I came across these a while ago and thought they might prove useful or at least entertaining. This is the source I have found but please correct me if the source is different. The Theoi and the sign they are most associated with, based on core domain and/or lore. For more symbols of these Theoi, go here.



The University of Liverpool’s Garstang Museum of Archaeology secured £40,000 investment from the Art Fund to produce digital exhibitions using 3D imagery – and to share this knowledge, expertise and equipment with similar institutions across the North West.

The Museums of the North West Photogrammetry Hub: building virtual 3D futures project will use the technique of creating 3D models of objects held in collections using multiple 2D images, allowing the public to get as close to these unique items as possible, as Covid-19 continues to keep the physical buildings sealed.

Garstang Museum Curator, Dr Gina Criscenzo-Laycock said: “The museums of the North West have some of the UK’s most important collections, and this project represents a huge step towards opening up these collections to make them accessible to people from both within and outside the region.”

The investment, which was awarded from the Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine appeal, will be used to engage a photogrammetry technician; purchase purpose-built computing equipment and software for the construction, editing and manipulation of 3D models; as well as allowing the purchase of photogrammetry equipment to loan to partner museums, to help support digital archiving of 3D models held across the region.

The Liverpool team will also provide training and direct working support to North West museum staff, which will help facilitate the construction of a digital exhibition, featuring augmented reality with accompanying app, that can be hosted at each partner institution.

Dr Ardern Hulme-Beaman leads the University’s Photogrammetry Team, in the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, he said: 

“We’re extremely pleased to receive this grant from the Art Fund and we’re very much looking forward to starting this collaborative project. The Photogrammetry Team in the University has been working extremely hard to advance efficient photogrammetry practices, and this award lays the foundations for future projects with our collaborative partners, both in terms of creative public engagement and research activities.”

The Garstang Museum, which was founded in 1904, houses more than 20,000 artefacts from Egypt, Sudan and the Near East – including rare pieces from Nubia – but is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The funding will allow The Garstang and it’s North West partners; The Atkinson Museum in Southport; Bolton Museum; Manchester Museum; Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery in Carlisle and the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum to continue to make their collections available – in 3D – to interested members of the public, academics and students across the world.

Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum, added: “Manchester Museum is excited to be part of this project, which builds on our ambitions in this direction and – crucially – responds to a real need to engage with objects in new, virtual ways.”

To find out more about the University’s Photogrammetry Team, please visit https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/humanities-and-social-sciences/research/research-themes/centre-for-digital-humanities/projects/photogrammetry/ and to find out more about the Garstang Museum of Archaeology, please visit https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/garstang-museum/.

Listverse released a list of ten ancient Hellenic writers you should know. It's a good list, and the reasoning why these were chosen is a great read in and of itself. The ten who made the cut are:

10. Hómēros -- writer of the Iliad and the Odysseia
9. Sophocles -- the tragedian who wrote (amongst others) Antigone, Oedipus the King and Electra
8. Herodotos -- whose book The Histories is considered the first work of history in Western literature
7. Euripides -- the tragedian who wrote (amongst others) Alcestis, Medea and The Bacchus
6. Hippokrátēs -- who fathered modern medicine, mostly with his Hippocratic Corpus
5. Aristophanes -- the comic playwright who wrote (amongst others) The Clouds, The Wasps and Lysistrata
4. Plato -- one of the fathers of Western philosophy
3. Aristotle -- the last of the great Hellenic philosophers 
2. Euclid -- a mathematician and the father of geometry, whose main work--The Elements--is still used as a textbook in mathematics 
1. Archimedes -- a mathematician, engineer, inventor, physicist and astronomer whose ideas are as the basics of all these disciplines

I most certainly concur that this list lists some of ancient Hellas' most influential writers, but the list is far from complete. Today, I want to add five more to it, and most of my picks will no surprise you.

5. Sappho
Sappho (Σαπφώ) was a Hellenic lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos (Λέσβος) around 620 BC, although the exact date is unknown. She wrote beautiful and highly romantic poetry that comes and goes straight to the heart. One of the most famous of her works is her Hymn to Aphrodite.

4. Aeschylos
As the original list includes both Sophocles and Euripides, it seems only fair to include Aeschylos. Aeschylos (Aiskhulos, Αἰσχύλος) was the first of the three Hellenic tragedians whose plays can still be read or performed. According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in plays to allow for conflict amongst them, whereas previously characters had interacted only with the chorus. Aescholos' most famous works are undoubtedly the Seven against Thebes, the Supplicants and the Orestia. 

3. Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos ( Πυθαγόρας ὁ Σάμιος) was an Ionian Hellenic philosopher, mathematician, and the father of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. He lived from about 570 BC to about 495 BC, and made influential contributions to philosophy, religious teaching, math, ethics, and science. His most famous work is, undoubtedly, the Pythagorean theorem (a^2 + b^2 = c^2), that's standard in every math textbook. Interestingly enough, not a single bit of writing has been preserved--if he ever wrote anything down to begin with. His works are mostly quoted by his students, or known through critiques by Aristotle.

2. Plutarch
Plutach (Ploútarkhos, Πλούταρχος) was an ancient Hellenic historian, biographer, and essayist who lived between 46 and 120 AD. He is known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia, but much of his work is lost to us. Plutarch's writings are full of details about people and places, and are therefor a true treasure trove.

1. Hesiod
Hesiod (Hesiodos, Ἡσίοδος) was a Hellenic oral poet who lived between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Hómēros. I would dare say that his work--especially 'Works and Days' and the 'Theogony'--has shaped the way scholars and practitioners of Hellenismos view ancient Hellenic society, religion and way of life. This is why I strongly feel that anyone who feels drawn to the Theoi, might benefit from investing some time in reading his words.

