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“Lampadedromia, torch-race, and often simply, Lampas, was a game common throughout Greece. At Athens we know of five celebrations of this game: one to Prometheus at the Prometheia, a second to Minerva at the Panametheia, a third to Vulcan at the Hephaesteia, a fourth to Pan, and a fifth to the Thracian Diana or Bendis. The three former are of unknown antiquity; the fourth was introduced soon after the battle of Marathon; the last in the time of Socrates. The race was usually run on foot, horses being first used in the time of Socrates: sometimes also at night. The preparation for it was a principal branch of the Gymnasiarchia, so much so indeed in later times, that Lampadarchia, seems to have been pretty much equivalent to the Gymnasiarchia. The gymnasiarch had to provide the lampas, which was a candlestick with a kind of shield set at the bottom of the socket, so as to shelter the flame of the candle; as is seen in the following woodcut, taken from a coin, He had also to provide for the training of the runners, which was of no slight consequence, for the race was evidently a severe one, with other expenses, which on the whole were very heave, so that Isaeus classes this office with the choregia and trierarchia, and reckons that it had cost him 12 minae.” — Smith, 1873


Greek Coins


William Smith, A School Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1873) 184


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