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Headword: *ei)resiw/nh
Adler number: epsiloniota,184
Translated headword: eiresione
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] a branch of olive, wreathed with woollen fillets [eria] and having all sorts of produce of the earth suspended from it.[1] A boy with both parents living carries out this and places it before the door of the sanctuary of Apollo during the Pyanopsia [festival]. For it is said that Theseus, when he was sailing to Crete, put in at Delos because of bad weather and vowed to Apollo that whenever he returned safely after slaying the Minotaur, he would wreath the god with branches of olive, and offer sacrifice; and he [duly] placed this suppliant’s branch upon the god and boiled pots of soot[2] and soup, and consecrated an altar. For this reason the festival seems to be called the Pyanopsia, as if to say Kyamepsia. For in the past they used to call kyamoi ['beans'] pyanoi. They used to celebrate [the festival] on occasions for averting pestilence. Boys sang as follows: "Eiresione brings figs and rich cakes and honey in a cup and olive oil to anoint oneself and a drinking cup of neat wine, so you may get drunk and go to sleep." After the festival [they bring eiresionai] out from the fields and place them at the doors themselves. Crates the Athenian in his [treatise] Concerning Sacrifices at Athens states that once, when barrenness gripped the city, they wreathed a suppliant’s branch with woollen fillets and offered it to Apollo.[3]
And [there is] a saying: "for if only a single spark catches hold of it, it will set aflame an eiresione." Meaning it will burn [it].[4] An eiresione [is] a branch of olive or laurel woven around from woollen fillets, with bread hung from it and a kotyle, which is a half-pint cup, and figs and all good things. This they set in front of their houses and would replace it annually.
Otherwise [sc. defined as follows]. An eiresione [is] a branch of olive with woollen fillets woven in; it was hung with produce of all kinds; they set it in front of their doors in accordance with an ancient oracle. For they say that when plague gripped all the land, the god called for Athenians to celebrate the sacrifice of the Proerosia to Demeter on behalf of everyone; for this reason they send to Athens from everywhere the first-fruits of the produce.[5]
Alternatively: at the Pyanopsia and Thargelia [festivals] Athenians sacrifice to Helios and Seasons; the boys bring the aforementioned fruits, and they hang them up in front of their doors. In accordance with an oracle they used to carry out this hanging for the purpose of averting plague.
An eiresione is named from the woollen fillets (eria).[6]
Greek Original:
*ei)resiw/nh: qallo\s e)lai/as, e)stemme/nos e)ri/ois kai\ proskremame/nous e)/xwn pantodapou\s tw=n e)k gh=s karpw=n. tou=ton de\ e)kfe/rei pai=s a)mfiqalh\s kai\ ti/qhsi pro\ th=s qu/ras tou= *)apo/llwnos i(erou= toi=s *puaneyi/ois. le/getai ga\r *qhse/a, kaq' o(\n kairo\n ei)s *krh/thn e)/plei, prossxo/nta *dh/lw| dia\ xeimw=na eu)/casqai tw=| *)apo/llwni kataste/yasqai kla/dois e)lai/as, o(/tan swqh=| to\n *minw/tauron a)poktei/nas, kai\ qusia/sein: kai\ th\n i(kethri/an tau/thn kataste/yas e(yh=sai xu/tras ai)qa/lhs kai\ e)/tnos kai\ bwmo\n i(dru/sasqai. dio\ kai\ *puane/yia dokei= le/gesqai, oi(=on *kuame/yia. to\ ga\r pro/teron tou\s kua/mous pua/nous e)ka/loun. h)=gon de\ e)/sq' o(/te e)pi\ th=| a)potroph=| loimw=n. h)=|don de\ pai=des ou(/tws: ei)resiw/nh su=ka fe/rei kai\ pi/onas a)/rtous kai\ me/li e)n kotu/lh| kai\ e)/laion a)poyh/sasqai kai\ ku/lik' eu)/zwron, o(/pws mequ/ousa kaqeu/dh|s. meta\ de\ th\n e(orth\n e)/cw tw=n a)grw=n tiqe/asi par' au)ta\s ta\s qu/ras. *kra/ths