An in-depth analysis of stone objects has yielded new evidence on Minoan stoneworking, with regard to the geological outcrops exploited for the production of certain objects as well as the specific stone materials used for the making of particular shapes.


A team of experts led by archaeologist Dr. Georgia Flouda (Heraklion Archaeological Museum) and consisting of researchers from the Foundation for Research and Technology (IESL-FORTH), performed a series of tests on stone objects from the Minoan Tholos Tomb B at Porti in Crete’s Mesara Plain. The results have just been published through the Journal of Archaeological Science (Vol. 32, August 2020); the article is accessible to view and download here.

Cretan Tholos tombs are much earlier than the more well-known Mycenaean Tholos tombs, do not relate to them, and reflect completely different socio-cultural procedures.  Found in the plain of Mesara, in south-central Crete, the Tholos tomb P at Porti dates to the Early (EBA) to Middle Bronze Age (MBA) (3rd and early 2nd millennium B.C.), (ca. 2700–1700 BCE). According to the researchers, this tomb’s material represents “one of the richest burial assemblages in south-central Crete”, reflecting in many ways the technological and ideological innovations as well as wealth characterizing what is known as Crete’s Prepalatial and Protopalatial periods.

In particular, the mortuary assemblage where the team performed its archaeometry project consists of a group of 59 stone artifacts (vessels, implements, and figurines).

As mentioned in the paper’s abstract, the analysis was based on mobile Raman microspectroscopy, a quick, non-invasive deep scanning archaeometrical method. Mineral identification was possible for over half of the objects examined and the results expand our understanding, originally obtained on the basis of visual and microscopic characterization of the objects. During the project, patterns of variability in the stones investigated are correlated with the typological repertoire of the final products and compared with data from the neighboring site of Apesokari; further inferences on craft specialization issues are finally drawn.

In all, the data obtained lead researchers to suggest that stone vessel manufacture at Porti was predominantly focused on the exploitation of local soft stone outcrops. This hypothesis agrees with the current knowledge concerning the geological formation of the Asterousia area, on the northern fringes of which the site of Porti is located.

In parallel, this research gave the opportunity to the team to assess and discuss the capacity of mobile Raman microspectrometry to contribute to stone object characterization as regards their mineral composition, along with the advantages and limitations of the methodology followed. Raman analysis is performed quickly, non-invasively, directly on the object and over several spots across its surface for probing heterogeneous mineral distributions. The mobile spectrometer permits measurements to be conducted on location, namely within the museum study facilities. A major limitation with respect to obtaining clean analytical information resulted from strong fluorescence emission observed in some of the measurements, which interfered with the Raman scattering signal. These emissions were attributed to organic materials present on the stone surface either as environmental contamination or as a result of previous, often undocumented, conservation treatments.

Finally, experts stressed the need to collect and thoroughly characterize local stone outcrops as well as archaeological stone objects; in so, it is stated that building a representative Raman spectral database will certainly facilitate future studies.
Today in "Did you know?"; kobolts. Because yes, they were known in ancient Hellas!



The kobalos (Κόβαλος) was a sprite from Hellenic mythology, a mischievous creature fond of tricking and frightening mortals. The ancient Hellenic myths depict the kobaloi as 'impudent, thieving, droll, idle, mischievous, gnome-dwarfs', and as 'funny, little triksy elves' of a phallic nature. They were companions of Dionysus and, as choroimanes-aiolomorphos--shapeshifters--could disguise themselves as Dionysos. According to myth, they once robbed Hēraklēs while he slept. He captured them in revenge but took pity on them when he found them amusing. In one version of the myth, Hēraklēs gave them to the Lydian queen Omphale as a gift.

Parents used tales of the kobaloi to frighten children into behaving. The term also means 'impudent knave', or 'arrant rogue' in ancient Greek, and such individuals were thought to invoke kobaloi spirits.
The kobalos is related to two other Hellenic sprites: the kabeiroi and the kerkopes. The kareiroi are pygmies with large phalluses and eventually became equated with the kobalos. Nineteenth Century classicists proposed that other European sprites may derive from belief in kobaloi. This includes spirits such as the Northern English boggart, the Scottish bogle, the French goblin, the Medieval gobelinus, the German kobold, and he English Puck. Likewise, the names of many European spirits may derive from the word 'kobalos'. The word entered Latin as 'cobalus', then possibly French as 'gobelin'. From this, the English 'goblin' and Welsh 'coblyn' may derive.

The kobaloi were thought to live in Euboea or near Thermopylae.
In 1945, as the Second World War was nearing its end, the unimaginable happened. A bunker in the Berlin suburbs, housing more than 1,600 paintings and sculptures from several of The Berlin State Museums, caught fire: not once, but twice, of which one is believed to be arson. In the bunker were objects of art that had been transported from what is now known as the Bode Museum in Berlin, to avoid any possibility of damage during the war. All the paintings burnt to ashes. However, sculptures and decorative arts, though damaged beyond recognition, were retrieved from under the debris, covered in soot and grime.


Six months later, several fragments were sent to the Soviet Union by two trains, marking the start of an effort of mammoth proportions to restore these invaluable works. The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts received them, and by 2010, more than 750 museum objects had been restored.

Thirty of these objects and their journeys have been documented in a photo exhibition, fittingly called Twice Rescued, curated to honour the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory. Though available for viewing online, Chennai will physically experience this exhibition in September, thanks to the Pushkin State Museum’s collaboration with the Russian Centre of Science and Culture.

Borodin Igor Viktorovich, head of the the Pushkin State Museum’s department of conservation, explains over email, “Up to 35 specialists from different institutions in Moscow participated in studying and conserving the pieces. Now, researchers and 15 technical specialists and conservators of metal, ceramics and stone are involved in this project.” He adds that the National Research Center, Kurchatov Institute is helping with research.

In an introductory webinar held last week, Daria Babich, conservator at the museum, also mentioned that restoration project is still underway. She says, “The results were first demonstrated at two exhibitions: Archaeology of War. Return from Nonexistence (2005) and The Art of Ancient Cyprus (2014).” In 2015, together with Bode Museum, they also launched the project Donatello and other Renaissance Master: Research and Conservation.

Each piece has a unique story to tell. Take, for instance, the bust of The Princess of Naples: Today, it is divided in two parts, with the head in Berlin and the rest in Moscow. “At the end of the 19th Century, when German art historian Wilhelm von Bode bought it from the heirs of the ancient Strozzi family in Florence, the bust became famous. The German academic saw in it the legendary work of Desiderio da Settignano. Then he changed his mind, and the bust was attributed to a talented master from Dalmatia, Francesco Laurana, who instantly found posthumous fame, becoming the most popular Renaissance sculptor on the market,” narrates Viktorovich. However, in the 1990s, the bust was declared fake, though even if this was true, he believes that it would not change its illustrious history.

