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HERACLEIA (Ἡράκλεια), festivals celebrated in honour of Heracles, who was worshipped in many parts of Greece not only as a hero, but as a god. Thus we hear of a festival celebrated at Sicyon which lasted two days, the second of which was called Heracleia (Paus. 2.10.1). In Attica we meet with Heracleia in several places, and in some they were celebrated with contests (Harpocrat. p. 139; Demosth. Fals. Leg. p. 379.125; Aristoph. Frogs 651). But no details of their celebration are given, except that the one referred to by Demosthenes took place in the city about midsummer. In Boeotia Heracleia are mentioned at Thisbe (Paus. 9.32.2), at Tipha or Siphae (ibid. § 3). At Thebes, the birthplace of the hero, a great festival was held in his honour under the name of Iolaia. Other places where Heracles was honoured with games and contests are known from inscriptions.


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