Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

. (page 37 of 153)
Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 37 of 153)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


was one of the archons, and who was obhged to offer prayers and sacrifices at this
solemnity, and to observe that no indecency or irregularity was committed during the
festival ; four r7ri/x<:X ?)rai, curators, who were elected by the people, and ten persons who
assisted at this and some other solemnities, and who were called leponoiol, from their
offering sacrifices.

This festival continued nine days, and from the fifteenth to the twenty-third day of
the month Borjt^po^tcji/. During this time it was unlawful to arrest any man, or to pre-
sent any petition ; and they who were found guilty of such practices were fined one
thousand drachms, or, as others say, put to death.

On the fourth day of the festival, they made a solemn procession, in which the
Ka\af)iop, holy basket of Ceres, was carried in a consecrated cart, crowds of persons
shouting as they went, XaTps, AriiJL^rep {Hail, Ceres). After these, followed certain
women called Kicrotpopoi, who carried baskets in which were contained carded wool,
grains of salt, a serpent, pomegranates, reeds, ivy boughs, a sort of cakes called
(pSoTs, poppies, &c. — The fifth was called 'H rwv XanwdSuiv iiiJiepa, the torch-day; because,
the night following, the men and women ran about with torches in their hands. It
was also customary to dedicate torches to Ceres, and to contend who could present
the largest ; and this was done in memory of the journey of Ceres, wdio sought Pro-
serpine with a torch lighted at the flames of ^Etna. — The sixth day w^as called "Ia>cxo;,
from lacchus, the son of Jupiter and Ceres, %vho with a torch in his hand accompa-
nied the goddess in her search after Proserpine. His statue, crowned with myrtle,
and bearing a torch, was carried from the Ceramicus to Eleusis, in a solemn proces-
sion called 'lavxof. — On the seventh day were sports, in which the victors were re
warded with a measure of barley, which was the first grain sown in Eleusis."

Robinson, Archasol. Graca.— On the Eleusinian Mysteries, see tlie references given P. H. § 63.— A full account of the Greek mys-
teries is given in LimburgSrouwer, Histoire de la Civilisation, Mor. et Relig. des Grecs.

5. The eearixofjiopia was a festival in honor of Ceres, surnamed SrecTfiofopo; (legifcra
or lawgiver), because she was said to have first taught mankind the use of laws. It



p. III. RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS. FESTIVALS. 171

was celebrated in many Grecian cities; by the Spartans, the Thebana m Boeotia, the
Syracusans in Sicily, and others. — " But the Athenians observed this festival with tho
greatest show of devotion ; the worshipers were freeborn women (it being unlawful
for any of servile condition to be present), whose husbands were wont to defray the
charges ; and were obliged to do so, if their wives' portion amounted to three talents.
These women were assisted by a priest called T.Teipairnpufos , because his head was
adorned with a crown ; and by certain virgins, who were kept under severe discipline,
being maintained at the public charge in a place called Qta^oipopziov. The women were
clad in white apparel. — Three days at least were spent in making preparations. Upon
the eleventh of Pyanepsion, the women, carrying books upon their heads, wherein
the laws were contained, went to Eleusis, where the solemnity was kept ; whence
this day was called "Ayoh^, the ascent. Upon the fourteenth the festival began, and
lasted until the seventeenth. Upon the sixteenth they kept a fast, sitting upon the
ground in token of humiliation ; whence the day was called 'Nmrda, a. fast.'^

Cf. Potter, Boyd's ed. p. S'a.— lVdlauer, De Thesmophoriis. Wratisl. IS20. 8. On the Fasts of the ancients, see Morin, L'Csage

du Jtune, chez les AncieDs, &c. in the Mem. de I'Acad. des Inscr. vol. iv. p. 29.

