1902 Encyclopedia > Apaturia


APATURIA (______), a Greek festival held annually by all the Ionian towns except Ephesus and Colophon, the reason assigned for their exception being some suspicion of a murder (Herod., L 147). But, unless at Athens, little is known of the manner in which it was conducted. There it fell in the month of Pyanepsion, corresponding nearly to our November, and lasted three days, the occasion being one on which the various phratrice, or clans of Attica, met to arrange matters proper to each, and hence the name has been traced to a form, aTrar6pia, in the sense of apatraTopia, or ofioTraropia, meaning " a ceremony for the assertion of relationship." According to the popular derivation, how-ever, the festival originated 1100 B.C., to commemorate an encounter between the Athenians and Boeotians, in which the king of Attica, Thymcetes, having been challenged to single combat by the Boeotian king, Xanthius or Xanthus, and, being afraid to meet him, accepted as a substitute Melanthus, an exile, with the condition of his succeeding, if victorious, to the throne of Attica. When the com-batants met, Melanthus, to throw his adversary off his guard, declared that he was being unfairly assisted by a man wearing a black goat's skin. Xanthus turned to look, and while in the act was struck down. This deceit, aTrarq, was the origin of the festival! The man in the black goat's skin was believed to have been Dionysus (Bacchus) Melanaigis. On the first day of the festival, called Dorpia or Dorpeia, banquets were held towards evening. On the second, Anarrhysis, a sacrifice of oxen was offered at the public cost. On the third day, KovptSnis, children born since the last festival were presented by their fathers or guardians to the assembled phratores, and, after an oath had been taken as to their legitimacy, and the sacrifice of a goat or a sheep offered, their names were inscribed in the registers. On this day also it was the custom for boys still at school to declaim pieces of poetry, and to receive prizes. (A. S. M.)

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