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p209 Boreasmi

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p209 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

BOREASMI or BOREASMUS (βορεασμοί or βορεασμός), a festival celebrated by the Athenians in honour of Boreas (Hesych, s.v.), which, as Herodotus (VII.189) seems to think, was instituted during the Persian war, when the Athenians, being commanded by an oracle to invoke their γαμβρὸς ἐπίκουρος, prayed to Boreas. The fleet of Xerxes was soon afterwards destroyed by a north wind, near Cape Sepias, and the grateful Athenians erected to his honour a temple on the banks of the Ilissus. But considering that Boreas was intimately connected with the early history of Attica, since he is said to have carried off and married Oreithya, daughter of Erechtheus (Herod. l.c.; Paus. I.19 § 6), and that he was family to them under the name of brother-in‑law, we have reason to suppose that even previous to the Persian wars certain honours were paid to him, which were perhaps only revived and increased after the event recorded by Herodotus. The festival, however, does not seem ever to have had any great celebrity; for Plato (Phaedr. p229) represents Phaedrus as unacquainted even with the site of the temple of Boreas. Particulars of this festival are not known, except that it was celebrated with banquets.

Pausanias (VIII.36 § 4) mentions a festival celebrated with annual sacrifices at Megalopolis in honour of Boreas, who was thought to have been their deliverer from the Lacedaemonians (comp. Aelian, V. H. XII.61).

Aelian (l.c.) says that the Thurians also offered an annual sacrifice to Boreas, because he had destroyed the fleet with which Dionysius of Syracuse attacked them; and adds the curious remark, that a decree was made which bestowed upon him the right of citizenship, and assigned to him a house and a piece of land. This, however, is perhaps merely another way of expressing the fact, that the Thurians adopted the worship of Boreas, and dedicated to him a temple, with a piece of land.


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