I'm on the road all day today, so I am doing a repost! Aeschylus' Eumenides is one of my favorite plays, because it has prayers and parts of prayers you can use for your own household worship. I filtered them out for your convenience. Enjoy! 

"First, in this prayer of mine, I give the place of highest honor among the gods to the first prophet, Earth; and after her to Themis, for she was the second to take this oracular seat of her mother, as legend tells. And in the third allotment, with Themis' consent and not by force, another Titan, child of Earth, Phoebe, took her seat here. She gave it as a birthday gift to Phoebus, who has his name from Phoebe. Leaving the lake1 and ridge of Delos, he landed on Pallas' ship-frequented shores, and came to this region and the dwelling places on Parnassus. The children of Hephaistos,2 road-builders taming the wildness of the untamed land, escorted him with mighty reverence. And at his arrival, the people and Delphus, helmsman and lord of this land, made a great celebration for him. Zeus inspired his heart with prophetic skill and established him as the fourth prophet on this throne; but Loxias is the spokesman of Zeus, his father.

These are the gods I place in the beginning of my prayer. And Pallas who stands before the temple3 is honored in my words; and I worship the Nymphs where the Corycian4 rock is hollow, the delight of birds and haunt of gods. Bromius has held the region—I do not forget him—ever since he, as a god, led the Bacchantes in war, and contrived for Pentheus death as of a hunted hare. I call on the streams of Pleistus and the strength of Poseidon, and highest Zeus, the Fulfiller; and then I take my seat as prophetess upon my throne. And may they allow me now to have the best fortune, far better than on my previous entrances. And if there are any from among the Hellenes here, let them enter, in turn, by lot, as is the custom. For I prophesy as the god leads." [Pythia in the temple of Apollon at Delphi - 1]

"Lord Apollo, you know how to do no wrong; and, since you know this, learn not to be neglectful also. For your power to do good is assured." [Orestes to Apollon - 85]
"So now with a pure mouth I piously invoke Athena, lady of this land, to come to my aid. Without the spear, she will win me and my land and the Argive people as faithful and true allies for all time. But whether in some region of the Libyan land, near the waters of Triton, her native stream, she is in action or at rest, aiding those whom she loves, or whether, like a bold marshal, she is surveying the Phlegraean plain, oh, let her come—as a goddess, she hears even from far away—to be my deliverer from distress!" [Orestes to Athena - 287]

"I will accept a home with Pallas, and I will not dishonor a city which she, with Zeus the omnipotent and Ares, holds as a fortress of the gods, the bright ornament that guards the altars of the gods of Hellas. I pray for the city, with favorable prophecy, that the bright gleam of the sun may cause blessings that give happiness to life to spring from the earth, in plenty." [Chorus of Eumenides - 916]
"Gracious and favorable to the land, come here, venerable goddesses, with flame-fed torch, rejoicing as you go—cry aloud now in echo to our song! Peace endures for all time between Pallas' citizens and these new dwellers here. Zeus who sees all and Fate have come down to lend aid—cry aloud now in echo to our song!" [Chorus of the processional escort to the Eumenides - 1032]

An ancient stone tablet bearing a historic inscription of the Resolution of Nikouria, dating back to the 3rd century BC, has resurfaced on the island of Amorgos after it had gone missing for roughly a century, the culture ministry announced on Friday.

According to a ministry announcement, the inscription was a key document concerning the history of the Aegean and was first discovered in 1893 in the Panagia Church on the islet of Nikouria, opposite Aigiali on Amorgos. It had been temporarily transferred to a nearby stable where it remained until 1908 but then disappeared from view and its fate was entirely unknown.

The announcement said that the text on the inscription, known from the time of first publication of its discovery, concerns “a decision of the League (Koinon) of the Islanders’, a political union set up by the Ptolemys, to participate with official representatives in the feast and games organised by Ptolemy II in Alexandria in the memory of his deified father Ptolemy I the Saviour. A copy of the resolution was erected on the altar of Ptolemy I on Delos, the base of the Koinon, while there was also provision to set up other copies in the cities that had voted in favour, among which were the cities of Amorgos.”

The specific inscription is considered important since it provides evidence concerning the balance of power during the first half of the 3rd century BC and the transition of control from the Macedonians to the Ptolemys.

Dozens of researchers had tried and failed to track down the Nikouria Stone over the years, which was finally rediscovered by a final-year archaeology student from Amorgos, Stelios Perakis, and German archaeologist N. N. Fischer with the help of local residents. The tablet was found embedded in the outer wall of a recently renovated house  in the village Tholaria, Amorgos that had previously belonged to a shepherd from Nikouria.

