Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
HorkosThe Oath in Greek Society$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Alan Sommerstein and Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675679.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Hierophantic Performances

Hierophantic Performances

The Syracusans' Great Oath and other Examples

(p.161) 14 Hierophantic Performances

Tarik Wareh

Liverpool University Press

The Great Oath, or megas horkos, of the Syracusans was administered in only two occasions, where it was sworn by faithless political schemers of the fourth century bc. This chapter argues that the Syracusans' faith in their peculiar oath ritual was founded on the established power of the hierophantic performance – a highly developed type of effective politico-religious act – and focuses on two perjurers, Callippus and Agathocles. Callippus was a wealthy Athenian and a guest-friend of Dion, Plato's friend and the eventual tyrant of Syracuse. Dion was assassinated by Callippus in 354. According to Plutarch, the megas horkos was occasioned by a fear of conspiratorial tendencies. The chapter places the Great Oath of the Syracusans in a more specifically Sicilian and Greek context by analysing the rite described by Plutarch, assesses the meaning of the megas horkos, and discusses the kind of evidence behind the failed oaths.

Keywords:   oaths, Great Oath, megas horkos, Syracusans, ritual, hierophantic performance, Callippus, Agathocles, Syracuse, Plutarch

Liverpool Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.