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Nom nom nomoi : food, identity, and shared custom in Herodotus’ Histories Hutt, Molly B. 2017

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        NOM NOM NOMOI: FOOD, IDENTITY, AND SHARED CUSTOM IN HERODOTUS’ HISTORIES  by MOLLY B. HUTT  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS  in  The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Ancient Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  August 2017    © Molly B. Hutt, 2017    ii Abstract  Herodotus attributed much significance to the subjects of food and foodways. With the possible exception of death-related rituals, foodways are the only genre of custom that Herodotus covers in substantial detail for every society which he describes at length, and they are an important component of ethnicity and identity in both his explicitly ethnographical logoi and his narrative generally. The two most well-known sources on food and identity in Herodotus, François Hartog’s Le miroir d’Hérodote (1980, English 1988) and Brent Shaw’s “Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk” (1982) take Herodotus’ discussion of food as a method of “Othering,” a “mirror” through which Herodotus’ Greek readers could see themselves by comparison to outlandish, often fabricated, descriptions. However, Herodotus’ food passages reflect, at least to some extent, a reality which Herodotus clearly thought it important to relate, so to dismiss them as simply one more act of literary “Othering” is insufficient. Previous studies have tended to focus entirely on one culture, usually Scythian, sometimes Perisan, and rarely Egyptian, whose foodways generally appear only in broader studies of Herodotus’ Egyptian logos. Because of these limitations, and the fact that the scholarly community seemed to consider the problem of food in Herodotus “solved” after Hartog and Shaw (and thus no longer worthy of continuing research), the topic merits renewed investigation. Through a look at all three cultures, I show that Herodotus’ discussion of food is part of a larger scheme of humanizing barbarians, an addition of a biological universal to which any reader/listener could relate. In Herodotus’ discourse on food, the barbarian is not presented exclusively as an “Other” but also made more relatable to the Greek audience, complicating the relationship between “us” and “them.” Ultimately Herodotus shows his audience that barbarians, and especially Persians, share more in common with Greeks in terms of foodways than has previously been accepted, using food as a narrative tool to tie together disparate cultures. This thesis represents an important initial step in bringing the subject of food in Herodotus, after several decades of being overlooked, up to date with scholarship on other aspects of his work.     iii Lay Summary   The fifth-century Greek historian, Herodotus, uses discussion of food and the customs surrounding food production and consumption as a narrative tool to tie together disparate cultures in the Histories. In this thesis, I argue against previous scholarship that proposes that Herodotus’ discussion of food in Scythia, Egypt, and Persia was used as a tool for creating a discourse of difference between Greek audiences and a barbarian (i.e., non-Greek) “Other.” In Herodotus’ discourse on food, the barbarian is not presented exclusively as an “Other” but also made more relatable to the Greek audience, complicating the relationship between “us” and “them.” This thesis represents an important initial step in bringing the subject of food in Herodotus, after several decades of being overlooked, up to date with scholarship on other aspects of his work.    iv Preface  This thesis is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Molly B. Hutt.       v Table of Contents Abstract ................................................................................................................................... ii Lay Summary ......................................................................................................................... iii Preface .................................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables ........................................................................................................................... vi List of Figures ........................................................................................................................ vii Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................... viii Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 1 Methodology .................................................................................................................................... 6 Methodological Problems in the Study of Food and Foodways ................................................................. 8 Methodological Problems in Herodotean Scholarship ............................................................................... 9 Biophysical Meets Sociocultural ............................................................................................................. 11 Terminology ........................................................................................................................................... 14 Orbis Herodoti .............................................................................................................................. 15 North .................................................................................................................................... 19 Hartog and Shaw: some problems with the current state of scholarship on the subject of foodways in Herodotus .................................................................................................................. 23 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................... 34 South .................................................................................................................................... 35 Differences and Dietary Taboos .................................................................................................... 37 Egyptian Sacrifice ........................................................................................................................... 39 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................... 42 East ....................................................................................................................................... 44 A Taxonomy of Persian Food Vignettes ....................................................................................... 44 Food in the Persian Logos .............................................................................................................. 47 Trick or Treat: Persian feasting narratives .................................................................................... 52 Gendered murder and maiming ............................................................................................................. 57 Thyestean feasts ..................................................................................................................................... 59 Mass murder at military feasts ............................................................................................................... 62 Greeks and Persians at the Shared Table ............................................................................................... 65 The Case of Nitocris .............................................................................................................................. 67 Conclusions ................................................................................................................................... 67 Conclusions ........................................................................................................................... 71 Next Steps ...................................................................................................................................... 73 Bibliography .......................................................................................................................... 75      vi List of Tables  Table 1: Taxonomy of Persian Feasting Narratives…………………………………………………………………46      vii List of Figures   Figure 1: Orbis Herodoti……………………………………………………………………………………………………….15  Figure 2: Persepolis Reliefs…………………………………………………………………………………………………47    viii Acknowledgements          First and foremost, I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Franco De Angelis, and my second reader, Dr. Matt McCarty, for their support, intellectual and personal, throughout the process of writing my thesis. I could not have asked for a better or more enthusiastic committee. I would also like to thank Drs. Toph Marshall and Lisa Cooper for their input as ACRE advisor and DGS, respectively, and Odessa Cadieux-Rey for patiently answering my ten million questions about the defense, graduation, etc.          I also wish to thank the Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious studies Faculty of Graduate Studies for funding my attendance at the Food, Drink, and Civilization held by the Centre for Research into Dynamics of Civilization (CREDOC) at University College London. I also owe my thanks to CREDOC itself and to all the speakers at that conference, especially Andrew Dalby and Dr. Jessica Romney, who were incredibly warm and welcoming toward this (very nervous) new scholar in the field and provided a great deal of food for thought on the subject of…food.          This project would never even have begun without inspiration from my friends and mentors in Philadelphia, who taught me everything I know about meat and dairy: Ari and Elise Miller of 1732 Meats, and the amazing staff at DiBruno Bros. Dr. Jeremy McInerney showed me that I could apply this knowledge to the study of the ancient world, bringing together two of my greatest passions.          Many thanks also to Dr. Kevin Solez, who offered helpful advice on treachery in Persian feasting narratives.          I would additionally like to thank Alethea Roe for proofreading one of my drafts, for sending files that I was not able to access through my own library, and for constantly being armed with a vast array of motivational GIFs to keep up my spirits when the going got tough.          In general, I would like to thank my cohort and graduate student colleagues in CNERS for allowing me to bounce ideas off of them, whether they wanted me to or not.          Of course, I could have done none of this without the support of my parents and brothers, who have put up with me through twenty straight years of school. If you should chance to read this, please ignore the part about the funerary ritual involving the consumption of the parent’s head. Thank you for everything.  1 Introduction  Eating is, without a doubt, an essential component of the human experience. It is something common to all peoples throughout history, and yet each culture has had its own attitudes and practices surrounding food. Foodways function simultaneously as active and passive reflections of individual and group self-identification. In the former case, conspicuous consumption might serve as an outward display of wealth or power, and in the latter case partaking of one’s own ethnic cuisine in the company of kin as a matter of custom might strengthen bonds with and within an ethnic group. Foodways are some of the most powerful internal and external markers of belonging, exclusion, and differentiation between groups. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Herodotus uses descriptions of eating habits as integral parts of his famous ethnographical passages.  Talk of foodways in the Histories is so subtly pervasive that scholars (myself sometimes among them) often miss some of the less obvious references, especially when they are not the primary object of study. Upon targeted examination and countless re-readings of the text, food and foodways emerge as a subject to which Herodotus clearly attributed much significance. With the possible exception of death-related rituals, foodways are the only genre of custom that Herodotus covers in substantial detail for every society which he describes at length. Rituals also surround a number of other biological universals—shelter, clothing, sex—but with the exception of the latter, food is the only one to which Herodotus devotes much space. He does this both within and without his explicitly ethnographic logoi, though it is surely meaningful that even the shortest of logoi is not without at least a brief description of dietary custom. The  2 Herodotean concept of ethnicity includes assessment of a culture’s particular ways of dealing with the biological requirement of consuming food. The actual necessity, and desire, for food does not discriminate; everyone must eat, regardless of age, sex, gender, religion, profession, socioeconomic status, etc. Thus, every person must think about food every day, generally multiple times a day, either because they have access to it and are eating it or because they do not have access to it and are therefore hungry. The customs surrounding food are similarly pervasive. Humans are the only species with such an extreme diversity of habits and rituals, and those rituals are present in every single culture on the planet. From the special to the mundane, extravagant feasts to dipping cookies in milk, from the use of standardized habits with some level of meaning beyond simple nutrition to the biologically necessary act of consuming nutrient-containing matter is a characteristic both uniquely and universally human.  The centrality of food to the Classical Greek lived experience is observable most concretely in the archaeological and literary records’ ample evidence of food storage and preparation. However, it is likewise apparent in the mythological milieu within which Greek culture and the Herodotean narrative operate. O’Connor illustrates this through the example of King Midas in Aristotle’s Politics, whose touch rendered any food or beverage he tried to consume inedible by turning it into gold: “it is absurd to count as wealth such a thing which a man may have plenty of but still die of hunger.”1 It is clear that the Greeks were aware, as we are, that there can be no life without food and drink, and that material wealth and power have no value without them. Because of this requirement, “food and drink connect everything and                                                 1  ἄτοπον τοιοῦτον εἶναι πλοῦτον οὗ εὐπορῶν λιμῷ ἀπολεῖται, καθάπερ καὶ τὸν Μίδαν ἐκεῖνον μυθολογοῦσι διὰ τὴν ἀπληστίαν τῆς εὐχῆς πάντων αὐτῷ γιγνομένων τῶν παρατιθεμένων χρυσῶν. Aristot. Pol. 1257b  3 are the ultimate form of value.”2 The absolute necessity of food imparts upon it a discursive weight not found in other nomoi.  Many other nomoi fail to make the cut in Herodotus’ logoi—he does not discuss extensively the types of shelters people live in or how they sleep, and his discussion of clothing tends to focus more on cultural norms and fashions than how people stay warm or cool depending on the weather. West notes in particular that Herodotus does not describe what the Scythians look like or wear, and she attributes this to an assumption on the author’s part that his audience already knows about these customs through other channels (e.g., earlier texts, contact through trade and slavery, travel) and need not be educated on the subject.3 So why talk so much about food? Some knowledge of foreign practices—Persian feasting and Scythian milk-drinking jump to mind—would not have been news to the average fifth-century Athenian, so Herodotus must have had reason to remind his readers of those customs; and for those nomoi with which the audience was unfamiliar, there must have been a reason why Herodotus saw a need to fill in those gaps in their collective knowledge. In his attempts to relate foreign foodways to his audience, Herodotus rarely presents multiple conflicting viewpoints on food-related matters—they are almost never cast as being up for debate. While we may be unable to determine precisely what was or was not common knowledge, Herodotus apparently thought it necessary to set the record straight on what the barbarians were eating and how they typically went about the process.                                                 2 Kaori O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast: The Anthropology and Archaeology of Feasting (London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), 25. 3 Stephanie West, “Scythians,” in Brill’s Companion to Herodotus, ed. Egbert J. Bakker, Hans van Wees, and Irene J. F. de Jong (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2002), 447.  4 Despite the evident importance of foodways in the Histories, however, few of the countless studies of ethnicity and identity in Herodotus have focused specifically on them,4 and the increased volume of work on food and identity that has arisen since the 1990s seems to cover Herodotus largely in passing and with varying degrees of sensitivity to the nature of the source material.5 In Herodotus, we see the observations of a Greek author and his (often Greek and never un-biased) sources on the foodways of various barbarian peoples, frequently alongside further ethnographical descriptions of those peoples. While some scholars seem to take Herodotus’ dsreports at face value with regard to eating practices, it is impossible to ignore that there is deeper meaning to the culinary habits Herodotus ascribes to his subjects. When Herodotus tells us that Persians eat extravagant amounts of dessert (1.133.2) or that Egyptian sacrificial practices differ significantly from those of the Greeks for whom he writes (2.38 ff.), his observations reflect a combination of reality and his own cultural conditioning and ingrained perceptions. However, they also reflect, at least to some extent, reality—and one which Herodotus clearly thought it important to relate—so to dismiss them as simply one more act of literary “Othering” would be, to say the least, insufficient. Previous studies on food in Herodotus have tended to focus entirely on one culture, usually Scythian, sometimes Perisan, and rarely Egyptian, whose foodways tend to be mentioned only in broader studies of                                                 4 Notable exceptions include Shaw (1982) and part of Hartog (1980, English translation1988), but both of those studies are very much a product of their time and subscribe heavily to the idea that food was used almost exclusively as a method of “Othering,” an idea I will attempt to dismantle in the next chapter. 5 James N. Davidson, Courtesans & Fishcakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens, 1st U.S. ed (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998); John Wilkins, Food in the Ancient World, Ancient Cultures (Malden, Mass.; Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006); Andrew Dalby, Siren Feasts: A History of Food and Gastronomy in Greece (Routledge, 2013).  5 Herodotus’ Egyptian logos.6 As a result of these limitations, and the fact that the scholarly community seemed to see the problem of food in Herodotus as “solved” after Shaw and Hartog’s studies in the 1980s (and as a result no longer worthy of continuing focused research), it will suffice to say at this point that the topic merits renewed investigation.  Herodotus’ discussion of food is part of a larger scheme of humanization of non-Greeks, an addition of a biological universal to which any reader/listener could relate–the absence of such discussion in Thucydides is perhaps the most telling of this. One of the most oft-cited differences between the two authors is in what each chooses to include in his history. Herodotus is distinguished by his “digressions” from the war narrative, whereas Thucydides is known for staying “on topic.” Prolonged discussion of eating habits and prolonged narratives of long-ago feasts not immediately related to the war in question would have no place in Thucydides’ text. Herodotus, on the other hand, devotes much narrative space to describing what people eat, how they eat it, and all manner of things that could go wrong around the dinner table. In this thesis, I demonstrate that in Herodotus’ discourse on food, the barbarian is not, as some have suggested (Shaw, Hartog, etc.), presented exclusively as an “Other” but also made more relatable to the Greek audience, thus complicating the relationship between “us” and                                                 6 Brent Shaw, “Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk: The Ancient Mediterranean Ideology of the Pastoral Nomad,” Ancient Society 13/14 (1982 to 1983): 5–31; François Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, trans. Janet Lloyd (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988); François Hartog, “Self-Cooking Beef and the Drinks of Ares,” in The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks, by Marcel Detienne and Jean Pierre Vernant (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 170–82; Pierre Briant, “Table du roi, tribut et redistribution chez les Achéménides,” in Le Tribut dans l’empire perse: actes de la table ronde de Paris, 12-13 décembre 1986, ed. Pierre Briant and Clarisse Herrenschmidt, Travaux de l’Institut d’études Iraniennes de l’Université de La Sorbonne Nouvelle 13 (Paris: Peeters, 1989), 35–44; A. M. Bowie, “Fate May Harm Me, I Have Dined Today: Near-Eastern Royal Banquets and Greek Symposia in Herodotus,” Pallas, no. 61 (2003): 99–109; O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast; Jeremy McInerney, The Cattle of the Sun: Cows and Culture in the World of the Ancient Greeks (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010); Ian S. Moyer, Egypt and the Limits of Hellenism (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011); Joseph Skinner, The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus, Greeks Overseas (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).  6 “them.” Ultimately, as we shall see, Herodotus shows his audience that barbarians, and especially Persians, share more in common with Greeks in terms of foodways than has previously been accepted, using food as a narrative tool to tie together disparate cultures through their eating habits.  Therefore this paper represents an important initial step in bringing the subject of food in Herodotus, after several decades of being overlooked, up to date with the most recent scholarship on other aspects of his work. Methodology Herodotus talks about food a lot. It would be impossible to cover every mention of food in the Histories in this paper. Thus, in my attempt to cover as much geographical ground as possible, I approach this topic through three case studies based on cardinal direction in relation to Greece. I have chosen this approach partially because it coincides roughly with Herodotus’ arrangement of his world and partially because his ethnographies and narratives of the Egyptians, Scythians, and Persians/Medes are sufficiently lengthy and detailed to provide meaningful data for study, both separately and as a whole. In my first research chapter, I will refute the previous work by Brent Shaw and François Hartog that has shaped present views of food in the Herodotean narrative, which will lead to my second chapter, in which I apply my proposed alternative method to Herodotus’ Egyptian logos, the part of the Histories most comparable to the Scythian logos that Shaw and Hartog have studied. In my last research chapter I will demonstrate through a discussion of Persian dietary practice that my method works not only when applied to the ethnographical logoi in the Histories, but also to the narrative vignettes that Herodotus uses to describe the Persians. Future study of other mentions of food and foodways in the Histories will eventually help fill in the details and will  7 most certainly complicate the picture, but for now a preliminary study of these three societies should serve as useful points of departure. For each of these societies Herodotus presents foodways (and, on a larger scale, culture) differently: Egyptian customs, though Herodotus mentions some regional variants in passing, are largely both temporally and geographically constant; Scythian customs do not appear to change much over time, but they vary tremendously based on geography; and most of the Persian customs shown in the Histories are limited to those of the ruling class, but, as I will show, they change dramatically, even over relatively short periods of time. For the Egyptians and Scythians, detailed descriptions of foodways, from farm to table, are part of extended logoi describing each civilization. In other words, food-related custom is clearly marked as part of a thorough portrayal of custom generally, and Herodotus typically describes these customs with reference to Greek tradition, speaking of them as if they are within the same genre of practice and explaining the reasons for differences between them in such a way as to render them comprehensible to the Greek reader. The food-related episodes involving Persia differ from those focusing on Egypt or Scythia in that they are typically in the form of brief vignettes within larger narrative arcs rather than lengthy ethnographical descriptions. Even the two portions of the rather short Persian logos that cover foodways (1.132 on sacrificial practice, 1.133 on birthday feasts) receive only one chapter each. Instead of representing these customs in one extended and comprehensive passage, their details are peppered throughout the entire work, and in many cases, especially those involving Cyrus, these vignettes demonstrate a careful manipulation of food as a political tool.   8 Methodological Problems in the Study of Food and Foodways Food, especially as an element of culture, must be considered as a totality, including, but certainly not limited to, literary representations, material culture, and practice.7 This presents a problem for the study of food in Herodotus because such a study should ideally consist of a combination of the Herodotean narrative itself, written or material evidence from the cultures Herodotus describes or redescribes, and a far clearer understanding than we currently have of Herodotus’ audience’s lived experiences of their own foodways and those of others. In theory, to fully understand the Herodotean descriptions of food as part of his ethnographies, it would be necessary to understand precisely in what ways his descriptions of foreign culinary practices differed both from the foreign reality and from the “typical Greek” lived experience of foodways, a concept that, in and of itself, defies definition due to ancient regionality and modern temporal separation from the fact. Food can be described as one of Mauss’ techniques du corps, a highly culturally dependent bodily action that appears natural to oneself due to acculturation.8 Our foodways seem so natural to us that it is only when we encounter the foodways of another culture that our own habits’ cultural baggage may become apparent.9 However, things do not always work out so neatly; it is often, perhaps even generally, the case that we continue to see our own cultural norms as being natural or inherent to humanity and foreign norms as strange or disgusting. For example, a western child might be utterly confused by chopsticks, and many western adults struggle with the concept of eating Ethiopian stews using bread as a utensil. Unfortunately, it is impossible to reconstruct such biases on the part                                                 7 For an interesting take on this idea, see Fabio Parasecoli, “Food and Popular Culture” (Fridays @ One, The New School, New York, NY, March 4, 2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFIWVVrUTcA. 8 Marcel Mauss, “Techniques of the Body,” Economy and Society 2, no. 1 (February 1, 1973): 70–88. 9 Fabio Parasecoli, “Food and Popular Culture.”  9 of Herodotus’ audience, and indeed the concept itself is even now up for debate among scientists.10 Methodological Problems in Herodotean Scholarship Just as we cannot reconstruct audience perception, so too are we resigned to a limited understanding of Herodotus’ own biases and those of his sources. The Herodotean agenda has long been a subject of intense debate, and the many and various opinions as to what that agenda may be have largely been products of their own periods and contexts. In her essay “Herodotus and Ethnicity,” Rosaria Vignolo Munson offers the suggestion that Herodotus’ purpose is “to explore constructed connections and boundaries, not merely to correct the historical record.”11 That is to say, Herodotus’ history does not simply aim to indicate what has and has not happened or to define sharply what is or is not Greek; instead, Herodotus examines and relates all those versions of a story which are available to him, weighing in where he sees fit but ultimately allowing his readers to select the version that seems most plausible to them.1213 His method is not about juxtaposing what is Greek and what is “Other,” but about drawing connections between cultures and demonstrating the permeability of boundaries.14                                                   10 John S. Allen, “‘Theory of Food?’ as a Neurocognitive Adaptation,” American Journal of Human Biology 24, no. 2 (March 2012): 123–29. 11 Rosaria Vignolo Munson, “Herodotus and Ethnicity,” in A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean, ed. Jeremy McInerney (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2014), 349. 12 Cf. Donald Lateiner, The Historical Method of Herodotus (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989). Lateiner suggests that Herodotus reports only the versions of a story that serve his purpose. 13 Interestingly, Herodotus rarely offers variants to food-related stories, suggesting that he may be employing a different methodology in the case of food. However, it is also just as likely that he received less source material on the subject of food than he did on other issues that his informers thought more important or controversial. 14 Rosalind Thomas, Herodotus in Context: Ethnography, Science and the Art of Persuasion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Moyer, Egypt and the Limits of Hellenism; Erich S. Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010); Erich S. Gruen, ed., Cultural Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean, Issues & Debates (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2011); Rosaria Vignolo Munson, Herodotus: Volume 2: Herodotus and the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013); Munson, “Herodotus and Ethnicity”; cf. James Redfield, “Herodotus the Tourist,” Classical Philology 80, no. 2 (1985): 97–118.  10 Munson’s claim is, of course, problematic in its assumption that authorial intent can be determined by the contents of the text. Herodotus’ intent (or “purpose”) is irretrievable, and guessing at his aims is limiting, if not futile; however, we need not speculate as to whether or not Herodotus intended to “explore constructed connections and boundaries” so long as it is evident that his text does, in fact, do just that. In other words, he need not have tried in order to have succeeded. Authorial intent aside, any in-depth study of Herodotus will at some point confront the issue of Herodotus’ sources, and one that seeks to determine how Herodotus represented foreign peoples is subject to one especially difficult question: What do we do when Herodotus is right? That is to say, how must one approach Herodotean descriptions of some of the more bizarre foreign practices, ones that have in the past been dismissed as fabrication, when they turn out to be supported by material culture?15 There are a few easy shortcuts. One might dismiss everything Herodotus says as imaginary construct, placing the entirety of his writing in the realm of fiction and attributing all aspects of it to his own acculturated notions of “us” and “them.” Alternatively, one could say that it does not matter what is true or false because the important factor is Herodotus’ choice of what to curate and re-present to the reader. The former runs the risk of superimposing a set of Greek cultural norms and prejudices where it may not actually exist. Any false representation of some fantastical (or unexpectedly similar) aspect of foreign foodways would constitute an imposition of a Greek “mindset,” either                                                 15 The classic example here is the idea that Scythians drank from the skulls of their enemies (4.65), a proposition that was thought to be complete fabrication until an embellished skull cup was in fact dug out of the ground in Scythian territory: Ellis H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks; a Survey of Ancient History and Archaeology on the North Coast of the Euxine from the Danube to the Caucasus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913); Everett L. Wheeler, “Appendix E,” in The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories, by Herodotus, ed. Robert B. Strassler, trans. Andrea L. Purvis, 1st Anchor Books ed (New York: Anchor Books, 2009), 754.  11 through positive or negative comparison, in a way that would be fundamentally different depending on whether the practice was real/accurately reported or fabricated/falsely reported. The latter solution is somewhat more acceptable than the former, but it is not enough to accept uncritically that Herodotus’ curatorship and inclusion of the things he does include constitutes the whole of a meaningful representation of the peoples he describes and connections between them. What Herodotus (re)describes is not and cannot be known, and often neither can the nature of his source material, but the complete exclusion of “real” information from outside sources would be ill-advised, especially in the context of foodways, where material is generally scarce.16 The “real” information cannot possibly be useless, and one of the biggest challenges in future Herodotean scholarship will be to determine how best to treat it differently from that which is obviously fictional.17 That said, a sufficiently thorough analysis of what is and is not accurate and how each individual piece of information must be treated in order to achieve sufficient nuance is far beyond the scope of this project, and we must for the time content ourselves with the acknowledgement of the issue and its careful treatment when problems should arise.  Biophysical Meets Sociocultural The study of foodways is extremely multifaceted and interdisciplinary, a “house with many rooms” of scholarship, and as a result the methodologies and theories applied to the study of                                                 16 The scarcity of ancient material on foodways is often forgotten due to the tendency (usually by necessity) of scholars to cherrypick information from across periods and places. The point here is that every bit of information is crucial. 17 By “fictional,” here, I mean information that is presented as fact but known as factually inaccurate to the modern reader. The ancient audience and the author himself may have had every reason to believe in its veracity.  12 foodways has been wide-ranging across disciplines, geography, and time.18 For the ancient Mediterranean alone, scholars have weighed in from departments of Classical Studies, History, Archaeology, Anthropology, Art History, Philosophy, the natural sciences, and even Food Studies, in the few places where such a department exists. On the one hand this means that scholarship on the subject is exceptionally diverse, but on the other hand it also means that methods and theories have been applied inconsistently and standards are still in development. Previous work has employed Herodotus’ discussion of food and eating (and, by extension, drink and drinking) to further the notion that Herodotus’ Histories was ultimately a work devoted to distancing the Greeks from any number of ethnic “Others.”19 Even into the 21st century, Herodotus has been used to demonstrate that Greek cultural identity took form in the Classical period, with the Persian Wars serving as an impetus to define a common Greek identity in opposition to the “Otherness” of barbarians.20 On the surface, this seems perfectly plausible; the peoples that Herodotus describes are undeniably different from the Greeks, and their customs differ in ways that cannot go unnoticed. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that this model simply does not work, at least in the case of the three civilizations Herodotus discusses in the most detail: Egypt, Scythia, and Persia.                                                 18 O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast, 11; Peter Scholliers, “The Many Rooms in the House: Research on Past Foodways in Modern Europe,” in Writing Food History: A Global Perspective, ed. Kyri Claflin and Peter Scholliers (London and New York: Berg, 2012), 59–71. 19 Shaw, “Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk”; Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus; Lateiner, The Historical Method of Herodotus. 20 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus; Edith Hall, Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition Through Tragedy, Oxford Classical Monographs (Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, 1989); Jonathan M. Hall, Hellenicity: Between Ethnicity and Culture (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002); Andrew Stewart, “The Persian and Carthaginian Invasions of 480 B.C.E. and the Beginning of the Classical Style: Part 1, The Stratigraphy, Chronology, and Significance of the Acropolis Deposits,” American Journal of Archaeology 112, no. 3 (July 2008): 377–412; Jonathan M. Hall, “Ancient Greek Ethnicities: Towards a Reassessment,” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 58, no. 2 (December 1, 2015): 15–29.  13 Although in his Egyptian, Scythian, and Persian ethnographical inquiries, Herodotus may seem to use food and drink as tools for “Othering” other cultures, in fact he employs discussion of food and drink as a method of exploring similarity and difference between Greeks and their counterparts in the South, North, and East; explaining differences in terms understandable and relatable to his Greek audience; and ultimately demonstrating that boundaries between cultures, while certainly present, are both fluid and permeable. This hypothesis stems from a conference I attended in September 2016 at the Centre for Research into Dynamics of Civilisation at University College London, entitled “Food, Drink, and Civilization.” Subjects discussed ranged from poetry to anthropology, from as far back as prehistory all the way to modern Japan, but despite the seeming unrelatedness of each paper to the others, every single talk was followed by question periods in which it became increasingly and abundantly clear that, even if foodways and our distinct approaches to them appeared to share nothing in common, the concept of eating provides a universal frame of reference through which human beings can relate to others. The overwhelming conclusion that arose from such a tremendously interdisciplinary joint endeavor is that eating, and the discussion thereof, does far more to tie distinct groups of people together than to separate them.21 When one considers this in light of the complete naturalness with which we each perceive our own acculturated eating habits—“Normative diets are analogous to first languages in that they are acquired without overt teaching”22—it becomes clear that there is more to this conclusion than the fact that everyone eats and that food is subsequently a form of human relation. The fact                                                 21 This, in and of itself, is not an earth-shattering piece of information; nevertheless, it prompted my reconsideration of the accepted views on the present subject and deserves mention. 22 Allen, “Theory of Food?,” 123.  14 that people, ancient and modern, can relate to one another despite deeply ingrained habits and expectations is a specific feature of foodways as a genre of activity. Terminology To facilitate this understanding in an audience, there are, naturally, some terminological requirements. While it is of course necessary to identify a common genre, or “genus,” of activity (i.e., eating) in order to compare how different “species” of that activity differ between cultural groups (i.e., specific alimentary regimes), I would argue that Herodotus does not use foodways in this manner. Egypt provides an interesting case study, in that there are many instances in Book 2 when Herodotus clearly points to a different “species” of activity in the same “genus” as a corresponding Greek activity.23 When he talks about food, though, his Egypt is not the “topsy turvy” mirror world one might expect after his long list of differences, several of which he mentions briefly and without substantial discussion. In his discourse on dietary custom, Herodotus takes care to go into great detail, to explain foreign customs in terms familiar to Greek readers and to explain the reasons behind differences in practice. To discount this is to ignore the reality of differences in dietary custom between cultures at the time and to disregard the fact that Herodotus was, at least by his own estimation and standards, attempting to write an accurate history. 24                                                    23 2.13, 35-36 24 Cf. Marcel Detienne and Jean Pierre Vernant, The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 3.  