Calendario Religioso, Metageitnion – Μεταγειτνιών

II Mese del Calendario, I anno della 699° Olimpiade – sacro ad Apollo (Metageitnia)

Il secondo mese dell’anno nel calendario attico è Metageitnion, “ed essi sacrificano ad Apollo durante questo mese.”- letteralmente significa “il mese del cambio dei vicini” (metà+ geitonia) e prende il nome dalla festa di Metageitnia, appunto celebrata in onore di Apollo Metageitnios. (Suda s.v. Metageitnion; Antiph. 6.44; Arist. HA 549a16; Plut. Publ. 14; Lysimachides FGrH 366 F1 ap. Harpocr.)

Sul famoso fregio del calendario, Metageitnion è rappresentato da un giovane al cui fianco è Eracle, ricordando un’altra importante ricorrenza del mese, le Herakleia Kynosargous; accanto a Eracle è una giovane donna, abbigliata con peplo e chitone, che regge uno specchio rovesciato: è stata generalmente interpretata come Kore, indicante gli Agones Eleusinia che hanno appunto luogo dopo le Herakleia.

In una data non specificata (probabilmente in connessione con le Eleusinia), il calendario della Tetrapoli di Maratona prevede un sacrificio biennale di un bovide adulto a Demetra e un altro a Kore. (IG II2 1358, col. II, 43)

Sempre il calendario della Tetrapoli, in una data non specificata a cadenza biennale, prevede il sacrificio di una pecora adulta a Zeus Anthaleos da parte del demarco. (IG II2 1358, col. II, 43, 47)

In una data non specificata del mese, sono previsti da parte dei Trikorynthoi sacrifici di una pecora adulta e di un bovino ad Hera. (IG II2 1358, col. II, 55)

Dalla Luna Piena di questo mese ha inizio la Tregua Sacra per i Misteri Maggiori: “l’inizio del periodo della Tregua sarà da Metageitnion, a partire dalla Luna Piena, attraverso Boedromion e Pyanepsion fino al dieci del mese (di Pyanepsion).” (IG I3 6)

[Metageitnia, Herakleia/Diomeia, Tà Eleusinia]


Calendario Religioso dell’Attica – Metageitnion [documento pdf online]

Principali Celebrazioni del Mese

– Dal tramonto del 30 Luglio, VII giorno – Ἑβδόμη Ἱσταμένου
Metageitnia in onore di Apollo Metageitnios;
Offerte a Apollo Patroos, Leto, Artemis e Athena Agelaa (calendario dei Salaminioi)

– Dal tramonto del 2 Agosto, X giorno – Δεκάτη Ἱσταμένου
Herakleia/Diomeia Kynosargous

– Dal tramonto del 3 Agosto, XI giorno – Ἑνδεκάτη
XI o XII- Theoria per le Nemeia, sacrificio a Zeus Nemeios

– Dal tramonto del 4 Agosto, XII giorno- Δωδεκάτη
Onori ad Apollo Lykeios, Zeus Polieus e Athena Polias (in Città e ad Eleusi);
sacrificio a Demetra e Kore nell’Eleusinion

– Dal tramonto del 7 Agosto, XV giorno – Πέμπτη Μεσοῦντος
Luna Piena – Inizio della Tregua Sacra per i Misteri Maggiori.
Inizio Agones Eleusinia (ogni II- Megala- e IV- Mikra- anno dell’Olimpiade);
Sacrifici a Themis, Zeus Herkeios, Demetra, Pherrephatte, Eumolpo, Melichos, Archegetes, Polisseno, Threptos, Dioklos, Celeo, Hestia, Athena, le Grazie, Hermes Enagonios, Eracle- Gaia, Hermes Enagonios, le Cariti, Poseidone, Artemide, Telesidromo e Trittolemo, Plutone e Dolichos e le Due Dee.
Sacrificio privato alle Dee.

– Dal tramonto dell’8 Agosto, XVI giorno – Ἕκτη Μεσοῦντος
Agones Eleusinia;
Sacrifici alla Kourotrophos e a Artemis Hecate (Erchia, ‘en Hekates’)

– Dal tramonto del 9 Agosto, XVII giorno – Ἑβδόμη Μεσοῦντος
Agones Eleusinia.

– Dal tramonto del 10 Agosto, XVIII giorno – Ὀγδόη Μεσοῦντος
Agones Eleusinia

– Dal tramonto dell’11 Agosto, XIX giorno- Ἐνάτη Μεσοῦντος
Sacrifici alle Heroines (Calendario di Erchia)

– Dal tramonto del 12 Agosto, XX giorno – Εἰκὰς
Sacrifici a Hera Thelchina (ad Erchia, ’em pagoi’)

– Dal tramonto del 17 Agosto, XXV giorno – Ἕκτη Φθίνοντος
Sacrificio a Zeus Epoptes (Erchia, ’em pagoi’)

– Dal tramonto del 21 Agosto, XXX Ἔνε καὶ νέα/ Τριακάς
Banchetto di Hekate.



