The “New” Sanctuary of Despotiko (Paros): Interdisciplinarity at Work

  Zanetto, Giuseppe. 2023. “The 'New' Sanctuary of Despotiko (Paros): Interdisciplinarity at Work.” In “Γέρα: Studies in honor of Professor Menelaos Christopoulos,” ed. Athina Papachrysostomou, Andreas P. Antonopoulos, Alexandros-Fotios Mitsis, Fay Papadimitriou, and Panagiota Taktikou, special issue, Classics@ 25.

1. The cultic landscape of Paros in Archaic and Late Archaic age

In the last decades, an intense archaeological activity has thrown new light on the sanctuaries and the religious cults of Paros, on their chronology, characteristics and spatial distribution. [1] We are now in a position to reconstruct, to a large extent, the cultic system of Paros and to map the urban and extra-urban renewal program that the polis implemented in order to re-define its religious identity. [2] In the Archaic and Late Archaic period, starting from the middle of the sixth century BCE and increasingly in the following decades, Paros invested an impressive amount of resources in a very ambitious building plan: new temples were built and ancient places of worship were reorganized. [3]
This was a period of prosperity and political stability: the conditions were therefore ideal for launching large-scale projects. From the seventh century BCE up to the Persian Wars, Paros was one of the richest city-states of the Aegean Sea, its prosperity being granted by the systematic exploitation of its marble quarries (the famous lychnites was widely exported) [4] and by its geographic location: being at the very center of the Cyclades, Paros was a seafaring and trading power of paramount importance. [5] The Parian overseas expansionism, whose best testimony is the colonization of Thasos around 680–670 BCE, led to a rivalry with the neighboring island of Naxos. Their competition, both economic and military, went on for the whole Archaic age, one core point being the control of the Delian sanctuary of Apollo. Paros’ politics crucially aimed to control, or at least have an impact on the religious life of Delos, which in the seventh century BCE was seemingly under the influence of Naxos. [6]
In the Geometric age, the island’s most important deity was Athena, who was worshipped at the site of Koukounaries, in northern Paros. [7] After the so-called “synoecism,” Paroikia became the central settlement and acquired the dimension and the role of a city-state. It was on the acropolis of Paroikia, on the hill of Kastro, within the city walls, that a new temple of Athena was built around 530–520 BCE. This temple no doubt belongs to the religious renewal program, because it incorporates into the space of the polis a worship which the Parians perceived as an essential part of their religious identity. [8] Athena’s temple had imposing dimensions and exquisite refinements; it was probably the most important cultic venue of the old fortified city. [9]
The greatest financial effort, however, was put into the enhancement of the cult of Apollo and Artemis. On the crest of a hill to the north of Paroikia, in a sacred space which probably was already hosting the cult of the Delian twins, the Parians erected a new Doric temple in 500–490 BCE. It was dedicated to Artemis, whose colossal statue stood in the cella; [10] but Apollo was associated in worship with his sister. [11] The sanctuary was a “Delion,” as many others in the Cyclades: [12] it was oriented towards Delos, and its west façade, which offered an independent access to the venue, was surrounded by a balcony with a direct view on Apollo’s island. [13] All these elements make clear that the Parians intended this sanctuary as a mark of their connection with Delos: it was the monumental expression of both a topographic and a cultural link.
The most impressive product of Paros’ religious program was the sanctuary of Despotiko, a small island (called Prepesinthos in ancient times) facing the west coast of Antiparos. Systematic excavations have been carried out since 1997 by the “Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades” under the supervision of Yannos Kourayos. What has emerged is an important temenos to Apollo, which was clearly part of the sacred system of Paros, but was visited by people coming from the whole Aegean Sea. [14] The sanctuary developed in three successive phases. The original core consisted simply of a temple with two rooms (around 550 BCE); the structure reached its peak in the following decades (around 540–530 BCE), with a temenos enclosed by a peribolos: the temple was enlarged with the construction of an adjacent hestiatorion, an altar was built in front of the temple and other buildings were erected, also related to cultic activities. Finally, the sanctuary was renovated and significantly enlarged in the first years of the fifth century BCE, when a new monumental marble Doric façade was added to the temple.
Although no historical source mentions it, [15] the sanctuary of Despotiko, because of its size and the richness of offerings found, turns out to have been the most important in the Aegean after Delos. If the Parian Delion can be seen as an ideal extension of the Delian cult onto the territory of Paros (a sod of Delos, so to say, transplanted into another island), [16] the sanctuary of Despotiko was inspired by a more ambitious program: by founding and richly furnishing a great temenos to Apollo on an islet which was part of the Paros’ archipelago, the Parians aimed at creating a pan-Ionian sanctuary that could rival Delos’ and challenge their historical competitors, the Naxians. [17]
In any case, the almost simultaneous building interventions at the Delion and at Despotiko must be interpreted in the light of a precise program of religious and cultural nature. With the erection of the new temple to the north of Paroikia and the foundation of the new sanctuary on the southwestern fringe of the island, the Parian community intended to mark the territory of the polis, from north to south of the city center, as a unified center of Apollonian cult. On the eve of events enhancing the role of Delos in Greek history (that is, the foundation of the Delian League and the promotion of Delos as a symbol of Greek resistance against the Persian threat), Paros fostered a common religious identity across its territory in the name of Apollo and of Apollonian religion. [18]

