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Article

Emily Kearns

Though the Greeks and Romans did not consider any bird actually divine, many birds, like other animals, were closely associated with the gods, and all birds could bring messages from the gods by omens (see portents). *Divination from the activities of birds (often eagles or other birds of prey) is well attested in *Homer (e.g. Il. 12. 200 ff.) and in tragedy (especially interesting is Aesch. PV488–92, which indicates a well-developed science). In Rome, observation of birds was one of the chief forms of divination (see augures). Not only was the behaviour of wild birds watched for signs, but on military expeditions chickens were kept for the purpose. Birds, especially domestic fowl, were frequently offered in ‘private’, individual sacrifice (thus Socrates’ ‘we owe a cock to Asclepius’, Phd. 118a, and Herod. 4).Numerous special divine associations developed in Greece. The eagle as the bird of *Zeus was almost universal.

Article

J. D. Mikalson

(γενέθλιος ἡμέρα; natalis dies). Among the Greeks the birthdays of several major Olympian deities (e.g. of *Artemis on the sixth, *Apollo on the seventh, and *Poseidon on the eighth) were in early times assigned to days of the month (e.g. *Hesiod, Op.771) and were treated as sacred. Throughout Greek history these ‘monthly’ birthdays continued to be recognized and were often the focal points of the deities' annual festivals. For humans the day of birth itself was marked by congratulatory visits and presents from relatives and friends, but in the Archaic and Classical periods there seems to have been no recurring monthly or annual celebrations of the day. Birthdays of humans first attained significance for the Greeks when they began to assimilate rulers and outstanding individuals to gods (see ruler-cult). *Plato (1), for example, shared Apollo's birthday (7 Thargelion: Diog. Laert. 3. 2), and after his death his followers gave him special veneration each year, probably on his birthday. In his will *Epicurus endowed an annual banquet for his followers on his birthday (10 Gamelion: Diog.

Article

Robert Parker

Boedromia, literally ‘festival of running to help in response to a cry for aid’ (or of the god associated therewith), a minor Attic festival of *Apollo. Both the associated month-name Boedromion and Apollo's title Boedromios are widely attested, the festival only at Athens, and only faintly even there: in the only allusion to it in a surviving Classical text, *Demosthenes (2) seems to imply (3.

Article

A. Schachter

The Linear B archive at *Thebes (1) (Spyropoulos and Chadwick, Piteros and others, see bibliog. below) refers to a number of deities, four of whom were worshipped in the Hellenic period (see Schachter 1996): Potnia (later Demeter of Potniae, southern suburb of Thebes, of which *Demeter Thesmophoros was poliouchos), *Hera, *Hermes (the chief deities of the Hellenic poleis of Plataea and Tanagra respectively), and [H]aphaea, possible precursor of Leucothea (Hiller); see ino-leucothea). The interpretation of the words ma-ka, ko-wa, o-po-re-i as the names of (a triad of) deities, proposed by Aravantinos-Godart-Sacconi, has met with strong opposition (e.g. Palaima, Duhoux): the controversy continues.*Homer knows of *Poseidon at Onchestus, Athena of Alalcomenae, the Thebans *Dionysus, *Heracles, and Ino-Leucothea (all, save the last, in the Iliad). It is possible that the Poseidon Heliconius of the *Ionians was derived from the god who controlled the pass at Onchestus, at the NE foot of the *Helicon massif: his cult in Boeotia may therefore go back to the bronze age.

