Archaeologists in Greece believe that they have unearthed the ancient Hellenic city of Teneya, which was allegedly founded by king Agamemnon and captured by the Trojans after the Trojan war. Archaeologists announced that they have found remains of the dwelling village, jewelry, coins, and several graves in the southern part of the Peloponnese.

The Dating of the Trojan war is disputed, but most scholars date it to the turn of the XIII-XII centuries BC. Until now, archaeologists had only a clear idea of the whereabouts of the city, but they had no evidence. Found objects belong to the IV century BC.

Excavations around the modern village Clomod began in 2013, evidence of the existence of this place Tine appeared after a series of excavations, conducted in September-October this year. Archaeologists have discovered a neatly built wall as well as clay, stone and marble floors.
It was also found about 200 rare coins, including one coin intended to pay for the journey to the afterlife. Were found seven graves, including one with the remains of a woman and child. Graves decorated with vases and jewellery.

Leading archaeologist Helen Kirk reported that the findings indicate a significant welfare of the residents Tune. According to her, the city was located at the intersection of trade routes between Corinth and Argos in the Northern Peloponnese.

"The city was making pottery in a certain style, which traced the influence of the East, the city maintained contact with the East and the West. He had his own way of thinking, which has developed its own policy."

About Taney little is known reliably. After the founding of the city developed. In the VIII century. to Dr. E. Teneya became part corpsm state. In the beginning of VII century. to n. e the city has added to his possessions Argassi king FDO. During the reign of his descendants Teneya became independent. At the end of the VI century. to Dr. E. Teneya became part Peloponnesiaca Union. During the Achaean war (146 B. G. E.) tenac revolted, came out of the Achaean Union, and defected to the Romans.
Ancient Hellas is often lauded as the birth place of modern science and philosophy. Certainly in the arts of medicine and healing, this is true. Hippokrátēs of Kos (Ἱπποκράτης) is seen by many as the founding father of medicine. Hippokrátēs was alive from 460 BC to about 370 BC. In his lifetime, he set about to advancing the systematic study of clinical medicine, summing up the medical knowledge of previous schools, and prescribing practices for physicians through the Hippocratic Corpus and other works (although he Corpus itself was most likely not written by him, but assembled in and slightly after his time). Hippokrátēs separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the Theoi but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits. Much of his theories came from his very basic understanding of the human body: in Hippokrátēs' time, it was forbidden to cut into a corpse, even for research.

Those who visit this blog on a regular basis know that I'm a fan of Solon and his reformations of the political landscape of Athens in the sixth century BC. Solon (Σόλων) was an Athenian statesman and lawmaker who lived from 638 BC to 558 BC. He spent most of his adult life trying to legislate against political, economic, and moral decline in archaic Athens. His ideologies are often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. Solon's reforms created a system where the power was in the hands of the people, because instead of leaving justice to be administered by the aristocracy. He was also a poet and some of his work has miraculously survived. Today, I would like to share one of the fragments of his work that have survived.

O ye fair children of Memory and Olympian Zeus,
ye Muses of Pieria, hear me as I pray.
Grant, that I may be blessed with prosperity by the Gods,
and that among all men I may ever enjoy fair fame ;
that I may be as a sweet savor to my friends and
a bitterness in the mouth of my enemies,
by the ones respected, by the others feared. 

Wealth I do indeed desire, but ill-gotten wealth I will not have :
punishment therefor surely cometh with time.
Wealth which the gods give, cometh to a man as an abiding possession,
solid from the lowest foundation to the top;
but that which is sought with presumptuous disregard of right and wrong,
cometh not in the due course of nature. 

It yields to the persuasion of dishonest practices and followed against its will ;
and soon there is joined thereto blind folly which leadeth to destruction.
Like fire, it taketh its beginning from small things;
but, though insignificant at first, it endeth in ruin. 

For the works of unprincipled men do not continue long.
Zeus watcheth all things to the end.
Often, in the spring season, a
wind riseth suddenly and disperseth the clouds,
and, stirring up the depths of the surging, barren sea,
and laying waste the fair works of the husbandman
over the surface of the corn-bearing earth,
cometh to the lofty habitation of the gods in heaven
and bringeth the blue sky once more to view ;

the sun shineth forth in his beauty over the fertile earth,
and clouds are no longer to be seen.
Like such a sudden wind is the justice of Zeus.
He is not, like mortal men, quick to wrath for each offense ;
but no man who hath an evil heart ever escapeth his watchful eye,
and surely, in the end, his justice is made manifest.

