Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture 0226534979, 9780226534978

From the Archaic period to the Greco-Roman age, the figure of the wanderer held great significance in ancient Greece. In

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Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture
 0226534979, 9780226534978

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Silvia Montiglio is associate professor of classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of Silence in the Land of Logos. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London © 2005 by The University of Chicago All rights reserved. Published 2005 Printed in the United States of America 14 1 .3 12


10 09 08 07 06 05

5 4 :i

To my mother, Letizia, and my sister, Francesca, in atonement for my wandering

2 1

ISBN(cloth): 0-226-53497-9

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Montigho, Silvia, 1960Wandering in ancient Greek culture / Silvia Montiglio. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN0-226-53497-9 (alk. paper)

1. Greek literature-History and criticism. 2. Travel in literature . .3. Travelers-Greece-History-To 500. 4. Drifters-Greece-HistoryTo 500. 5. Greece-Civilization-To 146 B.C. 6. Travelers in literature. 7. Nomads in literature. I. Title. PA3015.T7M66 2005

880.9' .32-dc22


@) The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI z.39.48-1992.













On the Deep, at the Edges At the Beginning Transition and Crisis 2.




"For Mortals, Nothing Is Worse than Wandering" The Exile as Wanderer Madness: Wandering with No Return






Homo Viator: Before Philosophy The "Fault" of Odysseus Do Not Forget Your Wanderings: Odysseus under Circe's Spell




Wandering and Divine Power Demeter's Destructive Wandering Dionysus, the Wanderer Wandering Enfants Terribles: Eros and Hennes










Wandering, Lying, and Poetry The Aura of Wandering: Xenophanes and Empedocles Wandering for the Sake of Profit: From Homer to the Sophists











The Excitement of TheOriain Fifth-Century Athens Wanderers Discover the World To Observe and to Collect Wandering Writing and Truthfulness in Herodotus's Histories





1 47


Parmenides' "Unwandering" Journey to Being In Search of Wisdom: Plato's Presentation of Socrates' Wandering Plato on Traveling and Wisdom Between Ascent and Navigation Walking, Sitting, and Standing





Diogenes, the Outcast of Tragedy Cynic Wandering in Greco-Roman Literature Dio Chrysostom's Self-Presentation as a Wandering Philosopher







Stay Where You Are Stationed, Go Where You Are Sent: The Stoics on Wandering The Godlike Wanderings of Apollonius of Tyana in Philostratus's Life

of Apollonius 10.




Ignorance and Alienation The Meaning of "Home" in One's Journey: From Apollonius's Argonautica to the Novel Love and Philosophy The Ruler of Wandering: Fortune or Providence? Wandering, Fiction, and Storytelling EPILOGUE: WHAT GREEK WANDERERS BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX

Drn Nor Do

It is hardly possible to wander fruitfully without guidance and (paceDiogenes the Cynic) material support. I was fortunate to have both. The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded the project a summer stipend at a very early stage. My home institution, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, granted me a generous fellowship (Vilas Associate) over two years, as well as a semester of residency at the Institute for Research in the Humanities and a sabbatical leave. I spent the latter in Princeton, where Glenn Bowersock and Heinrich von Staden welcomed me and made available the bountiful resources of the Institute for Advanced Study. Thanks to them both. Many colleagues and friends have taken an interest in my work and helped in various ways. Thanks to Richard Martin, Seth Schein, and Froma Zeitlin for writing painstaking letters of reference on my behalf; to my former chairman William Courtenay for strong institutional support; to Carole Newlands for her genuine curiosity and for taking the time to read chapter 10 during a hectic summer. Jim McKeown perused the entire manuscript with his customary acumen and attention to detail. Barry Powell advised me on Homeric matters. Seth Schein lavished his expertise in world literature on this study and never failed to encourage me. David Konstan contributed his sharp mind and wonderful breadth of vision to chapter 10. Andre Wink patiently helped me with the introduction and provided astute comments on several issues. He knows more than he ever wished about the obstacles I have encountered along the way. I am also happy to acknowledge the contribution of the anonymous readers for the University of Chicago Press, who helped me improve the manuscript substantially. One of them in particular saved me from loose ends and



inconsistencies with grace, benevolence, and exacting precision. Heartfelt thanks also to Alan Thomas, who invited me to submit the manuscript to the Press, and to Susan Bielstein, whose skills as an editor cannot be overrated. Finally, several sections of this book were presented at conferences or as lectures on both sides of the Atlantic. I would like to thank the audiences at




those events for their comments.


