The 23th of Hekatombaion is traditionally the first night in a week long series of events that make up the Panathenaia festival. This birthday celebration of the city of Athenes and grand honouring of Athena was one of ancient Athens' highlights and people would have flocked there from afar to take part. Will you take part as well during two days of the event, namely the first and last? The first event will take place on the 27th of July and the second on August 3rd. For details on the times, see below.

The Panathenaia was an Athenian festival celebrated every year in honor of the Goddess Athena. The Lesser Panathenaia (Panathenaia ta mikra) was an annual event, while the Greater (Panathenaia ta megala) was held every four years and assimilated the practices of the Panathenaia ta mikra into itself. The set date for the festival was from the 23rd to the 29th of Hekatombaion and the festival was similar, in practice, to the Olympic Games but it had its own unique elements as well. In short, The Panathenaia was the 'birthday of the city' and referred to Athens. The actual practice was very involved but usually included:
  • A procession from outside of the city walls to the Acropolis
  • The hanging of a new (and elaborately woven) garment on the shoulders of the statue of Athena inside the Parthenon, named a Peplos.
  • A torch race
  • An all-night service called the Pannychos
  • A large offering (and ritual slaughter) of a hundred cows in honor of Athena
  • A meat meal for everyone at the city's expense
  • During the Panathenaia ta megala, wrestling competitions, athletic competitions, chariot races and many other horse-based games were also held. The Panathenaia was known for its boat races.
The athletic contests included foot races, wrestling, boxing, pankration (a combination of wrestling and boxing), pentathlon (five-event contest: stade race, javelin-throw, discus throw, long jump, and wrestling), four-horse chariot and two-horse chariot races, horseback race, javelin-throw from horseback, apobatês race, pyrrhic dancing, euandria (physical fitness or beauty contest), torch relay race, and boat race.  All these events, except for the torch and boat races, were held in each of three age categories: boys (12-16), ageneios (16-20), and men (20+) and took place in the Agora until 330 BCE when a stadium was built in the outskirts of Athens.

Boat races were not typically part of Greek athletic festivals, but they may have found a place in the Panathenaic festival because of Athena's connection with boat-building. Pyrrhic dancing, physical fitness, torch relay race, and boat races were tribal competitions restricted to Athenian citizens, whereas even non-Athenians took part in the track and field and equestrian events.  Except for the four last-named contests, the prizes (for first and second place only) were varying numbers of amphoras filled with olive oil. The olive tree and its fruit were sacred to Athena and the oil was a very valuable commodity in the ancient world used for cooking, as soap, and as fuel for lamps.  The winning athletes normally sold their prize oil for cash. Besides the everyday usefulness mentioned above, olive oil was in great demand by administrators of the numerous athletic festivals throughout the Greek world. Athletes rubbed themselves with olive oil before competition and scraped it off afterwards with a metal device called a stlengis.

As an indication of value, in the fourth century B.C. the prize for the victor in the stade race (a 600 ft. long foot race) in the men's category was 100 amphoras of olive oil. In terms of today's dollar, the olive oil would be worth at a minimum $39,000 and the amphoras, which held the oil, about $1600.  Greeks from other cities were allowed to compete in all the athletic contests among individuals.  The competitions among tribes were limited to Athenians.

The two-mile torch relay race with four runners from each of the ten Athenian tribes was run from the altar of Eros outside the Dipylon gate to the Acropolis. The object was to win the race without causing the torch to go out.  The winning tribe received a bull and 100 drachmas. The fire of the winning torch was used to light the sacrificial fire on the great altar of Athena on the Acropolis. The torch race was part of an all-night (pannychos) celebration also involving music and dancing on the night before the most important day of the festival when the procession and sacrifice took place. The apobatês race and the boat race closed out the festival contests.

Three musical contests involved singers accompanying themselves on kithara (kitharôidos), singers accompanied by an aulos (a reed wind instrument similar to a clarinet or oboe), and aulos players.  The prizes for these contests were crowns (for first place winners only) and cash. For example, the first prize for the kithara-singer was an olive crown in gold worth 1,000 drachmas (at least $32,000 and 500 silver drachmas (at least $16,000).

