Chapter

Things Done at Festivals

Robert Parker

in Polytheism and Society at Athens

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216116
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191705847 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216116.003.0010
Things Done at Festivals

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The ritual action at Attic festivals is, mostly, a series of variations on familiar themes. Demosthenes accused his fellow citizens of caring more about processions than about preparations for war. Much time and worry must have been expended on these common ritual forms, and supervision of processions occurs regularly when the duties of different magistrates are listed in the Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians. Little more is known about many of the well over twenty attested processions than that they occurred. No Athenian equivalents survive to the informative decrees that give some clues as to how participation in two great processions at Eretria was organised. In most cases the commonest form involved sacrifices of animals to the gods' main altar. But constant variations will surely have been played on the standard form; the identity of the main participants, what they wore and carried and how they behaved en route, were crucial variables.

Keywords: festivals; ancient Athens; processions; rituals; animals; sacrifices; competitions

Chapter.  8258 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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