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4 Xenocratia and the Hieron of Cephisus

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Chapter Summary

At the end of the fifth century, a woman named Xenocratia dedicated a fine and well-known marble relief to a group of deities at a sanctuary on the outskirts of Athens. The stand which supported the marble relief also recorded her claim to have founded the hieron, by which she probably meant the sanctuary itself rather than a shrine building within the sanctuary. The dedication made by Xenocratia was not an isolated monument, but part of a small group, set up perhaps at different times, and can best be understood in the context of this sanctuary and the dedications and imagery found within it. Permission for all who wish to perform a sacrifice in the sanctuary, whether or not this was the express wish of Xenocratia, made her endowment not just a gift to the gods and her family, but also to the larger community in the district of Echelidai.

Keywords: Athens; Cephisus; district of Echelidai; hieron; marble relie; Xenocratia's dedication



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