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A satyric lullaby in Aeschylus' Net-Haulers (fr. 47a Radt)?

Lullaby as a lyric genre

Anyone who wishes to explore the existence of a certain motif or theme (1) in the lullaby genre (2) has to answer this simple question: do we possess extant lullabies and, if so, do they exhibit any generic qualities? One of the few modern studies on lullabies in ancient Greece belongs to I. Waern and it was published in 1960. Waern, convincingly, collects the ancient testimonies referring to the characteristics of lullabies and observes that there is not a single lullaby among the carmina popularia (3). On the other hand, Plato (Laws 8, 790d), Sextus Empiricus, (Against Mathematicians 6.32), Atheneus (Scholars at Dinner 14.618e) and the Socratic Letters (Socrat. Epist. 27.2) (4) provide some information on lullabies.

More specifically, we learn that lullabies had a generic name ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) at least until Athenaeus' time. According to Plato, lullabies were being sung by the mothers themselves with the sole purpose to make their infants fall asleep. Their performers improvised and used a combination of movement and melody ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (...) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). Sextus Empiricus is of a different opinion: according to him the infants fell asleep by listening to a melodious murmur ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). He does not seem certain that lullabies are a product of pure improvisation. Sextus used them as an example of the effect music had on people or animals, thus we can deduce that he believed that lullabies were a form of art. In the Socratic Letters we learn that young men who belonged to the philosopher's circle were being educated by listening to Socratic "lullabies" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]). According to Atheneaus, lullabies belonged to the category of popular songs (carmina popularia). They were "the songs of the nurses" and were called [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. May I add to this short list, adduced by Waern, Origen's testimony (Against Celsus 6.74). Origen compares Celsus' sayings about Jesus Christ to lullabies. According to him, Celsus' arguments are so false and fictive that even an old nurse would be ashamed to sing them while performing a lullaby.

Although there are no remains of actual lullabies, we can draw some conclusions from the existing testimonies. Our earliest source is Plato. The rest of our information comes from sources dating from the 1st A.D. to the 3rd A.D. So, it can be supposed that Plato's testimony affords us a glimpse at the earliest phase of lullabies. According to Plato, lullabies did not have professional performers, as the performers of lullabies were the mothers themselves, and their sole purpose was to make children fall asleep. These songs were a form of choreia and they were based on melody. Nevertheless, we can assume that their earliest performers improvised and did not follow strict compositional rules, since these songs were composed without artistry ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (5). Plato does not give a name to these songs. From the 1st century A.D. onwards (Socratic Letters, Athenaeus, Origen) we ascertain that lullabies had a generic name and that their performers were usually the nurses and not the mothers of the infants (Athenaeus, Origen). Athenaeus places them among other "folk songs" (carmina popularia) such as the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] or occupational songs. According to Sextus' account, lullabies were considered, at least in his time, songs. Their sole purpose was not to make infants fall asleep. They also provided pleasure through music. They were described as a "melodic murmur". In the Socratic Letters we learn that what is called the "socratic lullaby" had an educational purpose.

The most interesting information we can gain from the late testimonies is that lullabies might have contained myths or narratives of fantastic, and probably unbelievable, events. In the Socratic Letters we learn that young men who belonged to the Socratic circle were being educated by Socratic lullabies. Although we cannot be sure what these Socratic lullabies contained, we can guess that they probably possessed a didactic character. Origen's account reinforces this speculation. Origen uses lullabies as an example of completely unreliable, fictive narration, whose sole aim is to impress. He compares them to the false arguments of Celsus about Jesus Christ. Lullabies then, according to Origen, involved completely fantastic and probably impressive narratives. But what could the content of such narratives possibly be? Is there any way for us to have a glimpse at their generic context?

"Literary" lullabies

Waern stresses the purely oral composition and transmission of lullabies: "this type of lyric lived its life in Old Greek eclipsed by the great literary kinds. It was never recorded but lived only on the lips of people and was handed down through oral tradition in the homes. (...) Lullaby belongs to what is called 'popular' poetry, a vague and in most cases actually misleading term that might better be replaced by 'anonymous' poetry" (6). I fully agree with her conclusions: lullabies, at least during their initial stage, were part of oral poetry. Yet this assumption has some important implications for this paper which need to be dealt with. Lullabies were composed during performance and, at least initially, at a strictly non-professional level; nevertheless, we can speak of a lullaby lyric genre with a loose meaning of the term. Lullabies had a certain performative context and, from a certain point onwards (7), even an artistic purpose, thus to aid the infants gain pleasure through music. Lullabies belonged to folk, thus to oral and anonymous, lyric song. What is more, they were female anonymous folksongs (if not poetry) (8). It is unfortunate that there are no remains of these non-literary and, probably, non-artistic lullabies. However, as Waern points out (9), "some songs of a lullaby character are extant as items in literary poetry" but, without any doubt, any lullaby encountered in ancient Greek literature had to "undergo a series of thematic and formal alterations to fit into its new context".

