In Greek, the term 'Atlantis' means 'island of Atlas' (Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος), and it may very well have applied to the island of Santorini. It was Plato who brought life--and myth--to Atlantis. According to him, Poseidon fell in love with Cleito, the daughter of Evenor and Leucippe, who bore him five pairs of male twins. The eldest of these, Atlas, was made rightful king of the entire island and the ocean--called the Atlantic Ocean in his honor--and was given the mountain of his birth and the surrounding area to rule over. It was also Plato who wrote that Poseidon made Atlantis--a huge island with a volcano at its center--His home after Zeus, Hades and He divided the world.

Plato's description of Atlantis would have fit the ancient hellenic version of Santorini well. It was a large, mountainous, island, with an active volcano at its center. The large settlement on the island was build around said volcano. Poseidon's influence on the island isn't a stretch of the imagination at all; there was sea and ocean all around and from time to time, the entire island would tremble due to the volcano.

The volcano eruption decimated the settlement, but from what archeologists and scholars have been able to piece together, the settlement was a sight to behold while it stood. It had walls eight meters tall, three story houses, beautiful frescos and a rich economic climate. The volcano eruption preserved much of the ancient city of Akrotiri, despite the huge lagoon the eruption left at the center of the island.

One of Atlantis' marvels was the much-praised and highly valuable metal called 'orichalcum'. It was called 'aurichalcum' by the Romans and is a metal mentioned in several ancient writings, including the story of Atlantis in the Critias dialogue, recorded by Plato. In it, he says:

"Some of their buildings were simple, but in others they put together different stones, varying the colour to please the eye, and to be a natural source of delight. The entire circuit of the wall, which went round the outermost zone, they covered with a coating of brass, and the circuit of the next wall they coated with tin, and the third, which encompassed the citadel, flashed with the red light of orichalcum."

The name derives from the Greek ὀρείχαλκος, oreikhalkos (from ὄρος, oros, mountain and χαλκός, chalkos, copper or bronze), meaning literally 'mountain copper' or 'copper mountain'.

In January 2015, a team of divers have discovered dozens of pieces of ancient metal from a shipwreck, aged 2,600 years, off the coast of Sicily island, in the south of Italy. The lumps of metal were arriving to Gela in southern Sicily, possibly coming from Greece or Asia Minor. The ship that was carrying them was likely caught in a storm and sunk just when it was about to enter the port. They were unlike any metal ever found. Analyzed with X-ray fluorescence, the 39 ingots turned to be an alloy made with 75-80 percent copper, 15-20 percent zinc and small percentages of nickel, lead and iron.

The mining of orichalcum would have made Atlantis (or Santorini) very wealthy as it seems the metal was only mined there, and orichalcum was considered second only to gold in value.
Perhaps no other civilization has held fitness in such high regard as ancient Hellas. The idealism of physical perfection was one that embodied ancient Hellenic civilization. The appreciation for beauty of the body and importance of health and fitness throughout society is one that is unparalleled in history. The ancient Hellenes believed development of the body was equally as important as development of the mind. Physical well-being was necessary for mental well-being, with the need for a strong, healthy body to harbor a sound mind. Many founding medical practitioners facilitated the growth of fitness throughout ancient Hellas, including the likes of Herodicus, Hippocrates, and Galen.

Gymnastics, along with music, was considered to be the most important classroom topic. Gymnastics took place in palaestras, which were sites of physical education for young boys. The palaestra consisted of an indoor facility for gymnastics, in addition to an outdoor area for running, jumping, and wrestling. When adulthood was reached, typically between the ages of fouteen and sixteen, the site for fitness training switched from palaestras to gymnasiums. Exercise in the palaestra and gymnasium was supervised by the paidotribe, who is similar to the modern fitness trainer. This idealistic fitness situation existed most strongly within Athens and in Sparta, but was widespread throughout.

Training in ancient Hellas, particularly for the Spartans, was structured and extremely intense. Spartan training began for men at a very young age. At seven years old, Spartan males were sent to military and athletic training school where they were taught toughness, discipline, pain endurance and survival skills. The Spartan life centered around military training and toughness. Spartan males were soldiers from the age of 13 to 60, and even the women were taught physical and gymnastics training.

The ancient Hellenes relied mostly on body weight exercises--work-outs without instruments. Push-ups, pull-ups, and box jumpes were favourites. They excelled in cardio practices like mentioned above, but the ancient Hellenes weight trained as well--with activities such as stone lifting, stone throwing, wrestling and rope climbing. They also lifted each other, animals, and whatever else was heavy and handleable.
In order to get the actors in shape for the movie '300', a grueling exercise routine was created, based on the ancient Spartan training regime. It included plyometrics, sprinting and intense weight training. They used such equipment as barbells, kettlebells and medicine balls instead of stones and animals, though. At the end of the four months of training, the actors where invited to complete the '300' graduation workout which involved performing the following exercises in sequential order. The combination of all repetitions for all of the exercises totals 300 repetitions. Note, every featured Spartan warrior in that movie was required to complete this test.
  • 25 pullups
  • 50 deadlifts at 135 lbs
  • 50 pushups
  • 50 box jumps onto a 24 inch box
  • 50 floor wipers at 135 lbs
  • 50 kettlebell clean and presses at 36 lbs
  • 25 pullups
Gerard Butler--who plays King Leonidas in 300--told Men’s Health:

“You know that every bead of sweat falling off your head, every weight you’ve pumped — the history of that is all in your eyes.  That was a great thing, to put on that cape and put on that helmet, and not have to think, shit, I should have trained more. Instead, I was standing there feeling like a lion.”

I work out. Mostly cardio, but I do some bodyweight strength training as well, kettlebell workouts, and some light lifting. I can tell you right now that I would not be able to complete that routine even if I had a year to train. I am awed by these men, and I am awed by the physical prowess of the ancient Hellenic soldiers--especially the Spartans. But having said that, every time I get on my mountain bike for a grueling trail ride, or push up the kettlebell until my arms shake, I think of them and I feel just a little closer to the Gods. A little closer to the ideal They have for humanity.

I believe physical exercise, eating healthy, and being in shape to the best of your ability is part of Hellenismos. I believe it's one of many ways in which we honour the Gods. Now, I know not everyone is physically ready to be a Spartan warrior. If, for you, lifting one kilo weights is the max of your ability, then do that. Go on a walk. Do a situp. Dance during your cleaning. Think of your body as your altar and take just as good care of that as you do the other tools with which you honour the Gods. Bring out your inner Spartan!
Every month, Hellenion members pour a libation to a different Hellenic God or Goddess. I'm not a member of Hellenion, but I did partake in this practice for one Hellenic year. Every month, I would make the libation to the God honoured that month and create a mix-tape, a wonderful idea I gratefully stole off of Sannion. This is an overview of those mix-tape and any subsequent ones I have done.
I would like to dust off this series, but I don't know which of the Theoi to make a mix-tape for! So, if you would like to request one, please feel free. Who do you feel close to who is not yet on the list? Who would you like me to choose music for? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.
I was going to do an actual post today, but then life exploded, so I am going to leave you with some words of beauty today: Pindar's Paean VI, for the Delphians to Pytho. The poem was performed at Delphi for a festival called the 'theoxenia', at which gods were entertained.