H. Temporini, ed. 1972-. Aufstieg und Niedergang der ROmischen


Welt. Berlin. H. Diels and W. Kranz, eds. 1996-98. Die Fragmente der Vorsok~ ratiker. 6th ed. 3 vols. Zurich.


L. Edelstein and I. G. Kidd, eds. 1972. Posidonius:The Fragments.


3 vols. Cambridge, UK. F.Jacoby, ed. 1923-58. Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker. 3 vols. Berlin, then Leiden.


C. Miiller, ed. 1855-56. GeographiciGraeciMinores. Paris.


H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, eds. 1940. Greek-English Lexicon.


Rev. H. S. Jones. 9th ed. Supplement, 1968. Oxford. R. Kassel and C. Austin, eds. 1983 -. Poetae Comici Graeci.8 vols.

to date. GOttingen.


D. L Page, ed. 1962. Poetae Melici Graeci.Oxford.


1894-1919. Paulys Real-Encyclopiidieder classischenAltertums-

wissenschaft. Stuttgart.


G. GiannantonL ·1983-85. Socraticorum Reliquiae. 4 vols. Naples.


H. von Arnim, ed.1903-5. Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta. J vols. Leipzig.


B. Snell, R. Kannicht, and S. Radt, eds. 1.971-85. Tragicorum

Graecorum Fragmenta. 4 vols. (For Euripides 1 A Nauck [1.889] TLL

1964.) GOttingen. 1900-. Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Leipzig.




Odysseus had no doubt: "For mortals, nothing is worse than wandering" (Odyssey 15.343).1 Other Homeric characters, including Odysseus's companions, agreed with him. And Odysseus's statement echoes, loud and clear, down through the ages. We hear it in fifth-century tragedy and, even later, in the Greek novels of the Roman period. But what does it mean to wander? Today, we generally understand the term to mean straying from a path or moving about with no final destination in mind. The movement matters, not its direction or its structure. Did ancient Greek culture share this notion of wandering? Taking Odysseus's condemnation of wandering as a starting point, and his character as a main thread, I will identify elements of continuity and change in practices, perceptions, and connotations of the activity, from the archaic to the early Roman age. Who wandered? What did wandering symbolize, and why? How was this condition experienced and conceptualized across the centuries? To bring out both enduring features and new developments, I will combine a synchronic and a diachronic approach. 2 All the translations are my own unless otherwise indicated. Wandering has been the object of scholarly attention both as a literary or a philosophical theme and as a social phenomenon, but solely within specific texts and genres or in one of its aspects and manifestations. Hardly any essay on Odysseus or on Oedipus, for instance, could ignore that hero's destiny as a wanderer. Yet there is no study that attempts to situate Odysseus's or tragic wandering within a broader range of practices and interpretations of this condition and to follow the developments in the meaning of wandering from earlier to later periods. For Odysseus, see especially Segal 1994; Dougherty 2001; for Oedipus, Di Benedetto 197W Segal 198:tb. Bernand (1985), while he starts with the observation that wandering is the main theme of tragedy, is preoccupied with geography, not with wandering. Padel (1995, 1. 2.





