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Erechtheus

Post  AgathonZante on Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:56 pm

Panathenaia is barely 2 months away, and I've been studying up on the traditions in order to practice it. I came across the description of the Athenian King known as Erechtheus, who is credited as being the founder of the Polis (I believe that means he was the founder of the concept of the Greek City State in general), and he was also honored during this festival. In what way should we honor him in our own time during Panathenaia?

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:05 pm

AgathonZante wrote:Panathenaia is barely 2 months away, and I've been studying up on the traditions in order to practice it. I came across the description of the Athenian King known as Erechtheus, who is credited as being the founder of the Polis (I believe that means he was the founder of the concept of the Greek City State in general), and he was also honored during this festival. In what way should we honor him in our own time during Panathenaia?

The Panathenaia is a festival celebrating specifically the founding of Athens, analogous to Independence Day for Americans. There really isn't a reason for anyone who isn't specifically Athenian to be celebrating the Panathenaia, because to do so would take the festival out of it's original context. It's kinda like an Australian or a Canadian celebrating the 4th of July.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  AgathonZante on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:13 pm

By that logic, there's no need for anyone who is not Greek to celebrate anything that is Greek either, which would mean that every non-Greek Hellenist in the world would lose their religion.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  AgathonZante on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:16 pm

I see nothing wrong with celebrating Panathenaia, or any festival of any Greek City, so long as you honor the customs and purposes of it properly.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:31 pm

AgathonZante wrote:By that logic, there's no need for anyone who is not Greek to celebrate anything that is Greek either, which would mean that every non-Greek Hellenist in the world would lose their religion.

False dichotomy. Much of the Hellenic religion is inclusive to peoples of all types, ethnicities, social class, nationalities, etc. The Gods are not just the Gods of Hellas, but of all peoples, places, etc. However, it is important to keep in mind the context of these old festivals, how they pertain to us and if the context is appropriate to modern times and in places outside of Greece. For example, in ancient times, the Mysteries of Eleusinia were open to all people, regardless of who they were or where they came from, as long as they had not murdered and could understand Greek. The Eleusinian mysteries have since passed into the dust of history, and because of that it would not be appropriate to attempt a reconstruction of them, because it would be out of context and because we have nothing to reconstruct them with. In a similar, but not identical manner, the Panathenaia being celebrated in any other area outside of the city-state of Athens would be out of context and inappropriate because the Panathenaia was primarily a political, not a religious celebration, a celebration of the establishment of the city of Athens. The worship of Athena during the festival existed because of the fact that religion and politics were deeply interwoven in Ancient Greece, and Athena is the patron Goddess of Athena. But it must be kept in mind, that the Panathenaia was, by it's nature, a nationalistic celebration, one that celebrates Athens in a similar way to any other country's patriotic holidays.

Sure, of course you could celebrate the day Panathenaia falls on in anyway you wish. But the Panathenaia being celebrated by me, an American, or an Englishman or what-have-you, just doesn't make sense, because I am not an Athenian. The same could be said of an actual Greek born in Sparta, either in ancient times or today, because, while they are Greek, they don't have any real ties to the city of Athens.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  AgathonZante on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:53 pm

Being that the calendar of Attica dominates modern traditional Hellenic practice, and that Athens is historically known as the leader of the City States, I think it would be very relevant for a modern Hellenist to celebrate Panathenaia, in honor of Athene of course, but also in honor of the city that gives us our religious practices, and that led the ancient Greek world. It would be ridiculous for an American Jew, for example, to not celebrate Jewish holidays because they don't have Hebrew blood. While some Jews do carry the labeled Hebrew bloodline, there are also some American Jews who are as lily English as you can imagine. But they still all share the same belief system. And I think it would also be ridiculous for a Hellenist to not celebrate Panathenaia just because they don't have Athenian blood, because we all share belief in Athene, and the Athenian way of life.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Mon Jun 01, 2015 9:54 pm

Then, by all means worship Athena if you wish. I only wished to point out that he Panathenaia is, fundamentally, an Athenian holiday.

That said, I also come from a perspective that does not use the Attic calendar or religious customs. The Orphic religion uses a different calendar set up as well as a different ritual outline.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  AgathonZante on Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:15 pm

I simply wanted to know how Erectheus was honored during Panathenaia.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Mon Jun 01, 2015 10:52 pm

AgathonZante wrote:I simply wanted to know how Erectheus was honored during Panathenaia.

Most likely with poems in his honor, perhaps a few athletic games, etc. To the ancient Athenians, he would have been a hero, and so rendering him honor probably wouldn't have been too different from how honor was rendered to other heroes.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  DavidMcCann on Tue Jun 02, 2015 1:52 pm

To say one can't worship Athena without being an Athenian ignores the fact that she was worshiped all over Greece. For example, the Aetolians had a festival (Athanaia) and the Spartans had a temple just outside the market place. Obviously their festivals would not occur in the same months as the Panathenaia, but at least we know the date of the Athenian festival and many people will observe it.

Erectheus is a different matter. I'm not sure that it makes sense to honour a local hero outside his locality.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  AgathonZante on Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:47 pm

DavidMcCann wrote:To say one can't worship Athena without being an Athenian ignores the fact that she was worshiped all over Greece. For example, the Aetolians had a festival (Athanaia) and the Spartans had a temple just outside the market place. Obviously their festivals would not occur in the same months as the Panathenaia, but at least we know the date of the Athenian festival and many people will observe it.

Erectheus is a different matter. I'm not sure that it makes sense to honour a local hero outside his locality.

Again, if that were the case, no Hellenist abroad would be right to worship or honor any Heroes. All the statues of Herakles, Theseus and Bellerophon would have to be removed from countless shrines and altars around the world.

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Re: Erechtheus

Post  Erodius on Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:50 pm

To say one can't worship Athena without being an Athenian ignores the fact that she was worshiped all over Greece. For example, the Aetolians had a festival (Athanaia) and the Spartans had a temple just outside the market place. Obviously their festivals would not occur in the same months as the Panathenaia, but at least we know the date of the Athenian festival and many people will observe it.

No one is saying that one must be Athenian to venerate Athena – the point is that the Panathenaea is a local holiday, primarily dedicated to Attic national pride, with veneration of Athena being largely a secondary, though integral, part of that – being as our ideas of 'separation of church and state' certainly did not exist. Political holidays inevitably incorporated much religious action, the only difference being in their primary purpose (being the glorification of the city (via worship of its patroness, among other things), rather than simply religious worship.

Again, if that were the case, no Hellenist abroad would be right to worship or honor any Heroes.

Not exactly true – all heroes are not created equal. Heracles was venerated all across the Classical world, Bellerophon much less commonly – primarily only in association with sites related to his mythology (as was the case with most minor heroes). Theseus was venerated almost entirely within Attica, although occasionally he was memorialized elsewhere. Erechtheus was the 'George Washington' of Attica. Visitors to Attica might certainly have paid due reverence to shrines of Erechtheus should they come by them, however, it would have been virtually unheard of to find such a shrine anyplace else.

Most hero cults, with the exception of Heracles, were extremely localized, and many were tied to very specific locations – like a very particular tree, or boulder or river. With, again, the exception of Heracles (and later 'hero cults' like that of Alexander the Great or the various deified royals and emperors), hero cults were not much a part of popular/cosmopolitan worship, but rather associated with specific locales.

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