A statue of Zeus from Dodona is another rare artefact that is part of the collection “The author of the original statue is unknown, it is clear only that they worked in the middle of the 4th Century BC, were from the Peloponnese and in terms of skill level were equal to the great Lysippos,” explains Viktorovich. The statuette is also remarkable for the fact that it was found in Dodona, one of the famous oracle sanctuaries in northern Greece.

“The treatments took more than 10 years (the work lasted from 2004 till 2015). The first stage was to identify all the fragments. Then, the fragments had to be consolidated and cleaned both from the traces of the 19th Century restoration and the war-time grime. After that, conservators who worked on the object essentially had to put it together like a puzzle. The losses had to be filled, and a special supporting structure made, considering the vase’s size. Contemporary conservation principles do not allow any structural interference. So, to be able to fill in the missing parts, it was decided to reconstruct it digitally. It took a team of conservators, art historians, artists and IT-specialists a few months to do this.”

Donatello’s St John the Baptist was one of the most damaged statues: missing both feet, and an arm, as well as part of the cape. This priceless piece spent several decades in storage.

“Our conservators were able to recreate the rest thanks to a plaster copy of the statue which was made before the war and is now exhibited at the museum along with the original work. All this work, including the research, took 1.5 years.”

The website that was created specifically for display is maintained in four languages and provides meticulous documentation. In them are answers to larger questions concerning the cultural, political and historical significance of the war.

“The lessons of history teach us a lot. One of the main lessons of the Second World War is that we have to do everything in our power to prevent recurrence of similar events. Working on the art objects which survived the horrors of one of the most destructive wars of the last century, one cannot help but reevaluate the scale of the tragedy.”
Approval of the architectural study of the KastaTomb monumental complex after evaluation by the Central Archaeological Council on December 17, 2019, was followed by the completion of the geotechnical investigation round the burial monument by the relevant services of the Ministry of Culture and Sports (MOCAS) and the research team of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Next week, the static assessment and geotechnical study will be completed as planned by the MOCAS’ Directorate for the Restoration of Ancient Monuments.


In an announcement by the Ministry of Culture, the studies are expected to be submitted to the Central Archaeological Council for approval on July 14, 2020.  The aim is to immediately start the tendering procedure for the first phase of stabilizing and restoration works on the monument complex to begin within the second half of September 2020.

“We are here at the Kasta Tomb,” said Culture and Sports Minister Lina Mendoni, “because we had to look at the course of the studies being prepared, their application in the field and the time required to set up the construction sites. I am entirely satisfied because things are progressing as scheduled. Around July 15, the two studies directly related to the first phase of the works will be presented to the Central Archeological Council(CAC). We hope to start, after the works’ tendering  procedures, around the second fortnight of September. The expropriations that should have been  made and had been completely forgotten until last summer, are already in their final phase. I refer to this as an example of the alertness shown by all services of the Ministry. The expropriations  have already been published in the Government Gazette, while we know that similar procedures needed  a number of years”.

At the same time, in order to properly address, in a scientific manner, issues of studies of the monument in progress (static and geotechnical) and to implement the approved – since 2015 – study of land configuration of the Tomb’s slopes, it became necessary to use an updated high-precision topographic background of the Tomb and its greater area.

The preparation of the new background was undertaken by the Department of Topography of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in the framework of a Memorandum of Cooperation signed in March 2020, between the University and the Ministry of Culture. The topographic survey was further processed by the Directorate of Restorations for the studies’ immediate support.

In order to restore the original geometry of the Tomb slopes by shifting large amounts of soil removed from its top during the excavations of the last 60 years and spread around the perimeter, distorting its shape, detailed topographic documentation and measurement of their volume was made. Thus, the exact points have been marked where excavation backfilling must be removed  to restore the Tomb’s ancient geometry. A large part of these backfills will be transferred as close as possible to their original location, in an internationally innovative Tomb restoration project, that makes use of  its original material.

For modern interdisciplinary research on the protection of monuments, this original material is perceived as a monument, just as its gradation and layering in the methods of ancient construction are seen as an integral part of its architecture. This is the reason the Restoration Directorate prepared a three-dimensional, exact model of the Tomb, depicting the initial geometry of its slopes, based on data of the architectural restoration study and the precise volume of soil was removed on which work is to be done, while the corresponding backfills were added. Moreover, the east slopes opposite the monument will be configured and stabilized, so that the best-conserved section of the enclosure can be visited during 2020.

From the search for scattered marble material of the enclosure which was recently transferred to the Tomb, 39 members were relocated to their original places in its southeast section, while 45 members are to be immediately positioned west of the Tomb Monument, as part of the launch of a pilot project for restoring a 12.5 meters long section of the enclosure.

At the same time, the research team of Grigoris Tsokas, professor of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, completed the phase of detailed prospecting of the diaphragm walls under the Sphinxes. The prospecting  confirmed the initial hypothesis of the architectural study, prepared by the architect of the Ministry of Culture, Dr. Michalis Lefantzis, on the existence of invisible pillars with congruous half columns to support the architrave , as well as the existence of a base on which the pilaster rests. Namely, in this case there was also a corresponding diaphragm wall with that encountered in the monument’s diaphragm wall with the “Caryatids”. The search continues at this point, so that useful information can be gathered  regarding the construction history of the monument
Thera is an archaeological site and ancient city located on the Greek island of Santorini, also called Thera. The city was founded by Dorian colonists sometime from the 9th century BC. According to mythology – Theras (a descendant of the Phoenician ruler Cadmus and son of the king of Thebes, Autesion) established the city, naming the island and his new settlement, Thera.


The city grew over the centuries into a trading hub, connected to other Greek cities such as Athens, Corinth, Ionia and Rhodes.

By the 3rd century BC, Thera was converted into a major maritime station for the Ptolemaic Navy, and the city was rebuilt using a linear urban grid layout with peristyle houses and mansions for the Navy crews and commanders.

Most of the contemporary buildings excavated by archaeologist’s date from around this period, which includes an Agora (the main square of the city), a large Basilike Stoa (a covered walkway or portico, commonly for public use), a gymnasium of the epheboi, a theatre (with seating for 1,500 people) and several temples and sanctuaries.

By the Roman period, Thera was absorbed into the Roman province of Asia and was maintained as a relatively prosperous settlement. Many existing buildings saw extensive repair, with other Hellenistic buildings such as the Agora expanded with a new Roman bathhouse.

