), a festival celebrated at Athens in honour
of Artemis, surnamed Agrotera (from ἄγρα,
chase), in consequence of a vow made before the battle of Marathon. It was
solemnised, according to Plutarch (De Malign. Herod.
the sixth of the month of Boedromion, and consisted in a sacrifice of 500
goats, which continued to be offered in the time of Xenophon. (Xenoph.
3.2.12.) Aelian (Ael. VH
) places the festival on the sixth day of Thargelion, and
says that 300 goats were sacrificed; but as the battle of Marathon, which
gave rise to this solemn sacrifice, occurred on the sixth of Boedromion,
Aelian's statement appears to be wrong. (Plut. de Glor.
This festival is said to have originated in the following manner :--When the
Persians invaded Attica, Callimachus, the polemarch, or, according to
others, Miltiades, made a vow to sacrifice to Artemis Agrotera as many goats
as there should be enemies slain at Marathon. But when the number of enemies
slain was so great that an equal number of goats could not be found at once,
the Athenians decreed that 500 should be sacrificed every year. This is the
statement made by Xenophon; but other ancient authors give different
accounts. The Scholiast on Aristoph. (Equit.
666) relates that the Athenians, before the battle, promised to sacrifice to
Artemis one ox for every enemy slain; but when the number of oxen could not
be procured, they substituted an equal number of goats. It is not improbable
that annual processions from Athens to the temple of Hecate at Agrae, in
remembrance of the victory of Marathon, may have been connected with the
sacrifice to Artemis Agrotera. (Plut. de Malign. Herod.