Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Troy Book-Ended: Parallels in Iliad Book II and Aeneid Book II (Vergilian Cribbing - Æneid Book II)

Identity of genre admits diversity of imaginative quality. Virgil himself has sometimes suffered from the neglect of this principle and critics have wasted time in showing that he is a weak Homer—forgetting that Homer is a far weaker Virgil, and that neither poet could possibly console us for the loss of the other. 
-C.S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love


The gentle Vergil, whom instructors call the Mantuan swan, perhaps because he was not born in that city, he considered one of the most terrible pedants ever produced by antiquity. Des Esseintes was exasperated by his immaculate and bedizened shepherds, his Orpheus whom he compares to a weeping nightingale, his Aristaeus who simpers about bees, his Aeneas, that weak-willed, irresolute person who walks with wooden gestures through the length of the poem. Des Esseintes would gladly have accepted the tedious nonsense which those marionettes exchange with each other off-stage; or even the poet's impudent borrowings from Homer, Theocritus, Ennius and Lucretius; the plain theft, revealed to us by Macrobius, of the second song of the Aeneid, copied almost word for word from one of Pisander's poems; in fine, all the unutterable emptiness of this heap of verses.
-Joris-Karl Huysmans, À rebours. Trans. by John Howard

Given the opening line of The Æneid, Arma virumque cano, we should not be surprised at the artificial cutting of the epic in twain, where the first half, Books I - VI, are based primarily off of Homer's Odyssey, and the second half, Books VII - XII, off of Homer's Iliad; therefore, the primary themes of the first half concern a "man" and his "wanderings", while the second half concern the "arms of war". Despite these overarching generalities, Vergil often diverges from the model of his larger arcs in interesting ways, in that some of the scenes and structures of some books are modeled off of works and authors different from The Odyssey and The Iliad; nor should this realization be surprising, as The Poet is known as a clever thief of other poet's lines. In conclusion, by an examination the similarities and differences between the second book of Homer's Iliad and the corresponding book of Vergil's Æneid, we may gain insight into the ways in which Vergil uses, adapts, and differs from his models, and such insight may prove helpful as additional ways to read, interpret, and understand the scope, tone, and structure of The Æneid.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

These Are The Dorians You Are Looking For: Disputing the Dorian Invasion Theory

"About the year 1104 B.C, a new wave of immigration or invasion came down upon Greece from the restlessly expanding north. Through Illyria and Thessaly, across the Corinthian Gulf at Naupactus, and over the Isthmus at Corinth, a warlike people, tall, roundheaded, letterless, slipped or marched or poured into the Peloponnesus, mastered it, and almost completely destroyed Mycenaean civilization."

[...] 

"One thing [this warlike people] had in unheard-of quantity -- iron. They were the emissaries of Hallstatt* culture to Greece; and the hard metal of their swords and souls gave them a merciless supremacy over Achaeans and Cretans who still used bronze to kill." 

[...] 

"This terminal catastrophe in the prehistory of Aegean civilization is what modern historians know as the Dorian conquest, and what Greek tradition called the Return of the Heracleidae." 

-Will Durant, The Life of Greece, Chapter III.VI. The Dorian Conquest


These Are The Dorians You Are Looking For


Few theories in classical scholarship match The Dorian Invasion (what Durant called "the Dorian conquest") in terms of violating the basics of sound research in favor of hopeful yet groundless suppositions to fill in the gaps separating the evidence. The theory works something like this: in the 1820s and '30s, a desire grew amongst Hellenic scholars to account for the apparent differences in the Trojan War/Heroic Age culture of the Mycenaeans/Akhaians and the cultures of the post-Dark Age Classical Greeks. Thomas Keightly, an Irish writer known for writing fairy tales and compiling "fit-for-ladies" editions of Graeco-Roman mythology and history, referred to the event first as the "Dorian Migration" in his textbook on Greek history (1831) and then later as the "Dorian Invasion" in his text on Greek mythology (1837). Like Durant, historian William Mitford links the event to a so-called "Return of the Heracleidae" in his History of Greece (1823), and describes it as an invasion and conquest of the southern Peloponnese by the northern Dorians. 

Drawing from references to an event mentioned by Herodotos, Thoukydides, and other ancient writers, these scholars began to write about a southward invasion taken on by a savage iron-wielding people, and this event nearly wiped out the Mycenaeans/Akhaians, just as they themselves had once invaded and nearly destroyed the native Pelasgians nearly a millennium earlier. These northern barbarian warriors were called the Dorians, whom some scholars wrote of as wielding iron weaponry which surpassed the bronze armor and edges of the Mycenaean forces:

"The Dorians seem to have been armed with iron, the commoner use of which metal may have given them a great superiority in war. They bore round metal shields, and wore a square woollen cloak, fastened over the shoulders with brooches (safety-pins)"
-H.B. Cotterill, Ancient Greece, The Dark Age
It was their advent which brought about the end of Mycenaean/Akhaian civilization and stability, and thus inaugurated the Dark Ages of Greece. Centuries later, emerging from these dark times, the Dorian people were hereafter viewed as an ethnic branch the Hellenic people living prominently in the Peloponnese and the western regions of northern Greece. When a Classical Greek would have thought of a Dorian, they would have thought first of a Spartan (as in Herodotos' statement below that King Kroisos equated Dorians with Lakedaimonians). In the end, the Invasion Theory strives to explain how this Doric people came to arrive where they came to arrive, for their violent invasion would neatly explain not only the Dark Ages, but changes in pottery, art, and in styles of brooches (safety-pins!) between the two periods which are separated by these so-called Dark Ages; however, the theory's proponents seem to have little issue either ignoring or warping the evidence in favor of this view. A perfunctory examination of the literary and archaeological evidence available points to the Dorians being the northern branch of the Mycenaean/Akhaian Greek-speaking population who migrated both southward and eastward following the fall of Troy in Asia Minor. 

Firstly, let us begin with the first account of the movements of the Aegean peoples. Here follows the pertinent passage concerning the Dorians and their origins from the first book of Herodotos' Historiai

[KLEIO.56] τούτοισι ἐλθοῦσι τοῖσι ἔπεσι ὁ Κροῖσος πολλόν τι μάλιστα πάντων ἥσθη, ἐλπίζων ἡμίονον οὐδαμὰ ἀντ᾽ ἀνδρὸς βασιλεύσειν Μήδων, οὐδ᾽ ὦν αὐτὸς οὐδὲ οἱ ἐξ αὐτοῦ παύσεσθαι κοτὲ τῆς ἀρχῆς. μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ἐφρόντιζε ἱστορέων τοὺς ἂν Ἑλλήνων δυνατωτάτους ἐόντας προσκτήσαιτο φίλους, ἱστορέων δὲ εὕρισκε Λακεδαιμονίους καὶ Ἀθηναίους προέχοντας τοὺς μὲν τοῦ Δωρικοῦ γένεος τοὺς δὲ τοῦ Ἰωνικοῦ. ταῦτα γὰρ ἦν τὰ προκεκριμένα, ἐόντα τὸ ἀρχαῖον τὸ μὲν Πελασγικὸν τὸ δὲ Ἑλληνικὸν ἔθνος. καὶ τὸ μὲν οὐδαμῇ κω ἐξεχώρησε, τὸ δὲ πολυπλάνητον κάρτα. ἐπὶ μὲν γὰρ Δευκαλίωνος βασιλέος οἴκεε γῆν τὴν Φθιῶτιν, ἐπὶ δὲ Δώρου τοῦ Ἕλληνος τὴν ὑπὸ τὴν Ὄσσαν τε καὶ τὸν Ὄλυμπον χώρην, καλεομένην δὲ Ἱστιαιῶτιν· ἐκ δὲ τῆς Ἱστιαιώτιδος ὡς ἐξανέστη ὑπὸ Καδμείων, οἴκεε ἐν Πίνδῳ Μακεδνὸν καλεόμενον· ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ αὖτις ἐς τὴν Δρυοπίδα μετέβη καὶ ἐκ τῆς Δρυοπίδος οὕτω ἐς Πελοπόννησον ἐλθὸν Δωρικὸν ἐκλήθη. 
And when these verses came back to him, Kroisos was most pleased above all, hoping that a mule would in no way rule as king over the Medes instead of a man: so, neither he himself nor those who came after him would lose his empire. And after he learned these things, he sought who the mightiest of the Hellenes might be and how to win them over as friends, and in so doing he discovered the Lakedaimonioi and the Athenaioi to be the chief peoples, the former being of the Doric tribe and the latter of the Ionic. For these have been the foremost distinguished peoples, being in existence from the beginning, one as a Pelasgian people [the Ionians] and the other as a Hellenic people [the Doric]. And never have the Pelasgoi left from their home, while the other hath wandered very far and wide. For in the time of King Deukalion, the race of Hellen lived in the land of Phthia, and under the leadership of Doros, a son of Hellen, they dwelt in the land at the base of Ossa and Olympos, a place called Histiaiotis. And from Histiaios they were driven out by the Kadmeioi, and then they dwelt in Pindos, calling it Makednon. And thence unto Dryopis they passed over and from Dyropis they came to the Peloponnese and were called the Doric tribe.
-Herodotos of Halikarnassos, Kleio (Book I); 56. Trans. is my own.


Hardly an invasion. So, the Dorians, the tribe of Doros, a son of Hellen, son of Deukalion (the Greek Noah), were driven from their northern homeland by the southern Kadmeioi, the Cadmeans, i.e. the ancient Boiotians (see the Thoukydides passage below). They then moved to Mt. Pindus, which they called Makednon (Macedon?) and then to Dryopis, and then the Peloponnese, i.e. where Sparta is located, a town which becomes inextricably linked with the Dorians. The verbs here do not denote any violent action. The most active verb in the whole account of the Dorians' movements is actually passive, as it describes the Doric tribe being "up-rooted" ἐξανέστη, "taken out after lifting up from a seated position" by the Kadmeioi. If anything, that describes an invasion, only it happened to the Dorians. The other verbs are variants of standard moving verbs and are more migratory in nature (μετέβη and ἐλθὸν). 


It is to be here noted that in a commentary of this passage, editors W.W. How and J. Wells take time to describe the details of the Dorian Invasion in a section they entitled, "Evidence for reality of Dorian invasion", claiming that the facts concerning the invasion were "fully-developed" in the time of Herodotos. The "evidence" which follows amounts to thus: quoting Tyrtaios fr. 2 and Pindar's Pythian Ode I.63, the event must have been an invasion (or maybe not: "Beloch argues the story is an invention"), and is based upon the following enumerated "facts": 
  • "Modern archaeological research tends to vindicate the accuracy of Greek myths in their general outlines.
  • "If tradition is ever good evidence, it would be so for an event of such importance.
  • "Tradition is confirmed by the existence of subject classes (probably subject races) in many parts of the Peloponnese.
  • "The Dorians always looked on themselves as being new-comers in the Peloponnese. 
  • "The tradition explains such facts as resemblance of Dorian and Aeolian dialects (Busolt, i. 195) and the connexion of the Lacedaemonians with Doris, which is of great importance in historic times."
-W.W. How & J. Wells, commentary on Herodotos' Historiai. Kleio.56

Immediately following this less-than-impressive enumeration, the editors admit that "[i]t must be frankly admitted, however, that we know nothing of the details of the Invasion."