Procedures for the removal of the tablet and its transfer and display in the Amorgos archaeological collection have now been initiated, the Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate said.
So, I won't be watching Meghan Fox's (pseudo)archaeology show, but since this week's episode was about Troy, there might be a few amongst you who did/will do. Archaeology Review reviewed the episode (so you don't have to watch it!) and they very expertly pointed out a few things you should know before you take Meghan at her word.

"Legends of the Lost," previously entitled "Mysteries and Myths," is presented, produced, and co-created by Fox, who has stated she has always had an interest in Archaeology. Back when the show was announced, archaeologists weren't amused

Well, they still aren't amused. For the full review, please go here. It also includes an overall opinion on the show that I am sure I echo, even without watching the show. Thank you for saving me the frustration, Carl! 

Ancient Origins recently put up an interesting article about Aphrodite Rock,a landmark located off the shore along the main road from Paphos to Limassol, on the island of Cyprus. As its name suggests, the rock is associated with Aphrodite, the Goddess of love. According to legend, this was the place where the Goddess was born.

At dusk on January 3rd, the Haloa (῾Αλῶα) starts. This ancient Hellenic festival was held in honor of Demeter, Dionysos and a little bit in honor of Persephone. Like all festivals of Demeter and Persephone's 'Kore' persona, women were the only ones who were allowed to handle the religious and sacrificial side of it. Women, will you join me in celebrating freedom and fertility come 10 am EST?

The Haloa is part of the Mysteries, and thus linked to the festivals of Proerosia (6 Pyanepsion), Thesmophoria (11-13 Pyanepsion), the Lesser Mysteries (20-26 Anthesterion), Stenia (9 Pyanepsion), Skirophoria (12 Skirophorion) and the Greater Mysteries themselves, which were held 13-23 Boedromion. It was a rural festival, meaning it wasn't state-organized and widely spread, so most details are incredibly fuzzy. Here's what we do know about it:

The Haloa is assumed to be a celebration of the pruning of the vines and the tasting of the wine after its first fermentation, or it may be to encourage the growth of corn from the seed. It is named after the hálōs (ἅλως), which means both threshing floor and garden. Since the first sense of the word would be inapplicable to a festival celebrated in January, scholars--including Nilsson in his 'Greek Popular Religion'--insist it must have been a gardening festival.

Some time during the festival, the entire population was invited by the priests of Dionysos and the priestesses of Demeter and Kore to give sacrifice to these Theos; to Demeter and Kore for the fertility of the earth in which the grapevines grew, and to Dionysos in remembrance of Ikários, who was such a fine winemaker that he could produce wine so strong, those who drank it appeared to be poisoned. His skill turned out to be his undoing; Íkaros was killed by those who drank his wine, thinking the wine maker was out to kill them. This sense of being poisoned might have come from permanent erections brought on by the wine; they only went away when an oracle told the men to put out clay phallus-shaped objects. When they did so, their limpness returned. This event was celebrated at home, by the men, but the women traveled to Eleusis.

In the earliest times the religious part of the festival might have been restricted to married women, but after the fourth century BCE its celebration may have been limited to hetairai (ἑταῖραι, female companions, a term used non-sexually for women, about women, but used by men to indicate a woman hired for entertainment, often leading to sex), or they were simply also allowed to hold their own symposium during the Haloa, either at home or at Eleusis. The Haloa would have been the day on which they were initiated into the Mysteries. The Eleusinian Arkhontes (Ἄρχοντες, male magistrates of the Mysteries) prepared a huge banquet on this day, with a huge variety, including phallus- and vagina-shaped cakes, but not foods forbidden in the Mysteries: pomegranates, apples, eggs, fowls, some types of fish were out. Animal sacrifice was also disallowed on this day: Demeter received offerings of fresh fruit.

After preparing the food, the Arkhontes left, leaving the women to eat, to drink lots and lots of wine, and to celebrate being a woman and fertile (or the wish to be fertile). The Arkhontes went to the men who were waiting outside of Eleusis for their part in the Mysteries, and told them the story of Eleusis, and how the Eleusinians had discovered nourishment for the entire human race. A giant phallus is often assumed to have been set up on the hálōs, and the women would dance around it carrying clay models of phalli and vaginas, but it is more likely the phallus was never there, but depicted on artwork abbot the Haloa to indicate the fertility aspects of the festival and the dances that occurred there. As part of the festivities, the women engaged in sexualized conversation with each other. As part of the sacrifice, the women carried kernoi (κέρνοι, offering dishes) on their heads, containing incense, grains or other offerings, which they tipped onto the giant phallus or, and this is probably far more accurate, onto the altar.

After the feast and sacrifice, the men who had been waiting were admitted to the grounds, and the women were encouraged by each other--including the priestesses--to take secret lovers for the night. A priest and priestess--with torches representing Demeter and Persephone--apparently sat watch on chests as they presided over the fertility celebration.

The Haloa is the perfect time to organize an adult 'girl's night' with your closest female friends. Watch a movie with erotic tones, drink wine together, gorge yourselves on chocolate and gossip about your partners. If you have an agreement about it with your partner, you could find a lover for the night. If not, go home to him or her and spend the night together in your own 'fertility rite'. If you're single and have no one to fill your bed... well... a girl can get creative, can't she?

For the men, the Haloa might have had an extra ritual part as well; honoring Poseidon as an agricultural Theos. There is evidence that the men built a huge bonfire and had their own conversations around it. Afterwards, they joined the women, when possible (and desired). Single men; I'm sure you can be as creative as the single women reading this.

So, ladies, will you join me on January 3rd, at 10 am EST? The community page can be found here and the ritual here. Enjoy your Haloa celebration! Be safe, happy, and sated! 
Christmas shenanigans stole my time! ;-)  Have a lecture on the Eleusinian Mysteries, Demeter and the Hellenic afterlife instead!

For Christmas this year, I got a whole bunch of Parthenon Marbles news. Anyone who frequents this blog knows how happy that makes me. It's my kryptonite, I have such a weakness for anything surrounding it. At first it was because all the attempts to get the marbles back were so obviously doomed to fail that it was almost comical, but I have developed a desire for the Marbles to actually be returned, so while there is still the amusement factor, I do want the outcome to be favorable for Greece now.

Anyway, the news! The glass roof of the Duveen Gallery in London’s British Museum, the room where the Parthenon Sculptures are exhibited, is leaking water following heavy rainfall in the UK capital. On Friday morning IBNA witnessed the drip of water landing only centimetres away from the statue of Iris, in the area of the gallery where marble figures from the Parthenon’s west pediment are located. The floor on that spot was covered in absorbing cloth and yellow signs warned about the slippery floor.

There was no sign of water having landed on the statue of Iris or Amphitrite, also very close by. Indeed the British Museum have stressed that no water has hit the sculptures and no damage has been sustained, admitting the problem. In a statement a spokesperson for the Museum said: 

“There was a minor incident during recent very heavy rainfall when a small amount of water entered the gallery. None of the sculptures was damaged and the issue has been dealt with.”

Prompted to explain why water kept on dripping next to the statue, the Museum spoke of “a small residual leak” and pledged to continue monitoring the situation closely and to address the issue with the roof as urgent. The initial statement added that the Museum

“take our collection care responsibilities very seriously, the preservation of the collection is of fundamental importance to the British Museum.”

The glass roof parts of the gallery looked eroded by time and nature - which may explain the leak- and not only over the west pediment statues. It is worth reminding that one of the constant arguments of the British Museum against calls for the reunification of the Sculptures before the New Acropolis Museum was built was that Athens had no appropriate facilities to host them. Dame Janet Suzman, Chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, issued this statement:

“We hope that the leak is fixed swiftly and that there is no damage to the sculptures. We would continue to urge the British Museum to consider the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles in the Acropolis Museum where they can join their other halves. Let’s celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Acropolis Museum in 2019 with the return of their prodigals. What a fabulous birthday present that would be! How civilised and decent of the British Museum to divest itself of dated strictures belonging to an era - now so over. The time has come to do the right thing. Go British Museum! Do it!”

The news was followed by another bit of news, namely that the UN General Assembly on December 13th,  unanimously adopted, on Greek initiative, a Resolution on 'The return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin'. The Resolution in question  which encompasses the return of the Parthenon marbles, was widely endorsed by all regional groups of member states, 105 of which jointly introduced the draft Resolution. Specifically, the resolution underlines the responsibility of States to combat illicit trafficking of cultural property during peace and war time, in light also of recent conflict in the Middle East that led to the destruction, looting, theft as well as illicit trafficking of cultural property, notably through the internet.

The Resolution condemns the aforementioned illegal actions and notes the connection between trafficking of cultural property and financing of terrorism; it calls upon States to safeguard cultural property, by not only taking appropriate protection measures but also returning stolen or illicitly traded cultural property to the countries of origin.