It is helpful to begin by looking at the language. The two main families of words for wandering, that of planaomai and that of alaomai, express a notion of wandering as an unstructured moving around or away from a path. At the same time, these terms have a broader range of meanings. Both verbs and their derivatives refer to outcasts. A wanderer (planetes or ali!tes)is not necessarily one who moves about; he can also be one who moves outward or away, namely, one who is expelled from his home, community, and belongings-an exile. What matters in the movement of the exile, as well as in that of the wanderer, is the point of departure, not the destination. Moreover, planaomai also means traveling far and wide, and in this sense it is applied to a category of wanderers whom we would call "world travelers," especially the men of learning who go about the world for the sake of knowledge. 3 The first avatars of wanderers in the sense of "world travelers" are Pythagoras and Hecataeus (the latter is credited with having perfected the map of the earth thanks to the expertise he gained as a "much-wandering man"). For Hecataeus, the polyplanes ani!r is not one who is driven about the world by an angry god but one who decides to go to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. Several historians and philosophers follow this pattern (although with important variations). To be sure, wandering and traveling are not the same thing1 neither for us nor for the Greeks. A traveler who goes from a to b has a destination. The direction matters rather than the movement. Nevertheless, in Greek perceptions wandering and traveling do intersect in significant ways. Like wandering, traveling is conceived as a movement out. Of the two reference points that allow the conceptualization of travel-the departure and the destination -Greek sensibility highlights the former: one of the main verbs for traveling, apodemein, describes the movement as a "departure from the demos111 leaving one's fellow countrymen. 4 Among those who leave home, the world travelers are continually on the road, have multiple and open-ended destinations, and often improvise their itinerary along the way. Ultimately, their only destination is the world itself, which they try to understand and even 99-i 30) Comes closest to a comprehensive discussion of images of wandering in archaic and classical Greek culture (not in later periods). The core of her study, however, is wandering as trladness. Although she does make several illuminating connections, to which I am gratefully indebted, her focus on madness leads her to treat other aspects of wandering very briefly. 3. In later periods, alaomai and planaomai are often used interchangeably, so much so that the ancient lexicographers explain one verb by the other. See, e.g., Hesychius, s.v. CIAO.a8m. Alaomai, however, remains a more pathetic term. 4. Similarly, apoikia privileges the point of departure: see Baslez ·1.984 49. On the conceptualization of travel as either a movement from or a movement to, see Van Den Abbeele 1992, xviii. 1


to dominate. 5 Given these overlaps between the notion of traveling and that of wandering, I shall explore how the two relate to each other, within a literary genre or a historical period, For instance 1 we shall discover that wandering and traveling are more clearly distinguished in Homeric epic than in the Greek novels and that this difference is related to broader changes in the perception of one's place in the world. As described by planaomai and alaomai, then, Greek wandering embraces the movement of the outcast who is caused to leave his community by an external force, against his will, and that of the inquisitive traveler who chooses to go from place to place and allows himself sudd_enchanges of itinerary. This broad semantic scope is matched by a fundamental ambivalence in perceptions of wandering. Odysseus himself seems to hint at the ambivalence in that he specifies "for mortals, nothing is worse than wandering," Is he thinking of the gods as a point of contrast, as the resonant "for mortals" suggests ?6 Whatever the case1 the worst condition for mortals is a mark of power for the gods. The gods wander among humans to test their piety and to spread their own worship. Their omnidirectional movement, which signifies their control over the entire cosmos as well as their moral involvement in the life of humans, is most commonly described by another verb for wandering, phoitao. The semantic field of this verb, in turn, reveals the double meaning of wandering, for phoitao defines not only the domineering and threatening wandering of the gods but also the unconscious and painful wandering of the mad, whom the gods themselves expel from their cities and from their minds.

The attribution of wandering to both the gods and the mad takes us to the core of the ambivalence attached to this condition: to wander means to know everything and to know nothing. This double-sidedness marks Greek interpretations of wandering from the archaic to the Roman period. At every turn, a wanderer will be praised for his superior knowledge or blamed for his idle talking, invoked as an authority or rejected as a liar and a cheat. This marriage of opposites in perceptions of wandering affects not only the treatmem of wanderers in society and literature but also that of wandering in the acquisition of knowledge: is wandering a deviation from the truth or a means toward it?

5. Herodotus calls plane an imperialistic expansion (2.io3). The conceptualization of the voyage of discovery as wandering is not unique to ancient Greek culture. It pervades Renais~ sance and Baroque literature, in both of which the explorer is identified as a peregrinus. See Hahn 1973, eh. 1 and p. i68. 6. "For mortals" occupies the emphatic position at the end of the line.