Reciters called rhapsodes (literally, 'stitchers of song') competed at public festivals in the recitation of epic poetry, in particular the Homeric poems and other poems belonging to the Epic Cycle. They performed without musical accompaniment. Prizes are unknown.

The great procession the Panathenaia was known for assembled before dawn in the following order:
  • four little girls carrying a peplos for the life-size statue of Athena Polias 
  • priestesses of Athena and Athenian women carrying gifts 
  • sacrificial animals (bulls and sheep) for the communal meals of thanksgiving
  • metics (resident aliens), wearing purple robes and carrying trays with cakes and honeycombs for offerings 
  • musicians playing the aulos and the kithara
  • a colossal peplos (for Athena Parthenos) hung on the mast of a ship on wheels 
  • old men carrying olive branches
  • four-horse chariots with a charioteer and fully armed man (apobatês) 
  • craftswomen (ergastinai - weavers of the peplos) 
  • infantry and cavalry 
  • victors in the games 
  • ordinary Athenians arranged by deme
The procession made its way on the Panathenaic Way through the Agora towards the Acropolis.  Some sacrifices were offered on the Areopagus and in front of the temple of Athena Nikê next to the Propylaea (Gateway). Only Athenian citizens were allowed to pass through the Propylaea and enter the Acropolis. The procession passed the Parthenon and stopped at the great altar of Athena in front of the Erechtheum. Each year a newly woven peplos (robe) was taken by the craftswomen (ergastinai) into the Erechtheum and placed on a life-size old wooden statue of Athena Polias ('Guardian of the City'), while every four years in the Great Panathenaea, an enormous peplos was taken to the Acropolis for Athena Parthenos (Athena the Virgin) in the Parthenon. This peplos was so large that it was carried on the mast of a ship on wheels (like a float in a modern parade). The connection between the ship and Athena is unknown, but the use of a ship to carry the peplos must have seem appropriate in the fifth century after Athens had built the great fleet with which it dominated a large part of the Aegean world. This was followed by a huge animal sacrifice at the Athena's altar and representatives from each deme in Attica, chosen by lot, enjoyed a meat banquet along with bread and cakes.

The ritual for the first day of the Panathenaia can be found here. It includes a torch-lit procession (which can also be conducted with a wind light or electric candle) and libations to Athena in Her many forms related to the Panathenaia. It can be performed either in the night of the 27th of July or the daylight hours of the 28th (the 27th is the encouraged time).

The ritual for the last day of the Panathenaia can be found here. It honours Athena, Zeus, Agathos Daimon, Hera, Poseidon, and Hestia. We will be performing it at 10:00 AM EDT on 3 August.

If you would like to join our group for the event, please go here.
Beginning at sundown on the 25th of July, the Kourotrophos (child nurturers) were honoured. Gaea, Artemis, Hekate, Aglauros and Pandrosos shall be sacrificed to. Elaion will be organizing another Practicing Apart Together ritual for this event in the daylight hours of the 26th. Will you join us?

The Kourotrophos are (mostly) female deities who watched over growing children--Gaea, Artemis, Hekate, Eirênê, Aglauros and Pandrosos, especially. This specific offering is known from the demos Erkhia, but duplicates similar offerings on the Acropolis of Athens.

In this ritual, we honor Gaea, Artemis, Hekate, Aglauros and Pandrosos. Artemis is named Kourotrophos by Diodorus Siculus, a Hellenic historian, in book five of his library:

"And Artemis, we are told, discovered how to effect the healing of young children and the foods which are suitable to the nature of babes, this being the reason why she is also called Kourotrophos." [5.73.5]

Hesiod, in his 'Theogony', explains why Hekate is Kourotrophos:

"So, then. albeit her mother's only child, she is honoured amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Kronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Eos (Dawn). So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young (kourotrophos), and these are her honours." [404]

Aglauros and her sister Pandrosos seem to have been fertility deities in Athens. They were eventually regarded as daughter of the Athenian king Cecrops, however, and myth tells us the sisters were entrusted with the care for Erichthonios, hidden away in a basket. He was the son of Athena and Hēphaistos, who grew to term in the Earth (Gaea), and would later rule Athens as king. Aglauros had a sanctuary on the Acropolis in which young men of military age swore an oath to her as well as to Zeus and to other deities. Herse, sometimes regarded as a third sister, has no mention in these accounts.