2. Paros and the heroic cult of Archilochus—The “Archilocheion”

It is certainly no coincidence that the earliest evidence of the heroic cult of the poet Archilochus dates from this same period (late sixth century BCE). A sanctuary was erected in his honor, probably at the site which is now called Treis Ekklesies (“Three Churches”), east of Paroikia, along the road to Naousa. [19] This “Archilocheion” possibly consisted of a shrine, altars and a temenos. [20] Two marble reliefs were reused in the cloister of the Hekatontapyliani and discovered in the 1960s. [21] One of them depicts a Totenmahl, with the main figure reclining on a couch: on the wall above his head hang the various parts of an armor and an upside-down lyre. [22] This scene pictures Archilochus being worshipped in terms of a hero cult: the presence of both the weapons and the musical instrument corresponds strikingly to the poet’s self-presentation in fr. 1 West (“I am the servant of lord Enyalius and skilled in the lovely gift of the Muses”).
By granting Archilochus a heroic cult, the Parians recognized him as an identity figure; heroization was an award for the double role he had played: as a citizen who bravely fought on the battlefield, and as a poet who composed songs celebrating the religious and mythical traditions of the island. The process of heroization was accompanied by the creation of a myth: Archilochus became the subject of a narrative, largely inspired by the poet’s own songs; his life was re-written so as to match his public image. Of course, the creation of a mythical bios was not a unidimensional process. To the extent that Archilochus’ fame and work spread and acquired a Panhellenic dimension, his myth was adapted to different scenarios and needs.
The Parian cult of the hero Archilochus obviously included sacrifices and rituals. [23] In addition, poetic contests and rhapsodic recitations were possibly part of the picture as well. In any case, there can hardly be any doubt that the cult of the poet was the context for the performance and transmission of his poetry and for the creation of myths about his life. [24] The heroon possibly also hosted a collection of written texts. Such a scenario is very likely for the Hellenistic age, when the sanctuary was re-founded and renovated, but cannot be ruled out for the Late Archaic “proto-Archilocheion” either. [25]
Various elements suggest that, from the outset, Apollo played a crucial role in Archilochus’ mythical bios. In fact, our earliest written evidence is the tale reported in the “Mnesiepes inscription”—discovered by Greek archaeologist Nikolaos Kondoleon in 1949—which was carved around the middle of the third century BCE by a citizen of Paros, Mnesiepes, on the occasion of the re-consecration of the Archilocheion. [26] In the opening part of the inscription, Mnesiepes refers to three Delphic oracles, which ordered him to construct a precinct, to make sacrifices to various deities, and to pay due honors to Archilochus. [27] This is followed by the account of Archilochus’ poetic initiation. A very young Archilochus was sent by his father to sell a cow at the market. He set off before dawn, and when he came to the place called “Slippery Rocks,” he saw a crowd of women who welcomed him playfully and asked him if he was bringing the cow in order to sell it. When he gave a positive answer, they assured him that they would pay him the right price; soon afterwards, both the women and the cow disappeared, and the boy saw a lyre at his feet. Archilochus’ father Telesicles had the cow searched all over the island, to no avail. Shortly afterwards, he was sent by the city to Delphi, where he received an oracle promising poetic glory to the one of his sons who would greet him first on his return to Paros. Telesicles returned during the festival of Artemisia and was met by Archilochus. This is the text of the Delphic oracle, as found on the inscription:

[ἀ]θ̣ά̣νατός σοι παῖς καὶ ἀοίδιμος, ὦ Τελεσίκλεις,
ἔ̣σται ἐν ἀνθρώποισιν, ὃς ἂμ πρῶτός σε προσείπει
ν̣ηὸς ἀποθρῴσκοντα φίλην εἰς πατρίδα γαῖαν.

Immortal and renowned in song among men, Telesicles,
will be whichever son of yours first speaks to you
as you leap from your ship onto your beloved homeland.

