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This chapter looks at the elaborate games which entertained Athena and simultaneously allowed the human participants to show off their prowess. These contests made the penteteric festival into a very different occasion from the Little Panathenaia, and they provided an important reason for visitors to come to Athens. This chapter asks exactly how individuals competed in the games over their long history. The games included musical, athletic and hippic events open to all participants, but also individual hippic contests and team competitions which were limited to Athenian males, who represented their tribes. Participation in the restricted contests served to display the (Athenian) citizen status of the competitors, and it set them apart from other individuals from other cities. The games picked up on some of the festival’s stories and themes, especially the military theme, which set the occasion apart from the Panhellenic games. The pyrrhiche and the apobatic race tied directly into some of the celebration’s most important stories, and they emphasised the close connections between the goddess and the Athenians.
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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