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published: 1/20/05
updated: 12/16/13

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Apaturia was a festival celebrated in Athens and nearly all other Ionian towns. Apaturia is unique among Greek festivals in being associated with a particular social group: the phratry, or brotherhood. The name probably means festival of "common relationship."

The phratries celebrated Apaturia annually for three days in the month of Pyanopsion (October-November). The main function of the festival was to enroll new phratry members, who thereby acquired a title to citizenship.

The first day of the festival, Dorpia (Dinner), featured an evening meal. The central ritual of the second day, Anarrhysis (Drawing Back [of animals' necks]), was sacrifice to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria.

The third day of the festival, Koureotis, was probably the most important. Prospective new members brought an admission sacrifice, and if the phratries ate of the sacrificed animal, the candidate was accepted. In addition to adult candidates, all children born since the last Apaturia were presented for membership. An oath was sworn as to their legitimacy, and their names were added to the register.


  1. "Apaturia." Price, Simon and Emily Kearns, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of Classical Myth and Religion (Oxford UP, 2003), p. 35.
  2. "Apaturia." Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 22 Jan. 2005 <>.

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