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torch-race


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A spectacular ritual race, normally a relay, in which fire was taken from one altar to another. Most of the evidence comes from Athens, where lexicographers say three torch‐races were held, at the Panathenaea, the Hēphaestēa, and the Promēthēa (see prometheus); three more are in fact attested before the end of the 4th cent., for Pan, for Bendis (on horseback—a great novelty), and for Nemesis of Rhamnus. It was the form of ritual activity most distinctively associated with the epheboi, a matchless competitive display of dexterity and speed.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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