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SCIROPHORIA
An Athenian festival celebrated on the 12th of the month Scirophorion (June-July), called after it. It was in honour of Athene, who was worshipped under the name of Sciras near Sciron, a spot on the "holy way" leading from Athens to Eleusis. It had its name from the large white sunshade (sciron) beneath which the priestess of Athene (the patron goddess of the city), the priest of Erechtheus, and the priest of Helios went to Sciron to sacrifice. The sunshade was a symbol of heavenly protection against the rays of the sun, which began to burn more intensely during the month of the festival. This protection was invoked with special reason, for the dry limestone rock was thinly covered by a meagre surface of soil in the neighbourhood of Athens, and particularly near Sciron itself. In this, as in other festivals of invocation, there were also expiatory offerings; and hence they carried in he procession the hide of a ram that had been sacrificed to Zeus as the mild and gracious deity (meilichios).
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