Agrionia was an ancient Greek religious festival in honor of Dionysus Agrionius. It was celebrated annually, especially at Orchomenus in Boeotia.[1]

According to Plutarch, agrionia was celebrated at night with only women accompanied by the priests of Dionysus, who often wore black garments.[citation needed] Women pretended to search for Dionysos and then declared that he has fled to the Muses and hidden there.[1] After that they feasted and begun to present and solve riddles.[citation needed]

According to legend, the Minyades or Oleiai (Ὀλεῖαι), the daughters of king Minyas of Orchomenus, who had despised the Dionysian rites, were seized with a desire to eat human flesh of one of their children.[1] They cast lots to decide which of their children they would eat and selected Hippasus, son of Leucippe.[citation needed]

Plutarch also explains that the festival included a human sacrifice. At this festival it was originally the custom for the priest of the god to pursue a woman of the Minyan family with a drawn sword and kill her.[2] This practice was later discontinued after the occurrence of bad omens.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ Chisholm 1911 cites Plutarch, Quaest. Rom. 102, Quaest. Graecae 38.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Agrionia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 424.