15 Orbis Herodoti   Figure 1: Orbis Herodoti, Image via Wikimedia Commons To properly understand the way Herodotus defines and subverts the boundaries within his world, it is necessary to lay out its geography, the Orbis Herodoti, as he described it. Herodotus divides the world unequally in partes quartas, in open opposition to the views of the Ionians and the rest of the Greeks, who divide the world into three continents: Asia, Europe, and Libya. To these three he adds the Egyptian Delta, as it is not included in either Asia or Libya, which are separated by the Nile; since the Nile splits at the apex of the delta and flows around it, the land within the delta is not included in either Europe or Asia and must in his estimation be considered a separate part of the world.25 There are several different ways to approach this map of the world, the simplest being to see it as divided between a single center point, “Greece,” and everywhere else, or “not-Greece.” This, in turn, divides the people of the world into “Greeks” and “non-Greeks.” According to Lloyd, Herodotus asks the questions: “What is it to be Greek?” and “What is it to be a non-Greek?” He does so, Lloyd says, “in a historical context where these questions had                                                 25 2.16  16 been posed in an unnervingly stark and immediate manner” by the Persian Wars, and as such he responds to the conflict’s challenge to define the “self” and the “alien.” Lloyd sees Herodotus’ boundaries as existing between Greek-speaking Greeks and non-Greek-speaking barbaroi. He calls this self-definition a “part of a mapping process by which any culture defines the physical world in which it finds itself” but also notes a deeper psychological imperative, the desire to create distance between oneself and one’s alien enemy. Defining “otherness,” says Lloyd, defines more precisely the Greek sense of “selfness.”26 Jessica Romney, following in the vein of Brent Shaw, suggests a different way of looking at Herodotus’ world, one that is, quite helpfully for our purposes, centered around foodways. Romney updates Shaw’s model by expanding it geographically outward to cover more of the world, mapping it more clearly, and providing helpful Homeric comparanda. Romney also allows for more boundary-blurring than Shaw, which represents a significant advance. I focus here on Romney’s more-developed version. While the three continents (Asia, Europe, and Libya) conveniently surrounding Nile Delta constitute three outward-reaching expanses surrounded by uninhabitable desert, Romney and Shaw consider them more as a multi-centered single mass in which the Greek authors “align culinary habits and geographical space” in such a way that the uncivilized periphery is set apart from the civilized center by its eating habits and food production technology.27 In Homer, for example, moving from the center outward, the Greek heroes eat roasted meat and drink wine, the Sicilian Polyphemus has grapes, but not wine, and the Lotus Eaters and                                                 26 Alan B. Lloyd, “Egypt,” in Brill’s Companion to Herodotus, ed. Egbert J. Bakker, Hans van Wees, and Irene J. F. de Jong (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2002), 415, 417. 27 Shaw, “Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk,” passim; Jessica Romney, “Bekos: Food and Notions of Civilisation in Ancient Greek Literature,” in Food, Drink and Civilization (Food, Drink and Civilization, University College London, 2016), 1.  17 Laestrygonians eat their food raw, rather than cooked. In Herodotus, Greece, Persia, and Egypt make up the civilized center of the world, with each having agriculture, bread, cooked food (especially roasted), and some sort of fermented alcoholic beverage (either wine or beer, depending on local crop availability). At the far reaches of the world are such groups as the Indians and the Gyzantes in Libya, who have no agriculture, no bread, and no fermented beverages and are believed to consume their food and milk raw and possibly to engage in the consumption of human flesh or monkey flesh, which Aristotle considered to be “intermediate in their nature between men and quadrupeds” (Hist. An. 502a16-18).28 In between are the quasi-civilized Scythians, consuming boiled food, using agriculture only in certain areas (e.g., by the Euxine), and possibly practicing anthropophagy.29 In this version of the Orbis Herodoti, the boundaries are drawn not between Greek and barbarian but between “civilized” and progressively more “uncivilized,” the former being those in the centers of their respective civilizations (Greece, Egypt, and Persia) who share a diet of bread, cooked food, and fermented beverages and the latter being those who live further out from the center and consume more and more raw and unusual foods.30 The Egyptians, then, rather than being portrayed by Herodotus as non-Greek barbarians are, in Romney’s view, seen as participants in a shared set of practices of producing and consuming food and drink. From each of the centers within this “civilized” zone, one might look out at the other centers and see barbaroi, people speaking different languages and practicing different customs; the privileged                                                 28 Michèle Rosellini and Suzanne Saïd, “Women’s Customs among the ‘Savages’ in Herodotus,” in Herodotus, ed. Rosaria Vignolo Munson, 1st ed, vol. 2, Oxford Readings in Classical Studies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 230. 29 Issedones in 4.26.1; Massagetae in 1.216.2-3; and Androphagoi in 4.18.3, 106; Romney, “Bekos: Food and Notions of Civilisation in Ancient Greek Literature,” 3–6.  30 Ibid., 7.  18 position of being central is not exclusive to the Greeks but is also extended to the Persians and, more pertinently to this paper, the Egyptians. This geographical view is not entirely sufficient for understanding the way food functions in Herodotus. A distinction must be drawn between geography and environmental determinism, and food must be taken in its totality as a nomos rather than just an extension of land and climate. Thomas covers this concept in great detail in chapters 3 and 4 of her book on the context in which Herodotus wrote.31 To summarize her argument in these chapters, Herodotus saw continental divisions as arbitrary and the entirety of Europe and Asia as one landmass and does not connect either with any particular character traits; however, that is not to say that the people inhabiting certain areas are not characterized by certain traits, just that those traits are not determined by the geography or climate itself, as one would expect based on the ideas espoused in the Hippocratic Airs, Waters, Places.32 Geography is still symbolically significant in Herodotus, as evidenced by his emphasis on the crossing of the Hellespont, but ethnic character is determined by nomoi, not geography, and is thus changeable and mobile.33 As Thomas puts it, “Ethnic character is not a given, a predictable concomitant of physical environment.”34 It is dynamic and subject to change in the same way as fortune, either for individuals or cities.35 Nomoi may in many cases be determined by environment, as is particularly evident in the Scythian logos, but they can also be adopted and adapted, as is typical among the Persians.36                                                 31 Thomas, Herodotus in Context. 32 Ibid., 80–81, 99–101. 33 Ibid., 99–100. 34 Ibid., 105. 35 Ibid., 113–14. 36 1.135  19 Foodways are an especially geographically dependent nomos, especially in antiquity. Today we take for granted the availability of fruits and vegetables year-round; the ubiquity of well-stocked supermarkets in most places and the convenience of refrigeration mean that storage is effectively a non-issue. Until these recent developments, individuals and societies had to maintain constant awareness of their environment’s ability to produce food and their capacity for storing it. These alimentary constraints are most evident in Book 4, Herodotus’ account of the Scythians, whose unusual foodways, the result of their inhabiting the Eurasian Steppe, have received the most attention from modern scholars. Thus it is with them that we begin. North  Herodotus’ Scythians are unusual among societies he describes in that they are both presented as a cohesive whole, “the Scythians,” and as many independent and vastly heterogeneous groups living in the area demarcated as Scythia. Much ink has been spilled over what Skinner calls “the social function and ideological status of ideas and imagery relating to Scythians,” but the details remain murky as to where and how constructions of “Scythianness” developed.37 Most Classical scholarship up to this point has placed Herodotus’ Scythians at the far end of a continuum from Greek, particularly Athenian, to “Other,” at least as far as those societies which Herodotus describes at great length. Presumably this is due to the fact that steppe archaeology is relatively new to most scholars of Classical or Near Eastern studies, as the bulk of it, until quite recently, was published in languages unfamiliar to most Classicists. The foreignness of the scholarship exacerbates the perceived foreignness of the content.                                                 37 Skinner, The Invention of Greek Ethnography, 70. See also Hartog 1988.  20 As a result, it has been assumed that Athenian autochthony is inevitably at odds with pastoral nomadism.38 This theory almost works, but only to the extent that the Scythians lay outside of the “civilized” oikumene, the Herodotean center of the world consisting of Greece, Persia, and Egypt.39 However, it fails to account for the fact that the Scythians are furthest from the oikumene neither in terms of geography nor custom. The entire area inhabited by the Scythians does not belong to them alone, and interspersed among them are several other groups, some of which practice agriculture, others pastoralism, others hunting and gathering, and others androphagy. It is typically the case in the Histories that the further north and east one travels from Greece, the more unusual the local dietary customs become, but it is not the case that the Scythians are the most geographically distant nor that they have most bizarre eating habits. Progress has been made in the study of Scythians in relationship to others, but dietary habits are still generally used to demonstrate “Othering” based on two works from the 1980s that have continued to be considered authoritative on the topic up to this point. Brent Shaw and François Hartog took the apparent strangeness of some passages on foodways as evidence that Herodotus employed Scythian dietary practices as a tool for separating them from Greeks, rendering them “Other,” and using them as a mirror through which the Greeks might define themselves and their own culture. At first glance, the differences between Scythians and Greeks appear to be quite extreme, and in some cases they truly are. Scythians, in both ancient texts and modern scholarship, are often defined by what they eat or drink, further tying even unrelated unusual practices to dietary custom. When the foreign, often violent, practices of Scythians in, say, warfare, is juxtaposed either intentionally                                                 38 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, 11. 39 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus; Romney, “Bekos: Food and Notions of Civilisation in Ancient Greek Literature,” 3–6.  21 or unintentionally with a commonly used epithet like “milk-drinkers,” the two become implicitly tied. Some of the earliest Greek knowledge of Scythians comes in the form of a reference to dietary habits; in the Hesiodic fragments, Phineus is pursued “to the land of the milk eaters (Γλακτοφάγων) who use wagons as houses,” whom Hesoiod later identifies as Scythian.40 The first known description already defines the Scythians, at least in part, by what they eat. Thus it is no surprise that Herodotus’ Scythian logos incorporates foodways both early and often. By the second chapter, Herodotus has already begun to discuss the drink for which the Scythians were known–mare’s milk–and how they went about obtaining it. His description of the process is quite detailed and rather unusual. First, one slave uses a flute-shaped bone tube to blow air into the mare’s anus while another milks it; the purpose of this, according to the Scythians, is to inflate the mare’s veins, thus causing the udder to be forced downward. The blind slaves then pour the milk into wooden casks, around which they stand in a circle, stirring until the milk separates and they are able to skim the best part off the top. Even more bizarre, Herodotus says that milk preparation is in some way connected to the fact that the Scythians blind their slaves, which in turn is connected to the fact that the Scythians are nomads rather than agriculturalists. On this last point Herodotus does not elaborate; evidently the connection between nomadism, blinding slaves, and milking mares needs no further explanation.41 Thus, two chapters into his description of them, Herodotus’ Scythians have already displayed unusual methods of slave treatment, unusual drinking and eating practices (since mare’s milk was also used to make cheese), and a propensity for wandering around that contrasts directly                                                 40 Hes. Fr. 97-8 (Milk-eaters), 217b (Scythians). 41 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, 18.  22 with the agriculturalism that was standard practice for Herodotus’ Greek audience. To put it bluntly, Scythians do seem very strange. This position on Scythian culture persists in various permutations. For some, such as West, “The steppe culture was too alien to allow such an exercise in self-definition.”42 In any of these cases, little room is left for Scythians and Greeks to share any practices in common, a highly problematic view given that Herodotus specifically mentions the existence of groups like the Kallipidai and Gelonoi that are both Greek and Scythian. Clearly the two cultures can coexist within one subculture and cannot be antithetical. In Hartog’s view, Scythia is the end of the world; it is described as eschatia, or “the zone beyond the cultivated area” and thus the opposite of the oikumene.43 As usual, Herodotus complicates this, as Hartog explains quite neatly: “…this land of eremia contains its own deserts; this zone of eschatia has its own margins. Not only do the Scythians not represent a single, united group, since they are divided into a number of different peoples; furthermore, within their territory there are plenty of other peoples who are not of the Scythian ‘race’ at all.”44 Scythia is not all eschatia or eremia, but its own collection of ecosystems, some more fertile than others, some more capable of sustaining agriculturalism, and some more different or more similar to Greece. The “real” deserts are far to the north of Scythia, and wilderness increases as one moves further northeast, with less evidence of the human race the further one goes.45 Unfortunately, Hartog does not apply this idea consistently throughout the rest of his book.                                                  42 West, “Scythians,” 448. 43 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, 12–13. 44 Ibid., 13–14. 45 Ibid., 14.  23 Hartog and Shaw: some problems with the current state of scholarship on the subject of foodways in Herodotus Let us begin by examining these two of the most influential pieces of scholarship dealing with Herodotus’ Scythians: Brent Shaw’s “Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk” (1982/3) and François Hartog’s The Mirror of Herodotus (originally published in 1980, English translation in 1988). Shaw and Hartog’s analyses share a common error: in each, the perceived “Otherness” of the Scythians is overwrought. Every difference is made out to be an instance of “Othering,” an example of yet one more way in which the Scythians and their practices would amaze and scandalize the Greek reader. The problem is exacerbated by the conflation of distinct Scythian groups with one another and of the Scythians as a whole with their non-Scythian neighbors, both agriculturalist and nomadic. Shaw’s use of the term “ideology” to describe a consistent portrayal of nomads across Classical literature is especially problematic in this sense and reflects an outmoded view of cultural interaction that ignores the realities of hybridization and multidirectional cultural exchange and adaptation.46 Shaw offers two “hallmarks” of this ideology, first, “a complete separation of nomads and sedentarists into two polarized and isolated taxonomic compartments wherein the two economies or ‘human types’ never merge or are perceived to have dynamic interaction,” and second, “the nomad is seen as the ultimate barbaric human type who is directly opposed to the ‘civilized’ sedentary agriculturalist.”47                                                 46 A brief but relatively comprehensive summary highlighting the main points of this scholarly evolution can be found in Charlotte Higgins, “Ancient Greece, the Middle East and an Ancient Cultural Internet,” The Guardian, July 11, 2013, sec. Education, https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/jul/11/ancient-greece-cultural-hybridisation-theory. 47 Shaw, “Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk,” 6; A. M. Khazanov, “Les Scythes et la civilisation antique. Problèmes de contacts,” trans. M. Burda and Th. Sonneville-David, Dialogues d’histoire ancienne 8, no. 1 (1982): 7–51.  24 The latter seems reasonable enough on the surface, if dramatically oversimplified, and this image of Herodotus’ perspective has been used extensively to perpetuate questionable post-Classical views on nomadism and barbarism. However, were the nomad type considered unilaterally opposite to the “civilized” sedentary agriculturalist, it would make little sense for Herodotus to break down Scythian nomads into several distinct subgroups or to point out that some of those subgroups obtain food through methods other than pastoralism. The Argippaei, for example, gather the fruits of the ponticum tree and have few sheep due to a lack of high quality pasturage (4.22-23), and the Budinoi eat lice (4.109). Furthermore, if Shaw’s supposedly “insidious” equation of “‘Skythian’ equals ‘barbarian’ equals ‘nomad’,” it is worth asking why the most outlandish nomads, those who consume human flesh (1.216; 4.26, 106), turn into wolves (4.105), or have the feet of goats (4.25) are not Scythian at all. The archetypal nomads and the most barbaric barbarians are not the Scythians but those who live around or beyond them. The former employs a logic that simply does not line up. For one, his assertion that the two “human types” are entirely polarized and isolated, never participating in dynamic interaction with one another, is demonstrably false. Herodotus’ Scythians battle with Persians and share traditions with Greeks, sometimes even to the extent that Helleno-Scythian groups such as the Kallippidai and the Gelonoi are formed.48 While these groups are distinctly hybrid rather than pure Scythians adopting and adapting Greek customs, the very existence of hybrid cultures indicates significant contact between the two traditions and proves, if nothing else, that 1) the customs of the Greeks and Scythians were sufficiently compatible for simultaneous use in a hybrid culture recognizable as containing elements of both and 2) that boundaries                                                 48 4.17, 109  25 were permeable enough that a culture could exist simultaneously on both sides. In Herodotus’ overall narrative of the Persian War, one of the main functions of the Scythians is to interact dynamically with cultures from within the oikumene. The most “barbaric” peoples do not even enter into the narrative for more than a cameo and rarely engage with others in any meaningful way; notably, the Persians show no interest in conquering them. Shaw privileges the details of the Scythian ethnography over the position of the Scythians in the Histories as a whole; in other words, he fails to see the forest for the trees, and in order to make his argument appear plausible, he must stretch Herodotus’ words considerably. Perhaps the best example of Shaw’s willingness to stretch ancient sources to suit his needs is in his suggestion that Herodotus’ ascription of “almost any instance of ‘barbaric’ behaviour that surfaces in Greek society (e.g., the drinking of wine unmixed)” to the “evil influences” of the Scythians.49 The passage he cites (6.84.2) is, in fact, not at all a cavalier ascription of all barbaric behavior to Scythian influence, but an anecdote about one man, King Cleomenes I of Sparta, who allegedly lost his wits due to his habit of drinking unmixed wine. The Spartans attributed this habit to Cleomenes’ association with the Scythians, and Herodotus tells us that any Spartan who wants a stronger drink than usual would use the phrase “Scythian fashion” to order it, but the passage goes no further than marking one habit, the drinking of unmixed wine, as characteristically Scythian. Shaw, then, has extrapolated from a passage about one man gaining one Scythian-like trait that Herodotus considered almost all barbarian behavior among the Greeks to be a result of contact with Scythian nomads. A single custom of drink ordering amongst the Spartans is hardly evidence for the characterization of a                                                 49 Shaw, “Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk,” 12.  