The frieze of the Attic Calendar

Fregio generale

This frieze can be seen on the top of the wall above the main entrance of the church of Agios Eleutherios in Athens, also known as ‘Little Metropolis’, that is why this frieze is often referred to as the ‘Frieze of Little Metropolis’. This church is completely made up of fragments of ancient monuments…the main entrance, as already said, is decorated by this frieze of Pentelic marble, which shows the months of the Attic Calendar, some festivals, and the complete circle of the Zodiac. It is very important also because it attempts to put together and coordinate the lunar calendar (Attic months and festivals) and the solar calendar (the signs of the Zodiac).

It has been fully discussed by I. Svoronos, L. Deubner and E. Simon. I write here a small summary in order to help all those who are making reasearches on the Attic Calendar, as well as in behalf of those who are simply interested to discover and know better their roots…

It begins with the month Pyanepsion, which may allude to its dating to the period of Emperor Hadrian. Thus, the frieze begins with a personification of the Attic month Pyanepsion (from left to right).


He is young, wearing a chiton with short sleeves and a himation. This is a month rich in festivals, and three can easily be recognized here: the Pyanopsia are represented by a boy holding a branch on his shoulder, the Eiresione. A naked man treading on a pile of grapes and holding out a vine branch stands for the Oschophoria. A woman carrying a cista on her head stands for the Thesmophoria. Next comes the zodiac sign of Scorpio, shown without its claws because these will be used to indicate Libra further down the frieze at its end. A muffled male dancer comes next. He wears boots and his face is covered by his cloak. He may represent another festival, held towards the end of Pyanepsion, either the Apatouria or the Chalkeia.


Maimakterion is shown as a young man wrapped up in his cloak, for this month introduces winter. Next come the ritual ploughing and sowing: end of agricultural works. Next, the zodiacal sign of the Sagittarius.


The Attic month Poseideon  wears a himation covering his chest, and boots. His long hair and luxuriant beard are unusual for a citizen, being more common to divine figures like Zeus. Period of the Winter Solstice.


Poseideon is accompanied by a festival personification. The festival in question is symbolized by a cock fight, which takes place over a palm branch in front of a table laden with five crowns. Three judges sit behind the table: the festival of the Rural Dionysia. Next the zodiacal sign of the Capricorn.


Next is Gamelion, bearded, covered by a mantle and in boots. He is followed by Dionysos as a child, carrying a thyrsos and riding a billy goat, an allusion to the Lenaia. The woman on the right may symbolize the Theogamia/Gamelia on the 27th day of the month. The block breaks off at this point, marking the end of the frieze as reused by the christians. But the original frieze would have continued, carrying the zodiac signs of Aquarius and Pisces, the personifications of the Attic months Anthesterion and Elaphebolion, and allegories of the festivals in Anthesterion.

The frieze resumes with a festival personification holding out a wreath.  A bearded man leading a goat to sacrifice may stand for the Megala Dionysia/en astei. Next is the zodiac sign of Aries- beginning of Springtime.


The personification of Mounichion, shown as a young man with bare chest, stands next to Artemis and Her deer, who symbolize the festival of Mounichia, on the 16th of the month. The cross obliterates the upper part of the sign of Taurus. A naked runner with a torch is visible to the right of the cross. The runner may well be associated with the torch-race at the Bendideia. He may, in fact, stand for Thargelion itself.


Skirophorion, represented as a young man with bare chest and crowned with fruit, comes next, followed by Gemini. The naked athlete crowning himself may stand for the foot race at the Skira.


The next festival event is Dipoleia, held on the Akropolis on Skirophorion 14. It is represented by the Boutypos holding an axe over a bull. Next the zodiacal sign of Cancer. The next month is Hekatombaion, young and half-naked, who holds out a wreath and is followed by the personification of the Great Panathenaia. The Panathenaic procession is symbolized by the ship cart carrying the peplos of Athena, which was partly obliterated by a cross. The height of the summer is marked by the zodiac sign of Leo shown on top and the star Sirius below.


Next there is a winged woman holding out a plate of fruit, perhaps the zodiac sign of Virgo: the lack of a lunar month, let alone of any festivals, in the solar month from Leo to Virgo is surprising. It may indicate that what we have here is an intercalary month, Hekatombaion II.


Metageitnion personified as a young  follows the sign of Virgo. Herakles stands next to him. His appearance here may be explained by the Herakleia festival, known as the Herakleia at Diomeia or at Kynosarges. The young woman in Attic peplos and chiton with short sleeves holding an inverted mirror  could be Kore: Eleusinia festival.

Boedromion is then represented: he is another palliatus. The personified month is accompanied by a horseman, presumably representing one of the Athenian ephebes that escorted the holy things from Eleusis to the Athenian Eleusinion. The frieze concludes with Scorpio’s claws, symbolizing Libra.