Gaea, as a mother and raiser of many children, of course receives honors as well during the Kourotrophos. Pausanias, in his 'Description of Greece' says:

"There is also a sanctuary of Ge (Earth) Kourotrophe (Nurse of the Young) [at Athens], and of Demeter Khloe (Green). You can learn all about their names by conversing with the priests." [1.22.3]

We are also considering adding Eirene, as Euripides, in Bacchae says the following about Her:

"The god [Dionysos], the son of Zeus, delights in banquets, and loves Eirene (Peace), giver of riches (olbodotes), goddess who nourishes youths (thea kourotrophos). To the blessed and to the less fortunate, he gives an equal pleasure from wine that banishes grief." [420] 

You can find the full version of the ritual here and you can follow the event of Facebook here.

I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

"Is there any way around having to use blood in certain sacrifices?"

So, I’ve read your question a couple of times and I am left wondering what information you have been reading that focusses so specifically on blood. If it’s a source for a specific rite then maybe there isn’t. If it’s a general source about animal sacrifice (but why, then, ask me about blood specifically and not animal sacrifice?) then yes, there are.

Very few modern Hellenists practice animal sacrifice due to logistics, ethics or law. Even in ancient times, poorer families and people with certain dietary or philosophical philosophies decided against sacrificing animals and giving cakes in the form of the required animal instead, or they focused on giving libations or First Fruit offerings, which is a fancy term to describe that the Theoi got the first portion of anything the family would consume.

So you don’t have to practice animal sacrifice in Hellenismos, but again, if this is a specific rite that somehow calls for blood (I don’t recall any but they could very well be out there), then maybe there isn’t.


"What do you make the fire to burn your offerings from? And what kind of bowl is it? I want to burn mine but I don't know how to do it safely inside and I have a lot of nosy neighbours so burning out in the garden daily is a no lol"

I burn everything, and because of privacy limitations, I burn everything indoors. For this I use bio-ethanol, the burning agent I use when building a fire indoors. This is a form of biofuel (fuel derived from biological sources), and a variation of denatured alcohol. It’s a clear, flammable liquid which burns without smoke and without scent. As such, it works very well for indoor use. Make sure to use a cast-iron or at least solid container to burn in! It gets hot and if it cracks, you will burn the house down. Make sure to test it out a couple of times and usually if it says ‘oven proof’, you’re good.


"Is it normal for hellenists to have multiple smaller altars? I think I mainly see people who have one altar, but personally I think it would be more appropriate for me to worship more than one God and I don't have other places of worship I could go."

Ah, there is a terminology issue here that has you tripped up. Easily fixed! There is a difference between an altar and a shrine. An altar is one of those basic necessities within Hellenismos, and it differs from a shrine. Where an altar is a 'work space', dedicated not so much to a specific deity, but used to do the bulk of the (daily) rituals, a shrine is a devotional area where an altar might be located. In ancient Hellas, the shrine was usually a temple, the altar an actual altar, standing outside of it. Household worship took place at a multitude of shrines. Labelling something a shrine, does not mean you can't sacrifice at these spots in your home. In general, you decorate a shrine but leave the altar rather bare.


"Hi! I want to bring an offering for Athena,mostly because I am interested in hellenism and Athena is the goddess I identify most with.I don't actually believe in hellenistic gods tho,so I wonder if that would be disrespectful?"