O golden Pytho, that art famed for thine oracles! I beseech thee, by the Olympian Zeus, with the Graces and Aphrodite, to welcome me at this sacred season as a prophet of the tuneful Pierides. For, beside the water of Castalia, with its outlet of brass, I have no sooner heard a sound of dancing reft of men, than I have come to relieve the need of the townsmen, and of mine own honour.
I have obeyed my dear heart, even as a son obeyeth his kind mother, and have come down to Apollo's grove, the home of garlands and of banquets, where, beside the shadowy centre of the earth, the maidens of Delphi fiill often beat the ground with nimble step, while they sing the son of Leto.
And, whence the strife of the immortals arose, of this the gods are able to prompt sage poets; while, for mortal men, it is impossible to find it.
Welcome to the last installment of the Seven Sages Series! The weeks have truly flown by. Today, we will be talking about Periander of Corinth, who was the second tyrant of the Cypselid dynasty that ruled over that city-state. He was the son of Cypselus, of the family of the Heraclidae. He married Lyside (whom he called Melissa). She was the daughter of Procles, the tyrant of Epidaurus. He had two sons, Cypselus and Lycophron. The eldest, Cypselus, is said to have been mentally disabled.

Periander continued the policies of his father, which were directed against the hereditary nobility. In the interests of the trading and artisan classes, Periander introduced customs duties and state coinage of money and organized a large-scale building program. Under his rule, many vestiges of the hereditary order were eliminated, hereditary divisions were replaced by territorial divisions, territorial courts were created, and military units of mercenaries were organized. To strengthen the centralized authority, Periander introduced statutes to register the income of the populace and prohibit public banquets, lavish holiday celebrations, and mass gatherings in public squares. He also instituted a law against luxury.

To promote and protect Corinthian trade, Periander established colonies at Potidaea in Chalcidice and at Apollonia in Illyria. He conquered Epidaurus and annexed Corcyra. The diolkos (“portage way”) across the Isthmus of Corinth was perhaps built during his reign. It appears that the commercial prosperity of Periander’s Corinth became so great that the tolls on goods entering its ports accounted for almost all government revenues. Periander cultivated friendly relations with Thrasybulus, tyrant of Miletus, and maintained ties with the kings of Lydia and Egypt. In the cultural sphere he was a patron of art and of literature; by his invitation the poet Arion came to the city from Lesbos.

While his wife Melissa was pregnant with Lycophron, Periander and his wife seem to have gotten into an argument about (false) accusations of infidelity on Priander's part,  during which he either kicked or threw his her down a staircase. Melissa died, and Priander sent Lycophron away to Corcyra because he grieved for his mother. When Priander called Lycophron back to rule in his stead, the Coryreans who had been taking care of him killed the boy. Priander became so angry he sent the Coryreans' children off to be made eunuchs of. The youths were saved, however, and Priander died despondent at eighty years old.

Periander was said to be a patron of literature, who both wrote and appreciated early philosophy. He is said to have written a didactic poem 2,000 lines long. The following is a list of sayings commonly attributed to him:

Never do anything for money; leave gain to trades pursued for gain.
Whoever wishes to wield absolute power in safety should be guarded by the good will of his countrymen, and not by arms.
It is as dangerous to retire voluntarily as to be dispossessed.
Rest is beautiful.
Rashness has its perils.
Gain is ignoble.
Democracy is better than tyranny.
Pleasures are transient, honors are immortal.
Be moderate in prosperity, prudent in adversity.
Be the same to your friends whether they are in prosperity or in adversity.
Whatever agreement you make, stick to it.
Betray no secret.
Correct not only the offenders but also those who are on the point of offending.
Practice makes perfect.
Be farsighted with everything.
Nothing is impossible to industry.
Live according to your income.
The mind still longs for what it has missed, and loses itself in the contemplation of the past.
He who assists the wicked will in time rue it.
He who has once made himself notorious as utterly unprincipled, is not credited even when he speaks the truth.
He who trusts himself for safety to the care of a wicked man, in seeking succour meets with ruin.
However exalted our position, we should still not despise the powers of the humble.
Judge of a tree by its fruit, not by its leaves.
Liars pay the penalty of their own misdeeds.
Relaxation should at times be given to the mind, the better to fit it for toil when resumed.
Success brings many to ruin.
The soft speeches of the wicked are full of deceit.
The success of the wicked tempts many to sin.
Those who plot the destruction of others often perish in the attempt.
To counsel others, and to disregard one's own safety, is folly.
Unless your works lead to profit, vain is your glory in them.
Witty remarks are all very well when spoken at a proper time: when out of place they are offensive.
The useful and the beautiful are never separated.
The Ministry of Culture announced on Monday that a 300-meter section of an ancient carriage way dated to the 4th century BC was excavated by archaeologists at Megalo Kavouri beach in the southern suburb of Vouliagmeni. The pathway is believed to have linked the ancient demos of Aixonidai Alon with the beach and is connected to a ggreater road network that included a road linking Athens with Sounion – the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula. There was also an ancient road from the coast of Faliro to Voula.

Protothema reports that the foundations of a rectangular building with a floor that resembles the road were found in the area, leading archeologists to believe it was constructed at the same time as the road. Evidence on pottery and coins shows that it the area was in use throughout the 4th century BC. Small stones placed close to each other marked the pavement with variations in width from 1.90 meters to 6.10 meters. Retaining walls on either side helped keep the pavement over the soft and sandy area smooth and stable.

Excavations began within a general NSRF-funded project to improve the area of Megalo Kavouri, and were later funded by Greek shipowner Athanassios Martinos, whose support allowed the completion of an archaeological park at Megalo Kavouri beach. Excavations are under the ministry's Ephorate of Antiquities of Western Attica, Piraeus and the Islands (formerly the 26th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities).

The 12th of Hekatombion marks the start of the ancient Hellenic Kronia festival. The Kronia honours Kronos, Zeus' father, not to be confused with Khronos; creator of the Gods and Lord of Time. In Athens, Kronos and Rhea--His wife and sister--shared a temple. They represented an age before the Theoi took to rule; a time when societal rules did not exist yet, and there was no hierarchy. As such, on the day Kronos was worshipped, the fixed order of society was suspended, and slaves joined--and even ruled over--a banquet given by their masters. As much fun as this was, the day served as a reminder that for a society to function, societal rules were necessary, and as such, it was also necessary for Zeus to overthrow His father and assume the throne. You can read far more about the festival here.

To honour Kronos on this day, we will hold another PAT ritual; will you be joining us? We celebrate the Kronia on Tuesday July 28, at 10:00am in EDT. For those of you who don't want to go on Facebook for the event, you can find it here.
As part of the Beginner's guide to Hellenismos, I would like to discuss an often misunderstood part of the Hellenic divine family: the daímones (δαίμονες). The word 'daímones' has its etymological origins in the word 'daiō' (δαίω) which means 'to divide', 'to distribute destinies', 'to allot'. For the Minoan (3000 - 1100 BC) and Mycenaean (1500 - 1100 BC), the daímones were seen as attendants or servants to the deities, possessing spiritual power. Later, the term 'daímon' was used by writers such as Hómēros (8th century BC) to describe an incorporial benevolent or benign nature spirit which provides wealth and justice to mortals. Daímones fulfill an important role in mythology and life: all aspects of life can be overseen by Deathless beings, without taking away from--or needlessly adding to--the portfolio of the Theoi.

Hesiod gives us our first glimpse into the nature of daímones as he writes about the five Ages of Man in Works and Days. In this standard work, he writes about the golden age of mortals, created by the Theoi when Kronos was still leader of the Gods. There humans lived like Gods, without sorrow and grief. They had all they desired and lived the perfect, ethical life. They died as if falling asleep and knew no pain. These mortals were called pure spirits. Even after this generation of mortal men ended, they continued to roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgements and cruel deeds. They became givers of wealth because that is what they knew in life and are considered guardians of mortal men. These are the daímones khryseoi: 'golden spirits'.

According to some ancient writers, the spirits of the Silver Age also became daímones: the daímones agryreoi. They were described as earth-dwelling fertility spirits who proferred mankind with rich harvests. They were inferior to the Daimones Khryseoi. The former resided within the earth, while the latter occupied the air.

Hesiod makes clear distinction between the Theoi and the daímones: the Theoi are Gods, the daímones are members of the Gold (and Silver) Age who gained immortality. Hesiod makes a clear distinction between the Theoi and all daímones. This differentiation is much less pronounced in the writings of Hómēros, where 'Theos' and 'daímon' are used virtually interchangeably. Especially through Neo-Platonics, comes the placement of daímones between the Theoi and mankind. They are less powerful than the Theoi, with lesser domains; more concerned with the daily happenings of life than the Theoi are, but they, too, are immortal, and deserve honors.

Important to note, too, is the destination made between daímones and heroes: similar in terms of power of the lives of man, but different in their identities, with the heroes having very pronounced personalities, accomplishments and cult worship, and the daímones having none of those. They are also not the same as the spirits of the (recent) dead, as these were considered baleful and frightening. Elaion views the daímones as a group of unidentifiable (nature) spirits who are incorporial and nameless. As such, we consider humans who died and recieved apotheosis--were raised to godlike stature--to be heroes. We consider minor Gods who are sometimes called 'daímon(e)s' are Theoi and feel They should be treated with that level of respect in ritual.

It should also be mentioned that Plato labeled the daímones (or some daímones, most notably those of the Silver Age) as dangerous spirits and eventually they became the demons of Christianity. Yet, neither Hómēros or Hesiod ever intended them to be so: all daímones were pure and Deathless; they acted as a policing force for humanity. Elaion ascribes to the view of Hesiod and Hómēros: the daímones are benevolent and helpful, incorporial, unnamed spirits whose sole purpose is to aid and guide humanity in living prosperous, happy, and ethically. We know that Hellenismos does have its evil spirits: the keres--female death-spirits. They are bringers of death, hunger, pestilence, madness and nightmares. They are, however, not to be confused with the daímones.

As mentioned in pasion, the daímones did not, and do not, recieve (state) ritual. We do feel, however, that they should be thanked for guidance and blessings. Elaion encourages members to do this during your Agathós Daímōn celebration on the second day of the month with a libation of (unmixed) wine and some words of gratitude.

Daímones are an important part of Hellenismos, but because they are so intangible--both in substance and intellectual pursuit--they seem hard to incorporate. Allow us to give examples of what we feel is the influence of the daímones instead of the Theoi, heroes, or any other spirit. It are the daímones who have us look one more time to check if there is a car coming, thus avoiding a collision. It are the daímones who still our tongue when we want to speak ill of someone. It are the daímones who hear our plea for a quiet night while our friends were scheduled to come over and suddenly everyone cancels. These little thing, the Theoi are generally not involved with, but the daímones hear our every day needs and grant the wishes of those whom they deem worthy.

We consider becoming aware of the influence of the daímones in our lives a very important part of practicing Hellenismos, and hope this entry in the beginner's guide will help to do so.
I am sure you have heard the big news already but I can't go without menton of it on the blog: analysis confirms that a skeleton found forty years ago in the royal tombs of Vergina belongs to Philip II, father of Alexander the Great. The tombs became internationally famous in 1977, when the Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos unearthed the burial site of the kings of Macedon.

The left leg of an adult male skeleton found in Tomb I at Vergina. The thigh bone (femur)
and one of the bones of the lower leg (the tibia) are fused, and hole at the knee
suggests a devastating penetrating injury [Credit: Javier Trueba]

Archaeologists were interested in the burial mounds around Vergina as early as the 1850s, supposing that the site of Aigai was in the vicinity. Excavations began in 1861 under the French archaeologist Leon Heuzey, sponsored by Napoleon III, however, the excavations had to be abandoned because of the risk of malaria. In 1937, the University of Thessaloniki resumed the excavations. More ruins of the nearby ancient palace were found, but the excavations were abandoned on the outbreak of war with Italy in 1940. After the war the excavations were resumed, and during the 1950s and 1960s the rest of the royal capital was uncoved including the theatre.

In 1977, Andronikos undertook a six-week dig and found four buried tombs, two of which had never been disturbed. Andronikos claimed that these were the burial sites of the kings of Macedon, including the tomb of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great (Tomb II) and also of Alexander IV of Macedon, son of Alexander the Great and Roxana (Tomb III). This view was challenged by some archaeologists, but in 2010 research based on detailed study of the skeletons, vindicated Andronikos and supports the evidence of facial asymmetry caused by a possible trauma of the cranium of the male, evidence that is consistent with the history of Philip II. Now, research by a team of Greek researchers has confirmed that the bones indeed belong to the Macedonian King Philip II.

The Archaeology News Network reports that, using scanning and radiography, anthropologist Juan-Luis Arsuaga and his colleagues from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Democritus University of Thrace, analysed the skeletal remains of both tombs. The male skeleton in Tomb I was found to be 'strikingly tall' at around 6ft (180 cm). He would have been approximately 45 years old when buried and his leg bones showed a stiffened knee joint and signs of bone fusion - a hole through the knee growth indicating it suffered a piercing wound.

There was also evidence of trauma-related inflammation, and asymmetrical bone lesions that suggest wryneck - a side effect of head tilting linked to having an uneven gait. These findings are consistent with what the researchers know about the king as, in 345 BC, Philip conducted a hard-fought campaign against the Ardiaioi (Ardiaei), under their king Pluratus, during which he was seriously wounded by an Ardian soldier in the lower right leg.

Philip was king of the Greek kingdom of Macedon from 359BC until he was assassinated in 336BC by the captain of his bodyguards, Pausanias, in the town of Aegae, now known as Vergina.
Pittacus of Mytilene was a statesman and sage who is known as one of the Seven Wise Men of ancient Hellas. He was born around 652-649 BC and died between 578 and 570 BC. Pittacus was the son of Hyrradius and had a son called Tyrrhaeus. Legend says that Tyrrhaeus was killed and when the murderer was brought before Pittacus, he dismissed the man, saying, 'Pardon is better than repentance', or 'Pardon is better than punishment'.

