Greek Travel Pages

Location information

Listed 22 sub titles with search on: Ancients' feasts, games and rituals for destination: "ATHENS Ancient city GREECE".

Ancients' feasts, games and rituals (22)

Festivals for gods and gods' deeds

Panathenaia (Panathenaea)

Panathenaea. The greatest festival of Athens took place every four years in honor of Athena, the patron deity of Athens. According to Athenian tradition, the games were organized for the first time by Erichthonios or possibly by Theseus. It was Peisistratus, however, who reorganized the games during the decade 570-560 BC. During the Archaic and Classical period the Panathenaic games had an allure equal to that of the other famous Panhellenic games (the Olympian, the Pythian, the Nemean and the Isthmian Games). During the Hellenistic and Roman time the festival was one of few instances in which Athenian presence became obvious. It is estimated that the Panathenaea seized in the early 5th century AD. During the Classical period, the festival took place in the second half of August for eight days and consisted of athletic and equestrian contests, music and rhapsody competitions, as well as other sports and festivities. As opposed to the other Panhellenic games, the Panathenaea were characterized as chrematites (monetary) and not stefanites (wreath-bearing) because the athletes received expensive prizes (e.g. olive oil in amphorae) and not plain wreaths.

This text is cited June 2005 from the Foundation of the Hellenic World URL below, which contains images.

Panathenaia (Panathenaea), (ta Panathenaia). The most ancient and most important of Athenian festivals. It was celebrated in honour of Athene, the patron deity of Athens. Related to have been founded in early times by Erichthonius, it is said to have been originally named only Athenaea, and to have first received the name of Panathenaea at the time when Theseus united all the inhabitants of Attica into one body. In memory of the union itself was kept the festival of the sunoikia, or sunoikesis, on the 16th of Hecatombaeon (July-August), which may be regarded as a kind of preparatory solemnity to the Panathenaea. There was a festival of the ordinary or lesser Panathenaea celebrated every year, and from the time of Pisistratus, the great Panathenaea held every fifth year, and in the third year of every Olympiad, from the 24th to the 29th of Hecatombaeon. Pisistratus, in the year B.C. 566, added to the original chariot and horse-races athletic contests in each of the traditional forms of competition. He, or his son Hipparchus, instituted the regulation that the collected Homeric poems should be recited at the Feast of Rhapsodes. In 446 Pericles introduced musical contests, which took place on the first day of the festival, in the Odeum, which he had built. Competitions of cyclic choruses and other kinds of dances, torch-races and trireme-races added to the splendour of the festival. The care and direction of all these contests were committed to ten stewards (athlothetai), who were elected by the people for four years, from one great Panathenaic festival to the next. In the musical contests the first prize was a golden crown; in the athletic, the prize was a garland of leaves from the sacred olive-trees of Athene, together with large and beautiful vases filled with oil from the same trees. Many specimens of these Panathenaic vases have been found in Italy, Sicily, Greece, and at Cyrene. They have the figure of Athene on one side and a design indicating the contest for which they are awarded on the other. Most of them belong to the fourth century B.C., 367-318; the so-called "Burgon Vase," in the British Museum, to the sixth century. The tribe whose ships had been victorious received a sum of money, part of which was expended upon a sacrifice to Poseidon.
    The culminating-point of the festival was the 28th day of the month, the birthday of the goddess, when the grand procession carried through the city the costly, embroidered, saffron-coloured garment, the peplus (peplos). This had been woven in the preceding nine months by Attic maidens and matrons, and was embroidered with representations from the battle of the gods and giants. It was carried through the city, first of all, as a sail for a ship moving on wheels, and was then taken to the Acropolis, where it adorned one of the statues of Athene Polias. The procession is represented in a vivid manner in the well-known frieze of the Parthenon. It included the priests and their attendants, leading a long train of animals festally adorned for sacrifice; matrons and maidens bearing in baskets the various sacrificial implements; old men in festal attire, with olive-branches in their hands, whence came their name, thallophoroi; warriors, with spear and shield, in splendid array; young men in armour; the cavalry under the command of both the hipparchoi; the victors in the immediately preceding contests; the festal embassies of other States, especially of the colonies; and, lastly, the aliens resident in Athens. Of these last the men bore behind the citizens trays with sacrificial cakes, the women water-pots, and the maidens sunshades and stools for the citizens' wives; while on the freedmen was laid the duty of adorning with oak-leaves the market-places and streets through which the procession moved. The feast ended with the great festal sacrifice of a hecatomb of oxen, and with the general banqueting which accompanied it. At the yearly minor Panathenaea, on the 28th and 29th of Hecatombaeon, contests, sacrifices, and a procession took place, but all in a more simple style, under the direction of the hieropoioi. In later times the festival was removed to the spring, perhaps in consequence of Roman influence, in order to make it correspond to the Quinquatrus of Minerva.

