I have to take the cat to the vet and I'm swamped, so I am going to leave you with some words of beauty today: Pindar's Paean VI, for the Delphians to Pytho. The poem was performed at Delphi for a festival called the 'theoxenia', at which Gods were entertained.


O golden Pytho, that art famed for thine oracles! I beseech thee, by the Olympian Zeus, with the Graces and Aphrodite, to welcome me at this sacred season as a prophet of the tuneful Pierides. For, beside the water of Castalia, with its outlet of brass, I have no sooner heard a sound of dancing reft of men, than I have come to relieve the need of the townsmen, and of mine own honour.
I have obeyed my dear heart, even as a son obeyeth his kind mother, and have come down to Apollo's grove, the home of garlands and of banquets, where, beside the shadowy centre of the earth, the maidens of Delphi fiill often beat the ground with nimble step, while they sing the son of Leto.
And, whence the strife of the immortals arose, of this the gods are able to prompt sage poets; while, for mortal men, it is impossible to find it.

The 21th of Metageitnion, Hera Thelkhinia was honoured at Erkhia. Hera Thelkhinia, Goddess of Charm. Will you join us in honouring Her on September 2nd, at the usual 10 am EDT?


We know very little about this epithet of Hera, and it is often confused (including by yours truly) with 'Telkineia', missing the  'H'. The epithet Telkinios (Telkineia) is used for Apollon, Hera, and the Nymphs. It is linked to the island of Rhodes and either to metalworking or storm, at this point in time I truly am not sure. Metalworking would make sense, after all Hephaistos is the son of Hera.

In the Erkhian calendar, however, the epithet of Hera is Thelchiniai (ΘΕΛΧΙΝΙΑΙ), with an 'H'. The only references to this epithet is ‘charm’ and ‘charming’, not metal working. H. W. Parke, in Festivals of the Athenians' writes on page 179:

“Hera besides her festival with him [Zeus] had a sacrifice alone on the 20th of the same month under a title which seems to mean ‘Goddess of Charm’ (Thelchinia). So in Erkhia she may have included in her sphere the functions of the classical Aphrodite who was not worshipped in the deme."

The ritual for this sacrifice can be found here, and you can join our community page here.
I've always been a little intrigued with the two-time creation of humanity in Hellenic mythology. While Christianity's end of humanity by way of deluge is much more well-known, and everyone knows about Noah and his ark, humanity in Hellenic mythology also ended and was revived. Story time:

After the Titanomachy--the war in which the Olympic Gods took control from the elder generation of Gods, the Titans--ended, Zeus claimed His throne as rightful King to the Deathless Ones. Humanity did not yet exist. While most Titans were locked away in Tartarus by Zeus, the Titans Prometheus and Epimetheus--who were brothers--had been either neutral or on the side of Zeus during the Titan War and were therefor given a task. Prometheus was given the task of creating man and Epimetheus was ordered to give good qualities to all creatures of earth. So did Prometheus and Epimetheus. Prometheus shaped man out of clay and Athena breathed life into him. Epimetheus spread swiftness, cunning, fur and wings but ran out of gifts when he came to man. Prometheus remedied the situation by allowing men to walk upright and gave them fire.

It soon became apparent that Prometheus loved man more than the Olympians. When Zeus decreed that man must give sacrifice to the Deathless Ones, Prometheus stood ready to aid humanity. He butchered an animal and divided it into piles; the bones and fat formed one of them, the good meat wrapped in the hide of the animal, the other. Zeus vowed that he would abide by the choice of sacrifice He made now, and picked the tasty looking pile of bones. Zeus was angered but could not take back his vow: from that point on, the Gods would get the fat and the bones from a sacrificed animal. The humans were entitled to the meat and the hide. What He could take back was the gift of fire, and this He did.

Mankind suffered greatly without fire and Prometheus traveled either to the sun or Olympus to reclaim fire for his beloved mankind. This, of course, angered Zeus even further and so He devised a plan. First, He imprisoned Prometheus. He ordered Hermes to tie Prometheus to a mountain and had a giant eagle come every day to eat his liver. As an immortal, Prometheus' liver grew back over night so his torment was endless. Before Prometheus had been taken prisoner, however, he had told his brother Epimetheus never to accept a gift from Zeus, as Zeus' wrath would undoubtedly also extend to the mortal race He had created.

And Zeus, indeed, was not done with His punishment. After imprisoning Prometheus, Zeus assembled the Theoi. He told Hēphaistos to fashion a woman out of water and clay. Hēphaistos did and brought the statue before Zeus. Zeus then asked Aphrodite to bless the woman with a beauteous face and feminine whiles. He asked Athena to dress her modestly and give her the ability to weave and craft, Demeter taught her to tend the garden. From Apollon, she received the ability to make music and sing. All Gods gave her treacherous gifts, including Hera, who made her curious, and Hermes, who made her cunning and quick of the tongue. Then, Zeus named her Pandôra (Πανδωρα), All-Giving, and breathed life into her. He then bade Hermes to deliver her to Epimetheus, along with a vase (pithos) Pandôra was never allowed to open.

