THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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DELPHINIA, a festival of Apollo Delphinius held annually on the 6th (or 7th) of the month Munychion (April) at Athens. All that is known of the ceremonies is that a number of girls proceeded to his temple (Delphinium) carrying suppliants’ branches and seeking to propitiate Apollo, probably as a god having influence on the sea. It was at this time of year that navigation began again after the storms of winter. According to the story in Plutarch (Theseus, 18), Theseus, before setting out to Crete to slay the Minotaur, repaired to the Delphinium and deposited, on his own behalf and that of his companions on whom the lot had fallen, an offering to Apollo, consisting of a branch of consecrated olive, bound about with white wool; after which he prayed to the god and set sail. The sending of the maidens to propitiate the god during the Delphinia commemorates this event in the life of Theseus.

See A. Mommsen, Festeder Stadt Athen (1898); L. Preller, Griechische Mythologie (4th ed., 1887); P. Stengel, Die griechische Kultusaltertümer (1898); Daremberg and Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquités; G. F. Schömann, Griechische Altertümer (4th ed., 1897-1902).


Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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