Most of us take big and small risks in our lives every day. But COVID-19 has made us more aware of how we think about taking risks. Since the start of the pandemic, people have been forced to weigh their options about how much risk is worth taking for ordinary activities – should they, for example, go to the grocery store or even turn up for a long-scheduled doctor’s visit?


One of the earliest written works in Greek is “Works and Days,” a poem by a farmer named Hesiod in the eighth century B.C. In it, Hesiod addresses his lazy brother, Perses. The most famous section of “Works and Days” describes a cycle of generations. First, Hesiod says, Zeus created a golden generation who “lived like the gGods, having hearts free from sorrow, far from work and misery.”

Then came a silver generation, arrogant and proud. Third was a bronze generation, violent and self-destructive. Fourth was the age of heroes who went to their graves at Troy. Finally, Hesiod says, Zeus made an iron generation marked by a balance of pain and joy.

While the earliest generations lived life free of worries, according to Hesiod, life in the current iron generation is shaped by risk, which leads to pain and sorrow. Throughout the poem, Hesiod develops an idea of risk and its management that was common in ancient Greece: People can and should take steps to prepare for risk, but it is ultimately inescapable. As Hesiod says, 

“summer won’t last forever, build granaries,” but for people of the current generation, “there is neither a stop to toil and sorrow by day, nor to death by night.”

In other words, people face the consequences of risk – including suffering – because that is the will of Zeus.

If the outcome of risk was determined by the Gods, then one critical part of preparing to face uncertainty was to try to find out the will of Zeus. For this, the ancient Hellenes relied on oracles and omens. While the rich might pay to petition the oracle of Apollon at Delphi, most people turned to simpler techniques to seek guidance from the Gods, such as throwing dice made of animal knuckle bones.

A second technique involved inscribing a question on a lead tablet, to which the god would provide an answer such as “yes” or “no.” These tablets record a wide range of concerns from ordinary ancient Hellenes. In one, a man named Lysias asks the god whether he should invest in shipping. In another, a man named Epilytos asks whether he should continue in his current career and whether he ought to wed a woman who shows up, or wait. Nothing is known about either man except that they turned to the Gods when confronted with uncertainty.

Omens were also used to inform almost every decision, whether public or private. Men called “chresmologoi,” oracle collectors who interpreted the signs from the Gods, had enormous influence in Athens. When the Spartans invaded in 431 B.C., the historian Thucydides says, they were everywhere reciting oracular responses. When plague struck Athens, he notes that the Athenians called to mind just such a prophecy.

Chresmologoi played so much of a role in bolstering public confidence that the wealthy Athenian politician Alcibiades privately contracted them as spin doctors in order to persuade people to overlook the risks of an expedition to Sicily in 415 B.C.

For the ancient Hellenes, putting faith in the Gods alone did not fully protect them from risk. As Hesiod explained, risk mitigation required attending to both the Gods and human actions. Generals, for example, made sacrifices to Gods like Artemis or Ares in advance of battle, and the best commanders knew how to interpret every omen as a positive sign. At the same time, though, generals also paid attention to strategy and tactics in order to give their armies every advantage.

Neither was every omen heeded. Before the Athenian expedition to Sicily in 415 B.C., statues sacred to Hermes, the god of travel, were found with their faces scratched out. The Athenians interpreted this as a bad omen, which may have been what the perpetrators intended. The expedition sailed anyway, but it ended in a crushing defeat. Few of the people who left ever returned to Athens.

The evidence was clear to the Athenians: The desecration of the statues had put everyone in the expedition at risk. The only solution was to punish the wrongdoers. Fifteen years later, the orator Andocides had to defend himself in court against accusations that he had been involved.

This history explains that individuals might escape divine punishment, but ignoring omens and failing to take precautions were often communal rather than individual problems. Andocides was acquitted, but his trial shows that when someone’s actions put everyone at risk, it was a community’s responsibility to hold them accountable.

Oracles and knuckle bones are not in vogue today, but the ancient Hellenes show us the very real dangers of risky behavior, and why it is important that risk not be left to a simple toss of the dice.


*Joshua P. Nudell, is an Assistant Professor of Classics, Westminster College. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

On Mounuchion 6, the Athenian festival of the Delphinia (Δελφίνια) starts in honor of Apollon and Artemis. To celebrate this festival, Elaion is hosting a PAT ritual at 10 am EDT on April 18. Will you be joining us?