Armed with all of this knowledge, we may now turn our attention back to Herodotos:

[KLEIO.57] ἥντινα δὲ γλῶσσαν ἵεσαν οἱ Πελασγοί, οὐκ ἔχω ἀτρεκέως εἰπεῖν. εἰ δὲ χρεόν ἐστι τεκμαιρόμενον λέγειν τοῖσι νῦν ἔτι ἐοῦσι Πελασγῶν τῶν ὑπὲρ Τυρσηνῶν Κρηστῶνα πόλιν οἰκεόντων, οἳ ὅμουροι κοτὲ ἦσαν τοῖσι νῦν Δωριεῦσι καλεομένοισι (οἴκεον δὲ τηνικαῦτα γῆν τὴν νῦν Θεσσαλιῶτιν καλεομένην ), καὶ τῶν Πλακίην τε καὶ Σκυλάκην Πελασγῶν οἰκησάντων ἐν Ἑλλησπόντῳ, οἳ σύνοικοι ἐγένοντο Ἀθηναίοισι, καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα Πελασγικὰ ἐόντα πολίσματα τὸ οὔνομα μετέβαλε· εἰ τούτοισι τεκμαιρόμενον δεῖ λέγειν, ἦσαν οἱ Πελασγοὶ βάρβαρον γλῶσσαν ἱέντες. εἰ τοίνυν ἦν καὶ πᾶν τοιοῦτο τὸ Πελασγικόν, τὸ Ἀττικὸν ἔθνος ἐὸν Πελασγικὸν ἅμα τῇ μεταβολῇ τῇ ἐς Ἕλληνας καὶ τὴν γλῶσσαν μετέμαθε. καὶ γὰρ δὴ οὔτε οἱ Κρηστωνιῆται οὐδαμοῖσι τῶν νῦν σφέας περιοικεόντων εἰσὶ ὁμόγλωσσοι οὔτε οἱ Πλακιηνοί, σφίσι δὲ ὁμόγλωσσοι· δηλοῦσί τε ὅτι τὸν ἠνείκαντο γλώσσης χαρακτῆρα μεταβαίνοντες ἐς ταῦτα τὰ χωρία, τοῦτον ἔχουσι ἐν φυλακῇ. 
And whatever the language it was the Pelasgoi spoke, I do not have any idea with certainty. But if we take as read how the speech of the Pelasgoi of the present day is, it like how the Tyrsenoi who live around the city of Kreston speak -- and indeed, they themselves were once neighbors of a people now called the Dorioi, who were dwelling at that very time in a place now called Thessaliotis. It also sounds like how the Pelasgoi speak where they have dwelt at Plakie and Skylake on the Hellespont, and there they had dwelt alongside the Athenaioi, and a great many of the Pelasgic towns adopted their name. And if we take as read how their speech is, the Pelasgoi were speaking a barbaric [i.e. non-Greek] tongue. And indeed if it is so, then the whole Pelasgic race spoke like that, and Attika, being Pelasgic, altogether changed in the movement towards the Hellenes and learned to change their tongue. For indeed, neither do the Krestonians of today speak like their neighbors, nor do the Plakienians speak like anyone around them. So it is clear that they have kept the characteristics of their tongue while adopting the lands where they are now and there have they preserved those characteristics. 

What Herodotos is describing here is the Akhaian/Mycenaean migration and invasion southward, the event which displaced the Pelasgians and  "changed" (μεταβολῇ and μετέμαθε) the Athenians to trend towards the Akhaians. Everyone, this is the Dorian invasion, just not the Dorian (majuscule) I-nvasion you're looking for. The Dorians, the Dorioi, ARE the Akhaioi, just as the Akhaioi are the Danaoi, just as the Danaoi are the Argeioi, just as the Argeioi are the Greeks. 





They're all the same people. The Dorians were amongst the northern Akhaian inhabitants of the Grecian peninsula and the Balkans. The Dorians were amongst the Proto-Greek-speaking Greeks. They came south, displacing (perhaps violently or otherwise), the Pelasgian presence in the Peloponnese and the coast. As recounted above, the Pelasgian presence was still felt in Attika and Athens and the islands of the Aegean (around the Hellespont, Herodotos writes). The Pelasgians, i.e. Ionians, i.e. Athenians are the ones who possess the non-Greek element, the Pelasgians, in this whole affair. The mistake the Dorian Invasion Theory proponents have made is that they have exaggerated the writings of the Greek historians and transformed an event those writers themselves refer to as a migration of northern Greek peoples into a large-scale southward invasion by a non-Greek-speaking iron-wielding people. Indeed, this will become clearer as we continue reading Herodotos:



[KLEIO.58] τὸ δὲ Ἑλληνικὸν γλώσσῃ μὲν ἐπείτε ἐγένετο αἰεί κοτε τῇ αὐτῇ διαχρᾶται, ὡς ἐμοὶ καταφαίνεται εἶναι· ἀποσχισθὲν μέντοι ἀπὸ τοῦ Πελασγικοῦ ἐόν ἀσθενές, ἀπό σμικροῦ τεο τὴν ἀρχὴν ὁρμώμενον αὔξηται ἐς πλῆθος τῶν ἐθνέων, Πελασγῶν μάλιστα προσκεχωρηκότων αὐτῷ καὶ ἄλλων ἐθνέων βαρβάρων συχνῶν. πρόσθε δὲ ὦν ἔμοιγε δοκέει οὐδὲ τὸ Πελασγικὸν ἔθνος, ἐὸν βάρβαρον, οὐδαμὰ μεγάλως αὐξηθῆναι. 
And the Hellenic race hath ever spoken its own tongue, as it appears to me. It was a branch of the Pelasgic tongue, and starting weak from small beginnings, grew and was increased by many speakers whom the Pelasgoi approached and with whom other barbaric peoples allied. And before all of these facts, it hath been clear to me that neither was the Pelasgic race, a barbaric [non-Greek] one, one which bred very much.
-Herodotos of Halikarnassos, Kleio (Book I); 56-58. Trans. is my own.

Notably, the commentary mentioned above has nothing to say on this passage. Either way, the passage rather conclusively blows an irreparable hole in the Dorian Invasion Theory: the Pelasgians spoke a non-Greek, but maybe an Indo-European tongue, while the "Hellenic race hath ever spoken its own tongue", originally a minor branch of the Pelasgic. According to Herodotos, the Hellenes, i.e. the Dorians, i,e, the Akhaians, i.e. the Danaoi, i.e. the Mycenaeans have always spoken a form of Greek. And indeed, linguistical evidence recovered by archaeology confirms that claim to be true: Linear B is an early form of Greek, so-called Proto-Greek, and so there has been an unbroken chain of Greek speakers in Greece since the Akhaian/Mycenaean migration. For the Dorian Invasion to be true, then a barbaric non-Greek speaking people came south and conquered by displacement or murder the native Greek-speaking populace. If this is true, then why is Greek still the spoken language of the conquered lands? The proponents of the Doric Invasion Theory have to explain how the Dorian Invasion fits into the facts that both the Greeks' own historians (like Herodotos) say that the inhabitants of the mainland have always spoken Greek since their southward migration/invasion, when they displaced the Pelasgians, and that archaeology and linguistics conclusively proves such an event. Did these conquering Dorians stop speaking their non-Greek tongue and adopt their conquered people's Greek language? What would have been the Doric non-Greek language? How exactly did the Greek language survive from the Mycenaean Proto-Greek written in Linear B to the Pre-Classical Greek of the centuries emerging from the Dark Ages, after the time of the so-called Doric Invasion? How did The Iliad survive, for it is a poem sung in Ionic tongues before the Doric Invasion and then continues to be sung and celebrated afterward? How can the invaders be Dorians if Herodotos says that the Dorians were Hellenes and therefore Greek? Indeed, if Herodotos is to be believed, he implies that the Pelasgians' low population is the reason for the growth of Hellenic presence south of their northern homeland: they moved south and their numbers grew; the Pelasgians did not, and centered in Attica and the coasts and islands.


Bolstering the argument against the idea of the Invasion, an article written by Vladimir Georgiev entitled "Mycenaean among the Other Greek Dialects" presents convincing evidence of the linguistic and dialectical differences among the Hellenic people after the Pelasgian invasion and displacement, and the consequences of such evidence necessitates that certain events must have taken place. Firstly, we must account for the presence of a Pelasgian, i.e. non-Greek presence in the Peloponnese. Secondly, a migration or invasion from the north by a Greek-speaking people, who displaced the Pelasgians. Thirdly, this Proto-Greek tongue was split into three main dialects: Iawonic (Ionic), Aiwolic (Aeolic), and Doric. Almost any treatment of the Doric dialect is pointedly absent from the article, as the "Western-Greek" dialect is considered to have "no direct relation to Mycenaean", that is, Ionic-Aeolic. But "Greek" nonetheless -- the article indeed refers to Doric as Greek, not non-Greek.


Beholden to Myth - The Trojan War, the Nostoi, and the Return of the Herakleidai


If all of this is correct, and particularly the claim that Herodotos makes that the Dorians are northwestern Greek-speaking Greeks, then what exactly is the historian Thoukydides describing in this passage detailing Doric movements following the Trojan War?
[A.12] ἐπεὶ καὶ μετὰ τὰ Τρωικὰ ἡ Ἑλλὰς ἔτι μετανίστατό τε καὶ κατῳκίζετο, ὥστε μὴ ἡσυχάσασαν αὐξηθῆναι. ἥ τε γὰρ ἀναχώρησις τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἐξ Ἰλίου χρονία γενομένη πολλὰ ἐνεόχμωσε, καὶ στάσεις ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν ὡς ἐπὶ πολὺ ἐγίγνοντο, ἀφ’ ὧν ἐκπίπτοντες τὰς πόλεις ἔκτιζον. Βοιωτοί τε γὰρ οἱ νῦν ἑξηκοστῷ ἔτει μετὰ Ἰλίου ἅλωσιν ἐξ Ἄρνης ἀναστάντες ὑπὸ Θεσσαλῶν τὴν νῦν μὲν Βοιωτίαν, πρότερον δὲ Καδμηίδα γῆν καλουμένην ᾤκισαν (ἦν δὲ αὐτῶν καὶ ἀποδασμὸς πρότερον ἐν τῇ γῇ ταύτῃ, ἀφ’ ὧν καὶ ἐς Ἴλιον ἐστράτευσαν), Δωριῆς τε ὀγδοηκοστῷ ἔτει ξὺν Ἡρακλείδαις Πελοπόννησον ἔσχον. μόλις τε ἐν πολλῷ χρόνῳ ἡσυχάσασα ἡ Ἑλλὰς βεβαίως καὶ οὐκέτι ἀνισταμένη ἀποικίας ἐξέπεμψε, καὶ Ἴωνας μὲν Ἀθηναῖοι καὶ νησιωτῶν τοὺς πολλοὺς ᾤκισαν, Ἰταλίας δὲ καὶ Σικελίας τὸ πλεῖστον Πελοποννήσιοι τῆς τε ἄλλης Ἑλλάδος ἔστιν ἃ χωρία. πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ὕστερον τῶν Τρωικῶν ἐκτίσθη. 
And after the Trojan War, Hellas yet migrated and established colonies, with the result that not in peace did they grow in power. For the departure from Ilion was implemented too late, and so many things changed, and seditions in a good portion of the cities were engendered, and the refugees driven out from these places established their own cities elsewhere. For those who are now known as the Boiotoi, when it was the sixtieth year after the taking of Ilion, were driven out of Arne by the Thessalians and then they established a colony in the land now known as Boiotia, but before was called Kadmeia, a portion of which dwelt earlier in that land and also warred at Ilion. The Dorians, in the eightieth year following that war, in alliance with the Herakleidai did hold the Peloponnese. It was only just after so much time that Hellas was steadily peaceful, and no longer in a period of upheaval, did send out colonies: Ionia the Athenaioi peopled, as well as many of the islands, while most of Italy and Sikelia the Peloponnesioi did the same, and to the rest of Hellas' countryside. And all of these colonies were peopled after the Trojan War.
-Thoukydides, Iστορία του Πελοποννησιακού Πολέμου, A.12. Trans. is my own.