Epimetheus had been warned by Prometheus never to open or accept a gift from Zeus, but he laid eyes on Pandôra's beauty and fell in love too deeply to reject her. He took her into his home amongst men and wedded her right away. Pandôra loved Epimetheus, because he was a good man and good husband. She worked tirelessly to please him and helped him keep the home. Yet, she found herself drawn to the pithos she was told never to open. Her eyes would wander to it constantly and Hera's gift eventually prevented her from holding to her promise.

On a day when Epimetheus was away from the home, Pandôra decided to risk a sneak peak at the contents she had fantasized about so often. She pulled the lid off of the pithos and out flew dark spirits of disease, death and the destruction of humanity. Pandôra hastened to seal the jar but managed to trap only Hope (Elpis)--by Zeus' decree or by mere accident.

Mankind was now plagued with illness, with failing crops, with all that makes life hard. But they had Hope and soon, Pyrrha (Fire) was born to Epimetheus and Pandôra. Prometheus had a son, Deukalion, with Pronoia, an Okeanid nymph of Mount Parnassos in Phokis. They lived in the time of the Bronze Race of Man, a corrupt age in which the Gods were rarely worshipped. Zeus was angered by their hubris and decided to end this race of man. He sent a great deluge, killing everyone but Deukalion and Pyrrha, who were warned of the flood by Prometheus. They did not build a boat, but clung to a chest, eventually sailing to the mountain peaks of Parnassos. 

Once Zeus caused the water to recede, Deukalion and Pyrrha travelled to the oracle of Delphi and begged to learn how they could bring back mankind. They were told that they needed to cast the bones of their mother over their shoulders, and they understood that they needed to pick up stoned and toss them, because Gaia, the earth, is everyone's mother. Where the pebbles landed, humans rose from the earth. Deukalion created the men and Pyrrha the women, and from their efforts, humankind once more arose to populate the earth.

There are more flood myths in Hellenic mythology--Philemon and Baucis, for example--but none as all-consuming as this one, sent by Zeus. This severe example acts as a warning to mankind: the ultimate display of destructive power by the Gods should mankind disobey Them. In this case, human kind was unethical, did not give to the Gods, and overstepped their bounds. Autochthonous births (αὐτός χθών, 'earth-born') are also well-known in Hellenic mythology. Many ancient Hellenic kings traced their line back to Gaia in this way. These two themes give us an ethical standard to live up to, explain our place in the universe, and connect us to the divine in a beautiful and enlightening way. These are the major reasons why I enjoy this myth so much.
On August 31th, we will host a PAT ritual for a sacrifice originally performed at Erkhia. This is a sacrifice to the Heroines. Will you be joining us at 10 AM EDT?


The ancient Erkhians honoured the Heroines twice a year, once on the 19th of Metageitnion, and once on the 14th of Pyanepsion. Certain heroines--like Basile--were worshipped separately from the group as well, most likely because they were local heroines instead of universally accepted heroines like Atalanta, who hunted the Calydonian boar, slew Centaurs, defeated Peleus in wrestling, or Kallisto, who was an Arcadian princess and hunting companion of the Goddess Artemis. The Heroines received a white sheep in sacrifice, of which the meat was partly sacrificed and partly eaten by those who came out to sacrifice. The skin of the animal went towards the priestess.

Heroes and heroines have a special place in Hellenismos, as they had in ancient Hellas. These were humans--most with at least a part divine heritage--who were considered so brave, so skillful, so extraordinary in their lifetime that they became revered. Some were priests or priestesses of a temple, some excelled in battle, others were skilled healers or good rulers. Once they passed to the realm of Hades, their names were remembered at least once a year on a special occasion, because the ancient Hellenes believed that if the name and deeds of a person were remembered, they would live forever and potentially look out for those they had looked out for before.

Archaeological evidence suggests that hero worship was closer to Khthonic sacrifices in execution than Ouranic ones the further back in time you go; especially in the archaic period, it seems that hero worship consisted of destructive sacrifices--sometimes in the form of a holókaustos where the entire animal was burned, sometimes in a sacrifice where only a part (most often 'a ninth' of the animal) was burned and the rest remained on the altar for the heroes to eat from until gone. The sacrifices were generally burned in an offering pit known as a bothros. The food offered to heroes consisted of meat, blood, and 'food eaten by men' like grains, fruits and other every-day dishes. These were usually offered to the heroes on a table--known as a trapeza--and the heroes were sometimes offered chairs or a bench to sit on. As time went on, the living began to eat part of the meal laid out for the heroes, joining them in celebration.