Waern located extant "literary" lullabies in Simonides 543 PMG, in Sophocles' Philoctetes, in Euripides' Orestes and Hypsipyle (fr. 725f Cropp) and in Theoctitus' 24th Idyll (lines 1-8). I would add to this list of 'literary' lullabies Bacchylides' Ode 9.10-14 (10). The characteristics these lullabies, according to Waern, are the following: short length, simple non-suggestive content, repetition of soothing words in a stressed position, alliteration and assonance. According to her, their content is "very simple, really nothing but soothing appeals to sleep and wake up happy again" and that their "simple and artless character" suggests that "the original, anonymous lullaby" was the prototype for these "literary" lullabies (11).

Pache notices another characteristic of the extant Greek "literary" lullabies. She suggests that lullabies in Greek poetry often occur at moments of crisis when the child, with or without its mother, faces a danger (12). She extends this argument further by stating that "the very presence of a lullaby in ancient literature is indeed in itself a sign of menace. The boundary between threatening and apotropaic elements sometimes gets blurred, and it becomes difficult to distinguish what is warded off from what is sought after ... Motifs belonging to lullabies can also function as danger markers as do the lullabies themselves" (13). According to her, every non-literary lullaby embodies the concern and the anxieties of mothers about their infants' safety (14). Through the lullaby and by alluding to death women ward off their fears (15).

The following examination of the extant "literary" lullabies confirms Pache's assumption that "literary" lullabies appear in moments of crisis. In Simonides 543 PMG the mother of the infant, Danae, tries to soothe the sea and the wild storm along with Perseus. She seems to sing a lullaby to the sea (lines 15-16) (16). See prays that her fears may fall asleep along with Perseus and the sea. In her case her fear has a good excuse. She and her infant face a real danger as they are alone in the sea during a storm. The death of the infant is possible due to the storm. Cairns and Pache locate generic elements of the lullaby in Bacchylides' Ode 9.10-14. These lines refer to the reason of the foundation of the Nemean games: they are hold in honor of Archemorus (also known as Opheltes), an infant that died because his nurse left him on the ground and a fiery-eyed monstrous dragon killed him in his sleep. In Euripides' Hypsipyle the death of the same infant is mentioned again. Hypsipyle is his nurse and she tries to calm down the baby by singing a lullaby (Hypsipyle fr. 752f 9-14) (17). Philoctetes, in Sophocles' homonymous tragedy (lines 825-833), is being sung a lullaby. Electra in Euripides' Orestes sings a lullaby to her brother (lines 174-182), where she calls for a "monster", Nyx, to come from Erebus. Lastly, in Theocritus' Idyll 24 (Heracliscus) the fears of every nurse and mother become true: Hera sends two snakes to kill Alcmene's two babies while they are asleep (18). Alcmene has sung in the opening lines (6-9) a lullaby where she had expressed her anxiety: she wished for a sweet and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and for her infants to sleep as oZPioi and to wake up as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the morning. The snakes that Hera sends against her children are not of a common kind: they are described as monsters (lines 23-29); they are huge; their eyes shine with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and they spit venom. Finally, they are called by Theocritus Kara 0npia (line 23). I will argue that we can find a "literary" lullaby in Aeschylus' Net-Haulers. This lullaby carries the same tension and exploits lullabies' themes.

A Lullaby in the Net-Haulers?

In the previous part of this paper I agreed with Waern's assumption that every "literary" lullaby, an example of an oral genre which we encounter in literature, had to undergo substantial changes in order to fit into its new context. Lullaby in the Net-Haulers had to dive into the world of satyr-play. We are fully aware of the interaction of dramatic genres with lyric poetry, but we have little information regarding the interaction of satyr-play with any kind of lyric poetry (19), let alone anonymous, oral, female-composed lyric such as lullaby. But is there a lullaby to be found in this satyr-play?

The myth behind Aeschylus' Net-Haulers is fairly well-known: the play is based on the myth of Danae and Perseus. Akrisios, the king of Argos, receives a prophecy relating that he will be killed by his grandson and, as a result, he keeps his daughter Danae locked in order to keep her away from men. Zeus falls in love with Danae though and approaches her as a golden shower. When Danae gives birth to Perseus, Zeus' child, Akrisios puts the mother and the child in a chest and throws it at sea. In the Net-Haulers the chest has reached the island of Serifos and Diktys (the brother of the local king Polydectes), rescues Danae and Perseus with the help of the satyrs. It seems that in fr. 47a Radt Papposilenus tries to coax the baby by singing (lines 786-820) (20):








   [Loo]k, [this] little one is laughing
   As he looks at my sleek
   Smooth dome, picked out in red

   789 daddy is pleasing

   790 with multi-coloured back

   792 you [smi]le at me

   793 Stage direction for Silenus to make a clucking sound
   [...] you are looking at [your father],
   How fond the little chick is of willies

   796 looking

   798 he delights

   .... If I don't take pleasure in
   [looking at] you.

   800 A curse on Dictys ... [who tried]
   To deprive [??] me of this prey!
   Come he[re], diddums!
   [They make a clucky noise]
   Don't be frightened! Why are you whimpering?

   805 Come here, let's join the boys ri[ght
   you will come, my dear, to my kindly
   child-rearing hands,
   you'll take delight in martens, fawns,
   and young porcupines,

   810 and you'll make a third in bed
   with your mother [and] your father here.
   And daddy will provide
   His little one with fun
   And a healthy upbringings, so that

   815 [eventually] after growing [to full strength],
   You can yourself [in the mountains],
   With the hoof of your fawn-slaying
   Foot, chase down the wild creatures,
   And without s[pear]
   Provide fare for your mother to feast on,
   In the same way as do your stepbrothers,
   Among whom you will be reared as a

   820 dependant.

It is obvious that these lines do not contain an actual lullaby. Though, there is scholarly agreement that these lines contain a lyric song and, more specifically, a kind of lullaby (21). Nevertheless, we should look into existing evidence for lullabies and into extant "literary" lullabies in order to come to a conclusion regarding the generic character of this song.

It is true that these lines have a lot in common with extant "literary" lullabies and in general their content presents similarities with the characteristics of lullabies, as described in the testimonia: its performer, the father of the Satyrs, describes himself as a nurse (line 770), and aims to calm down an infant and probably to get it to sleep (22). He uses a combination of melody and movement or body language (lines 793, 803) and the song contains a fantastic narrative (Perseus' envisaged future in the Satyric family). The content of this song is simple and it has an educational aspect, as we shall see. Lastly, we clearly have the occasion for the performance of a lullaby. There is a baby who needs soothing and his nurse, and within the dramatic context of the play this song appears in a moment of crisis (after Danae's desperate plea for help, though she does not face any real danger). From this point of view Papposilenus' song can be considered a "literary" lullaby or, at least, a lyric song affiliated with other extant "literary" lullabies.

Papposilenus' satyric lullaby is weaved into a web of other "literary" lullabies. Three of them are coming from tragedy and the fourth is a lullaby addressed to the infant Perseus again (in Simonides 543 PMG). Two of the "dramatic" lullabies (in Sophocles' Philoctetes 825-833 and in Euripides' Orestes 174-182) might have had negative undertones. When Electra addressed a lullaby to her brother, who was a grown man, she combined her plea to sleep with an invocation of deities with chthonic connotations. In Philoctetes when grown men (the seamen of Neoptolemus) addressed a lullaby to another grown man (Philoctetes) they do not just wished him to sleep. Their lullaby, possibly, is a part of Philoctetes' deception. In Euripides' Hypsipyle the homonymous heroine, a nurse, sings a lullaby for young Opheltes (fr. 752, lines 5-8), using a combination of singing and playing music (rattling castanets in line 5, reference to singing in lines 15-16). Hypsipyle's purpose of singing is to make little Opheltes fall asleep ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 11). Similarly to Papposilenus, as we will later see, she states that she will not stop providing the infant with everything he needs ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], lines 6-7, with smiles and services) until he grows up ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 5). Although she had good intentions, we all know that the lullaby ultimately led to the death of Opheltes. Nevertheless these plays were performed after Aeschylus' Net-Haulers (23), they are indicative of the atmosphere that a lullaby could create in the Athenian theatre.

Simonides' fr. 543 PMG, on the other hand, was composed at about the same period with Aeschylus' satyr-play and Danae's lullaby is addressed to the same infant (24). Apart from the elevated linguistic register used in Simonides' composition and equally attested in some parts of the lullaby performed in the Net-Haulers (25), we cannot say that these two fragments have a lot in common. In Simonides' poem the performer of the song is Danae, a woman and the mother of the child, while in the Net-Haulers is Papposilenus. In Simonides' poem the mother and the infant face a real danger due to the tempest which is viewed almost in an animalistic way, as a monster that had to be calmed down. In the Net-Haulers, on the other hand, the "monster" is the one performing the song. Danae in Simonides' fragment is really upset and afraid of a real danger, contrary to Perseus who is calm and asleep. In Aeschylus' Net-Haulers the episode of the exposure of Danae and Perseus is in another stage. The mother and the child are safe from the storm. However, the child now is upset and needs to be calmed down. In Simonides' poem Danae's speech ends with a plea to Zeus for help. She addressed Zeus with respect and no remorse and tried to keep herself calm. In the Net-Haulers, however, Danae blames Zeus for her troubles and reacts in an almost hysterical way, though her own and Perseus' lives are not in real danger (26). We cannot be sure that Aeschylus was aware of Simonides' composition. In case he was though, we do not only have various anonymous lullabies in the intertextual background of the Net-Haulers. We might also possess a treatment of a specific lyric lullaby by a satyr-play. We can suggest that if this is true, then the strong contrast between Danae's calm and respectful speech in Simonides and her reaction in the Net-Haulers would add a strong comic flavor to the scene.

I do not suggest that Aeschylus consciously alluded to Simonides (27), or that these lines are a mere imitation of oral lullabies. There are elements of "literary" lullabies that are absent here, such as the repetition of simple soothing words or the clear expression of the performers' wish for the child to fall asleep. Here we do not possess a mere imitation or an intertextual allusion to any kind of song. These lines are knitted into a complex intertextual web that includes non-"literary" (thus oral) lullabies and "literary" lullabies, and satyr-play's generic elements (28). What Aeschylus wishes is to make his audience aware that what we have here resembles a lullaby, thus a traditional (folk) song or, in other words, an oral female genre. In this way he creates another "literary" lullaby. As we mentioned above, any "literary" lullaby had to undergo changes in order to adapt to its new (here satyric) performative context. What I suggest is that Aeschylus combines lullaby's characterestics with some of satyr-play's themes (such as naioorpopia) (29) to achieve his own purposes.

