Archaeologists have recently discovered an ancient shipwreck which proves the Greek Historian Herodotos was accurate in his description, almost 25 centuries ago, regarding the construction of a Nile river boat called a 'baris'.


An artistic rendition of the discovered shipwreck. The upper half of the model illustrates the wreck
as excavated. Below this, unexcavated areas are mirrored to pro­duce a complete vessel outline
[Credit: Christoph Gerigk/Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation]

The shipwreck, discovered recently off the Mediterranean coast of Egypt near the ancient, and now sunken, city of Thonis-Heracleion was of a vessel called a ”baris. This exact type of ship was described in great detail by Herodotos in his book Historia following a visit he made to the port city of Thonis-Heracleion in Egypt. Herodotos was impressed by the way people were constructing the ship, which was used to sail across the Nile River.

For centuries, scholars and archaeologists believed that the type of ship Herodotos described never actually existed, because such ships had never once been found by anyone on the planet. This theory was recently blown up when a group of archaeologists discovered a well-preserved shipwreck off the coast of Egypt in the Canopic Mouth of the Nile, in the Mediterranean Sea. What the archaeologists saw witnessed when they dove into the waters was exactly the kind of vessel Herodotos had perfectly described in his book exactly 2,469 years ago.

The 28-metre long vessel was one of the first ships used by the Egyptians to trade during ancient times. The vessels Herodotos described in his book must have been the exact same type of ship, but were only slightly smaller. Dr. Damian Robinson, the director of Oxford University’s center for maritime archaeology, points out that 

”...where planks are joined together to form the hull, they are usually joined by mortise and tenon joints which fasten one plank to the next. Here we have a completely unique form of construction, which is not seen anywhere else.”

Most likely, this unique construction was the reason why Herodotos was so amazed when he saw this type of ship. The eminent historian was also astonished by the peculiar types of wood they were using to construct the ships, which to him was completely unknown.

Archaeologists believe that what Herodotos saw could have even been constructed in the very same shipyard as the vessel they discovered, as a word-by-word analysis of Herodotos’ text exactly matches the appearance of the ship.

Belov's exploration of the ship's construction has been published in a monograph by the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, Ship 17: a baris from Thonis-Heracleion.
A friend of mine, Riley, has put together a document with an assortment of poetry, literary sources, and quasi-hymns to the twelve Olympic Gods that are not Homeric or Orphic. These are great for your personal worship and a wonderful resource to connect with the Theoi. Some are Hellenic in origin, some are much later Roman additions, but I enjoy the sentiment of them.

You can find the document here.
On 21 March, at 10 AM EDT, Elaion hosts a PAT ritual for the Galaxia. This rather obscure festival was held in many places in ancient Hellas, but most notably at Olympia. The Galaxia was closely linked to the vernal equinox, which was used to date it and was (amongst others) in honor of Kronos and Rhea.


The Galaxia is a festival held in honor of the Mother (of the Gods), who in Hellenic mythology is Rhea, although the title is also strongly associated with Gaia and Kybele, who have similar functions. She was worshipped as the mother of Zeus and the Galaxia celebrated His birth just as much as Her giving birth to him. Kronos--as Her consort and His father--was most likely also sacrificed to, along with Hera, who as Zeus' wife deserved honor alongside Him. In our ritual, we have included Helios and the Horai as well, as the Galaxia was associated so closely with the Spring Equinox.

The Galaxia had a special beverage attached to it--well, a special food item: a milk and barley porridge that may have been sacrificed to the Mother, but which was at least consumed at the festival. Pliny the Elder names the porridge a 'puls', which seems to have been a more general term which included pastes made from lentils and beans as well as from grain. On barley-based porridge, he has the following to say in his 'Natural History':

