A new European project of particular significance for the preservation of Europe’s tangible cultural heritage began its research activities at the beginning of June, coordinated by the Research Institute of Communications and Computer Systems of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).
HYPERION’s basic objective is to offer appropriate tools to cultural institutions, researchers, public bodies and the general public for a better understanding of the impact of climate, ravages of time, intense geological phenomena and accidental, extreme weather conditions at archaeological sites and monuments of cultural heritage.

HYPERION is expected to use existing tools and innovative technologies (climate models, models of extreme phenomena and their impact, structural analysis, Copernicus services, terrestrial and satellite images etc) to develop various mathematical models which will be used to create a new, pioneering platform. Through use of the HYPERION platform, competent cultural operators and public authorities will be able to have a better understanding of the dangers and threats to tangible cultural heritage, make decisions for a swifter and more effective response, and contribute to the sustainable reorganization of the historical regions under threat.

The platform’s end users who are expected to launch the HYPERION project are national and regional cultural institutions for the management and preservation of tangible cultural heritage, national and global cultural organizations, as well as municipal and regional authorities of the places whose archaeological sites and monuments are their point of reference.

The project is expected to mobilize citizens in helping identify potential hazards and raise awareness of issues relating to the preservation of regional and European cultural heritage.

The results of the project will be initially tested in four iconic places: a) the medieval city of Rhodes, b) Albayzín and Realejo in Granada, Spain, c) the Castrum Tunsbergis in Tønsberg, Norway, and d) Venice, Italy.

The project consortium has an interdisciplinary background, with 18 partners from eight different countries, including universities, research institutes, companies as well as various end-users such as cultural institutions and municipal authorities. Greece participates with the Research Institute of Communications and Computer Systems of the National Technical University of Athens, the National Technical University of Athens, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Municipality of Rhodes, the Dodecanese Ephorate of Antiquities and the Intercultural Euro-Mediterranean Center for UNESCO.

At the inaugural meeting of the partner organizations held in Athens on June 4-5, the project’s future research activity was determined, for the platform to be activated in pilot mode during the next four years. The project has a duration of 42 months (June 2019 – November 2022).
Poseidon is the God of the Mediterranean seas, who can strike down His trident and create fresh water springs, or disastrous earthquakes. He is also the Lord of horses, presumably because of the foamy waves rising up like a herd of horses before crashing on the shore. He has made His home underwater, with his wife Amphitrite and other water creatures, many of which immortal. He's a powerful God, one of three brothers who rule the sky, the sea and the underworld.

Claudius Aelianus (Κλαύδιος Αἰλιανός), commonly called Aelian, was born at Praeneste around 175 AD. He was a Roman author and teacher of rhetoric who spoke Greek so perfectly that he was called "honey-tongued" (meliglossos). He preferred Greek authors, and wrote in a slightly archaizing Greek himself. "On the Nature of Animals" (Περὶ Ζῴων Ἰδιότητος) is a collection of seventeen books. All contain brief stories of natural history, sometimes selected with an eye to conveying allegorical moral lessons, sometimes because they are just so astonishing. He also quotes other authors and in the collection, he quotes a hymn to Poseidon I'd like to share with you today. It was originally written by Arion, son of Cycleus, it seems. He wrote the poem in thanks to Poseidon for saving his life. He focusses on dolphins. It goes as follows and probably stems from the fifth century BC:

"Highest of the Gods, Lord of the sea, Poseidon of the golden trident, earth-shaker in the swelling brine, around thee the finny monsters in a ring swim and dance, with nimble flingings of their feet leaping lightly, snub-nosed hounds with bristling neck, swift runners, music-loving dolphins, sea-nurslings of the Nereid maids divine, whom Amphitrite bore, even they that carried me, a wanderer on the Sicilian mean, to the headland of Taenarum in Pelops' land, mounting meupon their humped backs as they clove the furrow of Nereus' plain, a path untrodden, when deceitful men had cast me from their sea-faring hollow ship into the purple swell of ocean."

Climate change is threatening ancient Greek monuments, among them the Acropolis, one of the most-visited archaeological sites in the world, scientists said. Air pollution and acid rain are eroding marbles, while extreme weather phenomena such as droughts or torrential rains have led ancient walls and temples to develop structural problems. Even though the Acropolis hill, where the Parthenon stands, is probably Greece’s best preserved archaeological site, there are signs that climate change has been increasingly affecting the monuments that stand on the hill.