26 whole culture. The term “Scythian fashion” describes the origin of the drink, not any and all barbarian-esque behavior amongst the Greeks. It comes as no surprise, then, that when he claims that Herodotus characterizes generally the Scythian nomad, being an “eater of flesh” and a “drinker of milk,” as a logical counterpoint to the Greek farmer, he neglects to point out that not all Scythians are Scythian nomads, and that not all eaters of flesh and drinkers of milk are Scythians. He justifies this reductionism as follows: Of course, even by Herodotos’ own admission not all Skythians were pastoralists, yet the reversibility of the equation “Skythian” equals “barbarian” equals “nomad” had an insidious effect. That is to say, since all Skythians were barbarians in Greek eyes, and since pastoralists were the quintessential “barbarian type” by a sort of confused social syllogism all Skythians came to share the stigma of barbarism associated with pastoralists.50  There are two problems with this explanation. First, Shaw stigmatizes the term barbaroi excessively. If, as I mentioned previously, Herodotus’ Egyptians call Greeks barbaroi (2.158), then the state of being a barbarian is relative. 51 Thomas sums this up neatly: “Herodotus is aware that the barbarians have their own barbarians.”52 Second, Shaw speaks of Scythian foodways in terms of “structural absolutism”– this is an oversimplification. 53 He does not account for the potential reality of Herodotus’ descriptions and makes no attempt at finding reasons other than geographical dichotomy, and he undermines his previous point about the arbitrariness of the division between the Gelonoi and the Budinoi.54 He also undermines his                                                 50 Ibid., 11–12. 51 Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity. 52 Thomas, Herodotus in Context, 131. 53 Shaw, “Eaters of Flesh, Drinkers of Milk,” 13. 54 On archaeology confirming Herodotus’ assertions, see Minns, Scythians and Greeks; a Survey of Ancient History and Archaeology on the North Coast of the Euxine from the Danube to the Caucasus; Wheeler, “Appendix E.”  27 (correct) claim that Scythian eating practices were not uniform. The variability of Scythian foodways is actually quite important, as Herodotus does not portray all Scythian customs with similarly accurate diversity. For example, Herodotus supposes Scythian burial practices to be uniform, though archaeology proves that they were not.55 One may dismiss this as a failure of Herodotus’ sources, but even so there is significance to the fact that Herodotus chose to delve much deeper into foodways than into other extremely important nomoi; foodways are one of the primary factors that separates the tribes of the Eurasian Steppe, including the manifold Scythians, from each other. Shaw’s argument, while innovative for its time, is now both out of date and, as I have shown, rife with logical problems and dubious stretching of certain sources. In light of advances in archaeology and the aforementioned development of post-colonial scholarship on ethnicity, we must now revisit some of his conclusions. Between the publication of Shaw’s article and these more recent developments, Hartog’s The Mirror of Herodotus took issue with comparing the Herodotean ethnography to material finds, seemingly because he wants to see discrepancies between the text and the archaeology not as unintentional inaccuracies on Herodotus’ part but as his way of tweaking reality to fit his narrative (the Scythian logos and the Histories as a whole); therefore, Hartog claims that he does not try to use the text to validate the archaeology or vice versa.56 But perhaps comparison is useful when discussing some of the more “outlandish” practices of the Scythians. If accounts that seem as though they must be fabricated are demonstrably not fabricated, then the idea that the Herodotus’ Scythians are purely a constructed “Other” takes                                                 55 West, “Scythians,” 452; cf. Hist. 4.71-72.  56 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, 3–5.  28 a major hit. One need not ascertain which aspects are fact and which are fiction to understand that Herodotus’ audiences would encounter in his work a mixture of the two.   According to Hartog, the addressee of the text models the reader’s interpretation; shared knowledge between the author and the addressee enables the addressee to calculate the meaning of a statement, leading to a necessity for interpretation of Scythian practices in reference to their homologues in the Greek world.57 This depends on two assumptions that can be dismantled relatively easily:  1. A Greek audience could only conceive of thusia as an exclusive set of practices from which other forms of ritual slaughter could be set at specific distances 2. The Greeks had few, if any, preconceived notions or prior knowledge of Scythian dietary custom  In response to the first assumption, one must question Hartog’s assertion that when Herodotus discusses thusia, he sets up the “range of diverse actions and gestures” in implicit opposition to a single Greek practice of sacrifice.58  Such an antithesis would only work if there did in fact exist a single exemplary sacrificial practice to which all Greeks subscribed, but in fact the term thusia covers a wide range of activities that includes, but is by no means limited to, alimentary blood sacrifice as it is typically rendered in modern scholarship. Thusia encompasses such other forms of sacrifice as bloodless and burnt offerings (cakes, spices, etc.). Some even suggest that thusia included votive offerings or drownings.59 Temporal and regional differences within the Greek world must also have existed, especially in apoikiai, where the practices of                                                 57 Ibid., 8. 58 Ibid. 59 For votive offerings: Louise Bruit Zaidman and Pauline Schmitt Pantel, Religion in the Ancient Greek City (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 32; and for drownings: F. S. Naiden, Smoke Signals for the Gods: Ancient Greek Sacrifice from the Archaic through Roman Periods (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 320.  29 locals and settlers would have to be renegotiated in new middle grounds.60 The second assumption proves false in light of the aforementioned Hesiodic fragments and West’s claim that, “For Pindar’s Sicilian audience the essentials of the steppe lifestyle were evidently a commonplace.”61 As Hartog would have it, “the narrator’s very undertaking to name things is a way of referring to the knowledge that he shares with the addressee: he classifies the reality of others according to Greek categories.”62 That is to say, that Herodotus had to translate Scythian practices into Greek words so that his audience could understand them; however, though Hartog does question the validity of Detienne and Vernant’s assumption that the recognition of strangling an animal from behind as an act of thusia is enough for setting up a comparison with a Greek sacrificial model developed by modern scholars based on textual and visual imagery, he ultimately does seem to accept that the two practices constitute the same genre of action.63 He then proceeds to say Assuming, as a working hypothesis, such an operation to be justifiable, I may set all the sacrifices of these “others” in perspective, interpreting their dispersion in terms of the distance separating them from the Greek model, and their incompleteness and heterogeneity in terms of their differences from that model. It also becomes apparent that none of these sacrifices actually contradicts the basic structure of the Greek model. Thus, once such a comparison is carried out, the hypothesis is legitimized and, conversely, the validity of the model itself is confirmed, even reinforced.64                                                  60 Jan N. Bremmer, “Greek Normative Animal Sacrifice,” in A Companion to Greek Religion, ed. Daniel Ogden (Blackwell Publishing, 2007), 132 and passim. 61 West, “Scythians,” 446. 62 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, 10. 63 Marcel Detienne and Jean Pierre Vernant, La Cuisine du sacrifice en pays grec, Bibliothèque des Histoires (Paris: Gallimard, 1979); Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, 10. 64 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, 10.  30 He likewise asserts that through Herodotus’ explanations of unusual sacrificial practices, “the aspect of their behavior that is scandalous to a Greek is rendered comprehensible, if not admissible.”65 To Hartog, then, Scythian sacrifice can only be termed thusia so that it can be compared with Greek sacrifice, and it can only be compared to Greek sacrifice because it is called thusia. The reasoning is circular and overemphasizes the artificiality of naming any one category of actions. It assumes that Herodotus gives Scythian sacrifice the name “thusia” in order that it may be compared to Greek thusia (to which it otherwise, according to this logic, bears less similarity than the name would suggest) rather than because he recognized it as a valid form of the practice that he and his audience would recognize as thusia with or without the imposed label. Such reasoning also assumes that Scythian sacrificial practices would not have made sense to a Greek audience without Herodotus’ translation. Neither this nor the opposite can be proven, but it is foolish to assume without evidence Greeks simply could not understand these practices, and the rationale behind them (e.g., in 4.61: using bones as fuel in the absence of wood, using the stomach for cooking in the absence of a krater). The substitutions are framed as a genitive absolute (τῆς δὲ γῆς τῆς Σκυθικῆς αἰνῶς ἀξύλου ἐούσης) and a conditional (ἤν δὲ μή σφι παρῇ, ὁ λέβης), respectively. Assuming that the genitive absolute is conditional in force, it seems Herodotus’ Scythians deviate only if they lack the requisite supplies to perform the ritual in the normative Greek fashion.66 Surely not every Greek sacrifice was perfect—it can hardly be the case that no Greek sacrificer ever had to find a                                                 65 Ibid., 183–85. 66 This is obviously not to say that the Scythians aimed to replicate Greek normative sacrifice, but rather that Herodotus’ audience could have understood his text to mean that ideal Scythian practice looked a great deal like Greek normative practice, even if the Scythians’ circumstances often meant that substitutions were required.  31 substitute for firewood under extenuating circumstances—and thus there is no reason to think that Scythian adaptations should make the Scythian practice seem more foreign. It is probable that the use of animal bones was a ritual procedure, given that dried dung would have been both more effective and more abundant, but Herodotus’ attempt to explain the adaptation as a result of necessity still represents an endeavor to explain the provenance of the nomos and the practical reason for its difference from Greek practice.67 The practice, however, is fundamentally the same. It is by these adaptations that the Scythian practice becomes more like Greek practice despite being performed under significantly different circumstances. These two parts of the Scythian sacrificial ritual are defined by the fact that they make use of parts of the animal rather than objects that would have to be carried around from place to place each time the nomadic Scythians moved. If an animal’s stomach can be used instead of a breakable ceramic vessel, and if its bones provide a suitable substitute for bulky and difficult-to-obtain wood, why carry around these additional objects? A stomach and bones are objects that can be obtained simultaneously with the edible parts of the animal and disposed of simultaneously with the animal waste. Supply-wise, Scythian sacrifice is extremely efficient. A krater and wood might be superior implements, but for Scythians on the move, as compared to sedentary Greeks with access to personal and municipal storage, the cost of carrying around supplies that are not strictly necessary to perform the ritual in question outweighs the benefit of having better supplies. Herodotus’ explanation of the Scythians’ substitutions would, in fact, undermine a characterization of the Scythians as “Others.” If these elements of the sacrifice were presented                                                 67 West, “Scythians,” 447 n. 31.  32 on their own rather than as substitutions for common Greek elements, they would seem far more outlandish to the Greek reader. Instead, Herodotus shapes these parts of the Scythian sacrifice to a Greek model; he takes what is strange and presents it as a logical substitution necessitated by circumstance. The Scythians sacrifice unusually because they are nomads, which, in and of itself, is in opposition to Greek practice, but at least some part of their unusual sacrifice is similar to Greek ritual, albeit performed slightly differently due to differing circumstances. In short, Hartog is basing his argument on the Narcissism of Minor Differences, implying that, since the two practices do look quite similar, Herodotus focuses on the small details that set them apart.68 This is, in fact, precisely what Herodotus has done, but while Hartog sees it as an instance of “Othering”—making Scythian sacrifice seem totally outlandish—I propose that the audience would glean, from both the smallness of the differences and Herodotus’ explanations for their existence, that Scythians were accustomed to performing ritual acts that, unlike some other Scythian practices, largely resembled their own. Scythians move frequently, so they must sometimes use disposable versions of typical sacrificial implements, and much of Scythian territory is not ideal for farming, so the parts of a sacrifice that require plants (libation, which requires grapes; a wood fire; and the sprinkling of barley) are eliminated.69 What is not eliminated in Herodotus’ sacrifice description is an ox. Though oxen are among the least often sacrificed animals sacrificed by the Scythians, Herodotus’ choice to represent the sacrifice of an ox instead of another animal is important. Detienne claims that this emphasizes the foreignness of the Scythians, stating that, “if oxen and polis go                                                 68 Sigmund Freud, Civilization, Society and Religions: Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego/Future of an Illusion/Civilization and Its Discontents, ed. Albert Dickson, trans. James Strachey, Penguin Freud Library 12 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985), 131, 305. 69 These omissions he does not explain, but as we shall see in the next chapter, omission of some aspects of a ritual does not necessarily constitute as significant a discursive difference as one might suspect.  33 together, whoever is apolis must not sacrifice oxen.”70 His argument is that the Scythians appear more foreign because they do not regularly sacrifice oxen, but in fact his statement can be turned around to argue that, since the Scythians most certainly do sacrifice oxen, and since an ox sacrifice is the precise one Herodotus chooses to portray, the Scythians actually appear less foreign to the Greek audience. Herodotus, and probably his audience, knew that the only means of subsistence to which most of the Eurasian steppe is favorable is extensive animal husbandry, the result of which was that pastoral nomadism developed early there and that the constant search for pasturage dictated much of the daily life of the peoples who inhabited it.71 This is not to say that all Scythian land was uncultivable. Strabo says that Greeks once imported their grain from the Tauric Chersonese and that the nomads in the area “turn over the land they hold to those wishing to till it, and are content to receive an arranged tribute in return for the land, a moderate one, assessed with not with a view toward profit, but toward the daily necessities of life.”72 Their purported lack of agriculture, then, was not by necessity but by choice, and the reality of the Scythian diet is not nearly so simple as Herodotus makes it out to be. Analysis of dental palaeopathology and carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes at two Early Iron Age burial sites in the eastern Eurasian Steppe (Ai-Dai and Aymyrlyg in Southern Siberia) suggests that both Scythian groups, the Tagar of the Minusinsk Basin and the Uyuk of Tuva, consumed                                                 70 Detienne and Vernant, The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks, 179. 71 Denis Sinor, “Introduction: The Concept of Inner Asia,” in The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, ed. Denis Sinor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 1–18. 72  ἐπιτρέψαντες γὰρ ἔχειν τὴν γῆν τοῖς ἐθέλουσι γεωργεῖν ἀντὶ ταύτης ἀγαπῶσι φόρους λαμβάνοντες τοὺς συντεταγμένους μετρίους τινάς, οὐκ εἰς περιουσίαν ἀλλ᾽ εἰς τὰ ἐφήμερα καὶ τὰ ἀναγκαῖα τοῦ βίου  34 domesticated grains, primarily millet, and fish.73 The Scythians’ subsistence strategies were clearly more complex than the nomadic pastoralism traditionally ascribed to them.74  With regard to feasting, Hartog is unreasonably quick to accept an argument from absence. While he is correct to note that Scythian sacrifice is characterized by absence (e.g., a place of sacrifice, preparatory phase, blood), it is foolish to assume that Herodotus’ failure to describe Scythian feasting means that feasting did not occur.75  Herodotus also does not describe Egyptian feasts—excepting the tremendously failed feast in 2.100, in which no actual feasting occurred due to a surprise murder—and yet Egyptians certainly did feast.76 Furthermore, his assumption that the strangeness of their sacrificial rituals and their lack of crop cultivation mean that the Scythians “do not really form a community,” is preposterously Hellenocentric and implies that Greek audiences could not conceptualize more than one version of what it means to be a community. Communal drinking among the Scythians both in reality and in Herodotus’ own text also belie Hartog’s claim.77 Conclusions The Scythian logos has been the focus of research on food and ethnic/cultural identity in Herodotus up to this point, and it has been used and abused to establish the Scythians as an ultimate “Other” against which Greeks could form their own identity through opposition. As I have shown, foodways are one means by which Herodotus does just the opposite. The                                                 73 For more detailed accounts of Scythian history and archaeology, see Renate Rolle, The World of the Scythians (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989); Hermann Parzinger, Die Skythen, 2. Aufl., Originalausgabe, Beck’sche Reihe. Wissen 2342 (München: C.H. Beck, 2007). 74 Eileen M. Murphy et al., “Iron Age Pastoral Nomadism and Agriculture in the Eastern Eurasian Steppe: Implications from Dental Palaeopathology and Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes,” Journal of Archaeological Science 40, no. 5 (May 2013): 2547–60. 75 Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus, 186. 76 E.g., 2.100 77 4.67 and O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast, 118–22.  