A satyric Lullaby

The performer of this song is, probably, Papposilenus (30). Apart from the fact that he was described a few lines above as an old nurse ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 770), he actually describes himself as a proper nurse: his hands are nourishing hands ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 806) (31) and he repeatedly calls himself "father" of the child (lines 789, 803-804). Nevertheless, he is a monstrous nurse. He describes his appearance in unfavorable colors: he has a shining, multicolored, almost bold head that initially makes little-Perseus laugh ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], lines 786-790) and maybe to become a little afraid ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 804). Previously, he and his Satyrs are described by Danae as monsters ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 775). This is not an unusual scene in a satyric context (32). Nevertheless, we cannot oversee that a nurse was the performer of a lullaby par excellence.

As we saw above, nurses were often the performers of lullabies, oral and "literary" ones (see testimonia, Euripides' Hypsipyle, and Bacchylides). Other performers of "literary" lullabies include the mothers of the infants (Simonides, Theocritus) and the sister of a grown man (Electra in Euripides' Orestes). Our only extant "literary" lullaby that is sang by men in order to make another grown man fall asleep is encountered in Sophocles' Philoctetes: Papposilenus is the second male potential performer of a lullaby in Greek drama, but he qualifies himself as a nurse. However, his true nature is that of a Satyr, thus of a kind of monster (33).

We saw above that any lullaby could combine singing and movement, was of short length, and had simple non-suggestive content. In the testimonia there are hints that some lullabies could have contained myths and narratives of unbelievable things (Origenes, Socratic Letters) and that some were used for educational purposes. What is more, in drama the purpose of a lullaby was not always to sooth an infant in order to get to sleep. Electra in Euripides' Orestes simultaneously invokes Nyx and Erebus. In Sophocles' Philoctetes the lullaby sung by the seamen of the Chorus could be the very vehicle for the deception of Philoctetes. In Hypsipyle the lullaby sang by a nurse leads to the death of Opheltes. Lullabies in drama are possibly endowed with threatening qualities, especially in the case of Philoctetes where the performer is male.

Papposilenus does what every nurse would have done in his place: he uses baby-talk ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] lines 787 and 802) (34) and very simple language. We are also able to get a glimpse at his body-language through the word [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (lines 793, 803) (35). His purpose is initially to calm down Perseus and, perhaps, to make him fall asleep. On this respect we cannot say that his lullaby is radically different from other lullabies. He is a nurse who uses soothing words, rhythm, and body-language to calm down an infant. But we have to bear in mind that Papposilenus is not a usual nurse, at least outside satyr-play context, and that Perseus is not a common infant. To put it in another way: Papposilenus is a Satyr who tries to soothe a demigod and, what is more, in a satyric context. His lullaby is a satyric lullaby addressed to the son of Zeus.

Papposilenus' lullaby it is not satyric merely because it is sung by a Satyr. Firstly, in addition to this, it contains elements that should never have been part of a lullaby. Secondly, this scene has a parallel in another satyr-play.

From the first lines (786-790) is obvious that we have, at least, double attendres ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (36). Papposilenus wants Perseus to join his boys (lines 804-805) where he will lead the life of a Satyr. He will play with martens, fawns and porcupines (lines 810-814) and then Perseus will sleep as number three with his mother and his new father (37). Although is obvious that Papposilenus wishes either for the child to fall asleep in order for him to sleep with his mother and, less likely, that little-Perseus will join him and Danae in bed (38), he does not wish the death of this infant. Perseus by joining his "boys" will not encounter any danger. He will grow up to become a hunter of fawns ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 816) and other animals ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 817) in order to provide his mother and his new family with food (lines 818-820). This is the way to become a good stepson and a modest man (lines 819-820). Quite remarkable are Perseus' future hunting methods as described by Papposilenus. Perseus will, possibly, learn how to

hunt without a spear (line 817) and to kill animals with his bare hands (39). What is even more remarkable is Papposilenus switch of tone in these lines of the lullaby. Suddenly, describing the life of his Satyrs and the future life of Perseus as one of them, he begins to use new or rare words ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (40). His lullaby seems to serve selfish purposes and to be part of an apate. If Perseus falls asleep no one would hear him, so Papposilenus can easily take him and Danae away. In this way he turns to keep the mother for himself and to turn the boy into a member of the Satyric family. If Perseus falls asleep immediately, he will face the danger of becoming a "monster" himself: he will play with wild animals and when he grows up he will kill them with his bare hands to provide food for his family.

This scene has a thematic and linguistic parallel in Sophocles' satyr-play The infant Dionysus (fr. 171). There Papposilenus or the Chorus (41) is talking of the infant Dionysus, not unlike here:

   For when I offer him the drink I'm
   Giving him, at once he tickles my nose, and brings
   Up his hand to the smooth surface, smiling sweetly.