The Delphinia is a festival to ask for the protection of all ships and sailors, to ask for guidance for young boys and girls transitioning into adulthood and--as a festival of purification--the Delphinia can be interpreted to be open to all who are going through a time of transition and/or struggle.

What is known about this festival is that virgin girls walked to the Delphinion (Δελφίνιον) atop the Acropolis in procession, carrying olive branches bound with wool (known as 'iketiria') and baked cakes known as Popana, made of soft cheese and flower. There is overwhelming evidence that the festival was held on the sixth of the month of Mounukhion, most notably from Plutarch, but the seventh of same month is also considered a possible date, quite possibly because the festivities could have taken place in the daylight hours of the sixth day, which is the same day as the start of the seventh of the month, as dusk rained in a new day.

Plutarch connects the sixth of the month Mounukhion to Apollon and Theseus--most importantly to Theseus' quest for the Minotaur--in his 'Life of Theseus'. Theseus vows to look over those the lots choose to be offered to the Minotaur in the maze on Krete. Roughly in the month of Mounukhion, the seafaring season started. It's therefor not odd that lots would have been cast about this time, for the youths--and everyone else with business across the sea--would set sail as soon as the weather allowed. The rising of the Pleiades, located in the constellation of Taurus, around late April, the beginning of May, was a signal for the boldest of sea-goers that the treacherous sea was at least moderately accessible. Still, it would be at least several months before the favoured seafaring season started, so anyone braving the sea, could probably use some protection. Somewhere shortly after the Delphinia would have been Theseus' first opportunity to sail to Krete, but it would place his return almost five months later; quite some time for a three day journey (one way) in favourable conditions.

During the Delphinia, young maidens presented Apollon Delphinion, and perhaps Artemis Delphinia, with the iketiria Theseus had presented them with as well, in the hopes of receiving for the Athenians the same guidance and protection at sea as the Kretan colonists, as well as Theseus and the youths, had gotten.

A connection can also be made with Theseus visiting the shrine of Apollon Delphinios as an opportunity for purification before his great quest, as the young supplicants who prepared for their personal collective journeys into adulthood would desire purification of their own, and Apollon in many of his epithets is a purifier. Also, in a little less than a month, the Thargelia took place in Delos, an event where the births of Artemis, and especially Apollon were celebrated. The rites at the Delphinia might have been part of the purification processes for those who were to go to Delos (with thanks to Daphne Lykeia for this interpretation).

As a festival of purification, the Delphinia can be interpreted to be open to all who are going through a time of transition and/or struggle. A divine purification of miasma might allow you to focus better on these issues, and receive guidance from the Theoi more easily--like Theseus, who purified himself  at the Delphinion and prayed for the guidance of Aphrodite directly thereafter. Aphrodite made Ariadne fall for him, saving his life and those of the young men and women in the process.

One can celebrate this day by offering both Apollon and Artemis hymns, libations, and Popana cakes, and presenting Artemis with an iketiria, an olive branch wrapped with white wool, if you are a young female looking for aid. An iketiria was primarily used in rites of supplication.

The popana (or popanon) should be a flat cake with a single 'knob' in the center. We don't have a surviving recipe, but Cato's recipes for 'libum' seems to hold many of the same ingredients. It goes as follows:

"'Make libum by this method. Break up two pounds of cheese well in a mortar. When they will have been well broken up, put in a pound of wheat flour or, if you wish it to be more delicate, half a pound of fine flour and mix it well together with the cheese. Add one egg ...and mix together well. Then make into bread, places leaves beneath, and cook slowly on a hot hearth under an earthen pot."

That's a lot of Popana. Make this if you're with a large group, else the recipe would look something like this for something the size of a good loaf of bread or its equivalent in smaller portions:

- 14 ounces good ricotta or any fresh cheese, preferably unpasteurized (ricotta should always be drained overnight in a colander)
- 4 ounces (approx) flour, preferably farro
- 1 large egg
- a pinch of salt
- several bay leaves, preferably fresh
- olive oil, for the pan

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

You can either make large cakes or small ones. If you're making large ones, line a baking pan or sheet with bay leaves and brush them lightly with olive oil. If you don't have enough leaves to cover the surface, distribute the leaves as best you can. If you are going to make smaller cakes, brush one leaf with oil for each cake you are going to make.