The temple of the Parthenon on the rock of the Acropolis, located in the heart of Athens, dates back to the classical period of antiquity – the 5th century BC. Maria Vlazaki, General Secretary in the Greek Culture Ministry, told Reuters:

"The walls of the (ancient) city have more erosion than in the past. For decades there have been efforts to preserve and protect the Acropolis and its monuments, an operation that has been sped up since the mid 1970s. But the country has hundreds if not thousands of exposed archaeological sites. Every year, we have more cases... We give more money, unexpected money to protect the walls of the (ancient) cities that had no problems before, to protect the coastal area."

The wider Athens area has been hit hard by deadly floods and forest fires over the last decade. A 2007 forest fire in the Peloponnese peninsula threatened to destroy the temples and stadiums of ancient Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games.

Christos Zerefos, a professor in the Academy of Athens said extreme weather events had become more frequent and the sudden swings from periods of flooding to drought were destabilizing the monuments.

Speaking on the sidelines of a conference on climate change and cultural heritage, Zerefos told Reuters Greece needed better shelter for its monuments, and a monitoring system that would help provide extra protection in case of extreme weather.
Ask any college student who Plato is, and if they have heard of him at all, they will undoubtedly also know the 'cave theory'. The Allegory of the Cave--as it is better known as--was written by Hellenic philosopher Plato in his work The Republic to illustrate 'our nature in its education and want of education'.
In The Republic, Plato has his mentor Socrates describe a group of people who have been chained to a wall in a cave their whole lives. In front of them is a blank wall. The only thing these people have seen all their lives lived are shadows, projected onto the wall by a fire burning behind the people. Everyone and everything that passes between the fire and the people is projected upon the wall. As humans do, the people begin to ascribe forms to these shadows, even though they can not see--and do not know--what or whom has caused these shadows. As the walls echo back sound, the people think that it is actually the shadows that speak, not the people behind them. When the people are released and look around, they will be shocked, horrified, and blinded by the light. They will fear what they see and for them, the shadows will be truer than everything around them, as they are used to the shadows.

Plato saw in these people the philosopher's struggle to look beyond the obvious, and look deeper into the fabric of the world, despite pain, fear, and shock. In Plato's words:

"...the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire, I have expressed whether rightly or wrongly God knows. But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally, either in public or private life must have his eye fixed."

Many of us have heard this allegory in high school or college, but you've probably never heard it quite in the way Tim Wilson tells it in the following video, wherein he explains the entire analogy in great--and humorous--detail. If this theory was something you were struggling with, this video should fix that. You're welcome.

PS: I did not hear about this analogy in school, I heard it from a stoned friend while watching The Matrix. That movie, when you about it, is incredibly close to the allegory: Neo thinks he's living life, but in fact, he's trapped in a kind of shadow play. Once he yanked out violently, he is forced to learn about real life. After that, goes back in to free those still trapped inside. After that, he gets distracted, but that is besides the point. All of this to say that Plato's ideas are still very much relevant to this day.
This is really cool! Hundreds of fragments from ninety-nine of the ceramic containers which have been excavated so far from the hillfort site of Vix-Mont Lassois in Burgundy have shed light on how the drinking customs of the early Celts varied depending on social class and occasion. A description of the findings were recently published in the journal PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed science periodical.

The discoveries suggest that the population used both imported and locally-made drinking vessels to drink Hellenic wine and local beer — and while beer was drunk by everyone, warriors drank millet beer and the elites drank ale made from barley or wheat.

The authors of the study explained that “The Celts in the Early Iron Age did not just drink imported Hellenic wine from their imported Hellenic pottery.

“They also used the foreign vessels, in their own way, for drinking different kinds of local beer, as organic residue analysis of 100 Early Iron Age local and Mediterranean drinking vessels from Mont Lassois, France, shows.”

The study is the first to investigate the impact of these Hellenic imports and of Mediterranean feasting and consumption practices of the “Early Celtic” peoples.

But how did scientists figure out if the early Celts were copying Hellenic customs or using Hellenic wine and ceramics for their own specific Celtic cultural practices?

Experts used the method of gas chromatography mass spectrometry to study organic residues extracted from the 99 ceramic fragments which were uncovered. Researchers were able to chemically analyze the organic residues from fragments of pottery vessels from four different specific locations at the site.

This new, groundbreaking  technology has enabled scientists to cast new light on the food consumption habits of people who lived in the distant past.

