Athenian festivals

Athenian festivals

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Athenian festivals'
Start a new discussion about 'Athenian festivals'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The festival calendar of city-state
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

 of classical Athens
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 involved the staging of a large number of festivals each year. These Athenian festivals included:

Athena



The Panathenaea  was the most important festival for Athens and one of the grandest in the entire ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 world. Except for slaves, all inhabitants of the polis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

could take part in the festival. This holiday of great antiquity is believed to have been the observance of Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

's birthday and honoured the goddess as the city's patron divinity, Athena Polias ('Athena of the city'). A procession assembled before dawn at the Dipylon gate in the northern sector of the city. The procession, led by the Kanephoros
Kanephoros
The Kanephoros was an honorific office given to unmarried young women in ancient Greece, which involved the privilege of leading the procession to sacrifice at festivals; the highest honour was to lead the pompe at the Panathenaic Festival...

, made its way were offered on the Areopagus
Areopagus
The Areopagus or Areios Pagos is the "Rock of Ares", north-west of the Acropolis, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios .The origin...

 and in front of the Temple of Athena Nike next to the Propylaea
Propylaea
A Propylaea, Propylea or Propylaia is any monumental gateway based on the original Propylaea that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens...

. Only Athenian citizens were allowed to pass through the Propylaea and enter the Acropolis. The procession passed the Parthenon
Parthenon
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their virgin patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although...

 and stopped at the great altar of Athena in front of the Erechtheum
Erechtheum
The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece.-Architecture:The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius...

. Each year a newly woven peplos
Peplos
A peplos is a body-lengthGreek garment worn by women before 500 BC. The peplos is a tubular cloth folded inside-out from the top about halfway down, altering what was the top of the tube to the waist and the bottom of the tube to ankle-length. The garment is then gathered about the waist and the...

 was dedicated to Athena.

Dionysus


The Dionysia
Dionysia
The Dionysia[p] was a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and, from 487 BC, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia...

 was a large religious festival in ancient Athens in honour of the god Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

, the central event of which was the performance of tragedies
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 and, from 487 BCE, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia. The Dionysia actually comprised two related festivals, the Rural Dionysia and the City Dionysia, which took place in different parts of the year. They were also an essential part of the Dionysian Mysteries
Dionysian Mysteries
The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. It also provided some liberation for those marginalized by Greek...

.

The Lenaia
Lenaia
The Lenaia was an annual festival with a dramatic competition. It was one of the lesser festivals of Athens and Ionia in ancient Greece. The Lenaia took place in Athens in the month of Gamelion, roughly corresponding to January. The festival was in honour of Dionysos Lenaios...

  was an annual festival with a dramatic competition but one of the lesser festivals of Athens and Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 in ancient Greece. The Lenaia took place (in Athens) in the month of Gamelion
Gamelion
Gamelion signifies:*a month in the ancient Greek calendar*Gamelion Studios, video game producers...

, roughly corresponding to January. The festival was in honour of Dionysus Lenaius
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

. Lenaia probably comes from lenai, another name for the Maenad
Maenad
In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus , the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god's retinue. Their name literally translates as "raving ones"...

s, the female worshippers of Dionysus.

The Anthesteria
Anthesteria
Anthesteria, one of the four Athenian festivals in honour of Dionysus , was held annually for three days, the eleventh to thirteenth of the month of Anthesterion ; it was preceded by the Lenaia...

, one of the four Athenian festivals in honour of Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 (collectively the Dionysia
Dionysia
The Dionysia[p] was a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and, from 487 BC, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia...

