The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Panathenaea

PANATHENAEA.

el PAdmini'str. de VEtak federatif des BeGtiens, in the Mem. de VAcad. des Inscript. vol. viii. (1827) p. 214, &c. ; Wachsmuth, Hell. Alt. vol. i. p. 176. 2d edit. [L. S.]

PANATHENAEA (TlcuraO-fivata), the greatest and most splendid of the festivals celebrated in Attica in honour of Athena, in the character of Athena Polias, or the protectress of the city. It was said to have been instituted "by Erichthonms (Harpocrat, s. v. HavaB'fjvaia,; Marm. Par. Ep. 10), and its original name, until the time of Theseus, was believed to have been Athenaea ; but when Theseus united all the Atticans into one body, this festival, which then became the common festival of all Atticans, was called Panathenaea. (Paus. viii. 2. § 1 ; Plut. Thes. 24 ; Apollod. iii. 14. § 6 ; Hygin. Poet. Astron. ii. 13; Suid. s. v. fla.va.Q'<]vct,ia.} According to this account it would seem as if the name of the festival were derived from that of the city ; but the original name Athenaea was un­doubtedly derived from.that of the goddess, and the subsequent appellation Panathenaea merely sig­nifies the festival of Athena, common to or cele­brated by all the Attic tribes conjointly. Pana­thenaea are indeed mentioned as having been cele­brated previous to the reign of Theseus (Apollod. iii. 15. § 7 ; Diod. iv. 60), but these writers merely transfer a name common in their own days to a time when it was not yet applicable. The Panathenaea, which, as far as the character implied in the name is concerned, must be regarded as an institution of Theseus, were celebrated once in every year. (Harpocrat. Suid. s. v.) All writers who have occasion to speak of this festival agree in distinguishing two kinds of Panathenaea, the greater and the lesser, and in stating that the former was held every fourth year (Tre^TcteT^pis), while the latter was celebrated once in every year. Libanius (Argum. ad Demostli. Mid. p. 510), by mistake calls the lesser Panathenaea a Tpierripis.

The time, when the lesser Panathenaea (which are mostly called Panathenaea, without any epithet, while the greater are generally distinguished by the adjective /aeyd\a) were celebrated,,,is described by Proclus (ad Plat. Tim. p. 26, &c.) in a vague manner as following the celebration of the Bendi-deia ; from which Meursius infers that the Pana­thenaea were held on the day after the Bendideia, that is, on the 20th of Thargelion. Petitus (Leg. ML p. 18), on the other hand, has shown from Demosthenes (c. Timocrat. p. 708), that the Pana­thenaea must have fallen in the month of Heca-tombaeon, and Corsini (Fast. Ait. ii. 357, &c.) .has further proved from the same passage of De­mosthenes, that the festival must have commenced before the 20th of this month, and we may add that it was probably on the 17th. Clinton (Fast. Hell, ii. p. 332, &c.) has revived the opinion of Meursius. (Compare H. A. Miiller, Panathenaica, c. 3.)

The great Panathenaea were, according to the unanimous accounts of the ancients, a pentaeteris, and were held in the third year of every Olympiad. (Bockh, Staatsli. ii. p. 165, &c.) Proclus (ad Plat. Tim. p. 9) says that the great Panathenaea were held on the 28th of Hecatombaeon. This state­ment, however, must not lead us to suppose that the great Panathenaea only lasted for one day ; but Proclus in mentioning this particular day was probably thinking of the most solemn day of the festival on which the great procession took place

855

PANATHENAEA.

(Thucyd. vi. 56), and which was in all probability the last day of the festival, for it is expressly stated that the festival lasted for several days. (Schol. ad Eurip. Hecub. 464 ; Aristid. Panath. p. 147.) We have, moreover, every reason to suppose with Bockh, that the great Panathenaea took place on. the same days of the month of Hecatombaeon, on which the lesser Panathenaea were held, and that the latter were not celebrated at all in those years in which the former fell. Now if, as we have supposed, the lesser Panathenaea commenced on the 17th, and the last day of the greater festival fell on the 28th of Hecatombaeon, we may perhaps be justified in believing that the lesser as well as the greater Panathenaea lasted for twelve days, that is, from the 17th to the 28th of Hecatom­baeon. This time is not too long, if we consider that the ancients themselves call the Panathenaea the longest of all festivals (Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. 385), and if we bear in mind the great variety of games and ceremonies that tool: place during the season. When the distinction between the greater and lesser Panathenaea was introduced, is not cer­tain, but the former are not mentioned before 01. 66. 3 (Thucyd. vi. 56, i. 20 ; Herod, v. 56), and it may therefore be supposed that they were in­stituted a short time before 01. 66, perhaps by Peisistratus, for about his time certain innovations were made in the celebration of the Panathenaea, as is mentioned below. The principal difference between the two festivals was, that the greater one was more solemn, and that on this occasion the peplus of Athena was carried to her temple in a most magnificent procession which was not held at the lesser Panathenaea.

The solemnities, games, and amusements of the Panathenaea were: rich sacrifices of bulls, foot, horse, and chariot races, gymnastic and musical contests, and the lampadephoria ; rhapsodists re­cited the poems of Homer and other epic poets, philosophers disputed, cock-fights were exhibited, and the people indulged in a variety of other amusements and entertainments. It is, however, not to be supposed that all these solemnities and games took place at the Panathenaea from the earliest times. Gymnastic contests, horse and chariot races and sacrifices are mentioned in the legends belonging to the period anterior to the reign of Theseus. (Apollod. and Diod. II. cc. ; Plut. Thes. 24.) The prize in these contests was a vase with some oil from the ancient and sacred olive tree of Athena on the Acropolis. (Pind. Nem. x. 35, &c. ; Schol. ad Soph. Oed. Col. 698.) A great many of such vases, called Panathenaic vases (a/j.tyopt'ts UavaBrjvaiKoi, Athen. v. p. 199), have in late years been found in Etruria, southern Italy, Sicily, and Greece. They represent on one side the figure of Athena, and on the other the various contests and games in which these vases were given as prizes to the victors. The contests them­selves have been accurately described from these vases by Ambrosch (Amial. dell"1 Instit. 1833. p. 64 —89), and the probable order in which they took place has been defined by Miiller (L c. p. 80, &c.)0

The poems of Homer were read by rhapsodists only at the great Panathenaea (Lycurg. c. Leocrat. p. 161), and this custom commenced in the time of Pisistratus or of his son Hipparchus, after these poems had been collected. Afterwards the works of other epic poets also were recited on this occa­sion. (Plat. Hipparch. p. 228, b ; Aelian, V. If.

3 i 4

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

854

855

856
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.