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p604 Hestiasis

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p604 of

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

HESTIASIS (ἑστίασις), was a species of liturgy, and consisted in giving a feast to one of the tribes at Athens (τὴν φυλὴν ἑστιᾶν, Dem. c. Meid. p565.10; Pollux, III.67). It was provided for each tribe at the expense of a person belonging to that tribe, who was called ἑστιάτωρ (Dem. c. Boeot. p996, 24). Harpocration (s.v. Ἑστιάτωρ) states on the authority of the speech of Demosthenes against Meidias, that this feast was sometimes provided by persons voluntarily, and at other times by persons appointed by lot; but as Böckh remarks, nothing of this kind occurs in the speech, and no burthen of this description could have been imposed upon a citizen by lot. The ἑστιάτορες were doubtless appointed, like all persons serving liturgies, according to the amount of their property in some regular succession. These banquets of the tribes, called φυλετικὰ δεῖπνα by Athenaeus (V p185d), were introduced for sacred purposes, and for keeping up a friendly intercourse between persons of the same tribe, and must be distinguished from the great feastings of the people, which were defrayed from the Theorica (Böckh, Publ. Econ. of Athens, p452, 2nd ed.; Wolf, Proleg. ad Dem. Leptin. p. lxxxvii note 60).


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