer, op. cit., p. 118–94; T. C. W. Stinton, art. cit., p. 161–85.

24 See S. Dworacki, “‘Hamartia’ in Menander,” Eos 65, 1977, p. 17–24.

25 See A. Hurst, “Ménandre et la tragédie,” in Relire Ménandre, A. Hurst, E. Handley (eds), Geneva, Droz, 1990, p. 93–122; C. Cusset, Ménandre ou la comédie tragique, Paris, CNRS éd., 2003, p. 13–29, 109–210 and passim; A. Fountoulakis, “Δραματικοί Αντικατοπτρισμοί: Ο Μένανδρος και το Κλασικό Δράμα στο Κατώφλι του Ελληνιστικού Κόσμου,” in T. G. Pappas, A. G. Markantonatos (eds), Αττική Κωμωδία: Πρόσωπα και Προσεγγίσεις, introd. D. Iakov, Athens, Gutenberg, 2011, p. 103–93, esp. p. 103–38, 154–80.

26 This is a common way in which tragic elements are incorporated in the comedies of Menander. See C. Cusset, op. cit., p. 81–98.

27 Cf. M. Anderson, “Knemon’s Hamartia,” G&R 17, 1970, p. 199–217; S. Dworacki, art. cit., p. 19–21; A. Fountoulakis, “Δραματικοί Αντικατοπτρισμοί: Ο Μένανδρος και το Κλασικό Δράμα στο Κατώφλι του Ελληνιστικού Κόσμου,” art. cit., p. 130–34.

28 This may be inferred from her words along with the poem’s second title (μαστροπός). Cf. G. Zanker, op. cit., p. 21–22. If this title is indeed invented by a later grammarian, as Cunningham suggests, then it may function as an explanation of the προκυκλίς or as an indication of a later scholar’s assumptions concerning her character. Cf. I. C. Cunningham (ed.), op. cit., p. 58.

29 Cf. L. Di Gregorio, “La figura di Metriche nel primo mimiambo di Eronda,” in Studia classica Iohanni Tarditi oblata, L. Belloni, G. Milanese, A. Porro (eds), Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 1995, p. 675–94, esp. p. 683–87.

30 This is suggested by Metriche’s use at 7 of ἀμμία, meaning ‘Madame’. See R. G. Ussher, “The Mimic Tradition of ‘Character’ in Herodas,” QUCC 21, 1985, p. 45–68, esp. p. 48–49.

31 The text of Herondas’ mimiambs, which appears in this paper with minor amendments, comes from Herodas, Mimiambi, ed. I. C. Cunningham, Munich, K. G. Saur, 2004.

32 Athenaeus 14.620d–621d.

33 See D. Kutzko, “Enacting Drama: Herod. 1 and A.P. V.181 (Ascl. 25, Gow-Page),” art. cit., p. 161–70. For the use of dramatic techniques in mimiambs 6 and 7, see D. Kutzko, “The Major Importance of a Minor Poet: Herodas 6 and 7 as a Quasi-Dramatic Diptych,” in Beyond the Canon, M. A. Harder, R. F. Regtuit, G. C. Wakker (eds), Leuven, Peeters, Hellenistica Gronigana 11, 2006, p. 167–83.

34 See L. Di Gregorio (ed.), Eronda. Mimiambi (I-IV), op. cit., p. 47–50; G. Zanker, op. cit., p. 21–22, 36–39.

35 A. Fountoulakis, “Herondas 8.66–79: Generic Self-Consciousness and Artistic Claims in Herondas’ Mimiambs,” art. cit., p. 305.

36 See Euripides, Hipp. 123–202.

37 See Aristotle, Nic. Eth. 1145a 16 – 1150b 20; A. O. Rorty, “Akrasia and Pleasure: Nicomachean Ethics Book 7,” in Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics, A. O. Rorty (ed.), Berkeley, UCP, 1980, p. 267–84; P. Destrée, “Aristotle on the Causes of Akrasia,” in Akrasia in Greek Philosophy: From Socrates to Plotinus, C. Bobonich, P. Destrée (eds), Leiden, Brill, 2007, p. 141–65; R. Robinson, “Aristotle on Akrasia (Book VII 1–11),” in Aristotle’s “Nicomachean Ethics,” O. Höffe, D. Fernbach (eds), Berlin, Akademie-Verlag, 2010, p. 149–66.

