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8 - The City, the Goddess and the Festival

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2021

Julia L. Shear
Affiliation:
Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington
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Summary

This concluding chapter discusses the similarities and differences between the Little Panathenaia and the Great Panathenaia and the consequences for the identities created at them. The Little Panathenaia was an inclusive, local event focused on the residents of the city, while the penteteric festivities were international and exclusive; consequently, creating the community of ‘all the Athenians’ played an important role only in the Great Panathenaia. At the annual festival, in contrast, the emphasis was on constructing identities for the residents within the context of the city and especially as members of various different groups and subgroups. The chapter then compares the Panathenaia to other festivals in Athens and Attica. It shows that the Panathenaia was not typical of the city’s festivities, but, in both forms, it was set apart from other celebrations by its size, its inclusivity and, in the case of the Great Panathenaia, its international character. The dynamics identified here cannot be used as a paradigm for understanding the politics of a major festival organised by the city. Each celebration must be understood on its own terms and situated within its larger context.

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Chapter
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Serving Athena
The Festival of the Panathenaia and the Construction of Athenian Identities
, pp. 314 - 335
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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