Disrespectful...? To whom? I doubt the Gods care whether you believe in Them or not. What I am wondering about, though, is why you want to sacrifice to something/someone you don’t believe in? What’s the point? Nothing is stopping you, though! Go right ahead. I am just not sure how useful it will be...


"I'm new to Hellenism and I've been going through your blog to learn, but I was wondering if rituals, altars, and sacrifices are required? Because I have very strict Christian parents who are not open to other beliefs and would not be able to do anything like that. Thank you in advance!"

That depends on if you want to be a Traditional Hellenist or not. The short answer is: yes, they are required. At the foundation of our faith is kharis--religious reciprocity--and traditionally, it is only established through proper ritual and regular sacrifice. The idea is that you give freely (and loudly) to the Gods and They give freely to you. So in a Traditional sense, they are required.

Now, if you truly can’t find a way to practice sacrifice (perhaps in the form of a libation; the easiest to hide), then... well, you would need to look at the religion and kharis from a more modern viewpoint. Dedication could then, in theory, become a way to establish kharis. Set a goal, tell whomever you are dedicating it to that it is for Them before you start, complete the goal and tell Them you have completed it in Their name. It has to be something that challenges you, though. And/or something that counts in the grand scheme of things. Some examples off of the top of my head:

- Dedicate a 5 mile run to Ares once you have worked up to it
- Volunteer for a good cause related to a deity (animals for Artemis, for example)
- Collect money or goods for a good cause related to a deity (cancer research for Asklepios or Apollon, for example)
- Learn a new craft and make something with it for Athena
- Do something nice every day for your family/a person in your family for a month and dedicate it to Hera

Things like that. I hope this helps!


"As a reconstructionist, how do you feel about communication with the theoi? are you the kind that's like yeh let's grab a pint and chat it up, or are you more like NO the gods are silent and we don't deserve their attention. cuz (most of) the gods are kinda brickwalling me and I'm just like could u maybe not."

I am... somewhere between that. I think the Gods are bigger than us and if we want Their attention, we need to go through the proper ritual steps. That’s what they are there for: in the ancient Hellenic religion, it was believed that the procession with loud singing and dancing and musical instruments drew the attention of the Theoi. Once you had that, you sang your hymns to make sure the Theoi who would be given sacrifice to would stick around to receive it. Then you said your prayers out loud as you sacrificed so they raised up to the Gods with the smoke of the sacrifice.

This ‘evening chat’-sort of thing that is prevalent more in modern Pagan worship is actually very Christian inspired. The Abrahamic Gods see all, after all, so you had better always play nice or there will be punishment. On the flip side, that also means that whenever you whisper a prayer or request for guidance to the Abrahamic God, He’ll hear it. And hopefully He’ll choose to help.

So I don’t have conversations with the Theoi. I have very meaningful interaction with Them, though, through ritual. And through that ritual I establish kharis and They will think of me every now and again and make my life better.

Remember: Hellenismos is a religion where the central figure(s) are the Gods, not the worshipper. We often think all religions are, but in the Abrahamic religions, for example, it is the other way around. God is there to guide, forgive and punish humanity. In Hellenismos, we are there to honour the Theoi and if they so see fit, They will help us. But it is not a given and it is not a requirement. They were worshipped because They were higher beings and They were undoubtedly there. As such, appeasing them and building a relationship with them was not just the smart thing to do but the essential thing to do, because your life and livelihood depended on it.
Many people--myself included--sometimes forget how extensive the ancient Hellenic empire was. It wasn't just what is now modern Greece. It extended all the way down to, for example, Syria. Today: Hippos.

Hippos (Ἵππος) is an archaeological site in Israel, located on a flat-topped foothill 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) east of and 350 metres (1,150 ft) above the Sea of Galilae. The site is just on the Israeli side of the 1949 UN-demarcated border between Syria and Israel, near modern Kibbutz Ein Gev.

