On June 28, Elaion hosts a PAT ritual for the Dipolieia. The Dipolieia appears to have been a sacrifice on the altar of Zeuis Polieus on the Acropolis and not a public festival involving a procession or rites conducted in homes. It was for the administration of Athens. The Dipolieia, because of its association with the Bouphónia, has caused a great amount of ambiguity between scholars. Will you join us in celebrating a mix?


The Dipolieia (Διπολεῖα) has much contradictory evidence and differences of opinion on it's function and importance. It seems to have been primarily for Zeus. The Dipolieia appears not to be a festival involving the Polis as a whole but--like the Bouphónia that was held during it--purification was of great importance. I have written about the Bouphónia before; the post can be found here. In short, the odd ritual of the Bouphónia comes down to this:

"Every year on the fourteenth day of Skirophorion, from the time of Erechtheus (1397 - 1347 BC) to--at least--the second century AD, an odd ritual was reenacted. It was called the 'Bouphónia'  (βουφόνια), and was part of another festival; the 'Dipolieia', a feast in honor of Zeus Polieus (Zeus of the City). 

On top of the Acropolis, oxen are released from the temple of Zeus Polieus. Outside lie cakes on a table, and the oxen are herded past them. Nearby, two women with bowls of water in their hands and a man who is sharpening an axe and knife watch. One of the oxen in line reaches for one of the cakes and devours it. One of the nearby men shouts at the ox, and rushes to the man who is sharpening his weapons. He grabs the double-bladed axe and with one big swing, ends the life of the ox. The Ox-Slayer drops the axe and flees the scene. The slain animal is sacrificed properly to Zeus Polieus. And a hunt begins for the murderer of Zeus' sacred ox. He is found and brought to trial. The blame is passed from the Ox-Slayer, to the man with the weapons, to the women with the water and eventually the weapons themselves. They are found guilt and tossed off of a cliff. The ox is stuffed and put out on the field, in front of a plough. 

[...] It seems to me that there is an underlying theme to this myth, and its subsequent festival: that an animal which is slaughtered by a man alone, is killed, yet an animal which is slaughtered by a group becomes a sacrifice. Everyone is 'to blame' for the death of the ox, simply by being there, and in order to break the circle, an inanimate object--which, obviously, cannot defend itself, thus the cycle cannot possibly continue--is chosen to bear the blame, thus taking it off of everyone else. "

The Bouphónia is an ancient ritual, archaic even in classical times. the Dipolieia is old as well but was celebrated for a very long time in classical times. As such, we invite you all to join us on 28 June at the regular 10 AM EDT to honour Zeus in a mixture of the two festivals. The ritual can be found here and if you would like to discuss the PAT ritual with others, feel free to do so here.
Sorry, I'm swamped, so I'm going to leave you with a pop quiz! Tell me if you got them all!

All right, I will stop posting about Assasin's Creed Odyssey soon, but I just saw the trailer and my goodness! This is not the Hellas-that-was, but it's definitely the Hellas I would have wanted it to be. How do you feel about the aesthetics? The statues of Gods holding up mountains? The buildings? The ships? The everything!


Assassin's Creed is a franchise centered on an action-adventure video game series developed by Ubisoft. It depicts a centuries-old struggle pitting the Assassins, who fight for peace and free will, against the Templars, who believe peace comes through control of humanity. The series features historical fiction mixed with real-world historical events and figures. The series took inspiration from the novel Alamut by the Slovenian writer Vladimir Bartol, while building upon concepts from the Prince of Persia series.
The excavation in progress this year suggested from the very beginning that the human presence on the acropolis of Selinunte is several millennia older than previously assumed. In fact, below the first level of the Greek settlement, under a natural deposit more than a metre deep, pottery shards of the Early Bronze Age were discovered, as well as evidence of a Mesolithic stone industry (about 8000-6500 BC).


The discovery was announced today by archaeologist Clemente Marconi who, together with Rosalia Pumo, leads the teams of archaeologists from New York University and the State University of Milan who are carrying out important excavations at the Archaeological Park of Selinunte. 

Remains of animals and fragments of coal were also found in association with the first level of the Greek presence in the area, which will be analyzed by radiocarbon.

"The excavations confirm that the layer in which the spears were found stuck in the ground at the end of the last campaign corresponds to the oldest level of Greek occupation in our area. The discovery of numerous animal bones and charcoal should make it possible to date this layer with a certain degree of precision, thanks to the radiocarbon analyses that we will undertake in the coming weeks. At present, the layer is dated, based on the pottery and its position in the stratigraphic sequence, to the founding phase of the Greek settlement. Below this first level of Greek occupation the earth is clean, with no trace of an indigenous level from the Early Iron Age. This year's results, like those from the last ten years' excavations in the southern sector of the large urban sanctuary, suggest that when Selinunte was founded, the site had been uninhabited for many centuries."