Knead all the ingredients (except the bay leaves) until well blended. Add flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Shape the dough into a single, or several smaller cakes. Place either the large cake on top of the bay leaves, or put each little one on top of one. Then put it in a baking pan and into the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes for a large cake, or (much) less long for smaller cakes. Just watch them until they are firm and light golden brown. Don't forget to enjoy it yourself!

The ritual for the event can be found here and you can join the community here.

 Greece's Epirus region hosts five of the country's most important ancient theatres. Some are famous, but others little-known. Now, a European-backed project will restore these architectural treasures from antiquity and weave them into a brand new tourist trail. The circuit includes the sites of Dodona, Gitana, Amvrakia, Kassope and the Roman theatre of Nikopolis. From its inception, this project has been backed and co-financed by the European Union.


Dodona

One of the most famous archaeological sites in Greece, as it was the home of the ancient oracle of Zeus.

Ambracia
It is the smallest ancient Greek theatre unearthed to date. The West Necropolis has also survived. Both are visible from the street.

Nikopolis
Octavian was so overjoyed at defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra’s combined fleet in the Battle of Actium that he constructed an entire city in his own honor to celebrate his victory. “Nikopolis” means “Victory City.”

Cassope
Its construction was based on the Hippodamian Plan grid system, and faithfully adhered to Aristotles’ suggestions on how to create the ideal city.

Gitana
Two names are inscribed on each one of the seats found in the lower tier of the ancient theatre; According to one theory, the first name belonged to the slave owner and the second to the slave he had set free.

Though key to the project, the team's ambition goes beyond just renovating these ancient landmarks for people to observe.

"We are used to archaeological sites being extensive ruins that must be discovered. Yet, theatres are constructions that have, an inherent sociability. An ancient theatre can be used to teach theatre; it can be used for educational purposes," explains architect and engineer Georgios Smyris. "People can meet and interact. The goal is not only to see but to use. This is the great challenge faced."

The Epirus region joined forces with the Diazoma association to launch this project called "The Cultural Route of the Αncient Τheaters of Epirus". It boasts 5 archaeological sites, 344 km of trails to travel, 2,500 years of history. The project has a total budget of 24 million EUR of which 80% comes from the EU.

The aim of this trail is to attract Greek and foreign visitors who are interested in archaeology, history and the arts. To support this vision, a business cluster has been created with the participation of hotels, restaurants, tourist agencies and local producers.

"The cultural route will succeed when the visitors taste and feel the current culture, the daily culture of the region they're visiting," says Nikos Karabelas from the project's monitoring committee. "The tourists should have the chance to taste our excellent olive oil, sample some herbs that grow throughout Epirus and get some honey. In short, to experience Epirus' warm, authentic hospitality".

The region of Epirus is bursting with stories to tell. Τhe Ottoman castle of Ioannina and the silversmithing museum are some other gems on offer. Tourists delving into the world of antiquity at the renovated amphitheatres will also have plenty to experience on Epirus' modern side. Epirus Development Agency Historian Georgia Kitsaki asserts:

"The cultural path follows the trend at European and international level. The visitor wants to come and experience a holistic product. The visitor wants to get a complete, unique experience. The impressive ancient theatres of Epirus are only the beginning. It is a journey back in time that finally leads you to Epirus' charming and multi-faceted present".

When pandemic restrictions permit it, the Region intends to launch an advertising campaign to attract tourists from European countries and beyond.

The Herakleidai (Ἡρακλεῖδαι) are the descendants of Herakles. After the death of Herakles, his sons were pursued by Eurystheus. They claimed protection in Athens. The Athenians refused to surrender them and in the war that ensued Eurystheus' sons were killed. Eurystheus himself, who had fled in a chariot, was pursued and had his head cut off by Hyllos, son of Heracles. After the death of Eurystheus, the Herakleidai attacked the Peloponnesos and captured all the cities. When a plague ravaged the country the oracle of Delphi declared that this happened because the Herakleidai had returned before the proper time. So they retired and, after some unfortunate attempts to return, they made themselves masters of the Peloponnesus three generations later. In Erkhia, a yearly sacrifice was made to the sons (and hopefully the daughters) of Herakles and we will do the same on 16 April at the usual 10 am EDT.


The Herakleidai claimed power in the Peloponnesos because they were descended, through Herakles, from Perseus, the founder of Mycenae. The current ruler op the Peloponnesos, Tisamenus, was a Pelopid, a descendant of Pelops. They also claimed that Tyndareus, ruler of Sparta, had been expelled by Hippokoon and argued that Herakles, having killed Hippokoon and his sons, had given the land in trust to Tyndareus. As such, they were the true rulers of both.

