A large merchant ship that sunk around 425 BC near the island of Alonissos is the site of Greece’s first-ever underwater museum, touted by the regional governor as “the parthenon of shipwrecks.”

Located near the islet of Peristera off the island of Alonissos in the Sporades group and at a depth of 21-28 meters (around 90 feet), the underwater diving site will be open from 3 August to 3 October. Non-diving tourists will be able to take a virtual reality tour at an information center in Alonissos.

The ship was carrying thousands of amphoras, ancient storage pots that were used to transport wine, olive oil and other food and beverage products between Greek city states.

For decades, this bonanza of history beneath the waves was off-limits to everyone except archaeologists. But in 2005, Greece revised a policy designed to protect the country’s undersea treasures from would-be looters, opening a select few sites to the scuba-diving public.

Greek Culture Ministry officials have said that four other underwater locations are set to open to divers, paving the way for Greece to become an important scuba destination.

The video above shows the expansive area on the bottom of the sea that is Greece’s newest museum.
The Iliad (Ἰλιάς) is an ancient Hellenic epic poem, traditionally attributed to Homeros. It's set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy (Ilium) by a coalition of Hellenic states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. Although the story covers only a few weeks in the final year of the war, the Iliad mentions or alludes to many of the Hellenic legends about the siege; the earlier events, such as the gathering of warriors for the siege, the cause of the war, and related concerns tend to appear near the beginning. Then the epic narrative takes up events prophesied for the future, such as Achilles' imminent death and the fall of Troy, although the narrative ends before these events take place. However, as these events are prefigured and alluded to more and more vividly, when it reaches an end the poem has told a more or less complete tale of the Trojan War. Over the course of the story, many Gods are invoked and petitioned, and I'd like to collect some of these invocations here today, for use in your own rites.

An invocation is a request for the spiritual presence and blessing of a deity during a rite. To invoke is to call upon earnestly, so an “invocation” in the context of prayer is a serious, intentional calling upon a God or Goddess. In Hellenic ritual, it's common for prayers of invocation to be offered every time a new deity is invoked, so we can be sure They will the hymns and prayers of petition offered to Them. Invocations fit into the rite like so:

- Lighting of the incense burner with frankincense
- Invocation to Demeter: Khaire Demeter, you who taught us to work the earth and provides for us so bountifully… 
- Libation of a kykeon and sacrifices
- Orphic Hymn 40 To Eleusinian Demeter
- Prayers

"O god of the silver bow, that protectest Chryse and holy Cilla, and rulest Tenedos with thy might..."
"Hear me O king from your seat, may be in the rich land of Lycia, or may be in Troy, for in all placesyou can hear the prayer of one who is in distress, as I now am..."

"Hear me, daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus, unweariable..."
"Holy Athena, protectress of [Athens], mighty goddess..."
"Hear me, daughter of aegis-bearing Zeus, you who spy out all my ways and who are with me in all my hardships; befriend me in this mine hour..."

"I call the Erinyes who dwell below and take vengeance on him who shall swear falsely..."

"Oh Sun, that seest and givest ear to all things, Earth and Rivers..."

"Zeus, most glorious, supreme, that dwellest in heaven, and ridest upon the storm-cloud..."
"Father Zeus that rulest in Ida, most glorious in power..."
"Zeus, most great and glorious, and ye other everlasting gods..."
"King Zeus, lord of Dodona, god of the Pelasgi, who dwellest afar, you who hold wintry Dodona in your sway, where your prophets the Selli dwell around you with their feet unwashed and their couches made upon the ground- if you heard me when I prayed to you aforetime, [...]vouchsafe me now the fulfilment of yet this further prayer..."
On 12 Metageitnion, two separate rites were held, one in Erkhia and one in Athens. The first was in honor of Demeter, the other in honor of Zeus Polieus, Athena Polias, and Apollon Lykeios. On 2 August, so today, at 10:00 AM EDT, we will combine both rites into a single PAT ritual.

Demeter, we all know, and she is not listed with a specific epithet. Zeus, Athena, and Apollon, however, are. Zeus Polieus and Athena Polias were protectors of the city. That is literally the translation of their epithet: 'of the city'. Apollon Lykeios means 'of the wolves'.

From the Erkhian ritual calendar, we know that the sacrifices to Apollon, Zeus, and Athena were not to be removed from the site and were thus to be eaten on the spot after part of the offering was sacrificed. In all cases, this offering was a white sheep, male for the male Gods, female for the female Gods. Demeter also got a female sheep, but her entry does not have a note to not remove the meat from the location, meaning the meat could potentially be taken away to be eaten later, or sold at shops founded especially for the purpose.

Will you be joining us in honoring these Gods on 2 August, at 10:00 AM EDT? The ritual can be found here, and you can join our community here.
Archaeological ruins are rocks artfully placed and artfully collapsed. Since the Romantics, they have been sites of imagination where we conjure the past. At the Valley of the Temples, which has occupied a ridge outside the city of Agrigento, Italy, for 2,500 years, visitors come to admire the Doric columns and see the stunning Hellenic structures that have stood through weather and war.

If you follow a path from the Temple of Concordia towards the Hellenistic-Roman urban quarter, though, you will find an orchard of almond and pistachio trees bursting white with flowers. This “Living Museum of the Almond Tree,” which stands out among the arid landscape of scrub, contains more than 300 rare Sicilian varieties. If you visit during the summer, you may see local producer Rino Frenda harvesting the nuts to make creams and nougats that he sells under the park’s own label.

The almond orchard is not the park’s only agricultural project: It is home to bees and goats and citrus trees. Often overshadowed by the looming temples, they represent a choice to make the landscape just as important as the temples, to connect the local community to the site through traditions that reach back to ancient Greece, and to conceive of and manage an archaeological site in a different way.

For a long time, conservation management prioritized ruins rather than their surrounding context. The Venice Charter, an influential 1964 document that established a framework for conservation, omitted historic landscapes and gardens, focusing on maintaining ruins as unchanged artifacts. For decades, this narrow vision of culture dominated the field.

But “culture” stems from the Latin word cultura, which means to grow or cultivate. So the professionals in these two silos—archaeology and landscape—got to talking. And according to Mauro Agnoletti, a professor at the University of Florence who teaches landscape history and rural-landscape planning, conservation slowly began to take into account not just the ruins but the surrounding environment. Still, he points out, the Valley of the Temples is a rare case. “We have places where we restore traditional rural landscapes, but not many where you also have archaeological sites.” Only recently have some archaeologists spoken to him about incorporating and restoring the landscape around such monuments.

The administration at the Valley of the Temples has successfully pioneered their unique version of this evolution, though it is a relatively recent and unfolding development. When the ruins were declared a Zone of National Interest in 1966, the focus was on the stones. Even the UNESCO World Heritage Status that was granted in 1997 centered on the Hellenic ruins, though it hazily gestures beyond. “The vast area proposed for inscription,” the evaluation reads, “may be considered to have something of the nature of a cultural landscape. The row of great temples are the only significant upstanding monuments; the remainder of the site has preserved the rural setting of fields and orchards.” The park’s slow move in this direction became official policy in 2000, when local authorities enshrined in regional law the twinned values of archaeology and landscape, with the added purpose of improving and promoting the landscape that stretches more than 3,200 acres, one of the largest archaeological sites in the world.

Much of the surrounding land had been abandoned by farmers who left the landscape damaged. In rehabilitating the area, the park has invested in the agricultural landscape to both reflect the legacy of the Greeks, in products such as olive oil, honey, wine, and almonds, but also the evolution of the landscape over the centuries, such as the citrus trees brought by the Arabs in the 10th century.

In the late 1990s, along with planting the almond orchard, landscape preservationists started to recreate the fruit orchards of the garden of Kolymbethra. An entrance beside the Temple of Castor and Pollux leads down into a small and verdant valley, into what feels like a secret. In March, the air is perfumed with the scent of orange blossoms. It’s located in what was the artificially created basin that supplied water to the ancient Greek city of Akragas and its hundreds of thousands of residents. The parched earth was brought to life by the aqueducts that collected groundwater from the hills, and it became an important agricultural site over the centuries, with the current incarnation of the garden beginning in the Middle Ages when nearby monks cultivated vegetables and fruits, using varieties and techniques brought by the Arabs. 

These various forms of traditional agriculture, which are low-intensive and sustainable, both express and support the landscape. In 2012, the park welcomed back the rare Sicilian black bee, a threatened species that was thought extinct. Researchers had found a hive in an abandoned house and bred the bees on the Aeolian Islands to avoid cross breeding. The researchers then reintroduced the bee to Sicily by recruiting beekeepers who would breed the species under specific conditions.

These are the signature projects of the park, but farmers can also apply to plant crops such as capers and grains, which puts to good public use the site’s vast land holdings. Park staff are also studying the possibility of hosting the rare Girgentana goat for milk production. A test study of a few goats can be seen in a pen near the Temple of Concordia. It’s a rare breed of Asian origins, with distinct corkscrew horns, that the Arabs likely introduced around 800. Slow Food has tried to revitalize the species in collaboration with cheese producers because they are productive and their milk is highly digestible, hypoallergenic, and has a less pronounced “goat” flavor than other breeds. Soon there could be cheese for sale.

Sciarratta hopes their example can inspire the curators of other archaeological sites. Still, this model is rare, and Professor Agnoletti struggles to name a similar project. He mentions the archaeological sites of Mides and Chebika in Tunisia, where the local government is thinking of incorporating the ruins of an old Berber village with the oases’ traditional agricultural practices. At Pompeii, the park has recreated a vineyard using Roman techniques. And the restored gardens at Monticello attest to Thomas Jefferson’s obsession with farming and heirloom varieties. Perhaps Cambodia’s rich heritage of rice farming could see paddies surround Angkor Wat. Maybe the steep terraces of Machu Picchu could once again be filled with multi-colored potatoes, maize, and other Andean cultivars like they were 500 years ago. By incorporating traditional agriculture into these sites, we can experience a kind of living past and, perhaps, see the wisdom of these techniques contrasted against our current industrial agriculture.

Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Thursday visited the archaeological site at the Epidaurus Asclepeion to be briefed on the progress of recent archaeological excavations which have revealed the remains of an even older temple building found at the shrine, in the vicinity of the Tholos.

The partially-excavated building, which is dated to about 600 B.C., consists of a ground floor with a primitive colonnade and an underground basement chipped out of the rock beneath. The stone walls of the basement are covered in a deep-red-colored plaster and the floor is an intact pebble mosaic, which is one of the best-preserved examples of this rare type of flooring to survive from this era.

The find is considered significant because it predates the impressive Tholos building in the same location, whose own basement served as the chthonic residence of Asclepius, and which replaced the newly-discovered structure after the 4th century B.C.

This shows that the worship of Asclepius at Epidaurus began much earlier than previously thought and had the same chthonic features, while altering what is known about the history of the region in general.

University of Athens Professor Vassilis Lamprinoudakis, head of the excavations in ancient Epidaurus, explained to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency when the building was first uncovered in January.

“This means the worship of Asclepius appears to have begun earlier in the Asclepieion of Epidaurus. Until now, it was believed to have begun around 550 BC, i.e., in the middle of the sixth century BC. Now it is evident that the structures are earlier, and this is particularly important for the history of the sanctuary and for the history of Asclepius himself. At the place where the Tholos was later built, a part of a building, a ‘double’ building, with basement and ground floor has been found. Since there is a basement, like in the Tholos, we consider it to be a forerunner of this ‘mysterious’ building called the Tholos. When it was decided to build the Tholos, this building was demolished. The empty space created by its basement was filled with relics from the old building, but also from other parts of the sanctuary. That is because (when) the great program of the 4th century BC began, some other buildings were also demolished, the material of which was buried with respect in the place.”

The archaeologist explained that the name Tholos “was only given to the structure by the ancient traveler Pausanias in the second century AD. Its original name, as we know from the inscriptions of the 4th century BC, was ‘Thymeli.’ Thymeli was a kind of altar (used in sacrifice), in which offerings were made without blood.”

Lamprinoudakis continued, saying “Research tells us that the Tholos was a kind of underground house of Asclepius, where patients were treated by injection.” The patient who slept in this special place would dream of the god Asclepius to reveal to him the cure for his illness. “This former building had a function similar to that of the Tholos, that is, its basement served as the seat of Asclepius on earth,” the archaeologist explained.

Mendoni encouraged the archaeologists on the site in the completion of their very important work of revealing the structure in its entirety.

The Culture Minister was also briefed on projects designed to showcase the archaeological site and the surrounding park using European Community funding, including the planting of a medicinal herb garden to illustrate how the sanctuary would have functioned.
Theokritos was a Hellenic bucolic poet who flourished in Syracuse, Kos and Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. His surviving work can mostly be found within an old compendium of 30 poems known as the "Idylls of Theocritus," Many of these works, however, are no longer attributed to the poet. In "Idyll 1" Thyrsis sings to a goatherd about how Daphnis, the mythical herdsman, having defied the power of Aphrodite, dies rather than yielding to a passion the Goddess has inflicted on him. Ift's a lovely song and I would like to share it with you today.

"‘Tis Thyrsis sings, of Etna, and a rare sweet voice hath he.
Where were ye, Nymphs, when Daphnis pined? ye Nymphs, O where were ye?
Was it Peneius’ pretty vale, or Pindus’ glens? ‘twas never
Anápus’ flood nor Etna’s pike nor Acis’ holy river.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

When Daphnis died the foxes wailed and the wolves they wailed full sore,
The lion from the greenward wept when Daphnis was no more.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

O many the lusty steers at his feet, and may the heifers slim,
Many the claves and many the kine that made their moan for him.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

Came Hermes first, from the hills away, and said “O Daphnis tell,
“Who is’t that fretteth thee, my son? whom lovest thou so well?”

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

The neatherds came, the shepherds came, and the goatherds him beside,
All fain to hear what ail’d him; Priápus came and cried
“Why peak and pine, unhappy wight, when thou mightest bed a bride?
“For there’s nor wood nor water but hath seen her footsteps flee –

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

“In search o’ thee. O a fool-in-love and a feeble is here, perdye!
“Neatherd, forsooth? ‘tis goatherd now, or ‘faith, ‘tis like to be;
“When goatherd in the rutting-time the skipping kids doth scan,
“His eye grows soft, his eye grows sad, because he’s born a man; –

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

“So you, when ye see the lasses laughing in gay riot,
“Your eye grows soft, your eye grows sad, because you share it not.”
But never a word said the poor neathérd, for a bitter love bare he;
And he bare it well, as I shall tell, to the end that was to be.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

But and the Cyprian came him to, and smiled on him full sweetly –
For thou she fain would foster wrath, she could not choose but smile –
And cried “Ah, braggart Daphnis, that wouldst throw Love so featly!
“Thou’rt thrown, methinks, thyself of Love’s so grievous guile.”

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

Then out he spake; “O Cypris cruel, Cypris vengeful yet,
“Cypris hated of all flesh! think’st all my sun be set?
“I tell thee even ‘mong the dead Daphnis shall work thee ill: –

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“Men talk of Cypris and the hind; begone to Ida hill,
“Begone to hind Anchises; sure bedstraw there doth thrive
“And fine oak-trees and pretty bees all humming at the hive.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“Adonis too is ripe to woo, for a ‘tends his sheep o’ the lea
“And shoots the hare and a-hunting goes of all the beasts there be.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

And then I’ld have thee take thy stand by Diomed, and say
“’I slew the neatherd Daphis; fight me thou to-day.’

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“But ‘tis wolf farewell and fox farewell and bear o’ the mountain den,
“Your neatherd fere, your Daphnis dear, ye’ll never see agen,
“By glen no more, by glade no more. And ‘tis o farewell to thee
“Sweet Arethuse, and all pretty watérs down Thymbris vale that flee.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“For this, O this is that Daphnis, your kine to field did bring,
“This Daphnis he, led stirk and steer to you a-watering.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“And Pan, O Pan, whether at this hour by Lycee’s mountain-pile
“Or Maenal steep thy watch thou keep, come away to the Sicil isle,
“Come away from the knoll of Helicè and the howe lift high i ’ the lea,
“The howe of Lycáon’s child, the howe that Gods in heav’s envye;

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

“Come, Master, and take this pretty pipe, this pipe of honey breath,
“Of wax well knit round lips to fit; for Love hales mé to my death.

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

“Bear violets now ye briers, ye thistles violets too;
“Daffodilly may hang on the juniper, and all things go askew;
“Pines may grow figs now Daphnis dies, and hind tear hound if she will,
“And the sweet nightingále be outsung I ’ the dale by the scritch-owl from the hill.”

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

Such words spake he, and he stayed him still; and O, the Love-Ladye,
She would fain have raised him where he lay, but that could never be.
For the thread was spun and the days were done and Daphnis gone to the River,
And the Nymphs’ good friend and the Muses’ fere was whelmed I ’ the whirl for ever."
The world has yet another archaeological treasure to study and admire this week as a statue created in the 300’s AD was unearthed on Monday in the Turkish province of Antalya, near the ancient city of Perge.

Believed to have been made around the year 300 AD, during the time of the Roman Empire, the exquisite piece of sculpture portrays a woman in floor-length robes. Her head has been broken off but it survives.

The ancient city was known to have had females in its administration. It is unknown,  however, at this point, just who is depicted in the sculpture.

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s excavation department triumphantly announced the amazing find today, stating “First sculpture of 2020 found in Perge excavations,” in a tweet.

According to the Ministry, Sedef Cokay Kepçe, an archaeology professor at Istanbul University, is heading up the excavations which unearthed the stunning find. The plans are currently to display the third-century statue in the Antalya Museum when all the necessary cleaning on the piece has been completed.

The area has always been known for its wealth of sculpture, according to UNESCO.

The ancient Greek city of Perge has been the site of systematic excavations beginning in 1946; the area was included on UNESCO’s Tentative Heritage list in 2009 for its great historical significance.