Ancient Origins has a new, and very lovely, article up on Apollonia. Apollonia was a city founded by Hellenic colonists from Corfu and Corinth sometime in the 6 th century BC. It was originally named after its semi-legendary founder, Gylax, but was later renamed in honor of Apollon and widely known as Apollonia of Illyria as this area was dominated by the war-like Illyrians at the time. Apollonia became a renowned center of learning and the young Augustus studied philosophy in the city. 

For a full run-down of its history and the beautiful archaeological discoveries made there, visit Ancient Origins.


Have you ever heard of the Cornus mas? It's a well-known small tree as cornelian cherry or cherry dogwood. The berries are a seeded summer fruit native to the Black Sea region of Turkey. The fruits can be eaten fresh, dried whole, pickled, or used to produce jams and drinks like kompot--and they have been used as such since the time of ancient Hellas.


In Homer time, the plant was known as "Krania" (Ilias, cited by Kavadas,1956) and states that cornelian cherry fruits were given as food for pigs. Theofrastus refers the Cornelian cherry fruit as kranion (Plant history 3, 3,1 and 4,4,5).

Cornelian cherry was an important medicinal plant in old years. The astringency of the fruits is well known since antiquity. The use of edible fruit is used against diarrhea enteritis, not completely ignored by the medicine. Bark, shoots, and roots were used against fever with relative action as Kichone Wood or bark extracts can cure dog itch. The fruit contents a great percentage of vitamin C, other vitamins, antioxidants flavonoids, anthocyanin, iron, and polyphenols. Recent research has showed that these fruits are richer in flavonoids and other nutrients than raspberries and blueberries and nearly the same vitamin C with Rosa canina.

The fine hard wood can be used to obtain different articles of turnery. As ornamental Cornelian cherry (with brilliant leaves and abundant flowers) can be employed with very interesting effect in parks and small gardens.

Fruits of the tree are sweet and sour and are usually made as juices, jams, liqueur, and aromatics.
”Skyphos,” an ancient pottery vessel won by Spyros Louis, the first winner of the Marathon in the first modern Olympic Games of Athens in 1896, was returned to Greece from Germany recently and was put on public display in Athens on Wednesday. The prize, awarded to the great Greek runner along with his gold medal, was presented in the altar room of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, where people will be able to view it until February of 2020.


The ancient vessel, awarded as a prize for winning the first marathon of the modern Olympics, had gone missing for years. An immense effort began in 2012 by the National Archaeological Museum to locate the priceless piece of ancient pottery, but the task proved too difficult at the time. The almost-perfectly-preserved vessel was eventually found in the University of Munster, Germany several years later.

The process of verifying its authenticity took a great deal of time, but it was eventually declared that the object at this German university was indeed the very bowl once awarded as a prize to Louis in 1896.

The object itself, which dates back to 540 BC, had first been unearthed from a tomb located in Boetia. The ancient vessel, and eventual Olympic prize, was secretly transported from Greece to Germany in the 1930s. A Nazi officer serving in the German Archaeological Institute of Athens at that time secretly took the object — along with other diplomatic material — out of the country back in 1934, following an official visit of Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Reich’s Minister of Propaganda.
It is understood that this was accomplished without the knowledge of the German Embassy in Athens. Since that time, the object had seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.

The University of Munster, which had originally maintained that it had obtained the object lawfully, decided to return it to the country of its origin when it eventually discovered that it had been stolen from Greece. Following its repatriation from Germany, the ”skyphos” will be on permanently exhibit in the Museum of the Olympic Games in Olympia, Western Greece.

Greek Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni thanked the German university for its gesture, noting that this was ”a wonderful gift to the Greek people.”
In the new book by Geoffrey Robertson AO QC, the British Museum is accused of exhibiting 'pilfered cultural property' and urged to ‘wash its hands of blood and return Elgin’s loot’. His views appear in the book, 'Who Owns History? Elgin’s Loot and the Case for Returning Plundered Treasure.'


Along with a distinguished career as a trial lawyer, human rights advocate and United Nations judge, Robertson has appeared in many celebrated trials, defending Salman Rushdie and Julian Assange, prosecuting Hastings Banda and representing Human Rights Watch in the proceedings against General Pinochet.

In his just released book, he scores the British Museum for allowing an unofficial 'stolen goods tour', "which stops at the Elgin marbles, Hoa Hakananai’a, the Benin bronzes and other pilfered cultural property". The three items he mentioned are wanted by Greece, Easter Island and Nigeria respectively.

"The trustees of the British Museum have become the world’s largest receivers of stolen property, and the great majority of their loot is not even on public display. That these rebel itineraries are allowed is a tribute to the tolerance of this great institution, which would be even greater if it washed its hands of the blood and returned Elgin’s loot."

He accused the museum of telling 'a string of carefully-constructed lies and half- truths' about how the marbles 'were 'saved' or 'salvaged' or 'rescued' by Lord Elgin, who came into possession of them lawfully.' He criticized 'encyclopedic museums” such as the British Museum, the Louvre in Paris and the Metropolitan in New York that 'lock up the precious legacy of other lands, stolen from their people by wars of aggression, theft and duplicity'.

'This is a time for humility,' he observed, 'something the British, still yearning for the era when they ruled the world do not do very well. Before it releases any of its share of other people’s cultural heritage, the British Museum could mount an exhibition – ‘The Spoils of Empire’.'

Advocating the return of cultural property based on human rights law principles, Robertson observes that the French president, Emmanuel Macron has 'galvanized the debate' by declaring that 'African cultural heritage can no longer remain a prisoner of European museums'.

"Politicians may make more or less sincere apologies for the crimes of their former empires, but the only way now available to redress them is to return the spoils of the rape of Egypt and China and the destruction of African and Asian and South American societies," he writes. "We cannot right historical wrongs – but we can no longer, without shame, profit from them."
The Maimakteria is one of those festivals not a lot has survived about. We know it was in honor of Zeus Maimaktes, the Blustering, and that it was connected to the weather and protection of crops. Protecting our crops is a desire we have to this day so we will celebrate the Maimakteria, regardless. Will you join us on November 13nth, at the usual 10 am EST?


The months of late fall and early winter are relatively light on the festival agenda. This could have at least three reasons: It's getting cold and wet out and the ancient Hellenes held their rituals outdoors, most of the harvesting was done so food was assured or there was nothing that could be done to decrease the shortage, and with the fall of winter, warfare came to a halt; the seas were too rough to go on campaigns and it would soon be too cold to exist comfortably in a war camp. Seeing as these two latter two reasons were the major ones to have festivals, these months are quiet ones. In the Athenian calendar, only two festivals are attested to take place this month: the Maimakteria and the Pompaia.

Most likely, the Maimakteria was connected to the Pompaia, which took place at a later date in the month. I say 'a later date' because we are not sure of the dating. Parke (in 'Festivals of the Athenians', page 96) states that the Pompaia in honor of Zeus Meilichios was held during the last third of Maimakterion which would be on or after 20 Maimakterion. Parke cites the treatise on the Pompaia by Polemon of Ilion so we're fairly confident he is correct on the date. He also states that the Maimakteria took place 'mid-month'. The sixteenth is as viable a date as any other around this time.

The Pompaia was linked to purification. During this rite a white sheep's fleece--the 'Diòs Koidion', as it was called--was placed on the ground and the priests who took part in the rite stood on it with their left foot to be purified and blessed. We believe the Maimakteria was when this sheep was sacrificed.

If the rite followed the standard practice of Hellenic ritual, the sheep was led to the altar--most likely that of Zeus--in procession and then sacrificed. The animal was skinned and the fleece cleaned. The Diòs Koidion was said to have purifying and other magical qualities that would rub off on he who interacted with it, if he stood on it with his left foot.

The sheep skin was most likely not connected to Zeus at the start of the practice. The connection with Zeus most likely happened through assimilation: the rite fell in a month where people prepared for winter and where the weather got harsher. As such, Zeus had a major impact on the inhabitants of Athens; he controls the weather after all. The sheep from which the skin was used became sacrificed to Him as an appeasement, and then the ritually charged skin made its way through the city.

