This is not a sponsored post. Let's start with that. I'm just posting because it looks good! I recently stumbled upon Sanuk Games's kickstarter for "Mythic Battles: Pantheon - The Videogame".


"Mythic Battles: Pantheon is a tightly crafted turn-based strategy game where you play as Olympian Gods and lead the greatest heroes, monsters and warriors to ever live in Ancient Greece. It is based on a board game published by Monolith Board Games that, itself, was a KickStarter sensation, with more than 13,000 backers in a first campaign and more than 10,000 in a second campaign, raking in more than $3.7 million of pledges overall. 

It will bring the rich universe of this board game to life with state-of-the-art visuals and animations, while relying on its solid, proven gameplay. The mighty Titans awoke and unleashed a massive attack on Olympus. They were ultimately defeated but the world was ravaged, and the surviving Olympians became mere mortals. As the former Gods awake to a broken world, Mythic Battles: Pantheon begins their adventure through Olympus, Styx and the Labyrinth of Minos to regain the glory left decimated by the wrath of the Titans. 

Playing as Gods such as Zeus and Athena, alongside an army of heroes such as Achilles and Hercules and monsters such as the Hydra and Medusa, players will fight to regain their lost status and become the king of the Gods."

"Mythic Battles: Pantheon" will be released on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It will will offer solo play against the AI as well as online multiplayer game sessions.

Sanuk Games is a 15-years-old independent game studio based in France and in Thailand, with a team of 18 skilled and experienced professionals. Sanuk Games shipped over 70 games on almost all systems over the years, both as an indie and as a work-for-hire studio with 3rd party publishers. For more information, please visit https://www.sanukgames.com.

Back the Kickstarter here.

Theokritos was a Hellenic bucolic poet who flourished in Syracuse, Kos and Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. His surviving work can mostly be found within an old compendium of 30 poems known as the "Idylls of Theocritus," Many of these works, however, are no longer attributed to the poet. In "Idyll 1" Thyrsis sings to a goatherd about how Daphnis, the mythical herdsman, having defied the power of Aphrodite, dies rather than yielding to a passion the Goddess has inflicted on him. It's a lovely song and I would like to share it with you today.


"‘Tis Thyrsis sings, of Etna, and a rare sweet voice hath he.
Where were ye, Nymphs, when Daphnis pined? ye Nymphs, O where were ye?
Was it Peneius’ pretty vale, or Pindus’ glens? ‘twas never
Anápus’ flood nor Etna’s pike nor Acis’ holy river.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

When Daphnis died the foxes wailed and the wolves they wailed full sore,
The lion from the greenward wept when Daphnis was no more.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

O many the lusty steers at his feet, and may the heifers slim,
Many the claves and many the kine that made their moan for him.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

Came Hermes first, from the hills away, and said “O Daphnis tell,
“Who is’t that fretteth thee, my son? whom lovest thou so well?”

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

The neatherds came, the shepherds came, and the goatherds him beside,
All fain to hear what ail’d him; Priápus came and cried
“Why peak and pine, unhappy wight, when thou mightest bed a bride?
“For there’s nor wood nor water but hath seen her footsteps flee –

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

“In search o’ thee. O a fool-in-love and a feeble is here, perdye!
“Neatherd, forsooth? ‘tis goatherd now, or ‘faith, ‘tis like to be;
“When goatherd in the rutting-time the skipping kids doth scan,
“His eye grows soft, his eye grows sad, because he’s born a man; –

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

“So you, when ye see the lasses laughing in gay riot,
“Your eye grows soft, your eye grows sad, because you share it not.”
But never a word said the poor neathérd, for a bitter love bare he;
And he bare it well, as I shall tell, to the end that was to be.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

But and the Cyprian came him to, and smiled on him full sweetly –
For thou she fain would foster wrath, she could not choose but smile –
And cried “Ah, braggart Daphnis, that wouldst throw Love so featly!
“Thou’rt thrown, methinks, thyself of Love’s so grievous guile.”

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

Then out he spake; “O Cypris cruel, Cypris vengeful yet,
“Cypris hated of all flesh! think’st all my sun be set?
“I tell thee even ‘mong the dead Daphnis shall work thee ill: –

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“Men talk of Cypris and the hind; begone to Ida hill,
“Begone to hind Anchises; sure bedstraw there doth thrive
“And fine oak-trees and pretty bees all humming at the hive.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“Adonis too is ripe to woo, for a ‘tends his sheep o’ the lea
“And shoots the hare and a-hunting goes of all the beasts there be.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

And then I’ld have thee take thy stand by Diomed, and say
“’I slew the neatherd Daphis; fight me thou to-day.’

