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p448 Eisiteria

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p448 of

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

EISITERIA (εἰσιτήρια), scil. ἱερά, sacrifices which were offered at Athens by the senate before the session began, in honour of the Θεοὶ Βουλαῖοι, i.e. Zeus and Athena (Antiph. De Chor. p789; Böckh, Corp. Inscript. I p671). The sacrifice was accompanied by libations, and a common meal for all the senators (Demosth. De Fals. Leg. p400.24; compared with c. Mid. p552.2, where εἰσιτήρια are said to be offered for the senate, ὑπὲρ τῆς βουλῆς).

Suidas (s.v.) calls the εἰσιτήρια a festive day — the first of every year — on which all the Athenian magistrates entered upon their office, and on which the senate offered up sacrifices for the purpose of obtaining the goodwill of the gods for the new magistrates. But this statement, as well as the further remarks he adds, seem to have arisen from a gross misunderstanding of the passage of Demosthenes (De Fals. Leg. p400), to which he refers. Schömann (De Comit. p291, transl.) adopts the account of Suidas, and rejects the other statement without giving any reason.


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