Thursday, March 04, 2010


Apollo Karneios and the Cornel-Trees

Pausanias 3.13.5 (tr. W.H.S. Jones, with an addition in brackets):
The poetess Praxilla represents Carneüs as the son of Europa <and Zeus>, Apollo and Leto being his nurses. There is also another account of the name; in Trojan Ida there grew in a grove of Apollo cornel-trees, which the Greeks cut down to make the Wooden Horse. Learning that the god was wroth with them they propitiated him with sacrifices and named Apollo Carneüs from the cornel-tree (craneia), a custom prevalent in the olden time making them transpose the r and the a.

Πραξίλλῃ μὲν δὴ πεποιημένα ἐστὶν ὡς Εὐρώπης εἴη καὶ <Διὸς ὁ> Κάρνειος καὶ αὐτὸν ἀνεθρέψατο Ἀπόλλων καὶ Λητώ· λέγεται δὲ καὶ ἄλλος ἐπ' αὐτῷ λόγος, ἐν τῇ Ἴδῃ τῇ Τρωικῇ κρανείας ἐν Ἀπόλλωνος ἄλσει πεφυκυίας τοὺς Ἕλληνας ἐκτεμεῖν ἐς τοῦ ἵππου τοῦ δουρείου τὴν ποίησιν· μαθόντες δὲ ὀργήν σφισιν ἔχειν τὸν θεὸν θυσίαις ἱλάσκονται καὶ Ἀπόλλωνα ὀνομάζουσι Κάρνειον ἀπὸ τῶν κρανειῶν, ὑπερθέντες τὸ ῥῶ κατὰ δή τι ἀρχαῖον.

Διὸς ὁ inseruit H. Hitzig, Διὸς iam W.F. Rinck, Die Religonen der Hellenen 2 (Zurich: Meyer und Zeller, 1854) p. 139, n. 7.
Cf. Carl Wendel, ed., Scholia in Theocritum Vetera (Leipzig: Teubner, 1914), p. 172, scholion d on Theocritus 5.83:
There is a festival of Zeus [sic] called Karneia. Among the Greeks it is celebrated because the wooden horse was made of cornel-tree wood.

ἔστιν ἑορτὴ Διὸς Κάρνεια ὀνομαζομένη. παρ' Ἕλλησι δὲ τελεῖται διὰ τὸν δούρειον ἵππον ἐκ κρανείου εἶναι ξύλου.
Wendel in his critical apparatus:
fort. post ἑορτὴ supplenda: Ἀπόλλωνος ἀπὸ Κάρνου τοῦ. Ἀπόλλωνος pro Διὸς scribi vult Kalkmann l.l. 213.
With Wendel's conjecture, "There is a festival of Apollo called Karneia after Zeus' son Karnos..." With Kalkmann's conjecture, "There is a festival of Apollo called Karneia..."

Probably no one today accepts the derivation of Karneios from kraneia, but inscriptions do survive that forbid tree cutting in sanctuaries of Apollo, e.g. F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées des cités grecques (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1969), no. 37, Attica, 4th century B.C. (tr. Aslak Rostad, Human Transgression - Divine Retribution: a study of religious transgressions and punishments in Greek cultic regulations and Lydian-Phrygian reconciliation inscriptions, pp. 266-267):
Gods. The priest of Apollo Erithaseos declares and forbids on behalf of himself and the other members of the dēmē and the Athenian people anyone to cut down trees in the sanctuary of Apollo, and to bring wood, twigs, firewood or fallen leaves out of the sanctuary. If anyone receives what is illegally cut or brought out of the sanctuary, he shall, if he is a slave, be whipped with fifty lashes and the priest shall give his and his master's name to the king archon and the council in accordance with the decision of the council and the Athenian people. If he is a free man the priest shall, together with the dēmarch fine him fifty drachmas and give his name to the king and the council in accordance with the decision of the council and the Athenian people.

Related posts: Pitiful Destruction; Enemy of Orchards; Arboricide and Matricide; The Sacrilegious Axe; Arboricide on the Wayne Ranch; The Woods of Bachycraigh; Papadendrion; Papadendrion Again; A Bewilderment of Birds; Ancient Protests Against Deforestation; Illustrations of Erysichthon; Prayer and Sacrifice to Accompany Tree Cutting; A Spirit Protects the Trees; St. Martin and the Pine Tree; The Geismar Oak; Bregalad's Lament; Petition of a Poplar; Cactus Ed and Arboricide; Views from the Center of Highgate Wood; Artaxerxes and Arboricide; When the Last Tree Falls; The Hamadryads of George Lane; Sorbs and Medlars; So Foul a Deed; Like Another Erysichthon; The Fate of Old Trees; Scandalous Misuse of the Globe; The Groves Are Down; Massacre; Executioners; Anagyrasian Spirit; Butchers of Our Poor Trees; Cruel Axes; Odi et Amo; Kentucky Chainsaw Massacre; Protection of Sacred Groves; Lex Luci Spoletina; Turullius and the Grove of Asclepius; Caesarian Section; Death of a Noble Pine; Two Yew Trees in Chilthorne, Somerset; The Fate of the Shrubbery at Weston; The Trees Are Down; Hornbeams; Sad Ravages in the Woods; Strokes of Havoc; Maltreatment of Trees; Arboricide; An Impious Lumberjack; Erysichthon in Ovid; Erysichthon in Callimachus; Vandalism.

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