This sounds more like the Dorian Invasion Theory to which the learned scholars of the early-to-mid 19th century were referring! But is it? Note how the event is characterized in the Thoukydides above, compared to the Herodotos passages: ἔσχον is used to describe how Dorians (with the Sons of Herakles "ξὺν Ἡρακλείδαις", perhaps in some sort of alliance) relate to the Peloponnese. This verb, from ἔχωcould denote an aggressive "taking" of land through, say, military occupation, but the action could more simply show "to gain possession of". In other words, a military invasion is not necessitated by the use of this particular verb. Greek, a very descriptive language encompassing many, many verbs displaying a wide range of nuance has no trouble supplying any number of verbs to describe the sort of event the proponents of the Dorian Invasion Theory have vividly proposed. The action here described could, in actuality, be more like a "moving-in" (κατῳκίζετο; and indeed, we will see the event described so in other accounts) rather than a violent "invading". One cannot help but notice that it is the same verb Homer uses throughout the Catalogue of Ships in the second book of The Iliad to denote which tribes were in possession of which cities. Therefore, Thoukydides' description of the event does not necessitate an invasion, but more like a migration (μετανίστατό) caused by a general upheaval (ἀνισταμένη) brought on by some sort of factious revolutions (στάσεις) in the majority of the cities (ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν ὡς ἐπὶ πολὺ) in the wake of the Trojan War.

Given the prominence Greek art and history has put at the feet of Trojan War, it is fitting that it should likewise play a part in this story: while the raids on Hittite land in Asia Minor increased (and elsewhere in the ancient eastern Mediterranean world, for let us recall that Danaan/Akhaian forces even made attacks upon Egyptian land), with the Anatolian attacks and sieges centering mostly around a long siege against Wilusa, the great city the Akhaian raiders called Ilion, the demographics of mainland Greece most likely changed. In the absence of the warrior raiders carrying out eastern sieges by plying the Aegean and greater Mediterranean waters in their rowing warships, could there have been fighting back at home on the Grecian mainland, perhaps a civil war in which power changed hands to a previous underclass? Or could it have been as Herodotos implied, a non-violent decline in population of the eastern mainland Greeks of Mycenae, the Argolid, Attika, and Boiotia in favor of a takeover of the culture of the western Greeks, the more Doric element in the Akhaian people? 

In the Greeks' own mythology, such a parallel event appears: the Nostoi, or "Homecoming" stories, describe the attempts made by Aigisthos and Klytaimnestra in the Agamemnon and Penelope's odious suitors in Homer's Odyssey (The Odyssey also mentions the Aigisthos coup) to usurp the power and property of the ruling class, namely Agamemnon and Odysseus, kings who were winning glory raiding the rich cities of Asia Minor. Could the Nostoi myths be memories and fantasied accounts of the upheavals and migrations described by Thoukydides which he himself claims happened eighty years after the Trojan War? What exactly is the "Return of the Heracleidae", to which Thoukydides refers? The Herakleidai, the "Sons of Herakles", were ancient Hellenic royalty descended from Perseus, the strong-man's four-times father. The stories of the Return of the Herakleidai are inextricably linked to the Dorian migrations in the Greek stories -- one could say that one story cannot exist without the other, for it is with the Dorians' aid that the Sons of Herakles return to rule their ancestral homes in the Peloponnese. The tale goes something like this: the Perseid kings (the children of Perseus) ruled the Argolid and the Peloponnese in the early stories of the Greek legends, but when Herakles' "father" Amphitryon was exiled for the accidental killing of his brother, his brother next-in-line, Sthenelos, inherited the kingdom of Mykenai instead of him. Thus, Sthenelos' son Eurystheus became king instead of Herakles, and, when grown, compelled the latter to undergo his famous Twelve Labors. After Herakles' death, Eurystheus brutally persecutes his children, the Herakleidai, who flee to Athens. In the absence of Eurystheus, Atreus and Thystes, sons of Pelops, son of Tantalos, who was a king of Lydia in Asia Minor, took the kingdom for themselves. Thus, in the generation before the siege at Troy, control of the Peloponnese and the Argolid passed to the control of Atreus, and then the Atreidai, his sons, Agamemnon and Menalaos (cf. Thoukydides A.9). These two war-chiefs would then wage their war at Ilion and Asia Minor, the homeland of their grandfather, Pelops. In the prolonged absence of these two war-chiefs, could not the Herakleidai have returned to the Peloponnese with a large force of Dorians (northern Akhaians) and assumed control? Indeed, could this not be the meaning of the "return" mentioned above? 

We should keep in mind that the movements of the Dorians into the Peloponnese have been hitherto described more as migrations than invasions, migrations which most likely lasted quite some time and perhaps were not conducted within a single event or even within the course of a single generation. This view of the evidence is probably the best: the famous siege at Troy was just one of many and lengthy raids of the east, expeditions which depleted the Mycenaean/Akhaian populations of the eastern and southern Grecian mainland and gave an opening for the northwestern Greeks, the Dorians, to occupy those areas in their stead. The migrations were probably met with resistance from the native populations who did not raid in the east and resented the increase in their new Doric neighbors, hence the upheavals spoken of by Thoukydides. These details, more restrained than the fantasies of "letterless" (Durant) barbarian hordes sweeping into the lands of the poor Mycenaeans and executing great swaths of their population with their iron swords, better confirm to the evidence at hand; furthermore and finally, enough suppositions about what happened can be made and offered without resorting to inventing a non-Greek origin for developments, such as changes in pottery, art, and brooches, which occurred during the so-called "Dark Ages".


Origins of the Invasion Theory


Having identified the Dorians as being Greek (instead of non-Greek) we must now ask: whence did the idea for an invasion come anyway? Let us backtrack a little and pause to examine the passages put forth by the editors of the Herodotos passage as being important enough to base the existence of such an astounding claim as what has been described as a "Dorian invasion": Tyrtaios and Pindar. The Pindar passage reads as follows:

ἄγ᾽ ἔπειτ᾽ Αἴτνας βασιλεῖ φίλιον ἐξεύρωμεν ὕμνον:
         But come, let us then come up with a friendly song for the king of Aitna,
 
τῷ πόλιν κείναν θεοδμάτῳ σὺν ἐλευθερίᾳ
         Who with god-built freedom established a city,
 
Ὑλλίδος στάθμας Ἱέρων ἐν νόμοις ἔκτισσ᾽. ἐθέλοντι δὲ Παμφύλου
          And, with Hyllus' teachings grafted on the constitution, Hieron peopled said city, and opened it to any willing member of Pamphylos' tribe,
 
καὶ μὰν Ἡρακλειδᾶν ἔκγονοι
          And, yea, the Sons of Herakles,
 
ὄχθαις ὕπο Ταϋγέτου ναίοντες αἰεὶ μένειν τεθμοῖσιν ἐν Αἰγιμιοῦ
          Dwelling under the heights of Taygetos, ever do they stay under the law of Aigimios,
 
Δωριεῖς. ἔσχον δ᾽ Ἀμύκλας ὄλβιοι,
          As Dorians. And blessed be they who hold Amyklai, 
 
Πινδόθεν ὀρνύμενοι, λευκοπώλων Τυνδαριδᾶν βαθύδοξοι γείτονες, ὧν κλέος ἄνθησεν αἰχμᾶς.
          They who hailed from Mt. Pindus, and then neighbors of Tyndaros' sons of the white horses, and their fame with a spear hath blossomed.
-Pindaros, Pythian Ode I. 60-66. Interlinear trans. is my own.

Reports of an invasion still elude us. but more information has been discovered: Pindar confirms that the Doric tribe was composed of three different branches (the Hylloi, Pamphyloi, and Dymanes), each named after a founder of the branch. Dyman and Pamphylos were sons of Aigimios, so all of these are just more names for Dorians. Pindar goes to some effort here to show that the Hylloi, while a branch of the Dorians, are not really so (καὶ μὰν indicates "in addition to, of course, but not the same as the others"), for the Hylloi are composed of Herakleidai, as the branch's founder Hyllos, was an offspring of Hyllos, son of Herakles. In the myths, Hyllos fled north from persecution and was adopted by Aigimios, chieftain of the Dorians, hence the inclusion of his children into the Doric stock. Indeed, all of the proper elements are present here in the Pindar version: the Dorians hail originally from the north ("Mt. Pindus" is in northern Greece, just as Herodotos claims), and then came to live under Dorian law ("the law of Aigimios") in the region of Mt. Taygetos (that is, Sparta), where King Tyndareos once ruled mighty fighting men who once joined with the Herakleidai.

Yet little of this has so far has indicated an invasion -- we continue to find more of the vague movement and "migration" language of the other authors. There is a Pausanias passage which nicely piggy-backs off of Pindar, but likewise yields no fruit of that kind, as it refers to the event in similar mellow terms:

χρόνῳ δὲ ὕστερον κατῆλθέ τε ὑπὸ Ἡρακλέους Τυνδάρεως καὶ ἀνενεώσατο τὴν ἀρχὴν: ἐβασίλευσαν δὲ καὶ οἱ Τυνδάρεω παῖδες καὶ Μενέλαος ὁ Ἀτρέως Τυνδάρεω γαμβρὸς ὢν Ὀρέστης τε Ἑρμιόνῃ τῇ Μενελάου συνοικῶν. κατελθόντων δὲ Ἡρακλειδῶν ἐπὶ Τισαμενοῦ τοῦ Ὀρέστου βασιλεύοντος, Μεσσήνη μὲν καὶ Ἄργος ἑκατέρα μοῖρα Τήμενον, ἡ δὲ Κρεσφόντην ἔσχεν ἄρχοντας: 
"Some time later, Tyndareos returned at the hands of Herakles, and recovered his reign. And the sons of Tyndareos ruled, as well as Menelaos, the son of Atreus, being Tyndareos' heir through marriage, and Orestes too, who was married to Hermione, the daughter of Menelaos. And when the Herakleidai returned during the reign of Orestes' son Tisamenos, Messene and also Argos, both lands given by lot to Temenos as leader of the former and Kresphontes leader of the latter." 
-Pausanias, Hellados Periegesis III.1.5. Trans. is my own.
Once again, the verbs here, κατῆλθέ and κατελθόντων, both forms of κατέρχομαι, are synonyms of the verbs in the other passages we have seen, and do not themselves necessitate a violent invasion. κατέρχομαι means to "come down, descend" or even "to return from exile or banishment", which is exactly what is being described in the mythological accounts of the event. ἔσχεν (another form of ἔχω, like in Pindar) is used to describe how Temenos and Kresphontes "gained possession of" Messene and Argos, two regions of the Peloponnese, where they ruled as "ἄρχοντας".

A search of Temenos and Kresphontes, grandsons of Herakles, gives way to a passage from Pseudo-Apollodoros' Biblioteca:



ἀπολομένου δὲ Εὐρυσθέως ἐπὶ Πελοπόννησον ἦλθον οἱ Ἡρακλεῖδαι, καὶ πάσας εἷλον τὰς πόλεις. ἐνιαυτοῦ δὲ αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ καθόδῳ διαγενομένου φθορὰ πᾶσαν Πελοπόννησον κατέσχε, καὶ ταύτην γενέσθαι χρησμὸς διὰ τοὺς Ἡρακλείδας ἐδήλου: πρὸ γὰρ τοῦ δέοντος αὐτοὺς κατελθεῖν.
"And, with Eurystheus having perished, to the Peloponnese the Herakleidai came, and all the cities they took. Within a year passing since their return, a destruction held fast to the whole Peloponnese, and it an oracle made clear that it was because of the Herakleidai, for before their appointed time they returned."
-Pseudo Apollodoros, Biblioteca II.8. Trans. is my own.

Lo! Aside from the verbs we have come to expect (more variants of ἔρχομαι and ἔχω), have finally have a verb which almost indisputably implies force: εἷλον, from αἱρέω, means "to take in hand", "to win" or "to obtain", and when used in conjunction with the object "cities", usually means "to take the city". Finally, in Pseudo-Apollodoros, a verb had appeared which indicates something (anything!) like an invasion took place! The problem remains, however: the invading force spoken of here is from the wrong invasion, as it belongs to the Herakleidai, not the Dorians -- the Dorians are meant to aid the Herakleidai in their return some time later. Further reading of this part of the Biblioteca contains details of the repeated attempts by the Herakleidai to take the Peloponnese, along with descriptions of daring feats and duels between Herakles' grandsons and the Pelopids, before finally culminating in a successful invasion of the Peloponnese after allying with the northern Dorian tribe -- all of which is a more elaborate outline than the Dorian Invasion Theory proposes. Pseudo-Apollodoros continues:
ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἐκράτησαν Πελοποννήσου, τρεῖς ἱδρύσαντο βωμοὺς πατρῴου Διός, καὶ ἐπὶ τούτων ἔθυσαν, καὶ ἐκληροῦντο τὰς πόλεις. 
"And when [the Herakleidai] ruled the Peloponnese, three altars to Father Zeus they set up and thereupon made they sacrifices and appointed the cities by lot." 
                                                    -Pseudo Apollodoros, Biblioteca II.8. Trans. is my own.

We seem to be getting closer to the narrative thread of the Invasion Theory, apart from there being no Dorians: here is the verb ἐκράτησαν ("to be mighty in power") and a mention that the Peloponnesian cities are appointed a leader by lot (ἐκληροῦντο), which could indicate the divvying of the spoils of a war or invasion. So, in order to continue to follow this thread we must ask: what are Apollodoros' sources? 

Diodoros Siculus, writing slightly before Pseudo-Apollodoros in the 1st century B.C, has what may be the most detailed account of the southward invasion carried out by the Dorians and the Herakleidai:

μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα οἱ μὲν Ἡρακλεῖδαι πάντες περιβοήτῳ μάχῃ νενικηκότες τὸν Εὐρυσθέα, καὶ διὰ τὴν εὐημερίαν συμμάχων εὐπορήσαντες, ἐστράτευσαν ἐπὶ τὴν Πελοπόννησον Ὕλλου στρατηγοῦντος.  Ἀτρεὺς δὲ μετὰ τὴν Εὐρυσθέως τελευτὴν καταλαβόμενος τὴν ἐν Μυκήναις βασιλείαν, καὶ προσλαβόμενος συμμάχους Τεγεάτας καί τινας ἄλλους, ἀπήντησε τοῖς Ἡρακλείδαις. κατὰ δὲ τὸν Ἰσθμὸν τῶν στρατοπέδων ἀθροισθέντων, Ὕλλος μὲν ὁ Ἡρακλέους εἰς μονομαχίαν προεκαλέσατο τῶν πολεμίων τὸν βουλόμενον, ὁμολογίας θέμενος τοιαύτας, εἰ μὲν Ὕλλος νικήσαι τὸν ἀντιταχθέντα, παραλαβεῖν Ἡρακλείδας τὴν Εὐρυσθέως βασιλείαν, εἰ δ᾽ Ὕλλος λειφθείη, μὴ κατιέναι τοὺς Ἡρακλείδας εἰς Πελοπόννησον ἐντὸς ἐτῶν πεντήκοντα. καταβάντος δ᾽ εἰς τὴν πρόκλησιν Ἐχέμου τοῦ βασιλέως τῶν Τεγεατῶν, καὶ τῆς μονομαχίας γενομένης, ὁ μὲν Ὕλλος ἀνῃρέθη, οἱ δ᾽ Ἡρακλεῖδαι κατὰ τὰς ὁμολογίας ἀπέστησαν τῆς καθόδου καὶ τὴν εἰς Τρικόρυθον ἐπάνοδον ἐποιήσαντο. μετὰ δέ τινας χρόνους Λικύμνιος μὲν μετὰ τῶν παίδων καὶ Τληπολέμου τοῦ Ἡρακλέους, ἑκουσίως τῶν Ἀργείων αὐτοὺς προσδεξαμένων, ἐν Ἀργει κατῴκησαν, οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλοι πάντες ἐν Τρικορύθῳ κατῴκησαν: ὡς δ᾽ ὁ πεντηκονταετὴς χρόνος διῆλθε, κατῆλθον εἰς Πελοπόννησον: ὧν τὰς πράξεις ἀναγράψομεν, ὅταν εἰς ἐκείνους τοὺς χρόνους παραγενηθῶμεν. Ἀλκμήνη δ᾽ εἰς Θήβας καταντήσασα, καὶ μετὰ ταῦτ᾽ ἄφαντος γενομένη, τιμῶν ἰσοθέων ἔτυχε παρὰ τοῖς Θηβαίοις. τοὺς δ᾽ ἄλλους Ἡρακλείδας φασὶν ἐλθόντας παρ᾽ Αἰγίμιον τὸν Δώρου τὴν πατρῴαν τῆς χώρας παρακαταθήκην ἀπαιτήσαντας μετὰ Δωριέων κατοικῆσαι. Τληπόλεμον δὲ τὸν Ἡρακλέους ἐν Ἄργει κατοικοῦντα λέγουσιν ἀνελεῖν Λικύμνιον τὸν Ἠλεκτρύωνος ἐρίσαντα περί τινων, διὰ δὲ τὸν φόνον τοῦτον ἐξ Ἄργους φυγόντα εἰς Ῥόδον μετοικῆσαι: τὴν δὲ νῆσον ταύτην τότε κατῴκουν Ἕλληνες οἱ ὑπὸ Τριόπα τοῦ Φόρβαντος κατοικισθέντες. τὸν δ᾽ οὖν Τληπόλεμον κοινῇ μετὰ τῶν ἐγχωρίων τριμερῆ ποιῆσαι τὴν Ῥόδον, καὶ τρεῖς ἐν αὐτῇ καταστῆσαι πόλεις, Λίνδον, Ἰήλυσον, Κάμειρον: βασιλεῦσαι δ᾽ αὐτὸν πάντων τῶν Ῥοδίων διὰ τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς Ἡρακλέους δόξαν, καὶ κατὰ τοὺς ὕστερον χρόνους μετ᾽ Ἀγαμέμνονος ἐπὶ τὴν Τροίαν στρατεῦσαι.

And after these events, all the Herakleidai had victory in a very famous battle against Eurystheus, and because of their success they prospered in their alliances and, under the generalship of Hyllos, made war upon the Peloponnese. And Atreus, after the end of Eurystheus, having seized the kingdom of Mykenai and already made an alliance with the Tegeatai and some others, set out to meet the Herakleidai in battle. And with both camps at the Isthmus pitched, Hyllos on one side called forth to single combat any one of the enemy who wished it, making such an oath as follows: should Hyllos win against his opponent, then the Herakleidai would receive Eurystheus' kingdom, but should Hyllos lose, then not should the Herakleidai return to the Peloponnese within fifty years. With Ekhemos, king of the Tegeatai taking up the challenge and the combat was begun, then Hyllos was slain, and the Herakleidai, according to the agreement, left off from their return and made a northward return to Trikorythos. After some time, Likymnios with his children and Tlepolemos, a son of Herakles, made their home in Argos after the Argeioi willingly accepted them, while the rest of them mad their home at Trikorthyos. When the fifty-year period passed, they returned to the Peloponnese, and of their deeds we shall write later, whenever we hath come upon their times.

Firstly, Diodoros' tantalizing tease that he will further treat the subject of the Return of the Herakleidai must remain only such, a tease, for, naturally, the further details do not appear in any extant copy of the text. Secondly, once again -- these wars, incursions, invasions, returns, &c. are conducted by the Herakleidai -- not the Dorians. The Dorian move southward happens later, presumably described in the part of Diodoros which, of course, no longer exists. 

Who were Diodoros' sources? The man himself claims that the dates for his pre-Trojan War years are estimates at best because no fixed chronology exists for them:

ἐν μὲν ἓξ ταῖς πρώταις ἀνεγράψαμεν τὰς πρὸ τῶν Τρωικῶν πράξεις τε καὶ μυθολογίας, καὶ τοὺς χρόνους ἐν ταύταις ἐπ' ἀκριβείας οὐ διωρισάμεθα διὰ τὸ μηδὲν παράπηγμα περὶ τούτων παρει . . .  
"While in the first six books I wrote down before the deeds and the myths of the Trojans, and the times in these tales I could not define the dates with any accuracy on account of there being no such fixed chronology of events..." 
Diodoros Siculus, Library of History 40. Trans. is my own.