Turkish fishermen casting nets outside Turkish territorial waters off the coast of the port city of Marmaris in southwestern Turkey made the catch of a lifetime. At dawn, when they began to reel in the nets they had thrown at a depth of 50 metres, they were surprised to see a large statue emerging from the sea. 

The fishermen informed the Turkish coast guard which in turn informed the Marmaris Museum Directorate and archaeologists were dispatched to examine the statue.

It turned out to be a female bronze statue about two metres tall and weighing 300 kilograms. The statue, which has not yet been dated, was placed in a vehicle with a crane and transferred to the Marmaris Museum for further examination and conservation.

The archaeologists did not provide more information on the matter, and referred to the official statements that will be made by the Ministry after the investigations.

Statuettes of the ancient Hellenic Goddesses Demeter and Persephone have been discovered in Anapa, a town in Russia.

The discovery was carried out by the staff of the Institute for History and Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The two intact terracotta semi-figures made more than two thousand years ago were found at a swimming pool construction site in a sanatorium in Anapa. They will be donated to the Anapa museum.

The excavation was carried on the western outskirts of the ancient Greek city of Gorgippia that was there in the 4th-2nd century B.C. Other objects discovered: Turkish smoking pipes, coffee cups, and Russian silver coins dating back to 1818-1913. 

 When I find myself in troubled times, I turn to the ancient writers for the comfort of their now familiar words. Yesterday I picked up Hesiod's Works and Days. Works and Days is a very soothing piece of writing for me. It describes the day to day; it looks in, not out. While the world burns, it gives reprieve. 

Works and Days (Erga kaí Hemérai, Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι) is a didactic poem written by the very early ancient Hellenic poet Hesiod. It was probably written around 700 BCE or earlier and is the first example we have of Hellenic didactic poetry (poetry that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities). It embodies the experiences of his daily life and work, forming a sort of shepherd's calendar, interwoven with episodes of myth, allegory, advice and personal history. It may have been written against a background of an agrarian crisis in mainland Hellas, which inspired a wave of documented colonization in search of new land. It was written for his son Peres, as advice to him.

While I was reading last night, I recognized that turmoil in the pages and I found his words even more sound and soothing. They reminded me that I can only control my own actions and through them inspire others to take good and just action. As much as I would like to do more, I cannot shoulder that burden, nor can any individual. So, listen to Hesiod today and remember his still very timely advice.

Hesiod - Works and Days
"...And there is virgin Justice, the daughter of Zeus, who is honoured and reverenced among the gods who dwell on Olympus, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Cronos, and tells him of men's wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and give sentence crookedly. Keep watch against this, you princes, and make straight your judgements, you who devour bribes; put crooked judgements altogether from your thoughts.

He does mischief to himself who does mischief to another, and evil planned harms the plotter most. 

The eye of Zeus, seeing all and understanding all, beholds these things too, if so he will, and fails not to mark what sort of justice is this that the city keeps within it. Now, therefore, may neither I myself be righteous among men, nor my son -- for then it is a bad thing to be righteous -- if indeed the unrighteous shall have the greater right. But I think that all-wise Zeus will not yet bring that to pass.

But you, Perses, lay up these things within you heart and listen now to right, ceasing altogether to think of violence. For the son of Cronos has ordained this law for men, that fishes and beasts and winged fowls should devour one another, for right is not in them; but to mankind he gave right which proves far the best. For whoever knows the right and is ready to speak it, far-seeing Zeus gives him prosperity; but whoever deliberately lies in his witness and forswears himself, and so hurts Justice and sins beyond repair, that man's generation is left obscure thereafter. But the generation of the man who swears truly is better thenceforward.

To you, foolish Perses, I will speak good sense. Badness can be got easily and in shoals: the road to her is smooth, and she lives very near us. But between us and Goodness the gods have placed the sweat of our brows: long and steep is the path that leads to her, and it is rough at the first; but when a man has reached the top, then is she easy to reach, though before that she was hard."

 Archaeologists have discovered more important artifacts on Vryokastraki, the small rocky islet near the Greek island of Kythnos.

The excavations were undertaken by the Department of Archaeology of the University of Thessaly’s Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology and the Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

According to the Greek Ministry of Culture, the findings detail the history of the island, which was inhabited from the 12th century BC until the 7th century AD. However, new evidence shows there was also a Cycladic settlement on the islet in the 3rd millennium BC.

A series of inscriptions found during excavations, describes the time when the islet was ruled by a pirate named Glafketis.

Well-preserved ceramics, clay figurines and jewellery were also discovered in the sanctuary.

A bust of Hermes, in good condition, was discovered in central Athens during sewage work, authorities said Sunday.

The Greek Culture Ministry said that the head, one of many that served as street markers in ancient Athens, was found Friday and it appears to be from around 300 B.C. — that is, either from the late fourth century B.C., or the early third century. It depicts Hermes at “a mature age,” the ministry said, in contrast to his usual depictions as youthful.

The head is in the style of famed Greek sculpture Alcamenes, who flourished in the second half of fifth century B.C., the ministry said.

After serving as a street marker, the head, at some point, had been built into the wall of a drainage duct, the ministry said. The find was transferred to a storeroom of the Ephorate of Antiquities.

 On the day of the Hene kai Nea, 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.

PAT rituals for Poseideon I:

None. All festivals will fall in Poseideon II.

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.

The ancient Hellenes viewed the Earth as a round disk divided into equal parts by the Mediterranean Sea and the (Black) Sea (first called the Inhospitable Sea by Pindar, then the Hospitable Sea once the shores became inhabited). Okeanos, a mystical river, flowed around the entire disk, and mysterious peoples—the Hyperboreans in the north, the Ethiopians in the far south and the Kimmerians in parts unknown—lived outside Okeanos' perimeter. 

