[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

 p234  Callisteia

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p234 of

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

CALLISTEIA (καλλιστεῖα), a festival, or perhaps merely a part of one, held by the women of Lesbos; at which they assembled in the sanctuary of Hera, and the fairest received the prize of beauty (Schol. ad Il. IX.128; Suidas, s.v.; Antholog. Pal. IX.189; Athen. XIII p610).

A similar contest of beauty, instituted by Cypselus, formed a part of a festival celebrated by the Parrhasians in Arcadia, in honour of the Eleusinian Demeter. The women taking part in it were called Χρυσοφόροι (Athen. XIII p609).

A third contest of the same kind, in which, however, men only partook, is mentioned by Athenaeus (l.c.; compare Etymol. Magn. s.v.) as occurring among the Eleans in honour of Athena. The fairest man received as prize a suit of armour which he dedicated to Athena, and was adorned by his friends with ribbons and a myrtle wreath, and accompanied to the temple. From the words of Athenaeus (XIII p610), who, in speaking of these contests of beauty, mentions Tenedos along with Lesbos, we must infer that in the former island also Callisteia were celebrated.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 16 Sep 07