Professor Charles Oldfather's introduction to the Loeb edition of Diodoros' Library makes the claim that Diodoros "followed the Chronology of Apollodorus of Athens in setting eighty years between the Trojan War (1184 B.C.) and the Return of the Heracleidae (1104 B.C.)". But was it not Thoukydidies who made the claim earlier than Apollodoros of Athens? Either way, after digging through a rabbit's hole of text after passage after tale, one finally finds mythological evidence of military incursions by exiled Herakleidai to take over the Peloponnese, and  this is most likely where the idea of a violent Dorian invasion came from, ultimately sprung from confusion concerning the repeated attempts described in the later mythographers of the Herakleidai to reclaim the Peloponnese


Iron?


The use of iron in the Grecian mainland has been dated to a widespread use following the time of the so-called Dorian Invasion, and there is no indication that the northern Dorians' homeland had iron any earlier than anywhere else. I have been unable to pin down the reasons why it was decided that the Dorians had iron before anyone else and that gave them an edge, so to speak, over their foes.


Conclusion


No matter how one fills in the gaps, what evidence we have remains unchanged: the great city centers like Mycenae were abandoned, Linear B disappeared, commerce collapsed, and people began living sparsely and further apart. It is here that the scholars of yesteryear have placed the Dorian Invasion to account for these so-called "Dark Ages" and to explain how the Classical Greeks linked to the earlier Mycenaeans, but this theory has been rather neatly taken apart and is unable to stand up to scrutiny. The earliest passages in the Greek historians which have been used to defend the theory of a Dorian Invasion actually dispel every the facts as used to justify continued belief in the existence of such an event. At the very least, the event can be described as a mass movement or migration south of Doric peoples during a turbulent period following the prolonged raids at Troy and Asia Minor -- this is concluded from the evidence, and explains what the Dorian Invasion Theory sets out to explain while cleaning up some of the more exaggerated and shaky elements of the claim.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dante and Cavalcanti - The Beginning of a Friendship

A ciascun'alma presa e gentil core            
         To each love en-captured soul, noble heart thereof,
nel cui cospetto ven lo dir presente,          
         Into whose ken is now coming this present write:
in ciò che mi rescrivan suo parvente,        
         Of what this seems to be, may return me each wight 
salute in lor segnor, cioè Amore.               
         A greeting in their lord's name, their lord who is Love.
Già eran quasi che atterzate l'ore               
        Now hath passed near a third of the night sky above,
del tempo che onne stella n'è lucente,       
        At that time in which ev'ry star is shining bright,
quando m'apparve Amor subitamente,      
        When then appeared Love a-sudden before my sight,
cui essenza membrar mi dà orrore.           
        Whose very self rememb'ring am terrified of! 

Allegro mi sembrava Amor tenendo         
        For cheerful to me did seem Love, who while holding
meo core in mano, e ne le braccia avea     
        Mine own heart in his hand, had into his arm led
madonna involta in un drappo dormendo. 
        My lady asleep, wrapped in her veil enfolding.
Poi la svegliava, e d'esto core ardendo      
        Waking her, while me my flaming heart beholding,
lei paventosa umilmente pascea:               
        Then it to my fearful lady he humbly fed --
appresso gir lo ne vedea piangendo.         
        Then him I saw leave, with none his tears withholding.

                                                                                           -Dante, La Vita Nuova. Trans. is my own.


Vedeste, al mio parere, onne valore.          
        Thou didst see, as to my seeming, all of love's worth,
e tutto gioco e quanto bene om sente,        
        And ev'ry joy, and each good a man doth afford,
se foste in prova del segnor valente.          
        If thou were tested by thy courageous lord,
che segnoreggia il mondo de l’onore,        
        Who as lord doth rule o'er the court of virtue's mirth.
poi vive in parte dove noia more,             
        Since liveth there Love in where lies vexation's dearth,
e tien ragion nel cassar de la mente;           
        And in the mind's void keepeth there his reason stored;
sì va soave per sonno a la gente,                 
        Yea, now gentle hath he through mankind's slumbers soared,
che ’l cor ne porta senza far dolore.            
        And taketh without pain the hearts of all on earth.

Di voi lo core ne portò, veggendo.             
        As for thee, when took he thy heart, full in knowing
che vostra donna alla morte cadea:         
        That be it thy lady would to her own death fall,
nodriala dello cor, di ciò temendo.              
        Fed her thy heart, the fear of her death bemoaning.
Quando v’apparve che se ’n gia dolendo,  
        When to thee seemeth he to take leave while groaning,
fu ’l dolce sonno ch’allor si compiea,         
        Was the sweet dream at that time ending in all,
ché ’l su’ contraro lo venìa vincendo.          
        Would come its opposite, his triumph intoning.

                                                                            -Guido Cavalcanti, Soneto XXII. Trans. is my own.

Friday, January 20, 2017

An Augur-less Inauguration of an Executive Magistrate

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
            -The Constitution of the United States of America, Article II, Section 1, Clause 8

As is custom in the American Republic, the President-elect takes his oath of office on January 20th at noon (which date was established following the passage of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933; prior to this, the predominant date was in March just as it was in ancient Rome) and thus begins a four year term. This ceremony marking the transition to a new administration of the executive branch of the Republic is known as the inauguration, a word and practice steeped in Classical allusions. What is the nature of such an event, and how was the transition from one governing administration to another carried out in the ancient Roman Republic? Did the ancient Roman practice influence our modern inauguration in any way?

Firstly, the etymology of the word itself must be examined:
in·au·gu·ra·tion
iˌnôɡ(y)əˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun
noun: inauguration; plural noun: inaugurations
  • the beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period.
        "the inauguration of an independent prosecution service"
  • the formal admission of someone to office.
        "Truman's second presidential inauguration" 
  • a ceremony to mark the beginning of something.
        "the inauguration of the Modern Art Museum"
The word may also be a verb:
in·au·gu·rate
iˈnôɡ(y)əˌrāt/
verbverb: inaugurate; 3rd person present: inaugurates; past tense: inaugurated; past participle: inaugurated; gerund or present participle: inaugurating
  • begin or introduce (a system, policy, or period).
          "he inaugurated a new policy of trade and exploration"
                  synonyms: initiate, begin, start, commence, institute, launch, start off, get                         going, get underway, set in motion, get off the ground, establish, found, lay the foundations of
  • admit (someone) formally to public office.
          "the new president will be inaugurated on January 20"
                  synonyms: admit to office, install, instate, swear in
  • mark the beginning or first public use of (an organization or project).
          "the museum was inaugurated on September 12"
                  synonyms: open, declare open, unveil; dedicate, consecrate
       
The root of both is the Latin verb inauguro which means "to divine, to practice augury, to take omens from bird-signs, to consecrate or approve on the basis of omens". This verb is formed from the suffix in- and the verb auguro, a root which in turn comes from the noun augur, auguris c. "an augur".

So, what is an augur and what is augury?


Augurs and Augury



Principio huius urbis parens Romulus non solum auspicato urbem condidisse, sed ipse etiam optumus augur fuisse traditur. Deinde auguribus et reliqui reges usi, et exactis regibus nihil publice sine auspiciis nec domi nec militiae gerebatur. 


In the beginning, this city's father, Romulus, not only founded this city when he took the auspices, but even he himself was a very good augur -- thus it has been handed down. Later did the rest of the kings employ augurs, and even when driven out were the kings, nothing publicly without taking the auspices was accomplished either at home nor on campaign
                                                                   -Cicero De Divinatione I.ii. Trans is my own.


A Lar Augusti depicting Augustus (center) acting in his rôle as an augur; he holds the lituus, a curved wand used by augurs to mark out (or, literally, "cut out") a templum, a sacred space either on the ground or in the heavens for the taking of auspices.

Augury is a branch of divination by which the will, signs, or warnings of the divine are observed and read in the flights, singing, or eating/pecking habits of certain kinds of birds or other natural phenomena; the practitioner of this art was known as an augur. 
The word itself, augury (from the Latin augurium), may derive from a combination of avis, "bird", and the verb garrio, "to chatter", in order to give us something to the effect of "the art of observing the calls of the birds"1. When an augur made these divine-sent observations, he was said to be "taking the auspices" (cf. Eng: "auspicious/inauspicious"). The Latin word auspicium, like augurium, is formed from the root avis, "bird", and the suffix -spex, -spicis, meaning "sight, seeing": the sight of the birds' actions led to either declaring either a "favorable" (auspicious) or "unfavorable" (inauspicious) portent. As evidenced by their etymologies, the auspice (auspicium) was the actual sight (-spex, -spic-) of the sign or portent itself, while the augury (augurium) was the interpretation of that sign or portent by the augur; as the ages passed, the two words became more or less interchangeable, with augur being chosen as the predominant word for the person or office, while the sign or portent itself was more commonly called the auspice. Additionally, though the origins of the words betray the augurs' original focus on birds alone, other signs later fell under the priests' purview, and altogether numbered five:
  • ex caelo - "from heaven" - these auspices were in the form of lightning and thunder. Lightning sighted "on the left" was meant to be most favorable, unless an election or assembly were being held, at which point all business was suspended. Reports of seeing lightning or hearing thunder were often used by politicians to break up meetings for political gain. 
  • ex avibus  - "from the birds" - these auspices were further divided into two:
    • alites - "winged bird" - eagles (aquilae), vultures (vultures), the like were observed based on their flight patterns.
    • oscines - "songbirds" - ravens (corvi), crows (cornices), owls (bubones), and hens (gallinae) were observed based on their singing and in what direction their heads turned.
  • ex tripudiis - "from the triple-beat dance" - these auspices appeared in the form of the movements of birds while feeding. Any bird could perform the tripudium ("triple-beat foot tap; sacred dance"), but chickens became the most popular and the sole birds employed as time went on. The chicken-keeper (pullarius) would open the cages of the chickens, throw them some bread or cake, and observe their actions: it was considered inauspicious if the birds shrieked, beat their wings, fled, or in general ignored the food; an auspicious omen was observed if the birds attacked the food with such ferocity that crumbs fell from their beaks which then "danced" (tripudium) upon the ground. 
  • ex quadrupedibus - "from the four-legged beasts" - though not a part of the official augur's auspices and never used for official state purposes, the augur could discern the will of the divine by noticing the movements and behavior of certain quadrupeds. 
  • ex diris  - "from terrible signs" - these auspices were anything else not falling into any of the above categories: sneezing, stumbling, stubbing one's toe, &c.