The salient aspects of this ambivalence vis-A-vis wandering can be seen already in Homeric epic, even in the figure of Odysseus, who is both a liar and a knowledgeable man, an outcast and a godlike stranger. Although he is doomed to wander and stigmatizes wandering as the worst condition for a man, at the end of his ordeal he has come to resemble the Homeric gods, who go about from city to city judging the deeds of men (Odyssey 17-486-87). Like a god, he knows but is not known. Efforts at interpretation multiply around this wanderer, who comes "from where no one can see" (11.366). Somewhat later, we see philosophers negotiating the same ambivalence as they interpret the ideal sage as a wanderer. Empedocles describes himself as both an outcast wanderer and a wandering god. Plato's wandering philosopher in the Sophist is fashioned after the Homeric itinerant gods but can appear as a madman. The Cynic marries the beast and the god in his persona as wanderer. Although wandering retained its fundamental ambivalence throughout Greek history, it also developed a more positive meaning thanks to its glamorization by sages and men of learning who attached this condition to themselves. The main protagonist in this glamorization is the fourth-century Cynic philosopher Diogenes. To be sure, an important shift had already occurred with the fifth-century world travelers insofar as they converted a passive condition into a chosen one. World travelers chose to be Odysseusi that is, they took upon themselves the hardship of wandering and did so for the sake of knowledge. Nonetheless, by highlighting the connection between wandering and knowledge, fifth-century world travelers did not invent anything truly novel. This aspect of wandering had already appealed to Homer's contemporaries, as is shown not only by the Odyssey's presentation of its hero as a knowledgeable man but also by the intriguing image, in the Iliad, of a" darting mind" that longs to be in many places and wishes many things at the same time (15.80-82), an image that could even be regarded as the first expression of wanderlust (albeit a timid and isolated one) in Western literature. In other words, the world traveler was not, at least not intuitively or even conceptually, a new figure when Hecataeus, Herodotus, and others celebrated worldwide wandering as a means of acquiring knowledge. Moreover, the negative connotations of wandering remained paramount throughout the fifth century. For every world traveler there were myriads of real or imaginary outcasts, who had no desire to see the world and who hardly saw it even once they had been forced out of their communities. Wandering was still overwhelmingly associated with expulsion and identified with suffering. It is indeed significant that tragedy as tragedy has wandering as one of its major themes, That wandering in tragedy represents misfortune



may seem obvious. But that tragic playwrights in order to signify life s misfortunes/ chose wandering with obsessive consistency deserves attention. Most Greek tragic protagonists are exiles, mad persons, persecuted fugitives, or returning heroes who lose their way. 1


The figure of the outcast 1 refashioned as a tragic character, provides a positive model of behavior for Diogenes the Cynic and his followers. According to a well-documented tradition, Diogenes proudly impersonated a tragic wanderer: an utterly dreaded destiny becomes Diogenes' chosen end. The Cynic goes much further than previous sages in glamorizing wandering. He would bluntly disagree with Odysseus: for him, nothing is better than wandering, and this for the very reason most Greeks dreaded it, namely, because wandering means to be excluded from society and material belongings. 1 Diogenes glamorization of wandering as social exclusion inaugurates a trend that becomes more and more popular among philosophers in the early Roman period. Not only do many of them respond to the recurrent reality of exile by celebrating this condition with the aid of Cynic maxims in praise of nonbelonging, but some even choose, in the name of those ideals, a life of homeless wandering: to be a philosopher is to wander. The proliferation of wandering Cynics is one manifestation of the increasing presence of wanderers in a world that has expanded. But Cynic ideas about wandering do not have a universal appeal. In the early Roman period, the approaches to homeless wandering differ widely even among philosophers. The Stoics and the Neopythagorean Apollonius ofTyana, for instance, neither celebrate this condition nor project the image of the homeless wanderer as the Cynics do. This image is even less attractive outside philosophical circles, as is shown by the Greek novel, a relatively popular genre in which the theme of wandering is more prominent than in any other genre throughout the history of Greek literature, including tragedy. While the importance of wandering in the novel mirrors the spread of wandering in contemporary society, the pain that it causes its victims hardly resonates with the Cynic glamorization of this condition. The protagonists of the novel are forced to face multiple and uncontrollable displacements in the larger world -a world that is real, geographically recognizable, no longer the outlandish world of Odysseus's wandering.







Greek wanderers wander everywhere. Wandering is often described as a voracious, omnidirectional movement, one that embraces the entire world or even the cosmos. Nonetheless, although the earth as a whole is "trodden upon by wanderers" (Aeschylus Eumenides 76), wandering is primarily associated with liminal spaces. In myth, wanderers roam the mountains and the coastline, the visible edge of the earth where the land becomes sea, a place of lamentation and death. 1 lo, maddened by Zeus, wanders along the coast of Asia to Egypt. The daughters of Proetus, as well as the many other mythic women driven mad by Dionysus, wander in the wilds and in the mountains. Bellerophon, that enigmatic prototype of a wanderer, withdraws from the paths of men to wander alone in an equally enigmatic setting, the Wandering Plain (Iliad 6.200-202). His movement (alato) resonates with the avoidance of men (aleein6n). His companion in misfortune, Odysseus, is driven farther and farther until he reaches, alone (Odyssey 7.249), the deep heart of the sea.2 The sea is, in effect, the privileged setting of wandering.