We hope you will join us for the Maimakteria on November 13. You can download the ritual here and join the community for the event here.
Important architectural remains and movable finds dating back to the period of Mycenaean civilization were recently revealed during excavations at the Acropolis of Gla in Boeotia, the Greek Ministry of Culture announced this week.
The Mycenaean Acropolis of Gla, part of a settlement dating from the 13th century BC, was built on a natural rock outcrop. After its fortification it became a fortress for the outlying population, who were engaged in cultivating the fertile plain below it. The area also served as a flood control center associated with the Mycenaean-era drainage and irrigation system, which used water from Lake Kopais.

The 50-acre area which was fortified by stout walls during Mycenaean times is seven times larger than Mycenae itself. The stone walls, which are miraculously preserved along their total length of 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) and thickness of 5.40 to 5.80 meters (up to 19 feet), are easily visible today and form an extraordinarily impressive sight.

According to the Ministry of Culture, the most recent excavations conducted as part of the 2018-19 archaeological dig uncovered six symmetrical stone blocks used in building construction.

Numerous storage vessels, including jars and amphorae, as well as cups and utensils, decorative frescoes, lead sculptures, and figurines — all of which represent a familiar, common cultural and artistic tradition of the times of Mycenaean expansion — were also unearthed.

The Mycenaean Acropolis of Gla itself was destroyed by fire and abandoned a little before 1200 B.C.
The painstakingly-constructed drainage system on the plain below was abandoned as well and the lake once again flooded the area, as it had before the years of improvement and development in the golden age of Mycenae.

Many more images here.
Mythologically speaking, Pegasos was originally only one winged horse, born from the neck of Médousa when she was beheaded by the hero Perseus. Poseidon, Tamer of Horses, is his father. Hesiod describes in his ‘Theogony’ the curious circumstances of his birth:

"…Medusa who suffered a woeful fate: she was mortal, but the two [of her Gorgon sisters] were undying and grew not old. With her lay the Dark-haired One [Poseidon] in a soft meadow amid spring flowers. And when Perseus cut off her head, there sprang forth great Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus who is so called because he was born near the springs [pegae] of Ocean [Okeanos]; and that other, because he held a golden blade [aor] in his hands. Now Pegasus flew away and left the earth, the mother of flocks, and came to the deathless gods: and he dwells in the house of Zeus and brings to wise Zeus the thunder and lightning." [ll 270-294]

Pegasos was tamed by Bellerophon, a Korinthian hero, who rode him into battle against the fire-breathing Khimaira. Pindar, in his beautiful Olympian Odes describes this cooperation wonderfully:

"Bellerophon, who once suffered greatly when beside the spring he wanted to harness Pegasus, the son of the snake-entwined Gorgon; until the maiden Pallas brought to him a bridle with golden cheek-pieces. The dream suddenly became waking reality, and she spoke: “Are you sleeping, king, son of Aeolus? Come, take this charm for the horse; and, sacrificing a white bull, show it to your ancestor, Poseidon the Horse-Tamer.” The goddess of the dark aegis seemed to say such words to him as he slumbered in the darkness, and he leapt straight up to his feet.

He seized the marvellous thing that lay beside him, and gladly went to the seer of the land,  and he told the son of Coeranus the whole story: how, at the seer’s bidding, he had gone to sleep for the night on the altar of the goddess, and how the daughter herself of Zeus whose spear is the thunderbolt had given him the spirit-subduing gold. The seer told him to obey the dream with all speed; and, when he sacrificed a strong-footed bull to the widely powerful holder of the earth, straightaway to dedicate an altar to Athena, goddess of horses.

The power of the gods accomplishes as a light achievement what is contrary to oaths and expectations. And so mighty Bellerophon eagerly stretched the gentle charmed bridle around its jaws and caught the winged horse. Mounted on its back and armored in bronze, at once he began to play with weapons. And with Pegasus, from the chilly bosom of the lonely air,7 he once attacked the Amazons, the female army of archers, [90] and he killed the fire-breathing Chimaera, and the Solymi. I shall pass over his death in silence; but Pegasus has found his shelter in the ancient stables of Zeus in Olympus." [13. 63]

Pegasos was not worshipped with ritual and sacrifices like the Theoi—the Hellenic Gods—were; only the Theoi were worshipped in that manner, and even then there were huge differences in Ouranic, Khthonic, and hero worship. He/they were featured in art, though, and was/were a beloved part of the Hellenic mythology; especially the Pegasos Bellerophon rode on, as he was featured on many coins throughout the years.