), was held annually for three days, the eleventh to thirteenth of the month of Anthesterion (the January/February full moon); it was preceded by the Lenaia. At the centre of this wine-drinking festival was the celebration of the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage, whose pithoi were now ceremoniously opened, and the beginning of spring. Athenians of the Classical age were aware that the festival was of great antiquity; Walter Burkert points out that the mythic reflection of this is the Attic founder-king Theseus
Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

' release of Ariadne
Ariadne
Ariadne , in Greek mythology, was the daughter of King Minos of Crete, and his queen Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She aided Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur and was the bride of the god Dionysus.-Minos and Theseus:...

 to Dionysus, but this is no longer considered a dependable sign that the festival had been celebrated in the Minoan period. Since the festival was celebrated by Athens and all the Ionian cities, it is assumed that it must have preceded the Ionian migration of the late eleventh or early tenth century BCE.

Apollo and Artemis


The Boedromia
Boedromia
The Boedromia was an ancient Greek festival held at Athens on the 7th of Boedromion in the honor of Apollo Boedromios . The festival had a military connotation, and thanks the god for his assistance to the Athenians during wars. It could also commemorate a specific intervention at the origin of...

  was an ancient Greek festival held at Athens on the 7th of Boedromion (summer) in the honour of Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 Boedromios (the helper in distress). The festival had a military connotation, and thanks the god for his assistance to the Athenians during wars. It could also commemorate a specific intervention at the origin of the festival. The event in question, according to the ancient writers, could be the help brought to Theseus
Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

 in his war against the Amazons
Amazons
The Amazons are a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia...

, or the assistance provided to the king Erechtheus
Erechtheus
Erechtheus in Greek mythology was the name of an archaic king of Athens, the re-founder of the polis and a double at Athens for Poseidon, as "Poseidon Erechtheus"...

 during his struggle against Eumolpus
Eumolpus
In Greek mythology, Eumolpus was the son of Poseidon and Chione. According to Apollodorus, Chione, daughter of Boreas and Oreithyia, pregnant with Eumolpus by Poseidon, was frightened of her father's reaction so she threw the baby into the ocean...

. During the event, sacrifices were also made to Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

 Agrotera
Agrotera
Agrotera was an epithet of the Greek goddess Artemis, and the most important goddess to Attic hunters.At Agrae on the Ilissos, where she was believed to have first hunted after her arrival from Delos, Artemis Agrotera had a temple, dating to the 5th century BC, with a statue carrying a bow...

.

The Thargelia
Thargelia
Thargelia was one of the chief Athenian festivals in honour of the Delian Apollo and Artemis, held on their birthdays, the 6th and 7th of the month Thargelion ....

  was one of the chief Athenian festivals in honour of the Delian Apollo
Apollo
Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

 and Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

, held on their birthdays, the 6th and 7th of the month Thargelion (about 24 and 25 May). Essentially an agricultural festival, the Thargelia included a purifying and expiatory ceremony. While the people offered the first-fruits of the earth to the god in token of thankfulness, it was at the same time necessary to propitiate him, lest he might ruin the harvest by excessive heat, possibly accompanied by pestilence. The purificatory preceded the thanksgiving service. On the 6th a sheep was sacrificed to Demeter Chloe on the Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

, and perhaps a swine to the Fates
Moirae
The Moirae, Moerae or Moirai , in Greek mythology, were the white-robed incarnations of destiny . Their number became fixed at three...

, but the most important ritual was the following: Two men, the ugliest that could be found (the Pharmakoi
Pharmakos
A Pharmakós in Ancient Greek religion was a kind of human scapegoat who was chosen and expelled from the community at times of disaster or at times of calendrical crisis, when purification was needed...

) were chosen to die, one for the men, the other (according to some, a woman) for the women. On the day of the sacrifice they were led round with strings of figs on their necks, and whipped on the genitals with rods of figwood and squills. When they reached the place of sacrifice on the shore, they were stoned to death, their bodies burnt, and the ashes thrown into the sea (or over the land, to act as a fertilizing influence).

Aphrodite and Adonis


The Adonia
Adonia
Adonia , or Adonic feasts, was an ancient festival mourning the death of Adonis. The date is uncertain, but may have been early Spring, or summer. It was a private, rather than a state festival, and was celebrated by women exclusively.....

