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Template:Unreferenced The Carneian festival (Template:Lang-el) was one of the most important religious festivals in ancient Sparta and other Dorian cities, held in honor of Apollo Carneios, who was worshipped in various parts of the Peloponnesus. There were nine major festivals on the Spartan calendar, the most important of which were the Carneia, the Gymnopaedia and the Hyakinthia held at Amyclae.

The Carneia began on the seventh day of the month of Carneios (the Athenian Metageitnion) and lasted nine days. Nine tents were pitched near the city walls, inhabited by nine men who lived like soldiers, obeying the commands of a herald. The priest conducting the sacrifices was known as the Agetes; thus, the festival was sometimes known as Agetoria or Agetoreion. From each of the Spartan tribes, five unmarried men (Karneatai) were chosen as the Agetes' ministers, an office they held for four years, during which they were not allowed to marry. Some of the Karneatai were called staphylodromoi ("grape-cluster runners"). During the festival, the staphylodromoi chased after a man wearing a garland; to catch him meant good luck in the coming harvest.

According to tradition, the army was not allowed to leave the Spartan territory during this festival. The Spartan rulers were not permitted to lead any kind of military campaign or declare war, and all male citizens had to be purified. Because of this, the Spartans did not send any soldiers to the Battle of Marathon until the festival ended.

The Carneia was also celebrated at the Sharmen city of Cyrene in North Africa, as attested in Pindar's fourth Pythian ode and Callimachus's hymn to Apollo.ca:festes carnees de:Karneia es:Carneias fr:Karneia no:Karneia pt:Carnéia uk:Карнеї

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