Greek Cults and Their Sacred Laws on Dress-code:The Laws of Greek Sanctuaries for Hairstyles, Jewelry, Make-up, Belts, and Shoes1
Numerous sacred laws on dress-code dating to the Hellenistic, Roman, and Imperial periods determined the appropriate hairstyles, jewelry, adornment, and shoes for worshippers. Some of the sacred laws regulated the dress-codes for cultic officials who were less concerned by prohibitions than worshippers. The sacred laws aimed to restrict vanity, the display of personal wealth, and to prevent what was perceived as impure. This paper contributes a synthesis of sacred laws on dress-code, showing similarities and differences among sanctuaries and examples where Greek artistic representations are at odds with the laws.
sacred law, dress-code, sanctuary, adornment, accessories, social norms, feminine modesty, purity, miasma
The so-called sacred laws (ἱεροί νόμοι)2 on dress-code engraved on stelai and erected at sanctuaries were prescriptions for proper attire, hairstyles, accessories, jewelry, adornment, and shoes, which the [End Page 147] worshippers and cultic officials should follow at sanctuaries and religious festivals. Some thirty-three Greek sacred laws on dress-code are attested by epigraphic sources.3 The regulations date mainly to the third and second ce nturies bce. There can be no doubt, however, that all Greek sanctuaries had dress-codes without having always inscribed them on stelai. Fifteen sacred laws on dress-code concern the headgears, hairstyles, accessories, jewelry, adornment, and shoes, which were prescribed or prohibited for various reasons: some regulations prohibited objects perceived as impure; others restricted items displaying luxury and vanity. Certain fabrics, colors, metals, and accessories seen as impure were prohibited in sanctuaries. The prohibited accessories were not the same at all sanctuaries. Worshippers and cultic officials were required to approach the deity clean and without wearing or bringing prohibited items into the sanctuaries, conditions which caused miasma. The sacred laws on dress-code mentioned in this paper are mainly from the Peloponnese, Aegean islands, and Asia Minor, but not from Attica.4 The sacred laws are related to the cults of Nike, Alectrona, Leto, Athena Lindia, Demeter, Kore, Dionysus, Heracles Kallinikos, Zeus Alseios, Zeus Kynthios, and Athena Kynthia (Table 1). Most of the sacred laws on dress-code concern the cult of Demeter and Kore (Table 1). [End Page 148]
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The restriction of luxury and adornment are linked to the ideology of modesty.5 Adornment–καλλωπισμός (adorning oneself)–was associated with vanity and seduction. It is not surprising that the Greek sacred laws on dress-code also regulated hairstyles, jewelry, adornment and shoes, as festivals offered a medium for people to display vanity and social status through their clothing and adornment. Until present, women are inextricably associated with jewelry, hairstyles, headgears, adornment, and shoes, which highlight their beauty and serve as markers of social status. For this reason, women were primarily affected by sacred laws on dress-code. Worshippers and priests were not equally affected by the prohibitions (Tables 1 and 2). Some sacred laws made [End Page 150] a distinction between the worshippers and cultic officials. Sacred laws on dress-code, which concerned worshippers, imposed restrictions on expensive clothes and accessories. The regulations allowed priests to wear expensive clothes and gold jewelry, which highlighted their position as cultic agents. As ritual agents, cultic officials had a different status than worshippers.
The present paper analyses selected sacred laws on dress-code, which regulated hairstyles, headgears, adornment, jewelry, belts, and shoes.6 The analysis explains the complexity of dress-codes regulations for Greek sanctuaries and describes various components that determine the dress-codes imposed on worshippers and cultic officials, including feminine modesty, social norms, miasma, chastity, and aidos.
The iconographic material dating to the Archaic period shows women and men with long hair falling over the back and shoulders. From the fifth century bce onwards, men were depicted with short hair and women with long hair tied up in a bun or with elaborate hairstyles. Several sacred laws on dress-code are at odds with the iconographic material. The sacred laws on dress-code do not specify the gender, but they are likely to refer to women since the regulations affect long hair and headgear worn by women.
IG V,2 514 (third-second centuries bec) concerns the mysteries performed in honor of Demeter and Kore at Lykosoura (Paus. 8.37.2).7 The sacred law imposes various restrictions on clothing, jewelry, and hairstyles. It prohibits braided hair (τριχας ανπεπλεγμενας) and veiled head (μηδὲ κεκαλυμ̣μένος—not to veil). The sacred law from Andania (IG V,1 1390, line 22) also forbids braided hair (τριχας ανπεπλεγμενας) and hairband (ἀναδέσμη). This prohibition was not only restricted to the cult of Demeter and Kore at Lykosoura and Andania. The sacred law of the cult of Asclepius at Pergamon (IvP II 264) and that of Athena at Lindos (Lindos II 487) also prohibited braided hair. Athenaeus (12.525) mentions that the Samians combed their hair down over the back and [End Page 151] shoulders for the festival of Hera on Samos. Some cults favored, and some cults prohibited unbound hair. The sacred laws linked to the mystery cults, such as those of Demeter and Dionysus, seem to favor unbound hair at certain festivals.
