previous next


THEO´RIS (θεωρίς), a trireme kept for sacred embassies [see THEORI]. Of these ships it seems that there were at Athens in early historic times three,--the Delian (Δηλία), the Salaminian (Σαλαμινία), and the Paralus (Πάραλος). The first was so called because it was used (probably exclusively) for Delian theoriae; the second because it was manned originally by natives of Salamis (σαλαμίνιοι); and the third because it was manned by sailors from the Paralia (πάραλοι or παραλῖται). Boeckh indeed says that there were only two, and makes Delia another name for the Salaminia; but we should rather follow Schömann (Antiq. of Greece, p. 441, E. T.) in separating these ships: the language of Plato (Phaed. p. 58) and of Plutarch (Plut. Thes. 3) seems to us quite impossible to reconcile with the view that the ancient ship used for the Delian embassy was the Salaminia. Each writer (and Plato with especial distinctness) speaks of the ship as though it had connexion with the Delian theoria only. It is clear from their account that the Delia was a very old ship, traditionally dating from Theseus, and constantly renewed with fresh timbers, so that, according to Plutarch, its case was used to illustrate things which are the same and yet not the same: the state of the Victory at Portsmouth affords a modern parallel of a ship thus constantly patched because it is a relic. This does not agree with our knowledge of the Salaminia, which was a fast-sailing ship used for various state purposes, and even in naval battles. When the embassy to Delos was started, either at the greater (quadrennial) or the lesser (annual) festival, the Delian ship was crowned with laurel by the priest, and so sent forth: the period of its [p. 2.827]absence gave a respite to criminals (Plat. l.c.; DELIA).

The other two ships were built and manned for speed, and were used not only to convey theori over the sea part of their journey, but also to carry state despatches, to fetch state criminals who were summoned home, and to bring tribute; they served, moreover, as warships (Thuc. 3.33, 6.53, 61, 8.74; Aristoph. Birds 147, 1204; Aesch. in Ctes. § 162; Phot. s. v. πάραλοι, πάραλος). Boeckh accuses Photius of erroneously regarding these two ships as one, but the words of Photius (s. v. πάραλοι) in speaking of the Paralus are λέγεται δὲ αὐτὴ καὶ Σαλαμινία: ὕστερον δὲ ἄλλαι δύο προσεγένοντο αὐταῖς: the last word shows that αὐτὴ must mean “of similar character” ; under the word πάραλος he plainly distinguishes the two. The crew of the Paralus (and beyond a doubt of the Salaminia also) were always held in readiness, receiving four obols a day throughout the year. To this payment we may refer the office of treasurer (ταμίας τῆς Παράλου, Dem. Meid. p. 570.173), and we may fairly assume that each of the sacred ships had a treasurer; at sea they were commanded by ναύαρχοι (Boeckh, Staatshaus. i. p. 307; Schömann, l.c.). Fränkel in his note (299) shows that Boeckh is mistaken in supposing that for these ships there were also trierarchs. The expenses of the sacred ships were borne by the state, and the ταμίας in their case provided at the cost of the state all that for other ships was provided by the trierarch.

In later times we find also the names of Ammonis, Antigonis, and Demetrias; and still later the Ptolemais (Plin. Nat. 35.101; appendix to Phot. p. 676, ed. Porson; Harpocr. s. v. Ἀμμωνίς). Of these the first, built in the time of Alexander, received its name because it was specially intended to convey theoriae to Zeus Ammon: it seems to have taken the place of the Salaminia. (Schumann thinks it an ad ditional ship, but see Boeckh, p. 307, and Fränkel's note.) The subsequent addition of the Antigonis and Demetrias thus raised the number to four, as stated by Photius; for the Demetrias no doubt replaced the ancient Delia, which lasted only till the time of Demetrius (Plut. l.c.). The names of these later ships and of the Ptolemais suggest a closer connexion with political and less with religious business. [G.E.M]

(Appendix). The office of a treasurer for the Paralus and the Ammonis or Ammonias is noticed in 100.61 (see note on TAMIAS). That a treasurer of the Salaminia is not mentioned agrees with the account supported by Boeckh and Fränkel (op. cit.), that in the course of the 4th century B.C. Salaminia ceased to be the name of a sacred ship, appearing as that of an ordinary war-ship (for which a trierarch is mentioned) in the navy records. Fränkel notes as the earliest inscription in which the name so appears one of B.C. 357 (C. I. A. 2.793). If the argument is correct, it follows that from that date until the Ammonis was built we have mention of only one ship, the Paralus, which can have been available for theoriae, other than the mission to Delos. Fränkel has observed that the sacred ships are not included in the navy records. Such names as Delias, Hiera, Theoris occurring in the lists of warships do not denote a special destination. The reference to Plutarch should be Thes. 23.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: