previous next


Divination for buried treasure is a familiar process burlesqued by Scott (Antiquary, ch. 21).

Μέλισσα: killed, probably accidentally, by her husband (iii. 50 f.). Her real name was Lysicle, Melissa being a name given her by Periander (Diog. Laert. i. 94), or a title as priestess of some goddess (Pind. Pyth. iv. 60, Schol.; Frazer, Paus. iv. 223, v. 621; J. H. S. xv. 11). For the geography cf. viii. 47. 1; Thuc. i. 46; Strabo 324; Paus. i. 17. 5. ‘The Acheron flows through a profound and gloomy gorge, one of the darkest and deepest of the glens of Greece’ (Leake, N. G. i. 241). Hence it was a spot likely to be accounted a descent into hell, where the ghost might be summoned back as was Samuel by the witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28). Other oracles of the dead were at Phigalea (Paus. iii. 17. 9; cf. Frazer), Heraclea Pontica (Plut. Cim. 6), and Taenarum (Plut. Mor. 560 E). On the custom of burning or burying with the dead clothes, &c., cf. iv. 71 n.


τὸ Ἥραιον. Clearly the shrine of Ἥρα βουναία, on the slope of Acro-Corinthus at the west end of the city (Paus. ii. 4. 7), not the distant temple on the headland of Peiraeum (Xen. Hell. iv. 5. 5).

ὄρυγμα: as an offering to the dead (Hom. Od. xi. 25; x. 517) For the similar custom of pouring offerings into the grave through a hole cf. Paus. x. 4. 10, with Frazer; Ridgeway, Origin of Tragedy, 30 f.

κατέκαιε. This admirable instance of animism is rationalized by Ephorus (Diog. Laert. i. 96), who makes Periander plunder the ladies of Corinth to get gold for the colossal statue of Zeus at Olympia (cf. ε 1 n.). So Blakesley and Rawlinson think the clothes were burnt to get the inwrought gold! A similar tale is told of Dionysius the younger (Justin, xxi. 3).

θεοὺς ... Ἑλληνίους. Cf. ii. 178 n.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (9):
    • Homer, Odyssey, 11.25
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.4.10
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.17.5
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2.4.7
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 3.17.9
    • Pindar, Pythian, 4
    • Thucydides, Histories, 1.46
    • Xenophon, Hellenica, 4.5.5
    • Plutarch, Cimon, 6
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: