My girlfriend's grandmother has passed away. It was an emotional affair and the days have been rough but filled with love. I need some rest, and I need to give praise to Hermes Psychopompos. Psychopompos (ψυχοπομπός) literally means the "guide of souls". Psycholompoi escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to provide safe passage. In Hellenic mythology, Hermes and Hekate are both Psycholompoi.

"Hermes Kyllenios (of Mt Kyllene) began to summon the suitors' ghosts [at dawn's first light]; he held in his hand the golden rod that he uses to lull men's eyes asleep when he so wills, or again to wake others from their slumber; with this he roused them and led them on, and they followed him, thinly gibbering. As in a recess of some eerie cave a chain of bats may be hanging downwards from the rock, but one of them drops from the clinging cluster and then all the rest flit squeaking round, so did these ghosts travel on together squeaking, while easeful Hermes led them down through the ways of dankness. They passed the streams of Okeanos, the White Rock (leukas petre), the Gates of the Sun (pylai helion) and the Land of Dreams (demos oneiron), and soon they came to the Field of Asphodel (leimon asphodelon) where the souls (psykhai), the phantoms of the dead (eidola) have their habitation . . .

Hermes the Radiant One (Argeiphontes) drew near [to the gathering of the ghosts of heroes], leading down the souls of the suitors who had fallen by Odysseus' hand. Amazed to see this, the two heroes [Akhilleus and Agamemnon] moved straight towards them [and queried the newly arrived shades]."
-- Homeros, Odysseia 24. 1 & 99

"Zeus himself . . . commanded that glorious Hermes . . . only should be the appointed messenger to Haides, who, though he takes no gift, shall give him no mean prize [perhaps meaning that, in return, Haides and Persephone send grass up from the earth for the grazing of herds]."
-- Homeric Hymn 4 to Hermes

"It is said that after death, the tutelary genius (daimon) of each person, to whom he had been allotted in life, leads him to a place where the dead are gathered together [i.e. the daimon guide is Plato's equivalent of Hermes, Guide of the Dead]; then they are judged [i.e. by the Judges of the Dead] and depart to the other world with the guide whose task it is to conduct thither those who come from this world [i.e. the spirit Iakkhos]; and when they have there received their due and remained through the time appointed, another guide [probably Dionysos] brings them back after many long periods of time [i.e. they are reincarnated].

And the journey is not as Telephos says in the play of Aiskhylos; for he says a simple path leads to Haides (the lower world), but I think the path is neither simple nor single, for if it were, there would be no need of guides, since no one could miss the way to any place if there were only one road. But really there seem to be many forks of the road and many windings; this I infer from the rites and ceremonies practiced here on earth [i.e. the Mystery cults]. Now the orderly and wise soul follows its guide and understands its circumstances; but the soul that is desirous of the body, as I said before, flits about it, and in the visible world for a long time [i.e. as a haunting ghost], and after much resistance and many sufferings is led away with violence and with difficulty by its appointed genius (daimon)." [N.B. "led away with violence" cf. the story of the runaway ghost Sisyphos and Hermes.]
-- Plato, Phaedo 107c

"Now when the dead have come to the place where each is led by his genius (daimon) [i.e. by Plato's equivalent of Hermes, Guide of the Dead], first they are judged and sentenced [i.e. by the Judges of the Dead], as they have lived well and piously, or not. And those who are found to have lived neither well nor ill, go to the Akheron and, embarking upon vessels provided for them [i.e. the equivalent of Kharon's skiff], arrive in them at the lake; there they dwell and are purified [i.e. by the equivalent of the Erinyes], and if they have done any wrong they are absolved by paying the penalty for their wrong doings, and for their good deeds they receive rewards, each according to his merits."
-- Plato, Phaedo 112e

"Hermes, I call, whom fate decrees to dwell near to Kokytos, the famed stream of Haides, and in necessity's (ananke) dread path, whose bourn to none that reach it ever permits return. O Bakkheios Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysos, parent of the vine, and of celestial Aphrodite, Paphian queen, dark-eyelashed Goddess, of a lovely mien: who constant wanderest through the sacred seats where Haides' dread empress, Persephone, retreats; to wretched souls the leader of the way, when fate decrees, to regions void of day. Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumberous rest the weary eye; for Persephone, through Tartaros dark and wide, gave thee for ever flowing souls to guide. Come, blessed power, the sacrifice attend, and grant thy mystics' works a happy end."
-- Orphic Hymn 57 to Khthonian Hermes
The months of late fall and early winter are relatively light on the festival agenda--Maimakterion, the month we are in now, wasn't even on the sacrificial calendar of Erkhia, for example. This could have at least three reasons: It's getting cold and wet out and the ancient Hellenes held their rituals outdoors, most of the harvesting was done so food was assured or there was nothing that could be done to decrease the shortage, and with the fall of winter, warfare came to a halt; the seas were too rough to go on campaigns and it would soon be too cold to exist comfortably in a war camp. Seeing as these two latter two reasons were the major ones to have festivals, these months are quiet ones. Elaion will host a PAT ritual for the Pompaia November 9, at the usual 10 AM EST.

Let start with something obvious we do not know about the Pompaia: the actual date of the festival. Parke (in 'Festivals of the Athenians', page 96) states that the Pompaia in honor of Zeus Meilichios was held during the last third of Maimakterion which would be on or after 20 Maimakterion. Parke cites the treatise on the Pompaia by Polemon of Ilion so we're fairly confident he is correct on the date.

What we do know is that the Pompaia was not originally celebrated by the people of Athens, but solely by its priests. Potentially, it was only celebrated by the priests of Zeus. It was linked to purification. It was one of the festivals that, by Classical times, had already lost much of its original meaning, but which was repeated year after year because it had always been repeated year after year--and in general these had been good years. Not having the rite on the calendar could have devastating effects, so it was performed.

The Pompaia followed the Maimakteria during which a sheep was most likely sacrificed and the fleece collected and cleaned. During the Pompaia a second procession took place with the fleece. The fleece--the 'Diòs Koidion', as it was called--was said to have purifying and other magical qualities that would rub off on he who interacted with it, if he stood on it with his left foot. In fact, a sheep skin was used in the Eleusinian Mysteries in this fashion to absolve those who had a lot of guilt to carry around--or a lot of grief. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter mentions her sitting down in a chair covered by a fleece, and there is also artwork of initiates shrouded in a fleece.

The sheep skin was most likely not connected to Zeus at the start of the practice; as we have seen, it had much stronger ties to other deities. The Pompaia rite simply called for a sheep skin. The connection with Zeus most likely happened through assimilation: the rite fell in a month where people prepared for winter and where the weather got harsher. As such, Zeus had a major impact on the inhabitants of Athens; he controls the weather after all. The sheep from which the skin was used became sacrificed to Him as an appeasement, and then the ritually charged skin made its way through the city.

In the same fashion, the kērukeion (κηρύκειον)--better known as the caduceus--the snake-entwined staff that was the symbol of Hermes, was carried through the city. Most likely Hermes was not part of the actual rite; the kērukeion, like the Diòs Koidion, was a powerful symbol which was used to offer protection and purification to the city now winter was upon them. After all, the kērukeion was said to ward off all evil--and the cold, dark, days of winter most certainly had those. Hermes was added through the procession solely by association, but it is doubtful that He also received an animal sacrifice.

The Pompaia--meaning 'to exorcise'--was not popular, and in general these minor festivals were performed by the priests, for the city, without its inhabitants taking part. A small group of priests most likely walked the city with the objects and those who came upon the group would have said their prayers, spoke their wishes, and paid their respects. Yet, they were not included in the ceremony. This rite fell to the priests, so they could ask the Gods to continue placing their blanket of protection over the city.

As we have no ancient priests of Zeus hanging around, we take this responsibility upon ourselves instead. Will you join us on November 9, at 10 AM EST? You can join the community here and download the ritual here.
I'm sorry, everyone. Yesterday, we got the very sad news that my better half's grandmother--who has been as much of a grandmother to me--who was already ill has taken a turn for the worst and is not expected to live for much longer. We've been at her bedside and I'm emotionally not capable of putting something more together than these few words. Regular scheduling will resume tomorrow. For today, have this video of the 2018 Olympics ceremony. It might not be in any way authentic, but the scenery and dresses are lovely.

Apologies, everyone. I have no time at all to put something together, so I'm calling in some help from a graphic artist. They're pretty, aren't they?

The Maimakteria is one of those festivals not a lot has survived about. We know it was in honor of Zeus Maimaktes, the Blustering, and that it was connected to the weather and protection of crops. Protecting our crops is a desire we have to this day so we will celebrate the Maimakteria, regardless. Will you join us on November 5th, at the usual 10 am EDT?

The months of late fall and early winter are relatively light on the festival agenda. This could have at least three reasons: It's getting cold and wet out and the ancient Hellenes held their rituals outdoors, most of the harvesting was done so food was assured or there was nothing that could be done to decrease the shortage, and with the fall of winter, warfare came to a halt; the seas were too rough to go on campaigns and it would soon be too cold to exist comfortably in a war camp. Seeing as these two latter two reasons were the major ones to have festivals, these months are quiet ones. In the Athenian calendar, only two festivals are attested to take place this month: the Maimakteria and the Pompaia.

Most likely, the Maimakteria was connected to the Pompaia, which took place at a later date in the month. I say 'a later date' because we are not sure of the dating. Parke (in 'Festivals of the Athenians', page 96) states that the Pompaia in honor of Zeus Meilichios was held during the last third of Maimakterion which would be on or after 20 Maimakterion. Parke cites the treatise on the Pompaia by Polemon of Ilion so we're fairly confident he is correct on the date. He also states that the Maimakteria took place 'mid-month'. The sixteenth is as viable a date as any other around this time.

The Pompaia was linked to purification. During this rite a white sheep's fleece--the 'Diòs Koidion', as it was called--was placed on the ground and the priests who took part in the rite stood on it with their left foot to be purified and blessed. We believe the Maimakteria was when this sheep was sacrificed.

If the rite followed the standard practice of Hellenic ritual, the sheep was led to the altar--most likely that of Zeus--in procession and then sacrificed. The animal was skinned and the fleece cleaned. The Diòs Koidion was said to have purifying and other magical qualities that would rub off on he who interacted with it, if he stood on it with his left foot.

The sheep skin was most likely not connected to Zeus at the start of the practice. The connection with Zeus most likely happened through assimilation: the rite fell in a month where people prepared for winter and where the weather got harsher. As such, Zeus had a major impact on the inhabitants of Athens; he controls the weather after all. The sheep from which the skin was used became sacrificed to Him as an appeasement, and then the ritually charged skin made its way through the city.

We hope you will join us for the Maimakteria on November 5. You can download the ritual here and join the community for the event here.
The ancient Hellenes were warriors as well as philosophers and scholars. Territory was to be claimed and defended, then often lost and reclaimed. Many battles were immortalized with festivals that carried on sometimes even hundreds of years after the actual battle. We all know war is not to be glamorized--it's literally a lethal activity. The ancient Hellenes did everything in their power not to die, and a large part of those measures was trying to have the tightest tactics, the largest army...and perhaps most of all, to have the best weapons. I'd like to share some of those today.

Dory (δόρυ)

The dory was the primary weapon of the ancient Hellenes. It was a spear about 3 meters in length consisting of a wood shaft with an iron tip. It was wielded single-handedly so the user could hold a shield in the other hand. The dory enabled the hoplite (soldier) to keep an enemy at a distance and was effective in phalanx (shield-wall) formation, allowing the first two lines to attack.


The primary weapon of ancient Hellenes was the dory, but if it broke they used a short single hand sword known as a Xiphos. The Xiphos had a double-edged blade that rarely measured longer than 20 inches which made it useful in close range combat. It was more martially versatile than the other prominent sword, the single edged Kopis.

Kopis - Ancient Greek SwordKopis (κοπίς)

The Kopis was a one-handed, single-edged sword that measured around 36 inches with the blade curving forward and widening near the tip. It was longer than the Xiphos, and thus more useful to the cavalry.

Makhaira (μάχαιρα)

Homeros mentions the makhaira, but as a domestic knife of no great size. In period texts the term has a variety of meanings, and can refer to virtually any knife or sword, even a surgeon's scalpel, but in a martial context it frequently refers to a type of one-edged sword; a sword designed primarily to cut rather than thrust. Some modern scholars distinguish the makhaira from the kopis (an ancient term of similar meaning) based on whether the blade is forward curved (kopis), or not (makhaira). 

Sarissa (σάρισα)

Introduced by Alexander’s father, Philip II of Macedon, Sarissa was a 4 to 7 meters long spear which was used instead of the dory. It was made of tough cornel wood and weighed around 5 kilograms. The sarissa was considerably longer than its predecessor and this made it very effective in the Macedonian phalanx which was considered invulnerable from the front and could be only defeated if the formation was broken. Invention of Sarissa greatly helped Philip II and his son Alexander the Great in their conquests.
I often describe the pantheon of Hellenic Gods like a tapestry. The major displays woven into it are undoubtedly of Zeus and Hera, of Their brothers and sisters, of Their parents and well-known children like Apollon and Artemis. But the fringes of the tapestry are just as colorful as the main display. They hold the "minor" Gods and Goddesses who rule over our emotions, the weather, the stars, rivers and other bodies of water, and literally everything else in your environment. Without these minor Gods and Goddess, the tapestry would not only be plain, it would be threadbare.

I realize that this can be a somewhat theoretical statement. As such, I would like to give you an example of how the ancient Hellenes filled in a part of this tapestry and how the Gods work together to provide us with all we need. The text comes form Porphyry's "On Images". Porphyry of Tyre (Πορφύριος, Porphyrios) lived from 234 to 305 AD. He was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre, in the Roman Empire. He wrote many works on a wide variety of topics.

"The ruling principle of the power of earth is called Hestia, of whom a statue representing her as a virgin is usually set up on the hearth; but inasmuch as the power is productive, they symbolize her by the form of a woman with prominent breasts. The name Rhea they gave to the power of rocky and mountainous land, and Demeter to that of level and productive land. Demeter in other respects is the same as Rhea, but differs in the fact that she gives birth to Kore by Zeus, that is, she produces the shoot from the seeds of plants. And on this account her statue is crowned with ears of corn, and poppies are set round her as a symbol of productiveness.


But since there was in the seeds cast into the earth a certain power, which the sun in passing round to the lower hemisphere drags down at the time of the winter solstice, Kore is the seminal power, and Pluto the sun passing under the earth, and traversing the unseen world at the time of the winter solstice; and he is said to carry off Kore, who, while hidden beneath the earth, is lamented by her mother Demeter.

The power which produces hard-shelled fruits, and the fruits of plants in general, is named Dionysus. But observe the images of these also. For Kore bears symbols of the production of the plants which grow above the earth in the crops: and Dionysus has horns in common with Kore, and is of female form, indicating the union of male and female forces in the generation of the hard shelled fruits.
But Pluto, the ravisher of Kore, has a helmet as a symbol of the unseen pole, and his shortened sceptre as an emblem of his kingdom of the nether world; and his dog indicates the generation of the fruits in its threefold division - the sowing of the seed, its reception by the earth, its growing up. For he is called a dog, not because souls are his food, but because of the earth's fertility, for which Pluto provides when he carries off Kore.

Attis, too, and Adonis are related to the analogy of fruits. Attis is the symbol of the blossoms which appear early in the spring, and fall off before the complete fertilization; whence they further attributed castration to him, from the fruits not having attained to seminal perfection: but Adonis was the symbol of the cutting of the perfect fruits.

Silenus was the symbol of the wind's motion, which contributes no few benefits to the world. And the flowery and brilliant wreath upon his head is symbolic of the revolution of the heaven, and the hair with which his lower limbs are surrounded is an indication of the density of the air near the earth.
Since there was also a power partaking of the prophetic faculty, the power is called Themis, because of its telling what is appointed and fixed for each person.

In all these ways, then, the power of the earth finds an interpretation and is worshipped: as a virgin and Hestia, she holds the centre; as a mother she nourishes; as Rhea she makes rocks and dwells on mountains; as Demeter, she produces herbage; and as Themis, she utters oracles: while the seminal law which descends into her bosom is figured as Priapus, the influence of which on dry crops is called Kore, and on soft fruits and shellfruits is called Dionysus. For Kore was carried off by Pluto, that is, the sun going; down beneath the earth at seed-time; but Dionysus begins to sprout according to the conditions of the power which, while young, is hidden beneath the earth, yet produces fine fruits, and is an ally of the power in the blossom symbolized by Attis, and of the cutting of the ripened corn symbolized by Adonis.

Also the power of the wind which pervades all things is formed into a figure of Silenus, and the perversion to frenzy into a figure of a Bacchante, as also the impulse which excites to lust is represented by the Satyrs. These, then, are the symbols by which the power of the earth is revealed."
Looted Greek antiquities are allegedly on sale at London Frieze Masters art fair, according to The Guardian. Cambridge-based forensic archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis, an expert on locating stolen antiquities, identified two marble vases known as lekythoi offered for sale at the prestigious Frieze Masters art fair in Regent’s Park, London.

According to The Guardian report, the lekythoi were put on sale on behalf of the Swiss canton of Basel-Stadt, which is seeking revenue it is owed after the liquidation of the assets of convicted illegal antiquities trafficker Gianfranco Becchina, a former resident.

The Basel-Stadt canton says it received permission to sell the items from the Italian police, who had sent back to Basel more than 1,000 pieces from the original seizure, stating they could not make a legal claim to ownership.

The Basel-Stadt public prosecutor admitted that there is no conclusive proof as to where the antiquities originated, nor that Becchina had ever legally owned them. But The Guardian has seen compelling evidence to suggest at least one of the vases was looted in Athens and trafficked to the dealer in the 1970s. The vases did not sell, but as yet the authorities in Basel-Stadt have no plans to return them to Greece, where they probably belong. The London-based Art Loss Register, which had cleared the sale of the objects, now says it may reconsider its position. Tsirogiannis told the Guardian:

"The people involved in the transaction are all known to have previously been involved in other antiquities cases. It’s the usual pattern that I have identified in trafficking of antiquities internationally several times during my career."

Tsirogiannis identified both lekythoi on sale in London in photographs in the Becchina archive.

"It is the same lekythos without a doubt: the same shape with the same missing parts, the same marks of damage on the surface, the same scene in relief, and the same inscription, which is also transcribed by the middleman on one of the Polaroid images."

Interpol has alerted the ministry of culture in Greece to the lekythoi’s presence, so it can submit an ownership claim should it wish to do so.
Our blessed Goddess Aphrodite intrigues me. She is a Goddess of both love and war, of friendship and hate, of companionship and jealousy. She is one of the Goddesses with the widest range of domains and influence in our world and She is Goddess that touches us personally. She doesn't control the weather or the sea, She controls us directly.

Aphrodite's cult was very popular in ancient Hellas with numerous shrines and temples throughout the land. Her main cult centres within Hellas were the city of Corinth, and the island of Cytherea off the coast of Lakedaimonia. Beyond Hellas the island of Cyprus was famed for its Mystery cult of the goddess. Aphrodite was also worshipped with private rituals and prayers.

One of the aspects of Aprodite's worship that has always fascinated me is Her connection to doves. Aphrodite's jewel-encrusted, golden chariot was drawn through the sky by a team of doves. The Syrian Aphrodite Astarte was said to have been hatched from an egg nursed by doves. In Hellenic art, Aphrodite's doves symbolize the pure, spiritual aspect of love, rather than physical love.

Aphrodite's primary festival, the Aphrodesia, also had a very special place for doves. 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, dated between 287 and 283 BC, 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.

Doves were probably the first birds to be domesticated, possibly as early as Neolithic times. They also return home (to their mates), making them inherently "romantic" animals. They were also
considered oracular birds; the oracle at Dodona was considered the oldest in Hellas, even if it was later replaced in importance by the oracle of Apollon at Delphi. According to Herodotos, in his Histories, the oracle was founded when two black doves flew from Thebes in Egypt; one dove settled in Libya to found the sanctuary of Zeus Ammon, and the other settled in an oak tree at Dodona, proclaiming a sanctuary to Zeus be built there. Doves also take nectar and ambrosia to the Gods on Olymos.

Doves are not unique to Aphrodite's worship, but it strikes me that they are as diverse as Her. They are also very "personal" animals--domesticated, bringing food and drink to the Gods, coming home to their mate. They fit Her, and I have no trouble picturing them as Her birds.
Greek archaeologists have unearthed part of the ancient theater of Thouria near  Kalamata city in the Peloponnese, the Culture Ministry announced on Thursday.

Thouria (Θουρία) is a village and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Ancient Thouria was the most important city in western Messinia. The ruins of ancient Thouria are located on a hillside about 10 km to the northwest of Kalamata, to the north of the present town of Thouria. Since classical times until the Roman era ancient Thouria was once on the side of the Messinians and once on the Spartans. Coins of ancient Thouria however, bear the initials of the Spartans, presenting people from Thouria as Lacedaemons.

Acient Thouria had many sanctuaries, but it seems that Athena was specially honored and Her figure adorns the coins of the Roman era. A famous temple of the city was dedicated to the Goddess Atagartis of Syria considered a form of Aphrodite. Her worship took place in sanctuaries where there were tanks with fish, the symbol of the Goddess as she was originally depicted as one.

Thouria’s theater is oriented to the west, overlooking the vast plains of Messenia, known in ancient times as “Makaria” (Blessed, Blissful), and in the distance, to the southwest, the sea of the Messenian Gulf, which in ancient times was called “Thouriates”.

The first remains of the ancient city theater, which dates back to the 4th century BC, came to light during excavations in the summer of 2016. During excavations in the summer of 2017, archaeologists uncovered the perimeter of the theater’s orchestra and several rows of stone seats. The orchestra perimeter is 16.3 meters long and three parallel grooves around it suggest the stage was movable.
Excavation on the site started ten years ago and it has been identified by epigraphic finds that mention the name of the ancient city, and references made by ancient Greek geographers Pausanias and Strabo.

For more images of the very lovely finds, go here.
The heart shape in the emoticon is recognized across the globe as a symbol of romantic love and affection, but its historical origins are fully Hellenic--at least, we think.

There are three theories. The most common is that the shape came from the shape of an ivy leaf. It's a plant that can live hundreds of years, literally attached itself to things, and it stays green all year round. Brides and grooms in ancient Hellas wore crowns of ivy as a representation of fidelity. An ivy leaf without its stem resembles a heart for sure.

Perhaps the most unusual theory concerns silphium, a species of giant fennel that once grew on the North African coastline near the ancient Hellenic colony of Cyrene. Silphium’s seedpod bore a striking resemblance to the modern emoticon. It was used to flavor food  and as a medicine against sore throats and coughs. It was most famous as an early form of birth control, however. Ancient writers and poets hailed the plant for its contraceptive powers, and it became so popular that it was cultivated into extinction by the first century A.D. The ancient city of Cyrene, which grew rich from the silphium trade, even put the heart shape on its money, as pictured above.

The last theory is more straightforward. It may just have its roots in the writings of Galen and Aristotle, who described the human heart as having three chambers with a small dent in the middle. The heart shape may have been born when artists and scientists from the Middle Ages attempted to draw representations of ancient medical texts. Since the human heart has long been associated with emotion and pleasure, the shape was eventually co-opted as a symbol of romance and medieval courtly love.

One of those "the more you know" things, hm?
On the day of the Hene kai Nea, I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog and in projects and organizations related to it. I will also announce Elaion's coming PAT rituals.

Changes to the blog:
  • I've been very busy writing my new novel (and I am almost done!). Apologies, my blog had to be put on the backburner a little bit,
PAT rituals for Maimakterion:
  • 16 Maimakterion - 5 November 2017 - Maimakteria - festival for Zeus Maimaktes ('Blustering') to be gentle come winter.
  • 20 Maimakterion - 9 November 2017 - The Pompaia - festival in honor of Zeus Meilikhios ('Kindly') and Hermes*

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

Would you like to support me? Buy me a coffee.

I've never been inside the world famous ancient theater of Epidaurus, so I can't judge, but you might have so I'm curious what you think: according to Constant Hak, assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology, and co-author of new research that suggests that its famed acoustics are little more than myth.

Dating from the fourth century BC, and seating up to 14,000 spectators, the theatre has long been admired for its sound quality, with claims that audiences are able to hear a pin drop, or a match being struck, at any seat in the house. In a series of conference papers, which also involved experiments at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the theatre of Argos, Hak and colleagues describe how they tested the claims. They used 20 microphones, placed each one at twelve different locations around the theatre of Epidaurus, together with two loudspeakers, one at the centre of the “stage” – or orchestra – and one to the side. Both speakers played, with a slight delay between them, a sound that swept from low to high frequency, with the speakers in five different orientations. In total, they made approximately 2,400 recordings.

They then made a series of laboratory recordings of sounds, including a coin being dropped, paper tearing and a person whispering, and played them to participants, who adjusted the loudness of the sounds until they could hear them over background noise. The results were then fed into the team’s calculations to reveal how far from the orchestra the different sounds would be heard.

While the sound of a coin being dropped or paper being torn would be noticeable across the whole theatre, it could only recognisably be heard as a coin or paper halfway up the seating. For a match striking, the situation was worse, while a whisper would only be intelligible to those in the front seats.

Further work, based on the loudspeakers playing voices, revealed that only when actors spoke up loudly would their words be intelligible in the seats furthest from the orchestra.

Dr Bruno Fazenda of the Acoustics Research Centre at the University of Salford, who has carried out work on the acoustics of Stonehenge, welcomed the study, saying that it finally busted a myth – with the results tallying with his own experience of visiting Epidaurus.

"You can certainly hear things, but [the results] are right: if you want to have good speech intelligibility, good perception right up the last rows, then you need someone who can project the voice. Greek thespians would have been expert at doing just that – possibly aided by the use of masks."

Fazenda believes the reverence for the theatre’s acoustics come, at least in part, from a popular belief that our ancestors had knowledge that has since been lost in time.

"When we then come across these beautiful structures from the Greek and Roman eras, which were basically the very first clear acoustic design spaces, we kind of revert back to that idea that they had this wonderful knowledge and they were somehow in touch with something magical that allowed them to do it in that way."

Armand D’Angour, an associate professor of classics at the University of Oxford, said that, while the research reveals the state of the acoustics now, it does not necessarily shed light on the past.
London’s new concert hall must be built on sound principles

"The research is based on theatre that has changed over the centuries, so it looks terribly precise and mathematical but in the end, we cannot be at all confident that the way it sounds today exactly replicates the way it would have sounded then. Research has suggested that the Greeks might have used all manner of devices to amplify sound, including placing hollow vessels at strategic locations."

Damian Murphy, professor of sound and music computing at the University of York, said that, while the research was probably the most detailed yet into acoustics of such sites, it was hard for modern minds to understand quite what the experience would have been like for ancient theatregoers.

"Any performing arts venue – it is not just about what they sound like, it is about the experience of going there."
Ethos is one of three modes of persuasion explained by Aristotle. It’s means “character” and serves as a measure of how credible one is when persuading an audience on the topic you are discussing--very important in rhetoric! According to Aristotle, there are three types of ethos: arête, phronesis, and eunoia.

I have spoken about arête before. It's the Greek word for "virtue," and in an ethical sense, it measn being the best version of yourself you can be. Aristotle believed that the ultimate goal in life for a human is happiness. In order to be fully happy in life, one would have to be virtuous. He describes the necessary steps to achieve this happiness in Nicomachean Ethics:

"[...] the man who is to be good must be well trained and habituated, and go on to spend his time in worthy occupations and neither willingly nor unwillingly do bad actions, and if this can be brought about if men live in accordance with a sort of reason and right order [...]" [Book x]

Phronesis is a Greek word for wisdom or intelligence. Aristotle didn't just mean to use it as an indication of IQ but also how well knowledge and skill are implemented in every day life. Someone with a low intelligence level can still be made wise by experience, for example. Aristotle believed that gaining phronesis required experience and there was no other wait to gain it.
Eunoia is Greek for “goodwill.” In rhetoric it is the relationship the reader cultivates with the audience to gain their trust. As a speaker, that trust is required to appear credible. Without it, you can't persuade an audience.

All three values--arête, phronesis, and eunoia--add up to create the meaning of ethos. According to Aristotle, ethos starts with good parenting, with teaching a child ethical behavior. Other teachers throughout life will add to this ethical framework. By learning skills we develop ourselves more, and also by exposing ourselves to many different experiences. By creating good habits and sticking with them until they become automatic, we develop each other even more. As a result, we will be happier, more productive people.
Five sculptures of gods and goddesses have been found in the sanctuary of Mēn Askaenos in the ancient city of Pisidia Antiokheia in Turkey.

Excavations close to the ancient city, located in the southern province of Isparta’s Yalvaç district, unearthed the five intact sculptures in one of the previously unearthed prestigious chambers.

Excavations head Professor Mehmet Özhanlı said the sculptures of the Goddesses Hekate, Kybele, Athena and the Gods Mēn and Apollon were found together in the excavation field. Özhanlı added that such an example had never before been found in any excavations in Anatolia.

"All the gods of Greek, Roman and Anatolian Pantiona were brought together to create a cult. The local Anatolian god Mēn is on an altar in the center of the other gods, in front of Kybele and Apollo. Next to Mēn is Athena. This is the first time in the history of archaeology that these gods have been found together in a prestigious chamber. That is why this year’s excavation works present very good data about ancient beliefs in the area."

For more images, please see here, at The Archaeological News Network.

Mēn, by the way, is a lunar God worshipped in the western interior parts of Anatolia. He is attested in various localised variants, such as Mēn Askaenos in Antioch in Pisidia, or Mēn Pharnakou at Ameria in Pontus. Strabo describes Him as a local God of the Phrygians.

Did you know Greece has things called "dragon houses" that are thousands of years old? I actually did not, until Ancient Origins wrote a post about it. You're going to have to head over to them for the full story (because they are awesome and write great content!), but I'll give you a little sample here.

"Likely dating to the Preclassical period of ancient Greece, the dragon houses of Euboea are among the mysteries of the past which have yet to be understood. Resembling the stepped pyramid of Djoser in Pre-Dynastic Egypt and the temple complexes of Pre-Columbian Teotihuacan, these megalithic houses are structures built without mortar. Small, thin, mostly flat stones make up the buildings, stacked atop one another, kept in place with the uses of jambs and lintels. Large megaliths are used in various places throughout the structures, usually toward the roofs, positioned in a fashion that is similar to what is seen at Stonehenge.

While little is understood of these dragon houses, the number of the structures is far more than expected. Around twenty-three of these houses exist on the island of Euboea—most between Mounts Ochi and Styra—each building made of megaliths. In fact, scholars are constantly boggled by the sheer size and weight of the single megalith resting on two equally large post stones, together forming a doorway. How this megalith could have been lifted and placed atop the posts is as much a mystery as the reason behind the building of these structures.

Some theories have arisen that the structures might have been shrines to Hera, Zeus, or Herakles. Theories regarding the rituals that might have taken place within, however, are few. Another popular belief is that these megalithic buildings were either stations at which guards were positioned during the Hellenistic period, or they were warehouses in which supplies may have been stored."

Read more here.

Almost two meters of the ancient city of Phaselis have submerged in 2,000 years, indicated by studies carried out by geologists and geomorphologists in the area, said Akdeniz University Archeology Department Professor Murat Arslan. The submerging is a natural phenomenon.

Phaselis, situated in the southern province of Antalya’s Kemer district, was important for trade in ancient times as it had three ports. It is possible to see the wealth of the ancient city in the agoras, trade centers, bath houses and temples, expressed by ancient era writers throughout the Classic and Hellenistic periods and Roman history. Each year, thousands of locals and foreign tourists visit the ancient city surrounded by sea and nature.

The excavations in the ancient city are carried out under the guidance of the Antalya Museum and the scientific consultancy of Arslan. Phaselis was a city situated in the basin of Lycia (West Mediterranean) and Pamphylia (Antalya and surroundings), Arslan told state-run Anadolu Agency.

"Because it was closely bordered by both, it was able to stay mostly independent throughout history. It protected its autonomy. Without becoming dominated by other countries and by protecting its independent structure, it was able to use the wealth it earned from trade for its citizens."

The importance of the Phaselis tradesmen were well-known in ancient times in famous cities from Athens to Rome and Alexandria to Rhodes.

"The Phaselis tradesmen had stood out so much with their trade that it was reflected in Demosthenes’ speeches, who was one of the most important orators of ancient times."

Arslan also said the circulation of trade in Phaselis was reflected in the entire Mediterranean basin by the coins issued from the Classic and Hellenistic periods. The ancient city of Phaselis has continued to submerge for 2,000 years, adding that this situation was seen in the ancient cities in the Mediterranean basin.

"The African continent puts pressure on the Asian plate. In some areas, it’s three-centimeters per year and in other areas, nine centimeters. Plate movements in the Mediterranean basin cause that area to collapse in some areas. We see the basin along the shores of the Mediterranean has slowly submerged, starting from the ancient city of Knidos, the province of Muğla’s Datça district until the province of Antalya’s Gazipaşa district. As a result of the studies carried out by geologists and geomorphologists, we have identified that almost two meters of Phaselis have submerged over 2,000 years. As a result of pressure, plate movements cause faults to crack from place to place, create earthquakes and therefore tsunamis occur."

Furthermore, he said some of the tombs, necropolis and port areas in the ancient cities of Kekova and Andriake in Antalya’s Demre district have been submerged under water for the same reason.

Arslan also said there was an earthquake in the Mediterranean region in the year 17 B.C., and after this, the Roman Emperor named Tiberius provided lots of aid to the cities situated in area.
He added that the area of Lycia and Pamphylia was subject to a big earthquake in the year 160 A.C. as well.

"We know that the well-known rich man of those times, named Opramoas from Rhodiapolis, supplied a large amount of aid to many of those demolished cities after the earthquake. The same goes for the ancient city of Phaselis. We learn from the inscriptions that after the earthquake Opramoas gave 12,500 drahmi to be spent in repairing the demolished areas and for the needs of the nation."

Phaselis, situated in the southern province of Antalya’s Kemer district, was important for trade in ancient times as it had three ports. It is possible to see the wealth of the ancient city in the agoras, trade centers, bath houses and temples, expressed by ancient era writers throughout the Classic and Hellenistic periods and Roman history.

The town was set up by the Rhodians in 700 BC. Because of its location on an isthmus separating two harbours, it became the most important harbour city of eastern Lycia and an important centre of commerce between Greece, Asia, Egypt, and Phoenicia, although it did not belong to the Lycian League.

The city was captured by Persians after they conquered Asia Minor, and was later captured by Alexander the Great. After the death of Alexander, the city remained in Egyptian hands from 209 BC to 197 BC, under the dynasty of Ptolemaios, and with the conclusion of the Apamea treaty, was handed over to the Kingdom of Rhodes, together with the other cities of Lycia.

From 190 BC to 160 BC it remained under Rhodeian hegemony, but after 160 BC it was absorbed into the Lycian confederacy under Roman rule. Phaselis, like Olympos, was under constant threat from pirates in the 1st century BC, and the city was even taken over by the pirate Zekenites for a period until his defeat by the Romans. In 42 BC Brutus had the city linked to Rome. In the 3rd century AD, the harbor fell under the threat of pirates once again, so it began to lose importance, suffering further losses at the hands of Arab ships, until totally impoverished in the 11th century.
The History of the Peloponnesian War is a historical account of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), which was fought between the Peloponnesian League (led by Sparta) and the Delian League (led by Athens). It was written by Thucydides, an Athenian historian who also happened to serve as an Athenian general during the war. His account of the conflict is widely considered to be a classic and regarded as one of the earliest scholarly works of history. The History is divided into eight books. Today, I would like to quote from book five.

"When you speak of the favour of the gods, we may as fairly
hope for that as yourselves; neither our pretensions nor our conduct
being in any way contrary to what men believe of the gods, or practise
among themselves.

Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary
law of their nature they rule wherever they can. And
it is not as if we were the first to make this law, or to act upon
it when made: we found it existing before us, and shall leave it to
exist for ever after us; all we do is to make use of it, knowing that
you and everybody else, having the same power as we have, would do
the same as we do.

Thus, as far as the gods are concerned, we have no fear
and no reason to fear that we shall be at a disadvantage."

This speaks to the nature of the Gods and their relation to human kind. The conclusion is, of course, that the stronger should rule over the weaker--a principle common to Gods and men. Thucydides spoke these words to indicate that the Gods are just as likely to favor your enemy as you. Just something to think about, hm?
The ancient city of Ephesus; an ancient Hellenic city on the coast of Ionia, located in the western province of İzmir, is set to once again have a harbor on the Aegean coast, according to an ambitious new project.

In the ancient era Ephesus; which is today one of Turkey’s top tourist attractions, was connected to a harbor on the Aegean Sea with a broad canal, but the port and the canal have silted up by the Cayster River in the years since. The area around Ephesus has turned into near-swampland and currently the city is six kilometers from the sea.

An “Antique Canal Project” would refill the canal and eventually link the ancient harbor to the sea once again. A 6,130-meter section of the canal has been covered with alluvium over the centuries.
The project would also deepen and enlarge the canal, adding that the tender for the project will be held on Oct. 19 this year, with construction starting in February or March 2018.

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia, three kilometers southwest of present-day Selçuk in İzmir Province. It was built in the 10th century BC on the site of the former Arzawan capital by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists.

During the Classical Greek era it was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC.
The 30th of Pyanepsion is the date for the Khalkeia. It's the only festival to be held on a Deipnon and we will be celebrating it on 20 October, 10 am EDT.

The Khalkiea was the festival of bronze workers, a religious festival devoted to the God Hēphaistos and the Goddess Athena Ergane (Εργανη, Worker). In ancient Hellas, this was the day priestesses of Athena started work on a special peplos to be presented to Her during the Panathenaia. This festival involved a procession of workers with baskets of grain for offerings as well as meat sacrifices. Originally, it seems to have been a festival for Athena solely but over the centuries the focus shifted to Hēphaistos instead.

Elaion is holding a PAT ritual for the Khalkeia on 20 October, EDT. You can find the ritual here and join the community here. Also, make sure to celebrate the day by doing something crafty!
Alexander the Great’s ‘lost city’ was a magical place where people drank wine and naked philosophers imparted wisdom, ancient accounts claim. Now, nearly 2,000 years after the great warrior’s death, archaeologists believe the city may have finally been discovered in Iraq.

Experts first noticed ancient remains in the Iraqi settlement, known as Qalatga Darband, after looking at declassified American spy footage from the 1960s. The images were made public in 1996 but, due to political instability, archaeologists were unable to explore the site properly for years. Now, using more recent drone footage and on-site work, researchers have established there was a city during the first and second centuries BC, which had strong Greek and Roman influences. They believe Alexander the Great founded it in 331 BC, and later settled in the city with 3,000 veterans of his campaigns.

Undefeated in battle, Alexander had carved out a vast empire stretching from Macedonia, Greece in Europe, to Persia, Egypt and even parts of northern India by the time of his death aged 32. Researchers believe Qalatga Darband – which roughly translates from Kurdish as ‘castle of the mountain pass’ – is on the route Alexander of Macedon took to attack Darius III of Persia in 331 BC. The city may have served as an important meeting point between East and West. It is 6 miles (10km) south-east of Rania in Sulaimaniya province in Iraqi Kurdistan.

An archaeological dig was not possible when Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, but more recently improved security has allowed the British Museum to explore the site as a way of training Iraqis to rescue areas damaged by Islamic State. As well as on-site work, the Museum has also been able to capture its own drone footage of the area. Lead archaeologist John MacGinnis told The Times:

"We got coverage of all the site using the drone in the spring — analyzing crop marks hasn’t been done at all in Mesopotamian archaeology. It’s early days, but we think it would have been a bustling city on a road from Iraq to Iran. You can imagine people supplying wine to soldiers passing through. Where there are walls underground the wheat and barley don’t grow so well, so there are color differences in the crop growth."

On its western flank, the city was protected by a large fortification which ran from the river to the mountain. It is situated on a large open site around 60 hectares (148 acres) large on a natural terrace.
The 1960s Corona spy satellite footage showed a large square building, potentially believed to be a fort, according to a British Museum blog. Farmers in the area had also found remains of big buildings and a large fortified wall. There were a number of limestone blocks, believed to be wine or oil presses. Meanwhile, excavation of a mound at the southern end of the site revealed a monument which could have been a temple for worship. Fieldwork started in the autumn of 2016 and is expected to last until 2020.

From the excavation work, they discovered an abundance of terracotta roof tiles and Greek and Roman statues, suggesting the city’s early residents were Alexander’s subjects. Among the statues they found was a female figure believed to be Persephone and the other is believed to be Adonis, a symbol of fertility. They also discovered a coin of Orodes II, who was king of the Parthian from 57 BC to 37 BC.

The project, which was part of the government-funded Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Program, has been possible due to improved security in the country. It is part of a £30 million ($40 million) government plan to help Iraq rebuild historical sites destroyed by Islamic State.
This fund is designed to counter the destruction of heritage in cultural zones from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The program involves bringing groups of Iraqi archaeologists to London for eight weeks of training at the British Museum. They are then sent to excavations in the field for six additional weeks where they learn how to do drone surveys and 3D scanning. The team now want to find linguistic evidence to confirm their findings.
So, someone sent me a link to something being advertised as "Socrates's triple filter test." It's a story about how Socrates stops a man who wants to gossip by giving him an ethical lesson. The person who linked me wanted to know what the ancient source for the story was. Let's start with the obvious question: what's the story? Well, here it is:

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"

Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test."

"Triple filter?"

"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued. "You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really..."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful,! why tell it to me at all?"

The man was defeated and ashamed.

In some versions of the story, the man actually wants to talk about Socrates's wife because she is cheating on him.

Well, just by the wording, I can tell you that you won't be finding an ancient source for this story. Taking the wording out of it, it's still very suspect. Yes, Socrates liked to lecture others on ethics, and yes, he was quite fond of the truth, but "usefulness" and "goodness" in this fashion are not his style, so to say. I'm sorry, reader. It's good ethical advice, but is a modern story, and not anything recorded by Plato or any other ancient author as an authentic story of Socrates’ life. I checked.
Gosh, these are so cute! 2,000-year-old ancient toys from the Hellenistic Period have been discovered inside tombs belonging to children in the ancient seaport city of Parion located in northwestern Turkey's Çanakkale province.

Researchers have discovered toys and other articles during excavations at the ancient site, Professor Hasan Kasaoğlu from Atatürk University, who is the excavation leader at Parion, told the Anadolu Agency. He noted that the toys were presented as "gifts for the dead children" and provide significant information about the sociocultural structure of the period.

For instance, Kasaoğlu highlighted that female figurines were found in tombs belonging to girls, while male figures were found in tombs belonging to boys.

"2,000 years ago girls played with 'Barbie-like' dolls, the same way they do now. [A]lthough objects have changed shapes and features, humans have always had the same mentality."

Besides the human figurines, animal and mythological figurines were also found in the tombs, believed to be buried with the aim to accompany the children on their journey to the afterlife, the professor added. Earlier this month, researchers discovered a baby bottle around the same necropolis.

Archaeologists have been carrying out excavations at the ancient site since 2005. Sarcophagi and graves, as well as ancient artifacts were found in the area. Parion, also called Parium, was an ancient Greek city founded in 709 B.C. It had two major harbors during the Roman era, and served as the main "customs station" for Istanbul-bound goods from the Aegean.

To learn more about ancient Hellenic toys, see this post: Toys are of all ages.
During my research wanderings through books and across the internet, I often come across thing--often little things--that catch my eye. Yesterday I stumbled upon an epithet of Zeus I was unfamiliar with: Asbamaios (Aσβαμαιοσ).

This epithet of Zeus refers to Zeus as the protector of the sanctity of oaths. It was derived from a spring, Asbamaeon near Tyana, in Cappadocia, Turkey, the water of which was said to be beneficial and pleasant to honest persons, but pestilential to those who were guilty of perjury. When perjured persons drank of the water, it produced a disease of the eyes, dropsy, and lameness, so that the guilty persons were unable to walk away from the well, and were obliged to own their crime.

Tyana was a place of great consequence, both in a commercial and a military viewpoint. The plain around it was extensive and fertile. Tyana is celebrated in history as the native place of the famous impostor Apollonius, of whom we have a detailed biography by Philostratus. The temple of Zeus Asbamaios stood on the borders of a lake in a marshy plain. The water of the lake itself was cold, but the connected hot spring was sacred to Zeus.

It was formerly believed that Kara Hissar marked the site of Tyana becse many ruins litter the city and its inhabitants still maintain that their town once was the capital of Cappadocia. But with the description above, Kara Hissar is too far north to be identified with Tyana. It's believed that the true site of Tyana is between a place now called Kiz Hissar, south-west of Nigdeh, and Erekli. The ruins of Tyana are considerable, but the most conspicuous is an aqueduct of granite, extending seven or eight miles to the foot of the mountains. There are also massy foundations of several large buildings, shafts, pillars, and one handsome column still standing. Two miles south of these ruins, the hot spring also still bubbles forth in a cold swamp or lake.
Have you heard of the 'Greece is...' magazine? It was inaugurated in the summer of 2015, with its first issue dedicated to Santorini, one of the world’s most beloved and coveted travel destinations. The second issue, 'Greece Is Athens - Summer Edition', is a treasure trove of information on Athens from past to present, distributed exclusively at the Acropolis Museum. The third was about the Peloponnese and the fourth issue, 'Greece Is Democracy', was on the occasion of the 3D Athens Democracy Forum, celebrates and relates to the birth, reality and influence of Athenian democracy, through a compilation of original articles by esteemed Greek and international academics, authors and journalists. If you have not read them yet, you might want to invest the time!

After those came more magazines, on the Greek city Thessaloniki, the Greek city of Athens, the Greek island Mykonos and the last was on The Olympics. Then on Athens again, on wine, on the peninsula and regional unit of Greece named Halkidiki and on democracy. Then on the Greek city Thessaloniki again, Athens again, the new subject of health and what do you know, wine again! Then it was back to parts of the country, namely Santorini again, Kos-Nisyros, and Mykonos again.

Three more are out now, about Rhodes, Athens, and democracy again. Enjoy!

The Greek Culture Ministry announced that archaeologists revisiting one of the most famous shipwrecks of ancient times off southern Greece  near Antikythera island have discovered fragments of bronze statues and a section of the wooden hull. According to the ministry statement, divers raised a complete arm and a section of pleated clothing from statues, and compacted metal objects that have yet to be cleaned and separated. A video titled “2017 Return to Antikythera Expedition” looks at the delicate and often hazardous work marine archaeologists do in recovering ancient gems from the depth of the seas.

The 1st-century B.C. wreck of a large freighter discovered more than a century ago  between Crete and the Peloponnese has already yielded an ancient astronomical computer — known as the Antikythera Mechanism — as well as statues and thousands of other artifacts. The latest expedition, led by the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, Lund University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was conducted between September 4 to 20, and as per previous trips to the wreck, the team did not leave disappointed.

According to Guardian, the project team, from the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Lund University in Sweden, discovered the buried arm with a bespoke underwater metal detector which has revealed the presence of other large metal objects nearby under the seabed. “There should be at least seven statues,” Alexandros Sotiriou, a Greek technical diver on the team told the Guardian. The operation is overseen by Ageliki Simosi, director of the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, which is responsible for all underwater archaeology in Greece. Brendan Foley, co-director of the excavations team at Lund University, said:

“What we’re finding is these sculptures are in among and under the boulders. We think it means a minimum of seven, and potentially nine, bronze sculptures still waiting for us down there.”

The boulders that overlie the metal objects weigh several tonnes and may have tumbled onto the wreck during a massive earthquake that shook Antikythera and surrounding islands in the 4th century AD.

The bronze arm, probably from a statue of a male, is the highlight of the team’s 2017 excavation season. Among other objects the divers recovered are a patterned slab of red marble the size of a tea tray, a silver tankard, sections of joined wood from the ship’s frame, and a human bone. Last year, the team found the skull, teeth, ribs and other bones of an individual who perished on the wreck. They have since extracted DNA from the skull and from it learned the individual’s sex and where they came from. Until those results are published, the person is known as Pamphilos after divers found the name, meaning “friend of all”, carved on a buried cup that had been decorated with an erotic scene. 

With excellent weather conditions above them, the divers managed to recover, in addition to the “orphaned” right arm, pottery shards, nails, lead sheathing fragments, and an odd metal disc, among other artifacts. Prior to this latest expedition, the Return to Antikythera project team managed to recover glassware, luxury ceramics, anchors, counterweights, tools, and even an ancient skeleton; which is currently being analyzed for DNA.
The Apatouria was a paternity festival. The first day was celebrated with a communal feast within the brotherhood, the second day sacrifice were made to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria, and the third day young boys admitted to their father's brotherhood. We don't have these kinships anymore and we won't be celebrating all days of the festival because of it. What we do want to do is sacrifice to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria in gratitude of the kinship we have found in Hellenismos and Elaion. Will you join us on 7 October at the usual 10 AM EDT?

The Apaturia (Ἀπατούρια) was an ancient Hellenic festival held annually by all the Ionian towns, except Ephesus and Colophon. In Athens, the Apatouria was the central element in the ritual calendar of the phratries, the kinship organizations crucial for determining Athenian citizenship. The three-day festival occurred in the autumn in the month Pyanepsion and was celebrated at the separate phratry shrines throughout Attica.

On the first day of the festival, called Dorpia or Dorpeia (Δορπεία), banquets were held towards evening at the meeting-place of the phratries or in the private houses of members.

On the second, Anarrhysis (from ἀναρρύειν, 'to draw back the victim's head'), a sacrifice of oxen was offered at the public cost to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria.

On the third day, Kureōtis (κουρεῶτις), children born since the last festival were presented by their fathers or guardians to the assembled phratores, and, after an oath had been taken as to their legitimacy and the sacrifice of a goat or a sheep, their names were inscribed in the register. The name κουρεῶτις is derived either from κοῦρος, 'young man', i.e., the day of the young, or less probably from κείρω, 'to shear', because on this occasion young people cut their hair and offered it to the gods. The children who entered puberty also made offerings of wine to Herakles. On this day also it was the custom for boys still at school to declaim pieces of poetry, and to receive prizes.

Ancient scholarship links the Apatouria to the myth of the ritual combat between the Athenian Melanthos (the 'dark one') and the Boiotian Xanthos (the 'fair one') for the kingship of Attica, which Melanthos won through a trick (apate). Although some modern scholars have therefore seen a connection to the ephebes and to rites of passage involving social inversion, the rituals of the festival have no apparent connection to the narrative of the myth, and most modern scholars now link the Apatouria to the control, maintenance, and affirmation of kinship and of membership in society at every level.

Will you join us for this event? The ritual can be found here, the community page here.
It can't have escaped your notice that a terrorist opened fire on the visitors of a music festival in Las Vegas. Around sixty people lost their lives, 500+ people were injured when a man fired a customized semi-automatic or a fully automatic riffle into a partying crowd from a vantage point in a hotel. I said in yesterday's post I would talk about it today, but I don't think I'm ready.

I am ready to talk, for sure, but not ready to speak with temperance.

The Vegas shooting is--at least for me--another in a pile-up of terrible events. It's been weeks upon weeks of natural disasters and human hate and I am at the end of what I can deal with and remain hopeful. Yes, I was going to talk about the shooting in Vegas, because it's terrible and it's physically painful for me to see the images and watch the videos. I was going to talk about Vegas, but Vegas is only a symptom of a pandemic of hate and division.

If I talk about Vegas, I will have to talk about taking a knee and the absolutely infuriating and discriminating responses it's summoned in people. I will have to talk about Trump's golfing time while Puerto Rico runs out of food, clean water, and shelter. I will have to talk about the months, even years, it will take to build Mexico City back up, or Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands. I will have to talk about Catalonia and the breakdown of democracy. I will have to talk about the German elections and the hate vote. I will have to talk about how black lives matter and everyone deserves to breath. I will have to talk about so much darkness, and I can't.

Not yet.

Not today.

So I will show you the heroes of these disasters instead. I'll pay tribute to the people who lived and saved others. Those who are not selfish, hateful, or vengeful. Those who remember every life is precious and theirs no more than that of another.

And if you don't think this has a place on my blog, then please, don't visit anymore. Our religion is one of ethics, of arête and being the best version of yourself you can be. The best version of all of us is the version who loves, who cherishes, who keeps safe.

Thank you, every day heroes. May the Gods bless you for all time.