Δεσπ̣οίνας.〚〛 μὴ ἐξέστωπαρέρπην ἔχοντας ἐν τὸ ἱερὸν τᾶςΔεσποίνας μὴ [υ]σία ὅσα <μ>ὴ ἰν ἀνά-5 θεμα μηδὲ πορφύρε̣ον εἱματισμὸνμηδὲ ἀνθι̣νὸν μηδὲ [μέλ]ανα μηδὲ ὑπο-δήματα μηδὲ δ̣ακτύλιον· ε̣ἰ δ' ἄν τιςπαρένθῃ ἔχων τ̣ι τῶν ἁ στάλα [κ]ωλύει,ἀναθέτω ἐν τὸ ἱερόν. μηδὲ τὰς τ̣[ρί]-10 χας ἀμπεπλεγμένας μηδὲ κεκαλυμ̣-μένος,μηδὲ ἄνθεα παρφέρην μηδὲ(IG V,2 514)
of Despoina.it is not allowedto bring in the sanctuaryof Despoina: gold jewelry, unless as5 offering, do not wear clothing in purple,nor embroidered flowers, nor in black, norsandals, nor ring. Ifsomeone brings one of the objects forbidden by the stele,8he should offer it to the sanctuary. One should neither10 entwine the hair, norveil it; forbidden to bring flowers, not
Greek women veiled outside their houses and in public. Veiling manifested the αἰδώς (shame) and modesty of women in public and private spheres.9 The question arises whether it was appropriate for women to attend collective cultic performances with unveiled heads. In Greek art, goddesses as well as mortal women were often represented unveiled. Vase paintings depict women involved in rituals with sophisticated hairstyles and clothes. Vase paintings did not aim to represent worshippers as they were dressed at cultic performances. Clay figurines and statues of female worshippers and priestesses show their heads covered, unveiled, [End Page 152] or their hair tied together in the back.10 Numerous clay figurines of women dating to the Hellenistic period have sophisticated hairstyles. Only some clay figurines and statues depict women with loose hair.
Callimachus mentions that women walked barefoot (ἀπεδίλωτοι) and with unbound hair (ἀνάμπυκες) at the mysteries of Demeter celebrated in Alexandria (Hymn 6.124). The term ἀνάμπυκες means "without headband" (Stephens 2015: 294). Demeter is represented in the well-known Eleusinian relief with loose hair. A statue from Priene depicts Nikeso, a priestess of Demeter, unveiled with locks of hair on her shoulders and back. A statue found at Cnidus represents Demeter with her head veiled and loose hair on her shoulders (Dillon 2012: 271). The Greek goddesses were generally represented with hair tied up in a knot.
The restriction of women's adorning was probably another reason for the prohibition of braided hair. Throughout history, hairstyles displayed social status (Cleland, Davis, and Llewellyn-Jones 2007: 86) and highlighted beauty. The display of beauty in cultic context was seen as inappropriate. Cosgrove states that loose hair is connoted with sexuality and linked to a story of Medusa and Phaedra recorded in Ovid's Metamorphoses 4.794–798 and Euripides' Hippolytus 198–202 (Cosgrove 2005: 679). Poseidon was attracted to the beautiful hair of Medusa and raped her in the sanctuary of Athena (Ov. Met. 4.794–798). Athenan's punishment for the defilement of her temple fell on Medusa and transformed her beautiful hair into snakes (Ov. Met. 4.798–801). However, despite the sexual connotation of hair, some courtesans are represented naked but with hair tied together in the back. Gawlinski has suggested that braided hair was forbidden because of binding and knots (Gawlinski 2012: 128). This may be a reason, but there is no evidence for it, as the literary sources do not tell us the reason for the admonition to women's braided hair at cultic rituals.
II. Jewelry, Headgear, and Belts
Apart from rings, the sacred laws do not precise which kind of jewelry—e.g. earrings, bracelets, or necklaces—was forbidden. Women, as well as men, were seldom represented in the Classical and Hellenistic Greek art wearing jewelry. The over-life statue of a caryatid (50 bce) from the Lesser Propylaea in Eleusis depicts presumably a priestess of [End Page 153]
Demeter holding a basket on her head and wearing earrings in the shape of a flower (Archaeological Museum of Eleusis). A clay figurine from the sanctuary of Demeter in Mytilene represents a woman wearing a polos and circular earrings (fig. 1). Interestingly, only three clay female figurines from the same site (sanctuary of Demeter in Mytilene) are depicted wearing earrings. Jewelry was, however, valuable votives dedicated at various sanctuaries, such as in the sanctuary of Demeter at Knossos, where many finger rings, earrings, bracelets, and pendants made of gold, silver, and bronze were deposited as votives (Coldstream 1973: 130–176). Jewelry made of metal has a material value and was consecrated as votives or used as a means of payment for cultic services. The absence of jewelry at many sanctuaries is not linked to the prohibition of jewelry. Jewelry [End Page 154] made from precious metals and consecrated at sanctuaries was used for the running cost of the sanctuaries and was seldom deposited as votives.
The prohibition of gold (χρυσίον) is attested for the cults of Asclepius (Pergamon: IvP II 264), Demeter (Lykosoura: IG V,2 514; Patras: SEG 40:395; Andania: IG V,1 1390; Kios: I.Kios 19), and Leto (Xanthus: SEG 36:1221). The prohibition refers to everything made from gold (e.g. jewelry). SEG 36:1221 dating to the third-second centuries bce was found at the entrance of the sanctuary of Leto in Xanthus (Le Roy 1986: 279). The sacred law prohibits jewelry and accessories made of copper and gold. A sacred law from Eresos also prohibits copper (IG XII, Supp. 126, second century bce).
Another singularity of the sacred law from Xanthus is that two different types of caps were also forbidden: petasos and kausia. The petasos is a cap that is associated with Hermes and was one of the most common types of caps worn in ancient Greece.11 The kausia is a Macedonian cap with which the Macedonian kings were also depicted (Bernard 1985: 77–79). The petasos and kausia are both caps with a broad brim. Until present, the removal of caps in sacred places testifies respect to the deity. Especially caps with broad brim are considered to be inappropriate worship attire. Caps were also worn to indicate the social status. However, petasos and kausia were presumably not prohibited for this reason.
Ἃ μὴ νομίζεται εις τὸἱερόν καἰ τὸ τέμενοςεἰσφέρειν. ὅπλον, μη-θέν, πέτασον, καυσί-αν, πόρπην, χαλκόν,χρυσόν, μηδέ δακτύ-λιον ὑπόχρυσον, μηδέσκεῦος μηθέν, ἔξωἱματισμοῦ καἰ ὑπο-δέσεως τοῦ περί τὸσῶμα, μηδ᾽ ἐν ταῖςστοαῖς καταλύεινμηθένα ἁλλ᾽ ἤ τοὐςθύοντας
What is not customary to carry intothe sanctuary and the temenos:no weapon,petasos, kausia,5 brooch, copper,gold, neither gold platedring, nor anyvessel, apart fromclothes and10 shoes worn around onesbody, and nobody shallcamp in the stoai,apart from thosewho want to sacrifice.(SEG 36:1221) [End Page 155]
IG V,1 1390 (lines 13–15) prescribes headgear for cultic officials and initiates. According to Meyer and Ogden, the male priests (ιεροι) should wear wreaths (στεφανους) and the priestesses (ιεραι) a white felt cap called pilos (Meyer 1987: 52; Ogden 2002: 214). Deshours and Gawlinski have suggested that the male as well as the female cultic officials must wear a white pilos (Deshours 2006: 26; Gawlinski 2012: 69). The term στεφανους (wreaths) is the accusative form and refers to the ιεροι, and πιλον λευκον (sg. acc.) to the ιεραι. The pilos (πῖλος) means wool and refers to items made of felt. It was also the name of a hat without brim and made of felt.12 As far as I am aware, pilos is not mentioned in other sacred laws on dress-code, and Greek women were not depicted with a pilos in Greek art. Gawlinski believes that one of the women depicted in the wall painting of the villa of the mysteries at Pompeii wears a pilos (Gawlinski 2012: 111). However, no one of the female figures seems to wear a pilos. IG V,1 1390 (line 14) prescribes στλεγγίς for the first-time initiates. The term στλεγγίς means strigil, but refers in IG V,1 1390 to tiara (Deshours 2006: 28, fn. 5; Gawlinski 2012: 112). After the announcement made by the sacred men, the first-time initiates must take off their tiaras and all participants should wear a wreath of laurel.
13 στεφανων. στεφανους δε εχοντω οι μεν ιεροι και αι ιεραι πιλον λευκον, Regarding wreaths: the sacred men are to wear wreaths, the sacred women a white felt cap,14 των δε τελουμενων οι πρωτομυσται στλεγγιδα. όταν δε οι ιεροι παραγγειλωντι, ταμ μεν στλεγγιδα αποθεσθωσαν,and the first initiates among the initiates a tiara. But when the sacred men give the order, they are to take off their tiara,15 στεφανουσθωσαν δε παντες δαφναι.and they are all to be wreathed with laurel.(IG V,1 1390; translation by Meyer 1987: 52)
The so-called Ninnion tablet (fourth century bce) from the cave of the nymphs at Pitsa in Corinthia depicts a sacrifice. The priestess and three worshippers wear a wreath of laurel. Two boys are represented as players of lyra and aulos. Another boy leads a sheep to the altar. All [End Page 156] three boys, who are of lower social status, also wear a wreath of laurel. The wreath was one of the most distinctive signs of priestly status but was also worn by all participants in festivals (Pirenne-Delforge 2005: 29).
IvP II 264 dating to the second century ce regulated the dress-code of the sanctuary of Asclepius at Pergamon that was an important center for incubation and healing. The sacred law prohibits rings, belts, gold, braided hair, and shoes. Apart from shoes, the prohibition of these items is not linked to hygiene.
[. εἰ]σ̣πορευέσθω πρὸς τὸν θεὸν τ[ὸν σωτῆρα Ἀσκληπιὸν][εἰς τὸ] μ̣έγα ἐνκοιμητήριον ὁ ἐγκο[ιμᾶσθαι βουλόμενος][ἐν ἱμα]τ̣ίοις λευκοῖς, ἁγνοῖς ἐλάας ἔ[ρνεσιν ἐστεμμένος10 [ἔχων μήτε δακτ]ύλιον, μήτε ζώνην, μ[ήτε χρυσίον, μήτε τὰς][τρίχας πεπλεγμένα]ς̣, [ἀν]υ̣π̣όδ̣η̣τ̣ο̣[ς ․․․․․․․․․․․](IvP II 264) [End Page 157]
enter into the presence of the god savior Asclepius,who is willing to sleep in the room of incubation,in white garments, with a crown made of young sacred10 olive, not with ring, nor with belt, nor with gold, nor withbraided hair, nor with shoes
The prohibition of metals may go back to the Early Helladic period when metals were not in use or one believed that metals have daemonic features (Wächter 1910: 115; Le Roy 1986: 286, fn. 30). The first Cretan gods were the so-called Idaean Dactyls, who invented the mysteries and metalwork (Diod. Sic. 5.64.4). It was also believed that the Idaean Dactyls were sorcerers and invented metal amulets (Ap. Rhod. 1.1129; Diod. Sic. 5.64.5; see also Blakely 2006: 193). Strabo (14.2.7) tells a similar account about the Telchines, who inhabited Rhodes and were metalworkers (Diod. Sic. 5.55.1–3). Wächter states that the prohibition of gold in sanctuaries is probably linked to the belief that gold could cause miasma (Wächter 1910: 118). The restriction of luxury was presumably the main reason for the prohibition of gold. Le Roy believes that the prohibition of luxury was a secondary reason (Le Roy 1986: 287). Gold was a valuable votive and gold utensil were used for the performance of cultic rituals. The cult statue of Athena Parthenos was made of gold and ivory. The priestess of Demeter on Cos used a golden cup as a cultic utensil for the purification after miasma (IG XII 4, 1:72). If gold had negative magical connotation, everything made of gold had to be banned from the sanctuaries. The priests were not affected by the prohibition of gold jewelry.