That was an important initiative of Greece that also led the relevant negotiations. The Resolution has been consistently adopted by the General Assembly every three years, our country having systematically introduced the draft Resolution for voting to address the need to safeguard world cultural heritage.
I'm not much of a Christmas gal (but happy Christmas!), and never have been. The level of consumerism always makes me a little uneasy, but enough of that soapbox. I'm here to help you view Christmas in a bit of a Hellenic light--because that's bound to raise anyone's cheer!

Now, inherently, Christmas is Roman, not Hellenic. Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period courts were closed, and no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people.

The festival began when Roman authorities chose 'an enemy of the Roman people' to represent the 'Lord of Misrule'. Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week.  At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman.

The ancient Hellenic writer poet and historian Lucian (in his dialogue entitled Saturnalia) describes the festival’s observance in his time:  human sacrifice, intoxication, going from house to house while singing naked, rape and other sexual license, and consuming human-shaped biscuits.

In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians. The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

Christians had little success, however, refining the practices of Saturnalia. The earliest Christmas holidays were celebrated by drinking, sexual indulgence, singing naked in the streets (a precursor of modern caroling), etc.

The Saturnalia has its roots in the Rural Dionysia, and overall in the worship of Dionysos. The Rural, or lesser, Dionysia was a vintage festival. It was celebrated in the various demes of Attica in the month of Poseideon. It was celebrated with a large procession in which men carried a phallus and cakes. Revelers and singers were also a part of the procession. A representation of the God was included to represent His coming (not birth!). The festival also included stage comedies and the playing of lighthearted games. Generally, it was a joyful festival, shared by all, even the slaves.

Some other 'modern' Christmas customs: carol singing. The tradition of door-to-door carol-singing also dates back to ancient Hellas, when children would go from house to house holding effigies made of olive or laurel branches that symbolized health. They sang carols only in the homes of the rich. In return they received food. They would then go home and hang their effigies on their front door to bring their families prosperity.

The Christmas tree appeared for the first time in Germany at the end of the 16th century. It became globally known in the 19th century. In Christianity, the Christmas tree symbolizes the rejoicing of the birth of Jesus Christ. The tree was adorned first with fruits and later with clothes and other household objects. Ancient Greeks used to decorate the ancient temples with trees, symbolizing the divine gift offering. In fact, due to it's distinct shape, tree worship was widespread in ancient Hellas as part of the cult of Dionysos.

Santa Claus, who travels around the world on Christmas Eve delivering gifts in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, may have Dionysian roots as well. Dionysus drove around on a flying chariot pulled by exotic animals. He may not have given out gifts, but it was part of the celebration of the return of the light--perhaps the greatest gift of all.

Now, did you know that a little before the clock strikes twelve it is customary for family members to step out of the house and re-enter using their right foot. The person who enters immediately after the first footer smashes the pomegranate with force onto the door. The number of seeds that get scattered are proportional to amount of good luck the family will be blessed with over the coming year. Since ancient times, pomegranates are considered to be symbols of fertility and rebirth, after all. Now this is a custom I would love to revive!

Modern day Christmas is a conglomeration of ancient Hellenic, Roman and Norse customs, adapted by Christianity and then marketing to get where we are now. At it's roots, it was always a time of cheer and good omens, a time to spend with family, to give gifts, and to get a little tipsy. So enjoy the festivities and raise a glass to Dionysos! 
An ancient theatre in what was formerly the Hellenic city of Smyrna (Turkish İzmir), built during the Hellenistic period, is currently being excavated by a team from Dokuz Eylül University (DEU).

The excavations have reportedly unearthed sections of the cavea (ie. the semi-circular bank of seating) resting on the slopes of Mount Pagos (Kadifekale today).

Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, the head of the excavations, Akın Ersoy, who is also an associate professor of archaeology, said Smyrna had a history of 8,000 years and the latest chain of the history was on the slopes between the Agora and Mount Pagos.

He said the construction of the theatre, perched on a rocky hill with a magnificent view of the city, had started in 3rd century BC and was used for some 700 years, when it was abandoned in the 4th century.

"We started excavations in 2012. Theatre excavations are troublesome because both filling levels are too high and a significant amount of blocks were used in the construction of this monumental structure. We have reached the rows of seats during excavations after 1,500 years. Some of the walls had already been reached during the clearing of houses. Next year we hope that we will reach the orchestra pit, which is one of the most important parts of theatre structures."
The deme of Erkhia has many sacrifices, and Elaion has pretty much adopted them all. One of these sacrifices--or actually two of them--are on Poseideon 16. Both are to Zeus. The first to Zeus without epithet, the other to Zeus Horios: 'of the boundary stones'. Will you join us for this combined sacrifice on December 24 at 10 am, EST?