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“But ‘tis wolf farewell and fox farewell and bear o’ the mountain den,
“Your neatherd fere, your Daphnis dear, ye’ll never see agen,
“By glen no more, by glade no more. And ‘tis o farewell to thee
“Sweet Arethuse, and all pretty watérs down Thymbris vale that flee.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“For this, O this is that Daphnis, your kine to field did bring,
“This Daphnis he, led stirk and steer to you a-watering.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“And Pan, O Pan, whether at this hour by Lycee’s mountain-pile
“Or Maenal steep thy watch thou keep, come away to the Sicil isle,
“Come away from the knoll of Helicè and the howe lift high i ’ the lea,
“The howe of Lycáon’s child, the howe that Gods in heav’s envye;

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

“Come, Master, and take this pretty pipe, this pipe of honey breath,
“Of wax well knit round lips to fit; for Love hales mé to my death.

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

“Bear violets now ye briers, ye thistles violets too;
“Daffodilly may hang on the juniper, and all things go askew;
“Pines may grow figs now Daphnis dies, and hind tear hound if she will,
“And the sweet nightingále be outsung I ’ the dale by the scritch-owl from the hill.”

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

Such words spake he, and he stayed him still; and O, the Love-Ladye,
She would fain have raised him where he lay, but that could never be.
For the thread was spun and the days were done and Daphnis gone to the River,
And the Nymphs’ good friend and the Muses’ fere was whelmed I ’ the whirl for ever."
Plato (Πλάτων, Plátōn) was a philosopher in Classical Hellas who lived from 428/427 or 424/423 to 348/347 BC. He was the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition. Unlike nearly all of his philosophical contemporaries, Plato's entire œuvre is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. I would like to quote from one of these works, namely 'Euthyphro'--named after one of two chracters in the writing (the other being Socrates)--today.

Euthyphro (Εὐθύφρων, Euthuphrōn) was written around 399–395 BC. It is a dialogue that occurs in the weeks before the trial of Socrates (399 BCE), for which Socrates and Euthyphro attempt to establish a definitive meaning for the word piety. Euthyphro of Prospalta (Εὑθύφρων Προσπάλτιος, Euthύphrōn Prospáltios) lived around 400 BC. He was an ancient Athenian religious prophet (mantis) whose ideas gave rise to the Euthyphro dilemma: is the pious loved by the Gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the Gods? 

Piety, by definition, is reverence for the Gods or devout fulfillment of religious obligations, but as Plato has Socrates question: what does that actually mean? I'll let Euthyphro and Socrates answer--or attempt to, at least.


