A festival of Apollo held in Athens (7th of Thargelion, late May), some Ionian cities, and their colonies; it belongs to the pre‐colonial calendar (see calendar, greek; colonization, greek). Scholars in antiquity explained its name from a first‐fruits sacrifice, a pot with the first cereals which was offered in Athens; the festival marks the beginning of the harvest season. At the same time, it had a cathartic character (see purification), which explains the presence of Apollo: on the previous day in Athens, in the course of the festival in the Ionian towns, the citizens expelled the pharmakos, the ‘scapegoat’. At a crucial junction of the year, the expulsion of a member of society cleanses the town and prepares for the new harvest.
Subjects: Classical studies