Paean (2)

Paean (παιἀν), a hymn anciently sung in honor of Apollo, who is therefore sometimes also called Paean. The hymn was of a mirthful, festive character, sung by several persons under a skilful leader as they marched in procession. It was used either to propitiate the favor of the god or to praise him for a victory or deliverance obtained. It was sung at the Pyacinthia, and in the temple of the Pythian Apollo. Paeans were usually sung among the ancient Greeks, both at the commencement and close of a battle, the first being addressed to Ares, and the last to Apollo. In latter times other gods were also propitiated by the singing of paeans in their honor, and at a still later period even mortals were thus honored. The practice prevailed from a remote antiquity of singing peans at the close of a feast, when it was customary to pour out libations in honor of the gods.

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