The sacred laws from Skepsis (SEG 26:1334) and Priene (I.Priene 174), which concern the sale of the priesthoods, prescribe a gold wreath for the priest. As gold jewelry was used as a means of displaying of personal wealth, the sacred law from Patras allowed gold jewelry not heavier than one obol, which was approximately 0.56 gr (SEG 40:395). I.Kios 19 mentions that gold jewelry was not well seen at cultic rituals, as it caused gossip. The Pythagorean philosopher Phintys,13 who probably lived in the third century bce, wrote about women's virtue and summarized the dress-codes imposed by Greek sacred laws (On the Chastity of Women). Phintys says that wearing gold jewelry would be an [End Page 158] extravagant and arrogant gesture with respect to local women (Meunier 1932: 72–73; Plant 2004: 85).
Some sacred laws prohibited rings (δακτύλιοι) in general and some only rings made from certain metals: SEG 36:1221 (Xanthus) prohibits gold plated rings; and I.Delos 2529 rings made of iron. The sacred laws IvP II 264 (Pergamon) and IG V,2 51 (Lykosoura) forbid rings for worshippers. Several sacred laws from Cos, which concern the sale of the priesthoods of Heracles Kallinikos (Iscr. di Cos ED 180), Zeus Alseios (Iscr. di Cos ED 215), and Nike (Iscr. di Cos ED 89), prescribe gold rings for the priests.
Wächter (1910: 21) has suggested that the prohibition of rings, belts, shoes, and loose hair at cultic rituals results from their binding powers. The prohibition of rings at some sanctuaries resulted probably from their magical connotation. Several papyri mention the use of rings for magical spell.14 Various items, such as olive branches (PGM 111.282–409; PGM N. 1227–64) or lamps, were used for cultic rituals (PGM I. 262–347; PGM IV.930–1114), but also for magical spells. Rings were considered as items with magical connotation and as valuable votives consecrated in various sanctuaries. Rings were not considered per se as items with magical connotation and banned from sanctuaries.
Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 5.5) and Diogenes Laertius (8.17) tell us that Pythagoras was against wearing rings with images of gods. However, this is not a prohibition against rings in general. Pliny mentions that it was not a custom to wear rings in the Roman world and gold rings were introduced from Greece (HN 33.4). Later, the use of rings became excessive with precious stones and many rings on several fingers (Plin. HN 33.6). Probably, some wealthy people in ancient Greece wore expensive gold rings that was against the idea of modesty. The restriction of luxury was another reason for the prohibition of rings at sanctuaries.
I.Delos 2529 (116 bce) concerns the sanctuary of Zeus Kynthios and Athena Kynthia that is located on the mountain Kynthos on Delos. Several sacred laws on purity, which concern the cults of Zeus, have similarities with the sacred laws on dress-code from Philadelphia in Lydia (Syll3 985, first century bce) and Euromos (SEG 43:710, first century ce). The sacred law from Delos forbids rings, belts, and purses. [End Page 159] Rings are not forbidden per se, but only those made of iron. Plutarch mentions that the chief magistrate of Plataea wore white garment and was not allowed to touch iron (Arist. 21). The prohibition of iron rings ordered in I.Delos 2529 is presumably connected to the belief that iron has magical powers.
v ἰέναι εἰς τὸ ἱερ-[ὸν τοῦ] Διὸς τοῦ Κυνθίου[καὶ τῆ]ς Ἀθηνᾶς τῆς Κυνθί-[ας χερ]σὶν καὶ ψυχῇ καθα-[ρᾷ, ἔ]χοντας ἐσθῆτα λευ-[κήν, ἀνυ]ποδέτους, ἁγνεύοντα[ς][ἀπὸ γυν]αικὸς καὶ κρέως[καὶ μηθὲ]ν εἰσ[φ]έρειν̣[————μη]δὲ κλειδίον μηδὲδακτύλιον σιδηροῦν μηδὲζώνην μηδὲ βαλλάντιονμηδὲ ὅπλα πολέμια μηδ'
one should go to the sanc-tuary of Zeus Kythiosand Athena Kythiawith pure hands and soul,15 one should enter in white garment,no shoes, abstainingfrom woman and meat,and carrying neithera key, nor20 a ring made of iron, nora belt, nor a purse,nor weapon nor(I.Delos 2529)
