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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 Anthesteria and other Dionysiac Rites

The Anthesteria and other Dionysiac Rites

(p.290) 14 The Anthesteria and other Dionysiac Rites
Polytheism and Society at Athens

Robert Parker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

One festival day in ancient Athens that seemed to have an emotional appeal (at least for men) like that of modern western Christmas is ‘Beakers’ (Choes), middle day of the festival known as Anthesteria. Sources associate the festival with the Limnaion, the old temple (unidentified) of Dionysus ‘in the Marshes’. The Anthesteria can be envisaged as a diffused festival, in which case local sanctuaries of Dionysus will have stood in for the one ‘in the Marshes’ for those who chose to stay in their demes. However, the central ritual of the marriage of Dionysus will have occurred in Athens only. This was not a festival of public pomp and expenditure, and all three days have names associated, in an appropriately homely way, with different kinds of pot: storage jars (pithoi), beakers for drinking wine (choes), and cooking pots or, as some think, water jars (chytroi).

Keywords:   festivals, ancient Athens, Anthesteria, Dionysus, rituals, pots, processions, wine, cults, marriage

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