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The great festival of Panathenaia the birthday festival of Athena was held in the height of summer of the 28th day in Hecatombaion if only you could have been there with me to experience it first hand Im just going to have to explain to you what happened We all gathered at the Dipylon gate at dawn on the morning of the feast and arranged ourselves in the proper order At the head of the convoy are the arrhephoroi four virgins of noble birth carrying the peplos woven piece of rectangular cloth about 2 by 15 metres for Athena Polias Behind the arrhephoroi were Athenas priestesses with the women bearing gifts for Athena Next came the animals ready for the sacrifice and the leaders of the sacrifice and anyone else involved in the sacrifice Metics foreigners in there purple cloaks came next carrying offerings of cakes and sweet honey On there tails are the holy water carriers and musicians playing there aulas and kithara Next come the old wise bearded men and the army commanders carrying olive branches The Apobates the armed warriors ride in chariots and run along The cavalry follows the chariots on their horses walking trotting and cantering I brought up the rear where the rest of the population walks deme by deme The route through the Propylaia was very interesting and rather long first of all we all gathered at the Dipylon gate and then set off moving along the Panathenaic way through the Agora whilst singing hymns to Athena Then the procession stopped outside the Propylaia while sacrifices were offered on the neighbouring hill Areopagus and at the altar of Athena Hygiaea The most perfect cows were then sacrifices to Athena Nike the Victorious in front of the Temple Of Nike the small temple located on the right of the Propylaia The entrance to it was on the side up a little
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