The infant Dionysus discovers wine and, as Papposilenus or the Chorus claim, when he drinks wine he smiles sweetly and plays with the speaker by touching his bald head ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and by tickling his nose. These two passages give us an indication that the interaction of an infant with a Satyr, or Papposilenus himself, appeared in other satyr-plays too. We can deduce that it could be one of satyr-play motifs, and, consequently, that this scene is satyric par excellence, as it brings to mind other similar satyric scenes.

Extending some of Fraenkel's arguments on these lines, Dettori suggests that the Satyr imagines Perseus catching and killing animals on the fashion of young Achillles (42). He believes that Papposilenus not only fashions Perseus' life as a Satyr on Achilles but that he also qualifies himself as Achilles' paidagogos, Cheiron (43). He thus attempts to give a heroic dimension in Perseus' paideia, which in the present context, renders it ridiculous (44). It is true that the very fact that Perseus is not an ordinary child, but the son of Zeus adds to the comic effect of this scene. What is more, in myth Perseus will fulfill his destiny by slaying dangerous monsters using weapons provided to him by the gods (45). The audience is aware of the mythic context surrounding Perseus and his achievements. So, Papposilenus' description of his future achievements stands in the opposite direction of the heroic spectrum. I have to agree that Aeschylus with the use of elevated language and by allusion to heroic or epic prototypes (46) aimed to achieve a comic effect. Papposilenus himself admits that what he has to offer to this child is [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (line 813). In the same way he offers to his audience an inverted lullaby where the infant faces the danger to become a harmless monster like its performer. This is a distorted representation of a lullaby or, in other words, a parody of a lullaby (47).


My goal was to examine Aeschylus' treatment of lullaby (namely of an oral composed-in-performance genre, initially belonging to anonymous female poetry) in his satyr-play the Net-Haulers. In the first part of this paper I explained why we are entitled to use the term genre when we refer to lullabies. It is clear that this type of songs accommodated certain themes and motifs. In the second part I explained why these lines of the Net-Haulers (fr. 47a Radt) could have been considered a "literary" lullaby.

Aeschylus uses lullaby's themes and subverts them. In the Net-Haulers is the "monster" itself, who sings a lullaby to the infant. But this monster is a Satyr, thus an almost innocuous one, who wishes for Perseus to be part of his family and to be trained to become Satyr-like, or a "monster", himself. He will provide him with an education of [TEXTO IRREPRODUCIBLE EN ASCII], and probably with a sexual education too. As we saw above, Aeschylus plays not only with lullaby's themes and motifs, but also combines them with satyr-play's ones and exploits the tension between lullaby (an oral lyric genre that belongs to anonymous female poetry) and satyr-play with a parodic intention in mind. It is not impossible that tragedy has endowed the lullaby with negative connotations. Aeschylus exploits this tension combining it with the tension created by the sharp contrast of Simonides' lyric lullaby addressed to the same infant, which could be part of the viewers intertextual background, on one hand and with the tension created by the tragedies that belonged to the "Perseus tetralogy" on the other. All this tension creates a great comic scene which provides the audience with a rather intense comic relief.

Concluding, the Net-Haulers' treatment of a female composed-in-performance lyric genre could provide a glimpse of satyr-play's treatment of lyric poetry. Lullaby in the Net-Haulers is smoothly incorporated into the fabric of satyr-play. It is dramatically justified and its themes are combined with satyr-play's generic themes. But its purpose is dramatically different. Lullaby in the Net-Haulers is meant to involve different genres in mutual confrontation (satyr-play, a dramatic, par excellence male performed genre and lullaby, an oral female composed lyric genre) and to exploit comically the tension created by such a confrontation. This treatment of lullaby helps the specific satyr-play to achieve its own artistic purposes.


National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

* Recebido em 10-07-2014; aceite para publicacao em 26-03-2015.

(1) I loosely adopt Lord's definition of theme as "a recurrent element of narration or description in traditional oral poetry ... not restricted, as is the formula, by metrical considerations" (see A. B. LORD, "Composition by Theme in Homer and Southslavic Epos", TAPhA, 82, 1951, 73) or as "subject unit, group of ideas, regularly employed by a singer, not merely in any given poem, but in the poetry as a whole"(see A. B. LORD, "Homer and Huso II. Narrative Inconsistencies in Greek and Southslavic Heroic Song", TAPhA, 69, 1938, 440). Motif is any small-length object that is repeatedly encountered in an oral text and cannot be considered a theme (see G. S. KIRK, The Iliad, a Commentary, vol. 2 (books 5-8), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 15-27; M. W. EDWARDS, "Homer and Oral Tradition: The Type-Scene", Oral Tradition 7:2, 1992, p. 286).

(2) One has to bear in mind that archaic or classical lyric compositions are not, primarily, written texts. They are mainly oral performances of songs composed for specific occasions. Archaic genres are primarily defined by the occasion for which they were composed. (see G. Nagy, Pindar's Homer, The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past, Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990, p. 362; G. NAGY, Poetry as Performance, Homer and Beyond, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 9, 84; G. NAGY, "A Second Look at the Poetics of Re-Enactment in Ode 13 of Bacchylides", in L. Athanassaki, E. Bowie (eds.), Archaic and Classical Choral Song, Performance, Politics and Dissemination, Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 2011, pp. 174, 183).

