The BBC recently published an article entitled 'The fantastical beasts of ancient Greece', which is a wonderful read about ancient Hellenic art and the mythological monsters depicted in it, including Centaurs and Médousa. They also make a very good attempt in explaining the ancient Hellenic viewpoint on these monsters.

(Peter Horree / Alamy)    
The Metopes of the Parthenon depicts battle between Centaurs and men (Peter Horree / Alamy)

According to Peter Stewart, director of the Classical Art Research Centre at the University of Oxford:

"I don’t believe that Greeks really expected to meet a centaur or sphinx, or even a satyr, out in the countryside, and maybe they were always regarded as the stuff of legend. But a recurring trait of Greek art is that monstrous creatures seem to be held up as a foil to the Greeks’ concept of civilization – a sort of distorting mirror in which the Greeks could look at themselves. The Greeks seem to have found these monstrous or semi-human creatures useful to explore and express their world-view, their ideas about humanity and civilization, the mortal and divine. Fantastical beings were part of the furniture of the Greek mind."

Read more over at the BBC.
The Greek reporter reports that Scientists in Italy were able to read for the first time part of the Greek Herculaneum papyri--texts that were written on ancient scrolls and which were burnt when Mount Vesuvius erupted.


The Herculaneum papyri are more than 1,800 scrolls found in the ancient Italian village Herculaneum in the 18th century, carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. After various attempts of manipulation, a method was found so that scientists were able to read them.

Herculaneum was a resort during ancient times and it is often referred to as 'the other Pompeii', because it was buried in superheated pyroclastic material after the volcano eruption. It is also famous as one of the few ancient cities that can now be seen in almost its original splendor. In the 18th century, a group of archaeologists uncovered a remarkable library scroll that had been carbonized. In the beginning scientists attempted to unroll the burnt papyri, however, due to their fragile state many of them were destroyed.

Now, a team of physicists from the National Research Council’s Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems in Italy, used a 3D X-ray imaging technique used by doctors for breast scans to look for variations on the scroll make-up and created 3D representations of its internal structure. Dr. Vito Mocella has used this technique to identified a handful of Greek letters within a rolled-up scroll for the very first time. Mocella, a physicist with a background in photonics, first came up with the idea on a visit to the European Synchrotron in Grenoble, France.

"I was in Grenoble for a collaboration, and they explained to me some new developments using phase contrast for science, for palaeontology.... They sounded like exotic applications, and I said, I have another idea."

Conventional X-ray imaging simply measures how much X-ray light gets through different parts of the tissue. But this newer method uses the fact that X-rays passing through an object are slightly distorted, or slowed down (a change in the "phase" of the light waves). Even tiny variations in the object's make-up will affect that distortion - so measuring 'phase contrast' can produce a very detailed, 3D picture of its internal structure.

When Dr Mocella's team placed one of the scrolls in the path of a very bright X-ray beam from the synchrotron, it was bumps on the paper rather than chemicals in the ink that yielded the long-hidden letters. Fortunately, however, the ink never penetrated into the fibres of the papyrus, but sat on top of them.

"What we see is that the ink, which was essentially carbon based, is not very different from the carbonised papyrus. So the letters are there in relief, because the ink is still on the top."

The work was time-consuming and involved a lot of guesswork, particularly because the layers of paper were not just rolled, but squashed and mangled by their encounter with Vesuvius.
Furthermore, the grid of papyrus fibres within the paper posed complications, because it disguised many of the letters' vertical and horizontal strokes. For this reason, letters with curved lines were easier to pick out.

The project required many hours of work and a lot of imagination because in several cases the scrolls had been crushed and their layers were stuck together. However, Dr. Vito Mocella, head of the scientific team, is currently trying to improve the method so that they can decipher more text in the future.
"I'm very interested in Hellenismos. I've read numerous negative opinions on the few 101 books that have been released. In your opinion, what should be the first book that a newcomer to Hellenismos dives into?"

When I started out, I had no idea there even were Hellenismos 101 books and went straight to academic texts. It proved a steep learning curve, but I did rather enjoy the sudden submersion. In general, that is the way in which I take on any new subject: go straight to the hard stuff and let myself be overwhelmed until things click in my head.

Once I finally discovered there were 101 books, I was beyond them and found most of them to be biased towards personal preference and low on general information on ancient Hellas to explain why our modern practices are as they are. Because I had my own personal preference by then, going through modern texts about Hellenismos became grating really quickly. I only read Timothy Jay Alexander's 'A Beginner's Guide to Hellenismos' fully. I have some others but I only leafed through those.

It is my firm belief that when you start out, you should invest in neutral sources. Hellenismos is not standardized. There are huge differences in belief and practice between practitioners from various countries and even between various groups. Learn about ancient Hellas and the ancient practices, then get in touch with the community--perhaps through 101 books--and merge the two. I gave out my source book list a while back, and it's not odd my favourite '101' books are on there as well. Personally, I would say invest in three books (in this order) when you think this might be the religion for you:

Kindt, Julia - Rethinking Greek Religion
Who marched in religious processions and why? How were blood sacrifice and communal feasting related to identities in the ancient Greek city? With questions such as these, current scholarship aims to demonstrate the ways in which religion maps on to the socio-political structures of the Greek polis ('polis religion'). In this book Dr Kindt explores a more comprehensive conception of ancient Greek religion beyond this traditional paradigm. Comparative in method and outlook, the book invites its readers to embark on an interdisciplinary journey touching upon such diverse topics as religious belief, personal religion, magic and theology. Specific examples include the transformation of tyrant property into ritual objects, the cultural practice of setting up dedications at Olympia, and a man attempting to make love to Praxiteles' famous statue of Aphrodite. The book will be valuable for all students and scholars seeking to understand the complex phenomenon of ancient Greek religion.

Mikalson, Jon D. - Ancient Greek Religion
Ancient Greek Religion provides an introduction to the fundamental beliefs, practices, and major deities of Greek religion. It focuses on Athens in the classical period, includes detailed discussion of Greek gods and heroes, myth and cult, and vivid descriptions of Greek religion as it was practiced, ancient texts are presented in boxes to promote thought and discussion, and abundant illustrations help readers visualize the rich and varied religious life of ancient Greece. The revised edition includes additional boxed texts and bibliography, an 8-page color plate section, a new discussion of the nature of Greek “piety,” and a new chapter on Greek Religion and Greek Culture.

Burkert, Walter - Greek Religion
In this book Walter Burkert, the most eminent living historian of ancient Greek religion, has produced the standard work for our time on that subject. First published in German in 1977, it has now been translated into English with the assistance of the author himself. A clearly structured and readable survey for students and scholars, it will be welcomed as the best modern account of any polytheistic religious system.

Kindt's work is easily accessible and is a venerable fount of practical information. 'Rethinking Greek Religion' will help you form a realistic image of ancient religious practices and give you the understanding you need to get through any further scholastic reading. It doesn't tell you much about modern Hellenism, but once you have read this book, you should be able to understand why certain modern practices exist. Mikalson's text is more linear and condensed. It attempts to explain the whole of ancient Hellas in one breath. You could switch between reading either Kindt's or Mikalson's work first, but I have found that it's much easier to nuance Mikalson's words if you have read Kindt's work first.