35 Scythians are exceptionally varied in their food-related customs, and the differences are justifiable according to contemporary views on geography and climate, as well as the realities of subsistence in the steppe. Scythian practice appears different because it was different, and though there is consequence to the fact that Herodotus chose to include the discrepancies in his narrative, there is no reason to believe, as per Hartog and Shaw, that every difference is evidence of an effort on Herodotus’ part (conscious or otherwise) to present the Scythians as being in opposition to the Greeks. A more nuanced and interesting picture can be drawn from approaching the text with an emphasis on how Herodotus uses foodways to make connections between peoples rather than setting up rigid boundaries. It is with this view toward increased nuance in our understanding of Herodotean dietary description that we move forward to Egypt. South  Having now refuted Hartog and Shaw’s theories, it is necessary to test my own against the only other major ethnographical “digression” in the text. Within his quatripartite world, Herodotus defines Egypt as the entire land inhabited by the Egyptians, just as Cilicia is the land inhabited by the Cilicians and Assyria by the Assyrians; in other words, the geographical extent of Egypt is bounded by the identification as Egyptians of the people who live within it.78 Whether that identification is internal or external, Herodotus does not say, but in either case Herodotus presents Egypt as being culturally homogeneous and bound more by cultural homogeneity than geographical features. Herodotus’ Egypt, then, includes parts of Asia and Libya as well as the Nile Delta. It is, therefore, neither Asia, nor Libya, nor its own separate continent, but an                                                 78 2.17  36 area that is both contained by the boundaries of ethnicity and containing established boundaries between the continents. It is both inclusive and exclusive, rigid and permeable. It defies expectations as to how boundaries function, and within its boundaries, the Egyptians themselves both defy Greek cultural expectations and seem oddly familiar. Traditional interpretations of Herodotus’ Egyptian ethnography paint foreign lands like Scythia and Egypt as topsy-turvy, upside-down places that would have been completely alien to a Classical Greek audience, as “Others” constructed specifically as an antithesis to an established Greek way of life.79  A great deal of work has been generated over the last few decades that complicates this interpretation;80 however, let us first consider the traditional stance. Herodotus’ Egyptians seem to do everything backwards: among numerous other differences, they rely on the Nile for irrigation, rather than rainfall, and reap a tremendous bounty with ease;81 their women take part in commerce while the men stay home and weave; their priests shave their heads, whereas priests elsewhere keep their hair long; daughters, not sons, are compelled to support their elderly parents; they write from right to left and insist that their method is more dexterous; and the Egyptian men and women even urinate in positions opposite to those of Greek men and women, respectively.82 Chief among these reversals, of course, is the fact that the Egyptians, unlike the free Greeks, are ruled by a king, and they eventually fall to the Persian empire.                                                 79 Christian Froidefond, Le Mirage Égyptien Dans La Littérature Grecque d’Homére À Aristote, Publications universitaires des lettres et sciences humaines d’Aix-en-Provence (Gap: Ophrys, 1971); Arnaldo Momigliano, Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1975); Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus. 80 Hall, Inventing the Barbarian; Thomas, Herodotus in Context; Hall, Hellenicity; Hall, “Ancient Greek Ethnicities”; Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity; Gruen, Cultural Identity in the Ancient Mediterranean; Moyer, Egypt and the Limits of Hellenism. 81 2.13 82 2.35-36  37 Differences and Dietary Taboos The Egyptians likewise engage in religious and dietary customs that may at first glance seem foreign to the Greek reader, and it is not insignificant that Herodotus begins his so-called “digression” on Egypt with a story about food.83 In this story, the Egyptian king Psammetichus, desiring to determine the oldest language on earth and thus the oldest people on earth, places two infant boys alone in a silent, secluded hut and waits for one of them to utter a word. The first word spoken by one of the boys was the Phrygian “bekos,” a word meaning “bread.” As noted above, bread, as a cooked food and a product of agriculture and sedentary living, connects Egypt to Greece and to Persia as a central, “civilized” part of the Orbis Herodoti.84 As different as the Egyptians may be in many of their secular and religious practices, their foodways, while certainly not entirely familiar to the Greeks, would undoubtedly have been something the Greeks could relate to. First, however, let us consider the differences between Greek and Egyptian dietary custom. Dalby notes that Egyptians were especially remarkable to Greeks due to their many food avoidances which often varied from village to village.85 While not unheard of, Greek peoples’ food avoidances were rarely mentioned in their own texts, which would have made the Egyptians’ seeming pickiness all the more foreign to Greek readers.86 The Egyptians were known for numerous dietary restrictions, often limited only to the priests; this limit, according to Garnsey, served practically to perform the symbolic function of maintaining the food taboos                                                 83 2.2 84 Romney, “Bekos: Food and Notions of Civilisation in Ancient Greek Literature,” passim. 85 Andrew Dalby, Food in the Ancient World, from A to Z, Ancient World from A to Z (London and New York: Routledge, 2003), 127. 86 Ibid., 39–40.  38 while allowing greater dietary freedom to the community at large.87 Restricted items included fish, beans (2.37), heifers (2.18, 41), goats or sheep (depending on the region, 2.42), and pigs (2.47 ff.). Bean and fish avoidance would not have been entirely unfamiliar, since the Pythagoreans avoided them as well (although perhaps for different reasons, as noted in Plut. Mor. 729a), though obviously the priests were not vegetarians, since they received plentiful rations of beef and goose-flesh (2.37), so while the existence of so many dietary restrictions may have seemed foreign to Greek audiences, some of the specific restrictions in question may have been less so, and they would have appeared fitting in any discussion of Egyptian custom, as they were more likely imposed for purposes of purity and cleanliness, than for health reasons.88 The restrictions were ideals toward which people might wish to reach rather than potential causes of illness. Dietary restrictions, notably, create problems among those who live along the Libyan frontier and wish to be excused from the Egyptian prohibition against eating the meat of heifers on the grounds that they are not Egyptian.89 After all, Herodotus tells us that people prefer their own customs.90 The Libyans’ request is denied, but still this example goes to show that the Egyptians are different and separate from their “uncivilized” neighbors. Beginning only a few chapters later, Herodotus commences his account of the Egyptian sacrificial ritual, which, though certainly not identical to its Greek counterpart, bears striking similarities.91                                                 87 Peter Garnsey, Food and Society in Classical Antiquity, Key Themes in Ancient History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 83. 88 Ibid., 89–90. 89 2.18 90 3.38 91 2.38 ff.  39 Egyptian Sacrifice Herodotus relates the process of Egyptian sacrifice in 2.39-40 as follows. First, the priests lead the animal (in this case a bull92) to an altar and set a fire, next they pour libations over the altar and the victim, and then they slit the animal’s throat and decapitate it. They then flay the animal and place curses upon its head, which is then either taken to the marketplace and sold to Greek traders or, if Greeks are nowhere to be found, thrown into the Nile. There are then several methods of disemboweling and burning that might be used, but Herodotus describes only the one used to honor Isis at her most important festival. Once the bull has been flayed, the priests remove the stomach from the bull and leave inside the fat and the intestines (σπλάγχνά). They then cut off the legs, shoulders, neck, and rump; stuff the carcass with bread, honey, raisins, figs, frankincense, myrrh, and aromatic substances; pour oil over the carcass; and burn it while beating their breasts. The leftover parts (presumably the legs, shoulders, neck, and rump) are then feasted upon. The Egyptian sacrificial procedure begins in much the same way as it would for the Greeks: it involves the selection of a suitable animal, a procession, a libation, a prayer, and a fire, and it is set at an altar. Herodotus does not remark, as he does in the Persian logos, on the omission of two common and related practices, the sprinkling of grain upon the victim and the obtaining of the victim’s assent by a nod. The throat is cut, as usual, and then things begin to veer into unfamiliar territory. While in Greek sacrifice the head and hide were commonly given to the priests as perquisites, the Egyptians use the head in an unusual sort of scapegoat ritual wherein they either sell it to the Greeks, who see it as a simple and very-much edible                                                 92 Naturally, in Egypt as in Greece, other species of animals would also have been sacrificed, but is worth paying attention to the fact that Herodotus describes a bull sacrifice here. Not only was the bull highly sacred to the Egyptians themselves, but it was also prized as a sacrificial animal amongst the Greeks due largely to its great expense and numerous secondary uses.  40 commodity, or do away with it by throwing it into the river; either way it is a powerful magical symbol to the Egyptians and, in their view, must be removed after the sacrifice and never eaten.93 The methods of flaying, leaving behind the fat (which the Greeks would have used to wrap the bones) and the σπλάγχνά (which the Greeks would have used for divination), stuffing the corpse with aromatics, and beating their breasts would also have been unfamiliar to the Greeks, but the result of the event would be the same: a feast consisting of the most meat-heavy parts of the animal. Herodotus seems especially concerned with the selection of the bull, which he covers in great detail in 2.38. It would seem that the tradition of choosing a perfect animal would be in line with the Greek practice of choosing a victim that could be considered katharos kai enteles, and the specification of a perfectly white bull is not out of line with color preferences known from Greek sacrificial calendars.94 The amount of time that Herodotus spends describing the examination of the Egyptian victim, and the fact that a victim could be rendered impure by being discovered to have a single black hair, would however suggest that the perfection of the victim was disproportionately more important to the Egyptians than it was to the Greeks, or at least that Greek standards for perfection were much more relaxed.95 This follows naturally from the Egyptian practice of animal worship, which would undoubtedly have seemed unusual to the Greek reader, in conjunction with the Egyptians’ preoccupation with cleanliness. Some Hellenistic leges sacrae are quite specific in their requirements, but Classical evidence is hazier, and Herodotus does seem to be hinting at an extreme commitment to purity on the part of the                                                 93 McInerney, The Cattle of the Sun, 249. 94 Gunnel Ekroth, “Animal Sacrifice in Antiquity,” in The Oxford Handbook of Animals in Classical Thought and Life, ed. Gordon Lindsay Campbell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 332, 335. 95 Walter Burkert, Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical (Somerset: Wiley-Blackwell, 1985), 56.  41 Egyptians.96 Nevertheless, though the Egyptians may be drastically more restrictive in their victim selection process, the process itself, its purpose, and its results, are essentially the same for the Egyptians as they are for the Greeks. The difference is a matter of degree, and Herodotus’ decision to point it out to his readers indicates an attention to nuance that marks the practices as being fundamentally similar. From the Egyptian preoccupation with cleanliness Detienne draws a direct link to sacrificial ritual and the act of consumption following a sacrifice. The Egyptians refuse to use a knife, spit, or kettle belonging to a Greek because the Greeks sacrifice and eat according to a different set of rules from themselves. In the words of Detienne, “the Egyptians described by Herodotus reveal to the listeners of the Histories an image of themselves in which their sacrificial practice, seen in its instrumental aspect, is circumscribed by its alimentary function.”97 In Egypt, as in most, if not all, of Greece before the fourth century, the bulk of consumable fresh meat is generated through ritual slaughter; the act of sacrifice and the act of consuming animal flesh are inseparable.98 Crucially, the Egyptians are the ones expressing disgust at the practices of the Greeks, not the Greeks at the Egyptians—the Greeks are on the receiving end of moral judgment—they are the ones perverting a foreign (and much older) ritual, not the other way around. This contradicts the idea that Herodotus is looking outward through a lens of Greek custom at the Egyptian practice, as Redfield would suggest.99                                                 96 See LSCG for several examples. 97 Marcel Detienne, “Culinary Practices and the Spirit of Sacrifice,” in The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks, by Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant, trans. Paula Wissing (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 3. 98 In Greece, at least, exceptions would, of course, have been made for sausages or other types of preserved meat, and a measure of secular meat consumption has also been reasonably posited. Frank Frost, “Sausage and Meat Preservation in Antiquity,” Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies 40, no. 3 (February 5, 2011): passim; Gunnel Ekroth, “Meat in Ancient Greece: Sacrificial, Sacred or Secular?,” Food History 5, no. 1 (2007): 251–52. 99 Redfield, “Herodotus the Tourist.”  42 Following this line of thought, it is important, as Hartog points out, to note that there is some diversity between the sacrificial practices of different groups of Egyptians, namely in the various methods of disemboweling and burning the carcasses of the sacrificed animals, but that the Egyptian method of sacrifice is relatively internally consistent, including the same libation, invocation of the chosen god, and removal and sale or disposal of the head (2.39-40).100 From this perspective it becomes difficult to tell the outside “them” from the inside “us.” Variations in both Greek and Egyptian practice allow for internal consistencies to be undermined and for similarities and differences to be noticed both within and between the two sets of cultural norms. Moreover, it is worthwhile to break down the act of “sacrifice” into distinct steps, as Frankfurter suggests, for which the end goal was not necessarily killing, but “to incinerate the flesh or to examine the entrails or to process to the shrine or simply to feast.”101 In both Greece and Egypt, fire is used in sacrifice for two distinct purposes: (1) to roast the meat and feast upon it, or (2) to destroy the sacrificial offering by means of holocaust, and in either case, to direct fumes from the roasting or burning toward the appropriate god or gods.102 Although the practice of sacrifice between the two cultures differs in many ways and to varying degrees, the desired outcome is essentially the same for the Egyptians as it is for the Greeks.  Conclusions Erich Gruen begins his chapter on “’Egypt in the Classical Imagination” by pointing to a brief, rarely-discussed, and often-forgotten remark from Hdt. 2.158: that the Egyptians, like the                                                 100 Hartog, “Self-Cooking Beef and the Drinks of Ares,” 173. 101 David Frankfurter, “Egyptian Religion and the Problem of the Category ‘Sacrifice,’” in Ancient Mediterranean Sacrifice, ed. Jennifer Wright Knust and Zsuzsanna Várhelyi (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 76. 102 Alan B. Lloyd, Herodotus, Book II: Commentary 1-98, Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l’empire romain 43 (Leiden: Brill, 1975), 174.  43 Greeks, call all those who do not speak their language “barbaroi.”103 This statement, Gruen says, is indicative of a shift in the center of Herodotus’ narrative from Greece, to Egypt, where the Egyptians employ precisely the same mode of demarcation as the Greeks do between them and those they consider “other.” Herodotus’ Egyptians are not set apart only from Greeks, but from all other people, devoted to separatism and to allowing no outside custom to permeate their own.104 Rather than pitting Egypt against Greece, showing the Egyptians as models for emulation or bizarre, servile aliens, Herodotus’ account of Egypt offers a nuanced look at the way Egypt fits into the dynamic world of the fifth century.105  The case of Egypt further demonstrates the deficiencies of methodologies that would paint Egyptian dietary custom as a vehicle for “othering” in Herodotus’ ethnographies. To limit the function of food in the Histories to such a small role is to strip from Herodotus’ many mentions of food the nuance which characterizes the rest of his work. When one approaches food in the Histories as a tool for linking cultures together, the subtler details of each practice are able to emerge and to show the reader what Herodotus deemed most important to share with his readers about the practices of Mediterranean eating and sacrifice in general. This approach also, as we shall see in the next section, ties together the seemingly unrelated methods that Herodotus uses to describe the foodways of the Egyptians and Scythians (a prolonged logos) and those of the Persians.                                                 103 Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity, 76. 104 Ibid., 77. 105 Ibid., 81.  44 East A Taxonomy of Persian Food Vignettes106 Herodotus’ Persian ethnography differs from that of the Scythians or the Egyptians in that it is not confined to one book but instead spans the entirety of the Histories; mentions of Persian food and foodways are scattered throughout. There is a Persian logos, but it consists in its entirety of a mere ten chapters (1.131-140) and, given the extreme lavishness of the practices described, appears to focus on the ruling and upper classes rather than attempting to cover the customs of the entire empire, a near-impossible task given the enormous geographical extent and ethnic variety of the Persian Empire. Though one could argue that stereotypes of Persian luxury might have prompted Herodotus to assume all Persians lived this way, his generally rather individualized and nuanced portrayal of the Persians would suggest otherwise.107  In the Scythian and Egyptian logoi, Herodotus discusses dietary practices (e.g., sacrifice, mare-milking, taboos) at great length and in explicit detail. The Persians, for all the stereotypes that tie them to luxurious food and eating, in fact receive little attention when it comes to the actual processes by which they eat. Food-related Persian episodes are generally contained within short vignettes, with even the description of their sacrificial practices limited to one chapter of the Persian logos, while the rest of the customs are situated in different (but limited and categorizable) contexts. When other barbarian cultures are shown in these contexts (e.g., feasting), one need not look far to find references to Persia or even Persians themselves. While it is the case that some instances of Scythian interactions with food, and particularly drink, do                                                 106 NOTE: This chapter covers both the Persian and Median Empires, both as a matter of convenience, because Herodotus often does not make a clear distinction between the two, and because Herodotus presents Persian imperialism and the institution of kingship under Cyrus as originating in Median tradition (1.55) rather than as a continuation of earlier Persian practice under Cambyses, whom Herodotus describes as “of peaceful disposition” and not of royal blood (1.107.2) (Munson 2009, 459). 107 Rosaria Vignolo Munson, “Who Are Herodotus’ Persians?,” The Classical World 102, no. 4 (2009): 457 and passim.  45 take place outside of the Scythian logos, each of these occasions (1.106, 207-12) is one of interaction with the Persians, a part of a Persian vignette. Even the seemingly unrelated Egyptian feasting vignette in 2.100 is implicitly tied to Persia, as I shall demonstrate further on.  