The ancient Hellenes also believed that the heaven was made up of celestial spheres. The celestial spheres, or celestial orbs, were the fundamental entities of the cosmological models developed by great philosophers and astronomers like Plato, Aristotle, and Ptolemy. It was believed that the stars were fixed and did not change their positions relative to one another. As such, it was argued that they must be on the surface of a single starry sphere. The apparent motions of the fixed stars and the planets are accounted for by treating them as embedded in rotating spheres made of an aetherial, transparent fifth element (quintessence).

According to the Homeric hymns, the ancient Hellenes also believed that there are columns that keep apart earth and heaven. It's most likely these columns or pillars were mountains in the centre of the disk, or at the edge of the disk. It were these pillars that Atlas guarded, or he was the actual pillar who held up the spheres--and thus the actual mountain. As Hesiod writes in the Theogony

"[At the ends of the earth, where lie the roots of earth, sea, Tartaros :] There stands the awful home of murky Nyx wrapped in dark clouds. In front of it [Atlas] the son of Iapetos stands immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands." [744]

Now we are on the topic, it also depends upon tradition if Atlas held up the celestial orbs as punishment, or if he was chosen to do it as an honour to him. The punishment part is perhaps best described by Hyginus in his Fabulae:

"After Juno [Hera] saw that Epaphus, born of a concubine, ruled such a great kingdom, she saw to it that he should be killed while hunting, and encouraged the Titanes to drive Jove [Zeus] from the kingdom and restore it to Saturn [Kronos]. When they tried to mount to heaven, Jove with the help of Minerva [Athene], Apollo, and Diana [Artemis], cast them headlong into Tartarus. On Atlas, who had been their leader, he put the vault of the sky; even now he is said to hold up the sky on his shoulders." [150]

Hómēros, in his Odysseia, takes an opposite--or at least milder--view, implying the honour in Atlas' position:

"Atlas the baleful; he knows the depths of all the seas, and he, no other, guards the tall pillars that keep the sky and earth apart." [1.52]

It makes sense, in fact, to have holding up the heavens be an honour: if Atlas slacks even a moment, the celestial spheres would crash down onto Earth and destroy it, killing everyone. It's a huge responsibility, and to give that to someone pissed off for losing a war seems foolish. 

Like many of the myths concerning the ancient Titans, there are versions of mythology where Atlas no longer bears the heaven. In this case: Pindar describes it as such in the Pythian Odes:

"Does not even now great [Titan] Atlas struggle to bear up the weight of heaven, far from his fathers’ land and his possessions? But almighty Zeus set free the Titanes, for as time passes and the breeze abates, the sails are set anew." [4]

The Farnese Atlas is a 2nd-century Roman marble copy of a Hellenistic sculpture of Atlas kneeling with the celestial spheres, not a globe, weighing heavily on his shoulders. It is the oldest extant statue of Atlas, as well as the oldest known representation of the celestial sphere. The globe shows a depiction of the night sky as seen from outside the outermost celestial sphere, with low reliefs depicting 41 (some sources say 42) of the 48 classical Hellenic constellations distinguished by Ptolemy. The sphere is made up of solid marble, and contains no actual stars. This may have aided the formation of the common misconception that Atlas was forced to hold the Earth on his shoulders. I hope this post clears up a bit of the confusion.

Solar radiation, rain, humidity and extreme temperatures. Cultural heritage is exposed to an array of external factors that deteriorate it over time. Among them, the most aggressive may well be microbial contamination, caused by an ample ecosystem of fungi, algae, bacteria and microscopic lichens that grow inside the pores of the materials the buildings are made of and they make these buildings less resistant to other external agents, speeding up the deterioration process over time.

When restoring historical monuments, it is important to use tough materials that can withstand these microorganisms. This task is complex, given that the materials used in these kinds of restorations must be in accordance with the original materials, made of plaster, lime mortar and stones such as limestone or marble. Cement and concrete, materials commonly used in the latest research, are ruled out as they are incompatible with materials such as lime mortar and could even worsen the problem.

A research team from the University Research Institute into Fine Chemistry and Nanochemistry at the University of Cordoba (the FQM 214 and FQM 175 groups) and Seville’s Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of the Spanish National Research Council (abbreviated to IRNAS-CSIC in Spanish) worked together to create a biocide additive, as in one that kills microorganisms, that can be incorporated into materials used to rebuild historic monuments and buildings.

“The materials that contain these kinds of chemical compounds are widely used in restoration but their effectiveness usually lasts for a brief amount of time -about two years – since the external agents, in addition to deteriorating the material, end up weakening its biocidal properties,”

...explains Adrián Pastor, one of the researchers on the study which is part of his doctoral research for his thesis titled “New functional materials to decontaminate cultural heritage and urban habitats”. The study has been performed under the guidance of Dr. Luis Sánchez and Dr. Ivana Pavlovic and with the participation of Dr. Manuel Cruz Yusta and Dr. Beatriz Gámiz (RNM 124).

In this research, the team tested hydraulic lime mortar to which they added carbendazim, a biocide compound generally widely used in paint, as it has low water solubility and is therefore more water resistant. In order to do so, they compared, on the one hand, the antimicrobial effectiveness of a lime mortar to which carbendazim was directly added and on the other hand, a lime mortar whose clay contained an anchored biocidal compound.

Both underwent several microbiological tests in order to test their ability to fight microorganisms and a leaching process, in which the soluble parts of a material are removed, simulating various rain cycles in a short amount of time.

“In the first microbiological test, we verified that the first mortar, to which we directly added carbendazim, had a somewhat greater biocidal capacity. However, after the leaching processes, we verified that the second mortar, that had carbendazim anchored to the clay, showed better results since the biocide compound was released more slowly and therefore, its effect is more long-lasting.”

This is a preliminary study that requires further research to get this material under study on the market, meaning a larger scale study, as well as studying the material’s specific physical properties in order to verify that it complies with regulations regarding durability, adhesion and other properties.

