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A festival of Dionysus, which despite its name (suggesting anthos, flower) was associated esp. with the new wine. It was celebrated in most Ionian communities, but almost all details are known from Athens. It was celebrated in the correspondingly named month Anthesterion, roughly late February. On the evening of the first day, ‘Jar‐opening’ (Pithoigia), pithoi of the previous autumn's vintage were taken to the sanctuary of Dionysus in the Marshes, opened, offered to the god, and sampled. On the following day, drinking‐parties of an abnormal type were held: participants sat at separate tables and competed, in silence, at draining a chous or five‐litre (nine‐pint) measure (whence the day's name Choes); slaves too had a share. Miniature choes were also given as toys to children, and ‘first Choes’ was a landmark. The third day was called Chytroi, ‘Pots’, from pots of seed and vegetable bran that were offered, it seems, to the dead. It was almost certainly during the Anthesteria that the wife of the basileus (see archontes) was somehow ‘given as a bride’ to Dionysus (whose image may have been escorted to her on a ‘ship‐chariot’, a rite known from vases). A series of vases which show a mask of Dionysus on a pillar, in front of which women draw wine from mixing‐bowls while others dance, may evoke a part of the same ceremony. The main problem posed by the festival is to see how its different elements relate to one another.

Subjects: Classical Studies.

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