There are several possible reasons for the differences between the way Herodotus describes the Persians and the ways in which he typically describes other foreign cultures. For one, Herodotus’ origins in Halicarnassus would suggest that, at least to him, Persian custom would be more familiar than the customs of other barbarians. Moreover, Persia does not fall on the North-South axes that he employs in the Scythian and Egyptian logoi.108 The third and perhaps most obvious reason is that the Persians simply receive more “air time” than either of the other two cultures; the work as a whole is centered on the conflict between Greece and Persia, and details on Persian nomoi can be scattered throughout the Histories as part of the numerous stories about Persian history without requiring a long, self-contained explanatory account of the sort used for Egyptian and Scythian nomoi. Though instances of food and eating among the Persians in the Histories are spread throughout the work, they can in fact be arranged into a taxonomical structure by form and context with surprisingly little deviation from a rather small set of motifs and tropes. The two main categories: (I) direct ethnographical commentary and (II) narratives of specific feasts. The former category includes (A) explicit ethnographical exposition and (B) reference to ethnographic concepts in narrative form. The latter category can be divided into two subcategories: (A) productive commensality, and (B) murder, maiming, and mayhem. The first subcategory can be further divided into (1) cultural exchange or (2) commensality within a single culture, and the second subcategory can then be further divided into (1)                                                 108 Thomas, Herodotus in Context, 78.; See 2.33f. for Scythia-Egypt axis and 2.29f. for Scythia-Libya axis.  46 dismemberment and serving as food of a guest’s son/pupil, (2) killing or maiming of a (female) family member at a feast, or (3) the mass slaughter of foreigners at a feast for which the hosts may or may not be present. The last of these can then be even further subdivided into (i) the “Nasty Party” trope (implying premeditation) or (ii) the slaughter of foreign guests as a reaction to those guests’ actions.109 Table 1: Taxonomy of Persian Feasting Narratives  (I) direct ethnographical commentary (A) explicit ethnographical exposition (B) reference to ethnographic concepts in narrative form (II) narratives of specific feasts (A) productive commensality (1) cultural exchange (2) commensality within a single culture (B) murder, maiming, and mayhem (1) dismemberment and serving as food of a guest’s son/pupil (2) killing or maiming of a (female) family member at a feast (3) the mass slaughter of foreigners at a feast  (i) the “Nasty Party” trope (implying premeditation) (ii) the slaughter of foreign guests as a reaction to those guests’ actions  In these vignettes it is clear that Herodotus’ Persians consider food, and especially feasting, a powerful tool. This may be an accurate reflection of some Persian practices—both Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and the Persepolis reliefs suggest that Persian feasting was a rather lavish and highly stratified affair—but what is more interesting for our purposes is the fact that nearly every instance of Persian consumption in the Histories contains a clear ulterior motive. Every feast that we actually see take place, peaceful or otherwise, is in one way or another                                                 109 There are also a handful of sacrificial scenes or mentions of sacrifice that do not indicate that any eating occurred. In some cases, this is because the sacrifice is non-alimentary or simply because the eating part of the sacrifice is not described. Several examples are listed in Annexe 2 of Pauline Schmitt Pantel, La cité au banquet: histoire des repas publics dans les cités grecques, Collection de l’école française de Rome 157 (Rome: École française de Rome, 1992), 525–26.  47 involved with violence, whether because it serves as an incitement to violence, results from violence, or acts as a cover for some violent scheme. Before we tackle the narrative vignettes, let us consider Herodotus’ brief ethnographical description of Persian sacrifice and feasting.  Figure 2: One view of the procession on the Persepolis reliefs demonstrating just a small part of the enormously large group gathering for a royal feast. Image courtesy of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.110  Food in the Persian Logos The category of explicit ethnographical exposition is the only one of the above categories that Herodotus uses for all three cultures covered in this paper, and with the exception of the “Nasty Party” passages mentioned at the beginning of this chapter (1.106, 207-12; 2.100), it is the only one that makes reference to any barbarian culture other than Persia. Compared to the ethnographical descriptions, or logoi, of Egypt and Scythia, the Persian logos is rather brief. Despite the enormous size and heterogeneity of the Persian Empire, Herodotus does not offer descriptions of its various peoples, but instead he presents two short accounts of Persian                                                 110 “The Apadana,” The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, accessed August 8, 2017, https://oi.uchicago.edu/collections/photographic-archives/persepolis/apadana.  48 practice, which one must assume from their content and applies to ethnically Persian people of considerable means.  The process of Persian sacrifice is characterized in 1.131-32 primarily by lack: there is no temple, altar, statue of the god, fire, libation, flute-music, garlands, or sprinkled meal. One additional practice is mentioned in which a man sticks leaves into his headdress, takes the victim to a purified place, and invokes the deity to whom the beast will be sacrificed; and Herodotus also says that a Magus must be present for every sacrifice. Herodotus does not discuss the particulars of the butchering and cooking process, saying only that the worshipper cuts the victim into portions and boils (ἑψήσῃ) the flesh before laying the meat over a small heap of greenery and that a Magus recites an incantation. The worshipper then removes the sacrificed flesh and uses it as he pleases.111 It would seem from the text that the sacrifice described here as typical takes place on a private level, which may account for the lack of public fanfare. There is also no indication of public sacrifice occurring anywhere in the text.112  Even in personal sacrifice, though, there is a strong communal aspect: “For the sacrificer to pray for blessings for himself alone is not lawful, but he prays earnestly for all Persians and the king to be well: for indeed he considers himself to be among all the Persians.”113 It is impossible to say what Herodotus expected would be done with the meat, especially since he does not comment on the age, species, or size of the animal, but LSJ suggests that Herodotus used the word                                                 111 ἀποφέρεται ὁ θύσας τὰ κρέα καὶ χρᾶται ὅ τι μιν λόγος αἱρέει 1.132.3 112 A possible exception here is Xerxes’ sacrifice of one thousand oxen to Athena in 7.43, but Herodotus gives no details on the process and does not describe any subsequent feasting. It is also likely significant that Xerxes is sacrificing to a Greek deity and may thus be adhering more to Greek sacrificial procedure, but this is not possible to prove from such limited evidence. 113  ἑωυτῷ μὲν δὴ τῷ θύοντι ἰδίῃ μούνῳ οὔ οἱ ἐγγίνεται ἀρᾶσθαι ἀγαθά, ὁ δὲ τοῖσι πᾶσι Πέρσῃσι κατεύχεται εὖ γίνεσθαι καὶ τῷ βασιλέι: ἐν γὰρ δὴ τοῖσι ἅπασι Πέρσῃσι καὶ αὐτὸς γίνεται. 1.132.2  49 κτῆνος to mean an ox, a sheep, or a pig.114 Thus we may speculate that the animal was rather large and that the meat was shared either by distribution or by feasting.  That is the full extent to which Herodotus describes the method of sacrifice practiced by the Persians. His terseness begs us to ask, “Why not explain it further?” As is now clear from his descriptions of Egyptian and Scythian sacrifice, Herodotus considered the details of foreign sacrificial procedure to be worthy both of description and of explanation, at least to the extent that they differ from Greek norms. This must, then, lead to the conclusion that Herodotus did not perceive Persian sacrifice as being markedly different from the customs with which his readers would be most familiar. It is in Persian secular eating practice that the characteristic Eastern extravagance makes its appearance.  The average Greek reader would certainly have noticed substantial differences between the Persian feasts Herodotus describes in the following chapter and the contemporary Greek symposium, and yet Herodotus’ description of a more-or-less generic Persian feast (in this case, any given man’s birthday feast) is likewise only one chapter long. The chapter reads as follows: Of all days, the one each man holds in the highest esteem is his own birthday. And on this day he thinks it right to set out a more abundant feast than usual: at this feast the rich among them serve bull, horse, camel, and donkey, roasted whole in ovens; but the poor among them serve smaller cattle. They eat few grain dishes but many desserts, and not all served together. Because of this the Persians say that the Greeks stop eating while they are still hungry, since nothing worth much is set before them after dinner. [They say that] if [the Greeks] were served this, they would never stop eating. They are very fond of wine, and it is not allowed for them to vomit or to urinate in front of another; this is prohibited among them. They are accustomed to deliberate over the most serious of matters while drunk: and that which pleases them in the deliberations is presented to them on the next day by the master of the house in which they                                                 114 cf. Hippoc. Cord. 2; Xen. Anab. 5.2.3  50 deliberate, and if it pleases them while they are sober, they act on it, and if not, they abandon it. And if they deliberated about something when sober, they consider it afresh when they are drunk.115  The first part of this chapter, in which a Persian birthday feast is described, focuses entirely on food rather than on other typical aspects of feasting (e.g., entertainment, ritual, who is or is not invited). Notably, the meat served at these feasts does not appear to originate from sacrifices; the animals are roasted whole in ovens as opposed to dismembered and boiled as in 1.132.2, and there is no mention of the presence of a Magus. This gives the impression that the Persian feast is not a particularly religious or ritualistic affair, or at least that the Persian feast is not provided for by means of sacrifice and may not have any religious associations as would the feast at a Greek symposium.  There is likewise no mention of the egalitarian discourse that characterized the symposium, and the concept of a birthday celebration for one man seems antithetical to sympotic custom. The focus in the feasting portion of this chapter is on the food, whereas drink and talk are covered later. The fact that the discussion of the birthday feast immediately precedes the drinking episode in this chapter has been taken to mean that feasting inevitably results in drunkenness due to the Persians’ inability to adopt “les règles du savoir-bien-boire,” a                                                 115 ἡμέρην δὲ ἁπασέων μάλιστα ἐκείνην τιμᾶν νομίζουσι τῇ ἕκαστος ἐγένετο. ἐν ταύτῃ δὲ πλέω δαῖτα τῶν ἀλλέων δικαιεῦσι προτίθεσθαι: ἐν τῇ οἱ εὐδαίμονες αὐτῶν βοῦν καὶ ἵππον καὶ κάμηλον καὶ ὄνον προτιθέαται ὅλους ὀπτοὺς ἐν καμίνοισι, οἱ δὲ πένητες αὐτῶν τὰ λεπτὰ τῶν προβάτων προτιθέαται. σίτοισι δὲ ὀλίγοισι χρέωνται, ἐπιφορήμασι δὲ πολλοῖσι καὶ οὐκ ἁλέσι: καὶ διὰ τοῦτο φασὶ Πέρσαι τοὺς Ἕλληνας σιτεομένους πεινῶντας παύεσθαι, ὅτι σφι ἀπὸ δείπνου παραφορέεται οὐδὲν λόγου ἄξιον: εἰ δέ τι παραφέροιτο, ἐσθίοντας ἂν οὐ παύεσθαι. οἴνῳ δὲ κάρτα προσκέαται, καί σφι οὐκ ἐμέσαι ἔξεστι, οὐκὶ οὐρῆσαι ἀντίον ἄλλου. ταῦτα μέν νυν οὕτω φυλάσσεται, μεθυσκόμενοι δὲ ἐώθασι βουλεύεσθαι τὰ σπουδαιέστατα τῶν πρηγμάτων: τὸ δ᾽ ἂν ἅδῃ σφι βουλευομένοισι, τοῦτο τῇ ὑστεραίῃ νήφουσι προτιθεῖ ὁ στέγαρχος, ἐν τοῦ ἂν ἐόντες βουλεύωνται, καὶ ἢν μὲν ἅδῃ καὶ νήφουσι, χρέωνται αὐτῷ, ἢν δὲμὴ ἅδῃ, μετιεῖσι. τὰ δ᾽ ἂν νήφοντες προβουλεύσωνται, μεθυσκόμενοι ἐπιδιαγινώσκουσι. Hdt. Hist. 1.133  51 concept held as ideal for the Greek drinker if not necessarily practiced consistently in reality.116 While that interpretation is not outside the realm of possibility, one might more cautiously approach the transition between the two parts of the chapter by assuming nothing more than that Herodotus thought it logical to place the discussion of wine after the discussion of food and feasting, given that his audience would doubtless associate food with drink—after all, the term “symposium” is not shy about its origins. Proximity alone is not sufficient cause for assuming that the drunken deliberations would have occurred at birthday feasts, given that just one chapter earlier Herodotus discusses sacrifice, which likewise shares a certain aspect with feasting (i.e., meat-eating) but takes place in a completely different context. These three activities (sacrificing, feasting, and drinking) could as easily have been made a single chapter or three separate ones as they were arbitrarily split into two. Indeed the passage on the Persians’ proclivity for heavy drinking is not even about feasting, but rather it details the Persians’ process of “deliberating over the most serious things” (βουλεύεσθαι τὰ σπουδαιέστατα). Herodotus is talking about politics, not birthday parties, and demonstrating how the Persians use alcohol as a decisionmaking tool. Drunkennness is employed as a practical aid for deliberating on subjects hardly suitable for a birthday fête, and he gives no impression of looking down upon the practice. This is not to suggest that the Persians did not drink at feasts, for surely they did, but that drinking is not a part of Herodotus’ feast description, an omission which Greek readers accustomed to attending symposia would have noticed.                                                  116 Schmitt Pantel, La cité au banquet, 431.  52 Trick or Treat: Persian feasting narratives This leads us to the matter of specific feasting narratives. Kaori O’Connor, in her comparative anthropology of feasting, lists the many potential functions of a feast. Each feast, real or imagined, serves some purpose, be it the display of hierarchy and status, the expression of conflict, identity formation and solidification through inclusion or exclusion, or several other possibilities.117 At any feast, there is a motive beyond feasting for feasting’s sake or—to put it both bluntly and colloquially—there is no such thing as a free lunch. Bottéro emphasizes the political nature of real Persian feasts, at which the King’s generosity, in the form of “les largesses de bouche,” remind his subject-guests of his power and the vital importance of submitting willingly to his authority.118 Herodotus’ Persians are no exception. With only two omissions (7.43, at which Xerxes sacrifices a thousand oxen to Athena, but we do not see a feast; 9.82, wherein two feasts are laid out, but we do not see them in progress) any banquet involving Persians in the Histories can go one of two ways: a peaceful repast is shared, or one or more people is murdered or maimed. Food enters the Persian narrative in Book 1 Chapter 71, in which Croesus sets out to conquer Cyrus and the Persians through an expedition against Cappadocia. This is an explicitly ethnographical passage, but its proximity to the feasting narrative in 1.95 ff. is important, and it is best studied in relation to that narrative. In this ethnographical scene, the Lydian Sandanis offers him the following advice against attacking the Persians: O king, you are preparing to march against such men who wear leather trousers and all of whose other clothing is made of leather, eating not as much as they wish but as much as they have, because their land is so rough. In addition, they make no use of wine, but drink water, have no figs to eat, nor any other                                                 117 O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast, 9. 118 Jean Bottéro, La plus vieille cuisine du monde (Paris: Audibert, 2002), 163 n. 2.  53 good thing. 119  These early Persians, as described by Sandanis, are far from the wealthy and indulgent Persians who end up fighting the Greeks and indeed the exact opposite of those Persians described in the Persian logos later on in Book 1. Their indigence, it seems, could be described sufficiently by an assessment only of their clothing and dietary habits, and it was, in the opinion of Sandanis, so extreme that the Lydians could gain nothing from conquering them. There was little to take, and the Persians, upon tasting (γευσάμενοι) the Lydian luxuries (τῶν ἡμετέρων ἀγαθῶν), would cling to these “good things” so tightly that nothing could pry them away. Croesus, naturally, did not heed this advice and undertook a disastrous campaign against Persia, which resulted in none other than the Persians carrying off the Lydians’ wealth.120 This, then, is how the Persians of Herodotus’ remaining narrative came to discover and enjoy wealth, finery, and, presumably, good food and drink. It is only shortly thereafter that we learn the significance of food in the story of how the Persians achieved their predominant position in Asia.  In Book 1 Chapter 95 ff. Cyrus employs good food and leisure as motivating factors for the rallying of men against the Medes. In his famous scheme, Cyrus commands his men to suffer a day of toil followed by a day of extravagant feasting, which includes the best wine and bread he could procure and the slaughtering of all of his father’s goats, sheep, and oxen.121 The Persian army is told that if they take up arms against Astyages, they will enjoy a thousand pleasures as good as the ones they enjoyed that day. While the veracity of this offer may be                                                 119 ὦ βασιλεῦ, ἐπ᾽ ἄνδρας τοιούτους στρατεύεσθαι παρασκευάζεαι, οἳ σκυτίνας μὲν ἀναξυρίδας σκυτίνην δὲ τὴν ἄλλην ἐσθῆτα φορέουσι, σιτέονται δὲ οὐκ ὅσα ἐθέλουσι ἀλλ᾽ ὅσα ἔχουσι, χώρην ἔχοντες τρηχέαν. πρὸς δὲ οὐκ οἴνῳ διαχρέωνται ἀλλὰ ὑδροποτέουσι, οὐ σῦκα δὲ ἔχουσι τρώγειν, οὐκ ἄλλο ἀγαθὸν οὐδέν. 1.71.2-3 120 1.89-90 121 1.126  54 somewhat suspect, it is nevertheless clear that at some time during Cyrus’ reign the Persian army of Herodotus’ narrative became very much aware of the existence and charms of luxurious dining. Though the feast is peaceful and only one culture is involved, this is also the first of many instances in which dining serves as a prelude to violence; the Persians have learned to enjoy the luxuries of feasting and leisure, and to obtain those luxuries they begin the revolt that begins Cyrus’ Persian Empire.122  As we shall see, the banquet is the central feature of many other passages about Persia. Feasting of some sort is attested in every society, large and small, throughout time and space; Greece and Persia are perhaps two of the societies most known for their fabulous banquets.123 The importance of the symposium in Greek culture has been covered often and in great detail and thus requires no elaboration here.124 Persian royal feasting has likewise received much                                                 122 It is perhaps also worth noting that this trick is presented immediately following Herodotus’ account of the Lydian emigration to Italy. The chapter (1.94) begins with a rather brief account of the Lydian nomoi, namely that they are the same as those of the Greeks with the exception of the prostitution of their daughters, and a short list of Lydian inventions: coinage, retail, and many games popular amongst the Greeks. The latter is what leads Herodotus to yet another mention of food (or rather, a lack thereof). The games, Herodotus says, were invented during a period of famine, in which the Lydians passed eighteen years surviving by a strategy of eating only every other day and distracting themselves with various games. When the famine failed to abate, the Lydians drew lots, and half departed to Italy with Tyrrhenus to become the Tyrrhenians. Whether or not this is true, it is clear that Herodotus was quite conscious of the dangers and difficulties of famine, and his choice to juxtapose this scene with Cyrus’ scheme clearly draws attention to the contrast between luxury and hardship and the general theme of changing fortunes that Herodotus emphasizes throughout the work. Famine and feasting are neither constant states for historical Lydia nor contemporary peoples. 123 O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast, 7. 124 Oswyn Murray, “The Greek Symposion in History,” in Tria Corda: scritti in onoredi Arnado Momigliano (Como: Edizione New Press, 1983); Oswyn Murray, ed., Sympotica: A Symposium on the Symposion (Oxford and New York: Clarendon Press and Oxford University Press, 1990); William J. Slater, ed., Dining in a Classical Context (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1991); Fiona Hobden, The Symposion in Ancient Greek Society and Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013); Robin Osborne, “Intoxication and Sociality: The Symposium in the Ancient Greek World,” Past & Present 222, no. suppl_9 (January 1, 2014): 34–60; Marek Węcowski, The Rise of the Greek Aristocratic Banquet, First edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014); Sean Corner, “Symposium,” in A Companion to Food in the Ancient World, ed. John Wilkins and Robin Nadeau (Oxford: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 2015), 234–42.  