Pandia (festival)


The Pandia was an ancient state festival attested as having been held annually at Athens as early as the time of Demosthenes.[1] Although little that is known of the Pandia is certain,[2] it was probably a festival for Zeus,[3] and was celebrated in the spring after the City Dionysia in the middle of the month of Elaphebolion (late March and early April).


The exact date of the Pandia has been much discussed.[4] Demosthenes, speech Against Midias (21.8) has a meeting, during which the conduct of the City Dionysia was reviewed, being held after the Pandia. This places the Pandia, at least during the time of Demosthenes, after the City Dionysia. Some have seen an association between the Pandia and the full-moon, placing the celebration on 14 Elaphebolion.[5] But according to Pickard-Cambridge, Gould and Lewis, the association with the full-moon "can neither be affirmed nor rejected",[6] and modern scholarship appears to favor the later dates of 16 or 17 Elaphebolion.[7]


The derivation of the festival's name and exactly whom the festival may have honored have been the subject of considerable discussion.[8] Zeus, the goddess Selene, Pandia, a daughter of Zeus and Selene, and Pandion, a mythical king, have all been seen as being possibly connected with the festival.

The name "Pandia" is associated with the goddess Selene, the Greek personification of the moon. Originally Pandia may have been an epithet of Selene,[9] but by at least the time of the Homeric Hymn to Selene,[10] Pandia ("all brightness")[11] had become a daughter of Selene and Zeus, and Pandia Selene or Selene's daughter Pandia, have been offered as possible origins for the name of the festival.

Another mythological figure whose name has been suggested as a possible source for the name of the festival is Pandion, a legendary king of Athens who, as part of the tribal reforms of Cleisthenes at the end of the sixth century BC, became the eponymous hero of the Athenian tribe Pandionis. However some scholars think it is more likely that the hero derived his name from the festival as its legendary founder.[12] An inscription[13] dating from c. 386 BC, which refers to a decree of the tribe Pandionis, commending a "priest of Pandion" for services performed at the Pandia, supports the notion of a link between Pandion and the festival.[14]

While mentioning both Selene and Pandion in connection with the festival's name, Photius states that the festival was held for Zeus,[15] and although according to Robert Parker this association with Zeus may only be "a probably correct etymological guess",[16] many scholars are content to assign the festival to Zeus.[17] It is also possible that more than one of these mythological figures were associated with the festival, and who the festival honored may have changed over time.[18]

Pandia of Plotheia

A festival of the same name is attested for the deme Plotheia; what relationship if any this festival may have had with the Pandia of Athens is unknown.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Demosthenes, Against Midias 21.8–9; Inscriptiones Graecae, II2 1140, line 5; Harpocration, Lexicon of the Ten Orators s.v.; Pollux, Onomasticon 1.37. Though the earliest mentions of the festival we have date only from the fourth century BC, the festival was probably much older, Parke, p. 136, says that the festival "was probably a survival from the archaic past which had become fossilized", Parker (1996), p. 75 says "The panegyris or 'all-assembly' is in fact as ancient a Greek institution as any that we know of. If, as is likely, the system of tribal competition in Attic cults is archaic, there must always have been some pan-Attic festivals. Some old favourites (the Pandia for instance, the 'all-Zeus' festival or the Dipolieta) perhaps gradually faded away in the classical period", while Robertson sees the festival as marking the spring migration of sheep to mountain pastures, and having originated at least as early as the Mycenean period (Robertson 1991, p. 5; Robertson 1993, p. 15).
  2. ^ Burkert, p. 182; Parke, pp. 135–136; Parker 2005, pp. 447–448.
  3. ^ Parker 2005, p. 447.
  4. ^ Mikalson 1975, p. 137.
  5. ^ Smith, "Pandia", "Dionysia"; Cook, p. 733; Willetts, pp. 178; Robertson 1996, p. 75 note 109.
  6. ^ Pickard-Cambridge, Gould and Lewis, p. 66.
  7. ^ Harris, p. 190; Canevaro, p. 213; Pickard-Cambridge, Gould and Lewis, p. 66; Mikalson 1975, p. 137.
  8. ^ For example see Willetts, pp. 178-179; Smith, "Pandia"; Harpers, "Pandia"; Photius, Lexicon s.v. Πάνδια; Scholiast on Demosthenes, 21.39a; Lexicon Patmense s.v. Πάνδια; Lexica Segueriana s.v. Πάνδια (Bekker, p. 292). For possible meanings of the name see Cook, p. 423 note 2 which derives it from the adjective Δῖοσ, meaning 'of' or 'belonging to Zeus', see also Parker 1996, p. 75, however Robertson 1996, p. 75 note 109 says that while "the festival name Pandia is sometimes thought to mean "Common festival of Zeus"—i.e. one celebrated jointly by several communities, ... the true meaning is surely "Rites of the all-bright sky".
  9. ^ Willetts, p. 178; Cook, p. 732; Roscher, p. 100; Scholiast on Demosthenes, 21.39a.
  10. ^ Hymn to Selene (32) 15–16.
  11. ^ Fairbanks, p. 162. Regarding the meaning of "Pandia", Kerenyi, p. 197, says: '"the entirely shining" or the "entirely bright"— doubtless the brightness of nights of full moon.'
  12. ^ Parke, p. 136; Kearns, pp. 81, 87, 192; Sourvinou-Inwood, p. 74; Parker 2005, p. 448; Lexicon Patmense s.v. Πάνδια. According to Kearns pp. 68–69, there was "a very wide spread cultic-mythic phenomenon in which a hero or heroine is worshipped in conjunction with a god, while an aetiological myth explains that he or she was the first to perform the rite."
  13. ^ Inscriptiones Graecae, II2 1140, line 5.
  14. ^ Canevaro, p 212; Harding, p. 42; Anderson, p. 130, p. 251 note 15; Robertson 1993, p. 15; Parke, p. 136.
  15. ^ Cook, p. 732; Photius, Lexicon s.v. Πάνδια.
  16. ^ Parker 2005, p. 478.
  17. ^ For example see: Harris, p. 190; Harding, p. 42; Anderson, p. 130; Sourvinou-Inwood, p. 74; Robertson 1996, p. 41, p. 65 note 1; Parke, pp. 135–136.
  18. ^ Kearns, p. 81, says "If the Pandia were a festival of Zeus, as the Panathenaia of Athena, it is nonetheless clear that the Pandion received a lesser sacrifice"; Smith, "Pandia" says "It is not impossible that in course of time the tribe Pandionis may have regarded themselves as specially connected with this festival, though we have no clear evidence of it, nor again that Zeus, as Preller thinks, may afterwards have been associated in the worship"; and Cook, p. 732 says "that the festival Pandia was ab initio connected with this Selene Pandia is far from clear", while Willetts, p. 179 sees a possible "metamorphosis" ... from a female to a male—Pandia to Pandion". Regarding the possibility of multiple honorees for Attic festivals see Parker 2005, p. 155, which says: "ancient scholars were uncertain what god two festivals (Skira, Oschophoria) belonged to, and the controversy has continued into modern times. But in both cases it seems that it is the principle of 'one god per festival' that is at fault."
  19. ^ Mikalson 1977, p. 430; Parker 2005, pp. 73–74; p. 74 note 96, pp. 477–478; Dillon and Garland, pp. 354–355; Inscriptiones Graecae, I3 258, line 9.


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