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!
    On June 9, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an order ruling in favor of Amineddoleh & Associates LLC and Foley Hoag LLP’s client, the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic in the Barnet case, previously named as one of the art law cases to watch in 2018. The ruling states that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) does not provide jurisdiction over cases involving the exercise of a sovereign entity’s protection of its cultural heritage, an activity that the Second Circuit deemed to be sovereign, not commercial, in nature. This ruling is poised to have major repercussions for the US antiquities market.


    The case stemmed from a letter sent by the Greek Ministry of Culture to auction house Sotheby’s in New York City. In mid-April 2018, Sotheby’s began publicly advertising an auction titled The Shape of Beauty, which included a bronze horse in the Corinthian style and from the Geometric Period, indisputably from Greece. The horse was consigned for sale by the Barnets, whose parents had purchased it some decades earlier from Robin Symes. The Ministry first became suspicious of the item’s provenance while reviewing the auction catalog.

    In particular, the fact that Robin Symes was listed as the horse’s prior owner caught the Ministry’s attention. Symes, who was infamously referred to as a “fence” by museum officials, is a former dealer well-known in the art world due to his prominent role in the market for looted antiquities. Symes’ inclusion in the Bronze Horse’s provenance within the auction catalog pointed towards the very real possibility that the object had been looted before it made its way to the Barnets.

    Understanding Symes’ role in the art market is important in order to fully comprehend the Barnet dispute. Symes and his partner, Christo Michaelides, conducted millions of dollars of business by unlawfully selling antiquities.  Symes sold looted items through dealers, museums, and auction houses, and created fictitious “paper trails” to launder antiquities internationally.

    After his partner’s untimely death, Symes hid a hoard of plundered antiquities in Switzerland, London, and New York to conceal them from Michaelides’ family. Symes fabricated a multitude of lies about these items under oath in court proceedings, was held in contempt of court, and was ultimately sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Symes’ fall from grace exposed him as a “linchpin in the networks that once traded with impunity in such material.” Investigations during those proceedings revealed that Symes possessed vast quantities of objects. In the aftermath of these legal battles, it was revealed that Symes’ illicit activities had a far reach, with numerous museums and collectors repatriating looted items they had inadvertently purchased from Symes, including the Getty Museum. In addition, auction houses have recently withdrawn lots from auctions to avoid supporting the market for looted antiquities.

    In order to grapple with the numerous items that passed through Symes’ hands, Greek authorities regularly consult the Symes-Michaelides Archive. This photographic archive assists policing authorities and other governmental agencies in determining whether objects may have been looted and sold as part of Symes’ lucrative operations. While researching the items listed in The Shape of Beauty sale, the Ministry found that photographs depicting the Bronze Horse appeared in the Symes-Michaelides Archive. Needless to say, this raised serious concerns for the Ministry, but that was not the only red flag which prompted them to send the letter in controversy.

    The name Barnet itself is also tied to problematic antiquities and has come under scrutiny. In 1999, Howard Barnet made a charitable contribution to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with the donation of a Laconian kylix. In 2006, after it was revealed that the antiquity was looted, the museum repatriated the item to the Italian Ministry of Culture as part of a widely celebrated deal. This was a significant act of repatriation, as it was one of the first agreements between the Republic of Italy and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the return of looted antiquities.

    The Ministry was also suspicious because archaeological experts, including the world’s foremost authorities on Greek antiquities (archaeologists from the National Archaeological Museum of Greece), noted that the Bronze Horse, more likely than not, came from the province of Thessaly, and quite possibly from the area of Filia Karditsa. Archaeologists had previously found similar bronze figures in that area, but unfortunately, it had been heavily looted. There is published material, easily available online, regarding the extensive looting of sanctuaries in Filia Karditsa during the early 1960s, the decade in which the Bronze Horse first appeared on the market.

    Moreover, the object’s purported sale at a Swiss auction in 1967 raised concerns for the Ministry. There is a well-documented pattern revealing that antiquities looted from Greece often move through illegal channels and either pass through, or are sold in, Switzerland. What’s more, the relevant Swiss auction listed neither the buyer nor the seller of the Bronze, meaning that the sale could have been a sham used to launder the item and fabricate a legitimate provenance. It should be noted that there are recorded cases in which a looted item is placed for auction by an anonymous seller, and then either that person or one of their collaborators purchases the work, thereby creating a fictitiously authentic history for the object. (In fact, it was noted that Robin Symes himself acted in this way.)