The sacred laws I.Delos 2529, IvP II 264, and Lindos II 487 prohibit belts. The term ζώνη, meaning zone or area, is used for a belt in the sacred laws mentioned in the present paper. Belts were made of leather or tablet-woven (Cleland, Davies, and Llewellyn-Jones 2007: 18), and were worn on the waist to fasten the garment or put around the shoulder to hang a sword or arrows. The sacred laws do not indicate whether the waist or shoulder belts were prohibited. If ζώνη relates to female clothing, the prohibition would concern female worshippers who wore the belts around the waist.15 Homer uses the term βαθύζωνος (Il. 9.594) for deep-girdled and εὔζωνος for well-girdled (Il. 9.590) in connection with women's garment (Schopphoff 2009: 3; Lee 2015: 135–36). Similarly, Lee (2015: 135–36) says that ζώνη was linked to women and was an indicator of age and sexual status of girls.16 Pausanias (2.33.1) tells us that the girls from a peninsula, which was part of Troizen, dedicated their ζώνη to Athena Apaturia before marriage.17 Schmidt (1977: 1063) also believes that girls did not wear a belt before they reached puberty, [End Page 160] and dedicated the belt they wore during adolescence. Therefore, the prohibition of belts at cultic rituals is not linked to marriage. Belts are listed in sacred laws on dress-code alongside items that were seen as impure or inappropriate. The Greek vase paintings, statues, and reliefs depict deities or mortals with belts on their waists.18 The belt is used in Greek art for stylish gathering of female garments. Athena is one of the goddesses in the Greek world who was depicted with a belt. The Zeus' altar from Pergamon represent goddesses with belt and their girded garments emphasize their high status. Belts were also luxury items adorned with precious stones (Schopphoff 2009: 21–22). Homer describes how Hera adorned herself to seduce Zeus (Il. 14.160–190). Hera puts a ζώνη with a hundred tassels (Hom. Il. 14.181). Hera uses a decorated belt as a means of seduction alongside other objects, such as jewelry, perfume, and fine clothes. Women used belts to create sophisticated drapery to increase their attractiveness. Garments, which allowed the creation of elaborate drapery, were not affordable for everyone. Nonnus of Panopolis mentions that Mystis had a belt of braided vipers (Dion. 9.130). The knots of the belts were presumably the reason for their prohibition in cultic context, as it was believed that knots would have magical connotations. Additionally, belts were made from leather, which was perceived as impure and not allowed at some sanctuaries.19
Thais, an Athenian courtesan, wrote to her friend in one of the fictional letters written by the Greek sophist Alciphron (first century ce) that she attended Haloa and Euxippe made fun of her make-up and rouge (Letters of the Courtesans 4.6; Gherchanoc 2011: 27–28; Granholm 2012: 74–75). Haloa was a women-only festival celebrated in honour of Demeter. Euxippe was driven by jealousy and did not blame Thais because she wore make-up and rouge at a festival. The prohibition of make-up and rouge by sacred laws on dress-code suggests that some women wore make-up at cultic rituals. Two sacred laws on dress-code, which prohibit make-up and rouge, are also related to the cults of Demeter (SEG [End Page 161] 40:395, line 7; IG V,1 1390, line 22). It is, therefore, unlikely that other cults allowed make-up, as it was considered inappropriate for decent women to display vanity in public and at cultic rituals.
Ἁλῶα δ᾽ ἦν, κἀπὶ τὴν παννυχίδα πᾶσαι, ὥσπερ ἦνεἰκός, παρῆμεν. ἐθαύμαζον δὲ τῆς Εὐξίππης τὴν ἀγερω−χίαν· τὸ μὲν γὰρ πρῶτον κιχλίζουσα μετ᾽ ἐκείνης καὶμωκωμένη τὴν δυσμένειαν ἐνεδείκνυτο, εἶτα φανερῶςποιήματα ᾖδεν εἰς τὸν οὐκέθ᾽ ἡμῖν προσέχοντα ἐραστήν.κἀπὶ τούτοις μὲν ἧττον ἤλγουν· ἀπαναισχυντήσασα δὲεἰς τὸ φῦκός με καὶ τὸν παιδέρωτα ἔσκωπτεν.
It was the Haloa, and we were all present at the night-festival as wasto be expected. I was amazed at Euxippe’s arrogance. First,she was showing her hostility by giggling and making jokeswith Megara, then she openly sang some verses with thesubject of the lover who was no longer paying attention tome. I didn’t mind that so much. But then she put away allshame and made fun of me for my rouge and make-up!(Alciphron, Letters of the Courtesans 4.6; translation by Granholm 2012: 75)
SEG 40:395 (third century bce) is the earliest sacred law providing evidence for the prohibition of make-up that concerns the cult of Demeter and Kore at Patras, where the goddesses had a spring sanctuary. The sacred law prohibits gold jewelry heavier than one obol, garments with embroidery, purple clothes, and make-up.
