Athenian festival, at which a rite was performed by the arrēphoroi, two or four girls between the ages of 7 and 11, chosen by the basileus (see archontes) to serve Athena Polias. They lived on the Acropolis, they played a ritual game of ball, and they participated in the weaving of the peplos (see dress) offered to Athena at the Panathenaea. They helped the priestess of Athena Polias. At the Chalkeia they and the priestess set up the loom for the peplos. They are probably represented with the priestess in the central scene on the Parthenon frieze. At the rite marking the end of their service, at night, they put on their heads covered baskets given them by the priestess who knew no more than the girls what they contained, and through an underground passage they descended to the precinct of Aphrodite in the Gardens, where they left what they were carrying and took and brought to the Acropolis something else covered up. After this they were replaced by others.
Subjects: Classical Studies.