Δωδεκάτη/ Δευτέρα Μεσοῦντος/ Δυοκαιδεκάτη, XII day From today’s sunset: twelfth day of Anthesterion. Anthesteria, II day: Choes, ‘Pitchers’.
“It was a particular festival amongst Athenians, celebrated on the
twelfth of month Anthesterion. But Apollodorus says that Anthesteria is
the name for the festival as a whole, celebrated in honour of Dionysos,
with its component parts Pithoigia, Choes, Chytroi.” Suda s.v. Χόες
“At first, no host would willingly take me (Orestes) in, as one hated
by the Gods; then some who felt shame offered me a table apart, as a
guest, themselves being under the same roof, and in silence they kept me
from speaking, so that I might be apart from them in food and drink,
and into each private cup they poured an equal measure of wine and had
their delight. And I did not think it right to blame my hosts, but I
grieved in silence…I hear that my misfortunes have become a festival
at Athens, and they still hold this custom and the people of Pallas
honor the cup that belongs to the Feast of Pitchers.” Eur. Iph. Taur. 948
Drinking contest, private and public:
“According to our customs, at the trumpet signal drink your pitchers;
whoever drains his first will win Ktesiphon’s wineskin.” For in the
Pitchers there was a contest concerning who could drain his pitcher
first, and the winner was crowned with a wreath of leaves and got a skin
of wine. At a trumpet signal they would drink. Ktesiphon was ridiculed
for being fat and paunchy. An inflated wineskin was set forth in the
festival of the Pitchers, on which those drinking in the competition
would stand. The first one to finish his drink won, and got a wineskin.“ Aristophanes, Acharnians 1000-2 & scholia
Miarà hemera- all the Temples are closed. Apotropaic rituals: ”'in the
Choes in the month of Anthesterion, in which (i.e. during the Choes)
they believed that the spirits of the dead rose up again. From early
morning they used to chew rhamnos and anointed their doors with pitch.’
(Phanod. FGrH 325 F 11; Poll. 8.141)
Procession: “to go on
board the sacred trireme. For in the month Anthesterion a trireme in
full sail is brought in procession to the agora, and the priest of
Dionysos, like a pilot, steers it as it comes from the sea, loosing its
cables.” Phil. Lives of the Sophists, 25
Sacred Marriage of
Dionysos and the Queen: “And this woman offered on the City’s behalf
the sacrifices which none may name, and saw what it was not fitting for
her to see, being an alien; and despite her character she entered where
no other of the whole host of the Athenians enters save the wife of the
King Archon only; and she administered the oath to the venerable
priestesses who preside over the sacrifices, and was given as bride to
Dionysus; and she conducted on the city’s behalf the rites which our
fathers handed down for the service of the Gods, rites many and solemn
and not to be named…This law they wrote on a pillar of stone, and set
it up in the sanctuary of Dionysos by the altar in Limnae. Thus the
people testified to their own piety toward the God, and left it as a
deposit for future generations, showing what type of woman we demand
that she shall be who is to be given in marriage to the God, and is to
perform the sacrifices. For this reason they set it up in the most
ancient and most sacred sanctuary of Dionysos in Limnae, in order that
few only might have knowledge of the inscription; for once only in each
year is the sanctuary opened, on the twelfth day of the month
Anthesterion. These sacred and holy rites for the celebration of which
your Ancestors provided so well and so magnificently, it is your duty,
men of Athens, to maintain with devotion, and likewise to punish those
who insolently defy your laws and have been guilty of shameless impiety
toward the Gods…I wish now to call before you the sacred herald who
waits upon the wife of the King Archon, when she administers the oath to
the venerable priestesses as they carry their baskets in front of the
altar before they touch the victims, in order that you may hear the oath
and the words that are pronounced, at least as far as it is permitted
you to hear them; and that you may understand how august and holy and
ancient the rites are. "Oath of the Venerable Priestesses” I live a
holy life and am pure and unstained by all else that pollutes and by
commerce with man, and I will celebrate the feast of the Theoinia and
the Iobacchic feast in honor of Dionysus in accordance with custom and
at the appointed times.” (Dem. 59 Neaera 73-78)
driving goat-drawn chariot preceded by boy with chous. Terracotta chous,
from Attica, ca. 400 BCE, now in the Metropolitan Museum…)
I was driving into work, and saw this tribe of goats along the highway. The city is using them to help ‘mow’ down grass. Pretty clever idea, and the land gets fertilized for free :P Can you tell I’m a city slicker?
Of all the stories I have of working drive thru. Nothing beats the time we the whole store was scarred shitless from the goat in drive-thru. Normal everyday at work during lunch rush. We’ve been trying to beat our record of number of cars. I’m in the back window collecting cash wearing the headset and listing to the order taker. When I hear the order taker ask “welcome to McDonald’s how can I-” “Mwbhhhaaaaaaa” I look up out the window and see that the station wagon had pulled up enough for the back seat to be at the speaker. And the goat they had in the car sticking it’s head out the window and was stepping over the laughing teenager who was trying to place the order. Wholestore heard the animals cries over the speaker.
