by Melissa

(10 Maimakterion or sometime during the last third of the month of Maimakterion)  Little seems to be known concerning this festival or the equally obscure festival Maimakteria. Pompaia is thought to been a festival dedicated primarily to Zeus but as mention is made of a procession* with a sheepskin considered to have some magical properties and a kerykeion, a staff entwined with snakes, and in some parts of Greece this month was referred to as the Hermaia, it would seem that Hermes also played a role in this festival. It could be that the two symbols were considered to have the ability to turn away adverse forces of nature, such as bad weather and the malaise of short, cold days, that arrive with this month (Parke 96). Plutarch in The Life of Aristides mentions a libation and bull sacrifice to Zeus and Hermes and those who “have died for the freedom of Hellas” occurring on the 16th of the Maimakterion and it is possible that it is the same festival.

Parke, H.W., Festivals of the Athenians, 1977

* Note that the Greek word pompe (πομπή) translates to “procession.”