Occupation was maintained through to the Byzantine period, but Thera was in a social and economic decline. The site became abandoned after AD 726, when an eruption of the Santorini volcano buried Thera in pumice and ash.
An international crime gang that ransacked ancient sites in Bulgaria and trafficked stolen archaeological goods whose total worth exceeds several millions of euros has been broken up as a result of an international police operation coordinated by Europol. Eight individuals were arrested and some 4,600 archaeological items were recovered as a result of this sting.


Nicknamed Operation MEDICUS, this effort was led by the General Directorate for the Fight against Organised Crime of the Bulgarian Ministry of Internal Affairs (Главна дирекция “Борба с организираната престъпност” при Министерството на вътрешните работи на Република България) together with the British Metropolitan Police and the German State Criminal Police of Bavaria (Bayerisches Landeskriminalamt). Europol supported the investigation by coordinating the information exchange and holding several operational meetings to prepare for the action day.

Five suspects were arrested in Bulgaria, and three in the United Kingdom (UK) as they entered the UK with a significant quantity of archaeological material concealed within a hide in their vehicle. This operation dates back to October of last year, the details of which can only be released now due to operational reasons.

The investigation which led to these arrests dates back to March 2018 when the Bulgarian police, after being informed by their British counterpart, began looking into this suspicious trafficking of cultural goods out of their country.

Among the trafficked items were ceramics, glass funeral urns, lamps, arrowheads, spears and ancient coins. Most of the seized items date back to the Roman period and come from military camps once located in Northern Bulgaria. Furthermore, some other artefacts belong to Bronze Age, early Iron Age, Middle Ages and Ottoman period.

The illegally excavated archaeological goods were brought out of Bulgaria and smuggled into the UK by means of private transport operators. Germany was their preferred transit country.

This case confirms that the most common way to dispose of archaeological goods illegally excavated is by entering the legitimate art market. This modus operandi takes advantage of the fact that the existence of these goods is not officially known, therefore their illicit origin can be hidden by providing them with a false back story (fake documents of provenance).
I'm short on time today but of course I'll leave you with something, and how about something extremely cute? These are by the incredibly talented Rudy Siswanto, and they are his interpretation of young mythological creatures. Break out the awwww's and check out his ArtStation for more! 












The 12th of Hekatombion marks the start of the ancient Hellenic Kronia festival. The Kronia honours Kronos, Zeus' father, not to be confused with Khronos; creator of the Gods and Lord of Time. Will you be joining us for the celebration on July 4th, at the usual 10 am EDT?


In Athens, Kronos and Rhea--His wife and sister--shared a temple. They represented an age before the Theoi took to rule; a time when societal rules did not exist yet, and there was no hierarchy. As such, on the day Kronos was worshipped, the fixed order of society was suspended, and slaves joined--and even ruled over--a banquet given by their masters; they ran through the streets screaming and hollering. On Krete, they could whip their masters. As much fun as this was, the day served as a reminder that for a society to function, societal rules were necessary, and as such, it was also necessary for Zeus to overthrow His father and assume the throne.

Besides a banquette, the Kronia must have been celebrated with an official sacrifice as well, in the temple to Him and Rhea, as the Kronia was a harvest festival of sorts. Unlike many rites to Demeter, the Kronia focused on the harvest--most likely of cereals--that was completed around this time. It was the end of a hectic period where slaves were worked hard, and their masters as well. A communal meal and a little bit of payback on the side of the serfs was most likely at the root of this festival, along with gratitude for the successful harvest; the Hellenic summers were too hot to grow much of anything, so the food eaten in this barren season ahead needed to be taken in and thrashed (where needed) prior to the swell of summer heat. The Kronia was a good mark for this.

There is a little bit of evidence that human sacrifice--in the form of 'scapegoat' rituals was performed on or around the date of the Kronia in the very distant past, but by the time Hellas--and especially Athens--became civilized in the way we speak of today, this practice was long outdated. It seems that a criminal condemned to death was taken outside of the city gates for a reason now lost to us, possibly fed copious amounts of wine, and then killed in honor (or placation) of Kronos. Needless to say, there is no reason to bring this practice back.

You can find the ritual here and the community page here.
Archaeologists began restoration work on the ancient city of Aizanoi in central Kütahya province's Çavdarhisar district Wednesday. Elif Özer, an archaeology professor at Pamukkale University, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the team had already begun work at the 5,000-year-old site's theater and stadium.


The archaeological site, where excavation efforts have been ongoing for the last nine years, is home to one of the best-preserved temples in Anatolia dedicated to the chief Olympian god Zeus of ancient Greek mythology. Dubbed as the “Second Ephesus” – another iconic ancient city in Turkey – the site joined the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2012.

Özer said the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry along with a businessman in Kütahya, Rıza Güral, signed a sponsorship protocol for the restoration of the 20,000-person capacity Roman theater and 13,500-person capacity ancient stadium. "We began to work with the support of the governor of Kütahya. With the project set to last about six years, we aim to make this place look like it did in ancient times and attract more tourists to the region," she added.

The project architect, Yalın Pekvar, also pointed out that natural disasters like earthquakes and landslides had damaged the ancient theater and stadium. Located 57 kilometers (35 miles) from the Kütahya city center, the ancient site "experienced its golden age in the second and third centuries A.D. and became the center of the episcopacy in the Byzantine era," according to the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry's website.

Recent excavations around the Temple of Zeus indicate the existence of several levels of settlement in the city dating from as far back as 3000 B.C. In 133 B.C. it was captured by the Roman Empire. In 1824, European travelers rediscovered the ancient site.

Between 1970 and 2011 the German Archaeological Institute conducted excavation work, unearthing the theater and a stadium, as well as two public baths, a gymnasium, five bridges, a trading building, necropolises and the sacred cave of Metre Steune – a cultist site thought to be used prior to the first century B.C.

Since 2011, Turkish archaeologists have been carrying out restoration work at the ancient site.
June 26, at 10 am EDT, we will hold a rite for Aphrodite Pandamos and Peitho, as on this day, the fourth of Hekatombaion, They were traditionally honored during a festival of unification. Will you join us?


Pandêmos (Πανδημος) occurs as an epithet of Aphrodite. It identifies her as the Goddess of low sensual pleasures, and the epithet is often translated as 'common to all the people'. She united all the inhabitants of a country into one social or political body. In this respect She was worshipped at Athens along with Peitho (persuasion), and Her worship was said to have been instituted by Theseus at the time when he united the scattered townships into one great body of citizens.

According to some authorities, it was Solon who erected the sanctuary of Aphrodite Pandemos, either because her image stood in the agora, or because the hetaerae had to pay the costs of its erection. The worship of Aphrodite Pandemos also occurs at Megalopolis in Arcadia and at Thebes. 'Pandemos' also occurs as a surname of Eros.

Peithô is the personification of persuasion, seduction and charming speech. She was worshipped as a divinity at Sicyon, where she was honoured with a temple in the agora. Peitho also occurs as a surname of other divinities, such as Aphrodite, whose worship was said to have been introduced at Athens by Theseus, when he united the country communities into towns, and of Artemis.

At Athens the statues of Peitho and Aphrodite Pandemos stood closely together, and at Megara, too, the statue of Peitho stood in the temple of Aphrodite, so that the two divinities must he conceived as closely connected, or the one, perhaps, merely as an attribute of the other. For our rite, we will honour both divinities separately.

There is actually not much known about the Aphrodisia. It was most likely linked to the synoikismos, or unification, of the Attic demes into poleis, or city-states. In early Hellas, ancient society was split between the 'demos', country villages, and the 'asty', or 'polis', the seat of the aristocracy. The distinction between the 'polis' and the 'demos' was of great political importance in the ancient states. There was much antagonism between these two bodies, the country and city. In the city-states of ancient Hellas, synoecism occurred when the 'demos' combined with--usually by force--a polis to form one political union. The most notable synoikistes was the mythic or legendary Theseus, who liberated Attica from Kretan hegemony and gave independency back to Hellas under leadership of Athens. Like the Synoikia that was celebrated in a few days--which was a truly political festival and we will thus not celebrate it--the Aphrodisia seems to celebrate Theseus' efforts.

An inscription on a stele of Hymettian marble found near the Beulé Gate at the site of the aedicula on the south-west slope of the Acropolis may tell us something of the preparations for the Aphrodisia festival. Dated between 287 and 283 BC, the inscription records that at the time of the procession of Aphrodite Pandemos, Kallias, son of Lysimachos of the deme of Hermai, was to provide funds for the purification of the temple and the altar with the blood of a dove, for giving a coat of pitch to the roof, for the washing of the statues, and for a purple cloak for the amount of two drachmas.

From this and other ancient sources, we can conclude that the first ritual of the festival would be to purify the temple with the blood from a dove, which we know is the sacred bird of Aphrodite. Needless to say, we won't do this, but we do encourage you to give your altar a good scrub! Afterwards, worshippers would carry sacred images of Aphrodite and Peitho in a procession to the sea to be washed. In Cyprus, participants who were initiated into the Mysteries of Aphrodite were offered salt, a representation of Aphrodite's connection to the sea, and bread baked in the shape of a phallus (feel free to make some of those!). During the festival it was not permitted to make bloody sacrifices, since the altar could not be polluted with the blood of the sacrifice victims, which were usually white male goats. This of course excludes the blood of the sacred dove, made at the beginning of the ritual to purify the altar. In addition to live male goats, worshippers would offer flowers and incense.

As a celebration of the unification of Attica, the Aphrodisia festival may seem redundant, since the Synoikia festival also took place in the month of Hekatombaion, between the Aphrodisia and the Panathenaia. Yet, without help of Aphrodite Pandemos and Peitho, whose powers bring people together, unification would not have been possible. While the Synoikia celebrates a very specific event that is no longer current, the Aphrodisia celebrates not only Aphrodite (and Peitho) as divine, but also represents the beauty of community, solidarity, and the end of strive. In this day and age where it seems the entire world is at war, we offer sacrifice to Aphrodite and Peitho humbly in hopes that They will interfere and lay to rest this terrible animosity.

Will you be joining us on June 26? Join the community here, and download the ritual here.
Auction house Christie’s has removed over £1.2 million worth of ancient artefacts after a Greek academic from a Scottish university identified them as being linked to criminal networks in Europe The Scotsman reports. Dr Christos Tsirogiannis, a research assistant at the University of Glasgow’s Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research warned Christie’s was failing to carry out checks after he found images of the stolen artefacts in archives taken from Italian art dealers convicted of art trafficking offences. Christie’s said last night that the auction house will work with Scotland Yard to determine the provenance of the lots.


Dr Tsirogiannis found the lots recorded in the seized archives of Giancomo Medici and Gianfranco Becchina and said Christie’s was failing to undertake proper due diligence. The items date to 540BC and include an Attic black-figured amphora as well as an Estruscan terracotta antefix. In total, their value is about £100,000.

This is the second time Dr Tsirogiannis has exposed plundered items in Christie’s portfolio. The total value of the eight withdrawn lots is over £1.2 million. He said:

"Christie’s continues to include in its sales antiquities depicted in confiscated archives of convicted art dealers. Sometimes they sell the lots but nearly every time they withdraw them. I don’t understand why they can’t do due diligence beforehand. Clearly, it’s not taking place. Christie’s say they don’t have access to these archives which is not true. Every auction house, dealer and museum should refer to Italian and Greek authorities, who would check for free before the sales."

Dr Donna Yates, of Trafficking Culture, added:

"Do they contact antiquities trafficking experts before their auctions? No, never. Do they make public whatever provenance documents they have for a particular piece? No, never. I can only conclude that they don’t take this particularly seriously."

A spokesperson for Christie’s said:

"We have withdrawn four lots from our upcoming antiquities sale as it was brought to our attention that there is a question mark over their provenance, namely, that they are similar to items recorded in the Medici and Becchina archives. We will now work with Scotland Yard’s art and antiques unit to discover whether or not there is a basis for concerns expressed over the provenance. Christie’s would never sell anything we know or have reason to believe has been stolen, and we devote considerable time and money to investigating the objects in our care. We consult academic, police, civil, national and international lists of stolen works and when we publish our catalogues, we welcome scrutiny to help us ensure our information is correct. However, there are a few databases containing relevant information which are not made available to auction houses.  So we are prevented from incorporating a search of these databases into our due diligence, and are only made aware of any concerns after our catalogues are published. In this case, although we have no reason to doubt our information, we are happy to conduct further research. We call on those with access to the Becchina and Medici archive to make them freely available to auction houses so that we can check them as part of our pre-catalogue due diligence process."

The spokesperson said the Carabinieri - Italy’s national military police - have not responded in the past but that Christie’s is currently in touch with both the Greek and Italian authorities. The spokesperson said:

"However, to be clear what we are asking is access and full transparency for us but also for the art market as a whole. We would like to see a copy of the Becchina and Medici databases  (and indeed any other official database or record of objects believed to have been stolen or looted) be provided to the ALR and/or added to the Interpol database of stolen cultural works. This is a very transparent and effective way of ensuring that the world is on notice of objects which are alleged to have been looted or stolen. It is how all other governments and police organisations register stolen cultural property. We do not understand why this has not been done."
Disease has many stories, some told by individual sufferers, others by health care practitioners and researchers, and yet others by historians of medicine. This seminar examines disease stories found in ancient Greek literature and discusses how specific cultural expectations and attitudes influenced the ways these stories were told.


