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date: 05 December 2020


  • Emily Kearns


Andania, a town in *Messenia, ruined in the time of *Pausanias (4. 33. 4–6), with which was associated a celebration of *mysteries which the travel writer ranked second in holiness to the Eleusinian. Andania was said to have been the birthplace of the semi-mythical Messenian freedom-fighter *Aristomenes, and the mysteries, though believed to date back to a time before then, were thought in local tradition to have been revived with Messenian independence after the battle of Leuctra in 371 bce. It is unclear, however, for how long they had existed before their reorganization in 92/1 (or, as Themelis suggests, ce 24), from which year dates a long inscription (IG V.1 1390) giving much detail on the financial arrangements and conduct of the festival. The rites took place in the Karnasian grove between Oichalia and Andania; the gods mentioned in the inscription are Demeter, Hermes, the Great Gods, Apollo Karneios and Hagna. Pausanias identifies Hagne/a with Kore, and speaks of the mysteries as dedicated to the Great Goddesses. It is likely that the ritual represents a convergence of at least two different cults.

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