According to Herodotus (I 81-83) after the battle of the champions the defeated Argives would cut their hair, while the victorious Spartans would let it grow. In the ancient tradition there are, essentially, two prevailing semantizations: one part of the ancient sources interprets the hair-cutting of the Argives as a demonstration of mourning (for their fallen compatriots), another makes use of the opposition, hair cutting vs hair growth, to represent the opposition adolescents vs adults, this being,essentially, equivalent to the opposition defeated = adolescents = inferior vs victors = adults = superior. Modern scholarship, in turn, has developed an ‘initiatory’ interpretation (hair-cutting or adopting of a new hairstyle as a rite of passage from the adolescence to the adult age), but it appears very difficult to prove that either the cutting of the Argives and the adopting of the long hair by the Spartans had, in re, the function of initiation rite. It seems easier, if anything, to find traces of subsequent semantizations with initiatory meaning.

Spartani dalle lunghe chiome e Argivi rasati: interpretazioni iniziatiche moderne e costruzioni di senso antiche

Franchi, Elena
2009

Abstract

According to Herodotus (I 81-83) after the battle of the champions the defeated Argives would cut their hair, while the victorious Spartans would let it grow. In the ancient tradition there are, essentially, two prevailing semantizations: one part of the ancient sources interprets the hair-cutting of the Argives as a demonstration of mourning (for their fallen compatriots), another makes use of the opposition, hair cutting vs hair growth, to represent the opposition adolescents vs adults, this being,essentially, equivalent to the opposition defeated = adolescents = inferior vs victors = adults = superior. Modern scholarship, in turn, has developed an ‘initiatory’ interpretation (hair-cutting or adopting of a new hairstyle as a rite of passage from the adolescence to the adult age), but it appears very difficult to prove that either the cutting of the Argives and the adopting of the long hair by the Spartans had, in re, the function of initiation rite. It seems easier, if anything, to find traces of subsequent semantizations with initiatory meaning.
Franchi, Elena
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11572/110713
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