Article

Boreas  

Alan H. Griffiths

Boreas, the North Wind, which brings to the Greeks an icy blast from Thrace (see the fine description at Hes., Op. 506 ff.); ‘King of the Winds’ for Pindar (Pyth. 4. 181), and the most strongly personified of the *wind-gods. This vivid characterization is owed to the story of his forcible seizing of the Athenian princess Oreithyia, daughter of *Erechtheus, from the banks of the Ilissus (Pl., Phdr. 229cd); from the marriage he fathered the flying heroes *Calais and Zetes. The legend dates—if we may assume that Pausanias (5. 19. 1) was mistaken in identifying the subject on the chest of *Cypselus—from the early 5th cent. bce, when a crop of vase-paintings showing the god as a rough and hirsute winged figure (sometimes with spiky, Jack Frost hair) attest the sudden popularity of the kidnap story. Herodotus (7. 189) provides a possible explanation: the northerly gale which wrecked the Persian fleet before Artemisium is supposed to have been summoned up by Athenians praying to ‘their son-in-law’ for aid, and they are said to have founded a cult by the Ilissus in gratitude. One might also link the tale to the marriage of the Athenian magnate *Miltiades to Hegesipyle, daughter of the Thracian king Olorus (Hdt.

Article

A. Henrichs

The annual ‘ox-slaying’ at the Athenian festival of the Dipolieia. During this rite, a ploughing ox was killed, the ‘ox-smiter’ (βουτύπος) fled, and the axe or sacrificial knife was cast into the sea after being tried for murder. The slain ox was stuffed and yoked to a plough. Paradoxically, the Bouphonia seems to justify the sacrificial slaughter of a working animal, which was normally prohibited in Greece.

Article

Boutes  

Emily Kearns

Boutes, name of several mythological figures, the principal being (1) the family hero of the Attic *genos Eteoboutadai and first priest of Poseidon Erechtheus; he was worshipped alongside Poseidon in the *Erechtheum. The Hesiodic corpus (fr. 223 M-W) knows a Boutes son of Poseidon, but according to Apollodorus (3. 14. 8) he and his brother *Erechtheus divided their father *Pandion's power so that Boutes became priest and Erechtheus king.

Article

Emily Kearns

Bouzyges, or ‘Ox-yoker’, in Athenian myth was the first to use oxen for ploughing, and his name was connected with one of the sacred ploughings performed in Attica. The name was also the title of the priest of Zeus Teleios, who ceremonially pronounced (proverbial) curses against the perpetrators of certain acts. It is likely that the mythical figure, sometimes identified with the quasi-historical *Epimenides, was the prototype of the priest and perhaps of the earliest *exegetes.

Article

Brauron  

Robin Osborne

Brauron, site of a sanctuary of *Artemis on the east coast of *Attica at the mouth of the river Erasinos. It is included in *Philochorus' list of twelve townships united by *Theseus (FGrH 328 F 94). Archaeological evidence indicates human presence in the area of the sanctuary and the acropolis above it from neolithic times onwards, and there is an important late Helladic cemetery nearby. In the sanctuary itself there is a continuous tradition from protogeometric on, with a temple built in the 6th cent. (Phot. Lexicon, entry under Βραυρώνια) and an architecturally innovative pi-shaped *stoa with dining-rooms built in the later part of the 5th cent. Flooding in the early 3rd cent. bce led to the abandonment of the site. Some traditions associate the Pisistratids (see pisistratus; hippias(1); *Hipparchus (1)) with Brauron (Phot., as above), or with the local residential centre called Philaidai which lay a short distance inland from the sanctuary (Pl. Hipparch.

Article

Brimo  

Kevin Clinton

Name or title of a goddess, often identified with *Persephone (as Etym. Magn.213, 49), *Hecate (as ibid.; Ap. Rhod. 3. 861), or *Demeter (as Clem. Al. Protr. p. 13, 4 Stählin). In the Eleusinian *mysteries (see eleusis) the *hierophantēs proclaimed that she (viz. Demeter) had borne ‘a holy child Brimos’ (Hippol. Haer.

Article

Briseis  

Herbert Jennings Rose

Briseis, in mythology, daughter of Briseus of Lyrnessus and widow of Mynes; *Achilles' slave-concubine, taken from him by *Agamemnon and afterwards restored (Il. 1. 392; 19. 60, 296, and contexts).