Between the 3rd century BC and the 7th century AD, Hippos was the site of a Graeco-Roman city, which then declined under Muslim rule and was abandoned after an earthquake in 749. Besides the fortified city itself, Hippos controlled two port facilities on the lake and an area of the surrounding countryside. Hippos was part of the Decapolis, or Ten Cities, a region in Roman Jordan, Syria and Israel that were culturally tied more closely to Hellas and Rome than to the Semitic ethnoi around.

Established as Antioch of Hippos (Ἀντιόχεια τοῦ Ἵππου) by Seleucid settlers, the city is named after the Greek language word for horse, Hippos, and a common name of Seleucid monarchs, Antiochus. The Seleucis Empire, by the way, was a Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty, which existed from 312 BC to 63 BC; it was founded by Seleucus I Nicator following the division of the Macedonian empire vastly expanded by Alexander the Great.The Aramaic name, Sussita (Hebrew: סוסיתא‎‎), was also adopted into Hebrew and also means horse, while the Arabic name, Qal'at al-Hisn, means 'Fortress of the Horse/Stallion'. Other names include the alternate spelling Hippus and the Latinized version of the Greek name: Hippum. The precise reason why the city received this name is unknown.

Excavations in Hippos have revealed traces of habitation from as early as the Neolithic period. The site was again inhabited in the third century BC by the Ptolemies, though whether it was an urban settlement or a military outpost is still unknown. During this time, Coele-Syria served as the battleground between two dynasties descending from captains of Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. It is likely that Hippos, on a very defensible site along the border lines of the 3rd century BC, was founded as a border fortress for the Ptolemies. The city of Hippos was most likely established in the middle of the second century BC.

As the Seleucids took possession of all of Coele-Syria, Hippos grew into a full-fledged polis, a city-state with control over the surrounding countryside. Antiochia Hippos was improved with all the makings of an Hellenic polis: a temple, a central market area, and other public structures. The availability of water limited the size of Hellenistic Hippos. The citizens relied on rain-collecting cisterns for all their water; this kept the city from supporting a very large population.

Hellas' rule did not last. The Maccabean revolt resulted in an independent Jewish kingdom under the Hasmonean dynasty in 142 BC. In c. 83-80 BC, Alexander Jannaeus led a Hasmonean campaign to conquer lands east of the Jordan River.

In 63 BC the Roman general Pompey conquered Coele-Syria, including Judea, and ended Hasmonean independence. Pompey granted self-rule to roughly ten ten cities on Coele-Syria's eastern frontier; this group, of which Hippos was one, came to be called the Decapolis and was incorporated into the Roman Provincia Syria. Under Roman rule, Hippos was granted a certain degree of autonomy. The city minted its own coins, stamped with the image of a horse in honor of the city's name.

Its rule exchanged hands several more times before the Romans created the province of Palaestina in 135, of which Hippos was a part. This was the beginning of Hippos' greatest period of prosperity and growth. It was rebuilt along a grid pattern, centered around a long decumanus maximus running east-west through the city. The streets were lined with hundreds of red granite columns imported from Egypt. The great expense required to haul these columns to Palestine and up the hill is proof of the city's wealth. Other improvements included a Kalybe (a shrine to the Emperor), a theatre, an odeon, a basilica, and new city walls. The most important improvement, however, was the aqueduct, which led water into Hippos from springs in the Golan Heights, 50 km away. The water, collected in a large, vaulted cistern, allowed a large population to live in the city.

When Christianity became officially tolerated in the Roman Empire, Palestine became the target of Imperial subsidies for churches and monasteries, and Christian pilgrims brought additional revenue. Industry expanded and more luxury goods became available to common people. Christianity came slowly to Hippos. There is no evidence of any Christian presence before the 4th century. A Byzantine-era pagan tomb of a man named Hermes has been found just outside the city walls, attesting to the relatively late presence of pre-Christian religions here. Gradually, however, the city was Christianized, becoming the seat of a bishop by at least 359. One Bishop Peter of Hippos is listed in surviving records of church councils in 359 and 362.

