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Bendideia (Βενδίδεια)

Bendis: Thracian goddess

A festival of Thracian origin celebrated by Greeks and Thracians. It is mentioned by Plato: The festival was of a bacchanalian character. From Thrace it was brought to Athens, where it was celebrated in the Piraeus, in the month Thargelion. The temple of Bendis was called Βενδίδειον.

Adeimantus added: Has no one told you of the torch-race on horseback in honour of the goddess which will take place in the evening?
With horses! I replied: That is a novelty. Will horsemen carry torches and pass them one to another during the race?
Yes, said Polemarchus, and not only so, but a festival will be celebrated at night, which you certainly ought to see.

Plato, The Republic

Boedromia (Βοηδρόμια).

A festival celebrated at Athens on the seventh day of the month of Boedromion, in honour of Apollo Boedromios (Müller, Dor. ii. 8. 5). The name Boedromios, by which Apollo was called in Boeotia and other parts of Greece, seems to indicate that by this festival he was honoured as a martial god, who either by his actual presence or by his oracles afforded assistance in the dangers of war. The origin of the festival is, however, traced by different authors to different events in Grecian story. See Plutarch, Theseus, 27.

Boreasmi or Boreasmus (βορεασμοί or βορεασμός).

A festival celebrated by the Athenians in honour of Boreas, which, as Herodotus (vii. 189) seems to think, was instituted during the Persian War, when the Athenians, being commanded by an oracle to invoke their γαμβρὸς ἐπίκουρος, prayed to Boreas. The fleet of Xerxes was soon afterwards almost entirely destroyed by a north wind, near Cape Sepias, and the grateful Athenians erected to his honour a temple on the banks of the Ilissus. Possibly, however, this merely revived an earlier celebration. A similar festival of Boreas was celebrated annually at Megalopolis, and by the Thurians. See Aelian, V. H. xii. 61.


Dedication: Zeus

Date : 14th Scirophorion

Bouphonia (τὰ βουφόνια). A festival held in honour of Zeus at Athens. The legend connected with this festival is a singular one. Among the laws given by Triptolemus to the Athenians, three more especially remarkable were: “Reverence your elders—Honour the gods by offerings of the first fruits—Hurt not the labouring beast,” i. e. the beast employed in agriculture. The first who offended against this last command was a person named Thaulon, who, at the feast of Ζεὺς Πολιεύς, observing a steer eating the sacred πόπανον on the altar, took up an axe and slew the trespasser. The expiation-feast (βουφόνια), instituted for the purpose of atoning for this involuntary offence, it was found afterwards expedient to continue. The ceremonies observed in it are not a little amusing. First was brought water by women appointed for the office, for the purpose of sharpening the axe and knife with which the slaughter was to be committed. One of these women having handed the axe to the proper functionary, the latter felled the beast and then took to flight. To slay the beast outright was the office of a third person. All present then partook of the flesh. The meal finished, the hide was stuffed, and the beast, apparently restored to life, was put to the plough. Now commenced the steer-trial. A judicial assembly was held in the Prytaneum, to which all were summoned who had been partakers in the above transaction. Each lays the blame upon the other. The water-bearers throw the guilt upon the sharpener of the axe and knife; the sharpener of the knife casts it upon the person delivering it to the feller of the beast; the feller of the beast upon the actual slaughterer, while this last ascribes the whole guilt to the knife itself. The knife, unable to speak, is found guilty and thrown into the sea.

Apsychon Dike

Brasidea (Βρασίδεια).

A festival held annually at Sparta with orations and contests, in memory of Brasidas , who, after his death, in 422 BC, received the honours of a hero. See Pausan. iii. 14.

Brauronia /Arkteia (Βραυρώνια)

Dedication: Artemis

City : Brauron and Mounychion in Attica

Date : Every 5 years, since 416 BC also a festival in honour of Apollo

Brauron according to Euripides was the burial place of Iphigenia

At seven years of age, I carried the sacred vessels; at ten, I pounded barley for the altar of Athene; next, clad in a robe of yellow silk, I played the bear to Artemis at the Brauronia; Aristophanes, Lysistrata

Legend says that once a girl was killed by a bear and then this animal of Artemis was killed and to honour Artemis the festival of Brauronia (derived from the deme of Brauron, east Attica) was established , probably introduded by Peisistratus in Athens.

..girls celebrated the Arkteia or "Bear Festival," a quadrennial mystery ritual in honor of Artemis, goddess of wild animals and maidens. Legend says that this was a prenuptial festival required of all girls of Attica. A series of vases found at the Arkteia sanctuaries depicts girls, both nude and in short chitons, apparently performing various ritual activities, including dancing and running. The scenes of running appear to show girls chasing one another in a contest symbolic of their change of status from "wild" to "tame." http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/olympics/girls.html

Images: aerial view of the Brauron site , plan of the temple complex at Brauron; temple of Artemis in lower left (with extra back room where "mystery" ritual may have taken place) , view of the remains of the stoa (dining hall area) at Brauron , remains of table bases in thed stoa at Brauron , votive offering to Artemis at Brauron, statue of a young arktos with a rabbit (sacred to Aphrodite) , votive relief from Brauron portraying Artemis and procession participants (arktoi and their families) , remains of pottery cups from Brauron portraying dancing arktoi, footraces, and a complete cup probably given as a souvenir of the occasion , another set of pottery fragments that seems (lower left fragment) to show a priest (in a bear mask), who with a priestess may have led the arktoi in initiation rites

Brauron Quicktime

Brauronia from Perseus

Ancient Greek Festivals

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