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date: 08 December 2022



  • Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood


Athenian festival, at which a rite is performed by the arrhēphoroi, two or four girls between the ages of 7 and 11, chosen by the basileus (see archontes) to serve *Athena Polias (cf. e.g. schol. Ar. Lys.642; Harp. entry under ‘arrhēphorein’; Suda, ‘arrhēphoria’; Etym. Magn.149, 14–23). They lived on the *Acropolis, they played a ritual game of ball, and they participated in the weaving of the peplos offered to Athena at the *Panathenaea. They helped the priestess of Athena Polias. At the Chalkeia they and the priestess set up the loom for the peplos. They are probably represented with the priestess in the central scene on the *Parthenon frieze. At the rite marking the end of their service (Paus. 1. 27. 3), at night, they put on their heads covered baskets given them by the priestess who knew no more than the girls what they contained, and through an underground passage they descended to the precinct of *Aphrodite in the Gardens, where they left what they were carrying and took and brought to the Acropolis something else covered up.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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