E1 col. 2, lines 50–52

Through this narrative both aspects of the hero, the one of the poet and that of the colonist, are assigned to the patronage of Delphic Apollo. The Muses’ gift of the lyre and the promise of eternal poetic glory correspond to Archilochus’ role as a divinely inspired singer, conveying the official voice of the Parian community. The mention of Telesicles, on the other hand, clearly alludes to the foundation of Thasos, because a Parian tradition ascribed to Archilochus’ family, the Tellids, a paramount role in this colonial adventure. [28] In another Delphic oracle Archilochus’ father is explicitly assigned the task of founder: [29]

ἄγγειλον Παρίοις, Τελεσίκλεες, ὥς σε κελεύω
νήσῳ ἐν Ἠερίῃ κτίζειν εὐδείελον ἄστυ.

Announce to the Parians, Telesicles, that I order you
to found a conspicuous city on the island Eeria.

Eusebius Praeparatio evangelica 6.7.8

In a third oracle the poet himself is invited to go to Thasos and settle there:

Ἀρχίλοχ’, εἰς Θάσον ἐλθέ, καὶ οἴκει εὐκλέα νῆσον.

Archilochus, go to Thasos, and inhabit that glorious island.

Eusebius Praeparatio evangelica 5.31.1

Many sources have transmitted an anecdote that presents Archilochus as a protégé of Apollo even after his death. According to this tradition, the poet died in battle, fighting against the Naxians, the traditional enemies of the Parians. The one who killed him was called Calondas, but bore the nickname Korax, that is, “the Raven.” When he went to Delphi to consult the oracle, he was at first harshly rejected by Pythia on the ground that he had killed a man sacred to the Muses. He tried to justify himself, saying that he had killed him in fair combat; he was then ordered to perform prayers and sacrifices to appease the soul of Archilochus. [30]

The sources that convey these oracles are late: they date to the Hellenistic or post-Hellenistic age, at a time when Archilochus’ life—like that of other ancient poets—took on fictional contours. The ancient biographers, drawing on the poet’s own texts, gave life to the cliché of the poète maudit, afflicted by poverty and consumed by envy. [31] But the cow tale, as narrated in the Mnesiepes inscription, certainly dates back to the Late Archaic period, because it inspired the painter of an Attic white-ground pyxis (the “Hesiod Painter”), dated to ca. 460 BCE. [32] On the pyxis a man is represented standing next to a cow, in the presence of six Muses. The element that makes it almost certain that it is the initiation of Archilochus, and not of some other poet (an identification with Hesiod’s encounter with the Muses had also been proposed), is the presence of the cow. [33]
As he introduces the tale of the poet’s encounter with the Muses, Mnesiepes himself explains that what he decided to write is indeed the result of his own reworking, but is based on a time-honored tradition:

π̣ερὶ δὲ ὧν ἠβουλήθημεν ἀναγράψαι, τάδε παραδέδοταί τε ἡμῖν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχαίων καὶ αὐτοὶ πεπραγματεύμεθα.

Concerning the matters which we wished to inscribe, these have both been handed down to us by men of old and we have elaborated on them ourselves.

E1 col. 2, lines 20–22

These words suggest that the tale of the lost cow was part of the “original saga,” contemporary with the establishment of the heroic cult.

Let us return to late sixth century BCE Paros and to the vast building program that the Parians implemented to enhance Apollo’s cult and reorientate the religious identity of their island. We may think that the erection of the Archilocheion, the foundation of the heroic cult and the primitive core of the mythical bios were part of one and the same initiative. The sources enable us to reconstruct an entire “oracular system” that narrates Archilochus (his life and career) under the sign of Apollo. Of course, they favored Apollo’s Delphic epithet over its Delian one. [34] The god of Delphi, as protector of poetic art (Mousagetas) and traditional promoter of colonial enterprises, was the obvious point of reference for the poet and colonist Archilochus. [35]
Yet, it would be wrong to think that the Delphic sanctuary took over the figure of Archilochus. A deep connection with Apollo was probably part of the poet’s image already in the local Parian traditions that found their way into the myth. [36] On the other hand, it is certainly possible that Delphic elements ended up coloring these tales: indeed, the oracles included in the bios conform to the verbal forms and narrative patterns that characterize Delphic texts. [37] Delphic coloring also undoubtedly helped the Panhellenic diffusion of the poet’s image.
The heroic cult of Archilochus was also the context for the preservation and transmission of his poetry. [38] We know that his poems spread rapidly all over Greece soon after his death. They were certainly performed in symposia, probably on the basis of oral transmission. But they certainly also had a written circulation. Ancient sources tell us of rhapsodic performances in which Archilochus’ poems were recited along with Homer’s and Hesiod’s. [39] The inclusion in the rhapsodic repertoire is proof that Archilochus was counted among the great poets of the past and that his authority was widely recognized.
On the other hand, in the case of Archilochus the poems and the biographical traditions are closely interrelated, since the episodes of the bios feed on the poet’s verses and can be seen as a kind of commentary on, or interpretation of, his songs. Thus, the success and the circulation of the poems also fostered the dissemination of the myth, in a process of mutual influence: insofar as the songs were admired and performed, the image of the poet was subject to continuous reinterpretation and re-narration. [40]

