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MENELAEIA (μενελάεια, Hesych. s. v.), a festival celebrated at Therapnae in Laconia, in honour of Menelaus and Helen, who were believed to be buried there. (Paus. 3.19, 9; Isocr. Helen. Encom. § 61.)

Though, however, Menelaus was associated in this worship, and the festival connected with the place as stated above sometimes bears his name, it is a question whether the Ξ̔λένεια is not the name under which the great festival of Therapnae should be known. In divine honours Helen was certainly the prominent figure, regarded as a goddess of dawn; and, further, as the bestower of grace and beauty on children (Hdt. 6.61). We have no description of the separate rites for Menelaus; but there is mention of a procession of Spartan maidens to Therapnae in honour of Helen. They drove in the carriages with wicker tilts called κάνναθρα or κάναθρα (Hesych. sub voce). [CANATHRON] See also Preller, Griechische Myth. ii. p. 109.

[L.S] [G.E.M]

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