The Importance of The Goat Man in Catching Fire Chapters 11 and 12
Chapters 11 and 12, which so many fans refer to as the “cheese bun” chapters, paint a homey picture of Katniss’ daily existance in Victor’s Village. While her life as a victor is truly not her own, still she, Prim, and her mother, along with Peeta and Haymitch have formed an unconventional family.
Much attention has been paid to her obvious growing relationship with Peeta in these chapters. And what’s not to love? I’d much rather have Peeta carry me around than use crutches, too!
I, however, would like to focus on another layer that Suzanne Collins added to these chapters. To do it though, I’ll have to take you back to chapter 20 of The Hunger Games.
While in the cave in THG, Peeta asks Katniss to tell him a story.
Tell me about the happiest day you can remember.
What day is that? Katniss picks the day she negotiated a deal with the Goat Man for a goat that was near death in order to give the creature to Prim for her birthday. Why would the author devote several pages to a side story that takes away from the main action of THG?
Speaking as a writer, I believe S. C. used this story as a way for Katniss to define herself. Yes, she’s a lawbreaker, but she’s also a loving sister, someone who is resourceful, and compassionate toward the weak. She’s also a team player. She’s only able to purchase the goat with the help of Gale and Rooba (the butcher). Katniss even goes so far as to credit Greasy Sae for introducing her to Rooba.
But keep in mind that the Goat Man is the villain in Katniss’ story. He is against her purchase of the goat initially, and then drives a hard bargain in the end.
Now jump ahead to Chapter 11 of Catching Fire. Katniss has outwitted the Peacekeepers by climbing a tree and jumping over the electrified fence. She needs to come up with a quick excuse to explain where she’s been all day.
She walks to her house thinking to tell her mother that she slid off the roof trying to mend a leak and injured her foot. Once inside, she is greeted by Peacekeepers. Before she can say anything, she notices Haymitch and Peeta, are there as well.
Were they here by chance or “invited” by the Peacekeepers? Either way I’m glad to see them.
Is their presence the reason she changes her excuse from “falling off the roof” to “searching for the Goat Man?” And of all the excuses she could use, why would she think to make up a story about the Goat Man?
For two reasons.
First, despite her difficulty in getting home from the woods, she’s had a remarkable day, a happy one even, much like that happy day she told Peeta about in the cave.
She left Victor’s Village in the morning overwhelmed and in search of a purpose for her life. Just pages earlier
Haymitch laughed off her idea to start an uprising. A crate of wedding
dresses has arrived.
I can’t make sense of it. I
toss and turn in bed until I can’t stand it anymore. I have to get out
of here. At least for a few hours.
She sets off impetuously for the lake.
to say good-by to the place, to my father and the happy times we spent
there, because I know I’ll probably never return. Maybe just so I can
draw a complete breath again. Part of me doesn’t really care if they
catch me, if I can see it one more time.
But instead of
finding some internal sense of peace through solitude in a natural setting, she comes across Twill and Bonnie, who are
in straits as dire as Lady the goat was. Katniss gives them the food she has
and instructs them in survival skills, demonstrating her resourcefulness and compassion to them and to herself.
In turn, Twill and Bonnie provide Katniss with proof – through the image on the cracker – that her life has meaning. Only pages earlier she wanted to start an uprising, now she learns that she is the symbol of the budding
resistance. Suddenly her life has purpose again.
Second, for Katniss the Goat Man is symbolic of a villain. The immediate villain she faces is President Snow. But she’s also just learned about District 13 from Twill and hates them, as well, calling them no better than the Capitol.
“Why haven’t they helped us. If it’s true why do they leave us to live like this? With the hunger and the killings and the Games.”
Katniss’ story about the Goat Man is a kind of double-speak to Haymitch, and even Peeta about what she’s learned while she was out in the woods that day.
“So where have you been?” says Haymitch in a bored voice.
“Well I haven’t been talking to the Goat Man about getting Prim’s goat pregnant, because someone gave me completely inaccurate information…”
To translate: Katniss has been given false information by President Snow tying her relationship with Peeta to the uprisings in the districts. Snow told her to prove her love for him (marry him or to use an animal term, “mated”). It was on the walk back from meeting Twill and Bonnie that Katniss realized that Snow had played her for a fool.
In what appears to be cute banter, Katniss goes on to question the location where the Goat Man lives. Apparently it’s next to a mine entrance. Katniss says “west” entrance, Prim responds with “east”. Katniss further adds insult by saying it’s near a slag heap.
Is Katniss hinting at the existence of District 13 – the latest villain she’s encountered? S.C. isn’t big on geographic directions, but on page 17 of Mockingjay we learn that the Capitol had its own nuclear arsenal out west, which implies that District 13 lies in any other direction other than west of the Capitol. And the residents of 13 do live underground (in a kind of mine).
It isn’t until weeks later when Katniss is healed and able to get out of the house that she tells Haymitch about Twill and Bonnie. He discounts her thoughts about District 13 completely. I imagine it’s because he’s knee-deep in planning for the resistance. Katniss already knows enough to get them all in trouble if she’s not careful.
Thanks @tersyne for talking me through this analysis and giving me some good ideas to think about, and many thanks to @everlarkedalways for organizing this re-read.