The story of the Piraeus Lion is one of several which are part of Greece’s long history of ancient sculpted masterpieces — and their subsequent looting, which has meant that many of them are now scattered in museums and historical sites around the world. The imposing lion statue, thought to have been sculpted around 360 BC, was the landmark of the ancient Greek port of Piraeus, which stood proud in its place at the entrance to the harbor until 1687 — when it was looted by Venetian naval commander Francesco Morosini. It is currently on display at the Venetian Arsenal, as a symbol of Venice’s patron saint, Saint Mark.

The port of Piraeus has served as the harbor of Athens from ancient times until today. Its proud lion was a famous landmark that caused the Italians to name Piraeus “Porto Leone” (Lion Port), leaving out its actual location. In fact the first mention of the port as Porto Leone is made on a naval map drawn up by the Genoese Pietro Visconti in 1318.

Made of white marble, the lion is an imposing 3 meters (9 feet) tall. It is in a sitting position and its hollow throat and the marks of a missing pipe running across its back indicates that its was most likely part of a fountain, as the description by the Venetians about water flowing from its mouth into a cistern at its feet indicates.

Travelers and sailors over the centuries have created several legends about the lion. One of these says that a pregnant Turkish woman looked at the statue and then gave birth to a monster with the face of a lion, with rabbit’s ears and human legs, which cried out like a dog. At that time, it is said that Turkish authorities ordered the newborn’s killing and did not allow the baby’s burial, sending it to France for study. Similar legends circulated throughout the Middle Ages, generating awe in the seamen of the time.

The lion was defaced during the 11th century by Swedes, who were mercenaries in the service of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Emperor. The Swedes carved graffiti on the lion, in the form of runes, which were recognized many years later as such by Swedish diplomat Johan David Akerblad, at the end of the eighteenth century.

The inscriptions have been eroded by the weather and pollution in Venice, making many of the individual runes barely legible now. Translators who tried to reconstruct some of the runes, filling in the blanks to determine what words they represented, came to inconclusive results.

During the war of the Venetians against the Ottoman Empire in 1687, the Venetians captured Athens and Morosini’s cannons were fired at the Parthenon, causing damage. The Venetian forces then sacked the city  and took the famous lion statue back to Venice as war booty.

Today, a copy of the lion gazes like a fearsome guard at all the incoming ships in the port, while other copies are exhibited at the Piraeus Archaeological Museum and, interestingly enough, at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm.

A new digital platform that offers users a unique experience of Greek history through a virtual tour of Ancient Olympia, has just been launched and is available online for everyone around the world. The new platform, funded and created by the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency along with a team of archaeologists offers users a personalized tour of Olympia’s archaeological sites, and allows these virtual visitors to take control of their journey throughout Ancient Olympia.

The aim of the platform is to educate the public about the significance of the Olympian sites, monuments and sculptures located at the site where the Olympic Games were born, and to promote the cultural resources of the wider area of Katakolo – Ancient Olympia, which has become a large tourist attraction over the last decade.

“This new platform will be a modern way of highlighting archaeological sites, cultural wealth, tourist infrastructure and attractions, through an integrated system with a specially designed interface environment.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with various countries in lockdown around the world, people have the opportunity to travel to Ancient Olympia through their screen, choose any of the available routes and paths within the archaeological site and wander among the ancient monuments, just like they would in real life.

The online destination management platform provides potential visitors with relevant information about the most important points of tourist interest and also encourages them to actively participate in various activities around the site.

“The digital content that will be offered, will have a historical sequence and thematic correlation, thus depicting the historical development of the ancient city and allowing visitors to explore the modern and BC Olympia on their own.” 

On the digital platform the visitor is be able to, among other things:

- Tour Ancient Olympia’s archaeological sites and choose different destination routes
- Stop at various points of interest and see monuments around the area
- Access photos, texts, videos, audio documents, maps, and many more resources
- Browse events that happened in Ancient Olympia as well as modern day events that  honour the athletic games of the city
- Explore the cultural wealth of the area through advanced multimedia presentation applications
- Contribute to the platform by adding personal content, communicating with other visitors and networking with people from around the world.

Interactive maps will also be provided to all visitors, with suggested routes and detailed presentations of each stop point featuring important attractions. General information, such as duration of each route, distance and list of monuments will be provided as well, to make the experience as realistic as possible. At the same time, an electronic calendar service will show all the important event dates relating to Ancient Olympia, such as sports competitions, and will enable users to virtually travel back in time.

“This is an extraordinary chance for all people, who have love for the Greek culture and history, or are eager to learn more about it, and stay inside their homes all day long because of the coronavirus pandemic. People who did not get to travel over the summer will now feel like tourists in this magnificent ancient city.”

Throughout the virtual journey, three poles sites have been highlighted as the biggest touristic attractions of the area, and offer users special activities and features.

“Ancient Ilida, Ancient Olympia and the Temple of Apollo the Great are poles of international scope, with enormous archaeological and wider scientific significance.” 

Archaeologists that worked on the platform also explained that “based on the number of visitors, these three sites, are the main (almost exclusive) pillar of the cultural / archaeological product of the region of Western Greece. Among them, the most popular is the site of Ancient Olympia, the site of the Olympic Games, which has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989. The annual number of visitors to the site (before the pandemic) exceeds 450,000 per year, making it 5th most visited archaeological site in Greece.”

“In total, the archeological site of Ancient Olympia, in 2014, attracted 98% of the total visitors to archaeological sites in the region. Also, the area in Ilia and Olympia is characterized by a developmental dualism. On the one hand, it has an unprecedented gateway for fun touristic spots (such as the Katakolo port) and an emblematic cultural site of universal value (Ancient Olympia), the sustainability of which requires the implementation of a comprehensive and constant economic and environmental reconstruction. On the other hand, there is an urban, semi-urban and a mountainous hinterland, with significant growth potential, complementary to coastal development, but also to some extent autonomous, which is reaped only a little by the tourist flows.”

