A Festival Day Ruse

Odyssey 20.149-157

“And she, Eurykleia, the daughter of Ops the son of Peisânor
Shining woman, was calling to the other serving women in turn.

“Wake up! Some of you take your fill of sweeping the home
And sprinkle it and then throw onto the well made furniture
The purple covers. Others, wipe all the tables clear
With sponges and clean out all the kraters
And the two-handed welded drinking cups. Others go
To the stream to get water and bring it here quickly.
The suitors will not be away from the house for long today,
But they will come near dawn for it is a festival for everyone.”

ἡ δ’ αὖτε δμῳῇσιν ἐκέκλετο δῖα γυναικῶν,
Εὐρύκλει’, ῏Ωπος θυγάτηρ Πεισηνορίδαο·
“ἄγρειθ’, αἱ μὲν δῶμα κορήσατε ποιπνύσασαι
ῥάσσατέ τ’ ἔν τε θρόνοισ’ εὐποιήτοισι τάπητας
βάλλετε πορφυρέους· αἱ δὲ σπόγγοισι τραπέζας
πάσας ἀμφιμάσασθε, καθήρατε δὲ κρητῆρας
καὶ δέπα ἀμφικύπελλα τετυγμένα· ταὶ δὲ μεθ’ ὕδωρ
ἔρχεσθε κρήνηνδε καὶ οἴσετε θᾶσσον ἰοῦσαι.
οὐ γὰρ δὴν μνηστῆρες ἀπέσσονται μεγάροιο,
ἀλλὰ μάλ’ ἦρι νέονται, ἐπεὶ καὶ πᾶσιν ἑορτή.”
ὣς ἔφαθ’, αἱ δ’ ἄρα τῆς μάλα μὲν κλύον ἠδ’ ἐπίθοντο.

Schol V ad Od. 20.155 ex

“They believed that the day of the new month was from all the gods. For earlier people dedicated that day, because it was the first of the month, to the dogs and they entrusted all beginning to them, a thing they did rightly. It is necessary for those who begin all things to honor them with similar [rites]. Thus we too offer the first cuts of food to all the gods. It is likely that that day was Apollo’s since the first light is for the one most responsible for the fire—and so they also called him New-Month. This is the story according to Philokhoros.”

τὴν νεομηνίαν πάντων τῶν θεῶν νομίζουσιν εἶναι. ταύτην γὰρ οἱ πρόγονοι τοῖς θεοῖς ἀνέθεσαν διὰ τὸ πρώτην αὐτὴν εἶναι τοῦ μηνὸς, πάσας τε τὰς ἀρχὰς προσῆψαν αὐτοῖς, ὀρθῶς ποιοῦντες. τοὺς γὰρ ἁπάντων ἄρχοντας τοῖς ὁμοίοις χρὴ γεραίρειν. καὶ τῶν σίτων τὰς ἀπαρχὰς πᾶσι τοῖς θεοῖς ἀπονέμομεν. τοῦ δ’ ᾿Απόλλωνος ταύτην εἶναι νομίζειν τὴν ἡμέραν εἰκότως τὸ πρῶτον φῶς τῷ αἰτιωτάτῳ τοῦ πυρὸς, ἐκάλουν τε αὐτὸν καὶ Νεομήνιον. ἡ ἱστορία παρὰ Φιλοχόρῳ. V.

“They dedicated that day as festival and new month sacred to Apollo, so that it might be easier to attack the suitors when the men were all gathered together for the festival.”

ταύτην τὴν ἡμέραν ἑορτὴν καὶ νουμηνίαν παρατίθεται ᾿Απόλλωνος ἱερὰν, ἵνα τῶν ἀνδρῶν περὶ τὴν ἑορτὴν καταγινομένων εὔκαιρον ἔχῃ τὸ ἐπιτίθεσθαι μνηστῆρσι. V.

Image result for ancient greek festival vase
Bacchantes Dancing to a Tympanon, Detail of a red figure on a black background. About 450 B.C.E. (Paris, Louvre)

One thought on “A Festival Day Ruse

Leave a Reply