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p861 Panegyris

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p861 of

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

PANEGYRIS (πανήγυρις) signifies a meeting or assembly of a whole people for the purpose of worshipping at a common sanctuary. But the word is used in three ways:— 1. For a meeting of the inhabitants of one particular town and its vicinity [Ephesia]; 2. For a meeting of the inhabitants of a whole district, a province, or of the whole body of people belonging to a particular tribe [Delia, Pamboeotia, Panionia]; and 3. For great national meetings, as at the Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean games. Although in all panegyreis which we know, the religious character forms the most prominent feature, other subjects, political discussion and resolutions, as well as a variety of amusements, were not excluded, though they were perhaps more a consequence of the presence of many persons than objects of the meeting. As regards their religious character, the panegyreis were real festivals in which prayers were performed, sacrifices offered, processions held, &c. The amusements comprehended the whole variety of games, gymnastic and musical contests, and entertainments. Every panegyris, moreover, was made by tradespeople a source of gain, and it may be presumed that such a meeting was never held without a fair, at which all sorts of things were exhibited for sale (Paus. X.32 § 9; Strab. X p486; Dio Chrysost. Orat. XXVII p528). In later times, when the love of gain had become stronger than religious feeling, the fairs appear to have become a more prominent characteristic of a panegyris than before; hence the Olympic games are called mercatus Olympiacus or ludi et mercatus Olympiorum (Justin. XIII.5; Vell. Pat. I.8). Festive orations were also frequently addressed to a panegyris, whence they are called λόγοι πανηγυρικοί. The Panegyricus of Isocrates, though it was never delivered, is an imaginary discourse of this kind. In later times any oration in praise of a person was called panegyricus, as that of Pliny on the emperor Trajan.

Each panegyris is treated of in a separate article. For a general account see Wachsmuth, Hell. Alt. I p149, &c.; Böckh, ad Pind. Ol. VII, p175, &c.; Hermann, Polit. Ant. § 10.


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