38 See Euripides, Hipp. 239–66.

39 See Euripides, Hipp. 392–97, 507–24.

40 See Euripides, Hipp. 725–31.

41 See Euripides, Hipp. 715–21.

42 See Euripides, Hipp. 10–22.

43 See Euripides, Hipp. 601–62.

44 For these forms of hamartia in the Hippolytus, see J. M. Bremer, op. cit., p. 175–79; T. C. W. Stinton, art. cit. p. 176–78; C. A. E. Luschnig, “The Value of Ignorance in the Hippolytus,” AJPh 104, 1983, p. 115–23; C. Segal, Euripides and the Poetics of Sorrow: Art, Gender, and Commemoration in Alcestis, Hippolytus, and Hecuba, Durham, Duke University Press, 1993, p. 136–53.

45 See Euripides, Hipp. 123–202; Herondas 1.59–60.

46 Euripides, Hipp. 613–15.

47 Cf. I. C. Cunningham (ed.), Herodas: Mimiambi, 1971, op. cit., p. 74 for the connection of this line with the reasoning and the phrasing of Herondas 1.61–62.

48 Euripides, Hipp. 1334–35.

49 Considering the amatory context of Gyllis’ reference to that goddess and the fact that she is a procuress who might well have been a hetaira in the past as is likely to happen with her interlocutor, it is reasonable to assume that the goddess referred to would be Aphrodite. The same thing happens in mimiamb 5.77 with respect to the use of the word Τύραννον with reference to Aphrodite. See A. Fountoulakis, “Bitinna and the Tyrant: Some Remarks on Herondas 5.74–77,” Philologus 151, 2007, p. 230–43.

50 Cf. R. G. Ussher, “The Mimic Tradition of ‘Character” in Herodas,” art. cit., p. 49–50.

51 Gyllis’ advice to Metriche to offer a hamartia to the goddess of love may echo similar tragic phrases (Cf. e.g. Euripides, Ion 896) pointing towards the relation between human action and the gods, which is often found in tragedy.

52 Cf. See D. Kutzko, “Enacting Drama: Herod. 1 and A.P. V.181 (Ascl. 25, Gow-Page),” art. cit., p. 163.

53 For the social status of Bitinna, see A. Fountoulakis, “Bitinna and the Tyrant: Some Remarks on Herondas 5.74–77,” art. cit., p. 233–39.

54 Herondas 5.14–17.

55 For akrasia in Aristotle, see above n. 36.

56 Cf. Aristotle, Pol. 1253b 1–18, 1254a 4–18, 1254b 25–27, NE 1149a 9–12; M. I. Finley, Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology, London, Chatto & Windus, 1980, p. 74–77; N. R. E. Fisher, Slavery in Classical Greece, Bristol, Bristol Classical Press, 1993, p. 92–98; P. duBois, Slaves and Other Objects, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p. 94–100; A. Fountoulakis, “Punishing the Lecherous Slave: Desire and Power in Herondas 5,” in Fear of Slaves. Fear of Enslavement in the Ancient Mediterranean = Peur de l’esclave – Peur de l’esclavage en Méditerranée ancienne. Discours, représentations, pratiques. Actes du XXIXe colloque du Groupe international de recherche sur l’esclavage dans l'Antiquité (GIREA), Rethymnon, 4‑7 novembre 2004 A. Serghidou (ed.), Besançon, Presses universitaires de Franche-Comté, 2007, p. 251–64, esp. p. 255, n. 27; K. L. Wrenhaven, Reconstructing the Slave. The Image of the Slave in Ancient Greece, London, Bloomsbury, 2012, p. 63–73, 139–49.

57 Herondas 5.26–28.

58 However, David Konstan observes that Gastron does not actually ask for Bitinna’s forgiveness, but exhibits humbleness and remorse so as to avoid punishment as, according to Aristotle, a slave ought to do before his master. See D. Konstan, op. cit., p. 25, n. 6.

59 See Aristotle, Nic. Eth., 1109b 18 – 1111a 2.

60 Cf. D. Konstan, “The Tyrant Goddess: Herodas’s Fifth Mime,” ClAnt 8, 1989, p. 267–82, esp. p. 274; J. Stern, “Herodas Mimiamb 5,” CPh 76, 1981, p. 207–11, esp. p. 208–209; A. Fountoulakis, “Punishing the Lecherous Slave: Desire and Power in Herondas 5,” art. cit., p. 262–63.

