Pandion (hero)

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Pandion was the eponymous hero of the Attic tribe Pandionis, which was created as part of the tribal reforms of Cleisthenes at the end of the sixth century BC.[1] He is usually assumed to be one of the two legendary kings of Athens, Pandion I or Pandion II.

Pandion I and II[edit]

The relationship between Pandion, the eponymous hero, and the two legendary Athenian kings Pandion I and Pandion II is unclear, but most sources assume that the hero was one or the other of these two kings. The situation is further complicated by the fact that either Pandion I or Pandion II may have been invented to fill a gap in the mythical history of Athens,[2] and that originally there may have been only one Pandion.[3]

Demosthenes' Funeral Oration (338 BC) makes the father of the famous sisters Procne and Philomela — usually considered to be Pandion I — the eponymous hero of the Pandionidae.[4] However, the 2nd century AD geographer Pausanias does not know which king Pandion was honored as the eponymous hero,[5] and Pausanias makes Pandion II the father of Procne and Philomela.[6]


Pandion had a heroon (hero shrine) on the Acropolis of Athens, where Pausanias reports seeing a statue of Pandion.[7] Pandion was also honored with a statue (along with the other tribal heroes) at the Monument of the Eponymous Heroes in the Agora.[8]

Pandion was probably associated in some way with the ancient Athenian festival Pandia, and it is possible that the festival derived its name from Pandion. However the festival was probably held in honor of Zeus,[9] and some scholars think it is more likely that the hero derived his name from the festival as its legendary founder.[10] This would be consistent with what Kearns describes as "a wide spread cultic-mythic phenomenon in which a hero or heroine is worshipped in conjunction with a god, while an aetiological myth explains that he or she was the first to perform the rite."[11] An inscription[12] dating from c. 386 BC, which refers to a decree of the tribe Pandionis, commending a "priest of Pandion" for services performed at the Pandia, supports the notion of a link between Pandion and the festival.[13]

Pandion may also have been associated with a festival attested for the deme Plotheia also called the Pandia; what relationship if any this festival may have had with the Pandia of Athens is unknown.[14]

According to Pausanias the hero Pandion was also honored in Megara where he had a monument in the city and a tomb in the cave of Athena Aithyia.[15]


  1. ^ Pausanias, 1.5.3–5, 10.10.1.
  2. ^ Harding, p. 42: "It is usual to believe that one or the other of the two was invented for the purpose of fixing the chronographic calculations".
  3. ^ According to Kearns, p. 192, "originally there was only one Pandion". But see Gantz, p. 235.
  4. ^ Frazer, p. 79 note to Pausanias 1.5.3 "two kings called Pandion"; Demosthenes (pseudo?), Funeral Speech 60.28.
  5. ^ Pausanias, 1.5.3.
  6. ^ Frazer, p. 130 note to Pausanias 1.14.7 "the misfortune of his sisters"; Verrall 1894, p. xlix Pausanias, 1.5.4.
  7. ^ Jones, pp. 157–158, Canevaro, p 212; Kearns, p. 191; Robertson 1996, pp. 40–41; Pausanias, 1.5.4.
  8. ^ Jones, pp. 156.
  9. ^ Parker 2005, p. 447.
  10. ^ Parke, p. 136; Kearns, pp. 81, 87, 192; Sourvinou-Inwood, p. 74; Parker 2005, p. 448; Lexicon Patmense s.v. Πάνδια.
  11. ^ Kearns, pp. 68–69.
  12. ^ Inscriptiones Graecae, II2 1140, line 5.
  13. ^ Canevaro, p 212; Harding, p. 42; Anderson, p. 130, p. 251 note 15; Robertson 1993, p. 15; Parke, p. 136.
  14. ^ Mikalson, p. 430; Parker, pp. 73–74; p. 74 note 96, pp. 477–478; Dillon and Garland, pp. 354–355; Inscriptiones Graecae, I3 258, line 9.
  15. ^ Kearns, p.191; Pausanias, 1.41.6.


  • Anderson, Greg, The Athenian Experiment: Building an Imagined Political Community in Ancient Attica, 508-490 B.C., University of Michigan Press, 2003. ISBN 9780472113200.
  • Canevaro, Mirko, The Documents in the Attic Orators: Laws and Decrees in the Public Speeches of the Demosthenic Corpus, Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN 9780199668908.
  • Dillon, Matthew, Lynda Garland, Ancient Greece: Social and Historical Documents from Archaic Times to the Death of Alexander, Routledge, 2010. ISBN 9780203854556.
  • Frazer, James George, Pausanias's Description of Greece (1898), Vol II, Commentary on Book I, Macmillan, 1898.
  • Harding, Phillip, The Story of Athens: The Fragments of the Local Chronicles of Attika, Routledge, 2007. ISBN 9781134304479.
  • Jones, Nicholas F., The Associations of Classical Athens : The Response to Democracy: The Response to Democracy, Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 9780195352832.
  • Kearns, Emily, The Heroes of Attica (Bulletin Supplement 57), University of London Institute of Classical Studies 1989. ISBN 978-0900587603.
  • Mikalson, Jon D. (1977), "Religion in the Attic Demes". The American Journal of Philology (The Johns Hopkins University Press) 98 (4): 424–435.
  • Parke, Herbert William, Festivals of the Athenians, Cornell University Press, 1977.
  • Parker, Robert (2005), Polytheism and Society at Athens, Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927483-3.
  • Pausanias, Pausanias Description of Greece with an English Translation by W.H.S. Jones, Litt.D., and H.A. Ormerod, M.A., in 4 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1918. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library.
  • Robertson, Noel (1993), Festivals and Legends: The Formation of Greek Cities in the Light of Public Ritual, The University of Toronto Press.
  • Robertson, Noel (1996), "Athena's Shrines and Festivals" in Worshipping Athena: Panathenaia and Parthenon, The University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane, Tragedy and Athenian Religion, Lexington Books, 2003. ISBN 9780739104002.
  • Verrall, Margaret de Gaudrion, Mythology and Monuments of Ancient Athens: Being a Translation of a Portion of the 'Attica' of Pausanias, Macmillan, 1894.