    For this reason, identifying the buyer and seller at each stage of a cultural heritage-related transaction is extremely important; the Greek Ministry was in the process of researching this information and a potential connection between the Bronze Horse and Symes with policing authorities (such as INTERPOL) at the time that Plaintiffs filed this suit. Unfortunately, this is a time-intensive process, and the Ministry was forced to act upon the information available to it at the time in order to prevent the Bronze Horse’s sale and potential disappearance.

    What’s more, to date the Ministry has not found any documentation to prove that the Bronze Horse was legally exported from Greece or declared to authorities of the Greek State as required by the country’s patrimony laws.

    For all of these reasons, the Ministry sent a formal inquiry letter to Sotheby’s, requesting that the auction house withdraw the lot until its provenance and exit from Greece could be researched more thoroughly. Sotheby’s withdrew the item from the auction, but rejected all of Greece’s assertions and insisted that the Ministry provide evidence for its claims within seven business days. In its response, Sotheby’s also admitted that the provenance information originally provided in its auction catalog was erroneous, inaccurately stating that the Bronze Horse was “very probably” purchased by Symes in 1967 at Swiss auction house of Munzen and Medaillen. In other words, Robin Symes was not the purchaser at the 1967 auction, but had acquired the bronze at some subsequent time during an unknown transaction. In any event, Symes appeared to be involved in the Bronze Horse’s chain of custody, and this fact could not be ignored.

    As can be expected, Sotheby’s response raised additional red flags and unanswered questions for the Ministry. As the Ministry continued researching the Bronze Horse’s path from Greece to New York, the Barnet Family (the consignors) and Sotheby’s jointly filed a claim in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

    The Ministry filed a motion to dismiss based upon the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FISA), which provides foreign sovereigns (and their agencies) with immunity from suit in the U.S. The exceptions enumerated in FSIA are the only means for U.S. courts to exert jurisdiction over a foreign state or agency, such as the Ministry.

    Sotheby’s argued that the commercial activity exception applied, making the Ministry subject to jurisdiction in the U.S. We countered that Greece was immune from suit because the regulation of its cultural heritage is an act that is not commercial in nature, but sovereign, as it emanates from a constitutional duty of the State toward its people. Private parties cannot exercise such policing and regulatory actions. The Ministry has long fought to protect Greece’s rich cultural heritage for its people and all of humanity. Under a mandate of the Greek Constitution, the Ministry works is tasked with the daunting task of protecting the sovereign nation’s valuable cultural heritage against looting the and exploitation of stolen goods on the illicit market.

    In fulfilling its public national interest, the Ministry actively and diligently monitors the art market for items lacking sufficient documentation and ownership history. As a result, the Ministry sent a letter to the auction house, about an object scheduled for auction. The letter set forth the Ministry’s national interest in an object indisputably from within the sovereign borders of the Greek State. Rather than resolve the inquiry through a private, non-litigious process, the Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the foreign state agency.

    We urged the district court to dismiss the case according to these principles, but the Southern District found that the Ministry’s act of sending the letter was carried out in relation with commercial activity because private actors may, and do, send demand letters claiming ownership of artifacts slated for auction. However, this determination did not take into account the particular nature of cultural heritage/patrimonial items and the role States play in ensuring that this type of property is protected from looting and unlawful exploitation. As a law firm specializing in cultural heritage disputes, Amineddoleh & Associates worked tirelessly to distinguish the Ministry’s acts from commercial activity both in the district court case and on appeal – which ultimately proved successful.

    Today, the Second Circuit released its opinion reversing the district court and stating that Greece’s enactment and enforcement of patrimony laws are archetypal sovereign activities and therefore do not provide the requisite connection to commercial activity that would authorize suit under FSIA. Barnet et al v. Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Hellenic Republic, 19-2171 (2d Cir. 2020). After reviewing Greece’s laws governing its cultural heritage, including items like the Bronze Horse, the Second Circuit determined that the core act carried out by the Ministry – sending a letter asserting ownership over the figurine – was of a sovereign nature. In the court’s own words, “nationalizing property is a distinctly sovereign act,” as an extension of its police power. Private parties simply cannot nationalize historical artifacts and regulate their export and ownership – this power belongs to sovereign nations alone.

    We are pleased to have worked with colleagues from Foley Hoag on this appeal to the Second Circuit. We are also pleased that the Second Circuit made a correct decision in keeping with international norms of comity and the applicable judicial precedent, which will support foreign sovereigns and agencies in tracking down and preventing the sale of looted antiquities and cultural heritage items in the U.S.
    Hadestown is a musical with music, lyrics and book by Anaïs Mitchell. It tells a version of the ancient Hellenic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orpheus goes to the underworld to rescue his fiancée Eurydice.