It is very important to point out as often as possible that "[...] nihil publice sine auspiciis nec domi nec militiae gerebatur - [...] nothing publicly without taking the auspices was accomplished either at home nor on campaign" (Cic. De Div.). The key word here is nihil, "nothing". The Roman college of augurs (collegium augurum; augures publici) took the auspices at the outset of performing every public and governmental action -- these were state actors. Private augurs were classed along with necromancers, fortune-tellers, and other practitioners of arts considered by the Romans to be mere chicanery. 
The Roman historian Livy says the same thing as Cicero does about auspices and auguries using almost the exact same words: 
"Auspiciis hanc urbem conditam esse, auspiciis bello ac pace domi militiaeque omnia geri, quis est qui ignoret?"  
"That by the taking of the auspices was this city founded, and by the taking of the auspices are all things done either at war or at peace, at home or on campaign -- who is the person who is does not know this?"
                                                                 -Livy, Ab Urbe Condita VI.41. Trans is my own.

Indeed, who is the person who does not know this? Clearly, this is common knowledge.
Therefore, though almost all modern American will think of an inauguration as the "the formal admittance of someone into a new job or office," the ancient Roman would have defined the word as something to the effect of "the approval or disapproval of any action based upon the observation of divinely sent signs and portents which are interpreted by people trained in such phenomenon". The key difference between the Roman and the American Republics, and by extension the difference between our practices of inaugurating magistrates to fill governmental rôle, is, of course, that the workings of the Roman Republic was intertwined with the ancient practices of the Roman state religion; meanwhile, our American Republic is divorced from religious trappings at least in theory and according to law, if not always in actual practice. 

To further examine this difference, we must look at the ceremonies which inaugurated magistrates both in ancient Rome and in America today. 


The Inauguration of the Ancient Roman Consul


The auspices upon which we are to mainly center our attention are those ex caelo, for the observation of lightning was the portent which heralded the beginning of the Roman Consular year. Consuls and Praetors, elected offices of the Roman Republic which bestowed imperium ("the legal right to field and command an army") on their officials, were held in the Campus Martius each July. There, two Consuls-elect (consules designati) were chosen by majority vote and these officially entered into their magistracy on January 1st of the following year to begin their annual term of office. We may learn from the ancient writers the format and ceremonies which marked this inauguration, and we must pay particular attention to the taking of the auspices, without which no Consul could properly embark upon his term of office. 
Dionysius of Halikarnassos, a 1st century B.C. Greek writer of Roman history, offers an overview of the augural aspects of a Consular inauguration from the point of view of a non-native:

τότε δ᾽ οὖν ὁ Ῥωμύλος ἐπειδὴ τὰ παρὰ τοῦ δαιμονίου βέβαια προσέλαβε, συγκαλέσας τὸν δῆμον εἰς ἐκκλησίαν καὶ τὰ μαντεῖα δηλώσας βασιλεὺς ἀποδείκνυται πρὸς αὐτῶν καὶ κατεστήσατο ἐν ἔθει τοῖς μετ᾽ αὐτὸν ἅπασι μήτε βασιλείας μήτε ἀρχὰς λαμβάνειν, ἐὰν μὴ καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον αὐτοῖς ἐπιθεσπίσῃ,διέμεινέ τε μέχρι πολλοῦ φυλαττόμενον ὑπὸ Ῥωμαίων τὸ περὶ τοὺς οἰωνισμοὺς νόμιμον, οὐ μόνον βασιλευομένης τῆς πόλεως, ἀλλὰ καὶ μετὰ κατάλυσιν τῶν μονάρχων ἐν ὑπάτων καὶ στρατηγῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν κατὰ νόμους ἀρχόντων αἱρέσει. πέπαυται δ᾽ ἐν τοῖς καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς χρόνοις, πλὴν οἷον εἰκών τις αὐτοῦ λείπεται τῆς ὁσίας αὐτῆς ἕνεκα γινομένη. ἐπαυλίζονται μὲν γὰρ οἱ τὰς ἀρχὰς μέλλοντες λαμβάνειν καὶ περὶ τὸν ὄρθρον ἀνιστάμενοι ποιοῦνταί τινας εὐχὰς ὑπαίθριοι, τῶν δὲ παρόντων τινὲς ὀρνιθοσκόπων μισθὸν ἐκ τοῦ δημοσίου φερόμενοι ἀστραπὴν αὐτοῖς μηνύειν ἐκ τῶν ἀριστερῶν φασιν τὴν οὐ [3] γενομένην. οἱ δὲ τὸν ἐκ τῆς φωνῆς οἰωνὸν λαβόντες ἀπέρχονται τὰς ἀρχὰς παραληψόμενοι οἱ μὲν αὐτὸ τοῦθ᾽ ἱκανὸν ὑπολαμβάνοντες εἶναι τὸ μηδένα γενέσθαι τῶν ἐναντιουμένων τε καὶ κωλυόντων οἰωνῶν, οἱ δὲ καὶ παρὰ τὸ βούλημα τοῦ θεοῦ κωλύοντος, ἔστι γὰρ ὅτε βιαζόμενοι καὶ τὰς ἀρχὰς ἁρπάζοντες μᾶλλον ἢ λαμβάνοντες.[4] δἰ οὓς πολλαὶ μὲν ἐν γῇ στρατιαὶ Ῥωμαίων ἀπώλοντο πανώλεθροι, πολλοὶ δ᾽ ἐν θαλάττῃ στόλοι διεφθάρησαν αὔτανδροι, ἄλλαι τε μεγάλαι καὶ δειναὶ περιπέτειαι τῇ πόλει συνέπεσον αἱ μὲν ἐν ὀθνείοις πολέμοις, αἱ δὲ κατὰ τὰς ἐμφυλίους διχοστασίας, ἐμφανεστάτη δὲ καὶ μεγίστη καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἐμὴν ἡλικίαν, ὅτε Λικίννιος Κρᾶσσος ἀνὴρ οὐδενὸς δεύτερος τῶν καθ᾽ ἑαυτὸν ἡγεμόνων στρατιὰν ἦγεν ἐπὶ τὸ Πάρθων ἔθνος, ἐναντιουμένου τοῦ δαιμονίου πολλὰ χαίρειν φράσας τοῖς ἀποτρέπουσι τὴν ἔξοδον οἰωνοῖς μυρίοις ὅσοις γενομένοις. ἀλλ᾽ ὑπὲρ μὲν τῆς εἰς τὸ δαιμόνιον ὀλιγωρίας, ᾗ χρῶνταί τινες ἐν τοῖς καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς χρόνοις, πολὺ ἔργον ἂν εἴη λέγειν.                                               
And so then when Romulus did the securities of Heaven receive, he called together the people into the assembly, and, once he showed them the portents, as king was he elected by them; and he established the custom for all who come after him, lest either should anyone the kingdom nor any office take on, until also Heaven gives its own sanction upon them. Long standing was the observance by the Romans of this custom concerning the birdsigns, while not only under the kings' power was the city, but also after the overthrow of the monarchy in the elections of the Hypatoi ("The Supremes", Consuls), the Stratēgoi ("The Generals", Prætors), and all the other officers in accordance with their law. However, this has ceased in these our times, except that some sort of mere appearance of it is left for the sake of form itself. For out of doors pass the night those who are about to take up their offices, and at the break of day they rise and perform certain prayers while under the open sky. And then certain of the birdseers who are present (they are paid a stipend by the state) declare to them that a flash of lightning has appeared on the left -- even if it has not. And, taking the sign from this announcement, some depart so as to take on their offices, that is, those who assume that this sign is fitting enough, that not one sign appeared either opposing or hindering; meanwhile others act in opposition to the will of the god who hinders them. For there have been times when they are violent and seize the offices rather than receive them. Because of these doings, many armies of the Romans on land have been utterly destroyed, while many fleets on the sea have been entirely ruined, men and all. And other great and dreadful reversals of fortune have befallen the city, some in foreign wars, and others in civil dissensions. The most manifest and great downfall of my age was when Licinius Crassus, a man second to none among his fellow commanders, led an army against the nation of the Parthians, though Heaven opposed, bidding a much-to-do farewell to the manifold birdsigns which occurred in opposition to his departure. But in regards to the contempt of Heaven which some have in these times of ours it would take much effort to tell. 
              -Dionysius of Halikarnassos, Ῥωμαϊκὴ Ἀρχαιολογία, II.6.1-4. Trans. is my own.

Livy uses the occasion of a shirking of the Consular inauguration by the errant (and famously doomed) Consul C. Flaminius during the 2nd Punic War to detail the finer religious aspects of the magistrate's duties on the first day of the new year:

Consulum designatorum alter Flaminius, cui eae legiones quae Placentiae hibernabant sorte evenerant, edictum et litteras ad consulem misit ut is exercitus Idibus Martiis Arimini adesset in castris. Hic in provincia consulatum inire consilium erat memori veterum certaminum cum patribus, quae tribunus plebis et quae postea consul prius de consulatu qui abrogabatur, dein de triumpho habuerat, invisus etiam patribus ob novam legem, quam Q. Claudius tribunus plebis adversus senatum atque uno patrum adiuvante C. Flaminio tulerat, ne quis senator cuive senator pater fuisset maritimam navem, quae plus quam trecentarum amphorarum esset, haberet. Id satis habitum ad fructus ex agris vectandos; quaestus omnis patribus indecorus visus. Res per summam contentionem acta invidiam apud nobilitatem suasori legis Flaminio, favorem apud plebem alterumque inde consulatum peperit. Ob haec ratus auspiciis ementiendis Latinarumque feriarum mora et consularibus aliis impedimentis retenturos se in urbe, simulato itinere privatus clam in provinciam abiit. Ea res ubi palam facta est, novam insuper iram infestis iam ante patribus movit: non cum senatu modo sed iam cum dis immortalibus C. Flaminium bellum gerere.  Consulem ante inauspicato factum revocantibus ex ipsa acie dis atque hominibus non paruisse; nunc conscientia spretorum et Capitolium et sollemnem votorum nuncupationem fugisse, ne die initi magistratus Iovis optimi maximi templum adiret, ne senatum invisus ipse et sibi uni invisum videret consuleretque, ne Latinas indiceret Iovique Latiari sollemne sacrum in monte faceret, ne auspicato profectus in Capitolium ad vota nuncupanda, paludatus inde cum lictoribus in provinciam iret. Lixae modo sine insignibus, sine lictoribus profectum clam, furtim, haud aliter quam si exsilii causa solum vertisset. Magis pro maiestate videlicet imperii Arimini quam Romae magistratum initurum et in deversorio hospitali quam apud penates suos praetextam sumpturum. Revocandum universi retrahendumque censuerunt et cogendum omnibus prius praesentem in deos hominesque fungi officiis quam ad exercitum et in provinciam iret. In eam legationem—legatos enim mitti placuit—Q. Terentius et M. Antistius profecti nihilo magis eum moverunt quam priore consulatu litterae moverant ab senatu missae. Paucos post dies magistratum iniit, immolantique ei vitulus iam ictus e manibus sacrificantium sese cum proripuisset, multos circumstantes cruore respersit; fuga procul etiam maior apud ignaros quid trepidaretur et concursatio fuit. Id a plerisque in omen magni terroris acceptum. Legionibus inde duabus a Sempronio prioris anni consule, duabus a C. Atilio praetore acceptis Etruriam per Appennini tramites exercitus duci est coeptus.