-:c The coastline is a place of solitude in Greek literature since Homer (Iliad 1.349-50, 24.12; Odyssey 5.82). See also Sophocles Ajax 654-57: Ajax, to commit suicide, goes to "the, meadow by the seashore," to an "untrodden" place. 2. Odysseus's and Bellerophon's destinies as wanderers are combined in Eunapius's biog~ raphy of Porphyry. See Edwards 1988, 517. For a comparison of the two wanderers, see eh. 3. Although Odysseus is credited with having seen the cities of many men and learned their minds (1.3), the places through which he wanders are hardly cities of men. On the possible reasons for this contradiction, see eh. 6.




)dysseus will stop wandering for good only once he reaches a place where :he inhabitants are ignorant of the sea. To be as removed from the sea as one :an conceive-to be removed from the very conception of the sea-means

:o stop wandering. 3 Doubtless the paramount association of wandering with the sea reflects the reality of traveling in the Greek world, where the sea has always been a much more common medium of transportation than the land. Moreover, the sea is the ideal candidate for wandering for the obvious reason that it moves in every way itself: its many watery paths are not solid and unidirectional roads. One is always at risk of being driven astray upon the sea because one cannot control every movement. The sea baffles a basic aspiration of man, to find fixity. As Marianne Moore puts it: "it is human nature to stand in the 4 middle of a thing; / but you cannot stand in the middle of this." The association of wandering with the sea is inscribed in the Greek language. The word for "deep sea," pontos, is etymologically related to Sanskrit panthah, "difficult passage." 5 Panthah is an unpredictable route, mostly in hostile territory, a route that does not exist as such but 1s traced each time 116 anew: "It involves toils, incertitude, and danger; it has unforeseen detours. Likewise, pontos is an uncharted route: as Odysseus knows, it is a disconnecting medium as much as a connecting one, the realm of wandering that has driven him far not only from home and friends but also from the known world. The last and most dangerous landing place in Odysseus's jour7 ney, Calypso's island, lies outside geography, at "the navel of the sea": there Odysseus, "for long, far from his friends, has been suffering woes" (Odys. Tiresias's prophecy concerning Odysseus's last journey may be an allusion .to the _se3 quels of the Odyssey, which narrated Odysseus's departure from Ithaca to the ne1ghbormg mainland: see Malkin 1998. Nonetheless, insofar as the people there have no knowledge whatsoever of the sea, the place that Odysseus must reach is unreal because there is no such place in Greece. Boitani (1998) suggests as much through an imaginary encounter between Abraham and Odysseus while the latter is searching for a place that h~ ~annot find. In_Porphyry (The Cave of the Nymphs 35.80.20-81:1), it is unclear whether 1t 1s Odysse~s himself ~ho becomes ignorant of the sea or the inhabitants of the place who do not k~ow it: see Buffiere [1956] 1973, 4 13 -18; Pi§pin1.976,n. 26; Lambert~n 1986, 1~:r..The text 1scon:upt. The former reading, however, is more attractive because 1t agrees with the Neoplatomc tenet that the soul cannot reach its home until it frees itself from the sea of matter: see Lamberton 1986, 1-31- 32; Hartog 1996, 44- The Neop!atonic wanderer has to forget the sea in order to stop wandering. 4. A Grave, lines 3-4, quoted in Auden 1967, 7· . See Benveniste 1966, 296-98. Benveniste's reading has been accepted and its implica5 tions further developed by Householder and Nagy 1972, 767-68, and by Sacks 1987, 45-62. 6. Benveniste 1966, 297. 7. On the impossibility of locating the island, see West (in Heubeck et al. 1988-92) at 1.50-s:i:.




sey 1.49-50). Whereas his tribulations will end as far from the sea as the imagination can go, they culminate at its very center. Calypso's island retains and isolates the voyager. Unlike Delphi, the navel of the earth, where voyagers converge to be instructed and then leave again, hopefully with the directions that they were seeking, 8 the navel of the sea is a prison whither only a stranded wanderer is driven (-uw,aMoµm).'' The City of Wandering, which does not exist, epitomizes Odysseus's destiny as a wanderer in places that may not exist. Likewise, Bellerophon's wandering has no other setting than an imaginary Aleion Plain, or Plain of Wandering: "But when he too incurred the hatred of all the gods, he wandered alone in the Wandering Plain [Kem'TTEo[ovTO ,u~·,ov olos aA0TO], eating his heart, avoiding the path of men" (Iliad 6.200-202). Even if there was such a place as the Aleion Plain, it is chosen not for the sake of geographical accuracy but because of the similarly sounding alato (he wandered). Bellerophon wanders in an alliterative space, a space customized for wanderers, 18 AT THE BEGINNING