Zeus Horios is responsible for the preservation of boundary stones. In order to mark their territories (especially between public and private), the ancient Hellenes relied on boundary markers, called 'horoi'. A horos (χορός) was usually a stele of marble or limestone, no larger than a meter high, rectangular and roughly hewn except for the upper front face, which was dressed smooth for inscribed letters. It was usually inscribed, sometimes with just the word 'horos', or sometimes specifying the territory (e.g., 'horos of the sanctuary'), or even the name of a deity. Some horoi were inscribed in the first person; a famous horos stone found by the ancient Athenia agora reads 'I am the horos of the Agora'. Specificity and clarity were crucial; passersby needed to know what sort of land they were entering because a boundary marker's message was enforced with a legal enforceable meaning.

The Arkhian calendar describes the sacrifices as such:

"[...] on the sixteenth [of Poseideon], for Zeus, on the rock or rocky place at Erkhia, a sheep, no taking away. For Zeus Horios, at Erkhia, a piglet, no taking away."

'No taking away' in this case means to consume the sacrifice on the spot. No part of it can be carried away from the site. So the skins and bones, as well as some of the meat are to be burned and the rest of the meat eaten, not sold or stored. Some scientists and archaeologists have come to call this type of sacrifice 'Ou phora', after Scott Scullion's definition.

In Sullivan's definition of 'Olympian' and 'Khthonian', 'Khthonian' was extended to include not only sacrifices in which the victim was destroyed, but also all sacrifices from which the meat could not be carried away and had to be consumed on the spot. He connects ou phora sacrifices to Khthonian deities or heroes, but this theory has been widely debated because it simply does not seem to resonate with other knowledge we have of these divinities and Their cults.

Poseideon was ruled by Poseidon, Zeus and Dionysos. Poseideon is the first true winter month; the first harvest was over, seafaring had ceased and thus war had come to an end. The focus was on the home and preparation for true, deep winter: the weather turned and the crops needed protecting. Because of this, it was also a month of threat; if the crops failed, if the seas became too rough when a daring fisherman was out on it, or if a river went out of bounds and flooded a well populated area there would be death. Zeus Horios watches over the boundaries of the home and was thus vital in this divine protection.

In current times we might not have most of these fears, but we still want trespassers to stay off our property (burglars, anyone?), and we want our personal, emotional, boundaries to be observed as well by the people we meet. Zeus Horios still influences our lives. So will you join us in honoring Zeus and Zeus Horios come December 24 at 10 am, EST? The community for the event can be found here and the ritual for the event can be found here
An aspis (ἀσπίς), sometimes also referred to as a hoplon, was the heavy wooden shield used by the infantry in various periods of ancient Hellas. Ancient Hellenic aspides (ἀσπίδες) featured a huge assortment of incredible designs, ranging from Hellenic symbols of myth to fearsome animals, all designed to make a shield more personal and more intimidating. Every city-state had its own design (or several designs, depending on the time). I found this very interesting video about the use of the shield and I thought you might like it as well.

I was in need of a little mythology today, and took out my copy of the ancient Hellenic myths translated to Dutch by B.C. Goudsmit and H.A. Guerber. The book is old, from around 1915, and it's one of my favourite translations. When I'm in need of a mythology fix, I enjoy opening it to a random page and reading whatever myth comes up. Today, that was the myth of Atalanta.

Atalanta (Ἀταλάντη) was usually considered the daughter of Iasus, king of either Tegaea or Maenalos, by Klymene, daughter of Minyas. Her father wanted a son, so he abandoned her in the forest where a bear suckled her until Artemis sent hunters to rescue her. She could outshoot anyone with the bow and was also the most fleet-footed mortal alive with the exception of Euphemos and Iphiklos of Phylake. When still young, she killed two centaurs, Rhoecos and Hyaelos, who had attempted to rape her. She also took part in the Kalydonian boar hunt and was a member of the Argonautai who went out to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

Atalanta is my all-time favourite heroine. She kicks ass and because I read about her, I'd like to share a bit about her today, in the words of Claudius Aelianus. Claudius Aelianus (Κλαύδιος Αἰλιανός) was alive from around 175 to 235 CE. He is often referred to as 'Aelian'.  He was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric. While Roman born, he spoke fluent Greek and loved the ancient Hellenic writing styles. Varia Historia (Ποικίλη Ἱστορία) is one of his best known surviving works. The work contains miscellangelous anecdotes and biographical sketches, lists, pithy maxims, and descriptions of natural wonders and strange local customs. There are fourteen books in total. In book 13, he describes the myth of Atalanta. Enjoy!