(3) For the carmina popularia see D. L. Page, Poetae Melici Graeci: Alcmanis, Stesichori, Ibyci, Anacreontis, Simonidis, Corinnae, Poetarum Minorum Reliquos et Convivialia quaeque Adespota Feruntur, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1962. See I. WAERN, "Greek Lullabies", Eranos, 58, 1960, 1.

(4) For the Socratic letters see the edition of Hercher (R. HERCHER, Epistolographi Graeci, recensuit, recognovit adnotatione critica et indicibus R. Hercher, Amsterdam, Nabu Press, 1965).

(5) Every oral poem is composed-in-performance (for the notion of composition-in-performance see A. B. LORD, The Singer of Tales, vol. 1, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 2000, p. 13). This does not imply that all of them are simple and non-elaborate, thus that they are lacking artistry.

(6) See I. WAERN, loc. cit., p. 2.

(7) We have to bear in mind though, that even Plato considers them a form of choreia.

(8) I use the term female anonymous song in the sense that these songs were "in the female voice, and expressing, or claiming to express, the concerns of the women and girls who voiced them" so Kllinck (A. L. KLINCK, Woman's Songs in Ancient Greece, Quebec, MCGill-Queen's University Press, 2008, p. 13), who uses the similar term "woman's songs". See the discussion for the possible existence of a female (oral) segregated poetry in Bowman (see L. BOWMAN, "The Women's Tradition in Greek Poetry", Phoenix, 58:1/2, 2004, 1-27).

(9) See I. WAERN, loc. cit., p. 2.

(10) Cairns and Pache are also of the opinion that in this passage we encounter echoes of lullabies. See Cairns (D. CAIRNS, "Aotos, Anthos, and the Death of Archemoros in Bacchylides, Ninth Ode", Papers of the Leeds International Latin Seminar, 10, 1998, 57-73) and Pache (C. O. PACHE, Baby and Child Heroes in Ancient Greece, Urbana, Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 2004).

(11) See I. WAERN, loc. cit., p. 3.

(12) See C. O. PACHE, op. cit., pp. 110-11.

(13) See C. O. PACHE, op. cit, p. 110.

(14) See C. O. PACHE, op. cit., p. 111.

(15) See C. O. PACHE, op. cit., p. 111.

(16) Rosenmeyer believes that this poem uses two "specific verbal patterns: the lullaby and the prayer" (see P. ROSENMEYER, "Simonides' Danae Fragment Reconsidered", Arethusa, 24:1, 1991, 11-12 and 23). Hutchinson claims that "the simple language of 21 suggests a very humble species of song, the lullaby" (see G. O. HUTCHINSON, Greek Lyric Poetry, A Commentary on Selected Larger Pieces, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 317).

(17) This song is considered a lullaby by some contemporary scholars (see for example C. O. PACHE, op. cit., pp. 100-101; J. H. KIM ON CHONG-GOSSARD, Gender and Communication in Euripides' Plays, Between Song and Silence, Leiden, Brill, 2008, pp. 75-76. Waern is of a different opinion. According to her, this is "a song for children aiming at entertainment" and not a lullaby (see I. WAERN, loc. cit., p. 7).

(18) On the view that these lines (6-9) of Idyll 24 contain a lullaby influenced by Danaes lullaby in Simonides' 543 PMG see Hunter (R. HUNTER, Theocritus and the Archaeology of Greek Poetry, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 26-27) and Ambuhl (A. AMBUHL, "Narrative Hexameter Poetry", in J. J. Clauss, M. Cuypers (eds.), A Companion to Hellenistic Literature, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 160).

(19) We posses information on the treatment of hymenaios in the Net-Haulers (see A. WESSELFS, R. KRUMEICH, "Diktyulkoi", in R. Krumeich, N. Pechstein, B. Seidensticker, R. Bielfeldt (eds.), Das Griechische Satyrspiel, Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1999, p. 122). We also attest interaction with a number of lyric genres (occupational song, hymenaios, paraklausithyron etc.) at the second stasimon of Euripides' Cyclops (lines 483-518). For the latter see Rossi (L. E. Rossi, "Il Ciclope Di Euripide come [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] 'Mancato'", Maia, XXIII:1, 1971, 21) and Seaford (R. A. S. SEAFORD, Euripides, Cyclops, New York, Clarendon Press, 1988, pp. 194-195).

(20) I use Sommerstein's text and I follow his translation. The attribution of these lines to Papposilenus is not unanimous (see e.g. A. H. SOMMERSTEIN, Aeschylus, vol. 3, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 2008, pp. 48-49) who attributes lines 786-802 to Papposilenus and the rest to the Chorus. On this see also Were-de-Haas (M. WERRE-DE HAAS, Aeschylus'Dictyulci: an Attempt at Reconstruction of a Satyric Drama, Leiden, Brill, 1961, pp. 57-58).