The municipality of Ilia is also working on various other projects in the city, to enhance the experience of tourists, but also enable local people to “utilize and promote the surplus of cultural, natural and tourist resources of the area, so that the rich history of Olympia and its unique landscape and nature, are not only complementary to the dominant tourism product, but also a lever for the development of the wider region.”

Borrowed, with gratitude from Sententiae Antiquae as I have very limited time to put a blog together today. A swan song (κύκνειον ᾆσμα) is a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. And its origins in text are found in ancient Hellas. 

“The Swan, which the poets and many prose authors make an attendant to Apollo, has some other relationship to music and song I do not understand. But it was believed by those before us that the swan died after he sang what was called its “swan-song”. Nature truly honors it more than noble and good men and for good reason: for while others praise and morn people, the swans take care of themselves, if you will.”

[Aelian, History of Animals 2.32]

“Singing the swan song”: [this proverb] is applied to those who are near death. For swans sing as they die and they know then the end of life is coming upon them and so, in this way, they face that arrival bravely. But human beings fear what they do not know and think that it is the greatest evil. But swans sing out at death the kind of song sung at a funeral…”

[Michael Apostolios, Proverbs 10.18]

“Chrysippos was writing about something like this again in the same work. When someone who loved to make fun of people was about to be killed by the executioner, he said that he wanted one thing, to die after singing his ‘swan-song’. After the executioner agreed, the man made fun of him.”

[Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 14 (616b)]

“Internationally acclaimed Byzantinologists unite their voices for the preservation of antiquities at the Venizelos Metro Station in Thessaloniki”, announced the Association of Greek Archaeologists . The same announcement contains related video messages from Maria Mavroudi, Professor of Byzantine Archaeology at the University of Berkeley, Jean-Pierre Sodini, Emeritus Professor at Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne and Member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Young Richard Kim Associate Professor of Classical and Mediterranean Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Dimiter Angelov, Professor of Byzantine History at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks.

Also being sent is a translated text by Jean-Michel Spieser, Emeritus Professor of Early Christian and Byzantine Archaeology and Art at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. The professor, who knows the city well because of his doctoral dissertation on Early Christian Thessaloniki, mentions, among other things, the important findings of the Venizelos station: 

“For me it is self-evident that the findings must remain in place and be accessible to the public. Their detachment would cause the loss of their unique character, as they would become part of an artificial framework no longer allowing ancient Thessaloniki to be seen as it was […]. I wholeheartedly hope that the Council of State will vindicate you and decide on the “in situ” preservation of the antiquities. These will be of great interest to science, the education of students, but also to Thessaloniki’s tourism. The site will be an additional enhancement to the city , as are the beautiful churches with their mosaics and frescoes”.

It is reminded that various institutions have appealed to the Council of State requesting the annulment of the decision on removing and relocating the antiquities. The appeal is scheduled to be heard on Friday, November 6.

To see the video messages press here, here, here and here.

 Thank you, Nike, thank you, America. That is all I have to say today. May the healing begin.

"O powerful Nike, by men desired, with adverse breasts to dreadful fury fired, thee I invoke, whose might alone can quell contending rage and molestation fell. 'Tis thine in battle to confer the crown, the victor's prize, the mark of sweet renown; for thou rulest all things, Nike divine! And glorious strife, and joyful shouts are thine. Come, mighty Goddess, and thy suppliant bless, with sparkling eyes, elated with success; may deeds illustrious thy protection claim, and find, led on by thee, immortal fame."
- Orphic Hymn 33 to Nike 

As new lockdown measures are sweeping the globe, those of you with kids might be running out of things to do with them. I'm going to describe some fun things to do with children to get them in the mood for a Hellenistic festival, and to help make them feel more included.

  • let the children design their own Hellenic clothing, and have a fashion show to show off the designs
  • pick flowers with the children and let them make their own wreath to wear
  • assist the kids in writing a mythologically inspired play, and let them perform it; this play can be inspired by existing plays, of course
  • play '20 questions' with the kids by having them stick a post-it with the name of a Theos or Theia on it on their foreheads and asking each other questions to find out who they are
  • make temples of their own design with the kids; these can be drawn, fashioned out of clay, made out (or inside of) shoe-boxes, or with bricks and wood, if you have the resources at your disposal
  • a similar assignment can be done  for altars, pottery, columns, statues, or ancient Hellenic houses
  • Hellenic shields and helmets can be made out of cardboard
  • how about drawing monsters on cardboard and cutting them out? They can play 'Hēraklēs' with them afterwards and vanquish them
  • collect as many rocks and other markers as you can find and lay out the lines of a temple behind, so they can play at being priests and priestesses
  • alternatively, the kids can make a labyrinth and find the heart of it, like Theseus when he went to hunt for the Minotaur. Having them find their way out is also an option, of course
  • cook as much Hellenic food together as you can stomach and have a tasting party
  • let the kids read and study the Hellenic alphabet, and compose coded messages to each other. Use clay or plaster to create a plaque the students can carve their name into. Use a paperclip as a hanger (apply to the plaster or clay while it hardens) so the plaque can go on the wall. Stone fleck paint or simple gray paint can be used to 'stonify' the plaque afterwards.
  • make ancient Hellenic coins out of clay, carving images into it, or using the clay to make a mold that you can pour tin in. Note, tin fumes are poisonous and is has to be melted! Don't let the kids do this themselves!
  • host Olympics with kids-appropriate sports like long jump, sprints, relay races, and things like frisbee throw, space hopper races, and rope jumping competitions
As you can see, there are a thousand-and-one things to do with children that will teach them about ancient Hellas, and make a festival day extra special. Besides, most of these things, I would love to do myself; the space hopper races, especially!