You can find the ritual here, and join our community page here. We have added some of the main Hellenic Goddesses to the ritual as well. Feel free to add more of our Goddesses and heroines to your own ritual, especially if you feel close to Them! This ritual will be a celebration of the feminine power in our religion! 
The International Astronomical Union recognizes 88 constellations, ranging from the giant water-serpent Hydra to tiny Crux (the Southern Cross). These are largely based on the mythology of the ancient Hellenes, and I have done a long-spanning series on them on my blog. You can read about the mythological origins of each of the constellations and planets here. Interesting enough, the constellations the ancient Hellenes saw share remarkable similarities with the constellations of the oldest living cultures on the planet.

One of the most easily recognizable constellations is Orion. Orion is constantly pursuing the seven sisters of the Pleiades. In the sky, Orion is defending himself from the charging bull Taurus, represented by the V-shaped Hyades star cluster. The Hyades are daughters of Atlas and sisters of the Pleiades.

In Wiradjuri Aboriginal traditions of central New South Wales, Baiame is the creation ancestor, seen in the sky as Orion – nearly identical in shape to his Greek counterpart. Baiame trips and falls over the horizon as the constellation sets, which is why he appears upside down. The Pleiades are called Mulayndynang in Wiradjuri, representing seven sisters being pursued by the stars of Orion.

In Aboriginal traditions of the Great Victoria Desert, Orion is also a hunter, Nyeeruna. He is pursuing the Yugarilya sisters of the Pleiades but is prevented from reaching them by their eldest sister, Kambugudha (the Hyades).

In Greek mythology, the scorpion that killed Orion sits opposite the hunter in the night sky as the constellation Scorpius. They were placed on opposite sides of the sky by the gods to keep them away from one other. A comparable relationship can be found in the traditions of the Torres Strait Islanders. The culture hero, Tagai, killed his 12-man fishing crew (Zugubals) in a rage for breaking traditional law, before they all ascended into the sky. Tagai is standing on his canoe, formed by the stars of Scorpius. The Zugubals are represented by two groups of six stars: the belt/scabbard stars of Orion (Seg) and the Pleiades (Usiam). Tagai placed the Zugubals on the opposite side of the sky to keep them far away from him.

Another famous constellation is Gemini, the twins, denoted by the bright stars Castor and Pollux. Many Aboriginal groups also view these stars as brothers. In the Wergaia traditions of western Victoria, they are the brothers Yuree and Wanjel, hunters who pursue and kill the kangaroo Purra. In eastern Tasmania, the constellation Gemini represents two ancestor men who created fire, walking on the road of the Milky Way – similar in orientation to the Greek constellation.

Bordering the zodiac near Sagittarius lies the constellation Aquila, the eagle. In Hellenic mythology, Aquila carried the thunderbolts of Zeus. In Wiradjuri traditions, Aquila is Maliyan, the Wedge-tailed Eagle. In some Hellenic and Wiradjuri traditions, the star Altair is the eagle’s eye – despite being seen in different orientations.

The Emu in the Sky, seen by Aboriginal groups across Australia, is composed of the dark spaces in the Milky Way. The rising of the celestial emu at dusk informs observers about the bird’s breeding behaviour. Across the Pacific, the Indigenous Tupi people of Brazil see the same shape as a rhea, a large, flightless bird that is native to South America and related to the emu. The rhea’s behaviour is nearly identical to that of the emu and the Tupi and Aboriginal traditions are remarkably similar.

We don’t yet know is why different cultures have such similar views about constellations. Does it relate to particular ways we humans perceive the world around us? Is it due to our similar origins? Or is it something else? The quest for answers continues.

Source.
The Roman Villa of Salar had an exceptional moment with the discovery of a third Venus. The recent discovery, during the archaeological campaign being undertaken in the area, represents a turning point for this site which, since its discovery in 2004, has become one of the reference points for archaeology in the Spanish province of Granada. I try not to post Roman things, but since Roman statues were often copied from Hellenic ones, I'm making an exception.



The third Venus - which is in a perfect state of preservation - complements the other two similar pieces found in 2012 and 2013. However, this sculpture is larger than those previously found in the villa, which houses Roman remains dating between the first and fifth centuries AD. The 'Capitoline Venus' measures around 60 centimetres in its full size and reaffirms the historical importance of the Roman remains of Salar.

The discovery of the Roman villa in this western municipality came about as a result of the work begun by the Granada Provincial Council to build a wastewater treatment plant.

Click here for source and images.
On the sixteenth of Metageitnion, so on 10 am EDT on the 28th of August, we honor Kourotrophos (κουροτρόφος, child nurturer) and the two Goddesses who protect women and children, Hekate and Artemis with sacrifice. Elaion will be organizing another Practicing Apart Together ritual, which I would love to have you join.