(21) See also Phillies Howe (T. PHILLIES HOWE, "The Style of Aeschylus as Satyr-Playwright", G & R, 6:2, 1959, 159 ff) and Slenders (W. SLENDERS, "Intentional Ambiguity in Aeschylean Satyr Plays?", Mnemosyne, 45, 1992, 158). Voelke's argument that in satyr-drama the exact repetition of identical metrical patterns (like in this instance in lines 802-820) is an indication of the popular character of the song is extremely intriguing. Voelke also notices that these lines are very similar (in form and content) to the parodus of Euripides' Cyclops (according to him that song has elements of popular songs). See P. VOELKE, Un Theatre de la Marge. Aspects Figuratifs et Configurationels du Drame Satyrique dans lAthenes Classique, Bari, Levanti Editori, 2001, pp. 177-179.

(22) It is obvious that the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] used in line 810 refers to the future. The performer of this song wishes that Perseus will join him and Danae in bed in the near future. Nevertheless, we have a reference to Perseus' sleeping. As I mentioned above, Waern believes that one of the characteristics of lullaby is the presence of a soothing appeal to sleep and wake up safe again (see above note 12). What the performer wishes is that Perseus will sleep (somewhere in the near future) and that he will safely wake up to become a part of his family.

(23) A possible date for the performance of the Net-Haulers is 490 B.C (see T. PHILLIES HOWE, loc, cit., p. 153).

(24) To the best of my knowledge, Kamerbeek (J. C. KAMERBEEK, "De Aeschyli Dictyulcis", Mnemosyne, 7, 1954, 94) is the first who draws a parallel between Simonides' fr. 543 PMG and Danae's lament in lines 773-785 of the Net-Haulers. Hutchinson is almost certain that this was the case: "It is hard to think Aeschylus was not aware of Simonides in his Diktyulci" (see G. O. HUTCHINSON, op. cit., p.301). On this see also Podlecki (A. J. PODLECKI, "Aiskhylos Satyrikos", in G. W. M. Harrison, Satyr Drama: Tragedy at Play, Swansea, The Classical Press of Wales, 2005, p. 9). We also have to notice that the theme of the exposure of Danae and Perseus had started to become popular in Greek art from the beginning of the 5th century and on, probably as a result of the well-diffused treatment of early mythographers, The treatment of this episode by Simonides and later by tragedy provided artists with enough material (on this see I. KARAMANOU, Euripides Danae and Diktys, Introduction, Text and Commentary, Munchen, Walter de Gruyter, 2006, p. 12). On the popularity of Perseus' myth in iconography from the 5th century onwards, see also Podlecki (A. J. PODLECKI, loc. cit., p. 11).

(25) For the unexpected use of 'high' or poetic language in some lines of this simple song see T. PHILLIES HOWE, loc. cit., pp. 162-3. It is noteworthy that the lines which contain many new or rare words (lines 806-809, 815-820) refer to Perseus' future life as a Satyr. Werre-de Haas (M. WERRE-DE HAAS, op. cit., p. 65) notes that in these lines the "mood of the song changes" as the "fairy-tale atmosphere of the infant is exchanged for colder reality". Although I do not believe that there ever was a fairy-tale atmosphere in this song, I also notice the intense contrast between the high language and the content of these lines.

(26) Karamanou (I. KARAMANOU, op. cit., p. 7) notes the strong contrast between these two scenes. Griffith (M. GRIFFITH, "Satyrs, Citizens, and Self-Presentation", in G. W. M. Harrison (ed.), Satyr Drama: Tragedy at Play, Swansea, The Classical Press of Wales, 2005, p.186) finds in Danae's words "a formal, horrified appeal for help" in "very much the tragic style".

(27) In this case I think that we may have a case of "traditional referentiality", thus the collective tradition (of lullabies in this instance) as a whole resonates through each and every particular example of a unit of utterance, whether that is conceived of as a world, phrase, motive or story pattern. Traditional referentiality is a term that comes from modern scholarly work on epic. See Foley (J. M. FOLEY, Homer's Traditional Art, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999, pp. 33-34 and Graziosi (B. GRAZIOSI, J. HAUBOLD, Homer: The Resonance of Epic, London, Duckworth, 2005, p 9).

(28) We also have to notice that these lines are not incompatible with the information provided by other "literary" lullabies. In Bacchylides 9.10-14 we do not have an extant lullaby, but a reference to the lullaby that led Archemoros or Opheltes to be killed by a serpent. In Theocritus Idyll 24 1-8, as we mentioned above, the mother of the infants puts them to sleep by singing and shaking a big shield (line 10), thus by the combination of movement and song, not unlike in the Net-Haulers. She uses simple words and she wishes her infants to awake safe.

(29) For [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (child rearing) as a satyric theme see Dettori (E. Dettori, "Aesch. Fr. 47a 815-818 Radt (Dictyulci)", Seminari Romani di Cultura Greca, XI:1, 2008, 109-10), Voelke (P. VOELKE, op. cit., pp. 61-66) and O' Sullivan (P. O' SULLIVAN, C. Collard, Euripides Cyclops and Major Fragments of Greek Satyric Drama, Oxford, Oxbow, 2013, pp. 38-39).

(30) I am not the first to suggest that lines 781-820 of the Net-Haulers contain a song or a lyric passage (see M. WERRE-DE HAAS, loc. cit., p. 57 for a metrical analysis). Werre-de Haas suggests that Papposilenus is the speaker of the whole passage and I follow her (see M. WERRE-DE HAAS, op. cit., pp. 60-8 for a detailed discussion and more bibliography on this issue). See also contra A. H. SOMMERSTEIN, op. cit., pp. 57-58.