Image taken from: Culture24

A final solution has been given for the fire protection of Mycenae by installing a complete fire extinguishing system at the archaeological site. Yesterday morning, Minister of Culture and Sorts Lina Mendoni and Regional Governor of the Peloponnese Panagiotis Nikas signed a €650,000 Contract Programme to upgrade the existing fire protection infrastructures. The archaeological site of Mycenae has recovered its appearance with grass covering the area once again. The Ministry of Culture and Sports announced that Mycenae was visited by 8,340 people in September and 9,172 in October.

During Lina Mendoni’s meeting with Mr Nikas, a second Contract Programme was signed for the restoration of the Koumoundouros Tower – owned by the Public Properties Company – as an honour due to the late Alexandros Koumoundouros who served as Prime minister ten times.  The deserted tower is situated in the municipality of West Mani, on the the plain of Avia. The Contract Programme provides for a study to be conducted by the services of the Ministry of Culture, for the project subsequently to be included in a funding programme.

The ancient Greeks built vast public temple complexes, but it has taken up to the 21st century for the nation to begin meeting modern disabled accessibility standards. For the first time in its long history the ancient Greek buildings that represent Athens’s Acropolis will be made completely accessible to disabled locals and tourists.

Comprising uneven cobblestone streets and broken curbs, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports announced today that they will “improve the visiting conditions of the monuments at the Acropolis.” While other nations have viewed access to historic and public sites for the disabled as a civil right for decades, as evidenced by the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 in the United States of America or EU accessibility standards implemented throughout Europe, for the first time in history the ancient site will be “completely accessible not only to the disabled, but also to citizens with mobility or other health problems.”

Up to now disabled folk visiting the Acropolis had to dangerously traverse uneven pathways. Now this new project proposes paving the main paths. However, according to Greek Reporter some leading archaeologists have “blasted” the Ministry’s decision to reassess the paving of the pathways at the Acropolis.

Disabled visitors until now faced the embarrassing ordeal of having to use a freight elevator to get to the top. But now, a state-of-the-art slope lift will offer disabled people the same view over the monuments as was enjoyed by the ancient Greeks. 

The Parthenon temple on top of the Athenian Acropolis is one of the most recognizable buildings remaining from the ancient Greek world. A special elevator was installed back in 2004 ahead of the Athens Olympics to assist disabled visitors wanting to ascend to the site. However, even with this disabled access, the often steep pathways made this a hazard-loaded location for disabled people. So much so that Trip Advisor advises any disabled visitors to bring with them “a strong person to push them.”

An article on Greece.Com openly states that “ Greece was not designed for people in wheelchairs.” Furthermore, visitors suffering from “invisible disabilities” are advised to “carry documents attesting their disability status.” However, this situation extends far beyond any ideas you might have about ancient Greek builders lacking in compassion for the disabled. Long before the uneven streets and steps were created at the Acropolis, the natural topography of Greece was exceptionally mountainous and rocky.

If everything goes as planned, the new accessibility options will be ready on December 3rd 2020

 Yeah, you're getting more politics from me today, and no, I'm not sorry. I'm going to quote Thucydides at you today and go back to watching the news. May the odds be ever in your favor, America. 

"The truth is that because you live without fear day-to-day and there is no conspiring against one another, you think imagine your ‘allies’ to live the same way. Because you are deluded by whatever is presented in speeches you are mistaken in these matters or because you yield to pity, you do not not realize you are being dangerously weak for yourselves and for some favor to your allies.

You do not examine the fact that the power you hold is a tyranny and that those who are dominated by you are conspiring against you and are ruled unwillingly and that these people obey you not because they might please you by being harmed but because you are superior to them by strength rather than because of their goodwill.

The most terrible thing of all is  if nothing which seems right to us is established firmly—if we will not acknowledge that a state which has worse laws which are unbendable is stronger than a state with noble laws which are weakly administered, that ignorance accompanied by discipline is more effective than cleverness with liberality, and that lesser people can inhabit states much more efficiently than intelligent ones.

Smart people always want to show they are wiser than the laws and to be preeminent in discussions about the public good, as if there are no more important things where they could clarify their opinions—and because of this they most often ruin their states. The other group of people, on the other hand, because they distrust their own intelligence, think that it is acceptable to be less learned than the laws and less capable to criticize an argument than the one who speaks well. But because they are more fair and balanced judges, instead of prosecutors, they do well in most cases. For this reason, then, it is right that we too, when we are not carried away by the cleverness and the contest of intelligence, do not act to advise our majority against our own opinion."
[Thucydides, 3.37]

 The right to vote, in ancient Hellas, was reserved for only a hand full of people. In order to be eligible to vote on anything, you had to fulfill a good couple of criteria:

  • You had to be male
  • Both of your parents had to be Greek citizens
  • You had to be a landowner
  • You had to be an adult
  • In Athens, you needed to have completed your military training as ephebes
  • Also in Athens, your right to citizenship could not be under suspicion
This means that children, women, slaves, foreigners and landless men were not allowed to vote on any decision put in front of the assembly. Around 10 to 20 percent of the whole of the citizens of Athens could vote. this number gives a fair idea about the voting in ancient Hellas as a whole. But despite the limited voters, ancient Hellas, and especially Athens, was definitely a democracy. The word 'democracy' (δημοκρατία) is made up of two, Greek, words: dêmos (δῆμος), meaning 'people' and krátos (κράτος) meaning 'power' or 'force'. 

The right to vote, either looking at it from a modern or ancient perspective, is exactly that; a right, a privilege. Besides children, most of us now have the right to vote. We have a right to voice our opinion and make a stand. 

