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Headword: Eiresiônê
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:
Eiresiônê: thallos elaias, estemmenos eriois kai proskremamenous echôn pantodapous tôn ek gês karpôn. touton de ekpherei pais amphithalês kai tithêsi pro tês thuras tou Apollônos hierou tois Puanepsiois. legetai gar Thêsea, kath' hon kairon eis Krêtên eplei, prosschonta Dêlôi dia cheimôna euxasthai tôi Apollôni katastepsasthai kladois elaias, hotan sôthêi ton Minôtauron apokteinas, kai thusiasein: kai tên hiketêrian tautên katastepsas hepsêsai chutras aithalês kai etnos kai bômon hidrusasthai. dio kai Puanepsia dokei legesthai, hoion Kuamepsia. to gar proteron tous kuamous puanous ekaloun. êgon de esth' hote epi têi apotropêi loimôn. êidon de paides houtôs: eiresiônê suka pherei kai pionas artous kai meli en kotulêi kai elaion apopsêsasthai kai kulik' euzôron, hopôs methuousa katheudêis. meta de tên heortên exô tôn agrôn titheasi par' autas tas thuras. Kratês de ho Athênaios en tôi peri tôn Athênêsi thusiôn, aphorias pote kataschousês tên polin, thallon katastepsantas eriois hiketêrian anatheinai tôi Apollôni. kai paroimia: ean gar autên heis monos spinthêr labêi, eiresiônên kausetai. anti tou kausei. eiresiônê de thallos elaias ê daphnês ex eriôn peplegmenos, echôn arton exêrtêmenon kai kotulên, ho estin hêmixeston, kai suka kai panta ta agatha. tautên de pro tôn oikêmatôn etithesan kai kat' etos autên êllatton. allôs. Eiresiônê, klados ên elaias eriois peplegmenos: exêrtêto de autou ta hôraia panta: histasan de autên pro tôn thurôn kata palaion chrêsmon. hoi men gar phasin, hôs loimou pasan tên gên kataschontos ho theos eipe proêrosia têi Dêoi huper pantôn thusai thusian Athênaious: hou heneken charistêria pantachothen ekpempousin Athênaze tôn karpôn tas aparchas. allôs. Puanepsiois kai Thargêliois Hêliôi kai Hôrais thuousin Athênaioi: pherousi de hoi paides ta prokateilegmena akrodrua kai tauta pro tôn thurôn kremôsi. kata ti de chrêstêrion pros apotropên loimou tautên epoioun tên anartêsin. Eiresiônê de legetai dia ta eria.
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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