"Here is the story from Arkadia about Atalanta the daughter of Iasion. At birth her father exposed her; he said he wanted sons, not daughters. But the man who took her to be exposed did not kill her, and instead went to Mount Parthenion and put her down near a spring. At that point there was a cave in the rocks, and close by it a dense wood. The child was under sentence of death, but she was not betrayed by fortune, for shortly afterwards arrived a bear, deprived of her cubs by hunters, her breasts bulging and weighed down with milk. Moved by some divine inspiration she took a fancy to the child and suckled it. In this way the animal simultaneously achieved relief from pain and gave nourishment to the infant. And so, still full of milk and supplying nourishment though she was no longer mother to her cubs, she nursed the child who was not her own. The hunters who had originally attacked her young kept an eye on her. They watched all her movements, and when the bear made her usual journey to hunt and feed, they stole Atalanta, who was not yet so named, for it was they who gave her the name. She was brought up by them in the mountains, and slowly her body grew with age. She was committed to virginity, avoided contact with men, and longed for solitude. She established herself in the highest mountains of Arkadia, where there was a well-watered glen with big oak trees, also pines with their deep shadow.

What harm does it do us to hear of Atalanta’s cave, like Kalypso’s in the Odyssey? At the bottom of the defile was a large and very deep cave, at the entrance protected by a sheer drop. Ivy encircled it, the ivy gently twined itself around trees and climbed up them. In the soft deep grass there crocuses grew, accompanied by hyacinths and flowers of many other colours, which can not only create a feast for the eye; in fact their perfume filled the air around. In general the atmosphere was of festival, and one could feast on the scent. There were many laurels, their evergreen leaves so agreeable to look at, and vines with very luxuriant clusters of grapes flourished in front of the cave as proof of Atalanta’s industry. A continuous stream of water ran by : pure in appearance and cold, judging by the touch and the effect of drinking it; it flowed in generous and lavish quantity. This very stream served to water the trees already mentioned, with an unfailing current contributing to their vigour. The spot was full of charm, and suggested the dwelling of a dignified and chaste maiden.

Atalanta slept on the skins of animals caught in the hunt, she lived on their meat and drank water. She wore simple clothes, in a style that did not fall short of Artemis’ example; she claimed the goddess as her model both in his and in her wish to remain a virgin. She was very fleet of foot, and no wild animal or man with designs on her could have escaped her; and when she wanted to escape, no one could have caught her. It was not just those who saw her that fell in love with her; by now her reputation won her lovers.

Now let us describe her appearance, if that is not unwelcome--and it is not, since form it one might gain experience and skill in writing. While still a girl she was bigger than a full-grown woman, and more beautiful than any young woman from the Peloponnesos in those days. She had a fiery, masculine gaze, partly the result of having been nurtured by an animal, but also because of her exercise in the mountains. But since she was full of spirit, there was nothing girlish or delicate about her; she was not the product of the women’s apartments, not one of those brought up by mothers and nurses. Nor was her body overweight, not surprisingly, since she exercised every limb in hunting and physical exercise. Her hair was golden, not due to feminine sophistication, dyes, or applications, but the colour was natural. Exposure to the sun had reddened her face and it looked just as if she was blushing. What flower could be so beautiful as the face of a young woman taught to be modest? She had two astonishing qualities : unrivalled beauty, and with it a capacity to inspire fear. No indolent man would have fallen in love on looking at her, nor would he have had the courage to meet her gaze in the first place; such radiance with beauty shone over those who saw her. To meet her was remarkable, especially since it happened rarely; no one would have easily spotted her. But unexpectedly and unforeseen she would appear, chasing a wild beast or fighting against one; darting like a star she flashed like lightning. Then she raced away, hidden by a wood or thicket or other mountain vegetation.

One day her neighbours, audacious lovers and very tiresome revellers, burst in upon her noisily at midnight; they were two of the Kentauroi (Centaurs), Hylaios and Rhoikos. Their noisy interruption was not done with flute players or in the style of young men from the city; there were pine torches, which they lit and made to burn fiercely; the first sight of fire would have terrified even the population of a city, let alone a solitary young woman. Breaking fresh branches off the pines they wove them together and made garlands for themselves. The incessant, continuous sound of hooves was heard in the mountains; they burned trees and made towards the young woman, evil suitors who in a violent and over-excited state brought gifts for the wedding in advance. But she saw through their plan. From the cave she caught sight of fire and realised who the revellers were; not flinching or cowed by what she saw she bent her bow, shot her weapon, and hit the first of them directly. He lay there, and the other advanced, no longer in the mood of a reveller but with hostile intent, wishing to defend his companion and vent his anger. But he too was punished, by the young woman’s other arrow. So much on the subject of Atalanta, daughter of Iasion." [13.1]
History.com put up a really pretty image gallery recently with images of some of the most famous ancient Hellenic monuments. They all have bits of info attached that you might like as well. Enjoy!

"Ancient Greek ruins that survive today are among the most iconic landmarks in the world. Grand structures like the Acropolis in Athens are a testament to a culture defined by advancement and innovation, especially in art and architecture.

In the middle of 5th century B.C., Athenian general Pericles paid workers to build temples and other public buildings in the city of Athens. He believed the projects would help him win the support of the people by providing more jobs. The structures' design and flawless finish ensured ancient Greece's glorified place in history."
I'm blatantly copying this post from Sententiae Antiquae today, as they have worded this wonderfully! Dr. Deborah Beck at the University of Texas had her students produce podcasts on specific passages from Homer’s Iliad. Each podcast lasts about 12 minutes and can be listened to in sequence or as a standalone piece. Dr. Beck starts the project off herself with a nice introduction and a discussion of Iliad 22.199-213. In looking at Hektor’s flight from Achilles provides her an opportunity to think about divine engagement in the war “helps to …make the Iliad a universal story of loss and war rather than a more simplistic and less interesting victory song of the Greeks.”

The first student presentation by Ethan Russo looks at Achilles’ reflection on Hektor and his treatment of the body. Ethan emphasizes the emotive experience of reading the passage out-loud as a method in re-embodying the text. The third episode turns to Andromache’s laments for Hektor and how the narrator characterizes her ignorance (“evoking the distance between Andromache’s expectations and reality”). Sam Ross’s reflections on presenting this text in class are a personal and useful reminder of what it is like for anyone to plan a class.

Altogether the podcasts provide an intimate view of the tools and assumptions that shape the way we read Homer together. Claudia Cockerell brings us to the beginning of book 23 in the 4th episode and asks us to think about the catharsis of the coming funeral. She starts with a reading of the appearance of Patroklos at the beginning of the book and “the fact that Patroklos thinks they will be able to embrace one more time further underlines how little he knows of the current situation”. Claudia communicates her own deep conflict in witnessing the dream sequence and being unsure of which character deserves our pity.

In Episode 5, Austin McDow expands on the simile which precedes Priam’s supplication of Achilles in the middle of book 24 (24.424-506). Austin does a great job of invoking the basic themes of Priam’s katabasis before turning to the simile–he summarizes how his fellow students responded to his simile and the potentially ungovernable range of responses to such a charged moment.

In Episode 6, Rachel Pritchett focuses on Achilles’ response to Priam’s request–she surveys each of Achilles’ speeches in book 24 to show how each one of them emphasizes “important insights into the character’s worldview, emotions, and sympathies.” Staying with this movement, Trey Timson uses Episode 7 to talk about Achilles’ myth of Niobe in book 24. This paradeigma (a hero’s telling of a previous myth for a specific purpose) is one of the more hotly debated topics in Homeric scholarship.  Trey brings together multiple interpretations and the conventional tale to bear on the strangeness and power of this moment. He notes smartly that ancient audiences might not be troubled by contradictions–he sees a blend of different traditions operative at the same time. (He spends an extra bit of time focusing on the importance of sitos (“grain”) in this passage.)

Episode 8 (which comes a bit out of order) looks at the final 100 lines of the Iliad. Lauryn Hanely  provides a proud overview of the poem’s end, starting with a tangent about the importance of a three-act structure for works of art, separating the poem into three parts. For her, books 23 and 24 present the denouement of the three-part movement. Lauren goes through the powerful laments that close the epic’s final book.
Short on time today, so have a video! A lecture by Edith Hall, Visiting Professor of Classics, on 29 November 2018

"One of the classical Athenians' most important inventions was the theatre. This lecture outlines the origins of Greek drama in this historic setting. 

Medea, Antigone, Oedipus and Lysistrata - these are just some of the characters from ancient Greek drama who still walk our contemporary stages and haunt our imagination. One of the classical Athenians' most important inventions was the medium of theatre. 