One man payeth his penalty early, another late.
If the guilty man himself escape and the fate of the gods come not upon him
and overtake him not, it cometh full surely in aftertime :
the innocent pay for his offense —
his children or his children's children in later generations. 
[Fragment 13]

This excavation season completed the five year project of excavation research in the Bronze Age settlement at the 'Asvestaria' site in Petroto, Trikala, in northwestern Thessaly, Greece. The excavation is being conducted under Maria Vaiopoulou, archaeologist of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Karditsa, with the collaboration of an interdisciplinary team of researchers and the support of INSTAP.

The dig at the “Asvestaria” site in Petroto, Trikala began as a rescue excavation due to the construction of the Larisa–Trikala national highway where a Late Bronze Age settlement came to light. The excavation research carried out during the five year programme provided interesting data on the settlement’s use of space over the centuries. The case of the Petroto settlement is the only known example in West Thessaly of a Final Neolithic or even earlier settlement whose life continued uninterrupted to the end of the Bronze Age.

During the excavation, parts of 14 buildings came to light which date from the EH II to the LHIIIC. One of the best preserved is Building H with a NE-NW orientation which dates from the LHIIIC. It is an arched building with an entrance on its northwest side and measuring 8.75x7m.

Building E which dates from the LH IIIA is a large, rectangular building with three construction phases. A 16.21m wall survives from the first phase, while a 12.22m wall remains from the second phase, where the building is found to be smaller. In the third phase, at least three spaces as well as a monumental entrance can be distinguished. The dimensions of the building in this phase are 16.21×5.60m.

The building continues under the old Larisa–Trikala national highway. Building I which dates from the LHIIIB period, has a NW-NE orientation with the maximum remaining dimensions being 21.77×5.56m. It is made up of at least four spaces. On the north east side of Building I where its entrance is situated, a section of paved street came to light, 4.22m long and 2.40m wide, which covers building IB that dates from the LHIIB.

During the excavations 42 burials came to light either in cist or pit graves that dated from the EHI to the LHIIIC, as well as a Roman pit grave with rich grave gifts, inside a layer of the EHIII. Some of the burials are particularly interesting such as that of a family (father, mother and infant) in a pit grave.

Likewise, a burial came to light in a pit grave of a mother with an infant at her breast. In a box next to a child’s cist grave, among other grave gifts a dog’s skeleton was uncovered. As we know, dogs as grave gifts are often encountered in the Late Bronze Age.

Apart from the discovery of locally produced ceramics, there was a remarkable number of “imported” vases from Argolis and Crete. In the local ceramics of the LHX period which have their particular characteristics regarding the clay and the distinctive handles, the Middle Helladic tradition can be traced even in the shape of the vessels.

A large number of local ceramic vases mainly of the LHIIB period, imitate the ceramics of Argolis, using α dye in the coating which is similar in colour to the Argolis clay. Most of these ceramics are also to be found in northern and western Greece and in Albania.

Finally it is worth mentioning the presence of animal bones under the foundations of a building that dates from the MHX I (between 2134 and 1939 BC), which perhaps suggest a foundation ritual, as well as the burial of a piglet located under backfills of the LHIIIA1 period.
The lōtophagoi (λωτοφάγοι) are a tribe of people encountered by Odysseus and his crew as they are trying to find their way home after the long Trojan war. In the Odysseia, Odysseus has had quite the adventure already when a strong northern wind has them land on the shores of an island, inhabited by friendly, inviting people. The crew parts with the ship and some partake in the delicacies offered to them by the tribe. The food their receive lulls their mind into forgetfulness, and their bodies into sleep, and when Odysseus sees what is happening to his crew, he drags them away, ties them down to the ship and sets sail. From the Odysseia:

"For nine days I was driven by fierce winds over the teeming sea: but on the tenth we set foot on the shores of the Lotus-eaters, who eat its flowery food. On land we drew water, and my friends ate by the ships. Once we had tasted food and drink, I sent some of the men inland to discover what kind of human beings lived there: selecting two and sending a third as herald. They left at once and came upon the Lotus-eaters, who had no thought of killing my comrades, but gave them lotus to eat. Those who ate the honey-sweet lotus fruit no longer wished to bring back word to us, or sail for home. They wanted to stay with the Lotus-eaters, eating the lotus, forgetting all thoughts of return. I dragged those men back to the shore myself by force, while they wept, and bound them tight in the hollow ships, pushing them under the benches. Then I ordered my men to embark quickly on the fast craft, fearing that others would eat the lotus and forget their homes. They boarded swiftly and took their place on the benches then sitting in their rows struck the grey water with their oars."