He was a native of Mytilene and the Mytilenaean general who, with his army, was victorious in the battle against the Athenians and their commander Phrynon. By challenging Phrynon to one-on-one combat and beating him, he prevented massive amounts of bloodshed and ended the war. In consequence of this victory the Mytilenaeans held Pittacus in the greatest honour and presented the supreme power into his hands. After ten years of reign he resigned his position and the city and constitution were brought into good order.

 He was a model of prudence and a political figure distinguished for his reason, wisdom, and political honestly. during his reign, he instituted many laws which tried to elevate the etical level of his fellow man, including the law that anyone who committed a crime when drunk should recieve double punishment.

Many of his sayings were preserved although, as always, we can never be sure if these words were ever uttered by him exactly as they are written here (well, in the Greek, of course).

"It is a hard thing to be a good man."
"Forgiveness is better than revenge."
"Whatever you do, do it well."
"Even the Gods cannot strive against necessity."
"Power shows the man."
"Do not say beforehand what you are going to do; for if you fail, you will be laughed at."
"Do not reproach a man with his misfortunes, fearing lest Nemesis may overtake you."
"Forbear to speak evil not only of your friends, but also of your enemies."
"Cultivate truth, good faith, experience, cleverness, sociability, and industry."
"Know thine opportunity"

Pittacus lived to the age of seventy, at least, and remained highly respected by his fellows--and long after he passed.
I am very happy to anounce that 80 euros (roughly 86 dollars) was raised for Project Prentenboek (project picturebook) during this month's fundsraiser by Pandora's Kharis members. You have made me very, very proud, and very happy. Thank you very much!

Project picturebook is the initiative of Maaike Kramer and Marjolein Witte, Dutch artists and art teachers, who are working hard to crowdfund a new project. They are in the process of creating a picturebook for and by refugee children in The Netherlands (although the book will be translated into many languages after publishing (including English, Arabic, and French)). They came into contact with these kids after being asked by the local government to make a mural at the refugee centre and afterwards they just wanted to do... more. So they started teaching art classes at the kids' school and now they will use their stories and their drawing in a picture book that is meant to help non-refugee children (and adults) understand these kids, and for refugee children to see themselves reflected in the pages of a beautiful book.
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.
With the launch of the new website and forum, we ran out of time to get the PAT ritual for the Aphrodesia up before now. Oops, sorry about that. Today, at 10 am EDT, we will hold a rite for Aphrodite Pandamos and Peitho, as on this day, the fourth of Hekatombaion, They were traditionally honoured during a festival of unification.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will you be joining us today at ten? Sign up here, and download the ritual here.

A few days ago, I did a post on a documentary about Aphrodite, and today I still feel connected to Her. that's why, today I would like to share with you the work of artist Glynnis Fawkes because I am thrilled with it, and it's another beautiful way to enjoy the words of the ancients.

Glynnis Fawkes grew up in Portland, Oregon. After receiving an MFA in painting from Tufts/the Museum School in Boston, she travelled to Cyprus on a Fulbright where she published a book of paintings called Archaeology Lives in Cyprus, and a collection of Cartoons of Cyprus. Her recent comics often deal with ancient texts and themes. Her work has been included in comics anthologies, including The Best American Comics as a notable for 2012. She is also a member of She currently teaches a course in Making Comics at the University of Vermont.

As part of her work concerning ancient Hellas, she has published illustrated versions of the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, and the Homeric Hymn to Dionysos which I will link to for you today. Enjoy them, alright?
As a core member of Elaion, I am very proud to announce that after months of back and forth, planning, and effort, we have re-launched the Elaion website! We felt it was time for an overhaul in which we could create a more dynamic website which would show the vibrancy of the Elaion community.

New features include a calendar with PAT ritual dates, an overview of available PAT rituals, a blog to keep up with Elaion news, a calendar of Hellenic festivals, essays about important Hellenistic topics by our members, and an easy search function to quickly find whatever you want on the site.

Perhaps more importantly, with the website re-launch, we also take another important step: the introduction of a forum for Hellenists, with a dedicated sub-section reserved just for members of Elaion.

Elaion began with Hellenic_Recons Yahoo Group, but like our religion, we must adapt to the times. A forum is easy to visit, it invites more in-depth discussion, and grants a larger sense of community than one would get from the e-mail list we applied previously. So, Elaion has set up a forum for its members and other Hellenic Polytheists to interact. This will become our primary community along with Facebook as a secondary resource. The Hellenic_Recons gYahoo group will remain in place as a resource for the years of discussion that have been built up there.

Once you register for an account on the Elaion forum, you will be registered as a 'visitor', as opposed to a member of Elaion. If you want to (re)claim your status as a member of Elaion (and unlock the perks of doing so), there is only one thing you need to do: please send me a personal message on the forum with the name and e-mail you used to do so (most likely the same as you used for the old Yahoo list).

Your account will then be upgraded to 'member' status, which means you gain access to the 'Elaion' section of the forum, there won't be any flood control (normally 30 seconds), personal message limits (normally 10 per day) are lifted, and the ability to delete your own topics becomes available. Of course you can also enjoy the forum as a visitor!

While we welcome Hellenic Polytheists of all kinds, we still strive for a Traditional practise and a Traditional outlook on Hellenic reconstruction. Even on the open boards, this view will be upheld!

We hope that this new website and the addition of a forum will revitalize Elaion and bring together even more of the Hellenic Polytheistic community. We hope to foster discussion and find a broadly supported way of worship, supported by the variety of people who worship the ancient Hellenes. So come and join us, post, and discuss. And make use of the 'suggestion' section for feedback!
Blessed new Hellenic year, everyone! We have now officially entered the third year of the 698th Olympiad. Because I wanted to share with you a little Noumenia festivity, I delayed this post a day, as usually I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog on the day of the Hene kai Nea.

Changes to the blog:
  • Last  month, I added the Constellation Series to the list of completed series. I'm still a little sad to see it go. 
PAT rituals for Hekatombaion:
Anything else?
Remember that big announcement I have been holding in front of you like a dangling carrot? With Robert's permission, I will make that announcement tomorrow! And I can't tell you how excited I am about it!
Are you looking for an online shop to buy incenses and other Hellenistic basics from? Try The Hellenic Handmaid on Etsy.

Two years ago, I decided to record my new year Noumenia ritual. Seeing as I had the material, I figured I would share it with you again as inspiration for your own rites today. My apologies for the sound issues--especially during the sacrifice to Artemis--it was supposed to be sixteen degrees Celsius and suddenly, my camera was out in 26 degree weather, full in the sun. Apparently, it will turn you into a smurf on speed when it overheats.

I had four cameras set up, but ended up using only three as one of the cameras overheated almost instantly. It was the first one I put up, so it had been sitting out in the sun for a while. I managed to cover the angles with the other cameras, though. The quality was decent enough, so I edited a few parts together, taking out a lot of the ritual, but trying to keep a sort of red thread going. I stumbled a few times and because I had to do it in English, I had to read off of the paper (something I never do when practicing alone, because I have the often-used hymns and prayers memorized in Dutch), but it didn’t hamper the experience in any way.

[see description on YouTube for text]
I hope you all have a wonderful turn of the year and of the Olympiad. I'm really looking forward to another year of learning, sharing, and meeting wonderful people. May the Theoi watch over you and your oikos kindly in the coming year, and may They never forsake you. Gods bless!
It has just been announced that 'The Great Goddess of Cyprus', a documentary directed by Stavros Papageorghiou, has been selected to partecipate at the XXVI International Festival of Archaeological Film in Rovereto, Italy, 6-10 October 2015.

The documentary film is said to be a breath-taking journey through time from the Chalcolithic period to the Roman era about one of ancient Hellas' most beloved Goddesses: Aphrodite. Guided by Dr Jacqueline Karageorghis, an internationally renowned French Archaeologist, the documentary investigates known and unknown aspects of the worship of Aphrodite on Her island. Apart from Dr. Karageorghis, a number of renowned academics from the international archaeological community, also shed light into the various aspects of the Cypriot Goddess.

The 'Great Goddess of Cyprus' is praised because it's, up to now, the only documentary ever made dealing with Goddess Aphrodite in such a comprehensive way. The production team spent over seven years to complete the film. Rare archaeological artifacts related to the cult of the Great Goddess of Cyprus which are exhibited in many museums in Cyprus and abroad, are also presented in this film.
The uniqueness and scientific validity of the documentary is attested by the fact that the British Museum is organizing a special screening in its premises in October 2015. The following description of the film should give you a good idea of its content:

"Everyone knows that Aphrodite is the Great Goddess of Cyprus and that she was born on the coast of Paphos, where she was worshipped. We imagine her as the beautiful nude Aphrodite of Praxiteles, the Goddess of Love. But beyond these, what do we really know about her?
Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of beauty and love, whom the Cypriots consider their own, has a unique place in the island’s mythology and archaeology. Ancient sources cite Cyprus as her birthplace and the epithet “Kypris” follows her in abundance in ancient literature. Her ancestry is lost in the depth of time, emanating from ancient acts of worshipping fertility. She was called the Great Goddess.

Cyprus had harbored this Goddess from the very ancient times. The inhabitants of the island had worshipped the fertility of people and nature in some form as a supernatural power at least since the 3rd millennium B.C.E.. Through the years, the Goddess took on many forms; by the 2nd millennium B.C.E. she was already a strong sexual Goddess; towards the end of the 2nd millennium B.C.E., when the island was firmly influenced by the Aegean world, she lost the fierceness of sexual urge and became an entirely respectable Goddess of love, beauty and fertility. She was then exclusively the Goddess of Cyprus, Kypris. It is very possible that she was discovered here by the Greeks in the 12th century B.C.E., because the Goddess was unknown in the Aegean world back then. The Greeks adopted her, gave her beauty and grace, and named her Aphrodite, while for centuries the Cypriots merely referred to her as Thea (Goddess), Paphia, or Golgia, from the names of her ancient sanctuaries.

The history of the Great Goddess of Cyprus and her worship is as appealing as she is, and this is imprinted both in the edition by Dr Jacqueline Karageorghis, Kypris: Aphrodite of Cyprus, Ancient Sources and Archaeological Evidence, and in the 80 min. documentary, directed by Stavros Papageorghiou, The Great Goddess of Cyprus by tetraktys films, which revives sites, items and forms of worship.

The procession of the Cypriot Goddess’ worship could be considered as an expression of the eternal culture of the island itself, which has acted as a meeting point between the East and West, where cultures intermingled to create an original civilization.

Aphrodite - Kypris is still known nowadays thanks to the poets of the Renaissance who rediscovered her through the ancient poets as the Goddess of love, born in Cyprus. Aphrodite-Kypris granted love to the world, along with multiple emotions as a cultural value that would grace life and would inspire many masterpieces. She is the greatest gift Cyprus has offered to Europe, and the whole world."

You can either view the movie at the festival, rent it for a 48 hour period (€ 6,32), or buy it for unlimited streaming and download (€ 22,58). Enjoy!
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.

"Hey Elani, have you by any chance ever found the original Hellenic phrase "everything is full of Gods"? I checked via WikiQuote and looked elsewhere, but can't seem to find this particular quote."

This is about my post on the sage Thales of Miletus, and yep! It's quoted by Aristotle in 'On the soul'. He says, and I quote:

"Certain thinkers say that soul is intermingled in the whole universe, and it is perhaps for that reason that Thales came to the opinion that all things are full of gods." [411a7]

"I was wondering- why is it, that the ancient Hellenes frowned down on sexual abstinence (as well as sexual intemperance) but Hestia, who is, in a way, the first among the gods and a virgin. Also, how does it fit in with her role as protector of families and the household?"

I did a long post about abstinance a while ago (which can be found here), which basically concluded that the ancient Hellenes were, actually, not big fans of abstinence--for men. Women should definitely never practice abstinence as we getall wild and primal if we do. Fair warning on that one.
As for Hestia, I think you are getting two things mixed up: chastity and virginity. Like chastity, the concept of virginity has traditionally involved sexual abstinence. The term 'virgin' originally only referred to sexually inexperienced women, but has evolved to encompass a range of definitions, as found in traditional, modern, and ethical concepts. In ancient Hellas, virginity of women was often considered a virtue denoting purity and physical self-restraint and it is an important characteristic in Hellenic mythology. In the Homeric hymn to Aphrodite, it's stated:
"Yet there are three hearts that she [Aphrodite] cannot bend nor yet ensnare. [...] Nor yet does the pure maiden Hestia love Aphrodite's works. She was the first-born child of wily Cronos and youngest too, by will of Zeus who holds the aegis, —a queenly maid whom both Poseidon and Apollo sought to wed. But she was wholly unwilling, nay, stubbornly refused; and touching the head of father Zeus who holds the aegis, she, that fair goddess, swear a great oath which has in truth been fulfilled, that she would be a maiden all her days. So Zeus the Father gave her an high honor instead of marriage, and she has her place in the midst of the house and has the richest portion. In all the temples of the gods she has a share of honor, and among all mortal men she is chief of the goddesses."
Hestia asked to remain a virgin (not to become chaste!), and Zeus allowed it. We know that the Roman priestesses of Vesta took a thirty year vow of chastity, starting from about the age of six to ten. As such, technically, they didn't abstain, they remained virgins. The chastity of the Vestals was considered to have a direct bearing on the health of the Roman state; like in ancient Hellas, the priestesses of Vesta tended an eternal flame. If it went out, it might be assumed that a priestess had been unchaste. As a result, if the fire were extinguished it was assumed that Vesta (and in Hellenic times, Hestia) had withdrawn Her protection from the city--and the households in it.

"Hello. I have read that any plates/bowls containing offering to Hekate are supposed to be left as well, but that seems a bit inconvenient as well as bad for the environment. Are there any alternatives? P.S. Thank you for reading this."
I buy banana, or palm leaf plates just for this purpose. They are bio degradable, easy to use, and meant to be disposable. Perfect, as far as I am concerned!
"Hi, i have a question... i have recently become increasingly depressed, and most days i don't have the spoons (the energy) to do my daily devotions for the Theoi.. this makes me feel like i'm letting Them down. They have done so much for me, saved my life in fact, and i feel so guilty for being unable to worship Them like They deserve. do you have any advice for me?"
When you are depressed, it’s so hard to expend the energy on active worship. In truth, I don’t think passing up on active worship is a bad thing in your current state of mind. After a lot of research into the workings of miasma, I have come to the conclusion that miasma is linked to distraction. Anything that takes your mind off of the Gods during ritual can be considered miasmic. That doesn’t mean you should close yourself off to passive worship, however. Passive worship can be incredibly therapeutic. Especially with depression, it’s so easy to get locked into your own little world. Your gaze turns inwards and everything else becomes… noise. A distraction at best, the enemy at worst. Passive worship forces you to look beyond yourself, beyond the narrow world view of depression, and take in the world around you. If you only get to see–really see–the influence of the Theoi once a day, it’s a good day when you suffer from depression. Truly experience Helios’ bright rays, truly behold the marvel of Persephone’s touch as the flowers bloom, truly savour the taste of Demeter’s riches as you bite down into a cob of Demeter’s golden corn. That is prayer onto itself, and until you get better, stronger, lighter, it’s enough. You are not letting Them down, you are making an herculean effort to include them into your life. Don’t discount that.
With 86 percent of voted, Project Prentenboek (project picturebook) has become Pandora's Kharis' cause for Skirophorion 2015.

Project picturebook is the initiative of Maaike Kramer and Marjolein Witte, Dutch artists and art teachers, who are working hard to crowdfund a new project. They are in the process of creating a picturebook for and by refugee children in The Netherlands (although the book will be translated into many languages after publishing (including English, Arabic, and French)). They came into contact with these kids after being asked by the local government to make a mural at the refugee centre and afterwards they just wanted to do... more. So they started teaching art classes at the kids' school and now they will use their stories and their drawing in a picture book that is meant to help non-refugee children (and adults) understand these kids, and for refugee children to see themselves reflected in the pages of a beautiful book.

Of course a project like that needs money. Books need to be printed, materials bought, and people paid to do the lay-out and translations. Total costs: about 6000,- euros. They have made sixty percent so far and we will help them push their total even further.

On a personal note, Maaike is my girlfriend and this project is truly inspiring. If you have any amount to spare, please consider donating it!

Donating to the Pandora's Kharis' fundraiser for this cause can be done by clicking the 'donate' button on the Pandora's Kharis website, or by transferring the funds directly to with PayPal. The deadline to donate is 17 July. Thank you in advance!
Cleobulus, or Kleoboulos (Κλεόβουλος) was a native of Lindus, and the son of Evagoras. He studied philosophy in Egypt; and had a daughter named Cleobulina, who used to compose enigmas in hexameter verse, that were said to be of no less significance than his own. It is said that he restored the temple of Athena which had been built by Danaus. He used to compose songs and sayings in verse to the number of three thousand lines. Some claimed that he was a descendant of Hēraklēs.

Clement of Alexandria calls Cleobulus 'king of the Lindians', and Plutarch speaks of him as the tyrant. Whatever the case, the city state of Lindos, which also governed much of it's neighbouring area, reached it's peak in 6th century BC, with him as its governor. At this time, under the reign of Kleoboulos life was very much improved and Lindos became a wealthy and succesful town.

He was known as 'The Wise', and there are several sayings attributed to him. These are the ones the ancient writers tell us were stated by him at some point in time:

"Ignorance and talkativeness bear the chief sway among men."
"Cherish not a thought."
"Do not be fickle, or ungrateful."
"Be fond of hearing rather than of talking."
"Be fond of learning rather than unwilling to learn."
"Seek virtue and eschew vice."
"Be superior to pleasure."
"Instruct one's children."
"Be ready for reconciliation after quarrels."
"Avoid injustice."
"Do nothing by force."
"Moderation is the best thing."

He is said to have lived to the age of seventy, and to have been greatly distinguished, for strength and beauty of person. The tomb of Kleoboulos--he's not actually buried there, but the vieuw is alledgedly beautiful--stands at the Northern tip of Lindos bay just past the remains of a disused windmill.
Just before the end of the Hellenic year, I am going to wrap up the Constellation Series. Quite a milestone as I started this series in September 2012. I already added one bonus post about the Milky Way, and today we will add the last installment: the planets of our solar system.

Today, we recognise eight planets: in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune (I still miss you, Pluto!). The ancient Hellenes recognised only six, including the Earth. The others were: Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. They did not consider them planets, though, but stars. From the Roman Cicero's 'De Natura Deorum':

"Most marvellous are the motions of the five stars, falsely called planets or wandering stars — for a thing cannot be said to wander if it preserves for all eternity fixed and regular motions, forward, backward and in other directions. And this regularity is all the more marvellous in the case of the stars we speak of, because at one time they are hidden and at another they are uncovered again; now they approach, now retire; now precede, now follow; now move faster, now slower, now do not move at all but remain for a time stationary. On the diverse moons of the planets the mathematicians have based what they call the Great Year, which is completed when the sun, moon and five planets having all finished their courses have returned to the same positions relative to one another. The length of this period is hotly debated, but it must necessarily be a fixed and definite time." [2.20]

The ancient Hellenes ascribed the planets to a particular God, although its not always clear whom the planet belongs to. We'll run through them in order, combining Jupiter and Saturn:

Jupiter and Saturn
The Hellenic names for these planets are Kronion and Dios, but which is which depends on who you read. Depending on that identification, these planets belong either to Zeus (or Kronos) or to Helios and are either Phainôn or Phaethôn, placed into the sky by the Gods.

Phainon is a son of the heavenly Gods Astraios and Eos, or alternatively, a handsome youth crafted by the Titan Prometheus who was placed amongst the stars by Zeus. In the second version, Prometheus did not want to present the youth to Zeus because he was so beautiful and He wanted to keep Him, but when Zeus saw him, he was preserved forever in the sky. Two versions exist, represented here by the words of Hyginus and Cicero:

"Planets. It remains for us to speak of the five stars which many have called wandering, and which the Greeks call Planeta. One of them is the star of Jove [Zeus], Phaenon by name, a youth whom Prometheus made excelling all others in beauty, when he was making men, as Heraclides Ponticus [Greek academician C4th B.C.] says. When he intended to keep him back, without presenting him to Jove as he did the others, Cupid [Eros] reported this to Jove [Zeus], whereupon Mercurius [Hermes] was sent to Phaenon and persuaded him to come to Jove [Zeus] and become immortal. Therefore he is placed among the stars." [Hyginus, Astronomica 2.42]

"Most marvellous [of all the stars of heaven] are the motions of the five Stellae, falsely called planets or Stellae Errantes (Wandering Stars) . . . For the Stella (Star) that is called Saturnus [Greek Kronos], the Greek name for which is Phaenon (the shiner), which is the farthest away from the earth, completes its orbit in about thirty years, in the course of which is passes through a number of remarkable phases, at one time accelerating and at another time retarding its velocity, now disappearing in the evening, then reappearing in the morning, yet without varying in the least degree throughout all the ages of eternity, but always doing the same things at the same times . . . This regularity therefore in the Stellae, this exact punctuality throughout all eternity notwithstanding the great variety of their courses, is to me incomprehensible without rational intelligence and purpose. And if we observe these attributes in the Stellae, we cannot fail to enrol even them among the number of the gods." [Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.20]

Alternatively, as said, either Jupiter or Saturn represents Phaethôn, the son of Helios by Klymene. The story is told to us by Ovid, a roman poet. In it, Klymene boasts to Phaethôn that his father is the sun God Himself, and so, Phaethon goes up to Olympus to confirm. To prove His paternity, Hēlios swears of the river Styx to give Phaethôn anything he desires. Phaethôn grabs this opportunity to demand of his father to let him drive his golden chariot the next time the sun rises. First, Phaethôn drove them too high, and the Earth below cooled and the people suffered. Then, he flew too low and entire cities burned, lakes and rivers dried up, and even the seas were affected. Mighty Poseidon tried to stop Phaëthon, but had to flee from the heat. It was Zeus who threw His lightning bolt and killed Phaethôn.

" The second star is that of Sol [Helios]; others say of Saturnus [Kronos]. Eratosthenes claim that it is called Phaethon, from the son of Sol. Many have written about him--how he foolishly drove his father’s chariot and set fire to the earth. Because of this he was struck with a thunderbolt by Jove [Zeus], and fell into the river Eridanus, and was conveyed by So l [Helios] to the constellations." [Hyginus, Astronomica 2.42]

"Below this [the planet Phainon, or Saturn] and nearer to the earth moves the Stella of Jupiter, called Phaethon (the blazing), which completes the same circuit of the twelve signs of the zodiac in twelve years, and makes the same variations during its course as the star of Saturnus . . . This regularity therefore in the Stellae, this exact punctuality throughout all eternity notwithstanding the great variety of their courses, is to me incomprehensible without rational intelligence and purpose. And if we observe these attributes in the Stellae, we cannot fail to enrol even them among the number of the gods." [Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.20]

The ancient Hellenes called Mars 'Areios'. Pyroeis is the God of this 'wandering star'. His name was derived from the Hellenic word for fire pyra, so-called for his reddish tinge. He was also named Mesonyx, the Midnight Star. Unlike his brother Eosphoros (Venus the dawn-star), Pyroeis was scarcely personified.

"The third star is that of Mars [Ares], though others say it belongs to Hercules. The star of Mars follows that of Venus, as Eratosthenes says, for the following reason: When Vulcan [Hēphaistos] had married Venus [Aphrodite], and on account of his careful watch, Mars [Ares] had no opportunity to see her, Mars [Ares] obtained nothing from Venus [Aphrodite] except that his star should follow hers. Since she inflamed him violently with love, she called the star Pyroeis, indicating this fact." [Hyginus, Astronomica 2.42]

"The orbit next below is that of Pyroeis (the fiery), which is called the star of Mars, and this covers the same orbit as the two planets above it in twenty-four months all but (I think) six days." [Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.20]

Eosphoros and Hesperos are the Gods of Venus. They were originally regarded as two quite distinct divinities--the first, whose name means 'dawn bringer', was the God of the dawn-star, while the second, 'Evening', was the star of dusk. The two star-Gods were later combined. As such, it was called 'Eosphoros' when seen in the morning before sunrise, and Hesperos when it appeared after.

"The fourth star is that of Venus [Aphrodite], Luciferus [Eosphoros] by name. Some say it is Juno’s [Hera's]. In many tales it is recorded that it is called Hesperus, too. It seems to be the largest of all stars. Some have said it represents the son of Aurora [Eos] and Cephalus, who surpassed many in beauty, so that he even vied with Venus [Aphrodite], and, as Eratosthenes [Greek poet C3rd B.C.] says, for this reason it is called the star of Venus. It is visible both at dawn and sunset, and so properly has been called both Lucifer [Eosphoros] and Hesperus." [Hyginus, Astronomica 2.42]

"Lowest of the five planets and nearest to the earth is the star of Venus, called in Greek Phosphoros (the light-bringer) and in Latin Lucifer when it precedes the sun, but when it follows it Hesperos; this planet completes its orbit in a year, traversing the sod with a sausage movement as do the planets above it, and never distant more than the space of two signs from the sun, though sometimes in front of it and sometimes behind it." [Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.20]

Hermaon is the name of this planet, according to the ancient Hellenes. It's God is Stilbon, derived from the Greek verb stilbô meaning "to gleam" or "glitter." Out of all the five planets, He was the least personified. The star belonged to Hermes. "

This fifth star is Mercurius’ [Hermes], named Stilbon. It is small and bright. It is attributed to Mercurius because he first established the months and perceived the courses of the constellations. Euhemerus [Greek writer C4th-3rd B.C.] says that Venus [Aphrodite] first established the constellations and taught Mercurius [Hermes]." [Hyginus, Astronomica 2.42]

"Below this in turn is the star of Mercury [Hermes], called by the Greeks Stilbōn (the gleaming), which completes the circuit of the zodiac in about the period of a year, and is never distant from the sun more than the space of a single sign, though it sometimes precedes the sun and sometimes follows it." [Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2.20]

And thus ends the Constellation Series. I had a lot of fun doing them and I thank you for following along with all the posts over the years. Keep your eye to the sky, alright? Lots of mythology to be found right there.
I would like to announce the last PAT ritual for Skirophorion, the Diisoteria. It will be held on 16 july, 10 am EDT--our usual time--and we would like you to join us in honouring Zeus, Athena, Asklēpiós, and Hygeia.

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

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

Will you join us in this PAT ritual to reign in the new year? You can find the ritual here.
In the very short window of opportunity I have to post today, my computer decided not to boot up. At all. I hope I can get that fixed, but for today I will have to leave you with a video to tide you over until tomorrow. If anyone wants to say a prayer for my technology, I would not be opposed.


 "Greek Mythology is the body of myths and teachings that belong to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. It was a part of the religion in ancient Greece and is part of religion in modern Greece and around the world, known as Hellenismos. 

Modern scholars refer to and study the myths in an attempt to throw light on the religious and political institutions of Ancient Greece and its civilization, and to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself. Greek mythology is explicitly embodied in a large collection of narratives, and implicitly in Greek representational arts, such as vase-paintings and votive gifts. Greek myth attempts to explain the origins of the world, and details the lives and adventures of a wide variety of gods, goddesses, heroes, heroines, and mythological creatures.

These accounts initially were disseminated in an oral-poetic tradition; today the Greek myths are known primarily from Greek literature. The oldest known Greek literary sources, Homer's epic poems Iliad and Odyssey, focus on events surrounding the Trojan War. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, and the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are also preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, and in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.

Archaeological findings provide a principal source of detail about Greek mythology, with gods and heroes featured prominently in the decoration of many artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods, Homeric and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture, arts, and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes."