3. Archilochus in fifth century BCE Athens

In this perspective, Athens is a very telling case study. In the fifth century BCE Athenian scenario, the figure of Archilochus undergoes contradictory developments corresponding to different readings of his bios. [41] In the first half of the century, the poet seems to play an important role in Cimon’s political propaganda. After the death of Miltiades, which followed the failed attack on Paros (489 BCE), Cimon took charge of continuing his father’s policy through a series of actions in the northern Aegean. His plan aimed at a progressive expansion of Athens in this area, which was of strategic interest to the polis, as well as at drastically reducing the Persian influence once and for all. [42] Relevant to Cimon’s ambitions were the conquest of Eion (476 BCE), at the mouth of the Strymon (an ancient colony of Paros, founded—together with Thasos—as an outpost for the control of the Pangaion), the capture of Skyros (475 BCE), the subjugation of Naxos (471 BCE) and Thasos (463 BCE), which had rebelled against Athens, [43] as well the great victory over the Persians in the battle of Eurymedon. [44]
Many clues suggest that Cimon, in presenting these actions (in accordance with the line traditionally adopted by the genos of the Philaids) as the completion of Athens’ patriotic struggle against the Persians, used Archilochus as a paradigm. Within this strategy, Archilochus could work as the archetypical model of the warrior and colonist, [45] as well as the embodiment of the military and political action against the “barbarians.” The Parian colonists had fought the Thracians. Turning the latter into the Thracian-Persian enemies of Cimon’s campaigns was no difficult move. [46] Belonging to the illustrious family of the Tellids of Paros (friends of the Philaids), who had inaugurated the conquest of Thasos and the struggles against the Thracians, Archilochus could thus be viewed as a sort of Cimon ante litteram.
Two main arguments can be put forward in support of this reconstruction. The first is Polygnotus’ fresco of the Nekyia in the Lesche of the Cnidians at Delphi. The building was erected by the polis of Cnidos thanks to the spoils collected from the Persians in the Eurymedon battle, and the decision to entrust the pictorial decoration to the Thasian painter is almost certainly to be ascribed to Cimon’s influence. [47] Polygnotus painted the frescoes of the Iliou Persis and the Battle of Marathon in the Stoa Poikile, whose construction was financed by Cimon’s brother-in-law Peisianax: his closeness to the Philaids and to their political agenda is clear.
As we know from Pausanias, [48] Polygnotus included in the Nekyia composition Tellis, Archilochus’ great-grandfather, and Cleoboea, the maiden who first brought the mysteries of Demeter from Paros to Thasos. [49] The choice to portray Tellis and Cleoboea, the “missionaries” who implanted the Parian cult into the newly founded colony, was certainly intended to recall the role of the Tellids of Paros as champions of the Greek expansion in the northern Aegean. [50]
We then have a number of fragments from a play by Cratinus, entitled Archilochoi. [51] This was formerly considered one of Cratinus’ earliest comedies: on the basis of fr. 1 Kassel-Austin, in which Metrobius laments the death of Cimon (who died in Cyprus in 450/449 BCE), it was dated to 449 BCE. Based on other elements, scholars now believe that the play was produced at a later time. [52]
There is a scholarly consensus that the Archilochoi featured two semi-choruses, namely the supporters of Archilochus opposed by the supporters of the epic poets Homer and Hesiod; after the agon, the two semi-choruses merged into one and the same chorus, whose members became “the Archilochians,” that is the followers of the poet from Paros, emerging as the winner. [53] Fr. 6 Kassel-Austin is part of the agon and refers to Archilochus’ reply (he evidently spoke second):

εἶδες τὴν Θασίαν ἅλμην οἷ’ ἄττα βαΰζει,
ὡς εὖ καὶ ταχέως ἀπετείσατο καὶ παραχρῆμα;
οὐ μέντοι παρὰ κωφὸν ὁ τυφλὸς ἔοικε λαλῆσαι.

Did you see what the Thasian brine was barking?
How well and quickly he took his revenge, immediately!
The blind man, no doubt, did not talk to a deaf one.