Jennifer Clarke Kosak received her Ph.D. in Classical Philology from the University of Michigan and her B.A. from Harvard-Radcliffe. She has research interests in the areas of ancient Greek medicine, ancient Greek theater, gender studies (particularly masculinity) and intellectual history. Her book, Heroic Measures: Hippocratic Medicine in the Making of Euripidean Tragedy (2004), argues that Greek tragedy and Greek medical writing draw upon a common stock of ideas to construct their views on human nature and the processes of disease and treatment. She has also written articles that demonstrate the importance of Greek medical thought for understanding other authors and areas of classical Greek culture. Currently, she is writing a book on masculinity and medicine in ancient Greece.
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 Hekatombaion:
  • Hekatombaion 4 - June 26 - Aphrodisia - festival of Aphrodite and Peitho (Persuasion), where the temple was purified with dove's blood, the altars cleansed, and the two statues washed
  • Hekatombaion 12 - July 4 - Kronia - festival in honor of Kronos
  • Hekatombaion 15 / 16 - 7 / 8 July Sunoikia - community festival in Athens. Sacred to Athena. Two-day celebration every other year.
  • Hekatombaion 21 - July 13 - Sacrifice to Kourotrophos, (Hekate &) Artemis at Erkhia
  • Hekatombaion 23n + 30 - July 14 + 21 - Panathanaia - main celebration on the twenty-eighth in honor of Athena. Greater held in the third year of each Olympiad, Lesser held annually for fewer days

    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.
    At Elaion, we are preparing for the upcoming new year, which--amongst other things--means setting up the schedule for the upcoming PAT rituals. Practicing Apart Together is based on the premise of ‘Living Apart and yet Together’; forming relationships where partners in homes around the world form a household. PAT rituals are performed at your own home but aligned with others around the globe. Elaion organizes several PAT rituals a year, for which we provide a date, time, and ritual outline which anyone joining can follow. The PAT rituals below are the rituals we have been hosting for years now. We are currently in the process of researching rituals from calendars other than Athens and Erkhia to add, if we can date them with some degree of accuracy. To make this schedule easily available, I have made a page for it here and added it to the sidebar under the "go to" header.


    Hekatombaion:
    4 Hekatombaion - 26 June (23d) 2020 - The Aphrodisia
    12 Hekatombaion - 4 July 2020 - The Kronia
    16 Hekatombaion - 8 July 2020 - Annual Synoikia
    21 Hekatombaion - 13 July 2020 - Kourtrophoi
    23 Hekatombaion - 14 July 2020 - The Panathenaia (First day) [nighttime]
    30 Hekatombaion - 21 July 2020 - The Panathenaia (Last day)

    Metageitnion:
    2 Metageitnion - 23 July 2020 - The Herakleia
    12 Metageitnion - 2 August 2020 - Apollon, Demeter, Zeus, and Athena
    15 Metageitnion - 5 - 7 August 2020 - Eleusinia
    16 Metageitnion - 7 August 2020 - Kourotrophoi
    19 Metageitnion - 9 August 2020 - The Heroines
    21 Metageitnion - 11 August 2020 - Hera Thelkhiniai
    25 Metageitnion - 15 August 2020 - Zeus Epopetei  

    Boedromion:
    3 Boedromion - 22 August 2020 - The Niketeria
    3 Boedromion - 22 August 2020 - The Plataea
    4 Boedromion - 23 August 2020 - Basilei
    5 Boedromion - 24 August 2020 - Genesia
    5 Boedromion - 24 August 2020 - Epops
    6 Boedromion - 25 August 2020 - Kharisteria
    7 Boedromion - 26 August 2020 - Boedromia
    12 Boedromion - 31 August 2020 - Democratia
    15-23 Boedromion - 3 - 11 September 2020 - Eleusinian Greater Mysteries
    18 Boedromion - 6 September 2020 - Epidauria
    27 Boedromion - 15 September 2020 - Acheloos, Alochos, the Nymphs, Hermes, Ge

    Pyanepsion:
    6 Pyanepsion - 24 September 2020 - Proerosia
    7 Pyanepsion - 25 September 2020 - Pyanepsia
    7 Pyanepsion - 25 September 2020 - Oschophoria
    8 Pyanepsion - 26 September 2020 - Theseia
    9 Pyanepsion - 27 September 2020 - Stenia
    11-13 Pyanepsion - 29 September - 1 October 2020 - Thesmophoria
    14 Pyanepsion - 2 October 2020 - The Heroines
    16 Pyanepsion - 4 October 2020 - Apaturia
    30 Pyanepsion - 17 October 2020 - The Khalkeia

    Maimakterion:
    20 Maimakterion - 27 October 2020 - The Pompaia 
    16 Maimakterion - 2 November 2020 - Maimakteria

    Poseideon A:

    Poseideon B:
    5 Poseideon - 20 December 2020 - Plerosia
    8 Poseideon - 21n (22d) December 2020 - Poseidea
    10 Poseideon - 25 December 2020 - Lesser Dionysia
    16 Poseideon - 31 December 2020 - Zeus & Zeus Horios
    26 Poseideon - 10 January 2021 - Haloa  

    Gamelion:
    7 Gamelion - 21 January 2021 - Kourotrophos & Apollon Delphinios
    7 Gamelion - 21 January 2021 - Apollon Lykeios
    8 Gamelion - 22 January 2021 - Apollon Apotropaius & Nymphegetes & Nymphs
    9 Gamelion - 23 January 2021 - Athene
    12-15 Gamelion - 25n - 29d January 2021 - Lenaia
    27 Gamelion - 10 Febuary 2021 - Hieros Gamos (Theogamia)
    27 Gamelion - 10 February 2021 - Kourotrophos, Hera, Zeus Teleios, & Poseidon

    Anthesterion:
    2 Anthesterion - 14 February 2021 - Dionysos
    11 Anthesterion - 23 February 2021 - Anthesteria Pithiogia
    12 Anthesterion - 24 February 2021 - Anthesteria Khoes
    13 Anthesterion - 25 February 2021 - Anthesteria Khytroi
    20-26 Anthesterion - 4 - 10 March 2021 - Lesser Mysteries
    23 Anthesterion - 7 March 2021 - Diasia – Zeus Meilikhios

