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AROTOI HIEROI (ἄροτοι ἱεροί). These were three “sacred ploughings” in Attica to commemorate the institution of agriculture. They were held in Maimacterion (Nov.-Dec.): see Bötticher in Philologus, 22.394-7, concerning the frieze with the calendar sculptured upon it, from which we learn the date of this festival. The first ploughing was held at Sciros, the second on the Rarion (Π̓άριον) plain near Eleusis, and the third under the acropolis, which was specially called Βουζύγιον (Plut. Conj. Praec. 42 = ii. p. 114). These ploughings were probably for the purpose of sowing the corn used in the rites of the temples of Athena Sciras, of the Eleusinian goddesses and Athena Polias. The family of priests who took care of the sacred plough and of the oxen who drew it were called Buzyges, a sort of Arval Brotherhood; and the family derived their descent from an eponymous Buzyges, who was in later times assimilated with Triptolemos or Epimenides (Auson. Epist. 22, 46. Cf. Paus. 1.38.7; and especially Stoll in W. H. Roscher's Lexikon der griech. und röm. Myth. 1884, s. v. Buzyges). Great difficulty hangs round the question as to whether Buzyges belonged originally to the Cecropian worship of Athena Polias--as is held by Preller, Griech. Myth. i. pp. 169, 181, n. 4; Maury, Relig. de la Grèce, 2.209; Stoll, l.c.--on the basis of a passage in Aristides (Ath. p. 20, Dindorf); or to the worship of Zeus, as is maintained by Schömann (Gr. Alt. 2.266) and Bötticher (l.c. pp. 262-271--a good discussion), on the basis of C. I. G. 491 and an inscription Ἱερεως Διὸς Τελείου Βουζυγίου (Philologus, 19.360), a worship united with that of Demeter Thesmophoros. There is no doubt that he did not originally belong to the worship of Demeter of Eleusis. The ἀραὶ Βουζύγειοι are well known (Valcken, on Hdt. 7.231), falling on him who did not show the road to one who had missed it, who did not give a light or water to one in need thereof (Ath. 6.239 a; Cic. Off. 3.1. 3, 55; Holden ad loc.), who killed the oxen that ploughed (Aelian, Ael. VH 5.14), who left a corpse unburied (Schol. on Soph. Antig. 262), who did not practise what he recommended to others (Clem. Alex. p. 503, 17), &c. A large mass of literature on the whole subject is in Stoll, l.c.


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.231
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.38.7
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 262
    • Cicero, De Officiis, 3.1
    • Aelian, Varia Historia, 5.14
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