A new public building that dates back to the 4th century BC was discovered in the archaeological site of Eretria, in Greece’s Evia island.

The Swiss archaeological school of Greece conducted the research under the supervision of Evia’s Ephorate of Antiquities and its head, Angeliki Simosi.

The site was first revealed in 1917 by the Greek archaeologist Constantine Kourouniotis, but it took 101 years for the first efforts to start in order to reveal the building. It is one of the very few palaestras that have been discovered, something that gives valuable information to the scientists about the ancient Greek’s physical education in the area.

A sanctuary dedicated to goddess Eileithyia was also found attached to the north-western part of the palaestra. Eileithyia was the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery.

Back in 1917, Kourouniotis had discovered in the same area a water well with around one hundred pottery cups dating to the 3rd century B.C.

Will you be joining us at 10 AM EDT on 23 October to celebrate the female heroes that we have so plentifully in our religion?

The ancient Erkhians honoured the Heroines twice a year, once on the 19th of Metageitnion, and once on the 14th of Pyanepsion. Certain heroines--like Basile--were worshipped separately from the group as well, most likely because they were local heroines instead of universally accepted heroines like Atalanta, who hunted the Calydonian boar, slew Centaurs, and defeated Peleus in wrestling, or Kallisto, who was an Arcadian princess and hunting companion of the Goddess Artemis. The Heroines received a white sheep in sacrifice, of which the meat was partly sacrificed and partly eaten by those who came out to sacrifice. The skin of the animal went towards the priestess.

Heroes and heroines have a special place in Hellenismos, as they had in ancient Hellas. These were humans--most with at least a part divine heritage--who were considered so brave, so skillful, so extraordinary in their lifetime that they became revered. Some were priests or priestesses of a temple, some excelled in battle, others were skilled healers or good rulers. Once they passed to the realm of Hades, their names were remembered at least once a year on a special occasion, because the ancient Hellenes believed that if the name and deeds of a person were remembered, they would live forever and potentially look out for those they had looked out for before.

Archaeological evidence suggests that hero worship was closer to Khthonic sacrifices in execution than Ouranic ones the further back in time you go; especially in the archaic period, it seems that hero worship consisted of destructive sacrifices--sometimes in the form of a holókaustos where the entire animal was burned, sometimes in a sacrifice where only a part (most often 'a ninth' of the animal) was burned and the rest remained on the altar for the heroes to eat from until gone. The sacrifices were generally burned in an offering pit known as a bothros. The food offered to heroes consisted of meat, blood, and 'food eaten by men' like grains, fruits and other every-day dishes. These were usually offered to the heroes on a table--known as a trapeza--and the heroes were sometimes offered chairs or a bench to sit on. As time went on, the living began to eat part of the meal laid out for the heroes, joining them in celebration.

You can find the ritual here, and join our community page here. We have added some of the other main Hellenic Goddesses to the ritual as well. Feel free to add more of our Goddesses and heroines to your own ritual, especially if you feel close to Them! This ritual will be a celebration of the feminine power in our religion! 
Timoclea or Timocleia of Thebes is a woman whose story is told by Plutarch in his Life of Alexander, and at greater length in his Mulierum virtutes ("Virtues of Women"). According to Plutarch's biography of Alexander the Great, when his forces took Thebes during Alexander's Balkan campaign of 335 BC, Thracian forces pillaged the city, and a captain of the Thracian forces raped Timocleia. After raping her, the captain asked if she knew of any hidden money. She told him that she did, and led him into her garden, and told him there was money hidden in her well. When the Thracian captain stooped to look into the well, Timoclea pushed him into the well, and then hurled heavy stones into the well until the captain was dead. Timoclea was seized by the Thracian soldiers and brought before Alexander the Great. She comported herself with great dignity and told Alexander that her brother was Theagenes, last commander of the Theban Sacred Band, who died "for the liberty of Hrllas" at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, defeated by Alexander's father Philip of Macedon. Alexander was so impressed with Timocleia that he ordered her and her children released and she was not punished for killing the Thracian captain.

Rejected Princesses recently turned the story of Timoclea int a comic, which is quite impressive. Creator Jason Porath used to work at DreamWorks Animation but now gives a voice to women in history who are not getting a Disney deal, including Timoclea.

