previous next


HESTIASIS (ἑστίασις) was a species of liturgy, and consisted in giving a feast to one of the tribes at Athens (τὴν φυλὴν ἑστιᾶν, Dem. c. Mid. p. 565.156; Aristot. Pol. 6.7= p. 1320, 37; Pollux, 3.67). It was provided for each tribe at the expense of a person belonging to that tribe, who was called ἑστιάτωρ. (Dem. c. Lept. p. 463.21; c. Boeot. de Nom. p. 996.7.) Harpocration (s. v. Ἑστιάτωρ), states on the authority of the speech of Demosthenes against Meidias, that this feast was sometimes provided by persons voluntarily, and at other times by persons appointed by lot; but, as Boeckh remarks, nothing of this kind occurs in the speech, and no burthen of this description could have been imposed upon a citizen by lot. The ἑστιάτορες were doubtless appointed, like all persons serving liturgies, according to the amount of their property in some regular succession; fortunes under three talents seem to have been excused this and other liturgies (Isae. Or. 3 [Pyrrh.], § 80). These banquets of the tribes, called φυλετικὰ δεῖπνα by Athenaeus (v. p. 185 c), were introduced for sacred purposes, and for keeping up a friendly intercourse between persons of the same tribe. They are mentioned as given at the great festivals of the Dionysia and Panathenaea (see the newly-discovered scholia on Dem. Lept. l.c. in Bulletin de Corresp. Hellén. 1.147), as well as at the Thesmophoria, when married men entertained the women on behalf of their wives (Isae. l.c.). The entertainment appears to have been of a simple character, including meat but not delicacies (Pollux, 3.67). Boeckh thinks there may have been 2,000 guests, and the cost, at the low figure of two obols a head, nearly 700 drachmas; Paley suggests a doubt whether more than the fifty βουλευταὶ of each tribe were really entertained (ad Dem. Boeot. l.c.). The notion of Boeckh, that there were also “great feastings of the people, defrayed from the Theorica,” is justly rejected by his editor Fränkel (n. 779); the Theoric fund was spent in dramatic and other shows (θέαι) or distributions of corn (διαδόσεις, διανομαί), not in public dinners. (Boeckh, P. E. pp. 452, 465=Sthh.3 1.537, 554; Wolf, Proleg. ad Lept. p. lxxxvii. = 45 tr. Beatson.)

[W.S] [W.W]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: