From whatever angle you look at it, the choragic monument of Thrasyllus is impressive. It had been thus constructed to be visible by the whole of ancient Athens. Today, it stands imposingly above the bustling D. Areopagitou and Makrygianni Streets; it stops you in your tracks when seen from the Parthenon Hall in the Acropolis Museum; it appears huge as you look at it from the Theatre of Dionysus. Over the last few years, it was under restoration. Now, these limited restoration works are completed.

the cave on the southern slope of the Acropolis
The entrance to the cave on the southern slope of the Acropolis was constructed around 320 AD by Thrasyllus, judge of the contests of the Great Dionysia and was in the form of a small temple; the standard choragic monument. Three of its structural parts are standing, the rest lie on the ground. The monument collapsed when hit by a cannon in 1827, during the siege of the Acropolis by the Turks.

The choragic monument’s architect-restorer, Dr. Constantine Boletis (former Head of the Scientific Committee of the Acropolis South Slope Monuments) explains:

"After many years of research and restoration by the Committee of the Acropolis South Slope and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Athens, approximately 190 years after its collapse by Turkish cannon fire on February 1, 1827, the choragic monument of Thrasyllus converses again with the rock above the ancient theatre of Dionysus, enlightening us on the artist and aesthetic value of the Acropolis South Slope."

The monument of Thrasyllus, which from the inscription on its lintel dates to 320/19 BC, was modified in 271/70 BC by his son, Thrasycles.

"Its facade, almost a copy of the west façade of the south wing of the Acropolis Propylaea, looked like a gateway with two openings and pilasters, a central pillar, doors, a lintel with an unbroken row of a droplet motif, a frieze and a cornice. The frieze was decorated with ten olive wreaths, five on either side of a central ivy wreath, while above the cornice stood pedestals for choragic tripods."

Dr. Boletis says that in most works of historical iconography a marble statue of Dionysus can be distinguished in a central position on the monument, placed there, according to the most prevalent scientific arguments, in Roman times. This statue had been removed in 1802 on behalf of Lord Elgin and is now on display in the British Museum. As for the Christian chapel behind the ancient monument’s façade, it was there that, during Turkish rule, Athenian women went to pray for the health of their sick children. It was also in this cave however that adulteresses were shamed in public.

After the establishment of an independent Greek state, it had been announced that the monument was to be restored by the Archaeological Society. The majority of its stones, however, were used to restore the Byzantine church of Panagia Sotira of Nicodemus, commonly known as the Russian Church on Filellinon Street. The influence of this monument on western architecture is nevertheless important.

"When the stones of Thrasyllus were taken away from the area of the theatre of Dionysus as common building material, its morphology was adopted and came to be a significant feature of the Greek Revival movement in Great Britain, through designs in the book Τhe Antiquities of Athens by British artists J. Stuart και N. Revett."

The olive wreath also became a decorative motif on other buildings.

"In his analysis of the Schauspielhaus in Berlin, the great German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel declared that the Thrasyllus monument had been the source of inspiration for its colonnades. Morphological elements borrowed from the monument adorn the Rotunda of the Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington."

Proper research began in 2002. Dr. Boletis supervised the implementation of the restoration study with Efrosyni Sampa MSc in charge of the building’s statics. The funding of the work did not advance smoothly. Work resumed in 2011 with restoration via Community Programmes and the Programme of Public Investments, with the project completed by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Athens. Four architectural members from the National Archaeological Museum were incorporated in the restoration, while a stone of the frieze bearing four emblematic wreaths was newly constructed with funds from the J F. Costopoulos Foundation. According to Dr. Eleni Banou head of the Ephorate of Antiquities: 

"The restoration of the Thrasyllus monument has changed the neighbourhood. On the South slope are both the Thrasyllus monument, whose recovery after its ‘loss’ impresses visitors, as well as the Asclepion which is not so obvious, due to the tall trees, and comes into view only when taking the uphill path. There is also the Klepsydra which changed the landscape of the North Slope, while in the Roman Agora, the interior of the Kyrrestos Horologion can be visited for the first time, as can the Fethiye Mosque. The latter is one of the most important Ottoman buildings in the historical centre of Athens, which hosts small-scale events such as the exhibition on Hadrian which we are preparing for mid-January." 

For security reasons visitors cannot enter the Thrasylleion.

"The ascent is difficult. We want to reconstruct the steps of the Dionysus Theatre; neither has the walk been completely designed and this is also in the Ephorate’s programme."
On 26 January, 10 am EST, we honor Apollon in His epithets of Apotropaios and Nymphegetes as well as His consorts, the Nymphs. This ancient sacrifice was held at Arkhia on Gamelion 8 and we invite you to join us.

Apollon Apotropaios (Ἀποτρόπαιοs) was and is the averter of evil. Rituals dedicated to the deity were apotropaic, intended to turn away harm or evil influences, as in deflecting misfortune. This could be anything from warding off a plague to keeping mice out of the grain storage.

Apollon Nymphegetes (Νυμφηγέτης) is 'Apollon who looks after nymphs', or 'Apollo who leads nymphs'. In this epithet, Apollon was and is a pastoral God, who was considered the protector of shepherds and pastoral life.

Nymphs are the female divinities of the natural features of the landscape, and there are many kinds, depending on the landscape they frequent.

Combining these traits into a single ritual can tell you all about it you need: this was a ritual to ward of the dangers of rural living (by addressing Apollon in his two protective epithets) and to invite blessings (from the nymphs) onto those who partook.

We welcome you to worship with us at 10 am EST on 26 January. You can join the community here and find the ritual here.
Beginning at sundown on the 24th of January, on Gamelion 7, Kourotrophos were honoured at Erkhia along with two epithets of Apollon. Elaion will be organizing two Practicing Apart Together rituals for this event in the daylight hours of the 25th of January.

PAT ritual for the sacrifice to Kourotrophos and Apollon Delphios
The Kourotrophoi are mostly female deities who watch over growing children--Gaea, Artemis, Hekate, Eirênê, Aglauros and Pandrosos, especially. Specific offerings to Them are known from the demos Erkhia (or Erchia), but duplicate similar offerings on the Acropolis of Athens. Especially at Erkhia, it varied per sacrifice which Kourotrophos was/were sacrificed to. In this case, where no specific deity is listed, none of the above were most likely honored. The deity in question was Kourotrophos Herself, a deity whose main function was to watch over nursing children and their mothers.

In conjunction with Kourotrophos Apollon Delphios was sacrificed to. Apollon Delphios (Δελφιος) is the epithet of Apollon of the Oracle (of Delphi in Phokis). Its advice has saved the lives of many a man, woman, and--most importantly in this case--child.

The ritual for this sacrifice can be found here, and you can join our community page here. We truly hope you will join us for this important rite on 25 January, at 10 am EST.

PAT ritual for the sacrifice to Apollon Lykeios‏
On that same day but at a different location in Erkhia, a sacrifice to Apollon Lykeios was attested to. Apollon Lykeios (Λυκειος) is the epithet of Apollon of the Wolves and Apollon of the Light. Apollon, by the name of Lykeios, is therefore generally characterised as the destroyer. He who preys, He who scorches with his light. It might seem odd to honour him on a day sacred to the nurturer of children, but nothing could be further from the truth. In this epithet, Apollon can be sung and offered to in order to appease and sated. Perhaps, if enough kharis is established, Apollon Lykeios will pass your children by...

The ritual for this sacrifice can be found here, and you can join our community page here. We You can join us on 25 January, at 11 am EST.

Apologies, this is a pre-scheduled post. At the time of posting, I will be in bed, sleeping. This poor blogger outdid herself a little this week and she'd been living on a max of six hours of sleep a night for a few weeks now. It's time for a sleep-in! Everyone I haven't gotten back to the last few days, I'll be catching up with over the weekend. Apologies! For today, have some videos to tide you over.

Secrets of the Island of Minos (Crete 3000-1100 BCE)

Centers of Hellenism (Ephesus & Pergamum)

Visit of the Sanctuaries of Apollo (400-300 BCE)

More than 4,000 years ago, builders carved out the entire surface of a naturally pyramid-shaped promontory on the Greek island of Keros. They shaped it into terraces covered with 1,000 tonnes of specially imported gleaming white stone to give it the appearance of a giant stepped pyramid rising from the Aegean: the most imposing manmade structure in all the Cyclades archipelago. But beneath the surface of the terraces lay undiscovered feats of engineering and craftsmanship to rival the structure’s impressive exterior. Archaeologists from three different countries involved in an ongoing excavation have found evidence of a complex of drainage tunnels – constructed 1,000 years before the famous indoor plumbing of the Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete – and traces of sophisticated metalworking. This reports The Guardian.

A researcher holds a mould for making a spearhead from molten copper.
The Dhaskalio promontory is a tiny island as the result of rising sea levels, but 4,500 years ago was attached by a narrow causeway to Keros, now uninhabited and a protected site. In the third millennium BC Keros was a major sanctuary where complex rituals were enacted. Earlier excavations by the team from the University of Cambridge, the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades and the Cyprus Institute have uncovered thousands of marble Cycladic sculptures – the stylised human figures which inspired western artists, including Pablo Picasso – and which appear to have been deliberately broken elsewhere and brought to the island for burial.

