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p976 Pyanepsia

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p976 of

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

PYANE′PSIA (πυανέψια), a festival celebrated at Athens every year on the seventh of Pyanepsion, in honour of Apollo (Harpocrat. Hesych. Suidas s.v. Πυανέψια). It was said to have been instituted by Theseus after his return from Crete (Plut. Thes. 22). The festival as well as the month in which it took place, are said to have derived their names from πύαμος, another form for κύαμος, i.e. pulse or beans, which were cooked at this season and carried about (Harp. and Suid. l.c.; Athen. IX p408). A procession appears to have taken place at the Pyanepsia, in which the εἰρεσιώνη was carried about. This εἰρεσιώνη was an olive-branch surrounded with wool and laden with the fruits of the year; for the festival was in reality a harvest feast. It was carried by a boy whose parents were still living, and those who followed him sang certain verses, which are preserved in Plutarch (l.c.; compare Clem. Alex. Strom. IV p474; Eustath. ad Il. XXII; Suid. s.v. Εἰρεσιώνη; and Etymol. Mag. where a different account is given). The procession went to a temple of Apollo, and the olive-branch was planted at its entrance. According to others, every Athenian planted, on the day of the Pyanepsia, such an olive branch before his own house, where it was left standing till the next celebration of the festival, when it was exchanged for a fresh one (Schol. ad Aristoph. Plut. 1050).


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