Herodotos was sure the lotus-eaters were an actual tribe. In book four of his Histories, he writes:

"In a peninsula which stands out into the sea from the land of these Gindanes dwell the Lotophagoi, who live by eating the fruit of the /lotos/ only. Now the fruit of the lotos is in size like that of the mastich-tree, and in flavour it resembles that of the date-palm. Of this fruit the Lotophagoi even make for themselves wine." [177]

So, what is this lotus? Scholars have pointed to a number of plants which might represent the lotus of the ancient Hellenes, including clovers, fellbloom, water lilies and fenugreek. None of these would have the desired psychoactive effect, however, and personally, I am of the opinion that the lōtophagoi enjoyed the ripe seed pods of the poppy plant, which resemble the pod of an actual lotus. I have no evidence of this, however.

Where the island of the lotus-eaters is located is another mystery entirely. Scholars take the location to be somewhere of the North African shore; quite possibly the island of Djerba, but as we have seen, Herodotos states the lōtophagoi lived in a peninsula, which discredits that theory. All that is certain is that we do not know where the lōtophagoi lived, if they lived at all, although I see no reason why the tribe would not have existed; getting addicted to a hallucinogen is something easily accomplished.
Albania's long underexplored coastal waters have become a hotspot for treasure hunters scooping up ancient pottery, sunken ship parts and other shell-encrusted relics that have lain on the seabed for centuries.

The 450-kilometre (280-mile) coastline, which is lapped by the Adriatic and Ionian seas, was off-limits under the communist regime which ruled the Balkan state until 1990, with orders to shoot anyone caught diving without authorisation.

But today its waters are open, luring archaeologists but also looters eager to plumb the new territory and sell their finds on the art and metals markets. Albanian archaeologist and art historian Neritan Ceka, among those calling for urgent measures to protect the underwater heritage said: 

"Much of this wealth resting at the depth of 20-30 metres (66-99 feet) is easily accessible without any special equipment and has almost completely disappeared without a trace."

While diving at the beginning of the 1980s—under communism, archaeologists and soldiers were permitted—he was one of the first to see for himself the seabed treasures, he said.

"I saw extraordinary richness, amphoras (terra-cotta jugs), pottery, archaeological objects which are no longer there today."

Teams of European and Albanian divers "have started to loot in a barbaric way", he lamented.
Expeditions carried out since 2006 by the US-based RPM Nautical Foundation have found some 40 shipwrecks along Albania's coastline, including vessels dating back to the 7th century BC and naval ships from World War I and II.

Hundreds of Roman-era amphoras—used to store wine, olive oil and other goods on trade vessels—are also clustered on the sea floor, covered in marine plants. Experts say that without a full inventory, it is impossible to know how many of the artifacts have been plucked from the seabed and sold on the international art trafficking market.

The market overall generates a global turnover of more than $4 billion (3.5 billion euros) a year, according to Auron Tare, who chairs UNESCO's scientific and technical advisory body on underwater cultural heritage.

"But what is certain: a treasure hunt below the seas can bring in big profits," said Moikom Zeqo, an underwater archaeologist who helped discover a 2nd-century BC Roman ship carrying hundreds of amphoras.

The vases can be sold for up to 100 euros in Albania, where they are on display in some high-end restaurants, or auctioned for much greater sums in London and other art capitals. Other prized discoveries have been ferried home by foreign divers and placed in various private museums around the world, such as the bell of an ill-fated Austro-Hungarian ship, the SS Linz, that sunk off Albania's northwest coast with 1,000 passengers on board after striking a mine in March 1918.

"These objects (from the SS Linz), exhibited in a private museum in Austria, must be returned to Albania," said Tare, who also heads the Albanian Center for Marine Research.

Divers are also going underwater to strip early 20th century warships for their high-quality steel.
Steel produced before any nuclear explosions happened in the world is especially lucrative, as it lacks any trace of radioactivity and can be used for sensitive medical devices and other scientific equipment.

"To skin the hull and remove it from the seabed, the looters use dynamite," said Ilir Capuni, a researcher and professor at the University of New York Tirana. He has seen the plunder firsthand. Back in 2013, Capuni helped discover a Hungarian-Croat steamer, the Pozsony, that sunk off the coast of Durres in 1916 after striking a mine. But four years later, "we found that there was almost nothing left of it," said Capuni.

A similar fate has befallen the Italian medical ship Po, which was struck by a British torpedo in 1941 off the coast of southeastern Vlore. Benito Mussolini's daughter Edda Ciano, who was aboard the ship as a nurse, survived. Its algae-covered hull was miraculously intact when it was first discovered but has since been dismantled in places and emptied of valuable objects, such as the bell, compass, telegraph, lights and dishes.

Bought firsthand for 5,000 euros, some parts have been resold since to collectors for 20 times that amount, Capuni said.
In June, authorities passed a law classifying the shipwrecks as cultural monuments and requiring strict licensing for diving teams.
Police are also working with Interpol to trace and return stolen objects, said criminal police director Eduart Merkaj, although so far there have been no concrete results.
One dream shared by Albanian and foreign experts is to create an underwater museum, such as the one that exists in the Turkish city of Bodrum, that would protect the artifacts and draw tourists.

"The time has come to build an underwater museum, laboratories and a specialised centre," says Luan Perzhita, director of Albania's Archaeological Institute. But the high costs of such a project remain a barrier, with only 30,000 euros allotted in the state budget this year for archaeology. "Albania has never had the luxury or awareness to understand the great importance that this wealth represents for the country's history and for Mediterranean civilisation," said Tare. Even though, he added, the waters still contain "more treasures that have not yet been discovered".
A necropolis with more than 12,000 almost untouched burials from the Archaic and Classical periods, many of which are rich in grave goods, was discovered between 2008 and 2011, during work on the expansion of the railway line at the site of the ancient Greek city of Himera, the remains of which lie within the borders of the modern Sicilian comune of Termini Imerese.

Many of these burials are associated with an infamous page in the history of the ancient city, located on the strategic border between Hellenic Sicily and the area controlled by the Phoenicians: a vicious battle fought between the Greeks and Carthaginians in 480 BC. The former prevailed, as evidenced by the discovery of the remains of the Temple of Victory, erected to mark the occasion, but in 409 BC the Carthaginians took revenge by besieging and razing the city. Unequivocal evidence of these two epic clashes can be seen in the thousands of skeletons of men and horses, found in mass graves and in individual burials.

There are as many as nine mass graves (seven associated with the battle of 480 BC and two with the battle of 409 BC) containing the bodies of those who fell in battle - arranged in an orderly fashion, one next to the other, in numbers varying from two to more than fifty. According to archaeologists, about thirty burials of horses, probably killed in the battle of 480 BC, were likewise interred in the area of the necropolis, near the mass graves.

The discovery of two bronze greaves of the Iberian type confirm what Herodotus wrote, regarding the presence, in the Carthaginian army commanded by Hamilcar, of mercenaries from various parts of the Western Mediterranean.

The finds from this the largest Greek necropolis ever discovered in Sicily, which have remained locked in sixteen crates in a warehouse for 10 years, is now finally being transferred to Palermo where they will be displayed in the Real Albergo dei Poveri, a Bourbon-era building.

The issue was raised by a parliamentary question tabled last summer by Luigi Sunseri (Cinquestelle), a regional member of parliament, to whom the Regional Department of Cultural Heritage, chaired by the archaeologist Sebastiano Tusa, replied in detail.

The arrangement is expected to be temporary in the hope, Sunseri said, that the finds can soon find a worthy museum location in Termini Imerese from whose territory they come. The aim is to make them an important tourist-cultural attraction with all the economic implications that follow. "This", added the deputy, "is an invaluable heritage that cries out for mercy and requires an adequate location."

For three years, between 2008 and 2011, a highly talented team of specialists, including archaeologists, anthropologists, restorers and illustrators, led by the Archaeological Superintendence of Palermo, has been engaged in daily excavation activities. The constant presence of anthropologists, led by Prof. Pier Francesco Fabbri of the University of Salento, has made it possible to collect important information related to the life and culture of the local population, as in the case of the burials of soldiers killed in the battles of Himera in 480 and 409 BC.