The Muslim armies of the Rashidun period invaded Palestine in the 7th century, completing their conquest by 641. Hippos' new Arab rulers allowed the citizens to continue practicing Christianity, a policy then continued by the Umayyad Caliphate. However, the population and economy continued to decline. The earthquake of 749 destroyed Hippos and it was abandoned permanently.

Archaeological surveys were conducted here in the late 19th C by Gottlieb Schumacher. During the early 50s there were clashes on this border, and the IDF fortified the Sussita hill as a front post. This is an archaeologist's dream--the ruins were mostly undisturbed, and the treasures found under the debris are fascinating. However, it will take years to complete this enormous task of excavation, reconstruction and preservation.
You know, sometimes I miss Witchcraft. Not so much the actual practice of it but the emotion of it. Let me be very clear in saying that Hellenismos is where I belong and it's not even a contest if I will remain in it. It's a religion in which I can put plenty of emotion, even in its repetitiveness. To follow the same cycle every day and every year brings with it a stability, a depth of understanding and a connectiveness I have never experienced in Witchcraft. But it's not 'sexy'; it's not exciting. It's not full of midnight rites with too many candles and too much incense and that one smoke detector you forgot to turn off. It's not putting together rituals that are full of flair and creating circles that you just have to take a picture of and show all your witch friends because it was just so darn pretty.

Every now and again, I really, really miss Witchcraft. It usually happens when I am thinking of stories (I write, trying to become a writer at least part-time if not full time). A lot of them have supernatural elements in them and they rely heavily on my knowledge of ancient mythical systems and occult history. History was always my speciality--history and reasearching it. When I write is when I break out my old books on Witchcraft--the ones I kept, anyway. The ones that either inspire me (even if they are super bad and inaccurate) or the ones that are simply so good that you can find anything in them you need (written by the Parker's of Witchcraft and Wicca). Reading all this faux-history, fanciful origin stories and in-depth knowledge always gives me a thrill. It did that when I was twelve years old and it still does that now I am about to turn thirty-one.

I think it, in part, has to do with how long I practiced it and when. I became a Witch in my teens, at the height of needing something to hold on to and identify with. Witchcraft was my perfect rebellion but even more so, my perfect getaway. It gave me a sense of control over my life that I had to give up once I realized you can't rule over and force the Gods. When I submitted myself to Their counsel, I gave up that power. When times get busy as they are now, and the world becomes a bit too scary a place, I long to have that sense of power back and the escape Witchcraft offered me. The safety of believing you could directly influence your fate--and I still think you can, I just choose to submit instead.

Funnily enough, I find safety in submitting, too. I control my part of my relationship with the Theoi through my practice and establishing kharis. In return, I trust Them to know what I could not possibly have known as a Witch and let Them set my course instead of forcing it. And my life has become so much better and more stable since. Even funnier: I have found I can find that same sense of escapism I found in Witchcraft in any hobby. I can go out and play Pokemon Go for an hour to forget about another bombing. I can go for a run to get out work stress. I can read the night away and feel filled with the bewonderment of the world created by another.

I was a Witch through many of my formative years and it has most certainly shaped me. It's a beautiful Tradition and one can put into and get out of it anything one might desire. It's unique in that perspective. It is completely free and completely fluid. I both loved that about it and hated it for it. It's exactly why I got out of it and it's also exactly why I still long for it sometimes. But it is a fleeting desire because this depth of religious experience I experience in Hellenismos, the purpose it gives me and the stability are far more valuable to me.

I could never live without the Theoi and honouring Them traditionally, but I gave up Witchcraft within only a few days time. This is my religious home. And when I long for Witchcraft, I read, or write a post about it like now and it'll leave my system. Because at the end of the day, I belong to the Theoi, solely. As it should be.
Back in February, the 'Athenians’ Association' launched a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights against the United Kingdom for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. According to the Association, the initiative to launch the lawsuit came when the board of directors was informed that the United Kingdom responded negatively to participating in mediation a procedure, as part of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Goods in the Country of Origin. The lawsuit recently came to court and was rejected.

