At dusk on Sunday, one of Hellenismos' most important festivals (if one can give classifications to the festivals at all) starts. It's the Anthesteria, and held in honor of Dionysos Limnaios, wine, and the dead. The Anthesteria was held annually for three days, the eleventh to thirteenth of the month of Anthesterion. It is an ancestral festival, the oldest of the festivals for Dionysos in Athens, a time of reflection and trust in the new growing season to come, a time to celebrate with the spirits of the departed the indefatigable resurgence of life. The festival centred around the celebration of the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage, whose pithoi were now ceremoniously opened, and the beginning of spring. The three days of the feast were called Pithoigia (after πίθοι 'storage jars'), Khoes (χοαί 'libations') and Khytroi (χύτροι 'pots'). For more information about the festival, please go here.

For those of you who would like to join Robert and myself in ritual, elaion has a first: a ritual a day for the duration of the festival, so three days in total, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. There is a PAT ritual event on the Elaion Facebook page that we would love to have you join.10 AM EST. The ritual itself can be found here for day one, here for day two, and here for day three.
"So I watched Cara Schultz's video on your blogspot about Hecate and household worship. Early on, she said that household worship is passed on. Does this mean it's forced onto your children? I've always promised that I wouldn't force religion on my children and I would be torn between that if I had to honestly but I don't want to displease the Gods."

The video in question can be found here. It's a Google chat session where she spoke to The Order of Hekate about how Hekate was worshipped in ancient times, as well as the basics of Hellenismos. Her talk incorporates Hekate's Deipnon, Noumenia, Agathós Daímōn, household worship, household worship vs. state worship, the future of Hellenismos and interfaith work. It's a long video, but it's very worth it, especially once Cara gets on a roll. Cara, for those unfamiliar with her, is a member of Hellenion, the largest Hellenic polytheist organization in the United States. Her workshops on Hellenismos have been held at some of the largest Pagan gatherings in the United States, including Pagan Spirit Gathering and Sacred Harvest Festival. She is also the Managing editor of the Pagan Newswire Collective and founder of International Pagan Coming Out Day.

As for your question... I don't believe religion should be forced on a child, but there is a difference between forcing religion upon a child and including them in worship. Children emulate; that's how they learn. When they see mommy or daddy raise their hands at the household altar, they will want to do it, too. It's something that their parents do--and obviously like to do--so why shouldn't they? I don't see an issue in allowing your children to playfully participate in household worship. Tell them the stories of ancient Hellas, allow them to grow up with the Gods in their lives if they so desire.

Therein lies the rub, though; this theory only works if you have a child who shows interest in participating in rites and festivals. If your child does not and you still make them... well.. let's say that you and I are off to a rocky start. I firmly believe adopting religion is a choice. It can be made by only by only one person: you. As a parent you have the right--and yes, I think the Hellenic responsibility--to teach your child the ancient ways, but if they say no, then the answer is no. Perhaps they will come to you when they are older, perhaps they won't. That's under their control, and perhaps the Gods, who may call to them.

Back in ancient Hellas this was a non-issue; everyone knew the Gods to be real and the festivals were gran, fun, and came with lots of yummy food and playtime. There were flowers and pretty clothes and days off. Festivals were brilliant times for kids and of course they participated! Our modern rites are often not that grand, and a lot less exciting for kids. Some children will be drawn to them, others won't.

We, as (future) parents, pass on what we know. Especially Hellenismos--which is a household religion--serves from initiating the new generation into it, but there are limits to what I think you are ethically allowed to push onto your children. I would say the general guideline is: 'are they going to turn out assholes or end up dead if I don't? Yes? Then tough luck, kid, you are learning this'. Religion is not life or death, and being non-religious or finding faith somewhere else does not make you an asshole. So no, I don't condone forcing religion onto your child if they don't want it, and in Cara's defence, I highly doubt she does either.
The imposing mountains of the Greek nature have always played an important part in the life of Greeks, who incorporated them in their myths and legends as sacred places full of spiritual energy.
Since ancient times, the mysterious rocky peaks of the Greek landscape were thought of as the abode of Gods and mythical creatures that drew their power from the clear sky, the rocks and the lush vegetation covering them. Protothema recently posted the following list of the most beautiful Greek mountains featured in Hellenic mythology.


Nowadays, the Greek mountains are popular destinations among outdoor enthusiasts, as they offer the ideal environment for hiking, fishing, four wheeling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing, climbing and camping. However, their spiritual energy can still be felt by those who visit them with an open mind and a desire to escape from the hectic life of the city.

Mount Olympus
The highest mountain peak in Greece, it was regarded in ancient times as the home of the Hellenic Gods. It was also considered the site of the War of the Titans, where Zeus and his siblings defeated the Titans.

Mount Othrys
This beautiful mountain in Central Greece was believed to be the home of the Titans during the ten-year war with the Gods of Mount Olympus.

Mount Ida
Located in the Rethymno regional unit in Crete, this mountain was sacred to the Hellenic Titaness Rhea, and on its slopes lies one of the caves, Idaion Andron, in which, according to legend, Zeus was born.

Mount Parnassus
This mountain of limestone in central Greece towers above Delphi, north of the Gulf of Corinth, and offers stunning views of the surrounding olive groves. According to Greek mythology, this mountain was sacred to Dionysus and the Dionysian mysteries; it was also sacred to Apollo and the Corycian nymphs, and it was the home of the Muses.

Mount Pelion
Located at the south-eastern part of Thessaly in central Greece, it forms a hook-like peninsula between the Pagasetic Gulf and the Aegean Sea. In Hellenic mythology, Mount Pelion was the homeland of Kheiron the Centaur, tutor of many ancient Greek heroes, such as Iásōn, Achilles, Theseus and Hēraklēs.
Every writer, movie buff, theatre lover, and game connoisseur knows the term: deus ex machina; 'God from a machine'. The term (pronounced as 'Day-oos eks MAH-kee-nah') is a calque from the Hellenic ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mēkhanês theós), which has roughly the same meaning. The term has evolved into a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. Depending on how it is done, it can be intended to move the story forward when the writer has stuffed up and sees no other way out, to surprise the audience, to bring the tale to a happy ending, or as a comedic device.

The term was coined in Hellenic tragedy, where a machine was (and still is) used to bring actors playing Gods onto the stage. The machine could be either a crane (mechane) used to lower actors from above or a riser that brought actors up through a trapdoor. The idea was introduced by Aeschylus and was used often to resolve the conflict and conclude the drama. Although the device is associated most with Hellenic tragedy, it also appeared in comedies.

Aeschylus used the device in his 'Eumenides', but it was with Euripides that it became an established stage machine. More than half of Euripides' extant tragedies employ a deus ex machina in their resolution, and some critics claim that Euripides, not Aeschylus, invented it.

In Aristophanes' play 'Thesmophoriazusae', the playwright parodies Euripides' frequent use of the crane by making Euripides himself a character in the play and bringing him on stage by way of the mechane. Aristotle was the first to use deus ex machina as a term to describe the technique as a device to resolve the plot of tragedies. Antiphanes believed that the use of the deus ex machina was a sign that the playwright was unable to properly manage the complications of their plot:

"When they don't know what to say, and have completely given up on the play, just like a finger they lift the machine, and the spectators are satisfied. Here is none of this for us."
Aristotle also wasn't a fan and he criticized the device in his Poetics:
"As in the structure of the plot, so too in the portraiture of character, the poet should always aim either at the necessary or the probable. Thus a person of a given character should speak or act in a given way, by the rule either of necessity or of probability; just as this event should follow that by necessary or probable sequence. It is therefore evident that the unraveling of the plot, no less than the complication, must arise out of the plot itself, it must not be brought about by the Deus ex Machina- as in the Medea, or in the return of the Greeks in the Iliad. The Deus ex Machina should be employed only for events external to the drama- for antecedent or subsequent events, which lie beyond the range of human knowledge, and which require to be reported or foretold; for to the gods we ascribe the power of seeing all things. Within the action there must be nothing irrational. If the irrational cannot be excluded, it should be outside the scope of the tragedy. Such is the irrational element the Oedipus of Sophocles."

Despite that, the effect of the device on Hellenic audiences was attested as a direct and immediate emotional response. Audiences would have feeling of wonder and astonishment at the appearance of the gods and often adds to the moral effect of the drama. Even in modern plays, books, and movies, the deus ex machina can have this effect. How about the Hulk showing up near the end of The Avengers to punch that alien battleship/whale on the nose? Or the Eagles showing up at the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to carry our near-dead heroes home? I, for one, felt extreme elation and excitement at both. When used too much, or too obviously, the deus ex machina can be a cheap trick, but when done well, it can be quite brilliant.
In an effort to make the Acropolis more accessible for disabled people, the culture ministry is ready to announce an international architectural competition for proposals to solve the problem, thus reports Protothema.

The goal of the competition is to restore iconic Greek architect Dimitris Pikionis’ original vision, in the 1950s, which aimed to allow visitors to gain a panoramic view from all angles. Unfortunately, overcrowding at the main entrance--on the hill’s west side--has created problems for contemporary visitors. Architects are invited to redesign the area leading up to the Acropolis--from the Propylea--to ensure they are more user-friendly, particularly for people with mobility problems.

As part of this initiative, the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) has already approved a change of location for the ancient site’s gift shop, while it plans to eliminate the Herod Atticus Odeon and the Dionysiou Areopagitou (Dionysus the Areopagite) pedestrian way entrances.

Plans are also underway to create a new facility at the site where the old Acropolis museum building remains on the hill’s SW corner--the only structure built in the modern era amid the temples that form the quintessence of classical antiquity.
The Greek Reporter headlined recently that Greece is set to follow a different strategy on Parthenon Marbles repatriation. This new course will likely mean the Greek government stops cooperating with Amal Alamuddin-Clooney and her law firm.

The new Minister of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs Aristides Baltas told foreign reporters that Greece is seeking a new strategy to bring back the sculptures. He was quoted by The Times as saying

“Our campaign will continue, but the strategy and how we go about that may be tweaked, if required. We’ll be looking over these details in the coming weeks and if we see a need to alter them, we will.”

Deputy Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis told the Greek Press that the marbles issue has gained good publicity after the involvement of Mrs. Clooney, who is a lawyer for London’s Doughty Street Chambers law firm. According to The Times report, the new leftist government of Greece wants to cancel Greece’s contract with Amal Alamuddin-Clooney and the firm for financial reasons.

According to the report, the team of lawyers were working for the Greek government. In reality, the three lawyers had visited Greece to advise the government of legal options available. There was no talk of an exchange of money or any binding agreements. In such cases, it is usually the case that contracts are reviewed by legal departments before signed by government officials.

However, the cost of lawyers is unlikely to be a major concern bearing in mind the high cultural stakes for Greece. The new government has already made clear that it will continue efforts to reclaim the Parthenon sculptures legally. Even if funding were a problem, there are wealthy Greek foundations that have already stated they would be happy to assist in funding the initiative. Former Culture Minister Constantinos Tasoulas told the Press that there is no signed contract between the previous Greek government and the law firm. He also said that Greece can only benefit from Amal Alamuddin-Clooney’s involvement.
Elaion is proud to announce that the Pandora's Kharis members have raised $75,- for our democratically decided upon cause the Meals On Wheels. I am once more very happy to say you have all given generously, and in the spirit of the Gods!

The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 U.S. states, as well as the U.S. Territories. All told, there are some 5,000 local Senior Nutrition Programs in the United States. These programs provide well over one million meals to seniors who need them each day. Some programs serve meals at congregate locations like senior centers, some programs deliver meals directly to the homes of seniors whose mobility is limited, and many programs provide both services.

While remarkable, the one million meals per day figure underestimates the size and shape of the Meals On Wheels network and its reach and influence in communities across America. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of seniors who receive meals, there are many thousands of professionals employed at the various local Senior Nutrition Programs across the U.S. More notable than that is the virtual army of two million volunteers who also "work" for these programs.
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!
I came upon a story today that I found quite amusing, It's about the micromeria acropolitana, a small phenomenal plant that remains a mystery of the Greece's botanology. The quirky plant can only be found on the Acropolis, and is reportedly unable to grow anywhere else.

The twenty centimetre tall plant that blooms from May to June with little pink blossoms was first discovered by French botanologists Rene C.J.E Maire and Marcel G. C. Petitmengin on August 30, 1906, as they were touring Greece. It was officially entered into botanology books by Austrian botanologist Halacsy who named it Micromeria athenae.

Forgotten from 1908 onwards, it was later noticed again by professor Artemis Yiannitsaros from the Botanology School of the University of Athens in 1998. She spoke of a plant that is fast disappearing. In 2004, Grigoris Tsounis studied the ecosystem atop the Acropolis and identified the plant, keeping its exact location secret in order to protect it from prying tourists.

Micromeria is a genus of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, widespread across Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America, with a centre of diversity in the Mediterranean region and the Canary Islands. There are almost eighty sub-species. The name is derived from the Greek words μῑκρος (mīkros), meaning 'small', and μερίς (meris), meaning 'portion', referring to the leaves and flowers.

I have no idea if the ancient Hellenes knew of this plant as well, or if it's a far more recent species, but  it sure is tied to the sacred area now.
Canadians, rejoice! The Winnipeg Art Galley is set to host a very remarkable exposition of ancient Hellenic art. 'Olympus: The Greco-Roman Collections of Berlin' is the first major exhibition of classical antiquities in Winnipeg in over half a century. The WAG is one of only two venues in North America to present this monumental exhibition of ancient Greek and Roman art dating from the 5th century BC to the 2nd century AD, through a partnership with the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums).

The show features over 160 works, including marble statues and reliefs, bronze statuettes, terracotta vases, and jewelry from the Berlin State Museum’s classical antiquities collection, drawn from the Altes Museum and the Pergamonmuseum. Originating in the 17th century with the Electors of Brandenburg, the collection was built over three centuries from archaeological excavations in Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor from such sites as Olympia in 1845, Vulci in 1852, and Pergamon in 1878. Rarely seen outside of Europe, the collection survived the Napoleonic Wars, two World Wars, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This is a unique opportunity to see an astonishing number of representations of Hellenic and Roman Gods and other classical personalities in artworks of exceedingly high quality, known for their historic, cultural, and aesthetic merit. Olympus explores the fascinating world of mythology and religion, reflecting the universal preoccupation with creation, the nature of god and humankind, the afterlife, and other spiritual concepts. From the times of Homer and Hesiod, intriguing myths and legends have remained constant because of their beauty and power. A longstanding source of inspiration for the world, these stories have been renewed and interpreted with infinite variations, expressed in exciting and challenging new ways through literature, visual art, music, dance, and film. The show will run from April 26, 2015 to March 31, 2016.
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, and this month, Baring the Aegis had quite a few milestones!

Changes to the blog:


Anything else?
Pandora's Kharis, a charity circle for and by Hellenistic Polytheists is currently collecting for Meals on Wheels. 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 know that epithets were used to talk about specific aspects of a deity, but were there any instances where an epithet would be used in order to avoid using a deity's name? Say out of respect or something?"

Absolutely! Ploutōn (Πλουτων), as an epithet for Hades, is perhaps one of the most famous ones. The epithet eventually became an alternate name and then a parallel God. In ancient Hellenic religion and myth, Ploutōn represents a more positive concept of the God who presides over the afterlife. The name Ploutōn came into widespread usage with the Eleusinian Mysteries, in which Ploutōn was venerated as a stern ruler but the loving husband of Persephone. The couple received souls in the afterlife, and are invoked together in religious inscriptions. Hades by contrast had few temples and religious practices associated with Him, and was portrayed as the dark and violent abductor of Persephone.

Ploutōn and Hades came to differ in character, but they are not distinct figures and share their  mythology. Ploutōn as the name of the ruler of the underworld first appears in Hellenic literature of the Classical period, in the works of the Athenian playwrights and of the philosopher Plato, who is the major Hellenic source on its significance. Under the name Ploutōn, the God appears in other myths in a secondary role, mostly as the possessor of a quest-object, and especially in the descent of Orpheus or other heroes to the underworld.

In general, Khthonic--Underworld--deities have epithets that make them less scary and more helpful to humanity, and then there are Ouranic deities who have darker epithets. Zeus Meilichios (Ζεύς Μειλίχιος, the Kindly One) is a Khthonic epithet of Zeus, who receives only night-time sacrifices, and only by way of a holókaustos. Zeus seems to have adopted the Meilichios epithet from an older Khthonic serpent daímōn or Theos. He is--like the Erinyes and Alastôr--an avenger of blood feuds between families. Yet, unlike the others, Zeus Meilichios is also a purifier. When someone avenged the murder of a family member by killing the killer--or even someone else from that family line--they could petition Zeus Meilichios with a holókaustos of sheep (ram, or another four-legged creature would also suffice) and be cleansed of miasma caused by this murder. The skin from the sacrifice may have been saved for purification rites in the Pompaia.

Epithets are ways to speak to only certain parts of a deity--to address just a fraction of Them and receive only a little bit of Their attention. Some Gods are too great--or our actions too shameful--to engage the deity fully and then we make use of epithets. Out of respect, out of fear, or out of practicality.

It's time for some 'Atlantis' news again, or more of a plea on my part. Remember two weeks ago, when I wept big tears over BBC's 'Atlantis'' coming end? Well, that is still happening as far as I know, and I still weep. In the post I just linked, I asked if anyone knew any initiatives to save the series about Jason, a strapping young man who ends up traveling to the--previously believed to be mythical--city of Atlantis in search for his father, who ends up getting a lot more than he bargained for. Kind reader Charley pointed me towards some of them saying:

"There are currently two petitions going to try to save Atlantis from cancellation or failing that to try to get another channel (e.g. Netflix etc.) to pick it up. Both have around 400 signatures at the moment but we need all the support we can get and need to get as many people to sign them as possible."

The first petition can be found here, and the second here.

Now, yes, I am asking you to sign these petitions but I want to be clear that I am not only asking you to sign them because 'Atlantis' is a fun show to watch; it's not the best and while it's drawing a decent amount of viewers, it's not the most popular show out there. It is, however, the only show about (a fictional version of ) ancient Hellas on TV until SyFi's 'Olympus'--and I am not holding my breath for that being any more true-to-period.