The focus of the archaeologists' investigations will be on the period prior to the foundation of Selinunte by the Megarians in 650 BC in order to reconstruct the history of the territory in its entirety. In this context the foundations of Temple C were uncovered.

"It's an exciting finding and I see that the foundations are a bit below ground level. This will allow us to date with certainty the start of temple's construction, which is dedicated to Apollo, and which ancient sources date back to 540 BC, while the completion of the structure is said to have taken place in 510 BC."

The excavation campaign will continue in the coming weeks and will focus on the acropolis of the Greek city.

Image credit: La Repubblica
The best part about reading ancient texts that deal with politics is that their wisdom still applies. In almost all cases, wise lessons in politics that were true in ancient Hellas are still true today.  I want to give an example today, and I am sure you know who this is directed at. Sir, I am done with your antics. At least parents and kids get to see each other again.


"The truth is that because you live without fear day-to-day and there is no conspiring against one another, you think imagine your ‘allies’ to live the same way. Because you are deluded by whatever is presented in speeches you are mistaken in these matters or because you yield to pity, you do not not realize you are being dangerously weak for yourselves and for some favor to your allies.

You do not examine the fact that the power you hold is a tyranny and that those who are dominated by you are conspiring against you and are ruled unwillingly and that these people obey you not because they might please you by being harmed but because you are superior to them by strength rather than because of their goodwill.

The most terrible thing of all is  if nothing which seems right to us is established firmly—if we will not acknowledge that a state which has worse laws which are unbendable is stronger than a state with noble laws which are weakly administered, that ignorance accompanied by discipline is more effective than cleverness with liberality, and that lesser people can inhabit states much more efficiently than intelligent ones.

Smart people always want to show they are wiser than the laws and to be preeminent in discussions about the public good, as if there are no more important things where they could clarify their opinions—and because of this they most often ruin their states. The other group of people, on the other hand, because they distrust their own intelligence, think that it is acceptable to be less learned than the laws and less capable to criticize an argument than the one who speaks well. But because they are more fair and balanced judges, instead of prosecutors, they do well in most cases. For this reason, then, it is right that we too, when we are not carried away by the cleverness and the contest of intelligence, do not act to advise our majority against our own opinion."
[Thucydides, 3.37]
Last month, the Carabinieri, Italy’s military police, unveiled a cache of antiquities seized from a Roman property developer. The objects, which include two Hellenic vases as well as a bull’s and a horse’s head, both in terracotta, are worth €900,000, the Carabinieri’s cultural protection squad says. The collector from whom they were seized now faces prosecution for possessing illegally excavated works, Lieutenant-Colonel Nicola Candido told The Art Newspaper in an email. But when The Art Newspaper sent this picture to five independent experts, all of them questioned the objects’ authenticity.


Although the specialists said they could not offer a definitive opinion based on a photograph, all of them expressed grave doubts. One specialist who asked not to be named said: 

"I cannot imagine where a terracotta life-size horse head could come from in antiquity."

Another described the bull and horse heads as "crude copies," while a third said that "both the vases are suspect, as well as the larger terracottas, but they are good quality. As I understand it, the Italian forgers [are] some of the best." The London-based dealer Rupert Wace concurred.

"The bull and horse heads do look dubious. The value suggested for the pieces in the photograph is preposterous, even if the objects are genuine."

The suggested price is "vastly over-exaggerated," another expert agreed. In the case of the vase on the far right, "The background colour is suspicious as well as the shape of the vessel. There are subtleties in where the handles are placed, the shape of the vessel as well as the foot, which are giving me pause for thought." But he noted: "This could be resolved with a thermoluminescence test, which I would hope the Carabinieri would do before prosecuting the owner of the collection."

John Boardman, emeritus professor of classical archaeology at the University of Oxford, said:

"The vases look more plausible than the rest, but who knows?'

In response to our questions, Candido said the Carabinieri had consulted art history experts with Italy’s Ministry of Culture, and that scientific analysis of the works is taking place. The €900,000 valuation is based on prices for similar antiquities which have been sold, he said.
A brush fire in central Greece has helped authorities discover a hoard of illegally excavated antiquities. The Greek culture ministry said Friday that firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze found about 200 artifacts, some as much as 2,800 years old, in plastic bags hidden under bushes.





The discovery was made Thursday in the countryside between the villages of Livanates and Megaplatanos, some 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of Athens. A ministry statement said most of the pottery and metal objects were unharmed by the fire, while some bore traces of smoke.

Authorities are trying to establish who excavated and hid the artefacts, some of which had been cleaned and undergone basic repairs on the spot. Under Greek law, all ancient artefacts found in the country are state property.

For images of the finds, go here.