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date: 12 June 2024



  • Joseph Eddy Fontenrose
  •  and Kevin Clinton


Exēgētēs (ἐξηγητής), an interpreter or expounder, usually of sacred lore. The Athenians traditionally considered *Apollo Pythios (i.e. Apollo of *Delphi) their exēgētēs. At Athens exegesis of the patria, sacred and ancestral law, was an old custom, but from c.400 bce they entrusted it to officials specifically appointed for the task: (1) one exēgētēs elected by the dēmos from the *eupatridai; (2) one exēgētēs chosen by the Pythia (see delphic oracle), called exēgētēs Pythochrēstos; (3) three exēgētai of the Eumolpidae (see eumolpus), who expounded the sacra of the *mysteries. The Athenian exēgētai were generally concerned with the unwritten sacred law, but they often pronounced on secular and domestic questions (e.g. duties and obligations) untouched by statutes and of possible religious implications. Other cities too had exēgētai, official or unofficial.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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