6. " The Uavadiivaia was an Athenian festival in honor of Minerva, the protec-
tress of Athens. It was first instituted by Erichthonius, who called it 'Adrjvaia ; and it
was afterwards revived by Theseus, when he had united into one city all the Athe-
nian people, and by him was denominated navadiii>aia. Some are of opinion that it
was the same as the Roman Quinquatria. At first it continued only one day ; but il
was afterwards prolonged several days, and celebrated with great magnificence.

There were two solemnities of this name, one of which was called MtydAa llavaBnvata,
the Great Panathenaea, and was celebrated once in five years, beginning on the twenty-
second of Hecatombseon ; the other was denominated ]\IiK-pd IlavaOfjvaia, the Less Pana-
thenaea, and was observed every third year, or, as some think, every year, beginning
on the twentieth or twenty-first of Thargelion. In the latter were three games, ma-
naged by ten presidents who were elected from the ten tribes of Athens, and who con-
tinued in ofhce four years. On the first day was a race with torches, in which first
footmen and afterwards horsemen contended, and which was also observed in the
greater festival. The second contention was evavlpiai dy^v, a gymnastic exercise in
which the combatants gave proof of their strength or manhood. The place of these
games was near the river, and was called from the festival liai'aB-nvdiKov. The third
was a musical contention instituted by Pericles ; the suljject proposed was the eulogium
of Harmodius and Aristogiton, and also jof Thrasybulus, who had rescued the repub-
lic from the yoke of the tyrants by which it was oppressed. The poets also contended
in four plays, which from their number were called rerpaXoyia. Besides these there was
a contention at Sunium, in imitation of a sea-fight. (Cf. Herod, viii. 55. — Pausan. i. 27.
% 2.) The victor in either of these games was rewarded with a vessel of oil and whh
a crown of the olives which grew in the Academy, and which were called (xopiai from
^l6pos, death, or from jj-^pog, a part. There was likewise a dance called Pyrrhichia, per-
formed by boys in armor, who represented to the sound of the flute the battle of Mi-
nerva with the Titans. No man was permitted to be present at these games in
dyed garments, under a penalty to he imposed by the dywi'oflsr???, president of the games.
Lastly a sumptuous sacrifice was offered, to which every Athenian borough contributed
an ox; of the flesh that remained, a pubUc entertainment was made for the whole
assembly ; and at this entertainment cups of an unusual size were employed.

In the greater festival most of the same rites and ceremonies were observed, but
with greater splendor and magnificence, and the addition of some other matters. In
particular, at this solemnity was a procession, in which was carried the sacred -rrhrXos,
garment of Minerva. This TrtTrXo? was woven by a select number of virgins, who were
called ipyaariKal, from epyov, a work, and who were superintended by two of the
dppr](i)6poi, and commenced their employment at the festival XaAx-cra, which was on the
thirtieth of Pyanepsion. The garment was white, without sleeves, and embroidered
whh gold: upon it were described the achievements of Minerva against the giants, of
Jupiter, of the heroes, and of men renowned for valor and great exploits; and hence
men of courage and bravery were said to be Sjiot -ahrXov, worthy of being portrayed on
the garment of Minerva. The ceremonies attending the procession with the TrrrrXos
were as follows. In the Ceramicus whhout the chy, was an engine built for the pur-
pose in the form of a ship, upon which the TrsTrXo? was hung in the manner of a sail,
which was put in motion by concealed machinery. The ttct-Xo? was thus conveyed to
the temple of Ceres Eleusinia, and thence to the citadel, where it was placed upon
Minerva's statue, which was laid on a bed strewed with flowers, and called rXa/ftf.
This procession was composed of a great number of persons of both sexes, and of all
ages and conditions. It was led up by old men, and, as some say, by old women, car-
rying ohve branches in their hands ; and hence they were called ^a\Xo(p6fjot, bearers of
green boughs. After these came middle-aged men, who, armed with lances and
bucklers, seemed only to respire war, and who were accompanied by the ^hoiKoi, so-
journers, carrying little boats as emblems of their being foreigners, and therefore
called aKa<pri<p6poi, boat-bearers. Then followed the women, attended by the sojourners'



