When we refer to a Greek ritual performed by boys or adolescent males as an ``initiation rite,'' we are implicitly invoking the concept, now more than a century old, of `` tribal initiation.'' A rite of tribal initiation, in the narrowest sense of the term, is a singular public rite performed by members of an age cohort that is necessary and sufficient for their admission to adult privileges and responsibilities within the community. Few classical scholars have thought that the evidence from ancient Greece indicates the existence, during the historical period, of tribal initiation rites so narrowly defined. But many have felt that the concept of tribal initiation is useful as a heuristic model, provided that one introduces certain qualifications to the definition of tribal initiation. For example, the `` adult privileges and responsibilities'' classicists tend to focus on are those that come specifically with citizenship: so young Greek men are ``initiated'' into the citizen class or even the hoplite citizen class. The ``age cohort'' in question is therefore restricted to the sons of citizen men, and many maturation rites are in fact performed by representatives of this class only. Finally, some scholars acknowledge that inmany cities there is no single rite that is ``necessary and sufficient'' for admission to citizenship. In Athens, for example, induction into a phratry, induction into a deme, and swearing the oath of citizenship took place on three separate occasions over a period of two years. But these qualifications have not altered the basic assumption of the tribal initiation model, namely that initiation is a discrete ritual event or series of events that transforms a `` before'' into an `` after.'' Nor is the tribal initiation model fundamentally changed by Van Gennep's tripartite division of maturation rites (and other rites of passage) into separation, liminal, and reintegration phases.1 Indeed, the structuralist approach to Greek maturation rites, which takes Van Gennep as its point of departure, far from abandoning

the tribal initiationmodel, actually presents the discrete binary logic of the older tribal initiation model in its purest, most abstract form.2