55 attention.125 Though the fact that Herodotus’ Scythians and Egyptians partook of feasts can be deduced from careful reading of the text, it is only to Persian feasting that Herodotus dedicates significant illustrative space. In Greek and Persian culture, as in our own and many others, feasts are gifts; it is no coincidence that the appropriate verb for a feast in English is “to give.”126 They are part of a xenia relationship in any and all cultures, a forum for the reciprocal principal of do ut des – a feast is given, and “some kind of return is expected and it is the cycle of giving.”127 The implication of feasting in the xenia relationship comes with the corollary that feasts are Res orientales, 1142-2831 also common settings for violence, the perpetrator of which, in Herodotus, is invariably the host.128 Violence against guests at feasts is an extremely common trope, seen as early as the Odyssey, when Odysseus slaughters the suitors in Book 22 and in folklore throughout the world.129 One form of it is still so commonly used today that it has its own page on TVtropes.com, “the Nasty Party”.130 The significance of this trope in Greek literature is obvious: to invite a guest to a feast and to then murder or maim them or someone close to them is a clear breach of xenia. Herodotus’ Persians violate the xenia relationship repeatedly throughout his work, and it is tempting to interpret this as an insinuation that the                                                 125 Briant, “Table Du Roi, Tribut et Redistribution Chez Les Achéménides”; Marthe. Bernus-Taylor, Rika. Gyselen, and Dominique Collon, eds., “Banquets in the Art of the Ancient near East,” in Banquets D’orient, Res orientales, (Leuven: Groupe pour l’étude de la civilisation du Moyen-Orient; Peeters Press, 1992), 23–30; Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander: A History of the Persian Empire (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbraun, 2002); Bowie, “Fate May Harm Me, I Have Dined Today”; O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast, 53–84. 126 O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast, 19. 127 Ibid. 128 Bowie, “Fate May Harm Me, I Have Dined Today.” 129 Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature: A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folktales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabliaux, Jest-Books and Local Legends, 6. Dr., vol. 4: J-K (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1997), sec. K811.1. 130 “Nasty Party,” TV Tropes, accessed June 13, 2017, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NastyParty. The “Red Wedding” in HBO’s Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords is one particularly well-known example of the trope in modern pop culture.  56 Persians do not respect xenia as a concept or, at the very least, do not abide by it. The violation of xenia, however, appears neither to be an essentialist cultural trait nor specific to the Persians. In fact, while xenia violation is seemingly antithetical to the customs associated with Greek identity, it is not without precedent or in the Greek mythological corpus. Though the most famous violator of xenia is the decidedly non-Greek Polyphemus, there is still something relevant to learn from Odysseus’ encounter with him.131 If Zeus is the avenger of strangers and suppliants, then, according to Heffernan, “we may infer that Zeus punishes those who treat strangers badly and rewards those who treat them well.”132 We also see this important aspect of Zeus in his epithet xenios.133 As early as the Archaic Period (and presumably earlier), violations of proper guest-friendship were evidently recognized as a significant enough problem among the Greeks to merit an aspect of Zeus devoted to avenging them. This is likewise supported by the issue’s prominence in myth. Food-related murder is characteristic of the House of Atreus: its progenitor, Tantalus, tried to feed his own son to the gods; Atreus himself took revenge against his brother, Thyestes, by feeding him his two sons for dinner; and Agamemnon slaughtered Iphigenia as if she were a sacrificial animal and then, in certain versions of his death, was murdered at a banquet.134 Evidently violating xenia by murdering someone at a banquet was hardly a                                                 131 Hom. Od. 9.270-1 132 James A. W. Heffernan, Hospitality and Treachery in Western Literature (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2014), 6. 133 Hom. Od.14.158,389, 15.514, al. 134 Hom. Od. 11.409-15; Soph. El. 190ff; The well-known bathtub scene of Aeschylus shows Agamemnon in a position of similar vulnerability and plays on the same ideas about the violation of xenia, but, of course, there is no food in the bathtub.  57 phenomenon limited to barbarians, much less to Persians alone.135 This problematizes the link tying Persian xenia violations to the concept of tryphé.136 If one characterizes elaborate feasting and murder therein as an example or symptom of Persian decadence and moral depravity, one must also attribute those negative traits to the great king Agamemnon and his forefathers. The Greeks, then, cannot claim the moral high ground, if their own mythical monarchy behaved much the same way as the Persian monarchy they so opposed.137 Perhaps it is telling that tryphé is a word that Herodotus never uses. There is a certain special power to violating xenia. To harm a guest under your care, who is off guard either because of his expectations or because wine has incapacitated him, is neither kalos nor agathos, but it is an extremely effective way of overpowering another person (or army, as the case may be). In the histories, there is no specific indication of tryphé to set apart barbarian xenia violations from Greek ones, but the gendered aspects of the term do seem to appear in the narrative. Gendered murder and maiming In only one instance does Herodotus present murdering one’s guests in a positive light. The scene in Book 5 Chapters 18-21 shows the Persians behaving inappropriately and immoderately at a feast hosted by the Macedonian king Amyntas, father of Alexander I. In response to this misbehavior, Alexander, “since he was young and unaffected by wickedness,”                                                 135 Carolina López-Ruiz, “The King and the Cupbearer: Feasting and Power in Eastern Mediterranean Myth,” in Patrimonio cultural de la vid y el vino: Vine and wine cultural heritage, ed. Sebastián Celestino Pérez and Juan Blánquez Pérez (Madrid: UAM Ediciones, 2013), 133–51. 136 Tryphé, defined by LSJ as “softness, effeminacy, daintiness” or “luxuriousness, wantonness,” and its adjectival and verbal forms, are commonly used to differentiate Persian luxurious feasts from Greek egalitarian symposia. The Greeks, in their perpetual quest for sophrosyne, avoid tryphé, and associate it with barbarians, at least supposedly. O’Connor, The Never-Ending Feast, 63–65 offers some discussion of Greek perspectives on tryphé and its attribution to Persians. 137 Another way to interpret this association is as a rather roundabout dig at the Spartan, whose preference for “spartan" meals (cf. 9.82) and aversion to luxury is belied by the actions of the Atreids, the family of the very Pelops who lent his name to the Peloponnese.  58 took revenge against the Persians by dressing his men up as women and instructing them to kill the Persians with daggers.138 Although the Macedonians were not Greek, Alexander was known as an avid philhellene, and given the similarity between this feast and the typical Greek symposium (and the fact that the Persians seemed unable to comply with the Greek-style rules of said symposium) the Macedonians in this scene are positioned as relatable, if not entirely equivalent, to the Greek perspective. The method of killing in this scene generates some compelling problems. On the one hand, penetrative weaponry is typically associated with men and masculine behavior, but on the other hand, trickery is often the province of women, and the gender of the male killers here is perceived as female.139 Trickery and femininity are both commonly associated with Persianness, but here the Persians are the victims of an ambiguously gendered duplicitous attack executed by a well-known philhellene at a party that is unmistakably recognizable as a symposium. The context and the perpetrator of the crime are much closer to home than in any of the other scenes depicting violence and eating together. Conveniently, Alexander’s proximity and adoption of Greek culture serve as sufficient justification not only to exonerate him (with the help of a strategic marriage) but to make this action an important early step in Alexander’s rise to prominence. There are two other instances of gendered violence at Eastern meals, although in both cases the victims are women and the perpetrators are Persian. In each scene the violent act is presented as one of retribution, but there is no positive spin as there is in 5.18-21. In the first of these scenes, Cambyses kills one of his sister-wives at the table for showing him a plucked                                                 138  ἅτε νέος τε ἐὼν καὶ κακῶν ἀπαθής 5.19.1 139 Nicole Loraux, Tragic Ways of Killing a Woman (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1987).  59 lettuce and telling him that he has “stripped bare the house of Cyrus just like this lettuce.”140 A somewhat similar incident occurs in 9.108-13, although the person who commits the violent act is the king’s wife, jealous of the woman she perceives to be her husband’s mistress due to an event occurring at the feast. There is not enough space here to examine these scenes in detail, but what is clear is that the Eastern perpetrators are shown as petty and temperamental, while Alexander appears clever and just. In each scene, the characterization is different, but the bones of the story are essentially the same: a guest or guests at a peaceful banquet angers one of the hosts and is brutally murdered or maimed in retaliation.  Thyestean feasts Vengeance for other wrongs can also take the form of the feast itself. Instead of punishing a guest for an act committed or discovered at the feast, the host invites a guest who wronged him to a feast in order to exact premeditated revenge. Twice in Herodotus this revenge involves concealed cannibalism. Perhaps the most famous cannibalistic meal of Classical myth is the feast of Thyestes, in which the eponymous Thyestes, tricked by his brother, Atreus, unwittingly dines on the flesh of his own sons. When Thyestes indicates his satiety and satisfaction with the meal by emitting a loud belch, Atreus reveals his scheme by uncovering the boys’ heads and hands. Two scenes in Book 1 bear a striking resemblance to this myth, and, unsurprisingly, both involve Persians/Medes. Of these scenes, the dinner of Harpagus has received more attention, presumably both because it adheres more closely to the myth of Thyestes and because it is the more detailed of                                                 140 ταύτην μέντοι κοτὲ σὺ τὴν θρίδακα ἐμιμήσαο τὸν Κύρου οἶκον ἀποψιλώσας (3.32.4). This is one food-related vignette that is presented as having possible alternatives. Herodotus gives two versions of how Cambyses’ sister-wife was killed. The version involving the lettuce is the Egyptian account, whereas the Greek account does not involve food at all. Therefore, although food is part of one of the alternatives, Herodotus is not presenting any food or foodways as being debatable.  60 the two passages. After discovering that Harpagus failed to kill baby Cyrus, Astyages conceals his anger and concocts a revenge plot against Harpagus: ASTYAGES: “Now then, since fortune has turned out well, send your own son to the newly come boy, and (since I am about to sacrifice a thank-offering (σῶστρα) to those of the gods to whom this honor is due) join me for dinner…” But Astyages, when the son of Harpagus arrived, cut his throat (σφάξας) and tore him limb from limb; some of the flesh he roasted and some he boiled, and having prepared it, he kept it ready. When dinnertime rolled around and the rest of the guests and Harpagus were present, the others and Astyages were served dishes of lamb meat, but Harpagus [was served the flesh] of his own son, all except for the head and the tips of the hands and feet, which were covered up separately in a wicker basket. And when it seemed that Harpagus had enough of his food (βορῆς141), Astyages asked him if he enjoyed the feast, and Harpagus said that he enjoyed it exceedingly. [Then] they brought to him the head that belonged to his son, covered up along with the hands and the feat, and standing before Harpagus they urged him to uncover it and to take as much of it as he wanted. Having been persuaded to uncover it, Harpagus saw the remains of his son, but he did not lose his composure at the sight. Astyages asked him if he knew which beast’s flesh he had eaten. The other said that he knew and that everything the king does is pleasing. Replying thus and taking the remains of the flesh, he went home, and there he meant, as it seems to me, to collect everything and bury it.142                                                 141 See LSJ (βορά) for various interesting uses of this word for cannibal feasts (Aesch. Ag. 1220 and Soph. Ant. 1017) and gluttony; notably, the word βορά seems to be used less for simple “food” than for aggressive carnivorous devouring. 142 ὡς ὦν τῆς τύχης εὖ μετεστεώσης, τοῦτο μὲν τὸν σεωυτοῦ παῖδα ἀπόπεμψον παρὰ τὸν παῖδα τὸν νεήλυδα, τοῦτο δὲ (σῶστρα γὰρ τοῦ παιδὸς μέλλω θύειν τοῖσι θεῶν τιμὴ αὕτη προσκέεται) πάρισθί μοι ἐπὶ δεῖπνον.’  ἅρπαγος μὲν ὡς ἤκουσε ταῦτα, προσκυνήσας καὶ μεγάλα ποιησάμενος ὅτι τε ἡ ἁμαρτὰς οἱ ἐς δέον ἐγεγόνεε καὶ ὅτι ἐπὶ τύχῃσι χρηστῇσι ἐπὶ δεῖπνον ἐκέκλητο, ἤιε ἐς τὰ οἰκία. ἐσελθὼν δὲ τὴν ταχίστην, ἦν γὰρ οἱ παῖς εἷς μοῦνος ἔτεα τρία καὶ δέκα κου μάλιστα γεγονώς, τοῦτον ἐκπέμπεν ἰέναι τε κελεύων ἐς Ἀστυάγεος καὶ ποιέειν ὅ τι ἂν ἐκεῖνος κελεύῃ, αὐτὸς δὲ περιχαρὴς ἐὼν φράζει τῇ γυναικὶ τὰ συγκυρήσαντα. Ἀστυάγης δέ, ὥς οἱ ἀπίκετο ὁ Ἁρπάγου παῖς, σφάξας αὐτὸν καὶ κατὰ μέλεα διελὼν τὰ μὲν ὤπτησε τὰ δὲ ἥψησε τῶν κρεῶν, εὔτυκα δὲ ποιησάμενος εἶχε ἕτοιμα. ἐπείτε δὲ τῆς ὥρης γινομένης τοῦ δείπνου παρῆσαν οἵ τε ἄλλοι δαιτυμόνες καὶ ὁ Ἅρπαγος, τοῖσι μὲν ἄλλοισι καὶ αὐτῷ Ἀστυάγεϊ παρετιθέατο τράπεζαι ἐπίπλεαι μηλέων κρεῶν, Ἁρπάγῳ δὲ τοῦ παιδὸς τοῦ ἑωυτοῦ, πλὴν κεφαλῆς τε καὶ ἄκρων χειρῶν τε καὶ ποδῶν, τἄλλα πάντα: ταῦτα δὲ χωρὶς ἔκειτο ἐπὶ κανέῳ κατακεκαλυμμένα, ὡς δὲ τῷ Ἁρπάγῳ ἐδόκεε ἅλις  61  The passage mirrors the Thyestean feast closely: a boy (only one in this case) is murdered and fed to his father as part of a revenge plot. The father enjoys his meal very much until the identity of meat in his belly is revealed in much the same way as in the myth. This method mimics the practice of setting aside the head and feet for the god as attested in SIG3 1042 (= LS 55.10).143 Herodotus also goes into considerable detail about how the boy was killed, butchered, and cooked—the passage reads much like a normal Greek sacrifice, perverted only by the choice of victim. Cannibalism aside, the ritual sacrifice of a child evokes another Atreid myth, Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigenia.  Herodotus does not reference the House of Atreus as obviously in the other passage on cannibalistic feasting in Book 1 Chapters 73-74, several chapters before Harpagus’ grim feast, but the themes of the two passages are quite similar. Some Scythians at the Median court, angered by Cyaxares’ harsh treatment of them after they returned empty-handed from a hunt, take their revenge by preparing for Cyaxares a nearly-Thyestean banquet. [The Scythians] planned to cut up one of the boys who were their pupils, preparing him as they were accustomed to preparing beasts and bringing him to give to Cyaxares as if he were really game and then, having given him [to Cyaxares], to convey themselves as quickly as possible to Alyattes, son of Sadyattes at Sardis. They did all these things. For Cyaxares and                                                                                                                                                   ἔχειν τῆς βορῆς, Ἀστυάγης εἴρετό μιν εἰ ἡσθείη τι τῇ θοίνῃ. φαμένου δὲ Ἁρπάγου καὶ κάρτα ἡσθῆναι, παρέφερον τοῖσι προσέκειτο τὴν κεφαλὴν τοῦ παιδὸς κατακεκαλυμμένην καὶ τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τοὺς πόδας, Ἅρπαγον δὲ ἐκέλευον προσστάντες ἀποκαλύπτειν τε καὶ λαβεῖν τὸ βούλεται αὐτῶν. πειθόμενος δὲ ὁ Ἅρπαγος καὶ ἀποκαλύπτων ὁρᾷ τοῦ παιδὸς τὰ λείμματα, ἰδὼν δὲ οὔτε ἐξεπλάγη ἐντός τε ἑωυτοῦ γίνεται. εἴρετο δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἀστυάγης εἰ γινώσκοι ὅτευ θηρίου κρέα βεβρώκοι. ὁ δὲ καὶ γινώσκειν ἔφη καὶ ἀρεστὸν εἶναι πᾶν τὸ ἂν βασιλεὺς ἔρδῃ. τούτοισι δὲ ἀμειψάμενος καὶ ἀναλαβὼν τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν κρεῶν ἤιε ἐς τὰ οἰκία, ἐνθεῦτεν δὲ ἔμελλε, ὡς ἐγὼ δοκέω, ἁλίσας θάψειν τὰ πάντα. 1.118.2-119. 143 For other instances of the head and feet being set aside as part of sacrificial and hunting practice, see Walter Burkert, Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 105 n. 11.  62 those who dined with him ate the boy’s flesh…144  A number of differences merit attention: 1. The perpetrators were Scythian, not Persian. 2. The perpetrators were common people, not royalty, whereas in 1.118-19 the roles are reversed. 3. Everyone at the feast, not just the person upon whom revenge is being exacted, consume the child. 4. The child murdered and served as food was not the son of the person(s) who ate him. 5. There is no mention of whether or not the scheme is revealed to Cyaxares, but the fact that the Scythians must escape to Alyattes would suggest that he was expected to find out in one way or another; however, we cannot assume that the head and hands were set aside or shown to the diners. 6. The killing does not clearly reference sacrifice. The Scythians in question are hunters, and the only description of their process is that they prepared him “as they were accustomed to prepare beasts” (ὥσπερ ἐώθεσαν καὶ τὰ θηρία σκευάζειν).  These differences suggest that the story of Harpagus, and by extension the actions of the Easterners, more closely resemble the Greek myths than those of the Scythians. While the actions of the Scythians do evoke the myth of Thyestes, the actions of Astyages are so reminiscent of the tales of the House of Atreus that one cannot possibly miss the reference to Thyestes’ feast even though Herodotus never mentions Thyestes by name. The fact that the Scythian scene departs from the myth and yet is so closely followed by the feast of Harpagus, which looks strikingly similar to the Thyestean feast, emphasizes the similarity between the tragic dinners of Thyestes and Harpagus. Mass murder at military feasts The House of Atreus is likewise evoked when banquets are used as covers for military slaughter, recalling the murder of Agamemnon at a banquet. Banquets are often a major arena                                                 144 ἐβούλευσαν τῶν παρὰ σφίσι διδασκομένων παίδων ἕνα κατακόψαι, σκευάσαντες δὲ αὐτὸν ὥσπερ ἐώθεσαν καὶ τὰ θηρία σκευάζειν, Κυαξάρῃ δοῦναι φέροντες ὡς ἄγρην δῆθεν, δόντες δὲ τὴν ταχίστην κομίζεσθαι παρὰ Ἀλυάττεα τὸν Σαδυάττεω ἐς Σάρδις. ταῦτα καὶ ἐγένετο. καὶ γὰρ Κυαξάρης καὶ οἱ παρεόντες δαιτυμόνες τῶν κρεῶν τούτων ἐπάσαντο… 1.73.5-6  63 of interaction between armies from different cultures in the Persian episodes.145 In two of these banquet scenes, the Scythians are the second culture involved, and the Medes or Persians take advantage of the Scythians’ lack of familiarity with good food and wine. The first tells how Cyaxares invited the Scythians to a banquet and “getting them drunk, slaughtered them” (καταμεθύσαντες κατεφόνευσαν).146 This act of unexpected violence ends well for the Medes, who are as a result able to take back their former empire.  