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date: 27 November 2022



  • Irad Malkin


Aparchē, ‘first-fruits’, a gift to the gods consisting in a part representing the whole, and hence named ‘from the beginning’ (Gk. ap-archai, Lat. primitiae, Hebr. bikkurim). The swineherd *Eumaeus, having killed a pig for *Odysseus, cuts ‘beginnings from the limbs’ and burns them (Od. 14. 414–53). ‘First-fruits’ are a step from nature to culture: one renounces ‘firsts’ for the sake of ‘Those who are First’. Aparchai could be either burnt, deposited at sacred spots, or sunk in water. They could consist of seasonal agricultural gifts (hōraia), or those vowed ad hoc. Measures of wheat, barley, wine, and meat could be stipulated as gifts to temples (as the Panhellenic aparchai in *Eleusis, LSCG 5) and could serve, in turn, for public festivals. See also first-fruits; votive offerings.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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