The Kourotrophoi are (mostly) female deities who watched over growing children--Gaea, Artemis, Hekate, Eirênê, Aglauros and Pandrosos, especially. Offerings to them are known from the demos Erkhia, but duplicates similar offerings on the Acropolis of Athens. Especially at Erkhia, it varied per sacrifice which Kourotrophoi was/were sacrificed to. In this ritual, we honor Kourotrophos Herself, a deity whose main function was to watch over nursing children and their mothers. We also honor Artemis and Hekate.

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]

You can find the ritual here and join the community here.
A reader recently reminded me of a hymn to Poseidon hidden away in Aristophanes's The Knights. It's sung by two of the characters and is quite lovely, so I thought I'd share. Thank you for the inspiration!

Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord, protector and lover of horses!
Lover of the brazen clang and thud of the horses’ hooves, lover of the horses’ neighing. Lover, too, of the swift war ships with their blue emblems of rams at the prow!
Oh, God, whose heart gladdens at the sight of the rich booty those ships carry! A heart that also gladdens at the sight of young men in contest, particularly when they climb proudly upon their chariots chasing their Fate -victory or defeat, no matter!
Come, God of the horse, come now and join our dance!
Poseidon, God of the golden trident, come join us!
God, chief of the dolphins!
God whose name is praised at Sounion!
God, son of Kronos, Geraestus!
God, most loved by the folk of Phormion to whom you granted a naval victory!
God most loved by all the citizens of Athens at this hour of their naval need!
A biannual event started on the 15th of Metageitnion at Eleusis: the Eleusinia. This year the festival starts on August 27. Will you join us for the first and last day celebrations of it on August 27 and August 30 at the usual 10 am EDT?


From the 15th day to the 18th day of Metageitnion, the Eleusinia took place. It was a festival that served as a prelude to the Mysteries and consisted mostly of sporting events. It was not part of the Eleusian Mysteries, however. The Eleusinia was held on the 4th year of every Olympiad, and on a lesser scale on the 2nd year. The festival included a religious procession and sacrifices on the first day, as well as games the second and third. The winner's prize was a quantity of grain. This is noted in Pindar's Scholia:

"It is celebrated there [in Eleusis], the agon in honor of Kore and Demeter, which is called Eleusinia; the prize consists of barley grains... this is the first agon ever celebrated. In fact, ...after Demeter found the fruit of strength, men made show of it and performed in this competition..." [Ol. 150a/b]

The first day boasted at least a general procession but there are reports of a procession of the youths and a sacrifice on their part of oxen as well. This could have been on the first or third day, we are not sure. We are sure, however, that they were held at Eleusis, as were the games. Eleusis boasted a stadium, a race track and also a theater, after all. In modern times all these are now lost due to the construction of factories.

We know from several sources that the main sporting events were running races, in particular the stadion and the race in arms, but we also know of other competitions: pancratium, pentathlon at the Megala ('Greater' Eleusinia), diaulos and horse racing at the Megala, dolichos, boxing, a horse race and a chariot race. there was even a musical competition and an 'ancestral competition', although we are not entirely sure what that entailed.

A list of expenditures for the celebrations informs us that the competitions were essentially the same, but at the Megala the prizes were most valuable. A report drawn up by the treasurers of Eleusis remembered uses of the wheat grown in the sacred plain of Rharos: among those mentioned, there are also the medimnai awarded to the winners at the Eleusinian competitions: 70 to the winners of the Mikra, and 260 to those of the Megala.

Will you join us for this event? The rituals can be found here and the event page can be found here.
A spectacular drone video of the Temple of Poseidon captures the glory of the ancient monument situated at the southern tip of Attica, in cape Sounio. The temple is one of the major monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. Its remains are perched on the headland, surrounded on three sides by the sea. It was constructed in 444–440 BC. This was during the ascendancy of the Athenian statesman Pericles, who also rebuilt the Parthenon in Athens. It was built on the ruins of a temple dating from the Archaic period. It is perched above the sea at a height of almost 60 metres (200 ft).

The design of the temple is a typical hexastyle, i.e., it had a front portico with six columns. Only some columns of the Sounion temple stand today, but when intact it would have closely resembled the contemporary and well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus beneath the Acropolis, which may have been designed by the same architect. As with all Greek temples, the Poseidon building was rectangular, with a colonnade on all four sides. The total number of original columns was 36: 15 columns still stand today. The columns are of the Doric Order and were made of locally quarried white marble.

On 12 Metageitnion, two separate rites were held, one in Erkhia and one in Athens. The first was in honor of Demeter, the other in honor of Zeus Polieus, Athena Polias, and Apollon Lykeios. On 24 August, at 10:00 AM EDT, we will combine both rites into a single PAT ritual.