Of the Consuls-elect, the one, Flaminius, to whom those legions which were at Placentia wintering had by lot fallen, did a decree and a letter send to the acting Consul that the army on the Ides of March be present at camp at Ariminium. It was here in the province that he planned to embark on his Consulship, for he was mindful of his old rivalries with the state fathers, quarrels while he was People's Tribune and afterwards while he was Consul, the election of which was annulled, and then concerning his triumph. He was also looked upon with ill-will by the state fathers because of that new law which Quintus Claudius, People's Tribune, had against the Senate passed with Flaminius being the only one of the state fathers who had aided in this endeavor: the law stated that no senator or no one whose father had been a senator could possess a sail-able vessel which might carry more than three hundred amphoraeSuch a thing was considered enough for the purpose of conveying their goods from their farmlands -- all such gain was seen as unworthy of the state fathers. The bill, passed with the highest opposition, secured an ill will among the nobility for the bill's supporter, Flaminius, while finding him favor among the commons and thence another Consulship. On account of these goings-on, the man reckoned that by means of lying birdsigns, by means of a delay of the Latin Feast, and finally by means of other hindrances which dog a Consul, they would keep him held back in the City; and so, with a journey feigned, as a private citizen did he in secret for the province depart. When the matter was known publicly, a new anger, above and beyond what it was before, did move within the incensed state fathers -- for not only with the Senate, but now with the gods immortal was Gaius Flaminius waging war. Saieth the Senate: that when beforehand he had been made Consul against the auspices, he did not obey the gods and men recalling him from the very line of battle itself. Now, conscious of these wrongs, he had from the Capitoline and the solemn recital of his vows fled, so that, on the day of the start of his term of office, he would not mount the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus; nor would he, hated as he was by the Senate, see and consult with that body, which in turn was hated by him alone of all others; nor would he the Latin Feast proclaim; nor would he make the solemn sacrifice to Jove the Latin on the Alban Hill; nor would he in accordance with the auspices set out to the Capitoline to recite his vows, and thence, clothed in a paludamentum, would he set out for his province. In the manner of a sutler had he without his trappings of office, without his lictors made his departure -- secretly, like a thief, no differently than if the charge of exile had sent him from his native soil. Forsooth, saieth the Senate, that it was for the greater good of the power of the office that he should rather at Ariminium than at Rome enter into his term of office; that he should in some wayside inn rather than in the presence of his household gods clothe himself in his toga praetexta. That he must be recalled and dragged back, the Senatorial body as a whole deemed it fitting, and that he, in the presence of gods and men, be forced to discharge all his duties rather than to his army and his province go. Having embarked on that embassage -- for it did please the Senate that envoys be sent -- Quintus Terentius and Marcus Antistius no more moved him than that letter concerning his prior Consulship which had been by the Senate sent. A few days later, Flaminius entered into his term of office, and while making a sacrifice of a bull calf, the animal, when struck, did from the hands of the priests conducting the rites tear itself forth, and the many who stood around it did with gore bespatter. The animal's flight was greater amongst those who, at a distance, did not know what was the commotion was and so a restlessness grew. This was by many accepted to be an omen of great dread. And thence, with the two legions received from Sempronius, the Consul of the previous year, and the two from Gaius Atilius, the Praetor, throughout the footpaths of the Apennines was the army begun to be led. 
                                                             -Livy, Ab Urbe Condita XXI.63. Trans is my own.
Flaminius, of course, met a most inglorious end after leading his army through those Apennine footpaths to the coast of Lake Trasimene, and offered himself upon the altar of History as an exemplar of the missteps an incoming Consul must never take. 


 Joseph-Noël Sylvestre, Ducarius Beheads Flaminius at the Battle of Lake Trasimene - 1882, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Béziers

In the above selection, Livy cleverly places a rough sketch of the important ceremonies which mark a Consul's inauguration in the mouth of an indignant Senate, thus emphasizing to us the import and weight the Romans gave these rites. 
To summarize, on January 1st the Roman Consuls-elect rose at dawn and took the auspices by scanning the sky for signs of lightning (ex caelo). It is important to point out Dionysius' remark that this was known to be a mere formality by his day (mid-1st century B.C.) and the auspicious report was often falsely told to the Consul ("μηνύειν ἐκ τῶν ἀριστερῶν φασιν τὴν οὐ γενομένην") presumably in order to carry on with the ceremonies; though Cicero's cynical and dissembling of auguries and other divinations are in alignment with Dionysius' observation of the ever-growing faithlessness in divining, we should assume that in Rome's earliest days, belief in the taking of the auspices was surely held with the utmost faith. In fact, while Dionysius reports that augurs are present (and paid a stipend by the state), other authors report that it was the Consuls themselves who took the auguries. After receiving Jove's blessing, the Consuls then returned to their homes where they were clothed in their togae praetextae ("purple-bordered toga") in the presence of their household gods ("apud penates suos praetextam sumpturum"). Once dressed appropriately, either Consul received his clientes and fellow senators in a usual salutatio ("morning greeting"), and at the conclusion of this, he then climbed the Capitoline Hill, recited the solemn vows, and made a sacrifice of white bull calves at the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus ("Jove the Father the Best the Greatest") ("et Capitolium et sollemnem votorum nuncupationem fugisse, ne die initi magistratus Iovis optimi maximi templum adiret")

The historian Cassius Dio, a 2nd century A.D. Roman statemen of Greek extraction, records the disastrous portents observed and recorded at the salutatio and procession of Aelius Sejanus, the much-maligned prefect minister of the emperor Tiberius in the early 1st century A.D:
ἐν δέ τινι νουμηνίᾳ πάντων συνιόντων ἐς τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ Σεϊανοῦ ἥ τε κλίνη ἡ ἐν τῷ δωματίῳ, ἐν ᾧ ἠσπάζετο, κειμένη πᾶσα ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου τῶν ἱζησάντων συνετρίβη, καὶ προϊόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας γαλῆ διὰ μέσων σφων διῇξεν. ἐπειδή τε καὶ ἐν τῷ Καπιτωλίῳ θύσας ἐς τὴν ἀγορὰν κατῄει, οἱ οἰκέται αὐτοῦ οἱ δορυφόροι διά τε τῆς ὁδοῦ τῆς ἐς τὸ δεσμωτήριον ἀγούσης ἐξετράποντο, μὴ δυνηθέντες αὐτῷ ὑπὸ τοῦ ὄχλου ἐπακολουθῆσαι, καὶ κατὰ τῶν ἀναβασμῶν καθ᾽ ὧν οἱ δικαιούμενοι ἐρριπτοῦντο κατιόντες ὤλισθον καὶ κατέπεσον. οἰωνιζομένου τε μετὰ τοῦτο αὐτοῦ τῶν μὲν αἰσίων ὀρνίθων ἐπεφάνη οὐδείς, κόρακες δὲ δὴ πολλοὶ περιιπτάμενοι καὶ περικρώξαντες αὐτὸν ἀπέπταντο ἀθρόοι πρὸς τὸ οἴκημα καὶ ὑπὲρ αὐτοῦ ἐκαθέζοντο.
τούτων οὖν τῶν τεράτων οὔθ᾽ ὁ Σεϊανὸς οὔτ᾽ ἄλλος τις ἐνθύμιον ἐποιήσατο: πρὸς γὰρ τὴν τῶν παρόντων ὄψιν οὐδ᾽ ἂν εἰ σαφῶς θεός τις προέλεγεν ὅτι τοσαύτη δι᾽ ὀλίγου μεταβολή γενήσοιτο, ἐπίστευσεν ἄν τις. 
And on some New Year's Day, when all were present at the home of Sejanus, the couch which was in the atrium, on which the Consul sat, wholly shattered under the crowd of the seated; and when the man himself was leaving the house, a stoat through the midst of them darted. And even when once on the Capitoline he had made the sacrifices and into the Forum descended, his household slaves who were his spear-bearers did along the road leading to the prison turn aside, for not were they able to follow him due to the crowd, and down the steps, down which those who are condemned are thrown, they downward slipped and fell. And after this, while he was taking the birdsigns, no signs of favor appeared, and crows, many of them, having flown about him and cawed at him, flew off in a mass towards the jail and upon it perched.
And so, of these signs neither Sejanus nor anyone else made any note. For in regards to the appearance of things, not even if some saving god foretold that such a change in a short time would occur, none would have trusted it. 

                                       -Cassius Dio Ῥωμαϊκὴ Ἱστορία LVIII.5.5-6.2. Trans. is my own.

Of course Sejanus made no note of such ill omens: the man was surely doomed.

When the sacrifices on the Capitoline were accomplished favorably, the Consuls then proceeded to the Senate where they embarked upon their official duties: first, the naming of the year's important religious feast days and festivals, most importantly the Feriae Latinae ("the Latin Feast"). Before departing the city to go into his province, the Consul had to make a propitiary sacrifice to Jupiter Latiar at the Alban Mount (modern-day Monte Cavo, some twelve miles southeast of Rome) ("ne Latinas indiceret Iovique Latiari sollemne sacrum in monte faceret"). With the religious aspects of the year discussed and confirmed, the Consuls then outlined other administrative affairs (the allotting of provinces and other duties, &c.) until they finished their business, and then, having ended the first Senate meeting of their term, completed their official first day. 

