Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens — 4.1885-1886

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THE ATHENIAN PNYX.

243

upon the top of the altar. He supposes that the hill had been dwelt
upon in most ancient times, abandoned later, and in Cleisthenes's
time arranged as a place of assembly by widening the terrace and
supporting it by the semicircular wall. He also thinks that Welcker
fails to establish his distinction between to HeXao-yiKov and to HcAao--
yixov Tet^os- Welcker's answer, in an article entitled " Ueber C.
Bursians Athenische Pnyx" in the Rhein. Museum (N. F.) X. 591
(1S56), was not convincing to Bursian, as is seen by reference to his
Geographie von Griechenland, I. 276 f.; however, he slightly modified
his views later in the article "Athenae" in Pauly's Realencyclopadie,
I. p. 1970 (2 ed.), but is still of the same opinion on the main
question, the situation of the Pnyx.

When Curtius visited Athens in 1862, he made extensive excavations,
and subjected the whole question to a new and comprehensive inves-
tigation. The result he published in his " Attische Studien, No. 1."
As he, rather than Ulrichs or Welcker, is held responsible for the
altar theory in regard to the Pnyx, his arguments deserve special
attention. He begins with a most minute and fascinating description
of the plain of Attica, and then discusses at length the divisions of
the city and the region about it in the most ancient times.

The remainder of his article may be epitomized as follows : —
These small districts, even in the earliest period of their existence,
were united in some way, though these relations may have been but
vaguely defined. The first basis of union was doubtless their religion.
The cults of the nymphs and heroes, and especially that of Zeus,
united the people. Of these cults the worship of Zeus is the oldest.
It is the one to which all the others were related. It was the
primeval religion, common to all classes of citizens. In this all
the inhabitants of the different districts formed at first a whole, and
from this cult arose that in which Zeus was worshipped as a god of
the herds, as a patron of the household and family. The people must
have prepared suitable places in which this common service could
take place, and these must be sought in the parts of the city then
most thickly populated. These thickly settled parts were doubtless
the heights. These were preferred because they were a more healthy
place for abodes than the damper valleys, and because of the fresh
air and the outlook towards the sea. These conditions were fulfilled
especially on the south-west slope of the ridge which culminates toward
the north-west in the Hill of the Nymphs and toward the south-east
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