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p367 Cotyttia

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p367 of

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

COTYTTIA or COTYTTES (κοτύττια, κόττυτες), a festival which was originally celebrated by the Edonians of Thrace, in honour of a goddess called Cotys or Cotytto (Strab. X p470; Eupolis, apud Hesych. s.v.; Suidas). It was held at night, and, according to Strabo, resembled the festivals of the Cabeiri and the Phrygian Cybele. But the worship of Cotys, together with the festival of the Cotyttia, was adopted by several Greek states, chiefly those which were induced by their commercial interest to maintain friendly relations with Thrace. Among these Corinth is expressly mentioned by Suidas, and Strabo (X p471) seems to suggest that the worship of Cotys was adopted by the Athenians, who, as he observes, were as hospitable to foreign gods as they were to foreigners in general (compare Juven. Sat. II.92). The priests of the goddess were formerly supposed to have borne the name of baptae; but Buttmann has shown that this opinion is utterly groundless. Her festivals were notorious among the ancients for the dissolute manner and the debaucheries with which they were celebrated (Suidas, s.v. Κότυς; Horat. Epod. XVII.56; Theocrit. VI.40). Another festival of the same name was celebrated in Sicily (Plut. Proverb.), where boughs hung with cakes and fruit were carried about, which any person had a right to pluck off if he chose; but we have no mention that this festival was polluted with any of the licentious practices which disgraced those of Thrace and Greece, unless we refer the allusion made by Theocritus to the Cotyttia, to the Sicilian festival (compare Buttmann's essay, Ueber die Kotyttia und die Baptae, in his Mythologus, vol. II p159; Lobeck, Aglaoph. pp627, 1007, &c.).


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