One should take note that in each of these instances given above in which an author describes a Consular inauguration, he cannot help himself but relate (either in detail or obliquely) how either neglecting outright or somehow ignoring the auspices had dire consequences for the Consul and the state. This should illustrate to us the the prevailing widespread belief in the truth and accuracy of these divinings. However, this cultural observation must not be taken to mean that the business of augury had no critics nor dissenters among the antique Romans. As it has been mentioned before, Cicero, a member of the college of augurs himself, famously spends the duration of the second book of his treatise on divination, De Divinatione (On Divination), on tearing down the entire business of augury. It may be surprising to learn (but it should not be so) that while Cicero concludes that augury and the taking of auspices is altogether nonsense and chicanery, it is important and necessary that such rites and practices continue to be performed in order to maintain oligarchical control over the Republic:


"[Cicero] himself was an augur, and in his book On the Republic had written in favour of the maintenance of the rites of augury and of auspices. But these practices were engrafted on the Roman constitution and he advocated their observance because of his belief  in obedience to law and because, as a member of the aristocratic party, he thought augury and auspices the best means of controlling the excesses of democracy."
                                                       -W. A. Falconer, Loeb introduction to De Divinatione 

Despite revealing his personal beliefs concerning divination later in his life, such reservations concerning the divine apparently did not stop the famous orator from publicly placing the fault of the Catilinarian Conspiracy which occurred during his own Consulship of 63 B.C. to lack of godly appeasement by the Roman People:

Quamquam haec omnia, Quirites, ita sunt a me administrata, ut deorum inmortalium nutu atque consilio et gesta et provisa esse videantur. Idque cum coniectura consequi possumus, quod vix videtur humani consilii tantarum rerum gubernatio esse potuisse, tum vero ita praesentes his temporibus opem et auxilium nobis tulerunt, ut eos paene oculis videre possemus. Nam ut illa omittam, visas nocturno tempore ab occidente faces ardoremque caeli, ut fulminum iactus, ut terrae motus relinquam, ut omittam cetera, quae tam multa nobis consulibus facta sunt, ut haec, quae nunc fiunt, canere di inmortales viderentur, hoc certe, quod sum dicturus, neque praetermittendum neque relinquendum est.Nam profecto memoria tenetis Cotta et Torquato consulibus complures in Capitolio res de caelo esse percussas, cum et simulacra deorum depulsa sunt et statuae veterum hominum deiectae et legum aera liquefacta et tactus etiam ille, qui hanc urbem condidit, Romulus, quem inauratum in Capitolio parvum atque lactantem uberibus lupinis inhiantem fuisse meministis. Quo quidem tempore cum haruspices ex tota Etruria convenissent, caedes atque incendia et legum interitum et bellum civile ac domesticum et totius urbis atque imperii occasum adpropinquare dixerunt, nisi di inmortales omni ratione placati suo numine prope fata ipsa flexissent.Itaque illorum responsis tum et ludi per decem dies facti sunt, neque res ulla, quae ad placandos deos pertineret, praetermissa est. Idemque iusserunt simulacrum Iovis facere maius et in excelso conlocare et contra atque antea fuerat ad orientem convertere; ac se sperare dixerunt, si illud signum, quod videtis, solis ortum et forum curiamque conspiceret, fore ut ea consilia, quae clam essent inita contra salutem urbis atque imperii, inlustrarentur, ut a senatu populoque Romano perspici possent. Atque illud signum collocandum consules illi locaverunt; sed tanta fuit operis tarditas, ut neque superioribus consulibus neque nobis ante hodiernum diem collocaretur.Hic quis potest esse, Quirites, tam aversus a vero, tam praeceps, tam mente captus, qui neget haec omnia, quae videmus, praecipueque hanc urbem deorum inmortalium nutu ac potestate administrari? Etenim, cum esset ita responsum, caedes, incendia, interitum rei publicae comparari, et ea per cives, quae tum propter magnitudinem scelerum non nullis incredibilia videbantur, ea non modo cogitata a nefariis civibus, verum etiam suscepta esse sensistis. Illud vero nonne ita praesens est, ut nutu Iovis optimi maximi factum esse videatur, ut, cum hodierno die mane per forum meo iussu et coniurati et eorum indices in aedem Concordiae ducerentur, eo ipso tempore signum statueretur? Quo collocato atque ad vos senatumque converso omnia et senatus et vos, quae erant contra salutem omnium cogitata, inlustrata et patefacta vidistis.Quo etiam maiore sunt isti odio supplicioque digni, qui non solum vestris domiciliis atque tectis sed etiam deorum templis atque delubris sunt funestos ac nefarios ignes inferre conati. Quibus ego si me restitisse dicam, nimium mihi sumam et non sim ferendus; ille, ille Iuppiter restitit; ille Capitolium, ille haec templa, ille cunctam urbem, ille vos omnis salvos esse voluit. Dis ego inmortalibus ducibus hanc mentem, Quirites, voluntatemque suscepi atque ad haec tanta indicia perveni. Iam vero [illa Allobrogum sollicitatio, iam] ab Lentulo ceterisque domesticis hostibus tam dementer tantae res creditae et ignotis et barbaris commissaeque litterae numquam essent profecto, nisi ab dis inmortalibus huic tantae audaciae consilium esset ereptum. Quid vero? ut homines Galli ex civitate male pacata, quae gens una restat quae bellum populo Romano facere et posse et non nolle videatur, spem imperii ac rerum maxumarum ultro sibi a patriciis hominibus oblatam neglegerent vestramque salutem suis opibus anteponerent, id non divinitus esse factum putatis, praesertim qui nos non pugnando, sed tacendo superare potuerint?Quam ob rem, Quirites, quoniam ad omnia pulvinaria supplicatio decreta est, celebratote illos dies cum coniugibus ac liberis vestris. Nam multi saepe honores dis inmortalibus iusti habiti sunt ac debiti, sed profecto iustiores numquam. Erepti enim estis ex crudelissimo ac miserrimo interitu [erepti] sine caede, sine sanguine, sine exercitu, sine dimicatione togati me uno togato duce et imperatore vicistis. 
Although all of these things, O Quirites, have been thus managed by me, it is as if by the assent and design of the deathless gods that they both appear be accomplished and foreseen. And with the following conjecture we are able to ascertain this notion of divine assistance: that scarcely doth the guidance of such affairs seem to be able to be of human design. But then, being so nearby in our times of need did they bear might and aid to us that we are nearly able to see them with our own eyes. For I shall not mention the omens, torches seen in the night sky in the West, the heat of the heavens; and yea the lightning bolts and earthquakes, I shall forget them, and I shall not mention the rest of the portents which occurred - so many! -- in my Consulship that these which are happening now the deathless gods seem to be singing! But yet, what I am about to say is certainly neither to be omitted nor forgotten.
For I suppose ye remember when Cotta and Torquatus were Consuls and several objects were struck by lightning from heaven, when the likenesses of the gods were downward cast, the statues of the old heroes were downward thrown, and the bronze tablets of the laws were melted and even touched was touched the statue of him who founded the City, O Romulus! all gilded, standing on the Capitolium, small and suckling, clinging to the wolven teats -- yes, ye recall it. Indeed, at this time when the liver-readers had from Etruria gathered, and spake they that slaughters and also fires, the destruction of the laws, war both civil and domestic, the failing of the whole City and the empire was approaching, unless the deathless gods were appeased by every reason to bend nearly the fates themselves under their mighty sway.
And so, in accordance with their replies, then were games for ten days held, and no affair which pertained to appeasing the gods was excepted. And likewise, they bid to make a greater likeness of Jove and place it in a lofty spot -- contrary to what had been done before -- and towards the East orient it. They spake that they hope that if that statue which ye see should gaze upon the rising sun and the Forum with the Senate-House, then it would come to pass that those plots which secretly had been hatched against the well-being of the City and empire would be lighted upon, that all might be able to be seen and understood by the Senate and the Roman People. And then those Consuls decided that the statue was to be set up -- but there was such a slowdown of the work that neither by the Consuls before me, nor by us before this present day hath it been set up.
Who here is able to be, O Quirites, so obstinate towards the truth, so headstrong, so out of his mind that he would deny all of these things which we see, and that this city is especially guided by the assent and power of the deathless gods? For truly, when this answer had been thus given, that slaughters, fires, the failing of he Republic was being readied and that these things were not only planned by citizens, though such things seemed unbelievable to some people given the great enormity of the wickedness, but that these things not only were thought up by accursed citizens, but even had been undertaken by them! But is it not so at this very time that by the assent of Jove the Best and Greatest that it seemeth to have happened, that when on the morning of the very day the conspirators and their informers were by my command led to the Temple of Concord, at the same time the statue was being set up? And when this statue was set up and towards ye and the Senate turned, both ye and the Senate did see everything which had been plotted against the well-being of all, lighted upon and laid bare.
And yet these bastards, worthy of greater hatred and punishment, are such who not only upon the walls and roofs of your own homes, but even upon the temples of the gods and their shrines did they attempt to inflict death and abomination. If it were I who said that I opposed them, then too much do I take upon myself and I ought not to be endured -- for it was he, he, Jove the Father who opposed them. Wisheth he that the Capitoline be saved, wisheth he that these temples be saved, wisheth he that the rest of the City be saved, wisheth he that all of ye be saved! With the deathless gods as my guides, I have this intention and will, O Quirites undertaken and to the following proofs I have arrived: for that tampering of the Allobroges would never have taken place, a matter of such importance would not have been so madly entrusted by Lentulus and the rest of our domestic enemies of the state to strangers and foreigners -- and with letters written too! -- unless by the very deathless gods was all the cunning in such a daring plot snatched away from him? But what? That men from Gaul came from their state, a state ill at peace with us, a race which altogether makes war on the Roman People, is able to do so, and do not seem to be unwilling to do so, that these men should neglect a hope of an empire and greatest wealth for themselves beyond what was given to them by our Patricians, that they should put your own well-being before their own gains -- do ye not think this to be done by the gods' hands, especially since the Galli would have been able to o'ercome us not by combat, but by remaining silent.
Wherefore, O Quirites, since at all altars a thanksgiving hath been decreed, celebrate those days with your spouses and your children. For often hath many honors been bestowed on the deathless gods been just and owed, but assuredly never more just. For snatched are ye from the most cruel and wretched destruction, snatched without slaughter, without bloodshed, without an army, without a fight. Ye toga-ed civilians have won the day with me, your singular toga-clad leader and general!
 -Cicero In Catilinam Oratio Tertia XVIII - XXIII. Trans. is my own.

The Inauguration of the American President

The official photos of the crowd size attending two American Presidential Inauguration ceremonies shown side-by-side. One can clearly see that the crowd gathered at President Barack Obama's first inauguration in January of 2009 (left) is larger than the other inauguration (right).

On January 20th of the start of a new presidential term, the President-elect (who was elected some seventy days earlier on the first Tuesday following November 1st) is administered the oath of office, thus beginning a four-year term. The only constitutionally-required component of the inauguration is the administering of the oath of office, which may be given by anyone, anywhere, and witnessed by anyone legally able to be a witness -- for instance, the oath was once given on a grounded Air Force One to Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson immediately following the assassination of John F. Kennedy earlier the same day. Additionally, Vice President Calvin Coolidge was at his family home in 1923 when he received word via messenger that President Warren G. Harding had unexpectedly died while visiting San Francisco; early the next morning (around 3:00 AM), Coolidge was administered the oath of office by his father, a notary and justice of the peace, in the family parlor -- the 30th President then returned to bed. Besides these (and a few other occasions) the oath is usually administered by the Chief Justice of the United States of America.

Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is administered the oath of office by Sarah T. Hughes, a district judge, thus making him the 36th President of the United States of America. 

Beside the oath, the rest of the ceremony is marked more by tradition than anything else: the President-Elect typically visits the White House to proceed to the inaugural grounds (usually the Capitol) with the incumbent President. Once the oath is administered at the inauguration ceremony, the newly sworn in President typically gives a speech (called the inaugural address) and then proceeds in a parade from the Capitol to the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue. President Jimmy Carter, in an effort to throw off the trappings of an "imperial presidency", was the first to walk the distance in 1977, and has been matched in spirit (if not in the full distance of approximately one mile) by each successive President since.

39th President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn Carter, walk down Pennsylvania Avenue following the inauguration ceremony.




1. Another proposed etymology is a derivation from the verb augeo - "to increase" and by further extrapolation to mean "favorable".
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