great panegyris of the lonians at Ephesus, the ancient capital of the
Ionians in Asia. It was held every year, and had, like all panegyreis, a
twofold character, that of a bond of political union among the Greeks of the
Ionian race, and that of a common worship of the Ephesian Artemis.
Thucydides compares it (3.104) to the ancient panegyris of Delos [DELIA
], where a great number of
the lonians assembled with their wives and children. Respecting the
particulars of its celebration, we only know that it took place at night and
was accompanied with much mirth and feasting, and that mystical sacrifices
were offered to the Ephesian goddess. (Thucyd. l.c.;
Dionys. Antiq. Rom.
4.25, who closely follows Thucydides;
Strabo xiv. p.640
.) That games and
contests formed likewise a chief part of the solemnities is clear from
Hesychius (s. v.), who calls the Ephesia an ἀγὼν
The drunken revelry described in the love-tale of
Achilles Tatius (books vi.-viii.) is not mentioned by these authors.
(Compare Paus. 4.31.6
; Müller, Dor.
Boeckh, Corp. Inscript.
ii. n. 2909.)
From the manner in which Thucydides and Strabo speak of the Ephesia, it seems
that it was only a panegyris of a part of the Ionians, perhaps of those who
lived in Ephesus itself and its vicinity. Thucydides seems to indicate this
by comparing it with the Dehan panegyris, which consisted only of the
lonians of the islands near Delos; and Strabo, who calls the great national
panegyris of all the Ionians in the Panionium the κοινὴ πανήγυρις τῶν Ἰώνων
(p. 639), applies to the
Ephesia the name πανήγυρις
(p. 640). It
may, however, have existed since the time when Ephesus was the head of the
Ionian colonies in Asia.