Make a stand today, America. The fate of the world depends on it. 

 I pulled up my election day post from four years ago. This is what the first paragraph read:

"So, today you Americans are going to decide how badly your country is going to get messed up in the coming four years. I won't lie, I am not a fan of either candidate, but I will state for the record that I would vote for Clinton if I could. If Trump becomes president, I truly fear for you all--and especially if you are a woman, POC, under thirty and anything below super wealthy. There will be war, there will be economic crisis, there will be social crisis and there will be a healthcare crisis. That is my soapbox speech. Vote wise, America, vote and vote wise!"

Guess I wasn't far off. 

America is in the progress of voting. I'm going to extend the same words of advice today as I did four years ago: Vote and vote wise. Over the course of the past four years I've only come to loath Trump more. I've seen the damage he's done to my friends, the fear he's cost, the death toll that's on his hands, the crushing blow he has dealt to the American economy and the world with it. I was subtle about it four years ago, but I'm over that today. VOTE HIM OUT!

In ancient Athens, sovereign power was held by the ekklesia, and only by the ekklesia. Every citizen in ancient Hellas who was eligible to vote had the right to vote on new or changing laws and was thus required to be aware of them and have an opinion on them; a direct democracy. Very roughly measured, about a quarter of the inhabitants of ancient Athens were eligible to vote (we're not sure about the rest of ancient Hellas). At the height of ancient Athens, this would have constituted about 25,000 men. 6,000 were needed before any vote even went up. On slow days, serfs who were part of the Scythian Guard literally wrangled citizens (!) into the halls, with a rope smeared with red ochre--called a 'miltos'--to get enough bodies in the seats.

Getting 25,000 people--or even 6,000--to do anything in union is a very daunting task, so the ancient Athenians formed a 'boule' (βουλή), who met at the 'bouleterion'. The term comes from the ancient Greek word for 'citizens': bouleutai (βουλευταί). Every citizen in Athens had to belong to one of the ten tribes, eight of which were named after its mythical kings. The boule was assembled from 50 men, chosen from each tribe, for a total of 500 men. They oversaw the daily workings of the city, administered justices, looked after the placement of orphans, etc.

The boule still consisted of far too many people to get anything done in an orderly fashion. The next step was to dilute an even smaller group from the 500 members of the boule. Five men from each of the ten tribes represented in the boule were chosen to form a subgroup called the 'prytaneis' (πρυτάνεις), for a total of fifty. Membership of the prytaneis was rotated each tenth of a year. This meant that if you were a member of the boule, you would serve roughly 36 days as a prytanis (πρύτανις).

During their days as prytanis, members of the prytaneis ate at public expense in the 'Tholos' (θόλος), a circular edifice constructed for them next to the bouleterion. In effect, they lived there for the duration of their time as prytanis. My guess as to why, is because they would be easy to find that way. Prythaneis were the only people who could summon the ekklesia in case of emergencies so, in case of emergencies, they needed to be locatable.

In short: ancient Athens was ruled by the ekklesia of about 25,000 voting citizens. The ekklesia, in turn, was managed by the boule of 500 citizens, taken from the ranks of the ekklesia. The boule, finally, was managed by 50 members of the boule, called the prytaneis. Everyone in the ekklesia voted, but their votes were tallied by the boule-members of their tribe, who related the votes to the prytanis of their tribe, who then tallied and proclaimed the votes.
The right to vote, in ancient Hellas, was reserved for only a part of the population. In order to be eligible to vote on anything, you had to fulfill a good couple of criteria:

- You had to be male
- Both of your parents had to be Hellenic citizens
- You had to be a landowner
- You had to be an adult
- In Athens, you needed to have completed your military training as ephebes
- Also in Athens, your right to citizenship could not be under suspicion

This means that children, women, slaves, foreigners and landless men were not allowed to vote on any decision put in front of the assembly. But despite the limited voters, ancient Hellas--and especially Athens--was definitely a democracy. The word 'democracy' (δημοκρατία) is made up of two, Greek, words: dêmos (δῆμος), meaning 'people' and krátos (κράτος) meaning 'power' or 'force'. In fact, in ancient Hellas, no one voted on a person to represent them; they represented themselves.
I greatly encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote. The right to vote, either looking at it from a modern or ancient perspective, is exactly that; a right, a privilege. Besides children, most of us now have the right to vote. We have a right to voice our opinion and make a stand. It may be difficult, confusing and it may even seem like your vote won't matter, but if you don't voice your preference and those who would vote opposite of you, do... well... you can only blame yourself if your candidate doesn't win, right?
So go out, America. Vote. Vote wise. And I will say this: I truly believe that if you are a Hellenist, if you live and breath the Delphic Maxims, if you read the mythology and study the society that wrote them down, you cannot vote for Trump. Ponder that and go out to vote.


HomeAbout UsDonationContact UsRSSRecent Comments

Breaking News

29/10/2020Pterosaurs undergo dental examination to reveal clues about diets and lifestyles29/10/2020Study of ancient dog DNA traces canine diversity to the Ice Age28/10/2020Bison engravings in Spanish caves reveal a common art culture across ancient Europe28/10/2020Cracking the secrets of dinosaur eggshells28/10/2020Giant lizards learnt to fly over millions of years29/10/2020Denisovan DNA in the genome of early East Asians


The Archaeology News Network



Rheneia, The Other Delos

 10/20/2020 08:00:00 PM 

Email This


Share to Twitter

Share to Facebook

Share to Pinterest


Rheneia, a small island next to Delos, associated with the history of the births and deaths of its famous neighbouring island, but which also served as a place of quarantine up to the 19th and early 20th centuries, is the focus of the five-year fieldwork programme of the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities, which began in 2019.

