Endowed Eponymous Festivals on Delos

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Second-century BC Delos saw the creation of more than two dozen endowments, by men and women, Delians and aliens, and, most famously, Hellenistic royalty or their agents. Scholars agree that these underwrote festivals (mostly eponymous: The Antigoneia, Eutycheia, Philonideia, Ptolemaieia, Stesileia, etc.), and have focused on the political motivation, purpose, and effects of the dozen or so royal specimens. This paper suggests that we have misconstrued the Greek of the Delian accounts; that the endowments did not fund eponymous festivals per se, but modest recurring ritual that was established on the occasion of significant family events, especially marriage and death; that this peculiar Delian phenomenon has more to say about authentic piety than grand politics, and more in common with Hellenistic family cult than festival culture.

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  • Sosin, JD