Cratinus fr. 6 Kassel-Austin

The “blind man” is of course Homer, who had spoken first. As this passage makes clear, in this play Archilochus was assigned traits that fully conformed to his bios. He is a “brine of Thasos,” as piquant as the bitingness of his iambic poetry; aggressive and pungent, he does not speak but “barks,” and knows how to promptly take revenge on those who attack him. The coloring of the character reflects Archilochus’ self-presentation, as he speaks of his poetry as a retaliation against his enemies (cf. fr. 126 West “One great thing I know, to repay with terrible harm one who does me harm”). [54]

The Archilochoi can be interpreted as the manifesto of Cratinus’ poetics, and in particular as a vindication of the mordacity and aggressiveness intrinsic, at least in Cratinus’ view, to the comic genre. The playwright is a kind of Archilochus redivivus, as useful to the city as Archilochus was to the political and civic action of his fellow citizens. [55]
Literary criticism (and the poet’s self-exaltation as the inventor or of a “new” comedy inspired by ancient iambography) was probably the core issue of the Archilochoi. But it is likely that, as is typical of Cratinus at his best, the play was also informed by political topicality. This is suggested by fr. 1 Kassel-Austin, in which the speaking character (one otherwise unknown Metrobius) grieves over the death of Cimon. We do not know what role Metrobius played in the plot (perhaps he introduced the agon between the poets), [56] but his presence in the opening lines, [57] and his praise of Cimon, seem to be important for the overall interpretation of the play.
From Cimon, who is called “a godlike and most hospitable man, by far the best of all Greeks” (ἀνδρὶ θείῳ καὶ φιλοξενωτάτῳ καὶ πάντ᾿ ἀρίστῳ τῶν Πανελλήνων), Metrobius expected for himself a “splendid old age” (λιπαρὸν γῆρας). In Metrobius’ view (but most likely also in the playwright’s) Cimon was the champion of a political project that would have had a splendid outcome for the city, but unfortunately did not come to fruition. [58] Cimon’s death handed Athens over to quite different rulers, who brought about decay in the management of public affairs and in the field of the arts (theatre, music, poetry). [59]
Cratinus must have had in mind the proverbial generosity of Cimon, always ready to help the less well-off but also respectful of their dignity, [60] as well as his attitude as a defender of Greekness against the Persian “barbarians.” The “myth” of Cimon survived his death, and Cratinus kept nourishing it, decades later, as a positive foil designed to convey his hatred for Pericles. We do not know whether Cratinus’ Archilochus was given any lines evoking Cimon and praising his policy. But the very intonation of the Archilochoi, with Metrobius’ laudatory words, suggests that the civilizing mission of the “Archilochian poets” included the recovery of a glorious past. [61]
In late fifth century BCE Athens we also find evidence of a quite different reading of Archilochus. A famous fragment by Critias presents him with the typical traits of a poète maudit: [62] a son of a slave, he left Paros because of poverty and desperation and, once in Thasos, he made himself hated for his slanderous attacks; he was an adulterer, lecherous, arrogant, shameless. It is evident that Critias attributes to the real Archilochus the traits of the mimetic “I” that in the iambic poetry is adopted to give voice to the characters blamed for their behaviour, at a time when the distinction between the speaking “I” of a character and the biographical “I” of the poet is no longer clear. [63] Yet, in Critias’ case, such a biographical fallacy is probably intentional, insofar as he wants to create a negative portrait of Archilochus, [64] designed to counter the poet’s positive image promoted in some Athenian quarters. [65]

4. Conclusion

Our starting point was the cultic landscape of Paros between the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, which can be reconstructed thanks to the archaeological excavations conducted in the last few decades. The recent discovery of the sanctuary of Despotiko sheds new light on the religious and political program that led the polis to emphasize the presence of Apollo on the island. The heroic cult of Archilochus, too, can be traced back to this perspective: the Archilocheion, which was erected in the same years, was connected with Apollo’s patronage right from the beginning. The biographical traditions linking the poet to Delphi are part of the original core of his mythical bios. The poet’s heroon becomes the center of the Panhellenic dissemination of Archilochus’ poetry and legend. The poet-hero is a strongly colored, potentially provocative icon, liable to laudatory or denigrating readings, as is clear from the telling example provided by fifth century BCE Athens.