The movement that happens at the edges of the earth marks both ends of life. Old age "wanders, a dream that appears by day" (Aeschylus Agamemnon 82). Much more characteristically, however, wandering belongs to the beginning. Greek narratives regularly associate this condition with the earliest stages in the development of the earth and of human life. The most complex instances of this pattern are Plato's theory of the wandering cause in the Timaeus and, in the same dialogue, his concept of a first birth marked by convulsive wandering. The wandering cause is alogical, pure necessity (48a).





(417- 23).


16. The formulaic expression "the measures of the path" betrays a preoccupation with measurements and limits as a characteristic of directed journeying. 17. Odyssey 24.304, with the comments of Stanford 1948. Even if Alybas does not derive from "wandering," however, a Greek inevitably heard aly6 in it. 18. An Aleion Plain is mentioned by Herodotus (6.95) and by Strabo (12.3.2 7 [555c]), even though Strabo remarks that Homer does not locate the plain. Possibly the identification of the Wandering Plain with a real place is due to Homer's prestige: see Kirk 1.985-93, ad Joe. On Herodotus, see also Asheri 1977-98, ad loc.; Macan [1.895-1908] 1973.




It initiates the development of the cosmos before the intelligent cause inter- , venes to "put order" to the chaotic movement of this primordial state (53b1). Correspondingly, the birth of the soul into the body generated wandering because of the violent currents that unsettled the soul's orderly movements (43b-c). Each birth now reproduces the shock of that first birth. But with the passing of time, when the currents decrease (and the growth of the body stops), those orderly movements (ncp(o8o,) quietly pursue their way and become stable (Ka0LCTTWVTm) and straight (KaTEv0uv6ftEVm)(44b). This progress from wandering to stability is both a collective and an individual development. On the one hand, Plato places the violence of the birth into the body and its irrational movements in the past, which means that wandering belongs to the beginnings of the cosmos; but on the other hand, he says that the soul becomes mindless, '1 now as in the beginning," when first it is bound to the body (44b1-2). As in the Phaedo (8105-6), the falling of the soul into the body results in irrational wandering. Over the course of time, the individual becomes reasonable if he applies the right education, the ultimate healer that stops our wandering by teaching us the heavenly movements (Timaeus 47c2-4). Otherwise, he goes back to Hades "unaccomplished and a fool" (44b8-c5). Associating wandering within the amorphous beginnings of the cosmos is not idiosyncratic to the philosopher who disparagingly relegates wandering to the world of matter. 19 The materialistic Democritus shares a similar notion, and so do myth and historiography. Wandering, the liminal condition, is systematically removed by growth and progress. Whether it be in biology, history, or geology, progress equals sedentariness, agglomeration, and fixity, whereas wandering defines the physical or social organism when still in the making and/or disjointed. Wandering marks cultural, biological, and geological protohistory. It is well known that Herodotus attributes nomadism to the barbarian people at the edges of the earth. 20 His successor Thucydides is convinced that in the Dark Ages Greece was not "inhabited in a stable way" but that 11there were migrations, and in the beginning everyone easily left his own residence, forced by greater and greater numbers" (1.2.1). To be sure, migration was never the only way of life: the Athenians were always a settled people (1.2.5). Herodotus had already contrasted the rnuch-wandering ancestors of the Dorians (nOAUTTACTVl)TOV) with those of the Athenians, who, alone of all 19. See eh. 7. 20. See especially Hmtog 1980, 208-9; Payen 1997.



the Greeks, never moved (1.56, 7.161). 21 Nonetheless, the Athenians not only are unique in their sedentariness but are also more advanced than the other Greeks, which suggests that the historians perceive a progression in Greece's development from wandering to a stable occupation of the soil. Indeed, migration is a necessity but does not bring prosperity, as proven by the larger size of Athens, the city whose inhabitants never migrated and whither instead all the powerful men came to find a "stable" (~