172 GRECIAN ANTIQUITIES.

wives, who were called vlpiappoi, from carrying water-pots in token of servitude. These
'vere followed by young men, who sang hymns in honor of the goddess, and who were
crowned with millet. Next proceeded select virgins of high rank, whose features,
shape, and deportment, attracted every eye, and who were called Kavrj'pojjoi, from theu:
carrying baskets, which contained sacred utensils, cakes, and all things necessary for the
sacrifices. These utensils were in the custody of one who, because he was chief ma-
nager of the pubhc processions, was called dpxMcjpog. The virgins were attended by
the sojourners' daughters, who carried umbrellas and folding-chairs, and who were
thence denominated GKia&r](p6pui, umbrella-carriers, and cKppo(p6poi, seat-carriers. It is
probable that the rear was brought up by boys, who walked in coats used at proces-
sions, and were called -avmiiiKol. The necessaries for this and other processions were
prepared in a pubhc hall erected for that purpose between the Piraean gate and the
temple of Ceres ; and the management of the whole business belonged to the vo^xo^i;-
Xaw,-, who were appointed to see that the ancient customs were observed.

The Panathcnaic procession is represented on the frieze of the Parthenon.— See Stuart, Aniiq. of Athens, cited P. IV. § 243. 1.—
Visconli, Sculpture du Parthenon, cited P. IV. § 190. 4.— A small but hmdsome view of the Acropolis and the Fanathenaic proces-
sion is given in Boyd's Potter.

On the ftsiival, cf. Robmson, Arch. Grxc— Potter.— Land. Quart. Rev. xiv. 511.— H. A. MUUer, Panathenaica.

Among (he monuments nf ancient art still in preservation are certain vases called Panathevaic
Vases, as they are supposed from inscriptions on ihem to have b^en actually employed to contain
the sacred oil bestowed upon victors in these games as a part of their prize.

See P. 0. Sronsted, on the Panalhenaic Vases; in the Transact, of the Roy. Soc. of Literature, vol. ii. p. 102. Lend. 1S34.— ^
Caylus, Vasts dont les anciens faisoient usage dans les festives, in the Mem. Acad. Lucr. xxiii. 342.

§ 78. The great public games of the Greeks were also a part of their relior-ious
customs. They w^ere looked upon as sacred, and were originally established
in honor of the gods. They were always begun and ended with sacrifices. It
also entered into their design, and was their efTect, to render religion more
attractive by association with sensible objects, to bring into nearer contact the
several portions of Greece, and to stimulate and publicly reward superior
talents. — The exercises of these games were of five sorts, and had therefore
the common name Hivta^'kov. They were rimning, leaping, wrestling, throW'
ing the discus, and hurling the javelin, or boxing, which some put in the place
of the contest with the javelin.

See Burette, on these exercises, (la Lutte des anciens— Fugilat, Course, Disque, &c.) in the Mem. de VAcad. des Inscr. vol. iii.
p. 222 ss— G. F. PhiUpp, De Pentathio sive Quinquertio. Berl. 1S2". 8.

§ 79. The race (§pd,aoj) was between fixed boundaries, the starting-place
{a^ioii, j3a?L,3t?)» 3"^ the goal or end (crxoTto?, rap^a), on a piece of ground
measured off for the purpose (duXo?, 6Tfd8(,ov), 125 paces in extent. The racers
were sometimes clad in full armor (oTturoSpd^ot). — There were also chariot-
races and horse-races.