Aloni, A. 2009. “Poesia e biografia: Archiloco, la colonizzazione e la storia.” Annali Online di Ferrara. Lettere 1:64–103.
Angliker, E. 2017. “Worshiping the Divinities at the Archaic Sanctuaries in the Cyclades.” In Mazarakis Ainian 2017:29–53
Angliker, E., and J. Tully, eds. 2018. Cycladic Archaeology and Research. New approaches and discoveries. Oxford.
Angliker, E. 2020. “Dances and Rituals at the Sanctuary of Despotiko.” In Musical and Choral Performances Spaces in the Ancient World, ed. A. Bellia, 19–30. Pisa.
———. 2022. “Insights into the Cult of Apollo and Artemis at the Parian Sanctuaries.” In Naming and Mapping the Gods in the Ancient Mediterranean. Spaces, Mobilities, Imaginaries, ed. T. Galoppin, E. Guillon, M. Luaces, A. Lätzer-Lasar, S. Lebreton, F. Porzia, J. Rüpke, E. Urciuoli, and C. Bonnet, 247–270. Berlin.
Bakola, E. 2010. Cratinus and the Art of Comedy. Oxford.
Berranger, D. 1992. Recherches sur l’histoire et la rosopographie de Paros à l’époque archaïque. Clermont Ferrand.
Bianchi, F. P. 2016. Cratino, Archilochoi-Empipramenoi (frr. 1–68): introduzione, traduzione, commento. Heidelberg.
Boschi, A. 2022. “Il teatro dell’oligarga: per una ricostruzione del pensiero etico-politico di Crizia.” In Teatro tragico greco. Ricostruzioni e interpretazioni, ed. G. Zanetto, 69–80. Pisa.
Clay, D. 2004. Archilochos Heros. The Cult of Poets in the Greek Polis. Hellenic Studies 6. Washington, DC.
Corso, A. 2007. “The Portraiture of Archilochos.” Hyperboreus 13:11–30.
De Ste. Croix, G. E. M. 1972. The Origins of the Peloponnesian War. London.
Gomme, A. W. 1945. A Historical Commentary on Thucydides. Vol. 1, Introduction and Commentary on Book I. Oxford.
Katsonopoulou, D., I. Petropoulos, and S. Katsarou, eds. 2008. Paros II. Archilochos and His Age. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Archaeology of Paros and the Cyclades. Athens.
Kebrik, R. B. 1983. The Paintings in the Cnidian Lesche at Delphi and their Historical Context. Leiden.
Kourayos, Y. 2004. Πάρος. Αντίπαρος. Ιστορία, Μνημεία, Μουσεία. Αthens.
———. 2012. Despotiko. The Sanctuary of Apollo. Athens.
Kourayos, Y., K. Daifa, A. Ohnesorg, and K. Papajanni. 2012. “The Sanctuary of Despotiko in the Cyclades. Excavations 2001–2012.” Archäologischer Anzeiger 2:93–174.
Kourayos, Y., and K. Daifa. 2017. “Politics, Territory, and Religion in the Cyclades during the Archaic Period. The Case of Paros and the Sanctuary on Despotiko.” In Mazarakis Ainian 2017:307–326.
Kourayos, Y., E. Angliker, K. Daifa, and J. Tully. 2018. “The Cult Topography of Paros from the 9th to 4th Century BC: A Summary.” In Angliker and Tully 2018:135–165.
Kourayos, Y., R. F. Sutton, and K. Daifa. 2018. “Miltiades on Paros: New evidence from Despotiko.” In Angliker and Tully 2018:113–134.
Kourayos, Y. 2018. “Ancient Paros: New evidence for its topographical development in light of rescue excavations.” In Angliker and Tully 2018:279–294.
Lanzillotta E. 1987. Paro. Dall’età arcaica all’età ellenistica. Rome.
Lefkowitz, M. 2012. The Lives of the Greek Poets. 2nd ed. Baltimore.
Marcaccini, C. 2001. Costruire un’identità, scrivere la storia: Archiloco, Paro e la colonizzazione di Taso. Florence.
Mazarakis Ainian, A. ed. 2017. Les sanctuaires archaïques des Cyclades. Recherches récentes. Rennes.
Musti, D. 2008. Storia greca. Linee di sviluppo dall’età micenea all’età romana. 3rd ed. Rome.
Nagy, G. 2008. “Convergences and divergences between god and hero in the Mnesiepes Inscription of Paros.” In Katsonopoulou, Petropoulos, and Katsarou 2008:259–265.
Ohnesorg, A. 2008. “The Architectural Form of the Archilocheion of Paros.” In Katsonopoulou, Petropoulos, and Katsarou 2008:303–324.
Ornaghi, M. 2004. “Omero sulla scena. Spunti per una ricostruzione degli Odissei e degli Archilochi di Cratino.” In Momenti della ricezione omerica. Poesia arcaica e teatro, ed. G. Zanetto, D. Canavero, A. Capra, and A. Sgobbi, 197–228. Milan.
———. 2009. La lira, la vacca e le donne insolenti. Contesti di ricezione e promozione della figura e della poesia di Archiloco dall’arcaismo all’ellenismo. Alessandria.
Pòrtulas, J. 2006. “Crizia di Atene e la leggenda archilochea.” In L’autore e l’opera. Attribuzioni, appropriazioni, apocrifi nella Grecia antica, ed. F. Roscalla, 175–191. Pisa.
———. 2008. “᾽Αθάνατος καὶ ἀοίδιμος: Archilochean Oracles.” In Katsonopoulou, Petropoulos, and Katsarou 2008:23–35
Rivoli, M. 2020. “L’iscrizione di Mnesiepes dall‘Archilocheion di Paro.” Axon 4:141–164.
Rosen, R. 1988. Old Comedy and Iambographic Tradition. Atlanta.
Rotstein, A. 2007. “Critias’ Invective against Archilochus.” Classical Philology 102:139–154.
———. 2016. Literary History in the Parian Marble. Hellenic Studies 68. Washington, DC.
Rutherford, I. 2001. Pindar’s Paeans: A Reading of the Fragments with a Survey of the Genre. Oxford.
Schilardi, D. 2018. “Koukounaries and the Cult of Athena.” In Angliker and Tully 2018:287–305.
Schuller, M. 1991. Der Artemistempel im Delion auf Paros. Berlin.
Swift, L. 2019. Archilochus: The Poems. Introduction, Text, Translation, and Commentary. Oxford.
Tréheux, J. 1995. “Archéologie délienne: l’Artémision έν Νήσωι, localisation et histoire.” Journal des Savants 2:187–207.