    Elaphebolion:
    6 Elaphebolion - 20 March 2021 - Elaphebolia
    8 Elaphebolion - 21 March 2021 - Asklepieia
    9 Elaphebolion - 22 March 2021 - Galaxia
    10-17 Elaphebolion - 24 - 31 March 2021 - Dionysia ta astika
    16 Elaphebolion - 30 March 2021 - Semele & Dionysos
    17 Elaphebolion - 31 March 2021 - Pandia
      
    Mounukhion:
    4 Mounukhion - 16 April 2021 - Sacrifice to the Herakleidai
    6 Mounukhion - 18 April 2021 - Delphinia
    16 Mounukhion - 27 April 2021 - Mounukhia [nighttime]
    19 Mounukhion - 1 May 2021 - Olympieia
    20 Mounukhion - 2 May 2021 - Leukaspis
    21 Mounukhion - 3 May 2021 - Tritopatores
      
    Thargelion:
    4 Thargelion - 16 May 2021 - Apollon Pythios, Apollon Paion, Zeus, Leto, Anakes (Dioskuri), and Hermes
    6 Thargelion - 18 May 2021 - Thargelia
    7 Thargelion - 19 May 2021 - Thargelia
    16 Thargelion - 28 May 2021 - Zeus Epakrios
    19 Thargelion - 31 May 2021 - Menedeios
    19 Thargelion - 31 May 2021 - Bendidia
    25 Thargelion - 5 June 2021 - Plynteria [nighttime]
    27 Thargelion - 8 June 2021 - Kallynteria
      
    Skirophorion:
    3 Skirophorion - 14 June 2021 - Kourotrophos, Athena, Aglauros, Zeus, Poseidon, & Pandrosos
    12 Skirophorion - 23 June 2021 - Skira (female & male)
    14 Skirophorion - 25 June 2021 - Dipolieia
    29 Skirophorion - 10 July 2021 - Diisoteria
    Today is a special day, I'm getting married to my girlfriend of 15 years. It's all a little odd with Corona measures in place, but we're definitely looking forward to it! We'll have a ceremony for the law but no party and only a handful of people will be there. I will bring her to my altar when we are back home after a lunch organized by my soon-to-be in-laws and we'll pour a libation for the blessing of the Gods. It's not exactly how things went in ancient Hellas, but my girl is not religious and I'll take what I can get!

    Marriage in ancient Hellas, and ancient Athens specifically, was a family affair. The father of the groom--who was often in his thirties by the time he got married--opened negotiations with the family of a bride in her teens. The two families came to an agreement about dowry, a contract was signed by the father of the groom and the father of the bride in front of witnesses, and the groom met his new wife--often for the first time--at the marriage ceremony before taking her to bed.

    Wedding rituals were diverse, and were directed towards a large number of deities. Zeus Teleios, Hera Teleia, Aphrodite and Artemis would have received sacrifice the night before the wedding. Artemis was offered the girl's toys and playthings, so as to signal the end of her childhood. Both bride and groom took a purificatory bath.

    On the day of the wedding, the houses of both parties were decorated with olive and laurel branches. The father of the bride held a sacrifice and banquet. The bride was veiled and wreathed. A young boys whose parents were still alive went 'round with bread in a basket and a thorny wreath on his head, saying 'he had banished evil and found good' as a purification rite. The bride brought a pan, a young boy a sieve, and a mortar and pestle were hung by the door to the bedchamber. The couple received gifts.

    A torchlight procession took the bride from the house of her father to the house of her new husband. Songs were sung to Hymen, God of marriage as the bride was transported by cart. The groom's parents would welcome her, feed her cake of sesame and honey, and show her around the house. then, she was introduced to the hearth, and she was showered with nuts and dried figs to signal she was now part of the oikos. Then, the pair retired for the night, for anything but sleep, presumably.

    The next day, there was another banquet, and further sacrifice. The pair would also get more presents. Then, the two were officially husband and wife, and procreation could commence.
    We will have a party to celebrate our marriage next year, once Corona measures have lessened even more, and hopefully honeymoon some. For now, we will enjoy the day and our small celebration. At the end of the day, the Gods bless love, no matter the ceremony.
    Archaeologists face challenges in securing funding to excavate sites, gaining access to war-torn countries, and recovering relics before they've been destroyed. Yet, one of the most challenging aspects of the job, an archaeologist told Express.co.uk, is the social issues now involved in working with and caring for the communities who live in and around historical sites.


    Archaeology has been practiced throughout the ages. In the 5th-century-BCE, the renowned Greek historian, Herodotus, is thought to have been the first scholar to study the past and examine artefacts that came before him. Just over a thousand years later, in Imperial China, another notable excursion occurred, where official state scholars unearthed, studied and catalogued ancient artefacts. This branch of what was considered antiquarian activity became known as archaeology, and was given that term in the 1824 Oxford English Dictionary.

    By the late 18th and 19th century archaeology shifted towards nationalism, filling personal cabinets with unusual and foreign items. As Britain’s colonial Empire expanded and forced its authority on to most corners of the world, its interest was drawn to the splendours of foreign lands. Artefacts and pieces of national significance were removed from countries around the world and hauled back to Britain. These were then often put on display in the British Museum or otherwise kept in private collections. Sometimes, museums even commissioned archaeologists to retrieve items from abroad.

    The practice of what many describe as stealing foreign objects and items of notable cultural and historical importance soured relations between Britain and the rest of the world - some of that ill feeling extending to the present-day.

    The period from 1835 to 1930 saw many explorers and archaeologists visit foreign countries empty handed, returning with riches and history clasped in anticipation of the money they would receive.

    Today’s archaeologists have a much different and less straight-forward role than their predecessors, as Dr José Carvajal López, lecturer in Historical Archaeology at the University of Leicester explains.

    "One of the contemporary challenges of archaeology, especially in the middle east, is that archaeologists don’t think of themselves as cool explorers anymore. It’s not like the colonial period where you go to a country you don’t know and open a hole in the land, take whatever you find in that hole, and then go home without any impact or benefit for the country. There’s a concern now about the positive impact of the activity of excavation; that you’re developing the host country in some way. That can be challenging sometimes because often, you find yourself in a place where the community with whom you’re working is not necessarily the community that is benefiting from the heritage laws intended to protect the land and artefacts. Sometimes, even, there are difficult situations that span from wars to the delicate history behind what you’re trying to excavate. These are all extreme challenges of excavating and I think the question of ‘how do we create a positive impact in local communities’ is one of the main concerns of archaeology today."
    'Ion' is a tragedy by the ancient Hellenic playwright Euripides, thought to have been written between about 414 and 412 BCE. It describes the tale of the orphan, Ion, eponymous forefather of the Ionian race, as he discovers his true origins and parentage after being abandoned as a child.