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose, B. C. Dietrich, and Alan A. D. Peatfield

Cretan goddess (see cretan cults and myths) of nature whose name means ‘Sweet Virgin’ (Hesychius; Solin. 11. 8). She had cults mainly in NE Crete, a festival at Olous, and cult image by *Daedalus (Paus. 9. 40. 3). In myth she was pursued by *Minos and jumped into the sea to escape him, was rescued by fishermen in their nets and afterwards called Diktynna (from diktyon ‘net’, Callim. Hymn 3 189). The aition confused Britomartis with another goddess called Diktynna who received worship on the Rodhopou peninsula. Both Britomartis and Diktynna were related figures and, like *Aphaea (‘Unseen’) on Aegina, disappeared in the cult of *Artemis as minor satellites or epithets. A stronger Minoan connection is suggested by an alternative etymology for Diktynna, associated with the Linear A word di-ka-ta, and Cretan mountain names (Dikte, Endiktis, Iuktas); this would make Diktynna an epithet for a mountain deity, perhaps worshipped at the Minoan peak sanctuaries.

Article

Brizo  

J. D. Mikalson

A goddess worshipped by women at *Delos, especially as protectress of sailing (*Semos of Delos in Ath. 8. 335a–b = FGrH 396 F 4). Her name is derived from βρίζειν, ‘to sleep’, and she was credited with sending prophetic *dreams. Bowls of all sorts of food, except fish, were offered to her in sacrifice.

Article

Cabiri  

A. Schachter

Divinities at certain mystery sanctuaries, notably Boeotian *Thebes (1), *Lemnos, perhaps *Samothrace. The name may be of Semitic origin from kabir, ‘lord’ (Schachter 96 n. 4 for refs.; contra Beekes. See bibliog. below). At the sanctuaries where there is adequate evidence, namely Thebes and Lemnos (but not Samothrace, where despite Herodotus 2.51 the name does not occur; see Hemberg and Cole), it is clear that the role they play is subsidiary to that of the central deities. The latter were either a goddess and her consort, or a triad of goddess, consort, and child.Cabiri are found throughout the northern Aegean, and on adjacent Asiatic and Thracian mainlands, and in two places in mainland Greece, both in *Boeotia (Thebes and *Anthedon). Their number and precise function varied with local customs and preoccupations. Thus, while numbers range from two to seven, at Thebes there were two, father and son (Cabirus and Pais in inscriptions, *Prometheus and Aetnaeus in Pausanias, *Hermes and *Pan in art), a reflection of a common Boeotian dioscoric type (see dioscuri).

Article

Cadmus  

A. Schachter

Legendary Phoenician founder of Boeotian *Thebes (1), whose origins are still disputed: Phoenicia, Egypt, Mycenaean Greece, Archaic Greece, have all been proposed (see bibliog. below).In *Homer, he appears indirectly, as father of *Ino-Leucothea (Od. 5. 333), and through the names Cadmeii, Cadmeiones given to the inhabitants of Thebes attacked by the Seven (see seven against thebes) and the *Epigoni (Cadmeii: Il. 4. 388, 391, 5. 807, 10. 288, Od. 11. 276; Cadmeiones: Il. 4. 385, 5. 804, 23. 680).The generally accepted story (see Frazer) is that Cadmus was sent by his father *Agenor to find his sister *Europa, who had been abducted (by *Zeus, as it turned out). He failed in his search (Europa ended up in Crete, while Cadmus went to the Greek mainland), but was ordered by Delphi (see delphic oracle) to be guided by a cow and establish a city where the animal lay down. Thus he founded Thebes, having killed a dragon, and peopled the place with men sprung from the dragon's teeth (*Spartoi).

Article

Caeneus  

Herbert Jennings Rose

Caeneus (Καινεύς), a Lapith (see centaurs), of whom three principal stories are told. (1) He was invulnerable, and therefore the Centaurs disposed of him by hammering him into the ground (Pind. fr. 150 Bowra, cf. Hyg. Fab. 14. 4 with Rose). (2) He set up his spear to be worshipped (schol. on Ap. Rhod. 1. 57, on Iliad 1.

Article

cakes  

Emily Kearns

Cakes (flour-based sweetmeats or fancy breads) were given many names in Greek and Latin, of which the most general were πέμματα, πόπανα, liba (sacrificial cakes), and placentae (from πλακοῦντες). The Greeks especially had a vast number of different kinds, and several monographs were written on the subject (on these see Ath. 3. 109b–116a, 14. 643e–648c; Poll. 6. 72 ff.). Most were regarded as a luxurious delicacy, to be eaten with fruit after the main course at a special meal. Cakes were also very commonly used in *sacrifice, either as a peripheral accompaniment to the animal victim or as a bloodless sacrifice. Sacrificial cakes very often had a special form characteristic of the relevant divinity or rite; among the more spectacular examples are the Attic ἀμφιφών, stuck with lights and offered to *Artemis on the full-moon day, or the Sicilian μύλλος, shaped like female genitals and offered to the Two Goddesses, *Demeter and *Persephone.

Article

Alan H. Griffiths

Sons of *Boreas the god of the north wind and his Athenian wife Oreithyia, hence jointly the ‘Boreadae’; winged like their father, they were able, as members of the Argonautic expeditionary force (see argonauts), to chase the Harpies (*Harpyiae) away from their persecution of the blind king *Phineus (Ap. Rhod. 1. 211 ff., 2. 240 ff.). After Heracles was left behind at Cios while searching for *Hylas, it was the Boreads who persuaded the heroes not to turn back for him; he revenged himself later by killing them both in *Tenos. One of their grave steles swayed in the breeze when the north wind blew (1. 1298 ff.). The scene of the Harpy pursuit is popular in 6th cent. art.

Article

Calchas  

Herbert Jennings Rose and Jenny March

Calchas, in mythology the son of Thestor; a seer who accompanied the Greek army to Troy (Il. 1. 69 ff.). He reveals the reason for the plague on the camp (ibid.) and foretells the length of the war (2. 300 ff.). After *Homer he is introduced into several episodes, such as the sacrifice of *Iphigenia (Aesch.Ag. 201 ff.), the building of the Wooden Horse (Verg.Aen. 2. 185, cf. Quint. Smyrn. 12. 3 ff.), and generally the actions by which it was fated that Troy should be captured. An oracle had foretold that Calchas would die when he met a diviner better than himself, and this occurred when he met a seer usually identified as *Mopsus, grandson of *Tiresias. An oracle in *Apulia was identified with his name (Strabo, 6. 3. 9).

Article

J. D. Mikalson

There was no single Greek calendar. Almost every Greek community had a calendar of its own, differing from others in the names of the months and the date of the New Year. All were, at least originally, lunar. The months were named after festivals held or deities specially honoured in them. Dios and Artemisios, Macedonian months, were, for example, named after *Zeus and *Artemis; Anthesterion at Athens from the festival *Anthesteria. Such month names are found in Linear B and in literature as early as *Hesiod (Op. 504). In much later times some states used ordinal numbers for their month names.The Athenian calendar is best known. The year began, in theory, with the appearance of the first new moon after the summer solstice, and the months were Hekatombaion, Metageitnion, Boedromion, Pyanopsion, Maimakterion, Posideon, Gamelion, Anthesterion, Elaphebolion, Mounichion, Thargelion, and Skirophorion. All were named after festivals held in the month, some very obscure to us and probably to 5th- and 4th-cent. Athenians. Each month was in length 29 or 30 days; an ordinary year was 354 ± 1, a leap year 384 ± 1 days. A leap year was created by inserting a ‘second’ (δεύτερος) or ‘later’ (ὕστερος) month, usually a second Posideon.