Burkert is a phenomenon and 'Greek Religion' is quite a step up from the previous two works in complexity and academic speech. Still, in his attempt to make an exhaustive whole out of the ancient Hellenic religion, Burkert provides a framework to base a practice off of like no other has managed to do before or since. It's a hard read, but so worth it.

All in all, this collection will set you back about $100,-. That's a fair investment, but well worth it, I promise you.
Are you an avid diver? The Archaeological News Network reports that the Central Archaeological Council of Greece has approved a study regarding the possibility of allowing visitations to four shipwrecks near the Sporades and Western Pagasetic Gulf. This development aims to promote diving tourism and take advantage of Greece’s underwater treasures.
Ancient Greek shipwrecks open to public
The shipwreck near Peristera Island (Alonissos) [Credit: Ethnos]
According to the study, the four archaeological sites are:
  • The shipwreck near Peristera Island (Alonissos), which has been dated to the 5th century BC and features two layers of amphorae.
  • The plundered Byzantine-era shipwreck near Kikynthos, which has been dated between the 9th and 13th century AD thanks to ceramics.
  • The Byzantine-era shipwreck near the Akra Glaros area, where another shipwreck may also be hidden.
  • The shipwreck near Tilegrafos, which dates back to 4th century AD.
The ministerial plan regarding visitations to the underwater archaeological sites stipulates that visitors may be guided up to a depth of 40 meters, under the supervision of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities. While amateur photography is permitted, there is a strict ban on any form of intervention in the seabed or scattered items.
Did you know that every continent has a different world map? Well, the continents are pretty much the same but the way they are portrayed are different. Some examples?


United States:

And my favourite, Australia:
The ancient Hellenes also made world maps. Land ownership and geography was changed mainly according to new rulers and natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, and of course the ancient Hellenes didn't exactly have the grasp on geography we have today. Here are some of the major maps of Ancient Hellas:
Anaximander (c. 610 – c. 546 BC)
Hecataeus of Miletus (c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC)
 Eratosthenes (276 – 194 BC)
Strabo (64/63 BC – c. 24 AD)
As you can see, not entirely accurate but very amusing--and it worked for them. These maps helped along trade and travel, brought perspective to the world and pushed the art of geography forward. Most of these are reconstructed maps based on descriptions as the original work has been lost, but they are still brilliant to behond.
In a time where economic crisis rules Greece and budget cuts in the culture sector are severe, I have two bits of good news for you: the Archaeology New Network reports that plans to built a Delos museum have been approved, and Ekathimerini reports that Athens has gotten the OK for the erection of an Alexander the Great statue.

Delos museum construction plans approved

Delos museum construction plans approved The plans for the construction of a new museum on the Greek island of Delos were approved by the Central Archaeological Council, after the funds for the plans were collected.

According to the plans, the new museum will have to adhere to strict bio-climatic architectural standards and must be situated as far away as possible from the sea, in order to better protect the antiquities and the museum itself from the elements.

The new museum will occupy a space of at least 5,000 square meters and will feature all of the exhibits displayed in the existing museum, along with many other artefacts located on the island’s archaeological sites and in storage. The funds for the construction plans were donated by the London-based International Foundation for Greece.

Athens gets OK for erection of Alexander the Great statue

The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) has given the City of Athens the green light to erect a bronze statue of Alexander the Great at either of two places proposed by the municipal authorities.
The statue, which depicts the ancient conqueror at an early age, was crafted by Yiannis Pappas in 1992 but has never gone on public display due to bureaucratic problems.

Earlier this week, the mayor of Delta, in the northern region of Macedonia, asked the City of Athens, which now owns the statue, to donate the artifact. Athens officials said the statue would eventually be installed either on the junction of Vassilissis Olgas and Vassilissis Amalias avenues or at Asomaton Square in Thiseio.
Assistant Art History Professor Heather Sharpe and her students of West Chester University recently invested a fair amount of time deciphering ancient Hellenic texts and artworks in order to recreate a drinking game. The game, known as kottabos, involved men gathered in a circle during a symposion (συμπόσιον), a meeting of men and their courtesans to discuss philosophy and network, and flinging dregs of wine at a target in the centre of the room from a special cup known as a kylix.

The students used a 3D-printed drinking cup, some diluted grape juice and willing students who soon got the hang of the game and the findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America this month.

There are two ways of playing, according to texts and art works. The goal is to knock down a disc carefully balanced a tall metal stand in the middle of the room. In another version the goal was to sink small dishes floating in a larger bowl of water. Players hit their target with the leftover wine-dregs at the bottom of their cup. To achieve the best results in kottabos participants had to toss the wine-dregs overhand at their target as though they were pitching a baseball or throwing a frisbee. Ancient Hellenic players would utter the name of the object of their affection before flinging the wine. Winners received all sorts of prizes, such as sweets and even sexual favours from the available courtesans.

Now you know what to do after your group comes together to honour the Gods!
"What should I do regarding shrines and worship if I'm hiding my practice from my parents? (I worship Gaia...might the Earth be a good "shrine"?)"

At some point in our lives, most of us find ourselves in a situation where we are held back from practicing the way we want to. It can be a because we’re living with people who do not understand our religion or practice, or whom we simply do not want to come out to. It can be because we are on holiday, because we have guests over or because we’re busy and life is chaotic.
That having been said, there are a lot of things we can do to practice our religion within the restraints placed upon us by either internal or external factors. Here are some tips to deal with these issues:
  • Strip your religion back to its basics and/or find out which practices matter most to you. This allows you to maximize the time and the amount of privacy you have by uncluttering your head.
  • Make a portable altar/shrine kit. This is a box, can or any other medium in which you place those things you can’t practice without. I have two sets; my original Eclectic one and a Hellenic one. Within my Hellenic box are two tea-lights and a holder, a container with khernips, a container with ethanol, a container with olive oil, a cup for khernips, a cup to burn offerings in, cloth to dry my hands and face, some incense, a hair clip, matches, a little prayer book of the hymns I use most, a spoon and a container of barley. I use this kit when I travel but it can also be used to quickly set up a place of worship and break it down just as quickly. The box can be hidden away when not in use so it does not take up living space, a valued commodity for some people. 
  • Find substitutes. For those who like to have some sort of permanent altar or shrine but don’t have the liberty to do so, find substitutes for the basics of your altar needs. I have seen eclectic altars set up with pebbles, seashells, flowers, pompoms, even Barbies. For those who are not allowed open flame or candles, find substitutes. Electrical candles work just fine and look pretty realistic. Use essential oils to smell and a feather to set the air in motion. Substitutes are not perfect but they get the job done. Often, it’s the thought that counts.
As a final note in regards to the original question: worship on the Earth is generally for Khthonic deities—mostly those of the Underworld. Gaea, however, could be worshipped in that regard as well so yes, you could worship Her ‘on the earth’.
Elaion is proud to announce that this month's Pandora's Kharis donation run has raised $118,- for our democratically decided upon cause Terre des Hommes. I am once more very happy to say you have all given generously, and in the spirit of the Gods!

The Terre des Hommes International Federation is a network of ten national organisations working for the rights of children and to promote equitable development without racial, religious, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination. This month we donated to their special campaign to end female slave labour in the textile industry. It costs 60 euros to send a former textile worker to school, which means two girls have just been saved.