Socrates: Tell me what is the nature of [piety], and then I shall have a standard to which I may look, and by which I may measure actions, whether yours or those of any one else, and then I shall be able to say that such and such an action is pious, such another impious.
Euthyphro: Piety, then, is that which is dear to the gods, and impiety is that which is not dear to them.
Soc. Does not every man love that which he deems noble and just and good, and hate the opposite of them?
Euth. Very true.
Soc. But, as you say, people regard the same things, some as just and others as unjust,-about these they dispute; and so there arise wars and fightings among them.
Euth. Very true.
Soc. Then the same things are hated by the gods and loved by the gods, and are both hateful and dear to them?
Euth. True.
Soc. And upon this view the same things, Euthyphro, will be pious and also impious?
Euth. So I should suppose.
Soc. Then, my friend, I remark with surprise that you have not answered the question which I asked. For I certainly did not ask you to tell me what action is both pious and impious: but now it would seem that what is loved by the gods is also hated by them. [...] How do I know anything more of the nature of piety and impiety? for granting that this action may be hateful to the gods, still piety and impiety are not adequately defined by these distinctions, for that which is hateful to the gods has been shown to be also pleasing and dear to them." And therefore, Euthyphro, I do not ask you to prove this; [...] but I will amend the definition so far as to say that what all the gods hate is impious, and what they love pious or holy; and what some of them love and others hate is both or neither. Shall this be our definition of piety and impiety?
[...]
Euth. We should enquire; and I believe that the statement will stand the test of enquiry.
Soc. We shall know better, my good friend, in a little while. The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods.
Euth. I do not understand your meaning, Socrates.
Soc. I will endeavour to explain: we, speak of carrying and we speak of being carried, of leading and being led, seeing and being seen. You know that in all such cases there is a difference, and you know also in what the difference lies? [...] My meaning is, that any state of action or passion implies previous action or passion. It does not become because it is becoming, but it is in a state of becoming because it becomes; neither does it suffer because it is in a state of suffering, but it is in a state of suffering because it suffers. Do you not agree?
Euth. Yes.
[...]
Soc. And what do you say of piety, Euthyphro: is not piety, according to your definition, loved by all the gods?
Euth. Yes.
Soc. Because it is pious or holy, or for some other reason?
Euth. No, that is the reason.
Soc. It is loved because it is holy, not holy because it is loved?
Euth. Yes.
Soc. And that which is dear to the gods is loved by them, and is in a state to be loved of them because it is loved of them?
Euth. Certainly.
Soc. Then that which is dear to the gods, Euthyphro, is not holy, nor is that which is holy loved of God, as you affirm; but they are two different things.
Euth. How do you mean, Socrates?
Soc. I mean to say that the holy has been acknowledge by us to be loved of God because it is holy, not to be holy because it is loved.
Euth. Yes.
Soc. But that which is dear to the gods is dear to them because it is loved by them, not loved by them because it is dear to them.
Euth. True.
Soc. But, friend Euthyphro, if that which is holy is the same with that which is dear to God, and is loved because it is holy, then that which is dear to God would have been loved as being dear to God; but if that which dear to God is dear to him because loved by him, then that which is holy would have been holy because loved by him. But now you see that the reverse is the case, and that they are quite different from one another. For one (theophiles) is of a kind to be loved cause it is loved, and the other (osion) is loved because it is of a kind to be loved. [...] And does piety or holiness, which has been defined to be the art of attending to the gods, benefit or improve them? Would you say that when you do a holy act you make any of the gods better?
Euth. No, no; that was certainly not what I meant.
Soc. And I, Euthyphro, never supposed that you did. I asked you the question about the nature of the attention, because I thought that you did not.
Euth. You do me justice, Socrates; that is not the sort of attention which I mean.
Soc. Good: but I must still ask what is this attention to the gods which is called piety?
Euth. It is such, Socrates, as servants show to their masters.
Soc. I understand-a sort of ministration to the gods.
Euth. Exactly. [...] I have told you already, Socrates, that to learn all these things accurately will be very tiresome. Let me simply say that piety or holiness is learning, how to please the gods in word and deed, by prayers and sacrifices. Such piety, is the salvation of families and states, just as the impious, which is unpleasing to the gods, is their ruin and destruction.
Greek scientists believe that a cave near Vravrona, about 40 km (25 miles) east of Athens, was a hideout for lions and panthers which roamed the Greek countryside thousands of years ago.
Fossils belonging to small and large mammals, including lions and panthers, have been recently unearthed by researchers. Other species identified from skeletal remains include wolves, bison, horses, bears and deer.



Excavations in the cave began in the mid 1970s and continues to this day. Scientists say that the fossils date over a large period between twenty-five thousand to seven thousand years ago. They believe that the cave was either a natural trap for animals, or perhaps was a place where large predators would bring their prey to enjoy a quiet dinner. Because most of these species became extinct in Greece such a long time ago, little is known about the animals’ possible ranges throughout the country.

Lions feature very prominently in ancient Hellenic mythology and writings including the myth of the Nemean Lion. This animal, which was believed to enjoy supernatural powers, was said to have occupied the sacred town of Nemea in the Peloponese.

The Nemean Lion was famously slain by Heracles, constituting the first labor he was tasked with performing. It was said that the lion’s fur was impervious to attacks because it was made of gold, and its claws, sharper than mortal swords, could cut through armor. Lions symbolized power and wealth for the ancient Hellenes. Aristotle and Herodotus wrote that lions were even found in the Balkans in the middle of the first millennium BC. When King Xerxes advanced through Macedonia in 480 BC he reported encountering several lions.

Lions were reported to have become extinct in Italy before the year 20 BC and from Western Europe as a whole around the year 1 AD. According to historians, by the year 70 the giant cats were restricted to northern Greece, in the area between the rivers Aliakmon and Nestus. By the year 100 they became extinct in Eastern Europe as well. After that lions in Europe became restricted to the Caucasus mountains, where a population of Asiatic lions survived all the way into the tenth century.
A stunning fresco depicting Narcissus gazing at his own reflection has been uncovered during new excavations at Pompeii, the interim director of the archaeological site, Alfonsina Russo, announced on Thursday, reports the ANSA.


