Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Greek antiquity, a race at certain festivals, in which the runners carried lighted torches, the prize being awarded to the contestant who first reached the goal with his torch still burning. In some forms of this race relays of runners were posted at intervals, and the burning torch was passed on from one to the next. Very frequently it was associated with the worship of Helios (Apolo) or Selene (Artemis), or of some fire-god, as Hephæstus (Vulcan) or Prometheus. See
“A torch-race, of sorts, with batons passed in all directions, from the collector to the student, the casual reader to the obsessive.”
“Of the numerous company, three only take any serious part in the discussion; nor are we informed whether in the evening they went to the torch-race, or talked, as in the”
“The Republic opens with a truly Greek scene — a festival in honour of the goddess Bendis which is held in the Piraeus; to this is added the promise of an equestrian torch-race in the evening.”
“Adeimantus added: Has no one told you of the torch-race on horseback in honor of the goddess which will take place in the evening?”
“The manner in which the conversation has arisen is described as follows: — Socrates and his companion Glaucon are about to leave the festival when they are detained by a message from Polemarchus, who speedily appears accompanied by Adeimantus, the brother of Glaucon, and with playful violence compels them to remain, promising them not only the torch-race, but the pleasure of conversation with the young, which to Socrates is a far greater attraction.”
“Pisistratus, it is stated, was similarly attached to one Charmus; he it was who dedicated the figure of Love in the Academy, where the runners in the sacred torch-race light their torches.”
“The first then rides and delivers the message with which he is charged to the second, and the second to the third; and after that it goes through them handed from one to the other,1295 as in the torch-race among the Hellenes, which they perform for Hephaistos.”
“Athenians, when their affairs had been now prosperously settled, established under the Acropolis a temple of Pan; and in consequence of this message they propitiate him with sacrifice offered every year and with a torch-race.”
“Motions that are not the same either specifically or generically may, it is true, be consecutive (e.g. a man may run and then at once fall ill of a fever), and again, in the torch-race we have consecutive but not continuous locomotion: for according to our definition there can be continuity only when the ends of the two things are one.”
“He also manages all the contests of the torch-race; and to speak broadly, he administers all the ancestral sacrifices.”
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