From this moment on, the Pandora's Kharis Facebook page is open to pitches. If you do not have Facebook, feel free to pitch your cause in the comments. We will relay the message to the community. On to another month of pitching, voting, and giving. Thank you for your generosity!
Researchers at Macquarie University's Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies (ACANS) have joined forces with scientists from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), on a joint research program to solve a twenty-five century-old mystery behind the technology used to produce a special variety of ancient Hellenic coins, thus reports the Archaeology News Network.

Twenty-five century-old mystery uncovered
Silver Stater from Lucania Metapontion, 510-480 BC: Obv. Ear of corn, META reversed; 
Rev: Ear of corn incuse [Credit: Rosenblum Coins]
There are many mysteries about ancient Hellenic society, and it seems these researchers are working hard to solve one of them: how did the ancient Hellenes mint coins which shows the same image on the front and back, but with the image on the back sunk into the metal so that it appears as a negative or incuse version of the front?

These coins were first minted around 540 BC in the cities of Southern Italy (modern Basilicata and Calabria) and has attracted a good deal of discussion but it has never been satisfactorily explained. The mysterious technique of manufacture, which appears to be quite difficult to execute, was in practice for over a century. There are no surviving contemporary accounts of ancient coin manufacture, and no illustrations. Only three or four of the dies once used for striking coins in ancient Greek mints survive today. Therefore, what we know about the earliest history of coin minting is derived from a study of the coins themselves.

Dr Vladimir Luzin, Instrument Scientist at ANSTO, is at the head of the new research which makes use of neutron scattering texture measurements.

"Our aim is to explore the technology behind the production of one of the world's first coinages. In particular, our objective is to explain the very singular technology and processes for minting incuse coins."

ANSTO's Bragg Institute leads Australia in the use of neutron scattering and X-ray techniques to solve complex research and industrial problems in many important fields. Although measurements of coins using neutron texture analysis have been implemented before, a systematic and full-scale study to set a benchmark is unique to this project. According to Associate Professor Kenneth Sheedy, Director of ACANS, ANSTO's neutron scattering texture measurements will provide insight into the mechanical processes undertaken to create the coins. Numismatists from ACANS will then infer the production steps undertaken to produce these coins using knowledge of ancient materials and equipment that were available at the time. I will keep you posted when more information becomes available.
A while ago, I decided that on the day of the Hene kai Nea, I'd post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog.

Changes to the blog:
  • I cleaned up the tags and the blog in general a little. I'm not sure if anyone notices, but it makes me feel better ;-)
  • Atlantis came back but is currently on break. There are recaps, though!
  • So, last week, I came on the blog and found out I'd gotten 5000 views overnight--which, for me? A bit much. I average out around 500 views a day; small fish and all. I am chalking it up to one of the internet's mysteries, but I did immortalize it for posterity.
Anything else?
Pandora's Kharis, a charity circle for and by Hellenistic Polytheists is currently collecting for the Terre des Hommes. If you want to donate, you have until tomorrow! Join us on Facebook if you would like to pitch a cause for next month!

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

That is it for the last month's updates, as far as I can remember. Have a blessed Deipnon!
I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

"Do you know of any Greek names? I would like my future children to have names connected to ancient Greece...! Maybe some with a religious connotation?"

I actually did a post on this before. Short version: children were often named after the Theoi, but names were often switched around a bit. To gift a child with the exact name of a Theos or Theia was considered hubris. The eldest son was usually named after his paternal grandfather and subsequent children after other relatives. Sons were rarely named after their father, although it was acceptable to give a child an altered version of the father's name. Female names came to be largely through the same customs, but were 'feminized' by editing the endings of the word. From '-es' or '-ias' to '-eis', '-e' or '-a' for example, as can be seen with the male name 'Agapias' and female name 'Agapia'.

As for specific names, Dion (after Dionysos), Dia (loosely after Aphrodite), Alex or Alexander, Cassandra, Cleo, Irene, Leo, and Tamara come to mind. Here is a link to a whole bunch of them: link. Good luck!

"Do you have an advice for someone trying to actively worship three deities at the same time? It seems like I do not have enough time for them all :/"

I recently wrote about how the major difference between reconstructive religions and modern ones—especially Pagan ones—is the way worship is conducted. Individual worship of Gods as well as patronage is perfectly acceptable in modern religions, but in Recon religions and the ancient Traditions they were based upon, worship tends to be of the pantheon, not so much the one God or Goddess. Worship was generalized in such a way that multiple Gods and Goddesses were worshipped in one rite—and usually in the same way.

I worship a pantheon, and I don't have 'patrons' as it wasn't the Hellenic way. So... sadly I don't have advice for you. If you feel called to exclusively worship three Gods, then you will need to make time to do so. In general, it is easier to worship a pantheon than singular Gods; in that way, you try to emulate an ancient Hellenic worshipper and not an ancient Hellenic priest of three deities. I wish you the best of luck; it sounds like a time-consuming but hopefully rewarding calling.

"Why do you blog?"

I started blogging simply as a way to organise my dive into Hellenismos. Along the way, Baring the Aegis became more of a general resource for the Hellenic community. There is a personal note in there, but I am a private person by nature, so not too much. Any and all UPG comes with a big fat warning label. As for why I do it: I like doing it. Sure, because I have a daily blog there are times when time or energy are sparse and it becomes a bit of a chore to do, but in general, I find it a good experience. It's also a way for me to keep researching, to keep reading--I want to be able to present new bits of information or understand the ancient Hellenic society better. I enjoy maintaining a general Hellenistic blog, with a bit of everything--mythology, ancient society, current events, personal practice, general contemplation on the religion, etc.That is what keeps me interested as well.

"Can you tell us about Persephone? She's quite an overlooked goddess but i think she's very important. Could you also speak about her role in spells?"

This anonymous question has been sitting in my inbox Tumblr inbox for a fairly long time, which is why I'm posting my reply here because the original asker may not check there anymore for a reply. Every time I thought about answering this message, I found myself without words. You see, I think Persephone is one of the most honoured Goddesses both today and in ancient Hellas. She was one of the most honoured Goddesses in the Eleusinian Mysteries and especially in modern Paganism, Persephone is everyone's sweetheart. As for her place in spells... my dear, I can't help you there. I'm a Traditional Hellenist and magic wasn't part of the ancient Hellenic religion. I'm sorry, please try a more Neo-Pagan oriented person on Tumblr; I'm not the right person to answer this.

"I visit your blog site from time to time and I was wondering if your practice involves Chthonic deities? and if you don't, if there's any that you at the very least find interesting. It seems to me that not many Hellenic Polytheists really involve themselves with Chthonic deities so I thought it would be an interesting question to ask."
I give sacrifice to the Khthonic deities when the situation warrants it. I honour Hermes Khthonios when someone I love has passed away, for example, and I give sacrifice to Hekate at the Deipnon. I honour Persephone (and Demeter) on dates which were important for the Eleusinian Mysteries and appease the Erinyes when so required.
I have other experiences than you, though, when it comes to the wider Pagan community and even Hellenists. Especially non-Traditional Hellenists often worship or are dedicated to Haides in his Underworld epithets, and Persephone has a huge modern cult following. I hope this answers your question :)
Remember when I reported that new analysis of the Antikythera Mechanism suggests the astronomical device is older than archaeologists had assumed?  James Evans, a physicist and science historian at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and part of an international group working to crack the puzzle of the device’s origins and purpose, recently added a new twist with an analysis that suggests it dates to 205 BC; as much as a century earlier than previously believed.