As someone who grew up on Hercules and Xena, I would love it if every child grew up with the wonder of Hellenic mythology and that is one of the major reasons I am promoting 'Atlantis' as hard as I am: it's fun, it's light enough watching, and it's inspired by the culture and mythology we all love. Help save it, guys. It's only a few seconds of your time,
Two little news updates today: an untouched Mycenaean tomb was found in Central Greece, and on the other ide of the coin, four treasure hunters were nabbed at archaeological site.

Untouched Mycenaean tomb found in Central Greece
Untouched Mycenaean tomb found in Central Greece
An ancient Greek Mycenaean tomb was unearthed in Amfissa, central Greece, during an irrigation project that required excavation in the area. This news the Archaeological News Network reports. It is a unique finding, the first of its kind that has ever been found in West Locris and one of the few in central Greece.

The preliminary archaeological study of the findings shows that the tomb was used for more than two centuries, from the 13th to the 11th century B.C.. Within the burial chamber archaeologists found a large amount of skeletal material, which had accumulated near the surrounding walls, while a few better preserved burials were also uncovered. Furthermore, the excavation revealed forty-four vases with painted decorations, the two bronze fragmented vases, as well as gold rings, brass buttons, fragments of semi precious stones, two bronze daggers, female and animal figurines, and a large number of seals with animal, plant and linear patterns. The full scientific research regarding the recent finding will be made by a team of archaeologists and it is expected to provide new information about the archaeological and historical development of the region.

Treasure hunters nabbed at archaeological site

Four residents of Kalymnos are to face a local prosecutor after police caught them scouring an archaeological site on the southeastern Aegean island with metal detectors on Wednesday, Ekathimerini reports.

The four face charges of violating laws for the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage. Apart from the metal detectors, police confiscated digging tools, two flashlights and a camera from the four suspects.
On a day pretty close to Valentine's day us Hellenists honour a beautiful festival of love and social stability: the Theogamia, also known as the Gamelia. This festival celebrates the anniversary of the marriage (gamos, γάμος) of Zeus Teleios (Τελειος, Of the Marriage Rites) and Hera Teleia (Τέλεια, same). Zeus Teleios and Hera Teleia were considered the patron Theoi of marriage, although we are unsure if They were given sacrifice to when a man and women wed in ancient Hellas.

This year, the Theogamia starts at dusk on the 16th of February and ends at dusk on the 17th. To celebrate this divine marriage and ask for blessings upon the romantic ties we may have in life, Elaion is organising another PAT ritual on the17th of January. The time is set for 10 AM EST. The ritual can be found here, and as always, we would love it if you joined us. For more information about the festival, please see this blog post I wrote about it. Should you have trouble opening the ritual, feel free to send me an e-mail and I will send it to you as an attachment.

We hope you will join us next Wednesday, and that you will snap some pictures of your celebration; we always love to see how you have celebrated with us. Again, if you can't make the exact time, any time before dusk on the 17th is perfectly fine; it's the thought that counts.
"Hi, how might I worship Khronos, the god of time?"

Contrary to the Olympians, the pre-Olympians are actually of the world; They, together, form the tapestry of earth and life. They literally make up our universe. The Protogenoi (Πρωτογενοι) are the First Born Deities of the Hellenic Kosmos. They are the building blocks of the universe, primordial Deities. Khronos--in some genealogies--is one of them.

Khronos is often confused with Kronos; father of Zeus and considered a harvest God for his link to the Golden Age. Khronos, however, is the creator of the Gods and Lord of Time. Kronos is outdated by Khronos by a few generations. In the Orphic cosmogony, Khronos was alone in the void. He created both Aether and Chaos who produced the Primordial Egg from with the hermaphroditic Theos Protogonos emerged. From Him, Ouranos was born, making Khronos, Kronos' great-grandfather. They are neither the same God, nor do they rule over the same domains. Most of the confusion comes from the Roman deity of Saturn, who is a harvest God, Father Time and the father of Jupiter--Zeus' equivalent--combined.

Not many Hellenes regularly worship the older Gods these days. They didn't in ancient times either. Yet, the Olympians did not come to power in a vacuum, and I think to banish all who came before from your worldview and religious life is a disservice not to just the Protogenoi and Titanes, but the Olympians as well. The Old Gods are just as Deathless, just as present, as the Olympians. They are more passive, surely, than the Olympians, but no less worthy of honour for making this world such a beautiful place to live in. They (generally) don't have festivals, and They receive less honour than the Olympians, but they are worth honouring none the less.

There is no fixed ritual format for the worship of Protogenoi and other deities older than the Olympians. Mostly, when they did receive worship, they would have received it in the regular way: procession, purification, prayers and hymns, sacrifice/offerings, prayers of supplication and thanks, usually followed by a feast and/or theatre and sporting events. The same would go for Khronos. and today? Well, how do you give modern sacrifice to the Theoi in your own home practice? Apply that to Him as well. As I have said before, Hellenismos is wonderfully boring when it comes to worship: repetition, repetition, repetition. Beautiful devotion in its purest form.
Last year, two new poems of Sappho emerged out of nowhere and took the internet and academia by storm. I blogged about them here. I did not know back then that the discovery was called into question by the academic community. In an article by Megan Gannon, for Live, these issues have recently been addressed. From the article:

Dirk Obbink, a leading papyrologist at the University of Oxford, announced that he had recovered substantial sections of two never-before seen poems by Sappho: one about her brothers, the second about unrequited love. Obbink's discovery of the two new poems was hailed as a miracle, but in some circles, it was met with hesitation. Sappho's long-lost verses had been translated from an ancient papyrus that was in the hands of an anonymous collector in London. The manuscript's origins were unknown.

Some archaeologists and historians worried it came from Egypt's black market, or feared that it could be a forgery akin to the Gospel of Jesus's Wife, a sensational manuscript that now seems to be a fake. Others were suspicious of the papyrus' apparent links to an American evangelical Christian collection of ancient texts.

From the beginning, Obbink maintained that the new Sappho papyrus has a legal, documented collecting history, but after a year of buzz, he finally revealed that provenance: the text had been folded up inside a tiny piece of glued-together papyri that was purchased by the anonymous collector at an auction in London in 2011.

The lot sold for 7,500 British pounds, or about $11,400. Obbink said the anonymous buyer called to ask for advice a couple of months after the auction, in January 2012. The new owner wanted to know if some of the compressed bits of papyri could be identified without peeling the layers apart.

Obbink said he went to see the packets for himself later that month. One small chunk of cartonnage appeared to contain multiple layers of papyrus, with fragments peeling off from the outside, Obbink said. The anonymous owner — who is a businessman, not a professional collector or academic — had his staff dissolve the tiny stack in warm water. From that pile, they found a folded-up, postcard-size manuscript with lines of text in ancient Greek. When Obbink later read the text, he said he knew he was looking at poems by Sappho.

Obbink was confident in the papyrus' authenticity. The poems had Sappho's signature meter and language and, for the first time, her brothers' names, Charaxos and Larichos, which were only previously known from later biographical works about Sappho. Parts of the 'Brothers Poem' and 'Kypris Poem' also overlapped with previously published Sappho fragments.

A carbon-14 dating of a portion of the papyrus returned a date of around A.D. 201. Though the anonymous owner initially believed the cartonnage was from a mummy, Obbink found that it contained no traces of gesso or paint. That fact, combined with the age of the papyrus, suggests the cartonnage was more likely used for an industrial purpose, perhaps a book cover. The owner of the papyrus agreed to let Obbink publish the poems, so long as he could keep his anonymity.

Yet, not all classicists and archaeologists were thrilled with the way the findings were presented. Some took to the blogosphere and opinion pages to fault Obbink for not addressing a key question: Where did the papyrus fragments come from? Obbink made no mention of the Christie's sale in those first publications.

So why wait a year to reveal its collecting history? For one, Obbink said he had been invited to take part in the panel at the 2015 SCS meeting specifically to address the text's provenance, with the understanding that he would be announcing new information. He said he thought the meeting would be an appropriate, scholarly venue to talk about the collecting history.

Those intervening months also allowed Obbink to try to track down other papyri pieces that may be linked to the new Sappho poems. Robinson's total collection at the University of Mississippi included many more items than the 59 packets from the 2011 Christie's sale. Through various sales, these texts have dispersed widely across collections in Europe and the United States over the past few decades. Obbink said he wanted to check if any more Sappho fragments were hidden in those scattered manuscripts. Obbink did not actually find any more Sappho pieces from earlier dispersals of Robinson's collection.

Work on the new Sappho papyrus isn't finished. Obbink will further examine the manuscript with a noninvasive technique called multispectral imaging, which allows researchers to take very high-resolution photographs with multiple wavelengths of light. Better images of the text could help clarify some of the uncertain letters, which could change how scholars read the poems.
Every now and again, I post modern depictions of our Gods, either in art or photography. I'm not a massive fan, personally, but I know some of my readers are, and I think these depictions are a good way to reinvigorate the religion. Today I would like to share the work of photographer Cristian Baitg. He is located in Spain, near Barcelona. He shoots stock images for the editorial and commercial market, but also has a series out depicting the ancient Hellenic Gods. You can see the full collection here, but here are some examples:

Zeus and Hera
With the overwhelming majority of votes, Meals On Wheels became Gamelion 2015 cause for Pandora's Kharis. It received 90 percent of votes and won out over Our Dancing Daughters.

The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 U.S. states, as well as the U.S. Territories. All told, there are some 5,000 local Senior Nutrition Programs in the United States. These programs provide well over one million meals to seniors who need them each day. Some programs serve meals at congregate locations like senior centers, some programs deliver meals directly to the homes of seniors whose mobility is limited, and many programs provide both services.

While remarkable, the one million meals per day figure underestimates the size and shape of the Meals On Wheels network and its reach and influence in communities across America. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of seniors who receive meals, there are many thousands of professionals employed at the various local Senior Nutrition Programs across the U.S. More notable than that is the virtual army of two million volunteers who also "work" for these programs.

I volunteered for Meals On Wheels for a while a few years ago, and I can tell you that the work these people do every day is amazing, and it makes a difference. If you have any money to spare--even if it's just a dollar--please consider donating. You can do so until 19 February, 2015 on the Pandora's Kharis website or to Thank you in advance.
I am very happy to share with you Labrys' ritual for the Lênaia. The Labrys Religious Community aims to preserve, promote and practice the Hellenic polytheistic religious tradition through public rituals, lectures, publications, theatrical and musical events, and other forms of action. Their vision is to restore the Hellenic religious tradition and by extension the Hellenic Kosmotheasis and lifestyle to its rightful place, as a respected, acknowledged and fully functional spiritual path.

They have a large variety of rituals and festivals documented, including their 2015 Lênaia festival in honour of Dionysos. Enjoy!

Two small bits of news today: Germany has repatriated 2,607 ancient Hellenic coins to Greece and the British Museum will host an exhibition on the body in ancient Hellenic art. While the British Museum and I are not best friends, the exhibition does sound interesting.

2,607 ancient Hellenic coins repatriated from Germany

2,607 ancient Greek coins repatriated from Germany

Three years after the confiscation of 2,607 ancient Hellenic coins by German authorities in September 2011, the valuable antiquities have been returned to Greece, thus reports the Archaeological News Network.

According to an announcement of the Culture Ministry, the coins were found in the luggage of a Greek citizen travelling by car to Munich and seized by the German police. Most of them are made of copper and date back to the Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and post-Roman eras.

British Museum houses exhibition on the body in ancient Hellenic art

The British Museum will be hosting an exhibition entitled “Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art” from March 26 to July 5, 2015. This exhibition will focus on the human body and the way it was portrayed in ancient Greece.

Ancient Greeks were the first to portray the naked human body in a way that did not emit humiliation but glory. They were obsessed with perfection and believed that a man’s body was in perfect balance only when naked.

The male body was celebrated in all its forms, however, for women things were a little different. Aphrodite was the only woman to be sculpted naked. Women were usually portrayed wearing thin layers of clothing which provided an intensely sexual element to many of the female form sculptures.
In the category of 'exhibitions I missed': for those of you visiting Athens before the 15th of this month, there is a very interesting exhibition on death and the afterlife at the Museum of Cycladic Art. The show is divided into five thematic sections: The moment of death, Burial Customs, Homeric Hades, Bacchic-Orphic Hades, and Platonic Hades. the exhibition was put together with 120 objects from 21 Greek and international museums.

"Where did the souls go after death? Did Gods die? Why were Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death) considered brothers? Could people enter the Underworld alive? Which heroes were sent to the Elysian Fields? The exhibition Beyond focuses on one of the greatest mysteries that has puzzled and continues to puzzle humans: the fate of the immortal soul after the death of the corruptible body.
Through the exhibition Beyond we ask the visitor to reflect on the universal issues of life and death, to seek and find the similarities and differences in their perceptions and those of people who lived thousands of years ago, and to wonder how much survived through time, taking on a new form but retaining the essence of age old concerns."

The exhibition sounds very interesting and I wish I could go. For those who went, and even for those who didn't: Where did the souls go after death? Did Gods die? Why were Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death) considered brothers? Could people enter the Underworld alive? Which heroes were sent to the Elysian Fields? Mythology pop quiz, people!
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 believe that Ancient Greek should be learned or at least studied? There's conflicting opinions amongst people who consider themselves Greek Reconstructionists."

The short answer is 'yes', but I will tell you right away that I haven't yet invested the time. It's a matter of convenience--I already have so many projects that I simply would not know where to find the time--and avoidance because I am terrible at learning languages. I have years and years of built up high school frustration from taking German and French language courses and ultimately failing them both. I swear to the Gods that I only learned English because I was a hard-core 'Buffy: The Vampire Slayer'-fan and I quoted entire episodes.

It's not mandatory in Hellenismos to speak (ancient) Greek but I would love to be able to read the hymns, myths and plays I base my practice on in their original language and form. Translations are lovely but there is always artistic freedom. Besides, for me, it's the language of the Gods. I believe it should be studied as a way to get closer to Them. Of course, to each their own; I just know it's on my to-do list.

"Can I offer one libation to more than one god? Like, I don't know, a shared libation or something?"

The ancient Hellenes very rarely gave sacrifice to just one God at a time. The big sacrifices were usually an animal and since animals are expensive and sacrifice establish kharis between the devotee and the God, it just makes sense to honour more that one God with one sacrifice. Beyond that, the ancient Hellenes were vary aware that they were worshipping a pantheon of Gods, not just loose entities thrown together; Apollon was worshipped with His sister and mother, and it was always prudent to worship Hestia and Zeus, and if you give sacrifice to Zeus you really should also give sacrifice to Hera because there may be tension with her otherwise because you are worshipping Zeus'  illegitimate child with another woman, etc. The main goal may have been to give sacrifice to Apollon, but there are many Gods connected to Him either through genealogy or function.

Say, for example, that you were giving sacrifice to Apollon for health, you would naturally include Asklēpiós and His daughters as well, and Hestia and Zeus, of course, and then Hera as well, maybe, and onwards. During animal sacrifice, hymns and prayers were given to each God in turn before, during, and after the sacrifice burned. It's fairly the same with libations: the Gods worshipped were also grouped and they were called on and prayed to in turn. Each one got a little pouring out of liquid. So yes, you can definitely give libations to more than one God during the same ritual. In fact, it's expected.

"Hi, I was just wandering if there was a different way to work with a patron in comparison with who you devote yourself to? Is there different way of doing rituals etc. Thank you for taking the time to read my ask :)"

So, I would love to answer your question, but I don't know how. Personally, I don't believe in personal patronism in Traditional Hellenism--which is the branch I subscribe to. Now, I don't have anything against it as a practice, it's just not Traditional. I wrote about the how's and why's of personal and professional patronism (more aptly named 'tutelage') on my blog a while back, which might be an interesting read. To summarize, modern patronage, in this context, is the support or encouragement of a patron, where the patron or patroness is a divine being. In these relationships, the active party is often the deity in question, who claims the passive human. Some will describe a sense of 'being owned' by their patron. The human becomes a conduit for the work and will of the patron in question, and is required to spend large portions of their lives in active service to that deity.

In ancient Hellas, there were priests; most of them were chosen through hereditary lines and often served short terms in the temple of a deity their family was connected to, either through the family line or by choice. There were also priests who chose to come into the service of a God; they were voluntary priests and they devoted themselves to the God(s) they were drawn to or especially thankful to. Neither type of priest would have worshipped only the deity they were in service to, and all would have attended state festivals, and most likely had a household practice that included a large number of deities. Note that the active party in these relationships is the human, not the deity in question.

Modern patronage is a beautiful thing and if you feel you have been claimed by a God or Goddess, then go for it. I am just not the right person to give you advice. Perhaps someone who reads this might have that for you and add a comment. Be well!
Archaeologists with the Apollonia Pontica Excavation Project have been exploring the ancient city of Sozopol, Bulgaria. Their findings of temples, altars and artifacts suggest the area, potentially an island off the coast, hides a lost temple Apollon, according to Popular Archaeology.

Ancient Origins reports that in 2009, Professor Krastina Panayotova from the Archaeology Institute of Bulgaria began excavations in Sozopol, but since 2013 the researchers have focused their attentions on a small island off the Black Sea coast. The tiny island of St. Kirik is connected to Sozopol by a breakwater, and still hosts the ruins of a medieval monastery. Bulgarian news website The Sofia Echo reports that the remains of buildings gave researchers a look into one of the only ancient Hellenic colonies in Bulgaria, writing:

"There was evidence of rituals performed in honor of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone. These finds included small jugs, amphoras and ceramic figurines."

Other artifacts excavated included bronze arrow points, fishing gear, and tools for fabric-making. The Hellenic settlement of Apollonia Pontica (Sozopol), founded by Miletian colonists during the seventh century BC and ruled by Thracian kings, became a prosperous city through its trade in copper, gold, olives, wine and other goods. It was here, on the small island of St Kirik that a well-known 12 meter (39 foot) high bronze statue of Apollon once stood.
Passed down through ancient inscriptions and the word of Roman author Pliny the Elder, the statue was said to have been erected in the fifth century BC in front of Apollon’s temple and transported to Rome in 72 BC when the Romans sacked the city.  It then spent many centuries on Capitoline Hill before becoming lost in the pages of history.
The legends of a colossal statue, the local coins minted in the image of Apollon, the remains of an ancient Hellenic settlement, and other artifacts including a Late Archaic temple complex with altar, an ancient Hellenic copper foundry, and an early Byzantine basilica and necropolis, may point the way to determining if and where a lost temple might be hidden.

It is hoped the research conducted by Panayotova and associates will eventually be able to confirm the location of a lost temple of Apollon. In the meantime, intriguing finds will continue to shed light on the culture and lives of the people at the ancient settlements on the Black Sea coast.
Further excavations are planned for the area starting in 2015, and more information can be found at the Balkan Heritage Field School website. Of course I will keep you updated of further finds.
It has been a long, long time since I did one of these, but a long time ago, I started a series about plants, trees and herbs which are mentioned in Hellenic mythology. You can find previous instalments here. Today, I want to talk about a beautiful plant with ties to the dead. Today, I'll tell you a bit about the (Branched) Aspodel. From Wikipedia:

"Asphodelus is a genus of mainly perennial plants in the Xanthorrhoeaceae, first described for modern science in 1753. The genus is native to temperate Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian Subcontinent, and now naturalized in other places (New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, southwestern United States, etc.). Asphodels are popular garden plants, which grow in well-drained soils with abundant natural light. Now placed in the family Xanthorrhoeaceae, the genus was formerly included in the lily family (Liliaceae).

Asphodelus ramosus, also known as branched asphodel, is a perennial herb in the Asparagales order. Similar in appearance to Asphodelus albus and particularly Asphodelus cerasiferus, it may be distinguished by its highly branched stem and smaller fruits. Asphodelus ramosus is native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East. It can also be found in the Canary Islands. It is particularly common on the Catalan coast, where it shows an affinity for acidic soils, mainly schist. It is to be found close to the sea on the slopes of the Albères massif, where it forms abundant colonies in April to May. Its very numerous flowers are white with six tepals bearing a central brown streak. The fruits are small round capsules."

Asphódelos (ἀσφόδελος) is a well-known plant in ancient Hellenic mythology, where the branched version is said to be the plant mentioned by Hómēros as the flower that graced the fields of the Underwold--the Aspodel Meadows. In the Odysseia, the plant is mentioned repeatedly:

"When I had spoken, the spirit of Achilles, Aeacus’ grandson, went away with great strides through the field of asphodel, rejoicing at my news of his son’s greatness." [Bk XI:465-540]
"I next saw great Orion, carrying his indestructible bronze club, driving the phantoms of wild creatures he once killed in the lonely hills over the fields of asphodel." [Bk XI:541-592]
"Past Ocean’s stream, and the White Rock, past the Gates of the Sun and the place of dreams, they soon reached the meadows of asphodel where the ghosts abide, the phantoms of men whose work is done." [Bk XXIV:1-56]

Various other ancient writers have mentioned the plant as well in their writings. Lucian, in his 'Dialogues of the Dead', for example:

"We were now in darkness; so Mithrobarzanes led the way, and I followed holding on to him, until we reached a great meadow of asphodel, where the shades of the dead, with their thin voices, came flitting round us." [11]

Although from a later source, we know that the plant was not just sacred to Hades as the ruler of the Fields, but to Persephone and Artemis as well. Suidas has written about the plant:

"A bulbous plant, having long leaves and an edible stem; and its seed when roasted and the root chopped up with figs fetches a high price. [It is] sacred to Persephone and the underworld [deities]. Also Rhodians wreath Kore [Persephone] and Artemis with asphodel."

It was planted on graves, and Persephone was often crowned with a garland of asphodels in ancient art. Its general connection with death is due no doubt to the greyish colour of its leaves and its yellowish flowers, which suggest the gloom of the underworld and the pallor of death. The roots were eaten by the poorer Hellenes; hence such food was thought good enough for the shades. The asphodel was also supposed to be a remedy for poisonous snake-bites and a specific against sorcery; it was fatal to mice, but preserved pigs from disease, making it a very valuable tool to the average farmer--abide a rather ominous one.
Okay, my friends, listen up. You know I am probably BBC's 'Atlantis'' biggest cheerleader and have been so since the first episode. It may have had its issues, but hey, that show meets my needs so very much.  very kind reader alerted me that BBC has cancelled the show recently, and naturally I am not a happy camper.

BBC announced the show’s cancellation this way: “The final seven episodes of Atlantis will transmit on BBC One in spring. We would like to thank Urban Myth Films and all the cast and crew but the series will not be re-commissioned. We are very proud of both series but to keep increasing the range of BBC One drama we have to make difficult decisions to bring new shows through.”

Six of the thirteen episodes of season two have aired so far and you can read recaps here. An exact date for the final seven is yet to be confirmed.

Do you know of any fan initiatives to change BBC One's mind? Let me know in the comments. Of course I'll be recapping the remaining episodes once the show returns. I, for one, will miss this show; it was my weekly fix of mindless Hellenic-themed entertainment. I guess it's time to re-watch Zena: Warrior Princess now...
According to Turkey's major newspaper, Hurriyet, the ancient Greek city of Bargylia, dating back to the 5th century BC, located in Asia Minor near Gulluk Bay on the northern coast of the Bodrum peninsula, is on sale for the trifle of 22 million Turkish liras (around eight million euros), or so reports The Greek Reporter. The property is advertised as 'a first degree archaeological site, facing the Bird Heaven lake near the Bogazici village, with full sea and lake view'.

The ancient Greek city of Bargylia is located on the coast of Caria, in southwest Turkey. It was founded by Bellerophon and named it in honor of his companion, Bargylos, who had been killed by a kick from the winged horse Pegasus. During the Cretan War, in 200 BC, King Philip V of Macedon, nicknamed “the beloved of all Greece ,” winter-docked his fleet in the city’s port when he was blockaded by the Pergamene and Rhodian fleets. Epicurean philosopher Protarchus was a native of Bargylia.
According to the newspaper, Turkish law does not allow construction in first degree archaeological sites, therefore the agency’s advertisement underlines that no excavations have been performed on it yet, so the new owners will be free to enjoy an amphitheatre hinted to be underground, an area that is believed to belong to the city’s temple, the remains of a Roman bath and a necropolis from the Byzantine era.
On their behalf, Turkish archaeologists have repeatedly called the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism to expropriate numerous archaeological sites such as the one in Bargylia in order to ensure their protection, due to the state’s inability to guarantee their security. Binnur Celebi, a senior member of the Archaeologists Association, underlined that unfortunately, due to an insufficient budget, archaeological sites are only expropriated during excavations or urban projects. He fears that the new some owners may seek to downgrade their site’s status, aiming to open it up for construction.