(31) One of Werre-de Haas' arguments that Papposilenus is the speaker of these lines is that only he had a record of nourishing an adoptive child, Dionysus, and not his Satyrs (M. WERE-DE HAAS, op. cit., p. 64).

(32) See also note 30.

(33) For the depiction of Satyrs as half-humans and half-beasts in Attic iconography see F. Lissarrague, "The Sexual Life of Satyrs", in D. M. Halperin, J. J. Winkler, F. I. Zeitlin (eds.), Before Sexuality, the Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient World, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1990, pp. 53-8 and F. FRONTISI-DUCROUX, F. LISSARRAGUE, "From Ambiguity to Ambivalence: A Dionysian Excursion through the 'Anacreontic' Vases", in D. M. Halperin, J. J. Winkler, F. I. Zeitlin (eds.), Before Sexuality, the Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient World, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 1990, p. 232. For the attribution of both bestial and human qualities to the Satyrs in satyr-plays and art see P VOELKE, loc. cit., pp. 54-60 and Griffith (M. GRIFFITH, "Slaves of Dionysos: Satyrs, Audience, and the Ends of the Oresteia", CA, 21:2, 2002, 217-221).

(34) For [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as belonging to baby-talk see T. PHILLIES HOWE, loc. cit., pp. 160-1; M. WERRE-DE HAAS, op. cit., p. 63.

(35) Papposilenus makes a blowing sound that people use to soothe horses or other animals and sometimes babies (see T. PHILLIES Howe, loc. cit., p. 161).

(36) I agree with Slenders (W. SLENDERS, loc. cit., pp. 157-8) that what we have here is just sexual innuendos with the double meaning of these words. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] could be vulgar in this context (see T. PHILLIES HOWE, loc. cit., p. 160); Slenders (W. SLENDERS, loc. cit., p. 158), but it is certainly a double attendre. See also T. PHILLIES HOWE, loc. cit., p. 161 on the possible sexual meaning of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is a word used to describe the clothing of the Satyrs according to Kamerbeek (J. C. KAMERBEEK, op. cit., p. 104). Wesselfs (A. WESSELFS, op. cit., p. 116) believes that this adjective describes Papposilenus' colorful back. However, Sommerstein considers it a sexual innuendo (see A. H. SOMMERSTEIN, op. cit., pp. 50-51). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], according to Henderson (J. Henderson, The Maculate Muse, Obscene Language in Attic Comedy, New York, Yale University Press, pp. 244-245) was used here instead of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] to mean "a boy's (hairless) penis". He translates the phrase to [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (line 788) as "his red-tipped bald thing". Sommerstein (A. H. SOMMERSTEIN, op. cit., p. 51) is of the opinion that this ambiguity was left on purpose.

(37) To sleep as number three ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) can have sexual connotations. On this, see Slenders (W. SLENDERS, loc. cit., p. 158).

(38) The second interpretation seems somehow far-fetched.

(39) Or at least with his feet ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], line 816)

(40) Phillies Howe notes that Papposilenus poeticizes even more when he refers to the young boy and his playing, and thus that Aeschylus aimed to create a comic effect. According to her, Aeschylus "seems to take a dig at his own stylistic pretentiousness" (see T. Phillies Howe, loc. cit., p. 162).

(41) See Lloyd-Jones (H. LLOYD-JONES, "The Fragments of Aeschylus", CR, 37:2, 1987, 66-67). I use his text and his translation.

(42) See Lloyd-Johns (H. LLOYD-JONES, op. cit., p. 144) and Dettori (E. DETTORI, loc. cit., pp. 109-10).

(43) As we mentioned above, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] was a satyr-play theme. On the argument that Papposilenus is presented both in art and in satyr-plays as the "small-minded and truly servile paidagogos" of the Satyrs see Griffith (M. GRIFFITH, op. cit., p. 221).

(44) See Dettori (E. DETTORI, loc. cit., pp. 109-10).

(45) Hermes gave Perseus the helmet of the Unseen (Ps. Hyginus, Astronomica 2.13) and flying sandals (Ps. Hyginus, Fabulae 64) in order to slay the Gorgon Medusa and a sea monster.

(46) Phillies Howe uses the word epic to describe the vocabulary Papposilenus uses in lines 806-809 (T. PHILLIES HOWE, loc. cit., p. 162).

(47) For the definition of parody and the distinction between parody and paratragedy in comedy see M. S. SILK, Aristophanes and the Definition of Comedy, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 496-7, 502. Carey's approach of the use of lyric (the victory ode) in the Athenian theatre is also very interesting. Carey regards that in comedy the parody of lyric is very similar to the parody of tragedy and uses the term paralyric for all the other uses of tragedy in comedy (see C. CAREY, "The Victory Ode in the Theatre", in P Agocs, C. Carey, R. Rowles, Receiving the Komos, London, BICS Supplement, pp. 44-45. In this case, there is a parody of lullaby.
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Author:Kousoulini, Vasiliki
Publication:Euphrosyne. Revista de Filologia Classica
Article Type:Ensayo critico
Date:Jan 1, 2015
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