More on Antikythera Mechanism older than thought
Pieces of the Antikythera Mechanism are photographed at the Archaeological
Museum in Athens. The device consisted of a series of intricate, interlocking
 gears designed to predict eclipses and calculate the positions of the sun,
 moon and planets as they swept across the vault of the sky
 [Credit: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images]

If he’s right, that makes it more likely the Antikythera Mechanism was inspired by the work of the legendary Hellenic mathematician Archimedes. It would also mean the device was built at time when scientific traditions from multiple cultures were coming together to create a new view of the cosmos. According to Evans, pushing the date back is exciting.

“We think it would be highly significant because it could change the picture of the development of Greek astronomy.”

Greek sponge divers stumbled across the wreck of the Roman galley in 1900, after being blown off course and taking shelter in the lee of the tiny island north of Krete. Scientists think the ship was a merchant vessel that foundered around 60 BC. Archaeologists eventually identified more than 80 corroded fragments believed to be part of the Antikythera Mechanism, including the shoebox-sized piece with dials and gears clearly visible on the surface. Studies revealed at least 30 interlocking gears, and researchers believe the device held at least two dozen more. The assembly was housed in a wooden box and operated by a hand crank. Elaborate dials traced the movement of heavenly bodies, while ingenious gearing mimicked the fluctuating speeds at which the moon crosses the night sky, even though the Greeks had no understanding of the elliptical orbit responsible for the effect.

One dial plotted the four-year cycle of Olympic Games. Another predicted the timing of solar and lunar eclipses, apparently down to the hour. That was the dial Evans and Christián Carman, of the University of Quilmes, Argentina, focused on for their new analysis, published in the Archive for History of Exact Science.

Based on the style of Greek lettering on the Antikythera Mechanism, previous estimates of its construction date ranged between 150 to 100 B.C. But Evans and Carman took an astronomical approach, comparing eclipse dates on the mechanism to Babylonian eclipse records and a NASA eclipse catalog. They concluded that the 'start date' for the eclipse predictor was 205 BC. That doesn’t prove the device was built then, but Evans thinks it was.

“For us, it seems most likely that it was built close to the period for which it would have worked best."

Science historian Alexander Jones, who was not involved with the analysis, called it a really remarkable piece of work. Evans and Carman clearly establish the oldest possible age for the device, said Jones, of New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. But he’s still not convinced it was actually manufactured that long ago. It’s possible that 205 B.C. was a historic date, chosen by the maker as the starting point for his dial, Jones pointed out. Evans agrees.

“People should be leery of trying to associate it with any one particular person, but you would have to think that whoever built this must at least have made use of what Archimedes had done, or came out of a tradition that started with Archimedes.”

If the date holds up, it would also mean that the device was built before the invention of trigonometry, a branch of mathematics long linked to the golden era of Greek astronomy. According to Evans:

“I think that would make it much more interesting, because it would come from a more formative period of Greek astronomy.”

Future revelations about the device may hinge on the discovery of additional fragments. A new series of underwater excavations started last year and will resume in the spring. I will keep you informed.
"Hi Elani! I have a question for you.. I need to have a shrine by my home's door to protect it, but I don't know which Theoi it should be for? I've heard something about Zeus Herkeios..? can you help me? Thank you!"

Ancient Hellenic homes were simple structures, made from clay, wood, and stone. The roofs were covered with tiles, or reeds, and the houses had one or two stories. Most houses were small, just a few rooms, with a walled garden or yard in the middle. Others, like the house above, were much larger. They were not solely homes, but often doubled as offices, shops, entertainment areas, and as a place of worship. In many cases, a large wall with a single door connected the house to the street, while insuring maximum privacy tot he occupants of the house. Rooms at the front of the house often served as store rooms or work shops. Other rooms in the house served as bedrooms, as a kitchen, bathroom, and smaller store rooms.

The courtyard of the home often held a bômos, a free standing, raised, altar where the majority of household worship took place. Some houses also had a wall niche, an indoor worship area, either in a room especially designated for worship, or in the main family room. These altars were used to worship the Ephestioi (Εφεστιοι), the most personal of the household Theoi. These almost always included: Hestia, Zeus Ephestios (Overseer of the Hearth), Zeus Kthesios, and Agathós Daímōn. Worship of these deities was highly personal, and many other Theoi could be added to this worship list.

Hestia was represented by the hearth fire that was always kept burning. If it went out, the male head of household would go to the prytaneion (Πρυτανεῖον), the structure where state officials met and where the city kept a fire for Hestia burning day and night, for a new flame. All fires in the house were lit from this one fire, so Hestia would watch over everything and everyone inside the house. Zeus Ephestios was and is a more active defender of the home. He shields the actual structure of the house. Where Hestia watches over the occupants, Zeus Ephestios guards the very walls, the roof, the floor, and any possessions inside the structure. He was worshipped at the main altar.

Zeus Kthesios guards the pantry, and was honoured there as well, where he had his own shrine, often adorned with a kathiskos. Agathós Daímōn and the ancestors were also worshipped at the main altar, although they may have had small shrines to themselves, especially in the case of wall niches.

In the courtyard of the house, the Herkeioi (Ἑρκειοι) were honoured: those of the herkos or front court. Most notably, this was Zeus Herkeios (Ἑρκειος), protector of the enclosure of the house. And just outside the house, and especially near the gate to the street, small shrines and altars were placed in honor of the less personal protectors: Apollon (sometimes in his epithet of 'Aguieus' (Ἀγυιεύς), protector of the streets, public places, and the entrances to homes), Hermes Propylaios, Hekate, and especially in Sparta, the Dioskouroi. Hēraklēs sometimes took the place of Apollon.

Zeus Herkeios' altar stood in the courtyard and He, from the inside of the house, protected against anyone wanting to harm the house or the family living in it. These altars were most often pillars, on or around which the offerings could be placed. Hermes, Apollon, and Hekate were represented by a pointy four-sided post. The top was reserved for Apollon, the bottom often held a niche where Deipnon offerings could be placed to Hekate, and Hermes' face (and sometimes his genitalia) was sometimes carved into the post. Hermes sometimes got his own post, called a 'herm', which was a rectangular post, with His face carved on top, and his genitalia carved out on the front.