From the mid-sixth century BCE they gathered to watch tragedies, and later comedies in their sanctuary of the wine-god Dionysus on the south slope of the Acropolis. This lecture outlines the origins of Greek drama in this historic setting, its architectural development and some of the greatest masterpieces." 
The Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, announced the successful completion of the seventh full excavation season at the 4th century BC Mazotos shipwreck was successfully completed, after four weeks of intensive fieldwork (20 September -21 October 2018). The project is conducted by the Maritime Archaeological Research Laboratory (MARELab) of the Archaeological Research Unit, University of Cyprus, in collaboration with the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, under the direction of Dr Stella Demesticha, Associate Professor in the Department of History and Archaeology. The photogrammetric mapping of the site was coordinated by Dr Dimitrios Skarlatos, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Cyprus University of Technology.

The objective of this year’s field season was to continue and complete the excavation of the bow area of the ancient ship. A total of seventy (70) partly or fully preserved Chian amphorae were recovered, which raised the number of amphorae stowed under the foredeck of the ship’s hold to ninety nine (99). Most of these amphorae were most probably carrying wine but at least one was full of olive pits, possibly for consumption by the crew. Also, two fishing weights were found, which offer us a glimpse of the life onboard the merchantmen of the period.

Underneath the cargo, the wooden hull was poorly preserved, most probably (as a result of the wrecking episode and (the subsequent natural site formation processes at play. Only two days prior to the end of the season, a much better preserved part of the hull began to appear, which is a promising indication that more coherent evidence on shipbuilding technology will be found during the next field season. After careful study of the excavated timbers, however, a very important element of shipbuilding technology has already come to light: both ligatures and mortise-and-tenons were used to join the garboard, the stempost and the keel.

Related with the traditions of two prominent Mediterranean seafaring people, the Greeks and the Phoenicians, these two techniques found in the same ship add an important piece to the puzzle that is the history of classical shipbuilding in the eastern Mediterranean. This history has thus far been grounded on only two excavated shipwrecks: the Ma’agan Michael, Israel, dated to the end of the fifth century BC and the Kyrenia shipwreck, Cyprus, dated to the beginning of the third century BC. Thus, the Mazotos shipwreck, dated to the fourth century BC, fits right between these two and covers a gap in the development of naval technology in antiquity.

The research team was comprised of 43 members (archaeologists, divers and students), most of them volunteers from Cyprus and eight different countries: Greece, UK, Spain, USA, Italy, Slovenia, Poland and Germany. The project was funded by the Honor Frost Foundation, CYTAVISION, the THETIS Foundation and the University of Cyprus.
The Διονύσια κατ᾽ ἀγρούς, or μικρά, the rural or lesser Dionysia, a vintage festival, was celebrated in the various demes of Attica in the month of Poseideon. It was celebrated with a large procession in which men carried a phallus and cakes. Revelers and singers were also a part of the procession. A representation of the God was included to represent His coming. The festival also included stage comedies and the playing of lighthearted games. Generally, it was a joyful festival, shared by all, even the serfs. Will you join us for it on December 18 at 10 am EST?

The Dionysia was originally a rural festival in Eleutherae, Attica, probably celebrating the cultivation of vines. It was probably a very ancient festival, perhaps not originally associated with Dionysus. This 'rural Dionysia' was held during the winter, in the month of Poseideon. The central event was the pompe (πομπή), the procession, in which phalloi (φαλλοί) were carried by phallophoroi (φαλλοφόροι). Also participating in the pompe were kanephoroi (κανηφόροι – young girls carrying baskets), obeliaphoroi (ὀβελιαφόροι – who carried long loaves of bread), skaphephoroi (σκαφηφόροι – who carried other offerings), hydriaphoroi (ὑδριαφόροι – who carried jars of water), and askophoroi (ἀσκοφόροι – who carried jars of wine).

After the pompe procession was completed, there were contests of dancing and singing, and choruses (led by a choregos) would perform dithyrambs. Some festivals may have included dramatic performances, possibly of the tragedies and comedies that had been produced at the City Dionysia the previous year. This was more common in the larger towns, such as Piraeus and Eleusis.

Because the various towns in Attica held their festivals on different days, it was possible for spectators to visit more than one festival per season. It was also an opportunity for Athenian citizens to travel outside the city if they did not have the opportunity to do so during the rest of the year. This also allowed travelling companies of actors to perform in more than one town during the period of the festival.

The community for the event can be found here and the ritual here.