A Greek-U.S. team of marine archaeologists has located three more ancient shipwrecks with pottery cargoes, including 1,900-year-old branded designer lamps, and two from much later times in a rich graveyard of ships in the eastern Aegean Sea, a project official said Tuesday.

All were found last month off Fourni island and its surrounding islets that lie at the junction of two main ancient shipping routes, in notoriously treacherous waters between the larger islands of Ikaria and Samos.

The older wrecks date to the 4th and 2nd centuries B.C. and the 5th-6th centuries A.D., while the more recent ones are from the 18th or 19th century, said archaeologist George Koutsouflakis, joint leader of the project.
Watch Now

He said they were discovered at depths of 10-40 meters (33-130 feet). Because that is relatively shallow, the wrecks bore traces of looting by illegal antiquities hunters or of damage by fishing nets.
The five new finds, all trading ships, raise to 58 the total number of ancient, mediaeval and more recent wrecks located since 2015 around the lobster-shaped Fourni complex. Two of its 13 islets bear the ominous name Anthropofas, or Man-eater, in reference to the seamen who drowned off them.

The project started in 2015, in cooperation with the U.S.-based RPM Nautical Foundation, a non-profit organization involved in several Mediterranean underwater projects. Archaeologists received significant help from local fishermen, who provided information on wreck sites.

Apart from the cargoes of amphorae — jars that contained wine, oil and foodstuffs — found in September, divers also recovered a group of 2nd-century A.D. terracotta lamps, incised with the names of the Corinthian artisans who made them, Octavius and Lucius.

They may have been slave workers who later gained their freedom and set up their own pottery workshops, a Greek Culture Ministry statement said.

The project is planned to continue over the next five years, the ministry said.
The Thesmophoria was another harvest festival tied to the Eleusinian Mysteries and the mythology surrounding Demeter and Persephone. This is another female only festival. Will you join us for it from 20-22 October, all at 10 am EDT?

Two days after the Stenia, the three day festival of Thesmophoria took place. There was a male and female encampment at the Thesmophorian and the division was clearly set; no men were allowed in the female encampment, and no women in the male encampment. Sex was not allowed. From what I have been able to gather, the three days in the female encampment followed a strict regime.

On the first day, called Anodos ('ascent') and Kathodos ('descent'), the women sacrificed the rotting piglets to Demeter and Persephone. The remains were mixed with seeds and would be ploughed into the earth after the festival to assure a good harvest. The piglets were fertility symbols, but also related to the myth of Demeter, Persephone and Hades, because it is said that, when Hades opened a chasm to swallow up Persephone, a swineherd called Eubouleus was grazing his pigs and they were swallowed up in the chasm as well. The women ate on this day, but only food which would not upset Demeter. Pomegranate fruits were off the menu.

The second day was called Nēsteia ('feast of lamentation'). On this day, the women did not eat. They recreated the time before Demeter taught humankind to cultivate the fields. It was a dark time, a time of hunger and pain. At the same time, this day was also used to remember the time when Demeter sought her daughter and neglected her duties as a harvest Goddess. This had also been a time of great hunger.

The third day, Kalligeneia ('she who is of beautiful birth'), was a happy one. The women prayed to Demeter and Persephone for fertility for themselves, their loved ones and the earth. They celebrated the magic of new life, fertility and the kindness of the Gods.

Needless to say, this festival was huge. All free women, except for maidens, were allowed to participate. While we can never be entirely sure why this is, I dare to wager an educated guess. The Stenia and Thesmophoria were festivals in honour of Demeter Thesmophoros, the law-giver. She was seen as the foundation of law and society: agriculture allowed settlements to thrive, allowed societies to be built, and humanity to evolve into what it was now. In short, Demeter was at the root of modern life. A huge part of that modern life was the institution of marriage, which was far more important then as it was now.

Demeter is, perhaps, ancient Hellas' most famous mother, and marriage allowed for the continuation of the family line. Children born out of wedlock were frowned upon, and as such, maidens were excluded from a festival intended to raise fertility in the ground and the women who took part in it. As women married young, maidens were often teens, and they would represent Persephone more than Demeter--and since the Stenia and Thesmophoria commemorated Demeter's separation from her daughter, the inclusion of maidens was most likely discouraged because of that fact.