Pompeii Superintendent Massimo Osanna said the myth of Narcissus was a "very commonly found artistic topos in the ancient city". He said "the whole ambience is pervaded by the theme of 'joie de vivre', beauty and vanity, underscored also by the figures of maenads and satyrs who, in a sort of Dionysian courtship dance, accompanied the visitors inside the public part of the ancient house.
   
"It is a deliberately luxurious, and probably dating back to the last years of the colony, as is testified by the extraordinary state of conservation of the colours".

The discovery was made during a dig at the Regio V section of the ancient Roman city and comes just months after the unearthing of another specular fresco, depicting Jupiter taking the form of a swan to impregnate Spartan queen Leda. "The beauty of these rooms have led us to change our project and continue the excavation," Russo said. "In the future it will be possible to open up at least a part of this domus for the public to enjoy". The archaeologists who made the discovery told reporters:

"Refined decorations of the fourth style characterise the entire Room of Leda. Delicate floral ornamental elements, interspersed with griffins and cornucopia, flying cherubs, still lifes and scenes of animals fighting abound.  The harmony of these precious designs extended up to the ceiling, which collapsed in ruins under the wight of the volcanic stones called lapilli, but the fragments have been recovered by restorers who will put them back together. Also very interesting, in the atrium of Narcissus, is the still visible trace of a staircase that led to the floor above, but above all the discovery in the space of a the stairwell, which was used as a store room, of a dozen glass containers, eight amphorae and a bronze funnel. Then, there is a bronze 'situla' (container for liquids) which was discovered next to the impluvium."

Narcissus, in Hellenic and Roman mythology, was the son of a river god and a nymph who was distinguished for his striking beauty. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book III, Narcissus's mother was told by the blind seer Tiresias that he would have a long life, provided he never recognized himself. However, his rejection of the love of the nymph Echo drew upon him the vengeance of the gods. He fell in love with his own reflection in the waters of a spring and pined away, or killed himself; the flower that bears his name sprang up where he died.
   
The columns of the Prytaneion, a facility where members of government met in the period of ancient Greece, at the excavations of Panticapaeum have collapsed in Kerch, Crimea.


On January 28, they were reinforced by supporting blocks so that they would not fall, but it did not work, according to the local news outlet Kerch.FM. All fallen parts of the columns were withdrawn by museum staff, journalists said.

According to the administration of the East Crimean Historical and Cultural Reserve, the collapse occurred due to fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions.

Panticapaeum was an ancient Greek city on the eastern shore of Crimea, which the Greeks called Taurica. The city was built on Mount Mithridat, a hill on the western side of the Cimmerian Bosporus. It was founded by Milesians in the late 7th or early 6th century BC.

The ruins of the site located in the city of Kerch belong to Ukraine's cultural heritage.
In the run-up to Valentines day, let's do a little poem about not understanding love at all. Because let's be honest, love is not something that's easy to understand--or even, that can be understood. It's good, though. If Valentine's is a thing you do with your partner, here is your head's up that it's tomorrow. Prepare for some time spent together.


“As I was walking from the Peiraios beset
By troubles and despair, philosophy came over me.
And all the painters now seem to me to be ignorant
About love, and, to put it simply, so is everyone else
Who fashions images of him as a god.
For he is neither female nor male, and again,
He is not a god or mortal; nor is he foolish
Or wise, but he is drawn together from everywhere
And carries many shapes in one form.
For he has a man’s boldness with a woman’s restraint;
he has the senselessness of madness.
But the reason of a thinker; he has a beast’s ferocity,
The toil of the unbreakable, and the avarice of a god.
Indeed, by Athena and the gods, I do not understand
What love is, but still it is the type of thing
I have said only without this name.”

Alexis (fr.386k from his Phaedrus; found at Athenaeus 13.13)
[translation]
One of Hellenismos' most important festivals is the Anthesteria. It is held in honour of Dionysos Limnaios; of wine, and the dead. Elaion will hold a PAT ritual for the festival every day from 16 to 18 February at 10 am EST. Will you join us?


The Anthesteria was held annually for three days, the eleventh to thirteenth of the month of Anthesterion. It is an ancestral festival, the oldest of the festivals for Dionysos in Athens, a time of reflection and trust in the new growing season to come, a time to celebrate with the spirits of the departed the indefatigable resurgence of life. The festival centered around the celebration of the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage, whose pithoi were now ceremoniously opened, and the beginning of spring. The three days of the feast were called Pithoigia (after πίθοι 'storage jars'), Khoes (χοαί 'libations') and Khytroi (χύτροι 'pots').