de\ o( *)aqhnai=os e)n tw=| peri\ tw=n *)aqh/nhsi qusiw=n, a)fori/as pote\ katasxou/shs th\n po/lin, qallo\n kataste/yantas e)ri/ois i(kethri/an a)naqei=nai tw=| *)apo/llwni. kai\ paroimi/a: e)a\n ga\r au)th\n ei(=s mo/nos spinqh\r la/bh|, ei)resiw/nhn kau/setai. a)nti\ tou= kau/sei. ei)resiw/nh de\ qallo\s e)lai/as h)\ da/fnhs e)c e)ri/wn peplegme/nos, e)/xwn a)/rton e)chrthme/non kai\ kotu/lhn, o(/ e)stin h(mi/ceston, kai\ su=ka kai\ pa/nta ta\ a)gaqa/. tau/thn de\ pro\ tw=n oi)khma/twn e)ti/qesan kai\ kat' e)/tos au)th\n h)/llatton. a)/llws. *ei)resiw/nh, kla/dos h)=n e)lai/as e)ri/ois peplegme/nos: e)ch/rthto de\ au)tou= ta\ w(rai=a pa/nta: i(/stasan de\ au)th\n pro\ tw=n qurw=n kata\ palaio\n xrhsmo/n. oi( me\n ga/r fasin, w(s loimou= pa=san th\n gh=n katasxo/ntos o( qeo\s ei)=pe prohro/sia th=| *dhoi= u(pe\r pa/ntwn qu=sai qusi/an *)aqhnai/ous: ou(= e(/neken xaristh/ria pantaxo/qen e)kpe/mpousin *)aqh/naze tw=n karpw=n ta\s a)parxa/s. a)/llws. *puaneyi/ois kai\ *qarghli/ois *(hli/w| kai\ *(/wrais qu/ousin *)aqhnai=oi: fe/rousi de\ oi( pai=des ta\ prokateilegme/na a)kro/drua kai\ tau=ta pro\ tw=n qurw=n kremw=si. kata/ ti de\ xrhsth/rion pro\s a)potroph\n loimou= tau/thn e)poi/oun th\n a)na/rthsin. *ei)resiw/nh de\ le/getai dia\ ta\ e)/ria.
For this headword see also under alpha 217, delta 589, omicron 251, pi 3104.
[1] For this (and indeed the whole first paragraph) cf. Pausanias the Atticist fr. 157 = Eustathius on Homer, Iliad 22.495 (page 1283.6; scholia on Aristophanes, Knights 729 and Wealth [Plutus] 1054 (Duebner); Bekker, Anecdota 1.246.27; Etymologicum Magnum 303.18; Plutarch, Theseus 22. See also Harrison, 77-82; Deubner, 198-201; Parke, 76-77; Burkert, 101; Parke in OCD(4) s.v.; delta 589; omicron 251, note 35.
[2] So the transmitted text, with ai)qa/lhs, but it is clearly a corruption of a)qa/rhs, porridge. For 'a pot of porridge' see e.g. Aristophanes, Wealth [Plutus] 673 and 683.
[3] Crates (C1 BCE) FGrH 362 F1.
[4] Aristophanes, Wealth [Plutus] 1053–1054 ("If only one spark catches hold of her [an old woman], / it will set her aflame like an old eiresione"), with comment from the scholia there, glossing the future middle voice with the future active.
[5] For this oracle and the sacrifice see the scholia on Aristophanes, Knights 729 (Duebner), and Parke & Wormell, 2.164.
[6] More precisely the word is cognate with ei)=ros, wool.
Burkert, Walter. Greek Religion, trans. John Raffan. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985
Deubner, Ludwig. Attische Feste. 1932. Reprint Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1966
Harrison, Jane Ellen. Prolegomena to a Study of Greek Religion. 1903. Reprint: Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1991
Parke, H.W. Festivals of the Athenians. London: Thames and Hudson, 1977
_____ and D.E.W. Wormell. The Delphic Oracle. 2 vols. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1956
Keywords: aetiology; agriculture; botany; children; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; food; geography; historiography; history; medicine; mythology; religion
Translated by: Wm. Blake Tyrrell on 31 January 2005@22:15:58.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (supplemented and modified translation; augmented and modified notes; added more keywords; cosmetics) on 1 February 2005@05:10:49.
David Whitehead (x-refs) on 1 February 2005@06:28:14.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 26 November 2012@05:56:13.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 3 August 2014@05:58:17.
David Whitehead (coding) on 22 April 2016@04:21:57.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 18 April 2018@01:21:10.


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