The deme of Erkhia has many sacrifices, and Elaion has pretty much adpted them all. One of these sacrifices--or actually two of them--are on Poseideon 16. Both are to Zeus. The first to Zeus without epithet, the other to Zeus Horios, 'of the boundary stones'. Will you join us for this combined sacrifice on December 28, at 10 am, EST?

Zeus Horios is responsible for the preservation of boundary stones. In order to mark their territories (especially between public and private), the ancient Hellenes relied on boundary markers, called 'horoi'. A horos (χορός) was usually a stele of marble or limestone, no larger than a meter high, rectangular and roughly hewn except for the upper front face, which was dressed smooth for inscribed letters. It was usually inscribed, sometimes with just the word 'horos', or sometimes specifying the territory (e.g., 'horos of the sanctuary'), or even the name of a deity. Some horoi were inscribed in the first person; a famous horos stone found by the ancient Athenia agora reads 'I am the horos of the Agora'. Specificity and clarity were crucial; passersby needed to know what sort of land they were entering because a boundary marker's message was enforced with a legal enforceable meaning.

The Arkhian calendar describes the sacrifices as such:

"[...] on the sixteenth [of Poseideon], for Zeus, on the rock or rocky place at Erchia, a sheep, no taking away. For Zeus Horios, at Erchia, a piglet, no taking away."

'No taking away' in this case means to consume the sacrifice on the spot. No part of it can be carried away from the site. So the skins and bones, as well as some of the meat are to be burned and the rest of the meat eaten, not sold or stored. Some scientists and archaeologists have come to call this type of sacrifice 'Ou phora', after Scott Scullion's definition.

In Sullivan's definition of 'Olympian' and 'Chthonian', 'Chthonian' was extended to include not only sacrifices in which the victim was destroyed, but also all sacrifices from which the meat could not be carried away and had to be consumed on the spot. He connects ou phora sacrifices to Chthonian deities or heroes, but this theory has been widely debated because it simply does not seem to resonate with other knowledge we have of these divinities and Their cults.

While boundary stones are not that important anymore in current times, we still want trespassers to stay off our property (burglars, anyone?), and we want our personal, emotional, boundaries to be observed as well by the people we meet. So will you join us in honouring Zeus Horios come Monday 28 december at 10 am? The community for the event can be found here and the ritual here.