Demeter, we all know, and she is not listed with a specific epithet. Zeus, Athena, and Apollon, however, are. Zeus Polieus and Athena Polias were protectors of the city. That is literally the translation of their epithet: 'of the city'. Apollon Lykeios means 'of the wolves'.

From the Erkhian ritual calendar, we know that the sacrifices to Apollon, Zeus, and Athena were not to be removed from the site and were thus to be eaten on the spot after part of the offering was sacrificed. In all cases, this offering was a white sheep, male for the male Gods, female for the female Gods. Demeter also got a female sheep, but her entry does not have a note to not remove the meat from the location, meaning the meat could potentially be taken away to be eaten later, or sold at shops founded especially for the purpose.

Will you be joining us in honoring these Gods on 24 August, at 10:00 AM EDT? The ritual can be found here, and you can join our community here.

I'm absolutely swamped right now, so I am going to leave you with some mythology. In this case, Stories From Old Greece And Rome. From the Preface:

"Perhaps no other stories have ever been told so often or listened to with so much pleasure as the classic tales of ancient Greece. For many ages they have been a source of delight to young people and old, to the ignorant and the learned, to all who love to hear about and contemplate things mysterious, beautiful, and grand. They have become so incorporated into our language and thought, and so interwoven with our literature, that we could not do away with them now if we would. They are a portion of our heritage from the distant past, and they form perhaps as important a part of our intellectual life as they did of that of the people among whom they originated. That many of these tales should be read by children at an early age no intelligent person will deny. Sufficient reason for this is to be found in the real pleasure that every child derives from their perusal: and in the preparation of this volume no other reason has been considered. I have here attempted to tell a few stories of Jupiter and his mighty company and of some of the old Greek heroes, simply as stories, nothing more. I have carefully avoided every suggestion of interpretation. Attempts at analysis and explanation will always prove fatal to a child's appreciation and enjoyment of such stories. To inculcate the idea that these tales are merely descriptions of certain natural phenomena expressed in narrative and poetic form, is to deprive them of their highest charm; it is like turning precious gold into utilitarian iron: it is changing a delightful romance into a dull scientific treatise. The wise teacher will take heed not to be guilty of such an error."


This post was not sponsored by Coca-Cola, and to be honest, I prefer Pepsi, but I came across this and I just had to share. Coca-Cola Greece has launched a bottle design celebrating the Greek island of Crete’s rich culture and history. Yes, really.


The limited-edition bottle was inspired by Cretan legends like the myths of the Minotaur and Theseus, with the labyrinth and Ariadne’s thread, the murals of Knossos Palace, and the ancient ritual sport of bull-leaping in Crete, taurokathapsia. The aim of the campaign is to both celebrate the island’s rich history and Minoan civilization, but also to promote Crete as an international tourist destination. The new, limited-edition Coca-Cola Crete bottles and ads were printed by Lyhnia.

"We were inspired by Cretan values, tradition, and history,” said Diana Birba, marketing manager for Coca-Cola Greece, Cyprus, and Malta. “By depicting them in our first collectible Coca-Cola bottle for a specific region in Greece, we aim to promote Crete as a tourist destination, offer visitors the opportunity to take a unique piece of modern art memorabilia home with them, and celebrate 10 years of making our products here in Crete."

Limited-edition bottles are already available in stores and retail outlets in Crete and Greece as well as in select retail outlets and the traveling Coca-Cola Pop-Up store. The campaign also included collectible items and memorabilia, sold this summer during a two-week tour, from July 24th until August 10th. Coca-Cola has also planned an international summer promotion that aims to bring tourists to Crete by giving 50 lucky competition winners from 10 countries the chance to enjoy a unique vacation experience in Crete, with exciting experiences and entertainment. The design of the limited-edition Coca-Cola Crete packaging was realized by Asterias Creative Design, a communication and design agency based in Athens. Coca-Cola Greece has a production and bottling plant in Heraklion. The plant celebrates 10 years of activity in 2018.

"The operation of our unit in Heraklion for 10 years has boosted our multiannual presence on the island and is a very important part of our business,” said Angelica Patruba, Communications Manager, Coca-Cola Hellenic. “By designing the future, we feel great joy and honor that we are an active part of this place, contributing to trade, the economy, and society."
It's often said that ancient Hellas was the birthplace of modern medicine, but it's important to note that ancient Hellas was also the birthplace of psychology and the relations between biology and psychology. Take for, example, Hippocrates in On the Sacred Disease:

"People should know that our pleasures, happiness, laughter, and jokes from nowhere else [but the brain] and that our griefs, pains, sorrows, depressions and mourning come from the same place. And through it we think especially, and ponder, and see and hear and come to perceive both shameful things and noble things and wicked things and good things as well as sweet and bitter, at times judging them so by custom, at others by understanding what is advantageous based on distinguishing what is pleasurable and not in the right time and [that] these things are not the same to us.