On the first day, the pithoi were brought to the city of Athens and opened in the temple of Dionysos. Everyone from age three and up wore garlands of new flowers, and many were present when the pithoi of new wine were opened, and a libations was offered to Dionysos before drinking of it. It was a truly celebratory day.

On the second day, all temples were closed, except the temple of Dionysos. Social order broke down on this day--as slaves were permitted to celebrate alongside everyone else--and there was a drinking contest in the afternoon where three liters of wine were drunk in complete silence, from khoes. Whomever finished first, won. At the end of the day, the garlands that had been worn were wound around their khoes which they then took to the priestess in charge of the sanctuary at the Limnaios (the marsh) to be dedicated. The wife of the Archōn Basileus--the Archon in charge of religious and artistic festivals--the Basilinna might have taken part in a sacred marriage with Dionysos, either with her husband acting as a conduit for Dionysos, or one of His priests. Geriai, priestesses or followers of Dionysos, might have assisted in this ritual, or would have held their own cult rituals on this day. Young women swung in trees and decorated them to commemorate the death of Erigone, as chronicled below.

On day three, everyone joined in a procession to the temple of Dionysos. It was a somber day consisting of the preparation of a mixture of a panspermia, grains and beans boiled together (a good recipe can be found here), along with honey which was offered to Hermes Khthonios on behalf of the spirits of the dead, especially those who died in Deukalion’s flood. The slaves, as well as the dead, were then told to go home, as 'the Anthesteria had ended'.

The origins of the Anthesteria are based in myth. After the battle of Troy, King Agamemnon returns home to his wife Klytaemnestra (Κλυταιμνήστρα). When Agamemnon returns, playwright Aeschylus in his Oresteia, writes Klytaemnestra as not having been faithful to her husband. She has taken as her new lover and husband Aegisthos (Αἴγισθος), cousin of Agamemnon, and when Agamemnon and his young slave come home, Klytaemnestra kills them both. Orestes (Ὀρέστης), son of Agamemnon and Klytaemnestra ends up killing Aegisthos, as well as his mother for her crime, under orders of Apollon. Yet, the matricide is a terrible offense in the eyes of the Theoi, and the Erinyes--Khthonic deities of vengeance--are sent to kill Orestes. They chased him relentlessly and upon reaching Delphi he is told by Apollon that he should go to Athens to seek Athena's aid.

Phanodemus (Athenaeus 10.437c-d) describes what happens to Orestes next, as it is this practice that was reenacted again and again, during the second day of the Anthesteria:

“When Orestes arrived at Athens after killing his mother, Demophon [king of Athens] wanted to receive him, but was not willing to let him approach the sacred rites [to Dionysos] nor share the libations, since he had not yet been put on trial [and had not yet been cleansed of miasma]. So he ordered the sacred things to be locked up and a separate pitcher of wine to be set beside each person [instead of sharing a drinking vessel as usual], saying that a flat cake would be given as a prize to the one who drained his first. He also ordered them, when they had stopped drinking, not to put the wreathes with which they were crowned on the sacred objects, because they had been under the same roof with Orestes. Rather each one was to twine them around his own pitcher and take the wreathes to the priestess at the precinct in Limnai, and then to perform the rest of the sacrifices in the sanctuary.”

As mentioned, Orestes arrives at Athens during an existing festival to Dionysos. It is posed that this festival was the Aiora, a festival instituted to commemorate the death of Erigone, her father, and their dog Maera. The story goes that Ikários (Ἰκάριος) was such a fine winemaker that he could produce wine so strong, those who drank it appeared to be poisoned. His skill turned out to be his undoing; Íkaros was killed by those who drank his wine, thinking the wine maker was out to kill them. His daughter Erigone was taken to his body by the family hound, Maera, whereupon both she and the dog committed suicide by hanging. It may have been that Dionysos was so angry over the murder and the following suicides, He punished Athens by making all of the city's maidens (or only the daughters of those who had killed Ikários) commit suicide in the same way. The citizens of Athens turned to the oracle of Delphi to stop these suicides, and the oracle told them to burry the three with honors, and appease their spirits. The Athenians buried the bodies with full honors, and a festival was founded where young Athenian women swung in swings, and hung ribbons, cups, and dolls in trees.