Those who only ran once over the stadium were called ora^ioi^pdpt ; those who ran
over the space doubled (c7auXos), that is, both to the goal and back, were called SiavXo-
^pofioi ; those who ran over the space twelve tiines in going and returning, i. e. twenty-
four stadia, or according to others only seven stadia (^oXixoj), were termed 6o\ixoSp6noi.
The goal was sometimes called Kap-rnp ; because, in the StavXog and the ddXixog, the
racers turned round it. — The prize {a9\ov, /SpapsTov) was commonly merely a crown of

olive, pine, or parsley. The term KeXrireg was applied to horses which performed in

the horse-race single. Two horses were also used, upon one of which the per-
former {dvaiSarrig) rode to the goal, and then leaped upon the other. In the chariot-
race, two, three, four, or more horses were employed to draw the chariot (apjxa) ; hence
the terms Svcopoi, Tzdpimroi, nrpMopoi, &c. The chariots were sometimes driven over the
course twelve times {(^vwieKaipopLoi). It was an object of emulation among the wealthy
to send chariots tor the race to the public games of Greece.

Gedoyn, Les Courses de Chevaux et de Chars dans les jeux Olympiques, in the Mem. Acad.- Inscr. viii. 314, 330; ix. 360.—
Quatrim, de Quincy, Sur la Course armee et les oplitodromes, in the Mem. de VInstitut, 01 a s s e d'Hitt. et Lit. Anc vol. iv.
p. 163. with figures. On the Olympic Stadium, cf. Land. Quart. Rev. vol. v. p. 277.

§ 80. For the leap {iaixa) also boundaries were marked, the place from which
(/Sa-f^p), and the place to which (gxdnfia) it was made. This exercise was
performed sometimes with the hands empty, but oftener with metallic weights
in them, usually of an oval shape (axrtjpsi), sometimes with weights attached
to the head or the shoulders.

The distance leaped over was called xavdiv. The point to which the performers were
to leap was marked by digging the earth ; hence its name from aKcnrru. The phrase
TrjccSv iirlp ra brKajxiizva, applied to signify excess or extravagance, was taken from this
exercise.



p. III. RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS. PUBLIC GAMES. 173

§ 81. Wrestling (rtd^r,, xaTfaf5%r^'tixri) was commonly performed in a covered
portico (iDcrrof), the combatants being naked, and making the most violent
exertions to throw each other to the ground. When one had done this with his
adversary three times (o ■fptalaj), he received the prize. There were two modes
of this exercise, one in the erect posture (6p§f07taV/;), the other in the lying pos-
ture in which the parties contended rolling on the ground {avaxXivoTtdy.r^ and
axivBr^aig or xvU'jL^). — When wrestling was united with boxing, it was called
TlayxpatLov or Tlan/xaxi-ov.

After the names of the candidates had been announced by a herald, they were
matched by lot. For this purpose a silver urn was used containing as many balls as
there were candidates. The same letter was inscribed on two bails, and those who
drew the same letter were antagonists in the contest. In case of an odd number, he
who drew the odd lot was called e'Ps^pog, and required to contend with those who con-
quered. A coinpetitor confessed his defeat by his voice, or by holding up his finger;
hence dips ^aKrvXov became proverbial to signify confess that you are conquered.

In the strict wrestHng, blows were not allowed, nor in boxing was it proper for the
competitor to throw his antagonist ; but in the Pancratium, both modes were prac-
ticed by the combatants {zayKpaTiatjTai or iran^axoi).

§ 82. The quoit or discus (SJffxoj, gq-kos) was made of stone, brass, or iron,
of a circular form, and was thrown by means of a thong (pca?.to6to!') passino-
through a hole in the centre. He who threw the farthest took the prize.

1. The discus was about three inches thick and ten or twelve in diameter. Some
state that the ^.'wof was of stone, and the a6\o; of iron ; others that the former was
carefully made and polished, the latter a rough mass of iron ; the difference may have
been wholly in their form or shape. — The exercise is said to have originated with the
Lacedcemonians.

2 u. The hurling the javelin (piUif, dKovTimq) was practiced either with the hand
alone, or by means of a thong attached to the shaft.

In Plate XVII. fig. Y, is seen a javelin with the thong {amentum) attached to it.

§ 83. Boxing (rtvyixr;) was performed with clenched fists, around which they
sometimes bound the cestus {ijudi), i. e. a thong or piece of hide loaded with
iron or lead. The chief art in this game was to parry the blows of the antago-
nist, which were usually aimed at the face.

