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Polytheism and Society at Athens$
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Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216116

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216116.001.0001

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The Festival Year

The Festival Year

(p.192) 10 The Festival Year
Polytheism and Society at Athens

Robert Parker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In ancient Athens, the year a festival was held was formally tied to the calendar of the months (which were often named from festivals), and festivals could be associated in ways that were not merely formal with individual days within the month. Indeed, the internal structure of the month was a vehicle of religious meaning. For example, the new moon was an occasion when individuals regularly went up to the acropolis and prayed to the gods to grant blessings to the city and to themselves. But what mattered was the positioning of a festival at a particular point within the lunar month, not in a particular month. The close symbolic interweaving of twelve gods, twelve tribes, and twelve months that Plato proposed in Laws is quite unlike the practice of any actual Greek city. The more important connection was doubtless that between festivals and the calendar of seasons.

Keywords:   festivals, ancient Athens, calendar, agriculture, gods, seasons, rituals, festival year, months

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