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p389 Delphinia

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p389 of

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

DELPHINIA (δελφίνια), a festival of the same propitiatory character as the Apollonia, which was celebrated in various towns of Greece, in honour of Apollo, surnamed Delphinius, who was considered by the Ionians as their θεὸς πατρῷος. The name of the god, as well as that of his festival, must be derived from the belief of the ancients that in the beginning of the month of Munychion (probably identical with the Aeginetan Delphinius) Apollo came through the defile of Parnassus to Delphi, and began the battle with Delphyne. As he thus assumed the character of a wrathful god, it was thought necessary to appease him, and the Delphinia, accordingly, were celebrated at Athens, as well as at other places where his worship had been adopted, on the 6th of Munychion. At Athens seven boys and girls carried olive-branches, bound with white wool (called the ἱκετηρία), into the Delphinium (Plut. Thes. 18).

The Delphinia of Aegina are mentioned by the scholiast on Pindar (Pyth. VIII.88), and from his remark on another passage (Olymp. VII.151), it is clear that they were celebrated with contests (compare Diog. Laërt. Vit. Thal. c7; Müller, Dor. II.8 § 4). Concerning the celebration of the Delphinia in other places nothing is known; but we have reason to suppose that the rites observed at Athens and in Aegina were common to all festivals of the same name. See Müller, Aeginet. p152.

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