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.

"In a conversation with a professor of Imperial (Roman) Literature a reference was made to an Hellenic having said that "the greatest gift you can give your ancestors is to change nothing they have handed down to you". I'm struggling to locate a source, let alone a name for the speaker, and as there is not a large Hellenic scholarship community near me, you are the only person who comes to mind who would likely know the answer. Please also tell me if this is misquoted or never existed at all, as there would at least then be closure."

I've tried to hunt down the source of your quote and I've also send it to Robert Clark, who co-runs Elaion with me as he is a walking encyclopedia on things like this. We can't find the quote--let alone the source--anywhere and neither of us recalls ever having read it. So I am sorry, I can't help you. I'm putting it up here as well in the hope one of my readers recognizes it.

I would like to add, as a personal note, that the spirit of the quote is much more Roman than Hellenic. Ancestors in ancient Hellas were honoured and 'kept alive' through remembering their lives and recounting their good qualities and brave actions, but they were very much considered a thing of the past. Innovation was a great Hellenic good and I personally don't feel that, generally speaking, the ancient Hellenes would have held the sentiment that things must remain as they are in spirit of the ancestors. My knowledge about Roman culture is limited but as it is much more 'stately' and there was a system of supreme power in place through a line of emperors, the quote seems to match that thinking much better. The Romans had more of a 'masterplan' to conquer the world and emperors were all but revered as Gods; honouring them by not changing a thing makes more sense.


"I'm 16 and I heard girls in ancient Greece were already married then. Do you think that is a good thing?"

Women in ancient Hellas got married young for a reason: very few people lived longer than forty/fifty years old. At sixty you were ancient. Because many children died in childbirth, and the risks are greater either mother or child died during it the older the woman was, it was important women started having babies early. We live longer today, and childbirth is a lot less risky. We also don't need to have ten kids anymore to make sure the family line survives. Respectively speaking, we still marry around the same timeline point in life (about a third in), but because we live longer, we are older when we do. I think this is a good thing: it allows us to get educated, to build careers, and to mature before we have children or make other important life choices. At sixteen, the brain isn't even close to being fully developed and hormones cause us to make rash decisions we might later regret. Giving young people time to develop before forcing them to make life defining decisions is a very good thing to me. I wish we could do that better in the educational system as well.


"Are there still people in this world who considered themselves better than the Gods?"

Yes, I am sure there are, but I think you're asking to follow up with the question about if the Gods will punish them for it, like in mythology? That depends. I suppose all people who do not believe in the Gods/a God perceive themselves as better than Gods. But I don't think any God punishes them for it, or the world would be a very different place. So, I suppose we can assume that, in order to be punished by the Gods, one has to believe in the Gods. Those who believe in the Gods would be hesitant to go against Them, I feel, but they might.


"Do the Gods judge criminals? And will They punish the president?"

I'm assuming we're talking Trump here? Crimes tend to be frowned upon by the Gods. They disrupt social order--and social order is required for people to sacrifice continuously and faithfully. Miasma will have to be cleansed from the criminal before he or she can resume worship, for example. In most cases, the human judicial system, coupled by rites of purification sufficed. Gods usually leave human affairs up to humans, but They might assist in helping catch the criminal, or They could be petitioned to take vengeance on criminals who escaped that judicial system.

As for Trump: no, I don't think They will. Trumps presidency is a human affair. The Gods gave us the freedom of choice, and we chose. Same with Erdogan, same with all other right-wing parties and people being elected into office and parliament around the globe. Within the democratic rules of society, they were chosen. And like all ancient Hellenic tyrants, the Gods will probably leave them be. Humans deal with humans, sadly. this is our mess to get through and clean up.