THE ATHENIAN PNYX.
which the Pnyx is mentioned or referred to ; second, an examination
of the Pnyx itself in the light of the information thus gathered ;
third, a survey of what has been recently written by others on the
In the earliest history of Athens the public life of the city
gathered around the Acropolis. Later, as the city continued
to grow, even before Solon's time, the assemblies of the people, a
portion of their legal proceedings, and certain festal meetings were
transferred from the citadel to the Cerameicus. About this place
many of the public buildings were erected. Later still, the partici-
pation of the people in public life, which naturally resulted from the
political institutions of Solon and Cleisthenes, together with the party
conflicts of the sixth century B.C., led to the selection of a more
convenient and comfortable place for holding the popular assemblies.
That a place of such importance cannot be definitely located is
greatly to be regretted. There is no passage in the Greek literature
that will enable us to identify the Pnyx with absolute certainty. But,
however vague the references to it may be, it is to them that every
student must come. Tradition that might have survived the long
night of gloom through which Greece has passed could not possibly
have any scientific value ; nor can fancy be allowed to play any role
here.1 Notwithstanding this lack of absolute certainty, there is no
question about our ability to determine certain limits within which
the Pnyx must have been situated.2 This is admitted by all writers
on the topography of Athens.
I. The first passage to which we call attention is in the Onomas-
1 " Bei keiner Art historischer Untersuchungen darf vorgefassten Meinungen
oder der erganzenden Phantasie weniger Spielraum gegdnnt werden als bei der
Erorterung von Fragen der Topographie. Sorgsame Abwiigung der litterarischen
Zeugnisse, .... unbefangene Frufung der erhaltenen Reste, genaue Kenntniss und
Iieachtung der Natur und Eigenthiimlichkeiten des betreffenden Terrains, ....
sind hier ein unerlassliches Erforderniss."—I.udwig Ross, Die Pnyx und das
Pelasgikon in Athen, pp. v. and vi.
- " Ueber die Lage der Pnyx finden sich einige Bestinimungen vor die nicht
tauschen kfinnen." — Welcker, Der Felsaltar des Hochstcn Zeus, u. s. w., p. 325