Panathenaea (ta Panathenaia) was a very ancient festival in honour of Athena Polias and Erechtheus, said to have been founded by Erechtheus or Erichthonius 729 years before the first Olympiad (C. I. G. 2374, cf. p. 325), called at first Athenaea, but after the sunoikismos by Theseus Panathenaea (Plut. Thes. 24; Suid. s. v. Panathenaia). Pisistratus renewed it with increased splendour, and attached more especial importance therein to the worship of his protecting divinity, Athena.

1. The Greater and Lesser Panathenaea.
The Greater Panathenaea was a penteteris celebrated every fourth year, and was merely an extended and more magnificent performance of the Lesser Panathenaea, which was always from of old held every year (cf. Hom. Il. ii. 551). As each fourth year came round the Lesser was incorporated in the Greater. The procession and the hecatomb always remained the basis of the latter, but the chariot-race also appears to have been considered as belonging to the original festival. Erechtheus is said to have ridden at it himself (C. I. G. l. c.). Pisistratus may be virtually considered as the second establisher of the Greater Panathenaea, though we hear that the performance under the Archon Hippoclides in 566 B.C. was attended by a large concourse of strangers and was widely celebrated, especially as on that occasion gymnastic contests were first introduced. Indeed Marcellinus (Vit. Thuc.3) says the Panathenaea was established in the archonship of Hippoclides. The increased splendour of the Greater festival of course diminished the importance of the Lesser: so, though the adjective megala is often found attaching to the Greater (C. I. G. 380, 1068), still generally Panathenaia alone is used for the Greater, the Lesser one being styled mikra.
  The statement in the Arg. to Dem. Mid. 510, that the Lesser festival was a trieteris, is disproved both by such evidence as ta Panathenaia ta kat' eniauton and also by the fact that inscriptions on vases point to Panathenaea having been held in every single Olympic year. The Greater Panathenaea were celebrated every third Olympic year (e.g. C. I. G. i. 251, by the Archon Charondas in 110. 3; Lys. Accept. Mun. Def.1, by the Archon Glaucippus in 92. 3); therefore they were held in the same years as the Pythian games. Solon, we know, took a Pythian calendar to regulate the Athenian one, and Pisistratus in many points followed closely in Solon's steps.

2. The date of the Panathenaea.
The principal day was the third from the end of Hecatombaeon (about August 13th). Proclus (in Plat. Tim.) says so expressly of the Greater: and this agrees with Schol. on Hom. Il. viii. 39, where Athena is said to have been born on that day. But Proclus says that the Lesser Panathenaea came immediately after the Bendideia, accordingly on the 21st of Thargelion (about June 8th). But the Greater and Lesser Panathenaea are undoubtedly connected in that the former is but an amplification of the latter so that a priori there is a presumption that they are held at the same time. Further C. I. G. 157 obviously follows the calendar, and it puts the Panathenaea after the sacrifice to Eirene on Hecatombaeon 16th. According to Demosthenes (Timocrates), the Panathenaea are just approaching on Hecatombaeon 11th; but these are certainly the Lesser Panathenaea. The argument that the list in Lysias (op. cit.4) is necessarily in chronological order is disproved by such lists as Isaeus (de Dicaeog. hered. 36), and Andoc.] contr. Alc. 42, which can be seen from comparison to be certainly not both in chronological order.
  The evidence for a Panathenaea in the spring is Himerius, who gives as a title to his third speech, eis Basileion Panathenaiois, archomenou tou earos: cf. Verg. Ciris, 21 ff. (probably composed in Hadrian's time); but this refers to the Roman Quinquatria, which were called Panathenaea after the disappearance of the older festival (Dionys. Hal. ii. 70).

3. The Musical Contest.
This was only held at the Greater Panathenaea. Pisistratus was of the gens of the Philaidae, who lived in Brauron, where there was a contest of rhapsodes from of old (Schol. on Aristoph. Av. 873). Hence he but transferred to the capital the custom of his village. He introduced recitations of the Homeric poems, which were better regulated by Hipparchus: cf. Plat. Hipp. 228 B; Ael. V. H.. viii. 2. The poems were now sung in much longer portions than before, and probably both the Iliad and the Odyssey as the Neleidae are especially celebrated in the latter . In later times other poets (e. g. Choerilus of Samos, fl. 420 B.C.) obtained the privilege of being recited at the Panathenaea (Suidas, s. v. Choirilos).
  The musical contest proper was introduced by Pericles, who built the new Odeum for the purpose (Plut. Pericl. 13). Previously the recitations of the rhapsodes were in the old unroofed Odeum. There is a very important inscription (C. I. A. ii. 965) concerning these musical contests. The part referring to the rhapsodists is probably lost. Then follow five prizes for the kitharoidoi. For the first an olive crown set with gold (stephanos thallou chrusous), value 1000 drachmas and 500 drachmas in silver: for the second, probably a crown value 700, for the third 600, for the fourth 400, and for the fifth 300. Next two prizes andrasi auloidois: for the first a crown value 300, for the second one value 100. Next andrasi kitharistais: for the first it appears a crown valued at 500 drachmas, or 300 drachmas in money; for the second probably 200, and for the third 100. The fact that we find andrasi added proves that there were contests of boys too (cf. C. I. G. 2758, Col. i.). The auleta also got prizes, but the inscription does not record what they were. Note that the prizes in the musical contests are reckoned in money, not in kind, as in the older gymnastic and equestrian contests. The first who won a victory in these musical contests was Phrynis in Ol. 83. 3 (446 B.C.): see Schol. on Aristoph. Nub. 971 (alter Kalliou to Kallimachou). Plutarch appears to have written a treatise on the Panathenaic music (de Mus. 8). There were not any dramatic representations at the Panathenaea. When we consider the long recitations of the rhapsodes and the musical contests proper, we may allow perhaps three days for this part of the ceremony on a liberal computation, certainly not less than one and a half days.

4. The Gymnastic Contest.
There is frequent mention of this contest at the Greater Panathenaea (C. I. G. 251, Rang. 849, 18; Dem. de Cor.116--a passage, by the way, which shows that proclamations in honour of benefactors were made at the Greater Panathenaea at the gymnastic contest), none for the Lesser: besides, it had nothing to do with the ritual; it was a purely secular and late addition, said to have been first made by the Archon Hippoclides in 566 B.C., or perhaps Pisistratus himself. The inscription referred to above, C. I. A. ii. 965, also gives details as to the gymnastic contests. The competitors were divided into paides, ageneioi, and andres, the paides being those from 12 to 16 years of age, the ageneioi from 16 to 20, and the andres above 20. Thus neither a pais nor an ageneios could compete as such twice. In later times (Rang. 964) the paides were still further divided e. g. into tes protes helikias, tes denteras (cf. C. I. G. 1590, paidon ton presbuteron, paidon ton neoteron), the paides tes trites being doubtless the ageneioi. There is then an event ek panton, which means an all-comers' race, but for boys, as is plain from its position before andras. The boys and striplings had their events first: then there was an interval (if a whole night did not intervene); and on re-assembling the men's events took place. According to C. I. A. ii. 965, the paides and ageneioi have five contests,--stadion, pentathlon, pale, pugme, pankration. According to Rang. 963 (belonging to the late period of the Diadochi), the paides have six, while the ageneioi still have only five. Perhaps the dolichos, which was added, was for all below the class of andres. The men's contests were, according to x. i. a. 966 (= Rang. 962), of 190 B.C., dolichos, stadion, diaulos, hippios (=a double diaulos), pentathlon, pale, pugme, pankration, hoplites (= race in armour). Note the order of the events, though in Plato's time the stadion came first (Legg. viii. 833 A): cf. C. I. A. ii. 965. The races were run in heats (taxeis) of four each (Paus. vi. 13, 4); the victors in the heats afterwards running together. There were prizes for the first and second in the deciding heat in the ratio of 5: 1 (= ox: sheep, cf. Plut. Sol. 23): see C. I. A. l. c. The prizes consisted of oil from the moriai in the Academia (see Olea=olive), given in special prize amphorae, which were called amphoreis Panathenaikoi (Athen. v. 199). The oil was meant to be sold, and could be exported free of duty (ouk esti d'exagoge elaiou ex Athenon ei me tois nikosi, Schol. on Pind. Nem. x. 64). The number of amphorae given, according to the inscription referred to, was about 1450, and the value (1 amphora worth 6 drachmas) about 1 talent 2700 drachmas. The gymnastic games probably lasted two days, certainly not less than one.

5. The Equestrian Contest.
There is plenty of evidence for an equestrian contest at the Greater Panathenaea, none for the Lesser; though there may have been a kind of ceremonial race, more as a matter of worship than as a contest in which the victors got substantial prizes. None of the evidences for Athlothetae at the Lesser Panathenaea are absolutely conclusive, yet we may perhaps suppose that there was an equestrian contest on a small scale at this festival. To understand thoroughly the many events of this division at different times, the reader must study the inscriptions in C. I. A. 965 b=Rang. 960 (380 B.C.), 966 = Rang. 962 (190 B.C.), 968 (166 B.C.), 969 (162 B.C.), C. I. G. 1591 (250 B.C.), and above all the elaborate table of the comparison of these inscriptions in Mommsen (Taf. IV.). The multifarious details can only be set forth in such a table, and any one who wants to study them very closely must be referred to it. Here we can merely give an idea of the plan, noticing that the events appear to have increased in number as time went on. The first and chief event, the one which legend said Erechtheus introduced, was that of the apobates (cf. tes apenes kai tes kalpes dromos at Olympia in Paus. v. 9, 1 and 2). A charioteer (heniochos egbibazon or zeugei ebibazon) and a companion, as in the Iliad, occupy the chariot. The companion (here called apobates, not paraibates) leaps out (hence his name) and again up (hence sometimes we find him also called anabates), partly helped by the driver (who thus gets his title egbibazon), partly by kinds of wheels called apsbatikoi trochoi. The son of Phocion (Plut. Phoc. 20) took part in this contest, so it must not be inferred from its absence in C. I. A. ii. 965 that it did not exist in 380 B.C. It is really broken off the inscription. The second division in Mommsen's table is. ordinary riding and driving, without any relation to ritual or war. Here the horses are divided into foals and full-grown horses; they are yoked either singly, or two or four together; and the races are divided into diauloi and akampioi. Then there are various permutations and combinations that may be made of these (e.g. sunoridi polikei, keleti teleioi, harmati teleioi in C. I. A. ii. 968): but there is no diaulos ever for a single horse, only for a yoke or a pair, and not even for these in the case of foals. The third division consists of what we may call military competitions, and they are much the same as the second division, only there do not appear so many combinations (e.g. ib. harmati polemisterioi, hippoi polemistei). There is no need to suppose that these contests were exclusively confined to the cavalry. The fourth refers to the procession in honour of Athena, and always consisted of four horses zeugei pompikoi diaulon or akampion. The fifth was of javelin-throwers from horseback, a contest which soon disappeared. Notice further that several events are for all comers (ek panton): cf. C. I. A. 968, 42 ff., as opposed to those for Athenians only (ton politikon).
  The inscription C. I. A. ii. 965 b, of which the beginning is lost containing the apobates, gives the following, which Mommsen classifies thus:
1st Class. [apobates,]
2nd Class. hippon polikoi zeugei (40:8).
                   hippon zeugei adephagoi (140:40); i. e. teleioi (see Hesych. s. v. adephagos); was probably a slang word for the great expense. such splendid racehorses entailed.
3rd Class. hippoi keleti nikonti (16:4).
                  hippon zeugei nikonti (30:6).
(It is specially noted in the inscription that these are polemisteriois.)
4th Class. zeugei pompikoi nikonti (4:2)
5th Class. aph' hippon akontizonti (5:1).
(In brackets we have given the number of jars of oil awarded for first and second prizes.) The amateurs who took part in the contests of the second class are the best rewarded; and it was to encourage them to spend their money on keeping horses that these events were made the most distinguished. In C. I. A. ii. 966, 41, king Ptolemy Epiphanes appears as victor among them in the diaulos with a chariot.
  The place for both the gymnastic and equestrian contests was perhaps the Eleusinium (Kohler to C. I. A. ii. 2, p. 392), or the deme Echelidae, W. of the Piraeus (Steph. Byz. s. v. Echelidai: Etym M. s. v. Enechelido, 340, 53). It took up a day probably, though possibly only half a day.

6. The Smaller Contests.
(a) That called Euandria (euandria) was a means by which the leaders of the procession were chosen. It was a leitourgia (Andoc. Alcib. 2) and he who performed it chose out of his tribe a certain number -perhaps about twenty--four, the number of a chorus- of the tallest and best looking members, and arrayed these with proper festal garments. A member of another tribe did the same, and probably only two tribes contended, as no second prize appears in C. I. A. ii. 965. From this contest strangers were expressly excluded. Sauppe and Kohler consider that there were two companies who contended in each case in the Euandria, one of seniors, the other of juniors; perhaps the contest of the seniors was called euandria in the special sense, and that of the juniors euoplia..
(b) The Pyrrhic dance (see Pyrricha), performed at both the Greater and Lesser Panathenaea (Lys. Accept. Mun. Def.1, 4). With the Euandria and the Lampadedromia it belonged to the more strictly religious part of the festival (cf. Aristoph. Nub. 988 and Schol.). Athena was said to have danced the Pyrrhic dance after her victory over the Giants (Dionys. Hal. vii. 72). As belonging to the religious part of the festival, the prize was an ox for sacrifice, and bore the special title of niketerion (cf Xen,. Cyr. viii. 3, 33, where the ox alone is called niketerion, not the goblets. There were Pyrrhic dancers of all three ages -paides, ageneioi, and andres. A relief published by Beule presents eight armed youths performing the Pyrrhic dance. A full body of Pyrrhicists would then be twenty-four, the number of a comic chorus. They wear a light helmet, carry a shield on their left arms, but are otherwise naked. How the victory was gained in the Pyrrhic dance and the Euandria is not stated; probably by decision of a judge. The. figure on the left of the relief may be perhaps. the judge.
(c) The Lampadedromia the prize of which in C. I. A. ii. 965 was a hydria of oil (cf. Schol. in Pind. Nem. xv. 61), value 30 drachmas.

7. The Pannychis.
This was the night of the 28th (the day being reckoned from sunset to sunset). The Lampadedromia was the first event in it. Then followed during the greater part of the night litanies (ololugmata) by the elder priestesses, which were originally prayers and thanksgivings for the harvest, and subsequently songs of joy for the birth of Athena. Mommsen thinks that possibly the conclusion of the Eumenides may have reference to the ceremonies of the Panathenaic pannychis. There were also dances by the younger priestesses, and towards morning songs by cyclic choruses (cf. Lys. op. cit. 2) of youths and men (neon t'aoidai choron te molpai, Eur. Heracl. 779, a passage comprising many features of the Panathenaea, which, however, must not be taken as expressing the order in time, only the order in importance of the several events). The hieropoioi got next to nothing for the expenses of the Pannychis, only 50 drachmas, and this had to compensate much other outlay besides.

8. The Procession and Sacrifices.
The procession was most splendid. It comprised the victors in the games of the preceding days, the pompeis or leaders of the sacrifices, both Athenian and those of strangers (for the colonies and cleruchies used to send sacrifices to the Panathenaea, e. g. Brea, C. I. A. i. 31), a large quota of cavalry (for Demosthenes, Phil. i. 26, speaks of hipparchoi: cf. Schol. on Aristoph. Nub. 386), the chief officers of the army, taxiarchoi and strategoi, dignified elders (thallophoroi, Xen. Symp. 4, 17), bearing olive branches (thalloi), doubtless with their metoikoi as skaphephoroi following, in later times the ephebi splendidly equipped: while of women there was a long train of kanephoroi (see Canephorus), with the wives and daughters of the metoikoi as their skiadephoroi and diphrophoroi (see Metoeci): then the Athenian people, generally marshalled according to their demes. Though the frieze of the Parthenon reproduces some points, especially the genuine Athenian element of the Panathenaic festival, still it must not be supposed that it reproduces all the details; e. g. the metoikoi, of whom we have most specific, evidence, do not appear. For another service of the female metoikoi at the Panathenaea, see Hydriaphoria.
  One of the most striking features of the procession was the Peplus, worked by ergastinai, superintended by two arrephoroi and certain priestesses, which was destined for the ancient statue of Athena Polias, according to certain prescriptions of the Delphic god. Pisistratus probably intended that a new peplus should be brought every four years; the Elean maidens wove a peplus for the goddess only once in every four years (Paus. v. 16, 2); but in republican Athens a new peplus was made each year (Schol. Aristoph. Eq. 566). In the time of the Diadochi portraits of some of these were placed where the figures of the gods should have been (Plut. Demetr. 10). The peplus was suspended like a sail from the yards on the mast of the Panathenaic Ship (Schol. on Hom. Il. v. 734), which was an actual ship, very large and beautiful. The marvellous appearance of a ship going through the streets was effected by subterranean machines (Philostr. Vit. Soph. ii. 1, 5; Paus. i. 29, 1), of which we should very much like to have further information. The Athenians had become a seafaring people, and they wished to signify it: the time of the agrarian Athena was passed. On the peplus were represented the aristeia of the goddess, especially her victory over Enceladus and the Giants (Schol. on Eur. Hec. 466; Suidas, s. v. Peplos). It was considered a great sight for the populace (Plaut. Merc. prol. 67).
  The procession, marshalled mainly in the ,outer Ceramicus, partly inside the town, passed through the market-place to the Eleusinium at the east end of the Acropolis (cf. Schol. to Aristoph. Eq. 566), turned round this to the left, and passed along the Pelasgicon, north of the Acropolis, and so reached the Propylaea (Philostr. l. c; cp. Xen. Hipp. 3, 2). Then some of the members performed the sacrifice to Athena Hygiaea, while others offered a prelimiuary sacrifice on the Areopagus. Prayers accompanied these offerings, and we hear of prayers being offered for the Plataeans at the Greater Panathenaea (Herod. vi. 111). On entering the Acropolis, which was only allowed to genuine Athenians, there was the sacrifice of one cow to Athena Nike; after this followed the. hecatomb to Athena Polias, on the large altar in the eastern part of the Acropolis. In earlier times the hecatomb was offered at the Erechtheum. After the procession followed the hestiasis. The flesh of the victims was given, according to demes, to a certain fixed number out of each deme. The skaphephoroi supplied bread and cakes.

9. The Boat-race
was a supplementary event on the 29th of Hecatombaeon, the day on which ships are to be drawn down to the sea (Hes. Op. 815). It was held every four years in the Piraeus in honour of Poseidon (identified with Erechtheus) and Athena. The difference of locality forbids our associating it with the Sunian regatta, though this was also held only once in four years (Herod. vi. 87; Lys. op. cit. 5). In connexion with this part of the festival the orator Lycurgus, in whose family was the priesthood of Poseidon Erechtheus, established three cyclic choruses in honour of that god, with valuable prizes.

10. The Calendar of the Panathenaea.
For the Lesser Panathenaea (which was the nucleus of the Greater) the chief day of the festival was the 28th of Hecatombaeon; it comprised the pannychis, the procession, the sacrifices, and the feasting: and the 27th sufficed for the horseraces (when there were any), the Euandria and the Pyrrhic dances. At the Greater Panathenaea these days were allotted to the same events. But the day on which the festival began will vary according as we allow a longer or shorter period for the three chief contests: thus the Musical contest might last three days or 1 1/2 days, the Gymnastic two days or one day, and the Equestrian one day or half a day. According, then, to the longer period, the Panathenaea would begin on the 21st; according to the shorter, on the 24th. The longer period has the advantage that it leaves the afternoons free for prelections or dinner-parties (Xen. Symp. init.). The shorter will suit Thucyd. v. 47 better.

11. The Officials of the Festival.
(1) The ten Athlothetae, one chosen from each tribe. They held office for four years, and their function, as Pollux says (viii. 93), was to arrange the musical, gymnastic, and equestrian contests at the Panathenaea. We find in inscriptions that they received subsidies from the tamias of the sacred chest of Athena (C. I. A. i. 188).
(2) The Hieropoioi (see Hieropoei), who managed the Lesser Panathenaea (Rang. 814, 32). They appear to have had nothing to do with the specially Greater festival.
(3) The Gymnasiarchae (see Gymnasium), who especially superintended the Lampadedromia.
(4) The Demarchs (see Demarchi), who marshalled the people in demes for the procession and for the hestiasis (Schol. on Aristoph. Nub. 37; Suidas, s. v.). Concerning those who had perquisites in connexion with the festival, such as the manteis and archons in the kreanomiai.

12. Panathenaea outside Athens
may perhaps be inferred from Panathenaia en Athenais in C. I. G. 1068. We are told that Themistocles established Panathenaea in Magnesia (Ath. xii. 533), and in Teos there was a guild of Panathenaistae (C. I. G. 3073). The cleruchs no doubt celebrated the festival abroad.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

---various Web



Festivals for gods and gods' deeds

Diipolia, Diipoleia, or Dipolia

   A festival celebrated in Athens on the 14th Scirophorion (June to July) to Zeus as the protector of the city. It was also called Buphonia, from the sacrifice of an ox connected with it. A labouring ox was led to the altar of Zeus in the Acropolis, which was strewn with wheat and barley. As soon as the ox touched the consecrated grain he was punished by a blow on the neck from an axe, delivered by a priest of a particular family, who instantly threw away the axe and took to flight. In his absence the axe was brought to judgment in the Prytaneum, and condemned, as a thing polluted by murder, to be thrown into the sea. To kill a labouring ox, the trusty helper of man, was rigidly forbidden by custom. In the exceptional sacrifice of one at this festival the ancient custom may be regarded as on the one hand excusing the slaughter, and on the other insisting that it was, nevertheless, equivalent to a murder.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


   A very ancient festival celebrated at Athens, which at different times seems to have had a different character, for at first it was solemnized in honour of Athene, surnamed Ergane, and by the whole people of Athens, whence it was called Athenaia or Pandemos. At a later period, however, it was celebrated only by artisans, especially smiths, and in honour of Hephaestus, whence its name was changed into chalkeia. It was held on the thirtieth day of the month of Pyanepsion. Menander composed a comedy called Chalkeia, a fragment of which is preserved in Athenaeus.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


An ancient festival originally held in honour of Athene at Athens, and of an agrarian character.


A festival of the Dioscuri, or Anakes, held at Athens



Boedromia, a festival celebrated at Athens on the seventh day of the month of Boedromion, in honour of Apollo Boedromios. (Muller, Dor. ii. 8, § 5.) The name Boedromios, by which Apollo was called in Boeotia and other parts of Greece (Pans. ix. 17, § 1; Callimach. Hymn. Apoll. 69), seems to indicate that by this festival he was honoured as a martial god, who either by his actual presence or by his oracles afforded assistance in the dangers of war. The origin of the festival is, however, traced by different authors to different events in Grecian story. Plutarch (Thes. 27) says that Theseus, in his war against the Amazons, did not give battle till after he had offered a sacrifice to Phobos; and that, in commemoration of the successful battle which took place in the month of Boedromion, the Athenians, down to his own time, continued to celebrate the festival of the Boedromia. According to Suidas, the Etymol. Magn. and Euripides (lon. 59), the festival derived its name and origin from the circumstance that when, in the reign of Erechtheus, the Athenians were attacked by Eumolpos, Xuthos or (according to Philochorus in Harpocration, s. v.) his son Ion came to their assistance, and procured them the victory. Respecting the particulars of this festival, nothing is known except that sacrifices were offered to Artemis. (Comp. Spanheim, ad Callim. Hymn. in Apoll. 69.)

This text is from: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890) (eds. William Smith, LLD, William Wayte, G. E. Marindin). Cited July 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Boedromia. A festival celebrated at Athens on the seventh day of the month of Boedromion, in honour of Apollo Boedromios (Muller, Dor. ii. 8. 5). The name Boedromios, by which Apollo was called in Boeotia and other parts of Greece, seems to indicate that by this festival he was honoured as a martial god, who either by his actual presence or by his oracles afforded assistance in the dangers of war. The origin of the festival is, however, traced by different authors to different events in Grecian story. See Plutarch, Theseus, 27.

Chloeia (chloia), a festival celebrated at Athens in honour of Demeter Chloe, or simply Chloe, whose temple stood near the Acropolis (Hesych. s. v. chloia; Paus. i. 22, 3; Athen. xiv. p. 618; Soph. Oed. Col. 1600, with the Scholiast). It was solemnised in spring, on the sixth of Thargelion, when the blossoms began to appear (hence the names chloe and chloeia), with the sacrifice of a goat and much mirth and rejoicing (Eupolis, apud Schol. ad Soph. Oed. Col. l. c.)


Diasia, a great festival celebrated at Athens, without (outside) the walls of the city (exo tes poleos), in honour of Zeus, surnamed Meilichios (Thuc. i. 126). It was the greatest of the Athenian festivals of Zeus, before the time of Solon, and was of a propitiatory character. The whole people took part in it, and the wealthier citizens offered victims (hiereia), while the poorer classes burnt such incense as their country furnished (thumata epichoria), which the scholiast on Thucydides erroneously explains as cakes in the shape of animals (Compare Xen. Anab. vii. 8, 4; Lucian, Tim. 7; Aristoph. Nub. 402). The diasia took place on the 23rd of the month of Anthesterion (Schol. ad Aristoph. l. c.) with feasting and rejoicings, and was, like most other festivals, accompanied by a fair (Aristoph. Nub. 841). It was this festival at which Cylon was enjoined by an oracle to take possession of the acropolis of Athens; but he mistook the oracle, and made the attempt during the celebration of the Olympian games (Compare Pollux, i. 26; Suidas, s. v.). The etymology of diasia given by most of the ancient grammarians (from Dios and ase) is false; the name is a mere derivative from Dios, as Apollonia from Apollon.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited July 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Hephaestia, Hephaisteia

Hephaestia. A festival at Athens, celebrated annually, in honour of Hephaestus.


Scirophoria (ta Skirophoria). An Athenian festival celebrated on the 12th of the month Scirophorion (June-July), called after it. It was in honour of Athene (or, according to some, Demeter and Kore), who was worshipped under the name of Sciras near Sciron, a spot on the Sacred Way leading from Athens to Eleusis. It had its name from the large white sunshade (skiron) beneath which the priestess of Athene (the patron goddess of the city), the priest of Erechtheus, and the priest of Helios went to Sciron to sacrifice. The sunshade was a symbol of heavenly protection against the rays of the sun, which began to burn more intensely during the month of the festival. This protection was invoked with special reason, for the dry limestone rock was thinly covered by a meagre surface of soil in the neighbourhood of Athens, and particularly near Sciron itself. In this, as in other festivals of invocation, there were also expiatory offerings; and hence they carried in the procession the hide of a ram that had been sacrificed to Zeus as the mild and gracious deity.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

Feast in honor of distinguished persons


An Athenian festival in honour of Agraulos, daughter of Cecrops.


    A festival held at Athens in the middle of the month Elaphebolion. It is doubtful whom it originally commemorated, and the ancients themselves disputed this question-- whether it was in honour of Pandion, Pandia, the moon-goddess, or Zeus, the all-divine. Hermann regards it as the feast of the old tribe Dias; Welcker inclines to the Zeus hypothesis; and Mommsen and Preller think it originated in the worship of Pandia=Selene.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



Antinoeia, annual festivals and quinquennial games, which the Roman emperor Hadrian instituted in honour of his favourite, Antinous, after he was drowned in the Nile, or, according to others, had sacrificed himself for his sovereign, in a fit of religious fanaticism. The festivals were celebrated at Athens, Eleusis, in Bithynia, at Argos, and Mantineia, in which places he was worshipped as a god. Afterwards this festival appears to have been discontinued. (Spart. Hadr., c. 14; Dio Cass. lxix. 10; Pans. viii. 9, 4)

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

Ferry Departures

Copyright 1999-2019 International Publications Ltd.