By this very organ we become both sane and delirious and fears and horrors attend us sometimes at night and sometimes at day. This brings us bouts of sleeplessness and makes us mistake-prone at terrible times,  bringing thoughts we cannot follow, and deeds which are unknown, unaccustomed or untried." [14]

All right, he was very off in the part that follows (which has to do with wet brains and biological process we've long debunked), but all of this makes sense. If you find yourself struggling emotionally, remember: the ancient Hellenes already knew that it was just your brain acting up. I don't know about you, but that's a comforting thought.
Archaeologists’ discovery of a 2,200-year-old gold earring in excavations near Jerusalem’s Old City has offered a rare glimpse of life in the holy city during the early Hellenistic period, an era of the city about which very little is known. The spectacular gold earring, shaped like a horned animal, dates back to the second or third century BCE.


The earring was discovered during archaeological digs by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Tel Aviv University at the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park encircling the Old City‘s walls. Experts assess that the earring, which bears the head of a horned animal — possibly an antelope or deer — was crafted using a technique known as filigree, in which threads and tiny metal beads are used to create delicate and complex patterns, a style which first appeared in Greece during the early Hellenistic period. Similar earrings have been found across the Mediterranean, but are extremely rare in Israel. Professor Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Antiquities Authority:

“The jewelry was found inside a building that was unearthed during the excavation, dating to the early Hellenistic period—a fascinating era about which we know very little when it comes to Jerusalem. During the course of over a century of archaeological digs in the city, many small discoveries have been made from this period—mainly consisting of pottery fragments and a few coins—but hardly any remains of buildings that could be accurately dated to this period.” 

Nearby, excavators also found a gold bead with intricately embroidered ornamentation resembling a thin rope pattern, dividing the beads into two parts with six spirals on each side.
Today I got the sense I should write about Poseidon. Poseidon is the God of the Mediterranean seas, who can strike down His trident and create fresh water springs, or disastrous earthquakes. He is also the Lord of horses, presumably because of the foamy waves rising up like a herd of horses before crashing on the shore. He has made His home underwater, with his wife Amphitrite and other water creatures, many of which immortal. He's a powerful God, one of three brothers who rule the sky, the sea, and the underworld.

Claudius Aelianus (Κλαύδιος Αἰλιανός), commonly called Aelian, was born at Praeneste around 175 AD. He was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who spoke Greek so perfectly that he was called "honey-tongued" (meliglossos). He preferred Greek authors, and wrote in a slightly archaizing Greek himself. "On the Nature of Animals" (Περὶ Ζῴων Ἰδιότητος) is a collection of seventeen books. All contain brief stories of natural history, sometimes selected with an eye to conveying allegorical moral lessons, sometimes because they are just so astonishing. He also quotes other authors and in the collection, he quotes a hymn to Poseidon I'd like to share with you today. It was originally written by Arion, son of Cycleus, it seems. He wrote the poem in thanks to Poseidon for saving his life. He focusses on dolphins. It goes as follows and probably stems from the fifth century BC:


"Highest of the Gods, Lord of the sea, Poseidon of the golden trident, earth-shaker in the swelling brine, around thee the finny monsters in a ring swim and dance, with nimble flingings of their feet leaping lightly, snub-nosed hounds with bristling neck, swift runners, music-loving dolphins, sea-nurslings of the Nereid maids divine, whom Amphitrite bore, even they that carried me, a wanderer on the Sicilian mean, to the headland of Taenarum in Pelops' land, mounting meupon their humped backs as they clove the furrow of Nereus' plain, a path untrodden, when deceitful men had cast me from their sea-faring hollow ship into the purple swell of ocean."
A team of researchers led by Karl Reber of the Swiss Archaeological School in Greece and Amalia Karappaschalidou of the Evia Ephorate of Antiquities has uncovered a variety of artifacts at the sanctuary of Artemis near Amarynthos, according to The Greek Reporter.


The Artemis sanctuary was discovered in 2017 in an excavation carried out by the Swiss Archaeological School in Greece in cooperation with the Evia Ephorate of Antiquities and started 10 years ago. The new findings include embossed tiles with the inscription “Artemis” and three statue bases dating from the Hellenistic era with inscriptions dedicated to the goddess, her brother Apollon and their mother Leto. A copper and quartz object that may have been part of a larger statue was also found .The findings helped identify the buildings that were excavated over the last 10 years at the sacred site. According to ancient writings it was one of the most important sanctuaries in Evia. The previously excavated buildings are two galleries that define the temple from the east and north, as well as a sacred fountain.

