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Headword: Εἰρεσιώνη
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:
Εἰρεσιώνη: θαλλὸς ἐλαίας, ἐστεμμένος ἐρίοις καὶ προσκρεμαμένους ἔχων παντοδαποὺς τῶν ἐκ γῆς καρπῶν. τοῦτον δὲ ἐκφέρει παῖς ἀμφιθαλὴς καὶ τίθησι πρὸ τῆς θύρας τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος ἱεροῦ τοῖς Πυανεψίοις. λέγεται γὰρ Θησέα, καθ' ὃν καιρὸν εἰς Κρήτην ἔπλει, προσσχόντα Δήλῳ διὰ χειμῶνα εὔξασθαι τῷ Ἀπόλλωνι καταστέψασθαι κλάδοις ἐλαίας, ὅταν σωθῇ τὸν Μινώταυρον ἀποκτείνας, καὶ θυσιάσειν: καὶ τὴν ἱκετηρίαν ταύτην καταστέψας ἑψῆσαι χύτρας αἰθάλης καὶ ἔτνος καὶ βωμὸν ἱδρύσασθαι. διὸ καὶ Πυανέψια δοκεῖ λέγεσθαι, οἷον Κυαμέψια. τὸ γὰρ πρότερον τοὺς κυάμους πυάνους ἐκάλουν. ἦγον δὲ ἔσθ' ὅτε ἐπὶ τῇ ἀποτροπῇ λοιμῶν. ᾖδον δὲ παῖδες οὕτως: εἰρεσιώνη σῦκα φέρει καὶ πίονας ἄρτους καὶ μέλι ἐν κοτύλῃ καὶ ἔλαιον ἀποψήσασθαι καὶ κύλικ' εὔζωρον, ὅπως μεθύουσα καθεύδῃς. μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἑορτὴν ἔξω τῶν ἀγρῶν τιθέασι παρ' αὐτὰς τὰς θύρας. Κράτης δὲ ὁ Ἀθηναῖος ἐν τῷ περὶ τῶν Ἀθήνησι θυσιῶν, ἀφορίας ποτὲ κατασχούσης τὴν πόλιν, θαλλὸν καταστέψαντας ἐρίοις ἱκετηρίαν ἀναθεῖναι τῷ Ἀπόλλωνι. καὶ παροιμία: ἐὰν γὰρ αὐτὴν εἷς μόνος σπινθὴρ λάβῃ, εἰρεσιώνην καύσεται. ἀντὶ τοῦ καύσει. εἰρεσιώνη δὲ θαλλὸς ἐλαίας ἢ δάφνης ἐξ ἐρίων πεπλεγμένος, ἔχων ἄρτον ἐξηρτημένον καὶ κοτύλην, ὅ ἐστιν ἡμίξεστον, καὶ σῦκα καὶ πάντα τὰ ἀγαθά. ταύτην δὲ πρὸ τῶν οἰκημάτων ἐτίθεσαν καὶ κατ' ἔτος αὐτὴν ἤλλαττον. ἄλλως. Εἰρεσιώνη, κλάδος ἦν ἐλαίας ἐρίοις πεπλεγμένος: ἐξήρτητο δὲ αὐτοῦ τὰ ὡραῖα πάντα: ἵστασαν δὲ αὐτὴν πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν κατὰ παλαιὸν χρησμόν. οἱ μὲν γάρ φασιν, ὡς λοιμοῦ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν κατασχόντος ὁ θεὸς εἶπε προηρόσια τῇ Δηοῖ ὑπὲρ πάντων θῦσαι θυσίαν Ἀθηναίους: οὗ ἕνεκεν χαριστήρια πανταχόθεν ἐκπέμπουσιν Ἀθήναζε τῶν καρπῶν τὰς ἀπαρχάς. ἄλλως. Πυανεψίοις καὶ Θαργηλίοις Ἡλίῳ καὶ Ὥραις θύουσιν Ἀθηναῖοι: φέρουσι δὲ οἱ παῖδες τὰ προκατειλεγμένα ἀκρόδρυα καὶ ταῦτα πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν κρεμῶσι. κατά τι δὲ χρηστήριον πρὸς ἀποτροπὴν λοιμοῦ ταύτην ἐποίουν τὴν ἀνάρτησιν. Εἰρεσιώνη δὲ λέγεται διὰ τὰ ἔρια.
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 αἰθάλης , but it is clearly a corruption of ἀθάρης , 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 εἶρος , 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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