The combatant was called UvK-rrn, from :ruf, a fist. The cestus, originally reaching
no higher than the wrist, was afterwards extended to the elbow and sometimes to the
shoulder, and at last came to be used both for defence and attack. Ihe Ifidv-es
were of several kinds ; those termed //EiXt'xa' gave the softest blows ; and the nvpiiixts
gave the most severe. The exercise was violent and dangerous. The combatants often
lost their hves, and victory was always dear bought. Bruises on the face by blows
were called wr.in-ia.

Besides these exercises of bodily strength and agility, there were at the public games of the
Greeks contests in music, poetry, and rhetoric, of which mention is made in the Archceoloey of
Literature (cf. P. IV. $ 65, $ 66).

§ 84. The four most grand and solemn games of the Greeks were the Olympic,
Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean, which were called by way of eminence Sacred
games (dyti^ivf j tipol).

The first and most distinguished were the Olympic, named from the place
Olympia in Elis, and dedicated to the Olympian Jupiter. By some, Jupiter
was considered as their founder; by others, an earlier Hercules belonging to
the Idaean Dactyli; by others, Pelops; by most, Hercules the hero, who was
the first victor in all the exercises, except in wrestling. They were renewed
by Iphitus, a contemporary of Lycurgus, about B. C. 888, and afterwards by
Chorcebus, B. C. 776. Afterwards they were an object of special care to the
people of Elis. Several inspectors (d?.rrai, /ja36ov;i;ot) had charge of the ex-
ternal arrangements, under the direction of a chief inspector {d7.vtdpxri).

1 M. Those who wished to appear as combatants were obliged to spend ten months
at the Gymnasium in Elis, practicing the games and various preparatory exercises undc*
the instruction of the judges, who were in the Olympic games especially termed
'EXXai'0(?iVa(. The order in which they successively engaged in the contests was decided
by lot. The i)rize was a crown or wreath of oUve (Kdrwoi). — Among the Olympic
victors, Alcibiades was one of the most celebrated; the names of thirteen others Pin
dar has preserved to posterity by his Olympic odes. Statues were often erected to the
conquerors in the grove of Jupiter. Their fame was spread the more widely ca ac-

p2



174 GRECIAN ANTIQUITIES.

count of the vast multitudes of spectators, that fiocked to the games from every part
of Greece, and from Asia, Africa, and Sicily. Uiitrii.uily females were not allowed to
attend. The games were repeated every lifih yeur, in the month ''EKarofifiaiiiv, an-
swering partly to July, and continued five days, 'i hey gave rise to the custom of
reckoning time and dating events by Olympiads. Each Olympiad consisted of four
years. The first Olympiad is generally considered in chronology as corresponding
with the year 776 B.C.

2. One judge at first presided over the games; afterwards two; subsequently there
were twelve ; then eight, one frora each tribe of the Eleans. The place, where these
assembled and superintended the preparatory exercises {TrpoyvjivacrnaTa) of the combatants,
was called 'EWn^oStKaiov. They took the most solemn oaths to adjudge the prizes im-
partially. Although women were strictly excluded from witnessing these games at
first, they were afterwards allowed not only to be present, but even to contend in them.
Originally the contests all took place in one day ; but at length several days were de-
voted to them, and sometimes a day to processions and sacrifices and to the banquets
given to the victors. The Olympic games were celebrated under the Roman empe-
rors ; but were abolished A. D. 394, in the reign of Theodosius.

3. Much has been said respecting the various favorable influences which these games
exerted in Greece. They are said to have promoted peace and harmony between the
different sections and states, as they drew together spectators from every quarter, who
thus constituted the great assembly {Ylavfiyvpii) of Greece. Olympia was in fact called
TrdyKoivo; :<wpa, the common country of aU. Hardihood and valor among the soldiery
are also mentioned as natural effects of the various athletic exercises performed at them.
They could not fail to stimulate to hterary exertion, as they furnished poets, historians,
and orators, with the best opportunities to rehearse their productions.