As I noted in last year's post about household shrines, it's not always possible to reconstruct these altars and shrines. The lay-out of our houses are often different from that in ancient Hellas--and even in ancient Hellas, there were many different types of houses--and the culture has changed. We don't have herms on our front lawns anymore, nor an altar for burnt offerings. Modern Hellenists have had to adapt to the changing times. There is nothing wrong with this. Many amongst us have moved the worship of the Herkeioi inside our homes, to shrines near the front door. Here we pray for the same things as we would do outside, and we can still place our Deipnon offerings here. Most of us can find some space for a kathiskos in the kitchen, and many of us have a shrine to the Theoi where we can burn a candle to invite Hestia, and give burnt sacrifice to the other household deities. Shelves now often replace wall niches. How you figure out your own shrine set-up is up to you. What matters is that you honour the Theoi.
Click on image to view at AmazonIn the spirit of 'I'm just going to throw this out there for you to judge yourself', Adam Nicolson, an author and historian who has studied Hómēros, believes the epic poems of The Iliad and The Odysseia have their origins around 2,000 BC - 1,000 years earlier than the man who wrote them is said to have lived. According to Nicolson, was not a single person but actually an entire culture of storytelling, thus reports the Archaeology News Network.

Speaking in an interview with National Geographic, Nicolson said that the idea of Hómēros as a single author has emerged due to an 'author obsession'. He thinks it's a mistake to think of Hómēros as a person; Hómēros is an 'it' - a tradition.

There is very little known about exactly who or what Hómēros was, but is believed by the ancient Hellenes to have been the first great epic poet. A guild of singing story tellers, or rhapsodes, later emerged known as the Homeridae and has led some to argue that Hómēros was actually a mythical figure whose name was derived from the guild.

Nicolson first became interested in Homer around ten years ago when he began reading The Odysseia while waiting for his yacht to be repaired after it was damaged in a storm while sailing up the west coast of Britain. As his evidence, Nicolson said that notes in the margins of the oldest complete Iliad manuscript found in the doge's library in Venice and which is thought to date back to 900 AD, provide some clues to what the origin of the Iliad may have been.

"One of the exciting things that emerge from that is that in the early days it seems there was no such thing as a single Iliad, no one fixed text, but this wild and variable tradition of the stories, with many different versions in different parts of the Mediterranean, endlessly interacting with itself, like a braided stream in the mountains."
According to Nicolson, large elements of the stories from The Iliad are shared with stories found in India, Germany and Iceland. Because the Iliad paints the ancient Hellenes as lawless violent warriors rather than the civilised society they later became, he believes many of the poems attributed to Hómēros have their beginnings around 2,000 BC.

"That picture of the Greeks doesn't make sense any later than about 1,800 to 1,700 BC. After that, the Greeks had arrived in the Mediterranean and started to create a civil society. Before that, they were essentially tribes from the steppes between the Black Sea and the Caspian - nomadic, male-dominated, violent."
With 78% of the votes, Terre des Hommes became Poseideon 2015 cause for Pandora's Kharis! The Terre des Hommes International Federation is a network of ten national organisations working for the rights of children and to promote equitable development without racial, religious, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination. This month we will be donating to their special campaign to end female slave labour in the textile industry.

Approximately 120,000 girls and young women currently work in appalling conditions in Indian textile factories. The girls who are exposed to slave labor in factories need protection. Terre des hommes is committed to helping these girls. It costs 60 euros to send a former textile worker to school. Any donation could help change a life.

You can now donate to Pandora's Kharis at or by clicking the 'donate' button to the side of the website. Please, give generously to support this wonderful cause, and thank you in advance! The deadline to donate is Wednesday 21 January, 2015.
Throughout the history of the Hellenic empire, various groups of Gods were formed by the people. These groups oversaw a single event, guarded the same thing, or were otherwise linked and worshipped together. It's important to be aware of these ties so when you worship one, you can pay homage to the others as well. The basics of this are taken from

The Theoi Agoraioi
These are the Gods of the agora, the marketplace. Zeus, as the God of kings and princes, presided over the assembly that took place at the agora, alongside Athena, as Goddess of wise counsel, Dike (Justice), Themis (Custom) and Calliope (Eloquence). The Gods of the marketplace, on the other hand, were and are led by Hermes, the God of commerce, along with Hēphaistos and Athena, the patron Gods of artisans: weavers, potters, metalworkers, sculptors, etc. Apollon is another God of the marketplace.

The Theoi Daitioi
These are the Gods of feasts and banquets. Dionysus, the God of wine, and Hestia, Goddess of feasting, preside over these. They are accompanied by festive Gods such as Aphrodite, Goddess of pleasure, and the Kharites, Goddesses of joy, dancing and other amusements. The Theoi Mousikoi, or Gods of music, also accompany the feast.

The Theoi Gamelioi
These are the Gods of marriage. The first of these are Zeus, Hera, and Aphrodite, but others included Hymenaios (Wedding Song), the Erotes (Loves), Peitho (Persuasion), the Kharites (Graces), Eunomia (Good Order), Harmonia (Harmony) and Hebe (Youth).

The Theoi Georgikoi
These are the Gods of agriculture. Demeter is their leader, but for the most part these were non-Olympian Khthonic Gods. These include Gaea, Hades, Hekate, the Horae (Eunomia (Good Order, Good Pasture), Eirene (Peace, Spring), and Dike (Justice)), Persephone, and Ploutos (as God of Wealth).

The Theoi Gymnastikoi
The Gods of the gymnasium, athletics and the Games. They include Hermes, Heracles and the Dioscuri. Nike (Victory) and Agon (Contest) were also counted. Eros, as the God of comradeship, was also frequently worshipped in the gymnasia.

The Theoi Halioi
These are the Gods of the sea led by Poseidon. Several of the other Olympian Gods had minor maritime roles including Apollon, Artemis, Aphrodite and the Dioscuri, who preside over embarkations, harbours, safe voyage, and salvation from storms. Most of this class of God, however, were non-Olympian marine divinities. These include: Amphitrite, Leucothea, Nereus, Palaemon, Phorcys, Pontus, and Tethys.

The Theoi Iatrikoi
The Gods of medicine and healing. These belong to the train of Apollon and included his son the medicine-God Asklēpiós, and His family: Epione (Soothing), Hygeia (Good Health), Panaceia (Curative), Aegle (Radiance), Iaso (Healing), Aceso (Cure) and Telesphorus (Accomplisher).

The Theoi Ktesioi
The Gods of house and home. They are led by Zeus protector of the home (Kthesios) and of the family courtyard (Herkeios) along with Hestia, the Goddess of the hearth. Hekate, Apollon and Hermes were also important household Gods who protected the gates and entranceways.

The Theoi Mantikoi
These are the Gods of oracles, divination and prophecy. These are led by Apollon, the God or oracles and seers, and Zeus, the God of fate. Other oracular Gods included the Titanesses Phoeibe (at Delphi) Themis (at Delphi and Dodona), Dione (at Dodona) and Mnemosyne (at Lebadeia). The God Hermes presides over certain primitive forms of divination including the casting of stones, coin-throwing oracles, and astrology. Lastly Pan and the Nymphs inspire(d) the rustic prophets.

The Theoi Nomioi
The Gods of the countryside and country pursuits, including hunting, fowling, fishing, and the herding of cattle and sheep. They are led by the Olympians Artemis (for hunting), Hermes (for herding) and Dionysus. The rest of the rustic gods are mostly non-Olympian divinities. These include the Ourea (as Gods of the Mountains), the Potam (as Gods of the Rivers), Rhea Cybele (Goddess of the Mountains), and Silenus.