The Anthesteria might sound like a confusing festival, and it was, in a way. The three days were almost completely separate events, but have a few things in common. It's a fertility festival, but birth is linked to death. All life is linked to death, after all, and both birth and death were miasmic events. After the rough winter, everything was dead: the soil, the remaining food stores, people... miasma tainted everything. So, as new life began from the ashes of the old, Dionysos was invoked and sacrificed to, to cleanse the old, to remove the miasma resting upon the earth and the people. It is not odd to find mythology connected to this festival which is so strongly linked to miasma, birth and death.

How does a modern Hellenist celebrate the Anthesteria? The first day should focus upon the fertility aspects of the festival: the coming abundance of flowers, wine, and fruit now the spring is almost upon us. Day two began at night, and was filled with... well... sex. People were intoxicated, enthusiastic about the upcoming spring and the end of winter, and they tended to find each other in the dark of night. I would suggest starting there for day two, if you have the option.

On this second day, I cover all other shrines I have in the house but the one on which I will honor Dionysos, to prevent them from becoming tainted with miasma. This is optional, of course. Do think about Orestes, and what he was forced to do--fail either his father by not punishing his killer, or fail his mother by killing her, and dooming himself, regardless--and think about hard decisions you have had to make, and ask forgiveness for them. If you are of legal age and have the opportunity to do so, empty a glass of wine, and feel it swirl in your stomach, as restless as the spirits of the mythic dead who will come up from the Underworld tomorrow. Swing on a swing, as high as you can, and revel in the feeling. Decorate trees with knick-knacks. If you made yourself a garland, take it outside, preferably somewhere wet, and beg that Dionysos accept it and cleanse you of the pollution you carry within you. Again, this night is perfect for making love, especially in honor of Dionysos.
Keep your shrines covered for the third day if you chose to do this, as miasma has not yet been lifted, and the dead roam the earth freely. Give honors to family members and others who were close to you, who have died. Speak with them and try to find closure. Make them a meal; a panspermia is best, but eggs, leeks and garlic also work well. There are different stories surrounding the eating of the panspermia yourself. Some say no one was to eat from it, but Walter Burkert in 'Greek Religion' notes:

"On the 13th Anthesterion, the day of the Pots, grains of all kinds are boiled together in a pot along with honey. This is the most primitive cereal dish of the early farmers, older than the discovery of flour-milling and bread-baking; in funeral customs it has survived down to the present day. But the idea of food for the dead, conjoined to an abridged version of an ancient source, has lead to the mistaken view that the living were actually prohibited from eating from the Pots. According to the full text, it is only the priests who are barred from eating this food, in accordance with the fact that all sanctuaries are closed on the Choes day. The meal of pottage is linked to the myth of the flood: once the water had subsided, the survivors threw everything they could find into a pot and cooked it as their first meal after the cataclysm, an occasion for summoning up new courage and yet in memory of the dead. One sacrifices to the chthonic Hermes for the sake of the dead and eats from the Pots in the certainty of life regained. The day of defilement is over, the masks and the dead lose their rights: 'Out you Keres, the Anthesteria are over' became a proverbial saying."

Yet, Harrison in 'Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion' has the following to say:
"The panspermia has not, I think, been rightly understood. In commenting on it before, misled by the gift-theory of sacrifice, I took it to be merely a 'supper for the souls.' No doubt as such it was in later days regarded when primitive magical rites had to be explained on Olympian principles. But it was, to begin with, much more. The ghosts had other work to do than to eat their supper and go. They took that 'supper', that panspermia, with them down to the world below and brought it back in the autumn a pankarpia. The dead are Chthonioi, 'earth people', Demetreioi, 'Demeter's people,' and they do Demeter's work, her work and that of Kore the Maiden, with her Kathodos and Anodos."

Where you stand, you must decide for yourself. Personally, I will not taste of the panspermia. Like with the Deipnon, however, setting outside the meal will lift the miasma from your person and the house, so afterwards, you can uncover your shrines again if you covered them in the first place.

The Anthesteria is a festival of deep, emotional, involvement, and it is best celebrated by emerging yourself as completely as you can. As with any rites to Dionysos, transformation within yourself is almost always a consequence. The Anthesteria is a heavy festival, but filled with joy, regardless, because you are working towards spring. Burdens will be lifted from you. Rejoice with us and you will get through these festivals just fine. You can find the rituals here and join the community here. Enjoy!