“Private ownership of such sites is obstructing archaeological work. However, the person or persons who acquire those sites can absolutely not conduct any construction activities.”
The agent promoting the ancient city’s sale, Halil Okan Tavasli, said that it has already attracted a considerable number of potential buyers but no agreement has been signed yet. Needless to say, I am shocked by the blatant disregard of Turkey's duty to protect and catalogue these ancient sites. I think we can only pray that these grounds come into the possession of someone who does not wish them harm.
It is our great pleasure to announce the Gamelion 2015 Pandora's Kharis nominees for charity of the month. One of the following causes will receive this month's donations made by members of Pandora's Kharis. We would like to thank every community member who stood up to pitch their pick for a cause and as our numbers keep growing, we hope for even more causes to choose from next month.

Our Dancing Daughters
Our Dancing Daughters (ODD) is a youth mentorship program that guides, inspires, and transforms under-served and potentially at risk young women in Saint Paul by way of dance and life skills training delivered to them by the qualified instructors of Kamala Chaand Dance Company, Inc. and affiliated individuals and programs. This program is offered free of charge to young women who meet the guidelines outlined in the program.

Our Dancing Daughters is not a religious organization, but leader and Witch Tasha-Rose is assisted by a board made up all Pagans and Witches. Board members include LaDonna Bartol, Laurie “Remedy” Howard, Breana Larson, and Becky Munson, with Tasha-Rose as the Executive Director. Our Dancing Daughters is presently funded largely by private donors. So far they have raised $1,314 of their $10,000 goal on their GoFundMe site. Funding will pay for the scholarships of each of the young women they take on in the program. Donations  also help pay for the necessary filings for establishing us as a Federal 501c3.

Meals On Wheels
Who hasn't heard of Meals On Wheels? The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 U.S. states, as well as the U.S. Territories. All told, there are some 5,000 local Senior Nutrition Programs in the United States. These programs provide well over one million meals to seniors who need them each day. Some programs serve meals at congregate locations like senior centers, some programs deliver meals directly to the homes of seniors whose mobility is limited, and many programs provide both services.

While remarkable, the one million meals per day figure underestimates the size and shape of the Meals On Wheels network and its reach and influence in communities across America. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of seniors who receive meals, there are many thousands of professionals employed at the various local Senior Nutrition Programs across the U.S. More notable than that is the virtual army of two million volunteers who also "work" for these programs.

Do you have a favourite out of these two? Vote for your favourite in our poll. If you would like to donate to any of these, or have other causes to pitch for next month? Come join us as well! We will announce this month's winner on February 10, 2015.
Today--at dusk--the Lênaia (Λήναια) festival starts. This three-day festival honors Dionysos and has a multitude of links to the Lesser Dionysia. In fact, it's been described as an urban version of the Lesser Dionysia, but without the grander of the greater Dionysia.

The Lênaia is held--roughly--at the coldest time of year in Hellas. It's dedicated to Dionysos Lênaios (Ληναιος, of the wine press), and is almost undoubtedly a fertility festival, which was celebrated to encourage the earth to thaw and soften, and become ready for sowing. It is said that the Lênaia celebrates the birth of Dionysos--or at least the version of His birth from Zeus's thigh, but this is most definitely not a supported theory by the whole of the scholastic community. This festival is tied to Dionysos' role as Year-Daímōn in which He was conceived at Agrai, located on the banks of the Ilissus River on the Hellenic peninsula near Athens. The word 'Agrai', pertains to both the place name and the rites of Dionysos held there--most commonly referred to as the 'lesser Mysteries' (20-26 Anthesterion). Another reason for the name of the festival might be the female revelers that often partook of Dionysos' worship and were named Maenads, or Lenai.

The Lênaia was an ancient, local, mostly Athenian, festival, although it was locally celebrated elswhere as well. In Athens, no one from another city could attend. This was partly an inevitability, seeing as the seas at this time were the most dangerous of the year. The festival might have started with a procession from the wilds outside of Athens, into the civilization of Athens itself. During the procession, the Daidukhos (Torch-bearer) yelled, “Invoke the God!” and the celebrants responded, "Son of Semele, Iakkhos, Giver of Wealth!”. (Parke, Festivals of the Athenians, p 104–4) This procession might have played out (parts of) the early myths surrounding Dionysos, where He and his revelers came to His cousin Pentheus, but were imprisoned. Dionysos broke Himself and His revelers out, and tried to explain His worship to His cousin. Yet, Pentheus would not listen, so Dionysos left him to his anger. He took His followers--including many local women, including Pentheus' mother and sister--to the hills. When Pentheus pursued Him, He drove the women mad. To them Pentheus appeared to be a moutain lion. In a berserk rage, they attacked him, and his mother--who was first to reach him--ripped his head off, while the others tore off his limbs.

At midnight on at least one of the days, revelers took to an all-night ecstatic dance, dressed up and bearing various musical instruments (the thyrsus, castanets, tambourines and flutes, primarily). They danced in front of a representation of Dionysos, usually a simple post, dressed in a man’s tunic, with garlanded branches like upraised arms, and with a bearded mask of Dionysos. It's this bear that often discourages scholars from interpreting the Lênaia as a festival to celebrate Dionysos' birth. Wine was a large part of the dance and stood on a table in front of the idol; generally, this wine was the last of the old. During the festival, tragedies and comedies were performed, but comedies were the main focus. While the plays were wonderful, many people looked forward to the household part of the festival more, as it was encouraged to get at least somewhat tipsy and ward off the cold in bed with your partner.

The Lênaia starts at the twelfth and ends either on the fourteenth or fifteenth of the month. Personally, I feel it ends at dusk on the fifteenth, as that would make up the full three days attested to (from dusk on the twelfth, to dusk on the fifteenth). It can be celebrated with wine, by seeing a show or movie, and by spending some time in bed with your lover--in fact, it's much like the