61 Cf. B. Akrigg, “Aristophanes, Slaves and History,” in Slaves and Slavery in Ancient Greek Comic Drama, B. Akrigg, R. Tordoff (eds), Cambridge, CUP, 2013, p. 111–23; D. Konstan, “Menander’s Slaves: The Banality of Violence,” in B. Akrigg, R. Tordoff (eds), op. cit., p. 144–58.

62 For the element of irony in mimiamb 5, see A. Fountoulakis, “Punishing the Lecherous Slave: Desire and Power in Herondas 5,” art. cit., p. 262–63.

63 Herondas 5.15, 27, 78.

64 See A. Fountoulakis, “Punishing the Lecherous Slave: Desire and Power in Herondas 5,” art. cit., p. 262–63.

65 In classical Athens the use of oratory for the deception of the audience in the law courts and the Assembly was punished by law even with a death sentence (cf. Demosthenes 20.135; [Demosthenes] 49.67). The aim of such a use was the defamation of an opponent or the benefit of the speaker or those defended by him. See J. Hesk, Deception and Democracy in Classical Athens, Cambridge, CUP, 2000, p. 20–84 and passim; C. Kremmydas, “The Discourse of Deception and Characterization in Attic Oratory,” GRBS 53, 2013, p. 51–89.

66 For the emergence of popular morality in oratory, see K. J. Dover, op. cit., p. 8–14.

67 Cf. e.g. Lysias 31.11; Aeschines 3.20; Demosthenes 18.274–75.

68 See A. C. Scafuro, The Forensic Stage. Settling Disputes in Graeco-Roman New Comedy, Cambridge, CUP, 1997, p. 68–114, 154–92. For the treatment of moral issues in Old Comedy, see K. J. Dover, op. cit., p. 23–33.

69 For the rhetorical aspects of the speeches of both Moschion and Demeas in a quasi-judicial context, see A. C. Scafuro, op. cit., p. 27–28, 254, 258–65, 278; A. Fountoulakis, “The Rhetoric of Erôs in Menander’s Samia,” in Poet and Orator. A Symbiotic Relationship in Democratic Athens, A. Markantonatos, E. Volonaki (eds), Berlin, W. de Gruyter, Trends in Classics. Suppl. vol. 74, 2019, p. 33–69, esp. p.  38–39, 53–54, 58–59.

70 Cf. A. C. Scafuro, op. cit., p. 181; A. Fountoulakis, “The Rhetoric of Erôs in Menander’s Samia,” art. cit., p. 58–61.

71 Note that the same supposed misconduct is described by Demeas at 351 as atychêma. Cf. A. Fountoulakis, “The Rhetoric of Erôs in Menander’s Samia,” art. cit., p. 53–54.

72 See further S. Dworacki, art. cit., p. 17–18, 21–22; A. Fountoulakis, Αναζητώντας τον Διδακτικό Μένανδρο: Μια Προσέγγιση της Κωμωδίας του Μενάνδρου και μια Διερεύνηση της Σαμίας, Athens, Typothêto, 2004, p. 162–64; A. Fountoulakis, “Playing with the Dramatic Conventions: Demeas’ Invocations in Menander, Samia 325–26,” art. cit., p. 93–95.

73 Menander, Phanion, fr. 389 K.‑A.

74 See Aristotle, Poetics 1452b 33 – 1453a 17.

75 See W. G. Arnott, art. cit., p. 125.

76 Diomedes, Art. Gramm. Lib. III, Keil (I, p. 491, l. 15–16).

77 For Herondas’ mimiambs as a form of ‘para-comedy’ transferring scenes and ideas taken from comedy at a low social level, see R. L. Hunter, “Plautus and Herodas,” op. cit., p. 160.

78 Considering the artificial literary language, the subtlety of characterization and the literary affiliations of Herondas’ mimiambs, it becomes highly probable that they were intended for educated elite addressees capable of appreciating those features of his work. For such a public in connection with those features, see A. D. Knox, “Herodes and Callimachus,” Philologus 81, 1926, p. 241–55, esp. p. 243; W. G. Arnott, art. cit., p. 123; G. Mastromarco, op. cit., p. 65–97.

79 Cf. E. Esposito, “Herodas and the Mime,” art. cit., p. 270.

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Andreas Fountoulakis, « Fragile Characters in a Fragmented World: Hamartia in Herondas », Aitia [En ligne], 11.1 | 2021, mis en ligne le 01 août 2021, consulté le 28 novembre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/aitia/6398 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/aitia.6398

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Andreas Fountoulakis

University of Crete

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