Rheneia (or “Megales Deles” / “Great Deles” as it is called by the people of Mykonos, a name indicating the timeless link between the two islands) is nowadays divided into “lots,” ie into rural areas which the Municipality of Mykonos leases to Mykonians for agricultural and livestock use.

In antiquity Rheneia had been a place with a strange history. Also known as Ortygia, according to legend it was the birthplace of Apollo’s twin sister Artemis. The southern part, (“Kato Deles”) belonged to the territory of ancient Delos and functioned as its inhabitants’ place of birth and death. 

In the same part, the sanctuary of Delios Apollo owned agricultural land that was leased to private individuals, making large profits, according to Delian inscriptions. It also had a sanctuary dedicated to Artemis. In the northern part of Rheneia (today’s “Epano Deles”), was the city of Rheneia, with its cemeteries, farmhouses, numerous sources of wealth and its sanctuaries.

Limited but important excavations on Rheneia, were made in the late 19th and early 20th century by the first two Curators of Cyclades Antiquities, Dimitrios Stavropoulos and Dimitrios Pippas, who, however, did not manage to complete the documentation of their findings. On the spot excavations and works in the Delian necropolis and the city of Rheneia were later carried out by the former 21st Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities as well as the French School of Archaeology.

Stavropoulos began exploring the east coast of southern Rheneia in 1898. The antiquities had been looted for centuries by gravediggers, so that today one can find Rheneian grave steles not only in Greek museums but also in museums and collections abroad; Venice, Verona, London, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, Vienna, Oslo, Odessa, St. Petersburg and Copenhagen.

Stavropoulos excavated tombs, revealing part of “this unique city of births and deaths”. His guide was the famous passage from the third book of Thucydides’ Histories which describes how the Athenians, in the winter of 426/5 BC, proceeded with a complete cleansing of Delos (a first, partial cleansing had already been carried out by Peisistratos) “lifting all the dead and their coffins from Delos, ordering from now on that no one should die or be born on the island, but that the dying and the women about to go into labour should be transported to Rheneia”.

Stavropoulos hoped to find the old Delian burials in Charoneia, the ancient necropolis of Delos as named by the inscriptions and he was justified when the famous “purification pit” was located in the bay of Agia Kyriaki. The hundreds of vases that came to light and belonged to burials of at least 4 centuries (8th-5th century BC), along with the numerous burial steles, led to the founding of the Museum of Mykonos, one of the oldest in Greece.

120 years after the first excavations, the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities with the means offered by modern technology, returns to Rheneia both to complete the documentation of the old excavations and the centuries-old looted remains of the ancient Delian necropolis and to conduct a rigorous surface survey throughout the island, to locate, document and analyse all archaeological sites and ruins, geologically recognize Rheneia and excavate a site on its southern part. Rheneia’s limited area combined with its lack of human habitation over such long periods and the abundant information provided by Delian inscriptions make the island ideal for such research.

Near the Delian necropolis, the field was cleared where the big sarcophagus of the Roman matron Tertia Horaria and the large lion of Rheneia are situated, so as to document the numerous visible burial structures and the many marble architectural members, altars, sarcophagi etc. Further north, the already excavated, large underground funerary building with niches (columbarium) was cleaned and mapped, as well as the remains of a domed tomb finial that bears great similarities with the single dome of the Agora of the Competaliasts on Delos. 

All the antiquities were documented by orthophotography and the visible remains were registered in a programme of geographical information with a prospectus in each monument, while for security reasons small sections mainly of steles in relief were collected and taken to Delos.

As part of the surface survey, the ruins of ancient farmhouses belonging to the sanctuary of Delios Apollo as well as an unknown ancient road were located and documented. At the same time, excavations began at Chomasovouni, an important place on the edge of the Delian necropolis, with visible impressive marble architectural members and foundations of a building, in direct visual contact with Delos. This is probably the site of the Artemision “on the island,” the important Delian sanctuary. 

According to accounts of the Delians in charge of the sacred rites, an uphill path led to the sanctuary, which apart from the temple included an altar, a dining hall and houses. Cleaning of the site was carried out as were orthophotography, topography and mapping of the architectural remains, while at the same time the clearing of trees and shrubs and an intensive surface survey were conducted all over the hill. Near the top, where the site of the temple is thought to be, part of a foundation was unearthed, probably that of a large altar. Remarkable fragments of sculptures were collected from the same place, mainly parts of bird statues, which were taken to Delos.

A geological map of the island was made as part of the same research, aiming among other things to locate the quarry sites. The research yielded very interesting results relating to the origin of the buildings’ structural material, not only of Rheneia but of Delos also, such as e.g. the foundations of the temple of Apollo.

An important aspect of the research is the documentation of all the remains of Byzantine, post-Byzantine and modern times (farmhouses, “pits”, dry stone walls, chapels, etc.). Among them, relevant today, are the ruins of the public quarantine station of Delos (Rheneia) on the beach, with the eloquent toponym Karantina/Quarantine or Lazaretto. From the mid 19th to the early 20th century during outbreaks of cholera and plague epidemics, both infected and non-infected ships sailing from Mediterranean to Greek ports remained there in quarantine (preventive or real), mandatory for 5-40 days. In fact, Konstantinos Cavafy spent two days there in 1901 on his first trip to Greece. 

The documentation facts are included in Rheneia’s cartographic background and combined with the recording of toponyms and information on modern traditions as well as interdisciplinary research into the archive of the Municipality of Mykonos, the Historical Archive of the Service and the General State Archives, provide extremely useful material for land uses through history in a landscape barely built up since antiquity, further documenting  both the special importance of Rhineia and the need for it to remain untouched by newer interventions.

The research programme is realized by the Cyclades Ephorate of Antiquities, under Dr. Dimitris Athanasoulis, Dr. Zozi Papadopoulou and Dr. Maria Sigala and financially supported by the Municipality of Mykonos.