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DEME´TRIA

DEME´TRIA (δημητρία), an annual festival which the Athenians, in 307 B.C., instituted in honour of Demetrius Poliorcetes, who, together with his father Antigonus, were consecrated under the title of “saviour gods.” It was celebrated every year in the month of Munychion, the name of which, as well as that of the day on which the festival was held, was changed into Demetrion and Demetrias. A priest ministered at their altars, and conducted the solemn procession, and the sacrifices and games with which the festival was celebrated. (Diod. 20.46; Plut. Demetr. 10, 46.) To honour the new god still more, the Athenians at the same time changed the name of the festival of the Dionysia into that of Demetria, as the young prince was fond of hearing himself compared to Dionysus. The Demetria mentioned by Athenaeus (xii. p. 536) are probably the Dionysia. Respecting the other extravagant flatteries. which the Athenians heaped upon Demetrius and Antigonus, see Athen. 6.252; Herm. Staatsalterth. § 175, n. 6, 7, and 8; Thirlwall, Hist. of Greece, vol. vii. p. 331; Grote, Hist. of Greece, xii. p. 506 ff.

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