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p861 Panionia

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on pp861‑862 of

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

PANIONIA (πανιώνια), the great national panegyris of the Ionians on mount Mycale, where their national god Poseidon Heliconius had his sanctuary, called the Panionium (Herod. I.148; Strab. VIII p384; Paus. VII.24 § 4). One of the principal objects of this national meeting was the common worship of Poseidon, to whom splendid sacrifices were offered on the occasion (Diodor. XV.49). As chief-priest for the conduct of the sacrifices, they always appointed a young man of Priene, with the title of king, and it is mentioned as one of the peculiar superstitions of the Ionians on this occasion, that they thought the bull which they sacrificed to be pleasing to the god if it roared at the moment it was killed (Strab. l.c.). But p862religious worship was not the only object for which they assembled at the Panionium; on certain emergencies, especially in case of any danger threatening their country, the Ionians discussed at these meetings political questions, and passed resolutions which were binding upon all (Herod. I.141, 170). But the political union among the Ionians appears nevertheless to have been very loose, and their confederacy to have been without any regular internal organization, for the Lydians conquered one Ionian town after another, without there appearing anything like the spirit of a political confederacy; and we also find that single cities concluded separate treaties for themselves, and abandoned their confederates to their fate (Herod. I.169).

Diodorus (XV.49) says that in later times the Ionians used to hold their meeting in the neighbourhood of Ephesus instead of at Mycale. Strabo, on the other hand, who speaks of the Panionic panegyris as still held in his own time, does not only not mention any such change, but appears to imply that the panegyris was at all times held on the same spot, viz. on mount Mycale. Diodorus therefore seems to consider the Ephesian panegyris [Ephesia] as having been instituted instead of the Panionia. But both panegyreis existed simultaneously, and were connected with the worship of two distinct divinities, as is clear from a comparison of two passages of Strabo, VIII p384, XIV p639.

(Compare Tittmann's Griech. Staatsv. p668, &c.; Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece, II p102; C. F. Hermann, Lehrb. der Gottesd. Alterth. § 66 n2, 3).


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