The Stenia and especially the Thesmophoria were festivals intended for mothers, for those who sought to bear children. They acknowledge the powerful position of women in a patriarchal society. It was because of that that women could say no to their husbands when it came to sex, and why they all left their marital homes. Many women rarely left their homes, and never overnight. To do so for not one but two nights was huge. These were powerful festivals for women because they celebrated their fertility: the one thing they were always respected and honoured for by the men in their lives.

We don't know what happened for the men on these days (sorry), so this is another female only festival. You can find the rituals here and the Facebook page here.
Greek-born architect Elias Messinas, who has been travelling and sketching through Greece since the 1980s, invites travelers, architects and artists, to share their sketches and drawings of Greece on his unique new site, EliasBlue.

"For centuries, travelers have explored the beauties of Greece and have recorded them on paper, bringing home unique images of towns, landscapes and people. In the age of smart phones and social media, Greece is still a source of inspiration to architects and artists who choose sketch in their travels. Here we host and share sketches and drawings from Greece, and invite you to explore Greece in a different way. Then, share your sketches online."
What is EliasBlue? It is the color that Elias uses in his sketches, inspired by the Greek sky and Aegean sea. The name was coined by Elias' peers at the Yale School of Architecture to express the unique blue color that Elias painted the walls of the Yale Art & Architecture front gallery for his travel sketchbooks exhibition in 1992. The color can be technically defined as Pantone 293 or Pantone Uncoated 293U. 

"I use the color to enhance my sketches when I travel in Greece. This color symbolizes the unique sky of Greece, and what Greece is about: inspiration, relaxation and spiritual renewal."
Those who visit this blog on a regular basis know that I'm a fan of Solon and his reformations of the political landscape of Athens in the sixth century BC. Solon (Σόλων) was an Athenian statesman and lawmaker who lived from 638 BC to 558 BC. He spent most of his adult life trying to legislate against political, economic, and moral decline in archaic Athens. His ideologies are often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. Solon's reforms created a system where the power was in the hands of the people, because instead of leaving justice to be administered by the aristocracy. He was also a poet and some of his work has miraculously survived. Today, I would like to share one of the fragments of his work that have survived.

O ye fair children of Memory and Olympian Zeus,
ye Muses of Pieria, hear me as I pray.
Grant, that I may be blessed with prosperity by the Gods,
and that among all men I may ever enjoy fair fame ;
that I may be as a sweet savor to my friends and
a bitterness in the mouth of my enemies,
by the ones respected, by the others feared. 

Wealth I do indeed desire, but ill-gotten wealth I will not have :
punishment therefor surely cometh with time.
Wealth which the gods give, cometh to a man as an abiding possession,
solid from the lowest foundation to the top;
but that which is sought with presumptuous disregard of right and wrong,
cometh not in the due course of nature. 

It yields to the persuasion of dishonest practices and followed against its will ;
and soon there is joined thereto blind folly which leadeth to destruction.
Like fire, it taketh its beginning from small things;
but, though insignificant at first, it endeth in ruin. 

For the works of unprincipled men do not continue long.
Zeus watcheth all things to the end.
Often, in the spring season, a
wind riseth suddenly and disperseth the clouds,
and, stirring up the depths of the surging, barren sea,
and laying waste the fair works of the husbandman
over the surface of the corn-bearing earth,
cometh to the lofty habitation of the gods in heaven
and bringeth the blue sky once more to view ;

the sun shineth forth in his beauty over the fertile earth,
and clouds are no longer to be seen.
Like such a sudden wind is the justice of Zeus.
He is not, like mortal men, quick to wrath for each offense ;
but no man who hath an evil heart ever escapeth his watchful eye,
and surely, in the end, his justice is made manifest.

One man payeth his penalty early, another late.
If the guilty man himself escape and the fate of the gods come not upon him
and overtake him not, it cometh full surely in aftertime :
the innocent pay for his offense —
his children or his children's children in later generations. 
[Fragment 13]