The 2018 excavations started at the end of June and lasted through early August, led by Professor Karl Reber of the University of Lausanne, Director of the Swiss Archaeological School in Greece, and Amalia Karappaschalidou, Honorary Ephor of Antiquities of Evia.

The research was focused on the central site of the sanctuary to reveal the ancient temple and the altar. Significant finds in 2018, such as a copper quartz figurine, part of a statue of Artemis and a new sculpture base bearing the names of Artemis, Apollo and Leto, as well as another base, strengthen the view that the temple is in this area and is expected to be identified in the coming years.

The Swiss and Greek archaeologists also investigated the remains of earlier building phases dating from the 10th to the 7th century BC, such as an elongated building over 20 meters in length, dating back to the Early Archaic period, and resting on an arched building.

The site was the end point of an annual procession from the ancient city of Eretria. Scholars suggest the temple, which is thought to have been destroyed by a natural disaster in the first century B.C., and rebuilt in the second century A.D., helped to strengthen Eretria’s border. The excavation team also found evidence of earlier buildings at the site, dating back to the tenth century B.C.
Two clay burial containers called Larnakes, estimated from the Late Minoan era were accidentally discovered at Kentri in Ierapetra in South Crete. The coffins, estimated to be from the post-Minoan era were discovered when a farmer tried to park his vehicle in an olive grove and the land underneath collapsed.


According to sources, the clay coffins are decorated with embossed ornamentation and are in excellent condition. They contain two skeletons and about 24 vases with coloured reliefs and depictions.

Larnakes (singular Larnax) are small closed coffin, box or “ash-chest” often used as a container for human remains in Minoan culture and Greek antiquity, either a body (bent on itself) or cremated ashes.

The first larnakes appeared in Minoan times during the Aegean Bronze Age, when they took the form of ceramic coffers designed to imitate wooden chests, perhaps on the pattern of Egyptian linen chests. They were richly decorated with abstract patterns, octopuses, and scenes of hunting and cult rituals. Argyris Pantazis, deputy mayor of Local Communities, Agrarian and Tourism of Ierapetra, told cretapost:

“The positive thing is that they were not emptied by thieves and this will help archaeologists get as much information as possible. This is a great day for Ierapetra. When you see that in a 4-metre hole there are such important antiquities you feel awe."

The archaeological find came to light when a local farmer tried to park his vehicle under an olive tree. The soil was soft because of watering the olive trees and because a water pipe was broken.

"We are particularly pleased with this great archaeological discovery as it is expected to further enhance our culture and history. Indeed, this is also a response to all those who doubt that there were Minoans in Ierapetra."

Some more images and source here.
The Santorini eruption provides a fixed point for aligning the chronology of the Bronze Age in the Mediterranean, yet its exact date has been difficult to determine. Recently, an olive branch found buried under rock fragments at Santorini was used to date the eruption to between 1627 and 1600 BCE, more than a century earlier than the 1500 BCE date suggested by archaeologists. The dating was based on the assumption that the outermost ring of wood was formed just before the branch was buried alive by the eruption.


To assess whether an olive tree’s outermost ring is produced just prior to the tree’s death and can thus be used for reliable dating, Elizabetta Boaretto and colleagues analyzed the radiocarbon concentrations in 20 samples taken from a modern olive tree trunk and 11 samples taken from a living branch cut in 2013.

They found that in both cases individual samples, all of which were taken from the layer of wood nearest the bark, could vary in date by as much as 40 to 50 years. The findings suggest that olive trees do not systematically produce visible growth rings and that growth cessation of individual sections of the same tree well before its death is a common phenomenon.

The findings challenge the interpretation of the results obtained from dating the olive branch found at Santorini, which may be significant not only for the archaeological history of the Aegean, Egypt and the Levant but also for any future studies based on archaeologically preserved olive wood.
On the day of the Hene kai Nea (or sometimes, like this month, the day after), I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog and in projects and organizations related to it. I will also announce Elaion's coming PAT rituals.

Statistics:
PAT rituals for Metageitnion:
  • Metageitnion 2 - August 14 - Herakleia - in honor of Herakles at Kunosarges gymnaisium outside Athens
  • Metageitnion 12 - August 24 - Sacrifice to Zeus Polieus, Athena Polias, and Apollon Lykeios in Athens
  • Metageitnion 15-18 - Eleusinia - August 27-30 - games held on forth year of every Olympiad, and on a lesser scale on the second year.
  • Metageitnion 16 - August 28 - Sacrifice to Kourotrophos, Hekate & Artemis at Erkhia
  • Metageitnion 19 - August 31 - Sacrifice to The Heroines at Erkhia
  • Metageitnion 20 - September 2 - Sacrifice to Hera Telkhinia at Erkhia
  • Metageitnion 25 - September 6 - Sacrifice to Zeus Epoptes at Erkhia

Anything else?
Are you looking for an online shop to buy incenses and other Hellenistic basics from? Try The Hellenic Handmaid on Etsy.