Hyllos, son of Herakles, sought to effect the return to power of the Herakleidai, so he went to Delphi and inquired how to go about this. The oracle declared that 'they should await the third crop before returning'. Hyllos supposed that the third crop signified a three year wait. He did, then returned with his army to Peloponnesos. He failed and was killed by Ekhemos. 

Aristomakhos, son of Kleodaeos, son of Hyllos, had been also killed in battle. His son Temenos blamed the oracle for the death of his father. He said that they had obeyed the oracle but the Oracle answered that they were themselves to blame, for they did not understand the prophecies, seeing that by 'the third crop' it was meant, not a crop of the earth, but a crop of a generation. 

So Temenos waited. He readied the army and built ships at Naupaktos. While the army was there, a soothsayer appeared. Karnos recited oracles but the Herakleidai took him for a magician sent by the Peloponnesians to be the ruin of the army. So Hippotes (son of Phylas, son of Antiochos, son of Herakles) threw a javelin at him and killed him. But Karnos was, indeed, a seer of Apollon and the one who established the cult of Apollo Karneos among the Dorians. Appollon destroyed the naval force and made the army suffer from famine. Eventually it had to disband.

After these two failed attempts, Temenos went back to the Oracle of Delphi to ask how he could stop the misfortune that had befallen them. The Oracle advised him to banish the Hippotes for ten years and to take for his guide 'the Three-Eyed One'. So the Herakleidai banished Hippotes and started searching for the Three-Eyed One.

One day they met Oxylos who was sitting on a one-eyed horse. So, guessing he was the man described by the Oracle, they made him their guide. Oxylos had fled from Aetolia to Elis on account of the accidental murder of Thermios (or Alcidokos, depending on the account). So, with Oxylos as a guide, the Herakleidai invaded the Peloponnesos again and finally defeated them. They slew Tisamenos, the last of the Pelopides to rule the Peloponnesos, and claimed it in its entirety. 

The return of the Herakleidai took place three generations after the end of the Trojan War and the death of Nestor after his return home. When the Herakleidai conquered the Peloponnesos, they cast lots for the cities. Argos was allotted to Temenos. The twin sons of Aristodemos, Prokles and Eurysthenes, got Lacedaemon and Sparta. Messenia was allotted to Kresphontes, who drove the descendants of Nestor from Messenia. Oxylos, for his help, became king of Elis after the victory of the Herakleidai.

What follows is a (probably incomplete) list of those who were called 'Herakleidai' at the time described.

The first generation:
Alcaeos, son of Herakles and Omphale. Father of Belos.
Antiochos, son of Herakles and Meda. Father of Phylas.
Hyllos, son of Herakles and Deianira or Melite. Father of Iole of Kleodaeos and Evaekhme.
Ktesippos, son of Herakles and Astydamia or Deianira. Father of Thrasyanor.
Phaestos, son of Herakles and an unknown mother. Father of Rhopalos.

The second generation:
Belos, son of Alcaeos.
Kleodaeos, son of Hyllos. Father of Aristomachos and Lanassa.
Phylas, son of Antiochos. Father of Hippotes and Thero.
Rhopalos, son of Phaestos. Father of Hippolytos.
Thrasyanor, son of Ktessipos. Father of Agamedidas and Antimachos.

The third generation:
Agamedidas, son of Thrasyanor. Father of Thersander.
Anaxandra, daughter of Thersander. Mother by Eurysthenes of King Agis of Sparta.
Antimakhos, son of Thrasyanor. Father of Deiphontes.
Aristomachos, son of Kleodaeus. Father of Temenos, Kresphontes and Aristodemos.
Eurysthenes, son of Aristodemos. Father of King Agis.
Hippotes, son of Phylas. Father of Aletes.
Hippolytos, son of Rhopalos. Father of Lacestades.
Lathria, daughter of Thersander. Mother by Prokles of King Sous of Sparta.
Prokles, son of Aristodemos. Father by Lathria of Sous and Eurypon.

The fourth generation:
Aristodemos, son of Aristomachos. Father of Eurysthenes and Prokles.
Aletes, son of Hippotes.
Deiphontes, son of Antimakhos. Father of Antimenes, Xanthippos, Argeos, and Orsobia.
Kresphontes, son of Aristomachos. Father of Aepytos.
Lakestades, son of Hippolytos.
Temenos, son of Aristomachos. Father of Agelaos, Eurypylos, Kallias and Hyrnetho (or Kisos, Kerynes, Phalkes, Agraeos, Isthmios and Hyrnetho).
Thersander, son of Agamedidas. Father of Lathria and Anaxandra.