The second, much longer, Scythian-Eastern fest scene (this time involving the Persians rather than the Medes) does not go so well for the Easterners. Cyrus’ plan is sound, based on the logic of the scene just discussed and on Cyrus’ insistence that the ἀγαθῶν ἄπειροι Scythians, if exposed to luxury, would surely take advantage of it.147 CROESUS: As I hear, the Massagetae are unacquainted with the good things that the Persians have and are without experience of great quality (kalwn megalwn). Thus, slaughtering and preparing many cattle unsparingly, put a feast before these men in our own encampment, and kraters not sparing of unmixed wine and all sorts of grains. When you have done these things, leaving behind the least distinguished of the army, let the remainder withdraw back to the river. For (if I have not made an error of judgement) they, seeing these many good things, they will turn themselves toward them, and then it will be left to us to accomplish great deeds.148  The Scythians in this passage look a lot like the Persians that Croesus once failed to conquer, suggesting that Cyrus had by this point come to understand the point Sandanis had been trying to make to Croesus and managed to put it to productive use. At first, Cyrus’ plan appears to work extremely well:                                                 145 1.106, 207-12; 9.16, 82 146 1.106.2 147 This recalls 1.71 and 1.95 ff. 148 1.207.6-7  64 Then Cyrus and the sound portion of the Persian army marched back to the Araxes, leaving behind those who were unfit. A third of the Massagetae host killed the ones Cyrus left behind, with some resistance. Then, seeing the feast set out, since they had subdued their enemies, they sat down and dined; being filled with food and wine, they slept. The Persians, coming upon them, killed many of them, but they took still more as captives, and among them was the son of the queen and general of the Massagetae, Tomyris, whose name was Spargapises.149  Cyrus seems to have used the Scythians’ own inexperience against them by once again using food as a military tool. The Scythians can hold neither their food nor their liquor and are utterly defenseless at the hands of the conniving Persians. Unfortunately for Cyrus, though, he did not account for Tomyris’ thematically appropriate retaliation:  And when she learned what happened to her army and her son, she sent to Cyrus a herald who said these things: “Cyrus, gluttonous for blood (ἄπληστε αἵματος), may you exalt not in the deeds you have done, if with the grapevine, with which you fill yourself up and go mad such that as the wine goes down into your body shameful words come up, with this drug overpowered my son by beguiling rather than through battle, mightily. Now listen well to my advice: give me back my son and get out of this country unpunished, having humiliated one third of the army of the Massagetae. If you do not do these things, I swear by the sun, master of the Massagetae, I will fill you up with enough blood to satiate your gluttony.150  This retort is probably too well-matched to the crime to have really happened, so this seems to be Herodotus’ way of bringing a poetic end to the life of Cyrus, whom Tomyris eventually does kill. Cyrus’ attempt to overthrow a society inexperienced with wine and feasting ultimately leads to his downfall, so despite the apparent initial success of his plot, the strategy is not portrayed favorably.  Compare this to the passage with the “feast” of Thrasyboulos in 1.21-22. In Thrasyboulos’ feast trick, there is no actual banquet, but Thrasyboulos manages to make peace                                                 149 1.211.2-3 150 1.212  65 with Alyattes by having the people of Miletus simulate a feast in order to feign great prosperity in Miletus. When Thrasyboulos plays a trick involving food, the outcome is positive and the portrayal is favorable. Greeks and Persians/Medes both play tricks with food, but when the Greeks do it, the result is peaceful contact between cultures, and when the Persians do it, the result is violence. The act is similar, but the outcome differs.  Greeks and Persians at the Shared Table What happens, then, when Greeks and Persians feast together? In short, the banquets seem peaceful, but the result is violence, hence complicating the relationships that each culture has to the act of feasting in other parts of the Histories. In the case of the banquets in Book 9, those bracketing the battle at Plataea, the banquets serve the transparent function of articulating the social and political relationship between Greece and Persia; it is the archetypal commensal experience writ large.151 The feast before the battle is in essence an extremely large Greek-style symposium.152 According to Herodotus’ source, Thersander of Orchomenus, there were fifty Thebans and fifty Persians present, including Mardonius. At the dinner, the Greeks and Persians were made to sit together, with one of each side-by-side on every couch. Despite the fact that the guests and hosts know they are about to meet each other on the battlefield, the atmosphere is sympathetic. One Persian guest even shares his thoughts on the cost of war with his Greek seatmate:                                                 151 Brian Hayden, “Fabulous Feasts: A Prolegomenon to the Importance of Feasting,” in Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power, ed. Michael Dietler and Brian Hayden (The University of Alabama Press, 2010), 30. 152 9.16  66 That one said, “since now you have eaten at the same table and shared in libations with me, I wish to leave behind with you a memorial of my thoughts, so that you, having been forewarned, may be able to take precautions for yourself. You see these very Persians feasting and the army we left behind, stationed by the river: after a short time has passed you will see that few of these men [have] survived.’”153  This passage is rather arresting in the way that it humanizes the Persian enemy, putting into his mouth the same fears that would have been familiar to any Greek who had fought in a war, as many among Herodotus’ audience must have. Still, despite this humanizing of the enemy, the pleasant feast is followed by the battle of Plataea, wherein the Persian soldiers’ prediction comes true. Essentially, every cross-cultural feast that we actually see happen is a prelude to violence. The feast following the battle of Plataea, in 9.82, would seem to be an exception to this rule, given that it occurs after the fighting has ended. However, this feast differs from the previous one in that there is no mention of what occurs during the feast; Herodotus notes only that the Persian feast was spectacular and that the Spartan feast was “Spartan” in every sense of the term. This obviously plays into stereotypes of impoverished Greeks, the idea that “Hellas has always had poverty as its companion.”154 Thus, while the feast is not immediately followed by                                                 153 τὸν δὲ εἰπεῖν ‘ἐπεὶ νῦν ὁμοτράπεζός τέ μοι καὶ ὁμόσπονδος ἐγένεο, μνημόσυνά τοι γνώμης τῆς ἐμῆς καταλιπέσθαι θέλω, ἵνα καὶ προειδὼς αὐτὸς περὶ σεωυτοῦ βουλεύεσθαι ἔχῃς τὰ συμφέροντα. ὁρᾷς τούτους τοὺς δαινυμένους Πέρσας καὶ τὸν στρατὸν τὸν ἐλίπομεν ἐπὶ τῷ ποταμῷ στρατοπεδευόμενον: τούτων πάντων ὄψεαι ὀλίγου τινὸς χρόνου διελθόντος ὀλίγους τινὰς τοὺς περιγενομένους.’ ταῦτα ἅμα τε τὸν Πέρσην λέγειν καὶ μετιέναι πολλὰ τῶν δακρύων. αὐτὸς δὲ θωμάσας τὸν λόγον εἰπεῖν πρὸς αὐτὸν ‘οὐκῶν Μαρδονίῳ τε ταῦτα χρεόν ἐστι λέγειν καὶ τοῖσι μετ᾽ ἐκεῖνον ἐν αἴνῃ ἐοῦσι Περσέων;’ τὸν δὲ μετὰ ταῦτα εἰπεῖν ‘ξεῖνε, ὅ τι δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἀμήχανον ἀποτρέψαι ἀνθρώπῳ: οὐδὲ γὰρ πιστὰ λέγουσι ἐθέλει πείθεσθαι οὐδείς. ταῦτα δὲ Περσέων συχνοὶ ἐπιστάμενοι ἑπόμεθα ἀναγκαίῃ ἐνδεδεμένοι, ἐχθίστη δὲ ὀδύνη ἐστὶ τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποισι αὕτη, πολλὰ φρονέοντα μηδενὸς κρατέειν.’ 9.16.2-5 154 τῇ Ἑλλάδι πενίη μὲν αἰεί σύντροφός ἐστι, 7.102.1; Josiah Ober, “Wealthy Hellas,” Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-) 140, no. 2 (Autumn 2010): 241–86.  67 violence, it can be separated from those that are by the fact that no actual banqueting occurs; moreover, Herodotus and his audience would be well aware that the war was not yet over.   The Case of Nitocris The only place we see murder at a feast in the Histories that does not involve Persians is in 2.100, when the Egyptian queen Nitocris enacts vengeance for the murder of her brother by inviting his killers to a feast and then redirecting the flow of the Nile in order to flood the chamber. This incident is seemingly unrelated to Eastern feasting narratives but for the fact that Herodotus sees fit to mention that Nitocris shared a name with a Babylonian queen. Even when there are no Easterners in sight, Herodotus evokes them whenever a treacherous feast takes place. Conclusions Food also plays a role in the final chapter of the Histories, in which Herodotus takes the readers back to the reign of Cyrus. In this chapter Artembares proposes to the Persians that they leave their “small and rugged”155 land in order to take possession of a better one, on the grounds that it is “natural for ruling men to do such a thing.”156 Cyrus permits his men to do so if they wish, but he warns them that if they did so they would no longer rule, but be ruled by others, saying, “From soft earth come soft men: for it is not [characteristic] of the earth to produce both marvelous fruit and men good for war.”157 The Persians, agreeing with Cyrus’ logic and acknowledging his wisdom chose to stay in their rugged land as rulers than to cultivate rich land as slaves.                                                 155 ὀλίγην καὶ ταύτην τρηχέαν 156 οἰκὸς δὲ ἄνδρας ἄρχοντας τοιαῦτα ποιέειν 157 φιλέειν γὰρ ἐκ τῶν μαλακῶν χώρων μαλακοὺς γίνεσθαι: οὐ γὰρ τι τῆς αὐτῆς γῆς εἶναι καρπόν τε θωμαστὸν φύειν καὶ ἄνδρας ἀγαθοὺς τὰ πολέμια.  68 Munson proposes that this passage is difficult to reconcile with Cyrus’ promise of continuous feasting in 1.126.158 Bowie presents it as a paradox: “Cyrus, greatest of the Achaemenid kings, is thus in Herodotus a symbol of the paradox of imperialism: rough lands breed rough warriors, but they will almost inevitably end up conquering soft lands and enjoying banquets.”159 However, the disconnect can be resolved if one considers the basic nature of imperialism. That is to say, expansion may allow the imperial power to enjoy the “best of both worlds.” In this case, the Persians need not risk decreasing the quality of their military in order to move to a place where fruit will grow with minimum toil because they can also obtain fine fruit and the other luxuries it represents through the continuing imposition of imperial power. This is a prime example of Cyrus’ use of food as a manipulative tool in his imperial scheme: first he obtained luxuries through the conquest of Lydia, then he presented those luxuries to his soldiers as the outcome of loyal military service, and here he hints at a plan to continue providing the incentive of luxury to his people without allowing them to become “soft” by being able to access it too easily. Essentially, Cyrus has found a way to have his cake and eat it too. The entire life of Cyrus, from his discovery as a boy, to his rise to power, to his death, to his last words in the Histories, is circumscribed by narratives about food. He consistently uses food as a tool, and yet the sacrifices of the Persians under him and his successors are relatively normative in comparison to typical Greek sacrifice. Cyrus’ manipulation of food is totally secular, but he is not above manipulating religion for his own gain. As per Croesus’ suggestion in 1.88, Cyrus stations guards at the gates of Sardis in order that they might take ten percent of                                                 158 Munson, “Herodotus and Ethnicity,” 469–70. 159 Bowie, “Fate May Harm Me, I Have Dined Today,” 108.  69 each soldier’s spoils as a dedication to Zeus. The implication is that the collected booty will actually go to Cyrus, making him the richest by far and securing his power. If Cyrus were to dedicate this portion to Zeus, it would do nothing to protect him, so the dedication must be a cover.160 The act of alimentary sacrifice, on the other hand, is never defiled by Cyrus’ Persians. They do seem to endorse, or at least tolerate, the profaning of sacrificial ritual by the substitution of a human child for the sacrificial victim, as in the case of the Scythians who fled to Alyattes, but that act has ample precedent in Greek myth. Note also that the profaning of ritual sacrifice in this manner takes place only before the reign of Cyrus. The act of normative Greek-style sacrifice is inviolable, even for the Persians. In terms of secular eating, we see in these Persian feasting narratives a dynamic characterized by power struggles, a concept entirely antithetical to the egalitarian ethos of the Athenian-style democratic symposium that developed and became a vital social institution throughout the Greek world from the Bronze Age onward.161 In theory, then, the sort of power struggle that occurs in these Persian banquets should seem utterly foreign to Herodotus’ audience, but in fact it mimics Greek myth so plainly, including myths that fifth century tragedy featured regularly, that Herodotus’ audience could not possibly have missed the references to their own history and mythology. Granted, the Atreids were not Athenian, and certainly not all of Greece practiced democracy, but there can be no question that Athenians, as any Greeks, would have recognized the prominence of the House of Atreus in the formation of Hellenic identity. The fact that early Greece had consisted of monarchies, and that monarchies still existed in the fifth century, meant that, even in Athens, the concept of                                                 160 James A. Arieti, Discourses on the First Book of Herodotus (Lanham, MD: Littlefield Adams Books, 1995), 107. 161 López-Ruiz, “The King and the Cupbearer: Feasting and Power in Eastern Mediterranean Myth,” 138–39.  70 monarchy was not entirely foreign. López-Ruiz sums it up quite well: “However, as the reality or threat of monarchy (or tyranny) never really disappears, even in classical Athens, neither does the imagined or real challenge of kingship at the banquet.”162 Georges makes the interesting point that, in the Lydian logos, the Pelasgians had originally been, in a sense, “barbarians,” since they were of Tyrrhenian, and thus Lydian, stock.163 He adds that at the time of Croesus, tyranny was the norm in both Asia and Greece and suggests that Herodotus’ insinuates that barbarians have the potential to “become Greek.”164 The implication, then, is that Greek custom developed from barbarian custom and that this historical connection is what enables Herodotus to present generic truths about historical events. In Georges’ words: “Greek experience contains all experience, both ‘Greek’ and ‘Barbarian’; the range and explanatory power of Greek experience is accordingly universal, whereas the experiences of other people are particular to them.”165 The historicity of the connection must be considered less important than whether or not Herodotus’ audience would be inclined to accept it as an explanation, a fact which cannot be determined; however, Georges’ idea is still useful in that it prompts us to ask why it is that Herodotus’ stories of the Persians fit so neatly into a Greek framework. The Greeks can understand Eastern despotism because the essentials of tyranny are a part of their history and the actions of their enemies a part of their mythology. The Thyestean feasts and treacherous hosts of the East are just as at home in the Greeks’ own cultural milieu as is normative Persian sacrifice.                                                 162 Ibid., 139. 163 1.57, 94 164 Pericles Georges, Barbarian Asia and the Greek Experience: From the Archaic Period to the Age of Xenophon, Ancient Society and History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994), 168. 165 Ibid., 181.  71 Conclusions  The position of the barbarians and their foodways in the Herodotean narrative can hardly be described as “Other,” and it is time to move on from outdated scholarship that misinterprets Herodotus’ discourse on foodways to perpetuate the stale narrative of Hellenocentric history. Herodotus shows barbarians as having different practices from Greeks, but, as I have shown, those practices have much more in common with Greek foodways than has been noticed in the past. Where there are discrepancies, old scholarship has given them excessive discursive weight as part of a tradition that sees the Greeks as being the cultural centerpiece of the Mediterranean rather than one participant in a vast cultural network. If we look at the Mediterranean as an andron, it is time to view the Greeks not as the center but as one of many guests on the couches lining the periphery of the room, joined by Scythians, Egyptians, and Persians, among others, and sharing in a discourse on custom and culture.  Herodotus recognized this network. His barbarians often seem like his Greeks, and while a certain amount of similarity can be explained away as a necessary reframing of material for easier comprehension by a Greek audience, reframing is not enough to explain the many instances in which Herodotus’ barbarians resemble real or mythical Greeks in their uses and attitudes toward food, either quotidian or exceptional. They are diverse and integrated into the structure of the Greek cultural framework, not twisted to fit into it. By the time Herodotus was writing, the barbarian was no stranger to the Greek oral/literary tradition. In myth, Greek heroes moved to barbarian lands, married barbarian women, gave birth to barbarian children, and vice versa, and the incorporation of heroic  72 foreign protagonists into the tradition was already in full swing.166 There had developed what Vlassopoulos calls the “Barbarian Repertoire”.167 The Barbarian Repertoire also allowed for multiple and overlapping expressions of barbarian identity, and there is no reason to expect that Herodotus would have adhered to only one interpretation of “barbarian-ness” either for barbarians as a totality or for any individual foreign group. This is further complicated by the existence of Vlassopoulos’ “Four Parallel Worlds,” that is to say, by the fact that viewing the Mediterranean as anything but a network of interconnected, interacting, fluid peoples is misleading.168 Herodotus himself was the product of these networks, being a native of Halicarnassus, and he would undoubtedly have grown up experiencing the unique and Persian-influenced culture of the Greek East; Herodotus was no Athenian, and his perceptions of food and eating habits must have been colored by the fact that he was a Greek foreigner in the city of Athens, and Athenian foodways must have been at least somewhat different from his own.  From Herodotus’ perspective, none of the barbarian sacrifices looks especially different from Greek sacrifice, but he does have to go out of his way to describe Scythian and Egyptian sacrifice to his audience. In comparison Persian sacrifice is mostly normative and requires little explanation. Persian secular eating is where things become extravagant. This is the opposite of Greek practice, where sacrificial meals are richer and more elaborate and daily meals are the usual, modest sitos and opson. Effectively, the Persians are almost the same as the Greek but have things mixed up in such a way that they wind up glorifying themselves more                                                 166 Kostas Vlassopoulos, “The Barbarian Repertoire in Greek Culture,” ΑΡΙΑΔΝΗ 18 (2012): 57. 167 Ibid., passim. 168 Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000); Irad Malkin, “Networks and the Emergence of Greek Identity,” Mediterranean Historical Review 18, no. 2 (December 2003): 56–74; Irad Malkin, A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean, Greeks Overseas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Kostas Vlassopoulos, Greeks and Barbarians (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 11–19.  73 than their gods. This misallocation of honor, combined with the use of food as a tool in violent action, is foreign in that it is backwards, but it is also uncomfortably familiar. Greeks host banquets, use food-related trickery (Thrasyboulos in 1.21-22), and know from their own mythology the risks associated with engaging in xenia. If Scythian and Egyptian foodways show some similarity with those of the Greeks, Persian foodways share even more. Though the practices of Persians and Greeks have different outcomes, Herodotus does not emphasize any fundamental difference between the two—in many cases, even the slightest perversion of the practices in question could erase some, if not all, of the discrepancies. In essence, the Greeks are not so far off from any of the barbarians, and of those barbarians they are least distinguishable from the Persians.   Next Steps  When I began this project, I naïvely thought that the subject of food and identity in Herodotus’ Histories would be easy to contain in a short thesis such as this one. I could not have been more wrong. Any one of the above chapters could have been expanded into an entire paper, should one wish to delve deeper into the language itself or approach the problem from a comparative/anthropological perspective. Considerable work remains to be done on the way in which Herodotus portrays Greek foodways, a subject which I have only been able to touch on briefly.  Moreover, additional work must be done to integrate the advances in Herodotean scholarship with the rise of scholarship on food. Future research may consider what it is that Herodotus tells us about food that we do not see in other authors, and it may even be possible to apply the method I propose here to other authors’ discussions of food that have likewise previously been dismissed as instances of “Othering.” A careful look at the text of Herodotus  74 proves that discourse on foodways can be infinitely complex, and it is my hope that others will begin to approach the study of foodways in Greek literature and history with a more nuanced view toward the relationship between “us” and “them.”    75 Bibliography  Allen, John S. “‘Theory of Food?’ as a Neurocognitive Adaptation.” American Journal of Human Biology 24, no. 2 (March 2012): 123–29.  Arieti, James A. Discourses on the First Book of Herodotus. Lanham, MD: Littlefield Adams Books, 1995.  Bernus-Taylor, Marthe., Rika. Gyselen, and Dominique Collon, eds. “Banquets in the Art of the Ancient near East.” In Banquets d’orient, 23–30. 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