 , or Adonic feasts, were ancient feasts instituted in honour of Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 and Adonis
Adonis
Adonis , in Greek mythology, the god of beauty and desire, is a figure with Northwest Semitic antecedents, where he is a central figure in various mystery religions. The Greek , Adōnis is a variation of the Semitic word Adonai, "lord", which is also one of the names used to refer to God in the Old...

, and observed with great solemnity among the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, Egyptians
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

, etc. It lasted two days, and was celebrated by women exclusively. On the first day, they brought into the streets statues of Adonis, which were laid out as corpses; and they observed all the rites customary at funerals, beating themselves and uttering lamentations, in imitation of the cries of Venus
Venus (mythology)
Venus is a Roman goddess principally associated with love, beauty, sex,sexual seduction and fertility, who played a key role in many Roman religious festivals and myths...

 for the death of her paramour. The second day was spent in merriment and feasting; because Adonis was allowed to return to life, and spend half of the year with Aphrodite.

Demeter and Persephone


The Thesmophoria
Thesmophoria
Thesmophoria was a festival held in Greek cities, in honor of the goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The name derives from thesmoi, or laws by which men must work the land. The Thesmophoria were the most widespread festivals and the main expression of the cult of Demeter, aside from the...

 was a festival held in Greek cities, in honour of the goddesses Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 and her daughter Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

. The name derives from thesmoi, or laws by which men must work the land. The Thesmophoria were the most widespread festivals and the main expression of the cult of Demeter, aside from the Eleusinian Mysteries
Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance...

. The Thesmophoria commemorated the third of the year when Demeter abstained from her role of goddess of the harvest and growth; spending the harsh summer months of Greece, when vegetation dies and lacks rain, in mourning for her daughter who was in the realm of the Underworld
Underworld
The Underworld is a region which is thought to be under the surface of the earth in some religions and in mythologies. It could be a place where the souls of the recently departed go, and in some traditions it is identified with Hell or the realm of death...

. Their distinctive feature
Distinctive feature
In linguistics, a distinctive feature is the most basic unit of phonological structure that may be analyzed in phonological theory.Distinctive features are grouped into categories according to the natural classes of segments they describe: major class features, laryngeal features, manner features,...

 was the sacrifice of pigs.

The festival of the Skira
Skira
The festival of the Skira or Skirophoria in the calendar of ancient Athens, closely associated with the Thesmophoria, marked the dissolution of the old year in May/June. At Athens, the last month of the year was Skirophorion, after the festival...

 or Skirophoria in the calendar of ancient Athens, closely associated with the Thesmophoria, marked the dissolution of the old year in May/June. At Athens, the last month of the year was Skirophorion
Attic calendar
The Attic calendar is a hellenic calendar that was in use in ancient Attica, the ancestral territory of the Athenian polis. This article focuses on the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the classical period that produced some of the most significant works of ancient Greek literature. Because of the...

, after the festival. Its most prominent feature was the procession that led out of Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 to a place called Skiron near Eleusis, in which the priestess of Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 and the priest of Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

 took part, under a ceremonial canopy
Baldachin
A baldachin, or baldaquin , is a canopy of state over an altar or throne. It had its beginnings as a cloth canopy, but in other cases it is a sturdy, permanent architectural feature, particularly over high altars in cathedrals, where such a structure is more correctly called a ciborium when it is...

 called the skiron, which was held up by the Eteoboutadai. Their joint temple on the Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

 was the Erechtheum
Erechtheum
The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece.-Architecture:The temple as seen today was built between 421 and 406 BC. Its architect may have been Mnesicles, and it derived its name from a shrine dedicated to the legendary Greek hero Erichthonius...

, where Poseidon embodied as Erechtheus
Erechtheus
Erechtheus in Greek mythology was the name of an archaic king of Athens, the re-founder of the polis and a double at Athens for Poseidon, as "Poseidon Erechtheus"...

 remained a numinous
Numinous
Numinous is an English adjective describing the power or presence of a divinity. The word was popularised in the early twentieth century by the German theologian Rudolf Otto in his influential book Das Heilige...

 presence.