Baticroft's Heeren, p. 129.— G JVesCs Diss, on the Olympic games, in his 1 ransl. of Pindar, cited P. V. § 60. 5.— Cf. Sulzer''s Allg.

Theorie, close of article Pindar.— ThirlwalVs Hist, of Greece. For more particular accounts of the games, Dissen, Ueber die

Anordnung der Olympischea Spiele ; in his Kleine Schriften.—KTause, Olympia oder Darstellung der grossen Olympischen Spiele.
Wiem. 1838. 8.

§ 85. The Pythian games (iTv^ta) were celebrated upon the Crissaean plains,
in the vicinity of Delphi, which was once called Pytho from the surname of
Apollo. The games were sacred to this god, and were a commemoration of
his victory over the Pythian serpent. They were instituted either by himself,
or by Amphictyon or Diomedes. Originally they were held at the beginning
of every ninth year (ii^msr^ypts), afterwards, like the Olympic, at the beginning
of every fifth year {Ttivta^trjfiii). The Pythiad was sometimes used as an era
in chronology, but not commonly ; it appears to have been reckoned from the
3d year of the 49th Olympiad, B. C. 582. As a reward or prize the victors
received certain apples sacred to Apollo, often also a crown of laurel.

1 u. The contests appear to have been at first only in music, and to have been re-
warded with silver, gold, or something of value. The song called UvOiko; vonog, which
was performed in these contests, celebrated the victory of Apollo over the serpent ; it'
consisted of five or six distinct portions, which represented so many separate parts and
steps in the undertaking and achievement. Of the same import was the customary
solemn dance, composed of five parts.

2 71. All the exercises in use at the Olympic games were gradually introduced into
the Pythian. The Amphtctyons had the oversight of them ; to these the candidates
were required to present themselves. Nine conquerors are especially celebrated in the
Pythian odes of Pindar. The spot where these games were held was a plain between
Delphi and Cirrha, sacred to Apollo,

3. The Pythian games were sometimes called \fx(piKTVoviKa aOXa, because they were under
the care of the Amphictyons. The particular persons appointed to lake the oversight of the
games were called 'E-ri'iie'krirai ; who also acted as judges. They were assisted, in keeping
order, by the ixaaTtyo(p6poi. The Greek states sent, to attend these games, persons termed
Qewooi and YlvdaioTdi.

§ 86. The Nemean games (NfjWfra or Nfjuata) derived their name from Ne-
mea, a city in Argolis between Cleonae and Phlius, in the vicinity of which
they were celebrated. They were held every third year {t^i^trif^ixol) so as to
fall on every second and fourth Olympic year. It was never common to com-
pute time by Nemeads. The superintendents and judges were selected from
the neighboring cities, Argos, Corinth, and Cleonae, and were persons distin-
guished particularly for their love of justice. Their dress was black, because
the orames were first instituted as a funeral solemnity (aywv iriitdf^ioi) in honor
of Opheltes,or Anchemorus; although others state, that they were instituted and
dedi<'ated to Jupiter by Hercules, after slaying the Nemean lion. The prize of



p. III. RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS. PUBLIC GAMES. 175

the victor was a crown of parsley {oiuvov). Ten conquerors in the Nemean
games are celebrated by Pindar.

See Villoison, Les jeux Nemeans, in the Mem. Acad. Inscr. vol. ixxviii. p. 29.

§ 87. The Isthmian games ("la^fna) were so called from the place of their
celebration, the Corinthian isthmus, or the neck of land joining Peloponnesus
with the continent. They were instituted in honor of Melicertes, a son of Ino
and Athamas, who under the name of Palaemon was received by Neptune into
the number of sea gods. Others represent Theseus as the founder of the
games, and Neptune as the god to whom they were consecrated. With the
Corinthians, all the other states of Greece (except the Eleans, who were ex-
cluded by some dreadful execration,) united in celebrating these games. They



Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 37 of 153)