Βασίλειος Λεντάκης, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Βασίλειος Βερτουδάκης, Λέκτορας, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
Δημήτριος Καραδήμας, Αναπληρωτής Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Φιλολογίας, Φιλοσοφική Σχολή ΕΚΠΑ
This paper concerns the events of 415 B.C. and is related to the profanation of the Eleusinian Mysteries and the mutilation of the Hermai, just before the Sicilian Expedition was about to begin. These two scandals disrupted the Athenians, and thus, legal proceedings were initiated to find out those responsible for the crimes. The events, which followed, created a fatal gap between the demos and its leaders, especially Alcibiades, and had a devastating effect on the success of military operations and on the political life of Athens for the following twelve years at least. The objective of this paper is to make known the prospective motives of the perpetrators and to show how the religious and political elements are inter-related. For this reason, primary sources were utilized, particularly Thucydides and Andokides, and were supplemented by inscriptions known as Attic Stelai and information from Plutarch’s Alcibiades. Upon examination of these texts, it becomes clear that each writer has his own perspective and places the events according to his own interpretative framework. Regarding the Mysteries, it seems that the parodies were unveiled coincidentally and were probably some sort of pistis, with very little chance to foreshadow something more ambitious, such as the overthrow of the regime. The vandalism of the Hermai ensured loyalty to the hetaireia and probably aimed at the cancellation of the Sicilian Expedition. An act as symbolically charged as this, on the eve of the departure, did not come from people sympathizing with the democratic regime, to which blame for this military operation was ascribed. Regarding the way the two scandals were linked to the Athenian mind, undoubtedly many took advantage of the turbulent atmosphere in Athens, and did not all have the same motives. The unrest of the Athenian demos came from the deliberate attempts of some politicians to intensify the absurdity, and from the fact that both acts constituted disrespect to the gods.
the profanation of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the mutilation of the Hermai, the Sicilian Expedition, hetaireia, Attic Stelai 415 B.C.