The tombs have mostly re-emerged at a depth of about three metres below ground level, covered by a very compact and homogeneous layer that over the centuries has protected the necropolis. Scholars speculate that possible flooding of the sea or the nearby river may have contributed to this.

During the excavations, various types of graves were found: they range from simple graves dug into the sand, to wooden coffins, stone sarcophagi to cremation burials. Skeletons of newborns have also been found, placed in terracotta amphorae in the shape of a uterus (enchytrismoi), bearing witness to the high infant mortality rate of the time, the risk of which was particularly high between birth and six months of age. Anthropological studies were carried out to determine the age, sex, height, diseases and nutritional aspects of the deceased, as well as the types of funeral rituals used.

With the Universities of North Colorado, Georgia and Salento, research has been activated on aspects of bioarchaeology, with DNA analysis, useful to investigate human adaptation to the environment and paleonutrition in Himera and in the ancient Mediterranean.

Also interesting is the evidence of cranial surgery performed on a 19-21 year old girl, who lived between the sixth and fifth centuries BC, and who had a circular drill hole (132 mm in diametre) on the right hemi-frontal bone of the skull. An operation that evidently had no therapeutic effects but which nonetheless testifies to the existence in Himera of a school of advanced medicine.

The high concentration of males is in fact what links most of the mass graves, to the two great battles of 480 and 409 BC, rather than attributing the high mortality rate to epidemics or other tragic natural events that would inevitably have involved women and children.

They are in fact individuals aged between 15 and 57 years, with traces of deep wounds caused by cutting or throwing weapons, some of which - such as arrows, spear heads, swords, daggers - were still found embedded in the skeletons because they were not removed before burial. The study of these types of finds has made it possible to reconstruct the dynamics of duels between soldiers and the battle techniques of the time.

The burials of thirty horses are traced back by experts to the clash of 480 BC. A detailed study has been made of these remains and which will significantly illuminate both archaeological and zoological aspects.

Signs that the mass slaughter of 409 BC also involved a large part of the civilian population have also been found, especially in the eastern part of the necropolis, in front of the city walls, especially in the upper layers: here hundreds of skeletons were placed chaotically, with men and women of all ages and bones sometimes no longer anatomically connected. These are probably disorderly burials made in a hurry by the survivors of the great massacre.

At the site of the discovery, great care was taken to analyse the finds, to carry out photographic documentation, cleaning, consolidation, assembly of the fragments, integration of missing parts, final protection with microcrystalline wax, labelling and storage.

Two restoration laboratories have been set up - one for the restoration of large ceramic vessels, the other for the restoration of small items, such as funerary objects - which have enabled more than 6,000 restorations to be carried out.

In short, an enormous amount of work and a vast wealth of knowledge on a Greek city and its funeral practices, made even more poignant by the state of neglect in which everything had been left to stagnate, until the recent turning point.
LEt's do a refresher course in some key terms of Hellenismos and Hellenic sacrifice: holókautein versus thyesthai. Some definitions first: worship in ancient Hellas typically consisted of sacrificing at the altar with hymn and prayer. Holokautein (ὁλοκαυτεῖν) were sacrifices in which the sacrifice--domestic animal, fruits, cakes, wine, etc.--was utterly destroyed and burnt up, as opposed to thyesthai (θύεσθαι), in which the sacrifice was shared with the Gods in question and one's fellow worshippers. In the case of a latter animal sacrifice, the edible parts of the sacrificed animal were roasted or boiled and distributed for festive celebration, whereas the inedible parts were burned or placed on the altar, those being the Gods' share.

Let me now say that there is no list; well, I could probably make one but that would be highly impracticle and I would most likely forget two thirds of divinities and others who recieve(d) sacrifice. I can make a general working formula for you though: Ouranic deities (so any deity (!) who lives on the Earth, on Olympos, or in the sea) were honored with thyesthai. The Khthonic, or Underworld, deities, malign deities, heroes, the dead, ghosts and nymphs and their ilk recieved holókautein.

This distinction is very black and white, but there were variations, especially between city-states, but sometimes even within a single city-state. Context was important, but as a working model, the distinction above is useful. So, why this divide?