Would you like to support me? Buy me a coffee.




Very few heroes in ancient Hellas had quite the impact of Herakles. Both mythologically speaking and as a practical part of the religion, Herakles has a special place and he is honored during the Herakleia. Will you honor him with us on August 14th at the usual 10 am EDT?


Herakles was conceived by Zeus upon Alkmene, as He disguised Himself as her husband, returning early from war. Alkmene accepted Him in her bed gladly, as she was happy to see her husband again. When the real Amphitryon did return later that night, Alkmene realized what had happened, and told her husband. Amphitryon accepted her in his bed, regardless, and so she became pregnant with twins, one fathered by Zeus, and one by her mortal husband.

Hera, hearing of the affair, took an instant disliking to the unborn child. When it became time for Alkmene to give birth, Hera made Zeus swear a vow that a child born in the line of Perseus on this day would become King. Zeus agreed, and Hera hurried off to delay the birth of Herakles and Iphikles, and hurry along the birth of Eurystheus (Εὐρυσθεύς), grandson of Perseus. The two had unknowingly become part of a contest of wills between Zeus and Hera, to decide who would be the hero to drive off the last of the great monsters and pave the way for the Olympians.

Eventually, Hera was tricked into allowing the children born, as She would have postponed their delivery indefinitely. Alkmene, aware of the divine spark in one of her sons, took her distance from him, but the young Herakles was taken up by Athena and taken to Hera, who did no recognize the newborn nemesis of Her candidate, and took pity on him. She fed him from Her breast, but when he suckled so hard that he caused Her pain, She realized who he was, and cast him off. Athena rescued the infant and took him back to his mortal parents. Alkmene took him back and raised him with her husband.

Herakles was a strong child, so strong, in fact, that he inadvertently killed his music teacher Linos (Λῖνος) with a lyre, for which he was tried and found not guilty. He was still made to leave the city, however. Herakles set out to perform feats of strength, starting by defeating the lion of Kithairon, which had been a bane to his stepfather for far too long. Thespios, King of Thespiae, housed Herakles for fifty days as he hunted for the lion, and every night Thespios placed one of his fifty daughters in his bed, although Herakles thought he was only sleeping with one. Herakles eventually vanquished the lion. He dressed himself in the skin, and wore the scalp as a helmet. The Gods lavished him with gifts: a sword from Hermes, bow and arrows from Apollon, a golden breastplate from Hephaistos, and a robe from Athena. His famous club he made himself at Nemea.

Next, Herakles was drawn into a war between the Thebans and the Minyans. He happened upon heralds from King Klymenos, who had won a previous battle with Thebes and now demanded tribute from them. Herakles, who had been living in Thebes, cut the ears, noses and hands off of all but one of the heralds and told the last remaining one to take them back to his king as tribute. In the battle that followed, Herakles fought bravely with the king's army, and his side eventually won, earning him his wife Megara, eldest daughter of King Kreon of Thebes.

Due to Hera's jealousy, he was stricken mad and killed the five sons he had by his wife. When he was released from his madness by a hellebore potion--provided by Antikyreus--and realized what he had done, he cried out in anguish, and went on a long journey to cleanse himself of the miasma caused by these killings. First, he visited the oracle at Delphi, who, unbeknownst to him, was whispered to by Hera. The Oracle told Herakles to serve the king of Tiryns, Eurystheus, for ten years and do everything Eurystheus told him to do. Eurystheus gladly provided Herakles with these labors--ten of them, one for each year--and eventually ended up adding two more, resulting in the Twelve Labors of Herakles.

The Herakleia (Ἡράκλεια ἐν Κυνοσάργει, Herakleia en Kynosargei) were ancient festivals commemorating the death of Herakles. In Athens, the celebration was held just outside the city walls, in a sanctuary dedicated to Herakles. His priests were drawn from the list of boys who were not full Athenian citizens (nothoi, illegitimate children, like him) and were named 'parasitoi'. The Attic cults of Herakles were often closely connected with youth: at several of his cult sites there was a gymnasion attached, and there was a mythological tradition (perhaps originating in Boeotia) that after Herakles died he was taken up to Olympus, where he married Hebe, the personification of youth. Because of this, Herakles is sometimes worshipped as a God and sometimes as a dead hero.

In Thebes, the center of the cult of Herakles, the festivities lasted a number of days and consisted of various athletic and musical contests (agones), as well as sacrifices. They were celebrated in the gymnasium of Iolaus, the nephew and eromenos of Herakles, and were known as the Iolaeia. The winners were awarded brass tripods.

Will you join us in honoring Herakles on this day? You can join the community here and find the ritual here.