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p720 Lycaea

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p720 of

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

LYCAEA (λύκαια), a festival with contests, celebrated by the Arcadians in honour of Zeus surnamed Λυκαῖος. It was said to have been instituted by the ancient hero Lycaon, the son of Pelasgus (Paus. VIII.2 § 1; Strab. VIII p388). He is also said, instead of the cakes which had formerly been offered to the god, to have sacrificed a child to Zeus, and to have sprinkled the altar with its blood. It is not improbable that human sacrifices were offered in Arcadia to Zeus Lycaeus down to a very late period in Grecian history (Porphyr. de Abstin. II.27). No further particulars respecting the celebration of the Lycaea are known, with the exception of the statement of Plutarch (Caes. 61), that the celebration of the Lycaea in some degree resembled that of the Roman Lupercalia.


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