Sacrifices to the Ouranic deities were given to establish kharis: the act of giving to the Gods so They might give something in return. It's religious reciprocity. It is important to realize that even a sacrifice where the worshippers share in the sacrifice is essentially a holókaustos: the entire sacrifice is given to the Gods in question, but as part of kharis, the Gods do not take all of it, but give part of it back to Their worshippers to sustain them and reward them for their worship. So the entire sacrifice is property of the Gods as soon as it is dedicated to Them (a procession to the altar is sufficient for that, but hymns and prayers aid this proccess), but They share it with us. This way, kharis is established right away: I give to You, You give to me, and so we sustain and honor each other.

For holókautein, I am going to disregard the nymphs for a bit and come back to them later. Kharis need not be established with Khthonic deities: for us humans, we will go to the Underworld regardless of good standing. As with Ouranic sacrifices, the entire sacrifice belongs to the intended force as soon as it is dedicated to them, be it Underworld Gods, or the dead in any form (heroes, after all, are dead as well). As humans, we try not to get in contact with the Underworld, as it brings miasma with it: miasma describes the lingering aura of uncleanliness in regards to a person or space through which contact is made with the Gods. Miasma occurs whenever the space or person comes into contact with death, sickness, birth, sex, excessive negative emotions and bodily fluids. It also comes from a lack of contact with the Hellenic Gods. Not the actual acts of dying, sex and birth cause miasma but the opening up of the way to the Underworld (with births and deaths) as well as contact with sweat, blood, semen, menstrual blood and urine pollutes us.

If we were to partake from food that belongs to the Underworld (because we gave it to its deities), we would take something of the underworld inside of us, and as the myth of Persephone clearly states, this means you would become part of the Underworld itself. In my opinion, this is the main reason why we give holókautein to the Underworld deities and the dead.

As for the nymphs: they are a story unto themselves. We have very little factual information on the worship of nymphs. We know it took place, we know they receive libations (mostly of honey and water), and we know they had sactuaries which were sometimes tended to full time by self-appointed priests. There are, however, many forms of the nature spirits we call nymphs. Some are Ouranic in character, some Khthonic, so it varies what kind of sacrifice they got and get. Even more so, some source material (including Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles) features libations of water and honey to non-specified nymphs, but which seem to have an Ouranic character. As such, I tend to give holocaustal sacrifices to the nymphs, just to be on the safe side.

I hope this generalized list helps in deciding how to sacrifice to which force and furthers your understanding of ancient Hellenic sacrificial practices.
The work of reassembling the torso of the kouros of Lentini and Testa Biscari, which belonged to a single Greek archaic statue and which were reunited thanks to the support of Fondazione Sicilia, has been successfully completed.

The kouros was presented in Palermo, at the Palazzo Branciforte, where it can be viewed until January 13 as part of the exhibition "Il kouros ritrovato", promoted and curated by the Regional Councillor for Cultural Heritage, Sebastiano Tusa, and was born from a proposal launched last year by the art critic Vittorio Sgarbi and the City of Catania.

The two parts of the statue were discovered at different times (between the eighteenth and early twentieth centuries) in Lentini (ancient Lentinoi), one of the oldest Greek colonies in Sicily, and exhibited separately in Syracuse, at the Museo Archeologico Paolo Orsi, and in Catania, at the Museo Civico di Castello Ursino.

The kouros, is a type of Hellenic statue depicting a young man in a static position, with funerary or votive function very widespread in the archaic and classical periods, between the seventh and fifth centuries before Christ. The Lentini kouros dates to the late archaic period (c.530-490 BC) and is made from a single block of white marble almost certainly coming from the Cycladic Islands.

A team of experts from various disciplines, who jointly studied the torso and the head found that the two parts did indeed belong to a single statue, completing the meticulous conservation work and the union of the two parts, which now rests on a base of grey Billiemi marble fashioned by the sculptor Giacomo Rizzo. The president of the Sicily Foundation, Raffaele Bonsignore, "

"With the support of this initiative. We have helped to bring back to life a work of extraordinary beauty. Promoting a valuable testimony of the past like the kouros, which has finally been restored, is part of our mission to promote art and culture, through the support of scientific initiatives like this."
The restoration and conservation of every monument of the Athenian Acropolis is a task that started as soon as the modern Greek state was founded and it has never stopped since then. As the Acropolis Restoration Service (YSMA) notes, "the works of restoration, carried out since 1975 on the Acropolis monuments, follows a long tradition." 


The chief characteristics are a special emphasis on the aesthetic result of the interventions, a tendency to recover the supposed classical appearance of the monuments with a greater focus on their archetypical character, YSMA explains.