PS: if the embedding failed, the video can be found here.
PS2: My computer has been fixed, and so has the video! Sorry.
The Archaeology News Network reports new finds off the north-east coast of Delos. The finds came to light during the investigations conducted by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities in collaboration with the National Hellenic Research Foundation on the northeastern side of Delos, were announced by the Greek Ministry of Culture yesterday.

The collaboration is part of the survey funded by the University of Birmingham and the Roman Society and headed by Dr Mantha Zarmakoupi (scientific responsible, architect and underwater archaeologist) from the National Hellenic Research Foundation regarding the city planning of Delos during the Late Hellenistic period.

Aim of the underwater surveys were to re-identify and map the remains in the sea area of the Stadion District (Quartier du Stade). In the past these remains had been identified as port facilities. However during the archaeological investigation in October 2014 it was found out that they are in fact settlement remains, e.g. the eastern borders of the Stadion District. Researchers came to this conclusion after finding a floor with 16 in situ embedded clay vessels (amphoriskoi), semi-preserved.

During the survey the storage vessels found in depth of 1,5-2 meters in October 2014 were cleaned. During the cleaning, two more vessels were found. The 18 storage vessel were again graphically illustrated and photographed. Also a floor with another 15 embedded storage vessels was located in a depth of 70 cm and mapped.

This second room is part of a building with at least 5 rooms, located along the shoreline, enclosed between two streets. The floor of the building is embedded in the beachrock. The room containing the 15 vessels is situated about 10 meters away from the shoreline. The walls of the building and 9 fallen fragments of columns, apparently part of its colonnade, were mapped.

Large stone blocks were located and photographed in the extension of the room with the 18 embedded vessels. These stone blocks were part of the eastern quay of the Stadion District.

The underwater surveys of Delos clarify the use of the sunken buildings in the Stadion District. It seems that in this area a second commercial harbor was used in an auxiliary manner next to the central ancient harbor of Delos in the west part of the island.

Visit the Archaeology News Network for images of the finds!
Hey everyone. I am sorry to rapport that blogging is not going to happen today--I am entirely swamped--so you are getting the words of others to read. This time I have collected some books and magazines about different ancient Hellenic subjects on ISSUU, a fantastic site for reading online magazines and books.

- Eyewitness Books

- Jean Kinney Williams

Like many of the other sages, there's not much we know for certain about Bias of Priene. His biography, written by Diogenes Laertius in the late second century CE, has some length, but does not appear to be very reliablebut since Diogenes Laertius wrote more than seven centuries after Bias' life, we could not have expected something else.

Bias of Priene (Βίας ὁ Πριηνεύς) lived in the 6th century BC. He was a Hellenic sage and renowned for his goodness. Like many of his peer sages, he was active in politics and he appeared in court as a lawyer and was very gifted at it. He also adviced kings and generals about battle strategies and seems to have made very wise decissions here also. We know that his father was named 'Teutamus', and the ancient writer Satyrus puts him at the head of the Seven Wise Men.

An annecdote by Phanodicus says that he ransomed some Messenian maidens who had been taken prisoners, and educated them as his own daughters, gave them dowries, and then sent them back to Messina to their fathers--something seen as very noble and cherishable.

It's said that Bias only pleaded cases of those he truly believed to be innocent and/or in the right. A well known saying quoted by Diogenes Laertius appears to have been: 'If you are a judge, give a Prienian decision'.

We have quite a few of sayings attriuted to him, although we can, of course, never be sure if Bias ever said them out loud:

"The naïve men are easily fooled."
"Most people are evil."
"All men are wicked."
"It is difficult to bear a change of fortune for the worse with magnanimity."
"Choose the course which you adopt with deliberation; but when you have adopted it, then persevere in it with firmness."
"Do not speak fast, for that shows folly."
"Love prudence."
"Speak of the Gods as they are.""Do not praise an undeserving man because of his riches."
"Gain your point by persuasion, not by force."
"Cherish wisdom as a means of traveling from youth to old age, for it is more lasting than any other possession."

Bias is said to have died at a very advanced age while pleading a cause for his client. After he had finished speaking, he rested his head on his grandson. When the advocate on the opposite side had spoken, the judges decided in favor of Bias' client, by which time Bias had died. The city gave him a magnificent funeral and inscribed on his tomb:

"Beneath this stone lies Bias, who was born
In the illustrious Prienian land,
The glory of the whole Ionian race."
New update for the Seven Sages Series tomorrow, everyone. I got entirely swamped. Instead, you are getting poetry today! Every once in a long while I post a piece of poetry that is not ancient but was written by more modern wordsmiths about the ancient Hellenic Gods. You can find the other entries here. today I would like to share a poem by Wystan Hugh Auden, called 'The Shield of Achilles'.

W. H. Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973) was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, an American citizen (from 1946), and regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety in tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.
The Shield of Achilles was first published in 1952, and the title work of a collection of poems by Auden, published in 1955. It is Auden's response to the detailed description, or ekphrasis, of the shield borne by the hero Achilles in Homer's epic poem the Iliad.

Auden's poem is written in two different stanza forms, one form with shorter lines, the other with longer lines. The stanzas with shorter lines describe the making of the shield by the God Hēphaistos, and report the scenes that Achilles' mother, the Nereid Thetis, expects to find on the shield and which Hēphaistos, in Auden's version, does not make. Thetis expects to find scenes of happiness and peace like those described by Hómēros.

The stanzas with longer lines describe the scenes of a barren and impersonal modern world that Hēphaistos creates in Auden's version. In the first, an anonymous, dispassionate army listens while a crowd of ordinary people watch passively.

In these contrasting stanzas, Auden reflects on the differences between the vital, lyrical Achaean world described by Hómēros where, even amid warfare, imagination naturally ran to scenes of peace, and the violent, barren world, lacking any hope and meaning, that Auden himself imagines.

She looked over his shoulder
For vines and olive trees,
Marble well-governed cities
And ships upon untamed seas,
But there on the shining metal
His hands had put instead
An artificial wilderness
And a sky like lead.

A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,
Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line,
Without expression, waiting for a sign.

Out of the air a voice without a face
Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.

She looked over his shoulder
For ritual pieties,
White flower-garlanded heifers,
Libation and sacrifice,
But there on the shining metal
Where the altar should have been,
She saw by his flickering forge-light
Quite another scene.

Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot
Where bored officials lounged (one cracked a joke)
And sentries sweated for the day was hot:
A crowd of ordinary decent folk
Watched from without and neither moved nor spoke
As three pale figures were led forth and bound
To three posts driven upright in the ground.

The mass and majesty of this world, all
That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
And could not hope for help and no help came:
What their foes like to do was done, their shame
Was all the worst could wish; they lost their pride
And died as men before their bodies died.

She looked over his shoulder
For athletes at their games,
Men and women in a dance
Moving their sweet limbs
Quick, quick, to music,
But there on the shining shield
His hands had set no dancing-floor
But a weed-choked field.

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him, who’d never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

The thin-lipped armorer,
Hephaestos, hobbled away,
Thetis of the shining breasts
Cried out in dismay
At what the god had wrought
To please her son, the strong
Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles
Who would not live long.