Grenzkonflikte und Gedenkrituale im antiken Sparta

  • Elena Franchi


Commemoration rituals and, more generally, the memory of war and war dead are continuously shaped in order to better represent the social and political instances of the group that is managing them. Such shaping activity also involves the program of festivals providing rituals of commemoration of war dead and applies all the more to frontier wars because of their recurrence. A typical example is the shaping of the Gymnopaidiai festival. There are three crucial events influencing at many levels the Gymnopaidiai and hinted by Sosybius (FGrHist 595 F 5): a battle at Thyrea (end of 8th century BC), commemorated by songs of Taletas and Alcman, later coming together in the Gymnopaidiai; the battle of the champions, as a consequence of which Sparta founded the Parparonia at Thyrea and inserted in the Gymnopaidiai peans of Dionisodotos; the recovery of the control over Thyrea by Argos (4th century BC), after which the Spartans transferred the Parparonia to Sparta, hence celebrated within the Gymnopaidiai. Instead, there is no evidence linking the Gymnopaidiai with the battle of Hysiai.