Maintaining as well as constructing the settlement would have taken a huge communal effort. The now-deserted slopes of Dhaskalio were once covered with structures and buildings, suggesting that 4,500 years ago it was one of the most densely populated parts of the islands – despite the fact that it could not have been self-sufficient, meaning that most food, like the stone and the ore for metal working, had to be imported.

The first evidence of metal-working was found in excavations 10 years ago. The new finds have uncovered two workshops full of metalworking debris, and objects including a lead axe, a mould for copper daggers and dozens of ceramic fragments from metalworking equipment including the mouth of a bellows. Archaeologists will return to excavate an intact clay oven, found at the very end of the last season.

Joint director of the excavation Michael Boyd, of the University of Cambridge, said metalworking expertise was evidently concentrated at Dhaskalio at a time when access to both skills and raw materials was very limited. Far-flung communities were drawn into networks centred on the site, craft and agricultural production was intensified, and the architecture became grander, gradually overshadowing the original importance of the sanctuary. Excavated soil reveals food traces including pulses, grapes, olives, figs and almonds, and cereals, including wheat and barley.

"What we are seeing here with the metalworking and in other ways is the beginnings of urbanization."

Evi Margaritis of the Cyprus Institute said:

"Much of this food was imported: in the light of this evidence we need to reconsider what we know about existing networks to include food exchange."

A researcher holds a mould for making a spearhead from molten copper. Photograph: Michael Boyd
The pyramid of terraces would have blazed in the Greek sun, visible from far off, covered in white stone imported from Naxos 10 kilometres away. The complex of drainage tunnels was discovered when archaeologists were excavating an imposing staircase in the lower terraces: research continues to discover whether they were for fresh water or sewage.

Lord Renfrew, joint director of the excavation, former Disney professor of archaeology at Cambridge and now the senior fellow at the McDonald Institute for archaeological research, first landed on Keros as a student and has returned often throughout his long career. He believes the promontory may originally have become a focus for development because it guarded the best natural harbour on the island, with wide views across the Aegean.

The excavations are being recorded digitally, using the iDig programme running on iPads for the first time in the Aegean. This creates three-dimensional models using photogrammetry recording of the entire digging process, giving everyone involved access to all data in real time.
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.

New things happening:
PAT rituals for Gamelion:
  • Gamelion 7 - January 25 - Sacrifice to the Kourotrophos and Apollon Delphios
  • Gamelion 7 - January 25 - Sacrifice to Apollon Lykeios
  • Gamelion 8 - January 26 - Sacrifice to Apollon Apotropaius, Apollon Nymphegetes, & the Nymphs at Erkhia
  • Gamelion 9 - January 27 - Sacrifice to Athena at Erkhia
  • Gamelion 12-15 - January 30 / February 2 - Lenaia - festival in honor of Dionysus in the Attic deme of Limnai
  • Gamelion 27 - February 14 - Theogamia/Gamelia - celebrating the sacred marriage of Zeus Teleios and Hera Telei
  • Gamelion 27 - February 14 - Sacrifice to Kourotrophos, Hera, Zeus Teleius, and Poseidon 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.
I'm in the process of finishing up a writing guide I have been working on, so my time is very limited at the moment. I'm going to have to leave you with a video today, on Hellenic mythology.

Greek Mythology is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the historic Greeks, regarding their gods and heroes, the nature of the sector, and the origins and importance of their own cult and formality practices. It became a part of the religion in historic Greece and is part of religion in present day Greece and round the world, called Hellenismos. Modern scholars talk to and observe the myths in an try to throw light on the non secular and political institutions of Ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the character of myth-making itself.

Greek mythology is explicitly embodied in a large collection of narratives, and implicitly in Greek representational arts, which includes vase-art work and votive items. Greek fantasy tries to provide an explanation for the origins of the sector, and details the lives and adventures of a extensive sort of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and mythological creatures. These bills initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic culture; today the Greek myths are recognized in general from Greek literature.

The oldest known Greek literary sources, Homer's epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, awareness on occasions surrounding the Trojan War. Two poems through Homer's close to current Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human a long time, the foundation of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are also preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire with the aid of writers consisting of Plutarch and Pausanias.

Archaeological findings offer a fundamental supply of element about Greek mythology, with gods and heroes featured prominently within the ornament of many artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the 8th century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic durations, Homeric and diverse different mythological scenes seem, supplementing the existing literary proof.[2] Greek mythology has had an in depth affect at the lifestyle, arts, and literature of Western civilization and stays part of Western historical past and language. Poets and artists from historic instances to the existing have derived notion from Greek mythology and feature determined modern significance and relevance within the topics.