1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Apaturia

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APATURIA (Ἀπατούρια), an ancient Greek festival held annually by all the Ionian towns except Ephesus and Colophon (Herodotus i. 147). At Athens it took place in the month of Pyanepsion (October to November), and lasted three days, on which occasion the various phratries (i.e. clans) of Attica met to discuss their affairs. The name is a slightly modified form of ἀπατόρια = ἁμαπατόρια, ὁμοπατόρια, the festival of “common relationship.” The ancient etymology associated it with ἀπάτη (deceit), a legend existing that the festival originated in 1100 B.C. in commemoration of a single combat between a certain Melanthus, representing King Thymoetes of Attica, and King Xanthus of Boeotia, in which Melanthus successfully threw his adversary off his guard by crying that a man in a black goat’s skin (identified with Dionysus) was helping him (Schol. Aristophanes, Acharnians, 146). On the first day of the festival, called Dorpia or Dorpeia, banquets were held towards evening at the meeting-place of the phratries or in the private houses of members. On the second, Anarrhysis (from ἀναρρύειν, to draw back the victim’s head), a sacrifice of oxen was offered at the public cost to Zeus Phratrius and Athena. On the third day, Cureotis (κουρεῶτις), children born since the last festival were presented by their fathers or guardians to the assembled phratores, and, after an oath had been taken as to their legitimacy and the sacrifice of a goat or a sheep, their names were inscribed in the register. The name κουρεῶτις is derived either from κοῦρος, that is, the day of the young, or less probably from κείρω, because on this occasion young people cut their hair and offered it to the gods. The victim was called μεῖον. On this day also it was the custom for boys still at school to declaim pieces of poetry, and to receive prizes (Plato, Timaeus, 21 b). According to Hesychius these three days of the festival were followed by a fourth, called ἐπίβδα, but this is merely a general term for the day after any festival.