[ back ] 1. Kourayos 2018; Kourayos, Angliker, Daifa, and Tully 2018.
[ back ] 2. Angliker 2022:248–249.
[ back ] 3. Ornaghi 2009:260–261; Kourayos, Sutton, and Daifa 2018:114.
[ back ] 4. Berranger 1992:245–246.
[ back ] 5. Lanzillotta 1987:49–102; Kourayos 2018:280.
[ back ] 6. Kourayos, Angliker, Daifa, and Tully 2018:141; Angliker 2022:247.
[ back ] 7. Schilardi 2018.
[ back ] 8. Schilardi 2018:298. The goddess was venerated with the cultic epithet of Poliouchos, as we learn from epigraphic sources: Angliker 2022:250.
[ back ] 9. Kourayos, Angliker, Daifa, and Tully 2018:144.
[ back ] 10. The statue, found in fragments, has been reassembled and is now in display in the Archaeological Museum of Paros: Kourayos 2004:43; Angliker 2022:260.
[ back ] 11. Schuller 1991; Apollo’s cult had its focus on the rock altar in the center of the temenos: Angliker 2022:259–260.
[ back ] 12. Angliker 2017:30–31; inscriptions dated to the fourth century BCE with dedications to “Apollo Delios” and “Artemis Delia” leave little doubt that the sanctuary was actually a Delion.
[ back ] 13. Kourayos, Angliker, Daifa, and Tully 2018:148.
[ back ] 14. Kourayos 2012; Kourayos, Daifa, Ohnesorg, and Papajanni 2012; Kourayos and Daifa 2017; Kourayos, Angliker, Daifa, and Tully 2018; Kourayos, Sutton, and Daifa 2018:115–130; Angliker 2020.
[ back ] 15. It has been suggested that Pindar’s fr. 140a may be an allusion to Despotiko, because the text tells of Heracles founding, on the orders of Apollo Delios, an altar on the island of Paros in order to worship the god under this epithet; since the fragment mentions a neck of land which Heracles must cross, it is tempting to think of the isthmus that in antiquity connected Despotiko to the adjacent island of Antiparos. This hypothesis would establish a suggestive link between the sanctuary and the cult of Apollo Delios; unfortunately, Pindar’s passage is inconsistent with this interpretation, because Heracles is said to have founded two altars (one for Apollo and one for Zeus) and no evidence of a cult of Zeus has been detected in Despotiko: Rutherford 2001:381; Angliker 2020:253.
[ back ] 16. In the second half of the sixth century BCE, Paros’ strong presence in Delos is attested by dedications of statues and the construction of buildings: Angliker 2017:30. According to Tréheux 1995:207, in the Artemision of Rhenea the presence of Parian marble blocks testifies to the work of Parian craftsmen and is perhaps also a proof that the temple was built on Paros’ initiative.
[ back ] 17. Kourayos, Angliker, Daifa, and Tully 2018:158; Kourayos, Sutton, and Daifa 2018:121.
[ back ] 18. Kourayos, Y., R. F. Sutton and K. Daifa. 2018:117–121.
[ back ] 19. Discussion on the location of the Archilocheion, with bibliography, in Rotstein 2016:13–14. Ohnesorg 2008 reconstructs the architectural form of a fourth century BCE Doric temple and identifies it as the Archilocheion, suggesting that it was originally located in the Elitas valley near Treis Ekklesies.
[ back ] 20. This is the structure we can reconstruct from the Mnesiepes inscription (mid-third century BCE); but we can imagine that the layout of the proto-Archilocheion was not very different (the words of Mnesiepes suggest that the new offerings are meant as an addition to the pre-existing structure): Kourayos, Angliker, Daifa, and Tully 2018:154–155. Berranger 1992:244 thinks of a simple funerary monument, on which the classical Archilocheion was later built.
[ back ] 21. They are now on display in the Archaeological Museum of Paros: Kourayos 2004:79.
[ back ] 22. Clay 2004:40–52; Corso 2007:12–14. The identification of the emblem on the right upper edge of the relief with a lyre is a matter of discussion (Clay 2004:52–54).
[ back ] 23. Clay 2004:24.
[ back ] 24. Nagy 2008:263.
[ back ] 25. Rotstein 2016:13–14.
[ back ] 26. Clay 2004:10–24; Nagy 2008; Ornaghi 2009:38–49; Lefkowitz 2012:32–35; Rivoli 2020.