    The play begins with a prologue by the messenger god Hermes, who explains some of the background to the play, in particular how he had once rescued a child (at Apollo‘s request) which had been left to die of exposure on a mountainside, and delivered him to the temple of Apollon in Delphi, where he grew up as an orphan under the care of the Pythian Priestess.

    Hermes' introduction is followed by a prayer to Apollon, in which he laments his own fate but also reaffirms his loyalty to Apollon. They are beautiful words and I would love to share them with you today. The rest of the play can be read and enjoyed here.


    Ion's prayer to Apollon

    Already this radiant four-horse chariot, the sun, flames over the earth, and at this fire of heaven the stars flee into the sacred night; the untrod Parnassian cliffs, shining, receive the wheel of day for mortals. The smoke of dry myrtle flies to Phoebus' roof. The woman of Delphi sits on the sacred tripod, and sings out to the Hellenes whatever Apollo cries to her. But you Delphian servants of Phoebus, go to the silver whirlpools of Castalia; come to the temple when you have bathed in its pure waters; it is good to keep your mouth holy in speech and give good words from your lips to those who wish to consult the oracle. But I will labor at the task that has been mine from childhood, with laurel boughs and sacred wreaths making pure the entrance to Phoebus' temple, and the ground moist with drops of water; and with my bow I will chase the crowds of birds that harm the holy offerings.
    For as I was born without a mother and a father, I serve the temple of Phoebus that nurtured me.
    Come, new-grown, ministering bough, of loveliest laurel, you who sweep the altar under the temple of Apollo; you are from the immortal gardens, where the secred drops water the holy foliage of myrtle, sending forth an ever-flowing stream. With this laurel I sweep the pavement of the god all day, along with the sun's swift wing, my daily service. O Paean, O Paean, may you be fortunate, child of Leto!
    Lovely is the labor, o Phoebus, I carry out for you before your house, honoring your prophetic shrine; glorious my labor, to be a slave for gods, not mortal but immortal; I do not tire of laboring over my auspicious work. Phoebus is a father to me; I praise the one who feeds me; the name of father, beneficial to me, I give to Phoebus who rules this temple. O Paean, O Paean, may you be fortunate, child of Leto!
    But I will cease from labor with the laurel branch and I wil hurl from golden vases Gaia's fountain, which Castalia's eddies pour out, casting out the moist drops, since I am chaste. May I never cease to serve Phoebus in this manner; or, if I do, may it be with good fortune. Ah, ah! Already the birds of Parnassus have left their nests, and come here. I forbid you to approach the walls and the golden house. I will reach you with my bow, herald of Zeus, though you conquer with your beak the strength of all other birds. Here comes another, a swan, to the rim of the temple. Move your crimson foot elsewhere! Phoebus' lyre, that sings with you, would not protect you from my bow. Alter your wings' course; go to the Delian lake; if you do not obey, you will steep your lovely melody in blood.
    Ah, ah! What is this new bird that approaches; you will not place under the cornice a straw-built nest for your children, will you? My singing bow will keep you off. Will you not obey? Go away and bring up your offspring by the eddies of Alpheus, or go to the Isthmian grove, so that the offerings, and the temple of Phoebus, are not harmed. . . . and yet I am ashamed to kill you, for to mortals you bear the messages of the gods; but I will be subject to Phoebus in my appointed tasks, and I will never cease my service to those who nourish me. [82 - 183]
    Today, I would like to announce the last PAT ritual for Skirophorion, the Diisoteria. It will be held on 22 June, 10 am EDT--our usual time--and we would like you to join us in honoring Zeus, Athena, Asklēpiós, and Hygeia.


    The Diisoteria was held on the last day of Skirophorion in the Piraeus, the ancient port of Athens. Fourth century accounts show that a large number of bulls were sacrificed at the festival. The sum set aside for the sacrifice in 323 BC is reported as either 50 talents or 30 talents but neither figure can be regarded as wholly realistic since Demosthenes, who was put in charge of the sacrifice for that year, was expected to pay the bulk of an outstanding fine from the money allocated. It was presided over by the archon.

    The sacrifice was performed to mark the end of the old year and beginning of the new. It was held in honor of Zeus Soter and Athene Soteira, as well as Asklēpiós and Hygeia. The purpose of the sacrifice was to place the state under the protection of the God and Goddess during the upcoming year.

    Will you join us in this PAT ritual to reign in the new year? You can find the ritual here and join the community here.
    Epictetus (Ἐπίκτητος) was a Greek-speaking Stoic philosopher who lived from 55 – 135 AD. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in north-western Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses and Enchiridion.

    Epictetus' primary philosophical lesson was that philosophy is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. In short: a true Stoic.

    In 'Discourses' Epictetus' views on the beginning of philosophy are noted down, which I believe to be an interesting read. As such, I would like to share it with you today.