    The original version of the musical premiered in the town of Barre, Vermont in 2006. There was also a production in Vergennes in the same year and a tour between Vermont and Massachusetts in 2007. Then Mitchell, unsure about the future of the musical, turned it into a concept album, released in 2010.

    In 2012, Mitchell met director Rachel Chavkin, and the two started to rework the stage production, with additional songs and dialogue. The new version of the musical, developed for the stage and directed by Chavkin, premiered Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on May 6, 2016 and ran through July 31. Following productions in Edmonton and London, the show premiered in previews on Broadway in March 2019.

    The Broadway production opened to critical acclaim and received numerous awards and nominations. At the 73rd Tony Awards, Hadestown received a total of 14 nominations (the most for the evening) and won eight of them, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

    I haven't seen the musical (but desperately want to!) I wanted to share the NPR Tiny Desk concert of the soundtrack today, as it's super awesome and not enough people know about it. Enjoy!

    Needless to say, this is not Hellenic, but it's very interesting for us too. Because what works for a Roman city also works for an ancient Hellenic one. For the first time, archaeologists have succeeded in mapping a complete Roman city, Falerii Novi in Italy, using advanced ground penetrating radar (GPR), allowing them to reveal astonishing details while it remains deep underground. The technology could revolutionise our understanding of ancient settlements.


    The research, published in Antiquity, harnessed recent advances in GPR technology which make it possible to explore larger areas in higher resolution than ever before. This is likely to have major implications for the study of ancient cities because many cannot be excavated either because they are too large, or because they are trapped under modern structures.

    GPR works like regular radar, bouncing radio waves off objects and using the 'echo' to build up a picture at different depths.* By towing their GPR instruments behind a quad bike, the archaeologists surveyed all 30.5 hectares within the city's walls - Falerii Novi was just under half the size of Pompeii - taking a reading every 12.5cm.

    Located 50 km north of Rome and first occupied in 241 BC, Falerii Novi survived into the medieval period (until around AD 700). The team's GPR data can now start to reveal some of the physical changes experienced by the city in this time. They have already found evidence of stone robbing.

    The study also challenges certain assumptions about Roman urban design, showing that Falerii Novi's layout was less standardised than many other well-studied towns, like Pompeii. The temple, market building and bath complex discovered by the team are also more architecturally elaborate than would usually be expected in a small city.

    In a southern district, just within the city's walls, GPR revealed a large rectangular building connected to a series of water pipes which lead to the aqueduct. Remarkably, these pipes can be traced across much of Falerii Novi, running beneath its insulae (city blocks), and not just along its streets, as might normally be expected. The team believes that this structure was an open-air natatio or pool, forming part of a substantial public bathing complex.

    Even more unexpectedly, near the city's north gate, the team identified a pair of large structures facing each other within a porticus duplex (a covered passageway with central row of columns). They know of no direct parallel but believe these were part of an impressive public monument, and contributed to an intriguing sacred landscape on the city's edge.

    Corresponding author, Professor Martin Millett from the University of Cambridge's Faculty of Classics, said: "The astonishing level of detail which we have achieved at Falerii Novi, and the surprising features that GPR has revealed, suggest that this type of survey could transform the way archaeologists investigate urban sites, as total entities."

    Millett and his colleagues have already used GPR to survey Interamna Lirenas in Italy, and on a lesser scale, Alborough in North Yorkshire, but they now hope to see it deployed on far bigger sites.

    "It is exciting and now realistic to imagine GPR being used to survey a major city such as Miletus in Turkey, Nicopolis in Greece or Cyrene in Libya. We still have so much to learn about Roman urban life and this technology should open up unprecedented opportunities for decades to come."

    The sheer wealth of data produced by such high-resolution mapping does, however, pose significant challenges. Traditional methods of manual data analysis are too time consuming, requiring around 20 hours to fully document a single hectare. It will be some time before the researchers finish examining Falerii Novi but to speed the process up they are developing new automated techniques.

    Falerii Novi is well documented in the historical record, is not covered by modern buildings and has been the subject of decades of analysis using other non-invasive techniques, such as magnetometry, but GPR has now revealed a far more complete picture.

    *GPR is so effective because it relies on the reflection of radio waves off items in the ground. Different materials reflect waves differently, which can be used to create maps of underground features. Although this principle has been employed since the 1910s, over the past few years technological advances have made the equipment faster and higher resolution.