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ARNIS (Ἀρνίς), a festival held by the Argives during the month of August, at which they used to kill any dog which came into the agora (Conon, Narrat. 19; Ael. NA 12.34). The name of Κυνοφόντις was also given to the festival (Athen. 3.99 e). It may have got its name of Ἀρνίς or the “lamb festival” because Apollo, the sun-god, was also god of flocks (Νόμιος, ὀπάων μήλων, Pind. P. 9.64); and in that burning season he is implored to spare the lambs. That the massacre of the dogs was due to fear of their madness is probable; as was the similar killing of the dogs at Rome in the month of August (Lyd. de Mensibus, 3.40), which is, however, usually assigned to punishment for having failed to give notice of the attack by the Gauls on the Capitol (Plin. Nat. 29.57). But the Argives tell a pretty story how that Linus, son of Apollo and Psamathe, when exposed by his mother among the lambs, was eaten by the dogs of the sheepfold; and how that the mother in her distraction betrayed her fault, and was put to death by her angry father Crotopus; and in aftertimes the matrons each year bewailed Psamathe and Linus, and added lamentations for their own dead children and prayers for the living. For the full story, see Conon, l.c.; Paus. 1.43, § § 7 foll.; Stat. Theb. 1.568 foll. The dogs represented the dogstar, the lambs the tender youth of Linus and the children for whom the mothers feared sunstroke (Hesych. sub voce ἀστροβολήτους). (See Hartung, Relig. der Griech. iv. p. 157; Preller, [p. 1.193]Griech, Myth. i. pp. 205, 379-80; Saglio, s. v.)


hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.43
    • Athenaeus, of Naucratis, Deipnosophistae, 3.99
    • Statius, Thebias, 1
    • Aelian, De Natura Animalium, 12.34
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