Δ[α]-ματρίοις τας γυν[αΐ]-κες μήτε χρυσίον ε-χεν πλέον όδελοΰ όλ-5 κάν, μηδέ λωπίον ποικί-λον, μήτε πορφυρέαν,μήτε ψημυθιοΰσθαιμήτε αΰλήν• εί δέ καπαρβάλληται, τό ί-10 ερόν καθαράσθωώς παρσεβέουσα
To Da-mater. The womenshould not wear gold (jewellery)heavier than one obol,no garments with embroideryno purple,no make-up,not to play flute. If someonedoes it, he should cleanthe sanctuaryfor the commitment of impiety(SEG 40:395)(SEG 40:395)
IG V,1 1390 (92 bce) refers to the mysteries performed in honor of Demeter and Kore at Andania. This sacred law prohibits gold, rouge, white lead make-up, hairbands, plaited hair, and shoes. [End Page 162]
22. φανες· μη εχετω δε μηδεμια χρυσια μηδε φυκος μηδε ψιμιθιον μηδε αναδεμα μηδε τας τριχας ανπεπλεγμενας μηδε υπο-22. transparent. No woman is to have gold, rouge, white lead make-up, a hairband, plaited hair, or shoes unless(IG V,1 1390; translation by Gawlinski 2012: 69–71)
The inscriptions from Patras and Andania call make-up ψιμύθιον, which means "white lead," and ψιμυθιόω signifies "painted with white lead." Alciphron's Letters of the Courtesans 4.6 uses the term παιδέρωτα for make-up. The white lead as powder was used to give the face a graceful appearance (Ar. Lys. 1.1.14; Plut. Alc. 39.2). An old woman uses white lead to hide her wrinkles in Aristophanes' Wealth (1064–1065). Lysistrata says that women should stay at home, powder their cheeks with smooth rose, increase the desire of men with their naked bodies, and refuse to have sex with them for the sake of the peace (Ar. Lys. 148–154). A prostitute says in Aristophanes' Ecclesiazusae (878) that she painted her face with white lead and put her yellow robe to attract men. The prostitute in Aristophanes' play uses make-up as a means of seduction. If we believe Athenaeus (12.38), Arbaces, a general of the Assyrian king Sardanapalus, used pumice-stone to smooth his face and white powder under his eyes. Arbaces is represented as someone wearing women's robes. Some Greek women spent lots of time applying make-up to enhance their beauty and used it as a means of seduction (Gherchanoc 2011: 26–27). Make-up seems to have had a negative image in antiquity and was linked to vanity and unchastity (Xen. Ec. 10.5–9; Juv. 6). Make-up was used by prostitutes as well as by other women. Gherchanoc (2011: 27) states that married women also wore make-up to seduce their husbands. Xenophon says that women use white lead to whiten the skin (Ec. 10.2). This was especially feasible for women who had the financial means to stay at home. In antiquity, women avoided sun to have pale skin. Like nowadays in many Asian countries, white skin is an important feature of female beauty. The society in ancient Greece apparently had the same perception about female beauty and white skin was as a sign of wealth.
The prohibition of shoes in sanctuaries and processions is attested for the cults of Alectrona at Ialysos (IG XII,1 677); Zeus Kyntios and Athena Kythia on Delos (I.Delos 2529); Demeter and Kore at Andania [End Page 163] (IG V,1 1390) and Lykosoura (IG V,2 514, lines 6–7); Demeter at Kios (I.Kios 19, lines 3–4); Asclepius at Pergamon (IvP II 264); and Athena at Lindos (Lindos II 487).
IG XII,1 677 (third century bce), which concerns the sanctuary of Alectrona at Ialysos, prohibits shoes and uses the term ὑποδήματα (hypodemata) for shoes. IG V,1 1390 (Andania) and IG V,2 514 (Lykosoura) also impose the prohibition of hypodemata. Different types of shoes existed with different names (Abrahams 1908: 118). The priests at Athens and Alexandria wore white shoes called phaikasion (App. B Civ. 5.1.11). According to Abrahams, sandals named hypodemata were made of leather and fastened by straps (Abrahams 1908: 116). Therefore, the prohibition of hypodemata does not necessarily include the prohibition of all kinds of shoes. The hypodemata were presumably used as a general term for shoes in sacred laws on dress-code mentioned above.
25 ...............μηδέ υποδή-ματα έσφερέτω μηδέ ΰειον μη-θέν, δ,τι δέ κά τις παρα τόν νόμονποιήσηι, τό τε ίερόν και τό τέμενοςκαθαιρέτω και έπιρεζέτω, ή ενο-χος εστω ται άσεβείαι(ΙΟ ΧΙΙ,1 677)
25 ...............nobody should wear shoesor other items made of pig,if somebody does one of the things against the law,he should clean the sanctuary and the temenosand offer a sacrifice, otherwise he would befound guilty and charged with impiety
SEG 26:1334 (second century bce) from Skepsis regulated the sale of the priesthood of Dionysus Bambyleios and the dress-code for the priest who was allowed to wear a crown of ivy on the first of the month of Lenaion, at all festivals organized by the polis, and whenever he wanted. The priest was also allowed to wear a golden crown, purple clothes, and shoes (ὑπόδεσιν) adequate to his clothes. The emphasis on the "adequate to his clothes" suggests that the priest was allowed to wear expensive shoes, as purple clothes, crowns made from ivy and gold were luxury items, which highlighted his priestly status. The cult of Dionysus Bambyleios was presumably a major polis cult at Skepsis (Sokolowski 1976: 188), and its priests were of high social and cultic status (see also [End Page 164] SEG 26:1334 (second century bce Aynur-Michele-Sara Karatas | Greek Cults and Dress-code 165
I.Priene 174). Not all cultic officials of various cults in the same city had the same cultic and social standing. Priests of major cults had a higher cultic status than priests of minor cults, and wore expensive clothes and accessories, which indicated their status.
[στε]φαν[ού]σθω κισσοῦ στεφάνῳ ἐν τῷ μηνὶ τῷ Ληναιῶ-[νι] ἐν ταῖς νουμηνίαις [κ]αὶ ἐν ταῖς δημοτελέσιν ἑορταῖς πάσα̣[ις],10 [ἐν] τῷ ἄλλῳ δὲ χρόνῳ παντὶ ἐὰν αὐτῷ φαίνηται· ἐξέστω [δ]ὲ α̣[ὐ]-[τ]ῷ καὶ στέφανομ φορεῖν χρυσοῦν καὶ χιτῶνας ἁλουργ[ο]ὺς κα[ὶ][ὑ]πόδεσιν ἀκόλουθον τῇ ἐσθῆτι· καλεῖσθαι δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ εἰ[ς](SEG 26:1334)
shall wear a crown of ivy on the first of the month of Lenaionand on all festivals celebrated at public cost,10 and at any other time he wants. He shall also be allowed to weara golden crown and purple robes andshoes adequate to his clothes. He shall be invited into(transl. Tas¸lıklıoğlu and Frisch 1975: 107)
I.Kios 19 (first century bce) from Kios prescribes clean garments without any gold ornaments and the worshippers should walk barefoot in the procession behind the kalathos and leave the sandals outside before entering the temple. This sacred law concerns probably the cult of Demeter, as kalathos is closely associated with the cult of Demeter.20 Callimachus (Hymn 6.1,3,120) and Clement of Alexandria (Al. 2.21) mention that kalathos was carried at the mysteries of Demeter in Alexandria. As indicated above, some sacred laws on dress-code specify the prohibition of hypodemata,21 whereas I.Kios 19, IvP II 264, and Lindos II 487 impose barefoot. Two terms denote barefoot: I.Kios 19 uses the term ἀνιλίποδε; Lindos II 487 and IvP II 264 apply the term ἀνυποδέτους, which prohibits hypodemata. Callimachus uses the term απειδιλος, which means "unshod" (Hymn 6.1,3; Stephens 2015: 294). The prescription to walk barefoot indicates that all kind of footwear was forbidden.
δαιτρ<ε>υέτω άνήρ• / πασαι ά-νιλίποδές τε κ[αι] εϊμασιφαιδρυνθΐσαι / τφ καλά-θω συνέπεσθε, τα δέχρυσια χρύσεια> θέτ' οΐκοις• / <κ>ηρ[ό]-θι γαρ τα μέν έχθραίνει, το[ΐ]-σιν δέ προσα[υ]δα. /all should followwithout shoes and clean5 garments behind the [End Page 165] basket but one shouldleave the gold at homeIndeed one hates it, onegossip with others(l.Kios 19)
SEG 20:719 from Cyrene has two inscribed faces. Face A concerns the regulations for the cults of the Winds, Apollo Apotropaios, Zeus Hyperphores, Telessai, Zeus Pantheios, Athena Pantheia, Zeus Hypellaios, Athena Hypellaia, Iatros, and Ammon. Lines 5–10 are related to the cult of Zeus Hyperphores and mention that one should approach the god without shoes. The sacred law uses the term ὑποδεδεμένος, which means "feet with shoes" (see also Plat. Rep. 2.372a).
Ζηνι Ύπερφορεΐουθέν εμψυχονθυεται, ουδέ ΰ-ποδεδεμένοςπότει ουδέ μυρτα
5 to Zeus Hyperphoresnothing should be offered thathas life in it, and not (to wear)shoes,not to bring myrtleSEG 20:719 face A
It is not known whether the prohibition of shoes existed at many sanctuaries, as most sacred laws on dress-code do not prescribe barefoot (Lee 2015: 163). The prohibition could have existed without being mentioned in sacred laws. The written sources do not tell us the meaning of walking barefoot in cultic context. Shoes may have been prohibited for various reasons. The rituals of some cults required worshippers to be in touch with the earth. Plutarch refers to the performance of the Thesmophoria and mentions that the women sat down onto the ground to be in touch with the earth (De Is. et Os. 69). Deities and worshippers were often depicted wearing sandals. The clay figurines of women found at the sanctuaries of various deities are dressed in chiton/peplos and himation. It is not always obvious whether the women are depicted barefoot or with shoes, as their garments cover up the feet. The same problem appears with statues. Numerous vase paintings depict cultic officials and worshippers without shoes. The Pothos Painter's crater (430–420
shows a sacrifice (Musée du Louvre, G 496). A bearded man, probably the priest, performs burnt offering onto an altar accompanied by three young men who are represented barefoot and dressed in himation. Meidias Painter's hydria (fifth century bce) depicts the abduction of Leukippos by the Dioskouroi (British Museum, E224). The Dioskouroi and [End Page 166] Leukippos have sandals; however, the other deities, such as Aphrodite or Zeus, do not wear shoes.
Another reason for the prohibition of shoes can be the material they were made of. Several sacred laws on dress-code forbid hide-garments and items made from leather.22 Shoes were also made from leather. The sacred law from Andania (IG V,1 1390) prohibits shoes unless they are made from the skin of sacrificed animals. The sacred law of the cult of Athena at Lindos (Lindos II 487) forbids shoes made of goatskin. The two sacred laws suggest that not all kind of footwear were forbidden, but only shoes made from the skin of specific animals. Another reason for the prohibition of shoes was their shape and material value. Like nowadays, shoes were not simple shoes. Some shoes have elaborate styles and are expensive. The iconographic material from ancient Greece shows women and men from wealthy families wearing sophisticated sandals. We learn from Clement of Alexandria that women were fond displaying luxury and their luxurious shoes had golden ornaments (Paed. 2.12). Lee states that the eroticism of feet was transferred to footwear, and shoes were associated in literary sources with feminine allure (Lee 2015: 164). Aristophanes' Lysistrata (43–48) says that women use beautiful shoes (περιβαρίδες),23 see-through lingerie, make-up, perfumes, and jewelry to seduce men. Shoes functioned as markers of social status and elaborate shoes displayed the vanity of women. Shoes were worn by binding them to the feet. The knots and binding of the sandals may be another reason for their prohibition, as binding had magical connotations.24
Gawlinski (2012: 115–16) states that the dirt under the shoes was probably the reason for their prohibition. I.Kios 19 mentions that the participants should walk without shoes in the procession to the sanctuary and enter into the precinct barefoot. As the procession took place outside the sanctuary, the feet of the worshippers were not clean when they arrived at the sanctuary. Approaching the god with bare feet and walking barefoot is an act of humility in Christianity and in various religions. The ancient Greek written sources do not mention whether walking barefoot in sanctuaries and at festivals was also regarded as a sign of humility in cultic context. [End Page 167]
A number of Greek sacred laws on dress-code regulated the appropriate hairstyles, jewelry, accessories, adornment, and shoes. Religious gathering aimed to enforce the bond between the polis, social classes, and the cult. Adornment involving hairstyles, gold jewelry, make-up, and shoes, not exclusively restricted to women, were used as an expression of personal wealth and ostentation. The prohibitions ordered by sacred laws reflect the ideology of female modesty that aimed to restrict luxury and excessive adornment. Items used as markers of social status were restricted to limit the display of personal wealth at collective performances of cultic rituals.
