The Festival of Theseus is coming up this week. How would the ancients have celebrated this time specifically for Theseus? What are the things they would have done?
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AgathonZante wrote:The Festival of Theseus is coming up this week. How would the ancients have celebrated this time specifically for Theseus? What are the things they would have done?
The Theseia on the day following Pyanepsia and Oskhophoria celebrated the return of the (alleged) bones of Theseus to Athens from their original burial place on the island of Skyros, as ordained by the Delphic oracle. The Athenians created a temenos near the agora (and likely near the temple of Hephaistos) to re-inter the remains and instituted a festival in 475 BCE to honor the state hero. The observance became a major festival with a procession, athletic games and consumption of meat sacrifices (Parke, p. 81). Another distinctive feature of this festival was the serving of athara, a special "pudding" made with milk.
The eighth of the month is a day devoted to Poseidon, divine father of Theseus, and often to Theseus himself, hence it lent itself to an observance of such an important event as the return of the state hero’s remains (Parke, p. 81).
Parke, H.W., Festivals of the Athenians, (Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1977)
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