The fifth generation:
Agelaus, son of Temenos.
Agraeus, son of Temenos.
Aepytos, son of Kresphontes.
Eurypylus, son of Temenos.
Hyrnetho, daughter of Temenos.
Isthmios. Son of Temenos.
Kallias, son of Temenos.
Kerynes, son of Temenos.
Kisos, son of Temenos. Father of Phlias and Medon.
Phalkes, son of Temenos.

The ritual for the event can be found here and you can join the community page here.

A portal created by the CNR for the study of "linear B", the ancient writing system in use in Greece at the end of the Bronze Age (14th-13th centuries BC), is now available to the world. It is a writing system, like cuneiform and hieroglyphic, based on the use of logographic (words) and syllabic (sounds) signs. The texts are mainly of an economic nature and constitute one of the main sources for studying the so-called 'Mycenaean civilisation'.

Thanks to the CNR's LIBER-Linear B Electronic Resources, a special search engine now makes it easy to query a constantly updated database. Currently, LiBER contains texts from Knossos, Mycenae, Tiryns and Midea, but new inscriptions from other sites will soon be made available.

On the site recently opened to the public it is now possible to research and analyse texts written in the oldest Greek dialect known to date: a heritage made available not only to scholars and experts, but also to students, enthusiasts and lovers of the subject.

The database contains transcriptions of the Linear B texts and their images, enriched with information on the scribes, the places where the documents were found, their chronologies and their places of preservation. The ultimate goal is to create a complete electronic edition of all Mycenaean texts known to date, in order to make available to everyone an incredible heritage that can still reveal much about this ancient civilisation.

The functions integrated in the system allow even very complex textual searches to be carried out and the results to be presented in the form of indexes or lists of documents, while also allowing the visualisation of the sites of discovery thanks to a powerful Web-GIS. It is therefore possible to virtually enter inside the buildings to fully appreciate the complex administrative organisation of their offices. 

At the same time, thanks to a sophisticated geo-localisation system, LiBER allows users to explore in presence the archaeological sites from which the texts originate, enriching them virtually with the information contained in the database.

The LIBER-Linear B Electronic Resources project was developed by Francesco Di Filippo (Institute of Studies on the Mediterranean, CNR-ISMed) and Maurizio Del Freo (Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale, ISPC).

On the day of the Hene kai Nea, I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog and in projects and organizations related to it. I will also announce Elaion's coming PAT rituals.


Statistics:
PAT rituals for Mounukhion:
  • Mounukhion 4 - April 16 - Sacrifice to the Herakleidai at Erkhia
  • Mounukhion 6 - April 18 - Delphinia - in honor of Artemis, and perhaps Apollon and Theseus
  • Mounukhion16n - April 27n - Mounikhia - festival in honor of Artemis as the moon Goddess and Mistress of the animals
  • Mounukhion 19 - May 1 - Olympieia - festival in honor of Olympian Zeus
  • Mounukhion 20 - May 2 - Sacrifice to Leukaspis at Erkhia
  • Mounukhion 21 - May 3 - Sacrifice to Tritopatores at Erkhia

Anything else?
Are you looking for an online shop to buy incenses and other Hellenistic basics from? Try The Hellenic Handmaid on Etsy.

Would you like to support me? Buy me a coffee.

Like Andromeda and her family, crater belongs to a group of constellations linked together by a single myth. The first part of this series, on the constellation Corvus, introduced the basics of the myth:


"Corvus represents a raven or crow in service to Apollon, who was sent out on an errant for the Theos. He was asked to bring water to Him, but instead, he paused in his quest, most commonly assumed is that he stopped for a meal of figs. When the raven returned without water, Apollon questioned him. Instead of giving a straight answer, the raven lied, and said he had been kept from the water by a snake. In some accounts, he actually had a snake in his talons as he said this. Apollon, however, saw that the raven was lying, and flung the raven, the krater with which the raven was supposed to collect water, as well as the snake into the sky, where they remain to this day. To punish the bird further, Apollon made sure the krater would forever be just out of reach of the bird."