"There are several ways of making barley porridge: the Greeks soak some barley in water and then leave it for a night to dry, and next day dry it by the fire and then grind it in a mill. Some after roasting it more thoroughly sprinkle it again with a small amount of water and dry it before milling; others however shake the young barley out of the ears while green, clean it and while it is wet pound it in a mortar, and wash it of husk in baskets and then dry it in the sun and again pound it, clean it and grind it. But whatever kind of barley is used, when it has been got ready, in the mill they mix in three pounds of flax seed, half a pound of coriander seed, and an eighth of a pint of salt, previously roasting them all. Those who want to keep it for some time in store put it away in new earthenware jars with fine flour and its own bran. Italians bake it without steeping it in water and grind it into fine meal, with the addition of the same ingredients and millet as well." [XVIII-XIV]

Sources which mention the festival speak only of a milk and barley beverage that can be poured. Fundamentally, porridge is made by mixing oats with a fluid (normally water and or milk) and then heating it. Combine barley, water, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring continuously. Turn the heat to low and steam until grains are soft and all the liquid is absorbed. Add the milk once the water level drops below the level of the barley. Cooking time depends on the form of barley used. Use one cup dry barley on three cups of water.

- Hulled barley is unprocessed and takes the longest to boil, about an hour and 15 minutes before it's soft.
- Pearl Barley or Pearled Barley is the most common form of barley available and is sold in most supermarkets. Because the outer hulls including the bran have been removed, the grains have a pearly white color. Cooking time: 50-60 minutes.
- Quick Barley, or instant barley is pearl barley that is pre-steamed then dried, shortening the cooking time considerably, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Barley Grits are processed similar to bulghur wheat. The grain is cracked, and toasted or parboiled, then dried, making it a quick-cooking product--about 2-3 minutes. As such, add a little less water or milk.
- Barley Flakes, Pressed Barley, or Rolled Barley have the appearance of rolled oats and are often included in muesli-type cereals. The cooking time is about 30 minutes.
- Barley Flour is hulled barley that is finely ground and has a lightness and delicate sweetness. It can be stirred into milk until the right consistency is reached.
To get a consistency where the puls can be poured, add milk or water to thin the porridge. If you want to sweeten the porridge a little, add warmed honey to the mixture.

We hope you will join us tomorrow, on March 21 at the usual 10 AM. The ritual can be found here and you can join the community here.
The Dionysia ta en Astei (Διονύσια τὰ ἐν Ἄστει), Dionysia ta Megala (Διονύσια τὰ Μεγάλα), Great(er) Dionysia, or City Dionysia, was and is a true theatric festival of Dionysos. The City Dionysia is held on the 10th to 17th days of Elaphebolion and I have realized I have not posted up the PAT ritual yet! Elaion usually hosts an eight day festival for it, which is now two days less. Oops! Apologies! The Dionysia ta en Astei runs from 17 - 24 March, at the usual 10 am EDT.


The City Dionysia is thought to have been founded, or at least revived, by the tyrant Pisistratus (around 530 BC), and was held in Athens, when the city was once again full of visitors after the winter. The festival honors Dionysos Eleuthereus (Διονυσος Ελευθερευς), who was said to have been introduced into Athens from the village of Eleuterae (Ελευθέραι). The festival focuses on the performance of tragedies, but has included the performing of comedies since 487 BC. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia.

According to myth, the festival was established after Eleutherae, a border-town between Attica and Boeotia, chose to become part of Attica. The Eleuthereans had an established festival of Dionysos--which then became the rural Dionysia--and celebrated to occasion by bringing a statue of Dionysos to Athens. The Athenians, by then not big on the worship of Dionysos, initially rejected the statue, but Dionysos punished the Athenians with a plague affecting the male genitalia. The Athenians, rightfully spooked, accepted the statue and honor of Dionysos, and the plague was cured. These events were recalled each year by two processions, the first, carrying the statue of Dionysos from His temple outside of the city of Athens into the city, and the second where various groups proceeded through the city to the theater, arrayed in groups distinguishable by color or other articles of dress.

