The Ancient Library

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On this page: Panathenaea (continued)



tory solemnity to the Panathencea. There was a festival of the ordinary or lesser Panathencea celebrated every year, and from the time of Pisistratus, the great Pan-athencea held every fifth year, and in the third year of every Olympiad, from the 24th to the 29th of Hecatombseon. Pisistratus, in the year 566 b.c., 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 Rhapsfidi. 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 (athldthetce^ 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 Gyrene. 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 4th century b.c., 367-318 ; the " Burgon Vase," in the British Museum, to the 6th century. Cp. Pindar, Nem. x 35]. The tribe whose ships had been victorious received a sum of money, part of which was destined for 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 (q-v.). This had been woven in the preceding nine months by Attic maidens and matrons, and embroidered with repre­sentations from the battle of the gods and Giants. It was carried through the city, fir^t 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 Pollas. 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 (see canephori); the most picturesque old men in festal attire, with olive branches in their hands, whence came their name, thallophorce • warriors, with spear and shield, in splendid array ; young men in armour ; the cavalry under the command of both the hipparchi; the victors in the immediately preceding contests; the festal embassies of other


Inscribed TnN AeHNHftEN A9AON, "a prize from

Athens." (Millingen, Uned. Mm., pi. 1.)

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 waterpots, 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 Panathencea, on the 28th and 29th of Hecatombaeon, contests, sacrifices, and a procession took place, but all in a more simple style. In later times the festival was removed to spring, perhaps in consequence of Roman influence, in order to make it cor­respond to the QuinqiiMrus of Minerva.

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