[ back ] 27. The text makes clear that it comes from an Archilocheion, a temenos built as a place to honor Archilochus along with Apollo, the Muses, and other gods: Rotstein 2016:12.
[ back ] 28. Marcaccini 2001:63–66, 72–93.
[ back ] 29. Clay 2004:71; Ornaghi 2009:9–10.
[ back ] 30. Ornaghi 2009:12–14. The most extensive version is found in Suda α 4112 Adler.
[ back ] 31. Lefkowitz 2012:31–32. Traces of this negative representation can already be found in fifth century BCE voices such as Pindar and Critias.
[ back ] 32. Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, no. 98.887.
[ back ] 33. Clay 2004:14, 55–57; Corso 2007:14–15; Aloni 2009:73. According to Clay 2004:120, two other very fragmentary vases, kept in Paros, may depict the encounter between Archilochus and the Muses as well as the gift of the lyre. One of them dates back to the end of the seventh century BCE.
[ back ] 34. However, an epigram attributed to Theocritus (Anthologia Palatina 7.664) defines Archilochus as “beloved of the Muses and Delian Apollo”: Clay 2004:30; Ornaghi 2009:128.
[ back ] 35. Ornaghi 2009:128–129.
[ back ] 36. Ornaghi 2009:176–177 thinks that the Delphic coloring of the bios is not the result of a new biographical tradition, but rather reveals the superimposition of a web of Apollonian references on a narrative structure studded with allusions to the cult of Demeter.
[ back ] 37. Pòrtulas 2008:30: “On the other hand, it is obvious that Delphi did not make up the main items of the Archilochean legend; yet it probably did contribute greatly to giving them a religious form. It did so by combining the local Parian traditions (and, more important, probably the funeral cults) dedicated to the poet and by harmonizing them with a more strictly Delphic view of heroic cult and ideology. Archilochos, poet and colonist, became, after his death, very attractive to the Panhellenic sanctuary, which by that time had also become a promoter of colonial expansion.”
[ back ] 38. Nagy 2008:263.
[ back ] 39. Swift 2019:40–41.
[ back ] 40. Pòrtulas 2008:31.
[ back ] 41. Ornaghi 2009:232–256.
[ back ] 42. Musti 2008:331–332.
[ back ] 43. Thucydides 1.98–102.
[ back ] 44. Gomme 1945:281–289. The dating of the battle of the Eurymedon is controversial; discussion in Musti 2008:332.
[ back ] 45. Corso 2007:14.
[ back ] 46. Ornaghi 2009:254.
[ back ] 47. Kebric 1983:34–35.
[ back ] 48. Pausanias 10.28.3
[ back ] 49. Clay 2004:18; Aloni 2009:70; Ornaghi 2009:186–193.
[ back ] 50. Corso, 2007:16: “The Polygnotan paintings in Delphi date soon after 463 BCE, when Cimon defeated Thasus after the uprising of this island against Athenian rule. The inclusion of Tellis in the Nekyia might suggest a Cimonian desire to emphasize and honor the family of Archilochus.”
[ back ] 51. Cratinus frr. 1–16 Kassel-Austin; Bianchi 2016:13–113.
[ back ] 52. Bakola 2010:71 thinks of a year between 435 and 422 BCE; discussion in Bianchi 2016:18–20.
[ back ] 53. Ornaghi 2004:218–220; Bakola 2010:71–72.
[ back ] 54. Rosen 1988:43; Swift 2019:43.
[ back ] 55. Rosen 1988:41–49; Bakola 2010:18.
[ back ] 56. Bianchi 2016:25.
[ back ] 57. It is likely that fr. 1 Kassel-Austin belonged to the prologue (or at least to an introductory part of the play): Ornaghi 2004:226 n.54.
[ back ] 58. For Cratinus’ and Aristophanes’ sympathetic treatment of Cimon, see de Ste. Croix 1972:361.
[ back ] 59. Ornaghi 2009:236–246
[ back ] 60. Plutarch Cimon 10.
[ back ] 61. Rotstein 2007:148–149 speaks of a “demotic Archilochus,” champion of patriotic values.
[ back ] 62. Critias apud Aelianus Varia historia 10.13.
[ back ] 63. Pòrtulas 2006:189–191; Aloni 2009:86; Lefkowitz 2012:32.
[ back ] 64. Boschi 2022:72 thinks that Critias wants to present Archilochus as an antithetical figure to the Theseus of the Pirithous.
[ back ] 65. Rotstein 2007:151: “A circle of philoi who shared Critias’ values and could appreciate the wit of a deliberate misinterpretation of Archilochus’ poems or biography seems the best audience for our piece.”