Dionysos was a métoikos in a city of Athens, a resident alien, and on the first two days of the festival, the métoikoi of the city got to wear brightly colored festival clothes--mostly purple--and carried trays of offerings in the processions, something métoikoi never got to do otherwise. The Athenian citizens, on the other hand, wore their day-to-day clothes and carried wine and bread with them, or herded the bulls which would be sacrificed. At the end of the processions, the statue of Dionysos was placed in His temple in the theater district, and sacrifices were made to Him. Flute players and poets held contests, and were eager to outdo each other. After all of this, the festival most likely became very Dionysian, indeed.

Singing and dancing had always been a big part of the City Dionysia, but after a while, the structure of the eight day festival became more apparent. Instead of random singing and dancing, from the third day onward, everyone flocked to the theaters to view the plays, whose names and creators had been announced the day prior. The next three days of the festival were devoted to the tragic plays. The three chosen playwrights performed three tragedies and one satyr play each, one set of plays per day. Famous playwrights include Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles. They were judged by judges (agonothetai) chosen on the second day.

On the seventh day of the festival, five comedies by famous playwrights like Philemon, Chionides, and Aristophanes were performed. Comedies were of secondary importance at the Dionysia--the Lenaia was far more important for those--but winning the comedic prize at the Dionysia was still regarded a great honor. It seems that, from the fifth century BC onwards, plays could be recycled, and the audience seemed to have appreciated it. These plays were fan favorites, and were not rushed to completion.

Another procession and celebration was held on the final day and the winners of the competitions were declared. The winning playwrights won a wreath of ivy or a goat, and when old plays were performed, the producer was awarded the prize rather than the long-dead playwright.

For the city Dionysia, we will be reading 'The Bacchae', a play by Euripides. We did it last year as well and we wanted to keep it a tradition. The play premiered posthumously at the Theatre of Dionysus in 405 BC as part of a tetralogy that also included 'Iphigeneia at Aulis' and 'Alcmaeon in Corinth', and which Euripides' son or nephew probably directed. It won first prize in the City Dionysia festival competition.

The Dionysus in Euripides' tale is a young God, angry that his mortal family, the royal house of Cadmus, has denied him a place of honor as a deity. His mortal mother, Semele, was a mistress of Zeus; while pregnant she was killed, through trickery, by Hera, who was jealous of her husband's affair. When Semele died, her sisters said it was Zeus' will and accused her of lying; they also accused their father, Cadmus, of using Zeus as a cover-up. Most of Semele's family refuse to believe Dionysus is the son of Zeus, and the young God is spurned in his home. He has traveled throughout Asia and other foreign lands, gathering a cult of female worshipers (Maenads or Bacchantes).

At the play's start he has returned, disguised as a stranger, to take revenge on the house of Cadmus. He has also driven the women of Thebes, including his aunts, into an ecstatic frenzy, sending them dancing and hunting on Mount Cithaeron, much to the horror of their families. Complicating matters, his cousin, the young king Pentheus, has declared a ban on the worship of Dionysus throughout Thebes. The Bacchae is considered to be not only Euripides' greatest tragedy, but one of the greatest ever written, modern or ancient. You can find links to several versions of the play in the rituals document.

You can find the rituals for the event here and join the community here. The first and last days have larger rituals and we've made a small ritual for the days in-between. You can skip two of those to catch up. The idea is that you read part of the play every day and finish it on the day of the last ritual. We hope you will join us in honoring Dionysos in his many, many forms.
Projection: First Light is a platform computer game that follows the adventures of Greta, a girl living in a mythological shadow puppet world, as she embarks on a journey of self-enlightenment with the assistance of legendary heroes from each culture she explores.


Accompanied by atmospheric visuals and an ethereal soundtrack made with antique instruments used for shadow puppet performances, Projection: First Light takes players on an inclusive voyage through the history of shadow puppets as it evolves through Indonesia, China, Turkey, Greece, and 19th century England.

Early in her expedition, Greta takes control of a source of light and learns of her ability to manipulate it. Shadows become platforms and walls, other elegant and imaginative solutions irradiate puzzles, and enemies can be dispersed – as Projection: First Light explores themes of worldliness, respect and understanding.

