Greek state religious festival that honored Athena. It was eventually celebrated every fourth year with great splendor, probably in deliberate rivalry to the Olympic Games. The festival consisted solely of the sacrifices and rites proper to the season (mid-August) in the cult of Athena, the city's protector. At the Great Panathenaea, representatives of all the dependencies of Athens were present, bringing sacrificial animals. After the presentation of a new embroidered robe to Athena, the sacrifice of several animals was offered. The great procession, which included the heroes of Marathon, is the subject of the frieze of the Parthenon. Musical contests were held, and portions of epic poems were recited, a long-standing accompaniment of the festival. The contests took place in the odeum, originally built for the purpose by Pericles himself.