The Hellenic spelling of the word 'crater' is with a 'k'--'krater' (κρατήρ). All 'kraters' are mixing bowls. The name comes from the word 'kerannmi': 'to mix'. The krater is named after the shape of the handles. There are four types, the 'volute', the 'calyx', the 'column', and the 'bell' krater. The handles of the volute are in the form of a spiral with flanged sides rising from loops on the shoulder to above to the rim. A calyx krater differs from the basic krater shape, but not in its purpose. It has a deep body, with the lower part convex, and the upper part slightly concave. It rests on a heavy stand and has handles which are set at the top of the lower part, which curve upward. It's the only basic krater shape where the handles don't reach, or top, the rim.  The column krater has a round body, a offset neck with a thick lip and a heavy stand. Each handle consists of a pair of cylindrical stems ending in a horizontal block joined to the rim. In short, the handles look like the tops of the columns holding up ancient Hellenic temples. Bell kraters, obviously, have a bell shaped body. They have loop handles placed high on the body, which curve slightly upward. The krater rests on a heavy stand. Which type of krater was used in the myth is unclear.

I promised last week to go deeper into the myth. The original version of it is as follows, in the words of Roman author Gaius Julius Hyginus (64 BC - 17 AD) (Astronomica 2, 2.40):

"This is the sign on which the Crow sits and over which the Bowl is placed. The following reason has been handed down: When Apollo was sacrificing, the crow, who was under his guardianship, was sent to a spring to get some pure water. Seeing several trees with their figs not yet ripe, he perched on one of them waiting for them to ripen. After some days when the figs had ripened and the crow had eaten some, Apollo, who was waiting, saw him come flying in haste with the bowl full of water. For this fault of tardiness Apollo, who had had to use other water because of the crow’s delay, punished him in this way. As long as the figs are ripening, the crow cannot drink, because on those days he has a sore throat, so when the god wished to illustrate the thirst of the crow, he put the bowl among the constellations, and placed the water-snake underneath to delay the thirsty crow. For the crow seems to peck at the end of its tail to be allowed to go over to the bowl."

There is, however, another myth linked tot he constellation, also given to us by Hyginus:

"About the Bowl Phylarchus writes this tale: In the Cheronnese near Troy where many have said the tomb of Protesilaus is located, there is a city, Elaeusa by name. When a certain Demophon was ruling there, a sudden plague fell on the land with a strange death-rate among the citizens. Demophon, greatly disturbed by this, sent to the oracle of Apollo seeking a remedy, and was told that every year one girl of noble rank should be sacrificed to their household gods. Demophon, passing over his own daughters, would choose by lot one of the daughters of the nobles, and kept doing this until his scheme offended a certain man of highest rank. He said he wouldn’t allow his daughter to be entered in the drawing unless the daughters of the king were included. The king, angered by this, killed the noble’s daughter without drawing of lots. This deed Mastusius, father of the girl, for a time out of patriotism pretended he did not resent, for the girl might have perished if the lots had been taken. Little by little, time led the king to forget. When the girl’s father had shown himself to be on most friendly terms with the king, he said he was going to make a solemn sacrifice and invited the king and his daughters to join the celebration. The king, suspecting nothing, sent his daughters ahead; since he was busy with a state affair, he would come later. When this happened as Mastusius wished, he killed the king’s daughters, and mixing their blood with wine in a bowl, bade it be given as a drink to the king on his arrival. The king asked for his daughters, and when he learned what had happened, he ordered Mastusius and the bowl to be thrown into the sea. The where he was thrown, to memorialize him is called Mastusian; the harbour still is called the Bowl. Astronomers of old pictured it in the stars, so that men might remember that no one can profit from an evil deed with impunity, nor can hostilities often be forgotten."

The third interpretation of the constellation comes from a link to the constellation Centaurus. It centers around Phôlos, a civilized kéntauros who aided Hēraklēs when the smell of the wine from Phôlos' own wineskin drove them into a frenzy. Phôlos had only meant to be a good host, but ended up giving Hēraklēs one of the biggest fights of his life. Phôlos died in the struggle, as he accidentally dropped a poisoned arrow into his foot. The Theoi took mercy on Phôlos and took the cup he had meant to serve Hēraklēs his wine in, and placed it into the sky as a reminder of Phôlos' good character and generosity.

There are some smaller, more local, myths connected to the constellation, but these are the most well know. Whatever its origin, the constellation Crater is visible at latitudes between +65° and −90°, and best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of April.