The European Court stated that since the alleged crime of stealing the marbles from Greece took place 150 years ago that it did not have the legislative power to consider the lawsuit, since the robbery occurred before the UK signed into the human rights convention.

"It is clear from the nature of the applicant’s complaints that its underlying grievance is the allegedly unlawful removal of the marbles from Greece. The removal having occurred some 150 years before the Convention was drafted and ratified by the respondent state, the applicant’s complaints would appear to be inadmissible."

Furthermore, the judges also added that the Athenians’ Association did not have ' any right…to have the marbles returned to Greece.'

This action is not deterring the Athenians’ Association in the least. They said that they will continue to pursue getting the UK to return the stolen marbles to Greece. Vassilis Sotiropoulo, legal representative for the Athenians’ Association stated:

"Globally, this first statement of the European Court, historically the first court judgement, on the subject of the Parthenon Marbles highlights the points that Greece should focus on with particular attention in her recourse against the United Kingdom."

Recent polls have shown an overwhelming majority of UK citizens support the reunification of the Greek Marbles as an Ipsos-Mori poll recently showed 69 percent of Britons were in favor of returning the marbles, while only a mere 13 percent were against.

Also, MPs put forth a new Bill, The Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece), which was presented on July 10 by a joint-partisan panel composed of Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams, supported by Conservative Jeremy Lefroy and 10 other MPs from Labor, the SNP and Plaid Cymru. Mark Williams said of the bill:

"It’s time we engaged in a gracious act. To put right a 200-year wrong. These magnificent artifacts were improperly dragged and sawn off the remains of the Parthenon."

Now, let me make clear: I want these antiquities returned to Greece. I want them returned because I think they belong in Greece--in Athens, specifically--and I think it will help the economy of said country. Let me also make clear that I think these legal actions are the wrong way about it and they are also quite useless. As the European Court stated: what happened with the Marbles happened long before the EU. If the Marbles are to return, it has to be because the UK and Greece come to an agreement about it, not because it was forced by legislation.

The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the Elgin Marbles, is a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural members that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin obtained a controversial permit from the Ottoman authorities to remove pieces from the Parthenon while serving as the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803. Since then, there has been great controvercy surrounding the legitimacy of this permit and the validity of the UK's claim to keep the Marbles instead of sending them home to Greece.
Note that says 'Hercules' in the title and not 'Herakles'. That's because the mosaic dates back to Roman times, not Hellenic times. Still, the find is extraordinary and worth posting. Cyprus was under Roman control from 31 BC to the 4th century AD. The mosaic dates back to the 2nd century AD and is made up of five sections, depicting all of Hercules' labours between them. So far, two sections have been uncovered.


The mosaic was found by the Larnaca Sewage Board staff, who were opening a canal for the waste to pass, when they discovered the work. The sewage board of the city has stopped wok in the area since the discovery of the mosaic. The road has also been sealed off from traffic.

Only part of the mosaic, measuring 19 meter long by 7 meter wide (62 foot by 23 foot), has been excavated and officials believe more is still buried. The antiquities department said in a statement:

"A preliminary estimation would suggest that scenes of the Labours of Hercules are depicted and that it is dated to the Roman period."

They also stated that the mosaic was evidence that Ancient Kition--on which modern Larnaca was built--played an important role in establishing Roman culture in Cyprus. However, up to this day Roman remains found in the city are very few. The antiquities department thus noted that:

"Therefore, the mosaic floor that came to light provides important evidence for the development of the city during the Roman period."

Transport Minister Marios Demetriades, who visited the site in Larnaca, told reporters the department of antiquities, which falls under his ministry, planned to move the mosaic to a museum. The mosaic cannot stay in place because it would incur damage from water and the elements. Demetriades, who is also minister of works and communications, said the mosaic was important because

"...nothing similar has been discovered so far. It’s a unique mosaic and we have to exhibit it in the most appropriate way. The intention is to transfer it to a museum, to build a specific room [where it will be displayed]... because this is the best way to protect it."