The Theoi Mousikoi
Gods of music, dance and education in the arts. They are led by the Olympian twins Apollon and Artemis, the former presiding over music and poetry, and the latter over the choirs and dances of girls. Other important musical Gods include the nine Muses, the dancing Kharites or Graces, and the musical demi-Gods Hymenaeus and Linos. Dionysus, Hermes and Aphrodite are also Gods of music and the arts.

The Theoi Polemikoi
The Gods of war. These are led by Ares and Athena, and included Gods such as Enyo, Eris (Strife), Nike (Victory), Deimos (Terror) and Phobos (Fear). Zeus, as the God of fate, and Apollon, as God of archery, also had wartime functions.

The Theoi Thesmioi
The Gods of divine law and custom. These are led by Zeus Nomius (of the Laws) and Demeter Thesmophorus (the Law Bringer). Lesser Gods in this sphere included the Horae, specifically Dike (Justice), Eunomia (Good Order), and Irene (Peace), their mother Themis (Custom), and Apollon.
"How come books like "Kharis: Hellenic Polytheism Explored" and "A Beginner's Guide to Hellenismos" have a different monthly calendar than you do on blogspot? Or not "different", per se, but both those books say that the first day of the month is noumenia, the second is for the agathosdaemon, and so on, but their calendars stop at the ninth day, while your's continue (for example, your's say that the 13th day is Athena's, but the books don't mention that). I'm not saying this very clearly... :/"

No, no, I get what you are trying to ask! You're talking about the 'Mên kata Theion',  the 'sacred month', which goes as follows:

First Decad - Waxing Moon - Mên Histámenos
1. Noumenia - Selene, Apollon Noumenios, Zeus Herkios and Ktesios, Hestia, and the other Theoi of the Household
2. Agathós Daímōn - Agathós Daímōn
3. Tritomênís - Athena
4. Tetrás - Aphrodite, Eros, Herakles, Poseidon, and Apollon
5. The Erinyes, Eris, and Horkos
6. Artemis
7. Apollon
8. Poseidon, Asklēpiós and Theseus
9. General holy day to honour the Theoi; special day to the Muses, Helios, and Rhea

Second Decad - Middle Moon - Mên Mesôn
11. (1.) The Moirae: Klotho, Lakhesis, and Atropos
12. (2.)
13. (3.) Athena
14. (4.)
15. (5.) Dikhomênía - The Erinyes, Eris, and Horkos
16. (6.) Artemis
17. (7.)
18. (8.) Day of purification
19. (9.) Day of purification
20. (10.)

Third Decad - Waning Moon - Mên Phthínôn
21. (-10) Eikás - Apollon
22. (-9)
23. (-8) Athena
24. (-7)
25. (-6) The Erinyes, Eris, and Horkos
26. (-5)
27. (-4) Triseinás - Impure day
28. (-3) Impure day
29. (-2 -- omitted in Hollow month) Impure day
30. Triakás, Hene kai Nea (Hekate's Deipnon) - Hekate and the dead

Many (beginner) books have only the first eight (or nine) days listed. Those are the ones more readily recognised in the Hellenistic community and find their basis in the works of Parker and Mikalson. Mikalson, especially, has found monthly reoccurring religious events on days 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 16, 18, 19, 27, 28, 29, and 30.The sacred calendar has become a bit of a pet project of mine, however, and I have taken a liking to scouring ancient sources for mentions of sacred days and festivals. The few additionally mentioned sacred days in the Mên kata Theion as well as festivals that very few other reconstructed Hellenic calendars have have been reconstructed from those. I would have to hunt for many of the examples of the theories that I apply but I know Hesiod is involved in at least the fifth days as he says:

"Avoid fifth days: they are unkindly and terrible. On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of Horkos whom Eris bare to trouble the forsworn." -- Hesiod, Works and Days (802-804)
Ancient Origins reports that archaeologists in Cyprus have unearthed a 1,500-year-old amulet in the ancient city of Nea Paphos in Cyprus, which contains a curious palindrome inscription--a text that reads the same both backwards and forwards--as well as several images believed to represent Egyptian god Osiris, god of silence, Harpocrates, and a dog-headed mythical being.

Live Science reports that the discovery was made by archaeologists with the Paphos Agora Project, who have been excavating an ancient agora (gathering place) at Nea Paphos, the most famous and important place for worshipping Aphrodite in the ancient world. According to UNESCO, Paphos, which has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, was a centre of the cult of Aphrodite and of pre-Hellenic fertility deities. Aphrodite’s legendary birthplace was on the island of Cyprus, where her temple was erected by the Myceneans in the 12th century BC and continued to be used until the Roman period. The site is a vast archaeological area, with remains of villas, palaces, theatres, fortresses and tombs. These illustrate Paphos’ exceptional architectural and historic value and contribute extensively to our understanding of ancient architecture, ways of life, and thinking.

The amulet found at Nea Paphos, which measures 1.4 x 1.6 inches (3.5 x 4.1 cm), contains a 59-letter palindrome inscription on one side, and several images on the other side. The inscription, written in Greek, reads:

ΙΑΕW ΒΑΦΡΕΝΕΜ ΟΥΝΟΘΙΛΑΡΙ ΚΝΙΦΙΑΕΥΕ ΑΙΦΙΝΚΙΡΑΛ ΙΘΟΝΥΟΜΕ ΝΕΡΦΑΒW ΕΑΙ (“Iahweh is the bearer of the secret name, the lion of Re secure in his shrine”)

The use of palindromes is believed to date back at least 2,000 years, and became popular during the Middle Ages. This practice was continued in many other churches throughout Europe. On the other side of the amulet are several images, including a mummy lying on a boat, which is believed to represent the Egyptian God Osiris. According to Egyptian mythology, Osiris, God of the underworld, was killed by Set, God of storms, disorder and violence, who shut Osiris in a coffin and threw it in the Nile river. After his body was recovered by Isis, Set tore His body into pieces and threw them back into the river. Isis collected all the pieces and bandaged the body together. This form of Osiris traveled to the underworld in a boat and became God of the dead.

Another image etched on the back of the amulet is of the god of silence, Harpocrates, who is shown sitting on a stool with his right hand to his lips.  Harpocrates was adapted by the ancient Hellenes from the Egyptian child god Horus. To the ancient Egyptians, Horus represented the newborn Sun, rising each day at dawn. The final image found on the amulet was a cynocephalus, a mythical dog-headed creature, which is shown holding a paw up to its lips, as if mimicking Harpocrates' gesture.  Cynocephaly was familiar to the Ancient Hellenes from representations of the Egyptian gods Hapi (the son of Horus) and Anubis (the Egyptian God of the dead).

Jagiellonian University professor Ewdoksia Papuci-Wladyka, who led the research, told Live Science that the features of the amulet suggest that the ancient people of Cyprus, were continuing to practice their traditional, polytheistic beliefs even after Christianity had become the official religion, and that such amulets were used for protection from harm and danger.
"Were the women engaging in holy prostitution doing it willingly or were they forced?"

This refers to this post about sex and ritual in which I mention sacred prostitution in relation to the worship of Aphrodite. This is a hard question to answer. For one, accounts are incredibly fuzzy and there appear to be many forms of ritual prostitution, especially in relation to the worship of Aphrodite. Before we go into the question, let me reiterate a bit of what I have explained about women in ancient Hellas before: women were property. They could be bought and sold, they could be given away in marriage, and within the law, they could be raped without punishment (same goes for men, by the way). Women did not have the autonomy to plan their own life--that honour went to her father or her husband, and if those were not available, the privilege went to her son(s) or another male family member. This sounds pretty dire, but it wasn't; it was just life.

Because much of what we know of ancient Hellas was written by men who condoned and enjoyed this system of male economic and social superiority, we will most likely never know exactly how women felt about these arrangements, let alone temple prostitution. And in a system like this, where is the line between willing and forced? If the women knew there was an alternative, would they have resisted? Did they now? Did they see it as their sacred duty to Aphrodite, or did the men in their lives think so?

I can tell you a bit: many of these practices were old--far older than Hellenic civilization. Some were also imported from other parts of the surrounding world, and the Goddess that was originally worshipped with these rites was adapted to Aphrodite as well. There are accounts of a great variety of prostitution rites: women sold to men in grand sales where the men had to promise to wed the women (thus making them lawful wives, not a doûlos, a slave) and where the funds raised went to the temple of Aphrodite; women put out by the side of the road and sold to men for a coin for one night, after which she would never have to submit to a man ever again (and once more, the coins went to Aphrodite); or a ritual where women had to cut their hair and if they refused, they had to sleep with strangers for a day and all the funds went to Aphrodite. There are countless of these examples, although many grew outdated fairly early on in Hellenic history.

It's important to note that temple prostitution was not frowned upon. A woman who collected her dowry by prostituting herself was considered pure and pious, and men would wed her readily. If a woman prostituted herself and gave the proceedings to the temple, she was considered pious and worthy of great respect.

Temple prostitutes did more than offer sexual intercourse to visitors of the temple or its festivals: they entertained by way of musical instrument, by song or dance. they gave brilliance to the rites performed and enhanced the festival proceedings greatly. They were always invited, and while they weren't priestesses of Aphrodite, they were considered part of the temple and somewhat sacred to Her. The temple of Aphrodite Porne at Corinth was said to be so wealthy that it kept more than a thousand of these women.

Did these women do it willingly? I don't know. It was part of the worship of Aphrodity, as proclaimed by the men who took advantage of these sacred laws. Very rarely can these type of circular logic problems be answered with a 'yes' or a 'no'. The reasons for taking part in temple prostitution must have been numerous, and I don't know if the women could refuse. It's tempting to look at this from a modern point of view, but it's useless to do so. Times have changed, and this is an aspect of Hellenic religion, we have rightfully left in the past.

"Were there male temple prostitutes?"

The short answer is: we don't know. We know that there was (young) male prostitution that ancient Athenial lawmaker Solon regulated. These men were called 'πόρνοι pórnoi'. Some of them aimed at a female clientele but the vast majority of male prostitutes were for a male clientele. The period during which adolescents were judged as desirable extended from puberty until the appearance of a beard. Boys kept on afterwards were looked down upon, and if the matter came to the attention of the public they were deprived of citizenship rights once come to adulthood. For the relations that were built up (instead of just a quick tryst ), see pederasty, the socially acknowledged erotic relationship between an adult male and a younger male usually in his teens which was practiced mostly in the Archaic and Classical ages of Hellenic history. Due to the age difference and the societal function the practice served, this type of relationship was accepted and not considered homosexual. The younger partner was always the passive party and performed to role of 'woman' in the exchange, thus making it a heterosexual relationship between two men (as contradictory as that may sound).

As for temple prostitution: I haven't seen a single mention of it anywhere. It may have existed, but personally I doubt it for the reason listed above: the men who slept with temple prostitutes did so to honour a female deity who was--in essence--above them is standing. To raise a young boy to the same height when the rules of pederasty were so clear cut just does not fly with me. I'll let you guys know if I ever find out more.

I have been having trouble understanding the world and I needed a few days to process what has been happening. In 2014, the world burned. It burned everywhere. On every continent, there was death, famine and plagues. I think many had hoped that 2015 would be a turning point; a period of respite. A period to heal and revaluate. Then, on January 7th, two heavily armed and well-trained men entered the headquarters of the Paris-based satiric newspaper Charlie Hebdo and gunned down nineteen people; ten journalists and one police officer died, four were left critically injured and four more were wounded. Once returning outside, they gunned down and killed a second police officer before making their escape in a vehicle. All of this because of (negative) portrayals of the prophet Muhammad. All of this to sow hate.

They are dead now, these two men, as well as an accomplice who took four others into death with him as he hijacked a Jewish supermarket. As well as a former companion who was gunned down, as well as a police officer who paid the ultimate price. Over the course of three days, France burned. In the second week of the new year, France burned.

Charlie Hebdo posted satiric imaged of the prophet Muhammad. Portrayals of the prophet Muhammad are haram--sinful. It is forbidden. A Paris-based Islamic priest stated over the course of this disaster: you cannot become angry over the portrayals of the prophet of non-believers. That is not the prophet that is portrayed. Just like we roll our eyes when Zeus' head gets chopped off on Supernatural or our mythology gets butchered in some game or movie, you roll your eyes and disengage: those are not our Gods. And Charlie Hebdo slammed every religion, they slammed every political party, they slammed everything that deserved to be slammed--that is the purpose of satire. If some Christian church leader rapes a child, if some Muslim extremist guns down a school full of children, if political leaders step out of line, they and their ideals need to be examined. Hypocrisy does not exist in satire. Satire exists for a reason, as a way to take a humorous yet critical look at issues that exist in our society. It's not always kind--in fact, it's usually blunt--but it's a cornerstone of the people. It's not disrespectful, it's essential to keep sharp our minds.

There is a difference between satire and hate. Charlie Hebdo aims to make people think, not hate. Those who spread hate don't mean to inform, they don't encourage free thought: they encourage you to stop thinking entirely and follow their big mouths. That is not freedom of speech. That sort of behaviour should not be defended. That sort of behaviour is meant to incite and is as dangerous as a loaded gun. Despite their faults--and there are many--Charlie Hebdo is not dangerous. I am not going to make a saint out of the people who made (and make!) Charlie Hebdo--the paper is Islamophobic, homophobic and anti-democratic--but there is still no excuse for this blatant attack on freedom of speech.

'I am Charlie', or 'Je suis Charlie' was adopted to sympathise with the victims at the offices, but there is more to it than that--the words have come to mean more. They have come to mean that we choose our pen as a weapon to fight the fear. It has come to mean that we will not back down against extremists of any religious or political inclination. It has come to mean that we all stand together--Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, of any ethnicity and skin colour--against this violence. The pen is the law, the pen is freedom, the pen is a mightier weapon than the gun and it will always be so.

I am not Charlie in the traditional sense. I didn't appreciate the work of Charlie Hebdo, and I didn't engage with their content. I am not Charlie on a normal day, but there is no excuse for what happened at their main offices and in the days that followed. To butcher Voltaire: I am not Charlie, but I will defend to death their right to be. If that means that today, I am Charlie, then I am Charlie today and every day until every person's freedom of speech--including that of the Muslim people--is guaranteed. But if you spread hate and death, then you are not Charlie. If these attacks make you hate the Islam as a whole or make you angry and vengeful at Muslims, then you are not Charlie. If you spread racist images of the prophet in retaliation, then you are not Charlie.

Band together in these trying days, spread acceptance and strength. Look beyond religion, look beyond race, look beyond sexual orientation and gender. The world may be burning, but there are good people left in it. Find them. Be Charlie. Never forget.

Jean Cabut
He was a comic strip artist and caricaturist who worked on some of the biggest children's shows on French TV. His son was a famous troubled rocker in the 90’s who died of AIDS. He was a convicted pacifist. He was 75 years old.

Georges Wolinski
He was the typical sex obsessed and controversial cartoonist, he liked women and excesses, and was the most politic of all. He was 80 years old.

Stéphane Charbonnier
He was well known for his piss-shit sense of humour. “My only weapon is a pencil, I’ve no kids, no wife, I fear nothing. I’d die stood up rather than on my knees”. He was 45 years old.

Bernard Verlhac
He worked for a lot of French newspapers and magazines. He was 60 years old.

Bernard Maris
He was one of the most respected French Keynesian economists. He’s well known for being a usual consultant on TV news and magazines. He was there because he has a column in Charlie Hebdo. He was 68 years old.

Ahmed Merabet
Merabet, a beat bobby attached to the local police station near Charlie Hebdo, was killed at point blank range after challenging two gunmen as they escaped from the magazine’s offices. A Muslim originally from Tunisia, he was on patrol in the area and called to the scene. He was 42 years old.

Frédéric Boisseau
Boisseau was a maintenance worker who was in the reception area of the building housing the magazine with a colleague when the gunmen burst in and asked where Charlie Hebdo was located, after initially going to the wrong address. Boisseau, who had worked for the facilities management company Sodexo for 15 years, was shot dead. He was 42 years old.

Mustapha Ourrad
A subeditor on Charlie Hebdo, Ourrad, from the Kabylie region of Algeria, had previously worked for a magazine serving mutualist federations in France, Viva. He was an orphan who came to France at the age of 20 thanks to funding from friends, according to Le Monde. Friends respected the self-educated Ourrad for his erudition and self-deprecation. I do not know how old he was when he was killed.

Elsa Cayat
The only female victim of the initial Charlie Hebdo attack was a psychoanalyst, author and columnist on Charlie Hebdo. Cayat was at the magazine’s editorial meeting. Her column was entitled Charlie Divan (Charlie couch) and appeared every two weeks. She was 54 years old.

Michel Renaud
A visitor to Charlie Hebdo, Renaud, from Clermont-Ferrand, was a former journalist who founded a multi-cultural festival called “Le Rendez-vous du Carnet de Voyage” where artists and journalists from all around the world came to expose their work, in his home city in central France. He was 69 years old.

Philippe Honoré
Honoré was a self-educated artist who published his first illustration in the regional newspaper Sud-Ouest at the age of 16. He went on to work for major French dailies, including Le Monde and Libération, and had been with Charlie Hebdo since its foundation in 1992. He was 74 years old.

Franck Brinsolaro
Brinsolaro was the police bodyguard of Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier. The officer, who had worked for the police protection service since 2013, was in the editorial room where the attack took place. He was 49 years old.

Clarissa Jean-Philippe
She was unarmed and directing traffic in Montrouge, in south Paris, when she was gunned down by a man wearing body armour and using an automatic assault rifle--the same man who would later execute the kidnappings in the Jewish supermarket. She was 27 years old.

Phillipe Braham
He was a teacher and survived by a wife and three kids. He was killed in the hostage situation taking place in the Jewish supermarket. He was in his forties.

François-Michel Saada
I don't know much about him. He, too, was killed in the hostage situation taking place in the Jewish supermarket. He was in his sixties.

Yohan Cohen
I don't know much about him, other than that he was well-loved. He didn't survive the supermarket hostage situation. He never got to make a great impression on this world. He was 22 years old.

Yoav Hattab
He was the son of Betto Hattab, the rabbi of La Grand Synagogue in Tunis. He, too, died in the supermarket. He was 21 years old.
For Poseideon, Pandora's Kharis has two great causes to choose from, submitted by our members. They are Terre des Hommes and Save the Children.

Terre des Hommes
The Terre des Hommes International Federation is a network of ten national organisations working for the rights of children and to promote equitable development without racial, religious, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination.

Approximately 120,000 girls and young women currently work in appalling conditions in Indian textile factories. The clothes they produce ends up in our stores. Why do we still buy these goods? For many years, Terre des Hommes whas worked closely with the "Tirupur People's Forum" (TPF), a network of organizations created in 2006 in response to the serious shortcomings in the local textile industry. The TPF brings the violations and extreme abuse to the public and organizes campaigns against the exploitation of girls. TPF demands that labor laws and children's rights are respected.

The girls who are exposed to slave labor in factories need protection. Terre des hommes is committed to helping these girls. It costs 60 euros to send a former textile worker to school. Any donation could help change a life.

Save The Children
Save the Children invests in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. By transforming children's lives now, we change the course of their future and ours.

Save the Children is currently on the ground providing critical help and health relief, working with health ministries in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to help fight the Ebola outbreak. This cause builds Ebola health centers, cares for orphans, trains health workers and provides protective kits and essential medical equipment. Your generous donation could help ensure that they reach vulnerable children.

The deadline for voting is Wednesday 14 January. Donation deadline: Wednesday 21 January. Thank you in advance!
In the category 'old news that I came across and which left me wheezing with laughter', I present to you, the Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer collection of 2014, featuring the following:

The Greek Reporter had the following to say about it, which I will just quote verbatim as I know nothing about fashion and I am laughing too hard to even attempt to say something intelligent about this.

"The Italian luxury industry fashion house, Dolce&Gabbana, unearthed Greco-Roman history this season leaving people speechless with the presentation of their spring/summer collection 2014. Many people cried “Oh, no!” while watching Dolce&Gabbana’s new collection and especially the accessories that bear striking ancient Greek elements. The ancient Greek Ionic columns were introduced, dominating even the heels that strutted the runway.

This was a great aesthetic transition for the Italian luxury industry fashion house in the winter collection of which we enjoyed a strong Byzantine influence. Lithographs of sepia-hued, postcard-pretty crumbling columns, Greek temples and theaters printed over silk dresses. However, this time, the accessories may be shouting “I love Greece” while their aesthetic shout “I adore the kitsch.”

Gabbana described this new spring/summer collection as “an unconscious dream,” in the sense that the clothes depict a mixture of the real and the irrational which can only be found in dreams. “It’s a dream of Sicily,” said Stefano Gabbana. “Like taking a holiday to Syracuse or Taormina, attending Greek theater and then come home and dreaming about it.”

I know fashion is not supposed to be about the money, but I was dying to know what a pair of these will set you back for: 500 euros (about 600 dollars), which is a steal because they used to be 845 euros (1.015 dollars). Fashion, baby!

According to Vogue, the rest of the collection featured "Greek-monument tourist souvenir prints, belts emblazoned with emperor-head medallions, shoes with hilarious Greek-temple columns for heels, and at one point a gladiator girl dressed in a gold tunic constructed, Paco Rabanne–style, of faux Greco-Roman coins, who was walking on gold-and-rhinestone studded sandals."

Forgive me for giving this collection a pass.