    "The beginning of philosophy, at least to such as enter upon it in a proper way, and by the door, is a consciousness of our own weakness and inability [p. 1145] in necessary things. For we came into the world without any natural idea of a right-angled triangle; of a diesis, or a semitone, in music; but we learn each of these things by some artistic instruction. Hence, they who do not understand them do not assume to understand them. But who ever came into the world without an innate idea of good and evil, fair and base, becoming and unbecoming, happiness and misery, proper and improper; what ought to be done, and what not to be done? Hence, we all make use of the terms, and endeavor to apply our impressions to particular cases.
    "Such a one hath acted well, not. well; right, not right; is unhappy, is happy; is just, is unjust." Which of us refrains from these terms? Who defers the use of them till he has learnt it, as those do who are ignorant of lines and sounds? The reason of this is, that we come instructed in some degree by nature upon these subjects; and from this beginning, we go on to add self-conceit. "For why," say you, "should I not know what fair or base is? Have I not the idea of it?" You have. "Do I not apply this idea to the particular instance? " You do. "Do I not apply it rightly, then?" Here lies the whole question; and here arises the self-conceit. Beginning from these acknowledged points, men proceed, by applying them improperly, to reach the very position most questionable. For, if they knew how to apply them also, they would be all but perfect.
    If you think that you know how to apply your general principles to particular cases, tell me on what you base this application.
    "Upon its seeming so to me."
    But it does not seem so to another; and does not ne too think that he makes a right application?
    "He does."
    Is it possible, then, that each of you should rightly apply your principles, on the very subjects about which your opinions conflict?
    "It is not."
    Have you anything to show us, then, for this application, beyond the fact of its seeming so to you? And does a madman act any otherwise than seems to him right? Is this, then, a sufficient criterion for him too?
    "It is not."
    Come, therefore, to some stronger ground than seeming.
    "What is that?"
    The beginning of philosophy is this: the being sensible of the disagreement of men with each other; an inquiry into the cause of this disagreement; and a disapprobation and distrust of what merely seems; a careful examination into what seems, whether it seem rightly; and the discovery of some rule which shall serve like a balance, for the determination of weights; like a square, for distinguishing straight and crooked. This is the beginning of philosophy.
    Is it possible that all things which seem right to all persons are so? Can things contradictory be right? We say not all things; but all that seem so to us. And why more to you than to the Syrians or Egyptians; than to me, or to any other man? Not at all more.
    Therefore, what seems to each man is not sufficient to determine the reality of a thing; for even in weights and measures we are not satisfied with the bare appearance, but for everything we find some rule. And is there, then, in the present case no rule preferable to what seems? Is it possible that what is of the greatest necessity in human life should be left incapable of determination and discovery?
    There must be some rule. And why do we not seek and discover it, and, when we have discovered, ever after make use of it, without fail, so as not even to move a finger without it? For this, I conceive, is what, when found, will cure those of their madness who make use of no other measure but their own perverted way of thinking. Afterwards, beginning from certain known and determinate points, we may make use of general principles, properly applied to particulars.
    Thus, what is the subject that falls under our inquiry? Pleasure. Bring it to the rule. Throw it into the scale. Must good be something in which it is fit to confide, and to which we may trust? Yes. Is it fit to trust to anything unstable? No. Is pleasure, then, a stable thing? No. Take it, then, and throw it out of the scale, and drive it far distant from the place of good things.
    But, if you are not quick-sighted, and one balance is insufficient, bring another. Is it fit to be elated by good? Yes. Is it fit, then, to be elated by a present pleasure? See that you do not say it is; otherwise I shall not think you so much as worthy to use a scale. Thus are things judged and weighed, when we have the rules ready. This is the part of philosophy, to examine, and fix the rules; and to make use of them, when they are known, is the business of a wise and good man." [2.11]
    Unknown vandals in Albania have caused “irreparable” damage to a monument in ancient Apollonia near the town of Fieri, Albanian authorities announced on Saturday.


    The director of the archaeological site was quoted as saying that “the damage is irreparable”, as ancient marble columns at the nymphaion of the site were broken. The nymphaion, in ancient Greece, was a monument consecrated to the nymphs, especially those of springs. These monuments were originally natural grottoes, which tradition assigned as habitations to the local nymphs.

    President of Albania Ilir Meta condemned the act and called it barbaric. Albanian authorities say that the act of vandalism must have occurred during the lockdown caused by the coronavirus epidemic, but it was only recently discovered.

    Apollonia was founded in 588 BC by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth on a site where native Illyrian tribes lived and was perhaps the most important of the several classical towns known as Apollonia.

    It was a self-governing and independent city for many centuries until it was first incorporated into the Kingdom of Epirus, and later the Kingdom of Macedonia. It was a very well-governed city and flourished because of its rich agricultural hinterland and its role in the slave trade.

    Apollonia flourished in the Roman period and was home to a renowned school of philosophy, but began to decline in the 3rd century AD when its harbor started silting up as a result of an earthquake. It was abandoned by the end of Late Antiquity.
    More than a generation of learners have grown up with accessing and manipulating texts online with Perseus or the TLG. Now there is something that provides us with new tools and the contents of both: the Scaife viewer. The Scaife Viewer, https://scaife.perseus.org, is an interface for the next version of the Perseus Digital Library.


    Here are some distinctive aspects of this new tool for reading and research:

    1) The majority of the texts visible through Scaife are in Ancient Greek and Latin, but there are also texts in Persian, Chinese, Hebrew, and, as time goes on, other classical languages. All of the primary texts in the corpus are open and freely available in a variety of formats for the general public. There is a list of the several sources with links for downloading here: https://scaife.perseus.org/about/.

    Among the links is the ongoing First1KGreek Project, https://opengreekandlatin.github.io/First1KGreek/, which is intended to complete and supplement the Greek texts available from the current version of Perseus for the first thousand years of Greek from Homer to the Third Century CE, though it also includes later texts that are standard research tools for classics (like the Suda or Stobaeus). The plan is to complete this particular corpus by June, 2021.

    2) The project aims to provide multiple editions of primary texts, multiple translations of primary texts into the same or different languages, and searchable apparatus critici of texts when copyright law allows. All of the texts in Greek and Latin have been tagged as to their parts of speech and forms, and several have also been treebanked, in other words, have embedded in them the results of morpho-syntactic analysis. As a result of this data, it will be possible to align translations, word-for-word, with the texts, so that anyone can survey what are the various ways of translating a specific word in a primary source, or what any given word in a translation goes back to in the original. All of these features are in various stages of development — some are, others are not yet available but will start to become so.

    3) The Scaife viewer has two parts, a reading environment (Browse Library, on the home page, screen shot above), and a search environment (Text Search, on the home page. In the reading environment, users can call up translations alongside primary sources (“add parallel version” in screen shot, top of middle pane), and the software automatically generates word lists with vocabulary for the primary source on display in Greek as well as morphological and lexical information for any word in Greek or Latin (in Highlight mode, just click on the word). For Homeric texts, there is access to the New Alexandria commentaries (lower right pane in screen shot)— more is forthcoming in this space. Readers can also search within a given text, with lemmatized search — in other words, search for all the forms of a given word given its base form — available at the moment only for Ancient Greek. Any passage being read can be exported as a text file or with its XML markup (whole texts can be downloaded from the list of repositories given above under #1).

    4) The search environment (screen shot above) of the Scaife Viewer is sophisticated: users can search for a group of words (by putting double quotes around them), combinations of words (“and” or “or” searches), partial word searches whose initial letters are known (with the rest indicated by *), and so forth. For Greek, lemmatized searches, for example, for phrases or combinations of words, can return helpful results. The interface allows for elasticity in the search terms as well, on a scale of 1-10; they can turn up thematic as well as dictional associations that you might not anticipate.

    5) The Scaife viewer is an interface to a corpus that is in ongoing development, but also, the viewer itself is in ongoing development. In other words, neither of these is complete, and there are bugs in the software. The teams sponsoring the development of both projects, a consortium of institutions in the USA and Europe, is also developing tools and manuals for participation in the development of the corpus of texts by people everywhere. Another consequence of the incompleteness of the corpus and the software is that there are significant gaps in coverage and functionality, but many common texts and some exceptionally helpful functions are already for the public to use.

    Please give it a try.


    Text and imagery borrowed from Sententiae Antiquae, as penned by Leonard Muellner, Emeritus Professor at Brandeis University. Thank you!