Project: First Light is developed by Shadowplay Studios, a small indy developer based out of Australia. Although the release date is expected to be fall of 2019, you can go check out the game on Steam and their website. The game will be available on Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, and the Xbox One.
We all know the Orphic Hymns; a collection of eighty-seven short religious poems composed in either the late Hellenistic or early Roman (first or second century AD) era. They are based on the beliefs of Orphism, a mystery cult or religious philosophy which claimed descent from the teachings of the mythical hero Orpheus. The Mysteries were mostly connected to Demeter, Persephone, life after death and reincarnation. From the Orphic Hymns also comes a list of which incenses to offer to which deity. For all Orphic Hymns, go here.

Beyond the Orphic Hymns, there are the Orphic Fragments, poems and lines connected to the Orphic school of thought. Many of these are a true treasure-trove of information and religious material. As I'm swamped today, I am leaving you with one of these poems on queue.

"Zeus is the first. Zeus the thunderer, is the last.
Zeus is the head. Zeus is the middle, and by Zeus all things were fabricated.
Zeus is male, Immortal Zeus is female.
Zeus is the foundation of the earth and of the starry heaven.
Zeus is the breath of all things. Zeus is the rushing of indefatigable fire.
Zeus is the root of the sea: He is the Sun and Moon.
Zeus is the king; He is the author of universal life;
One Power, one Dæmon, the mighty prince of all things:
One kingly frame, in which this universe revolves,
Fire and water, earth and ether, night and day,
And Metis (Counsel) the primeval father, and all-delightful Eros (Love).
All these things are United in the vast body of Zeus.
Would you behold his head and his fair face,
It is the resplendent heaven, round which his golden locks
Of glittering stars are beautifully exalted in the air.
On each side are the two golden taurine horns,
The risings and settings, the tracks of the celestial gods;
His eyes the sun and the Opposing moon;
His unfallacious Mind the royal incorruptible Ether."

The cost of entry fees to 24 archaeological sites, museums and monuments in Greece will increase after the Central Archaeological Council (CAC) approved proposals put forward by a working team responsible for determining the new pricing system for sites across the country. According to the proposals, the 2-1 euro ticket category will be replaced by the 3-2 euro class, while there will be an increase in fees in a total of 24 archaeological sites, museums and monuments and a reduction in five sites. The new costs will take effect from 2020 onwards.


The new proposals presented to the CAC took into account statistics and revenue from tickets, the state of the sites, their location, their popularity, the completion of NSRF projects and, in particular, their visitation rate.

More specifically, there will be increases in ticket prices in archaeological sites and museums, such as the National Archaeological Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, where the full and the reduced ticket of 10 and 5 euros, respectively, will become 12 and 6 euros.

-In the Archaeological site of the Ancient Agora and Museum of the Attalos Lodge, as well as in the Archaeological Site of Sounio, the entry ticket will cost 10 euros from 8 euros (4 euros reduced) (5 euros reduced).

-The Archaeological Site of the Roman Agora and the Archaeological Site of Dodoni from 6 euros (3 euros reduced) to 8 euros (4 euros reduced).

-In the Archaeological Site of Hadrian’s Library, the Archaeological Museum of Ioannina, the Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera, the Diachronous Museum of Larissa and the White Tower from 4 euros (2 euros reduced) to 6 euros (3 reduced).

I'll be completely honest and say these prices should probably be doubled. The new prices, not the old ones. Why? Because Greece is strapped for cash, and the archaeology budget could use a boost. So many sites are struggling, so many research is currently unfunded--and all of it could increase our understanding and awareness of ancient Hellenic life and worship. I live in The Netherlands where tickets to anything cost $5 - $50, and the $5 things are things no sane person would spend money on. It helps fund these things. It's healthy economy. 

The ancient sites are Greece's main draw--and biggest source of revenue. Make use of it. Pour the money back into restauration and research. Create more sites. Repeat. It won't solve all issues, but a $2 boost is going to solve even less.