Hermes


The Hermaea
Hermaea (festival)
The Hermaea were ancient Greek festivals held annually in honour of Hermes, notably at Pheneos at the foot of Mt Cyllene in Arcadia. Usually the Hermaea honoured Hermes as patron of sport and gymnastics, often in conjunction with Heracles. They included athletic contests of various kinds and were...

  were ancient Greek festivals held annually in honour of Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

, notably at Pheneos at the foot of Mt Cyllene
Mount Kyllini
Mount Kyllini or Mount Cyllene , is a mountain on the Peloponnesus peninsula in Greece, famous for its association with the god Hermes. It rises to above sea level, making it the second highest point on the peninsula. It is located near the border between the historic regions of Arcadia and...

 in Arcadia
Arcadia
Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological character Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan...

. Usually the Hermaea honoured Hermes as patron of sport and gymnastics, often in conjunction with Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

. They included athletic contests of various kinds and were normally held in gymnasia
Gymnasium (ancient Greece)
The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term gymnós meaning "naked". Athletes competed in the nude, a practice said to...

and palaestra
Palaestra
The palaestra was the ancient Greek wrestling school. The events that did not require a lot of space, such as boxing and wrestling, were practised there...

e
. The Athenian
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 Hermaea were an occasion for relatively unrestrained and rowdy competitions for the ephebes
Ephebos
Ephebos , also anglicised as ephebe or archaically ephebus , is a Greek word for an adolescent age group or a social status reserved for that age in Antiquity....

, and Solon
Solon
Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in archaic Athens...

 tried to prohibit adults from attending. In the Cretan
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 city of Cydonia, the festival had a more Saturnalia
Saturnalia
Saturnalia is an Ancient Roman festival/ celebration held in honour of Saturn , the youngest of the Titans, father of the major gods of the Greeks and Romans, and son of Uranus and Gaia...

n character, as the social order was inverted and masters waited on their slaves.

Heracles


The Herakleia
Herakleia
The Herakleia were ancient festivals honoring the divine hero Heracles. The ancient Athenians celebrated the festival, which commemorated the death of Heracles, on the second day of the month of Metageitnion , at the Κυνοσαργες gymnasium at the demos Diomeia outside the walls of Athens, in a...

 were ancient festivals honouring the divine hero Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

. The ancient Athenians celebrated the festival, which commemorated the death of Heracles, on the second day of the month of Metageitnion (which would fall in late July or early August), at the Κυνοσαργες (Kynosarges) gymnasium
Gymnasium (ancient Greece)
The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term gymnós meaning "naked". Athletes competed in the nude, a practice said to...

 at the demos Diomeia outside the walls of Athens, in a sanctuary dedicated to Heracles. His priests were drawn from the list of boys who were not full Athenian citizens (nothoi).

Family festivals


The Amphidromia
Amphidromia
The Amphidromia , in ancient Greece, was a ceremonial feast celebrated on the fifth or seventh day after the birth of a child.It was a family festival of the Athenians, at which the newly born child was introduced into the family, and children of poorer families received its name. Children of...

 was a ceremonial feast celebrated on the fifth or seventh day after the birth
Birth
Birth is the act or process of bearing or bringing forth offspring. The offspring is brought forth from the mother. The time of human birth is defined as the time at which the fetus comes out of the mother's womb into the world...

 of a child. It was a family festival of the Athenians
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, at which the newly born child was introduced into the family, and children of poorer families received its name. Children of wealthier families held a naming ceremony on the tenth day called dekate. This ceremony, unlike the Amphidromia, was open to the public by invitation. No particular day was fixed for this solemnity; but it did not take place very soon after the birth of the child, for it was believed that most children died before the seventh day, and the solemnity was therefore generally deferred till after that period, that there might be at least some probability of the child remaining alive.