The restriction of luxury and adornment was not the only reason for their prohibitions. Certain materials or accessories were perceived as impure. However, some items prohibited by sacred laws on dress-code were dedicated as votives or used as a means of payment for cultic services, meaning that these items were not considered per se as impure.
Cultic officials as ritual agents had a different status than worshippers and were less affected by restrictions ordered in sacred laws on dress-code. Especially at major festivals, the priests were allowed to wear expensive clothes and gold jewelry, which distinguished them from worshippers. The inscriptions mentioned in the present paper refer to male priests who were allowed to wear gold rings and wreaths. The Andanian sacred law shows that female cultic officials were also allowed to wear more expensive garments than worshippers (IG V,1 1390, lines 17–19).
A systemic analysis of sacred laws on dress-code of Greek sanctuaries illustrates that although there were general similarities in the types of dress-code restrictions, there were also differences among the sanctuaries. The analysis demonstrates the complexity of sacred laws dictating many aspects of dress-codes. [End Page 168]
1. I would like to express my gratitude to Nancy Bookidis, who read and commented on my paper. I also thank most sincerely Erendira Quintana Morales for proofreading and suggestions.
2. The term hieroi nomoi mentioned in some Greek inscriptions, e.g. IvP I 248 (line 60) and IG IX,12 2:583 (line 69), is used by modern scholars for inscriptions, which regulated cultic practice, festivals, sacrifices, dress-code, etc. Greek sacred laws were collected and analysed by Wächter 1910; Prott and Ziehen 1906; Sokolowski 1955, 1962, and 1969; Baumgarten 1998; Henrichs 2003; and Lupu 2009. For sacred laws, see Chaniotis 2009; Carbon and Pirenne-Delforge 2012; Petrovic 2015.
3. Greek sacred laws on dress-code: IPArk 20, Demeter Thesmophoros, Arcadia (525 bce); IG V,1 722, Demeter, Sparta (sixth c. bce); SEG 43:630, chthonian deities, Selinunt (fifth c. bce); LSS 115, Apollo, Cyrene (325–324 bce); SEG 40:395, Demeter, Patras (third c. bce); IG XII,1 677, Alectrona, Ialysos (third c. bce); I.Priene 205, Alexander the Great, Priene (third c. bce); SEG 36:1221, Leto, Xanthus (third-second c. bce); IvP I 40, Zeus, Pergamon (250–200 bce); SEG 59:1406, Seleucus 1 and Antiochus I, Aigai (281 bce); LSAM 77, Tlos (100 bce); SEG 20:719, Zeus Hyperphores, Cyrene (second c. bce); I.Delos 2529, Zeus Kynthios and Athena Kynthia, Delos (116 bce); IG XI,4 1300, Isis (?), Delos (second c. bce); LSS 56, Egyptian deities, Delos (second c. bce); IG V,2 514, Despoina, Lykosoura (second c. bce); SEG 26:1334, Dionysus, Skepsis (second c. bce); I.Priene 174, Dionysus, Priene (second c. bce); I.Magnesia 98, Zeus Sosipolis, Magnesia on the Maeander (197–196 bce); I.Magnesia 100a, Artemis Leukophryene, Magnesia on the Maeander (197–196 bce); IG XII, Suppl. 126, Eresos (second c. bce); Iscr. di Cos ED 89, Nike, Cos (second c. bce); Iscr. di Cos ED 180, Heracles Kallinikos, Cos (second c. bce); Iscr. di Cos ED 215, Zeus Alseios, Cos (second c. bce); IG V,1 1390, Demeter and Kore, Andania (92 bce); SEG 36:267, Pan and the nymphs, Marathon (60 bce); SEG 18:343, Demeter and Eubouleus, Thasos (first c. ce); I.Kios 19, Demeter, Kios (1st c. ce); I.Stratonikeia 1101, Zeus Panamaros and Hecate, Stratonikeia (second c. ce); I.Smyrna 728, Dionysus and Orpheus, Smyrna (second-third c. ce); IvP II 264, Asclepius, Pergamon, (second-third c. ce); Lindos II 487, Athena Lindia, Lindos (225 ce); Tit.Cam.Supp. 218,112b, Kamiros.
6. If not indicated otherwise, all translations are mine.
8. It refers to the inscription engraved on the stele.
11. Guhl and Koner 1860: 184; Lee 2015: 160. Brøns 2017: 338 believes that the prohibition of petasos and kausia was an expression against luxury. This is not convincing, as these types of caps were worn by people from different social classes.
13. It is not known whether Phintys is a historical figure and was the author of the text on women's virtue.
14. Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM). PGM V.304–69; PGM V.447–58; PGM VII.628–; PGM XII.201–69.
16. A zone was worn by women and girls who reached the age of marriage.
19. For leather, see the subsection on shoes.
21. IG XII,1 677; IG V,1 1390; IG V,2 514.
22. Arcadia: IPArk 20 (525 bce); Cyrene: LSS 115 (335-324 bce); Ialysos: IG XII,1 677 (third century bce); Lindos: Lindos II 487 (225 ce).
23. Aristophanes uses the term περιβαρίδες, which refers to women's shoes (Lys. 47).