From the period of the reign of Otho in the mid-19th century and the passion for everything classical, as Greece was trying to find its roots, until today, with the most sophisticated technology and countless experts, the effort is continuous and the aim the same: The designation of the magnificence of this classical Greek monument that was always the center of the Greek soul.

The aim of the restoration that takes place now has three pillars: The mechanical, that focuses on damages made by earthquakes, fires, explosions and bombardments; the chemical, that tries to tackle the forms of erosion suffered by the marble mainly as a result of acid rain; and the biological, that emphasizes on damages caused by molds, bird-droppings, plant roots and more.

Throughout the restoration and conservation efforts, the necessary infrastructure along with the suitable equipment has been provided to those involved so that the work can be carried out in a safe and proper way.

The latest project is expected to continue until 2020 and has a budget of €5 million ($5.7 million).
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 28, at the usual 10 AM EST.

Let's 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 26, at 10 AM EST? You can join the community here and download the ritual here.
I promised to stop posting about the new Assassin's Creed, but goodness, they did well capturing an ideal ancient Hellas! I came across this video yesterday and had to share. Could someone take me there, please? 


Assassin's Creed is a franchise centered on an action-adventure video game series developed by Ubisoft. It depicts a centuries-old struggle pitting the Assassins, who fight for peace and free will, against the Templars, who believe peace comes through control of humanity. The series features historical fiction mixed with real-world historical events and figures. The series took inspiration from the novel Alamut by the Slovenian writer Vladimir Bartol, while building upon concepts from the Prince of Persia series.
Two highly prized ancient coins from the times of Alexander the Great were seized when a Palestinian man attempted to smuggle them into Israel from the Gaza Strip through the Erez Border Crossing. The ancient coins were dated to 325-323 BC.


The coins are made of silver and are equivalent to the tetradrachm, an Ancient Hellenic silver coin. They were coined during the late days of Alexander the Great’s reign, or shortly after his death.

One was coined in Babylon—modern day Iraq—and the other in Amphipolis, an Athenian colony in modern day Greece. The two coins are highly prized and sought after and are of vast historical and cultural importance.

This isn’t the first attempt to smuggle coins into Israel from Gaza. In July 2017, a Palestinian man entering Israel was caught carrying four coins from the time of Alexander the Great.

Alexander the Great, 356-323 BC, was the King of Macedonia and is considered one of the greatest leaders in history. He conquered the land of Israel and Egypt without encountering any major resistance. He established a city named after him in Egypt—Alexandria—and then returned to Syria and Mesopotamia, where he famously beat the Persian King Darius in the battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC. In 323 BC, at age 33, Alexander died of a fever, after conquering vast lands from Europe and all the way into India. His empire was split to three after he died and never returned to its former glory.
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 24th, at the usual 10 am EST?

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 24. You can download the ritual here and join the community for the event here.
Today we will look into the little talked about practice of the washing of feet within the context of xenia. It's something I have been curious about ever since I first read the Odysseia. 

When I first read the Odysseia, I was struck by a two of the later passages, where Odysseus is home, but in disguise, waiting to take his revenge on the suiters of his wife Penelope. During these passages, Penelope offers xenia to Odysseus, disguised as beggar.

"But, come, my maids, wash the strangers’ feet and make his bed, with blankets and bright rugs over the bedstead, so he may rest till golden-throned Dawn in warmth and comfort. In the morning early, bathe and oil him, so he is ready to breakfast in the hall, sitting by Telemachus’ side. And if any man vexes him and pains his spirit, so much the worse for that man’s prospects: he’ll gain nothing here, rage as he might."

A little later on, Odysseus has refused the washing of his feet by anyone but Eurykleia, his nursemaid whom is still alive, and living at the house. Penelope agrees to have the old woman wash Odysseus' feet, which she does while she laments the fate of Odysseus:

"Perhaps the women of some great house mocked at him in a far-off foreign land, just as these shameless hussies here mock you, sir.  You will not let them wash your feet, for fear of their insults, but wise Penelope, Icarius’ daughter, knowing my willingness, has asked me to wash them. So I shall wash your feet for Penelope’s sake and yours, while my heart is stirred with sadness. But listen to one thing I must say. Many a long-suffering traveller have we welcomed here, but never a man resembling another as you resemble Odysseus in looks and voice – even your feet.’

Then resourceful Odysseus answered her, saying: ‘That is what everyone says who has met us both, old woman, that we are very alike, as you remark.’

With this, the old woman, preparing to wash his feet, poured cold water into the shining basin then added hot. Odysseus swiftly sat down by the hearth, and turned towards the shadows, though he had a sudden premonition that as she handled him she would notice his scar and the truth would be out. As she approached and began to wash him, so it was: she immediately knew the scar Odysseus had received from a white-tusked boar, while hunting on Parnassus, when visiting his mother’s father, noble Autolycus, the greatest of all in thievery and oath-making.


It was this scar the old woman felt as she passed her hands over his leg, and recognising it she let his leg fall. The bronze rang as his foot struck the basin, upsetting it, and spilling the water on the ground. Joy and pain filled her heart at the same moment, her eyes filled with tears and her voice caught in her throat. She touched Odysseus’ face and said: ‘It is Odysseus, it must be. Child, I did not know you, until my hands had touched my master’s limbs."

Acient evidence suggests there were three major contexts in which foot-washing was important: body hygiene, xenia, and religion. The first is easy to grasp: the ancient Hellenes rarely wore shoes. They tended to travel barefoot, or with light, open sandals. Boots were only for the rich. As roads were unpaved, and often dusty in the dry and hot climate, a traveler's feet tended to get dusty and dirty. Upon arrival at their destination, it was customary--and part of xenia--to offer the traveler a chance to wash their feet. Those with female serfs could offer the service of one of them to have their guest wash the guest's feet for them. In cases where no serfs were precent, in case of very special guests--especially those above the host in standing--or between great friends, the host could offer to wash the feet of his guest for them.

Foot-washing was often the chore of female serfs, and was considered lowly work. For the ancient Hellenes, honor was very important. To wash the feet of those below themselves in standing was a breach of societal rules and would most likely be looked upon negatively, or even outright refused. I have found no ancient texts to support this, but I suspect that washing the feet of one of equal standing would be done only between dear friends, perhaps between those who had fought together and saved each other's lives. I suspect that, if this is true, this would extend also to the son(s) of one of the men: the son of the deceased host would extend these honors to the family guest to whom the father was indebted.

At home, washing the feet of elderly family members was considered a form of respect. Aristophanes, in The Wasps (Sphēkes/Σφῆκες ), mentions the pride and joy felt by a rich man when his daughter washes and anoints his feet upon his return from a day of hard work:

"But I am forgetting the most pleasing thing of all. When I return home with my pay, everyone runs to greet me because of my money. First my daughter bathes me, anoints my feet, stoops to kiss me and, while she is calling me "her dearest father," fishes out my triobolus with her tongue; then my little wife comes to wheedle me and brings a nice light cake; she sits beside me and entreats me in a thousand ways, "Do take this now; do have some more." All this delights me hugely." 

Women rarely traveled--if at all--so as far as I can tell, no record of the washing of feet of women, or between women, has survived. I also suspect that this has to do with modesty: in an age where women often went around baring one or two breasts, the ankles and feet were almost always covered up. To bare one's feet--to a man--might have been a sign of seduction. In the rare event of a woman traveling, she would travel with her husband, father, brothers, and/or female serfs. Once arriving at her destination, she would undoubtedly have been allowed and encouraged to wash up and change her clothing. If she had serfs, she would be assisted by them. Else, serfs of the hosting household might have lend a hand, or even the wife of the host. I do wonder if they would ever was the feet of one another.

It seems it was also considered unclean and disrespectful to the Theoi to enter a temple with unwashed feet. Some temples, therefor, offered special basins which a traveler could make use of. It's difficult to find proper information about this, however, because the washing of feet in a religious context is now considered a near-solely Abrahamic thing, and bible quotes are far easier to find than ancient Hellenic texts on the subject. I'm still picking apart Christian and Jewish writings for clues about the Hellenic practice.

I am not sure why this subject interests me so. There is something so very intimate and humbling in the practice; it speaks to me in a way that goes beyond the intellectual. I imagine that having your feet washed upon arrival would make you feel both welcome and respected--as that was what it was, a sign of respect. I would also imagine it would be wonderful to bestow a honor like this to a valued guest. If shared between host and guest--or simply very good friends, or even lovers--it would strengthen the bond between them, and be a wonderful way to practice strong xenia. I think it's a beautiful practice, although not very applicable in modern Hellenismos. Agreements could be made about this, though, like the giving of gifts--another vital part of xenia.