The early Celts lived in what is now Germany, France and Switzerland around 500 BC. Women held more political power than they did in many other Bronze Age European societies, such as that of the Hellenes. In ancient Hellas elite men drank wine at “symposiums,” important social gatherings which barred respectable women.
On 20 June 2019 Greece and the world museum community will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The state-of-the-art museum is regarded as one of the best in the world and its designers, builders and operators are justifiably entitled to celebrate this defining structure. But amidst all the euphoria, let’s not forget that the museum was seen as the long-awaited catalyst for the return of the Elgin collection of Parthenon Sculptures currently on display in the British Museum. Ten years later, how closer is Greece to reunifying the Parthenon Sculptures? George Vardas (Vice-Chair of Australians for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures) discusses.

"It is important to recall that one of the main reasons for the new museum was to counter the British argument that the Greeks did not have a suitable museum for the Parthenon Sculptures even if they were ever returned to Athens. Indeed, as one historian has noted, the new museum was intended not only to create a modern museum space that related directly to the Scared Rock, but also served as a

“political vehicle for the vociferous expression of the request for the return of the Parthenon marbles from the British Museum and a proof that they will take good care in the soil that gave birth to them”.

For years, the British Museum had dreaded the moment when an iconic new museum would rise from the ground in Athens. In fact, on 22 March 1991 the former Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the British Museum, B M Cook, had sent a memo to the British Museum director with this warning:

“The next phase of the campaign for repatriation is likely to begin any time after the actual start of construction of the new Acropolis Museum. The problem has not gone away, it is merely in hibernation; and when it wakes up, our successors will find that it is fiercer than before.”

The Greeks had also assumed that the new museum would make that case emphatically. As a 2002 report in the Washington Post noted, Greece was building the museum in hopes of reinforcing efforts to change the up-to-now negative stance of the British government and ”shaming the British government into giving back sculptures taken two centuries ago”.

Prior to the actual unveiling of the museum in 2009 the former Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis declared:

“Once the museum is completed, Greece will have a very strong argument for the return of the Parthenon sculptures. We are taking a very important step to finally realise a dream that unites all Greeks.”

The Acropolis Museum has therefore always been the centrepiece of the campaign for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures but unfortunately it was assumed that, once built, the case for return would be made out.

At the actual opening, the then President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, stated:

“The whole world can see, all together, the most significant sculptures of the Parthenon. Some are missing. Now is the time to heal the monument’s wounds with the return of the marbles to where they belong … their natural setting.”

The Acropolis Museum has therefore always been the centrepiece of the campaign for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures but unfortunately it was assumed that, once built, the case for return would be made out.

For a start, the British Museum had other ideas. Over the last decade it has carefully rebranded itself as the universal museum, the “museum of the Enlightenment”, the “collective memory of mankind”, a museum at the “centre of a conversation with the world” and therefore the logical repository for the marbles. Today, it arrogantly describes itself as the “museum of and for the world”.

According to the British Museum, the life of the Elgin Marbles as part of the story of the Parthenon is over and they are now part of another narrative, that of the British Museum in London, in a not too subtle attempt to suppress the context of their origin.

In April 2018, the British Museum hauled some twelve pedimental sculptures, metopes and parts of the frieze into a separate hall in the museum under the pretext of displaying these works of art together with sculptures by the renown French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. In its press release the British Museum stressed that the exhibition “will provide a new opportunity to focus on the Parthenon Sculptures as individual works rather than as part of an ensemble” as an obvious counter to the claim that the sculptures are integral to a unique monument.”

This followed a similar exhibition – Defining Beauty – in 2015 and the notorious ‘loan’ of the River God Ilissos pedimetal sculpture to the Hermitage Museum in Russia in late 2014.

Whilst Greece may have a new museum in Athens, the British Museum has devised a new political and diplomatic playbook by which it promotes the Parthenon Sculptures as individual works of art which can be dispersed or dismembered as the Trustees see fit, with no intention of ever returning the collection to Athens.

Meanwhile, cultural diplomacy via mediation through UNESCO has been rejected. Resolutions made at the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee on Cultural Property over the last 30 years for meaningful negotiations to be undertaken between Greece and Great Britain over the sculptures have also been routinely ignored by the British side.

So, while we can justifiably celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Acropolis Museum as a magnificent museum and the unifying element for the Parthenon and its sculptures, the unfortunate reality is that we are no closer to the return of the sculptures.

Whilst Greece may have a new museum in Athens, the British Museum has devised a new political and diplomatic playbook by which it promotes the Parthenon Sculptures as individual works of art which can be dispersed or dismembered as the Trustees see fit

The next Greek Government needs to carefully reassess its approach and to embrace all political, diplomatic and legal options that are available to bring about an effective resolution so that one day, when all the known surviving sculptures are finally reunited from the British Museum and elsewhere, the Parthenon Gallery of the Acropolis Museum can truly be called the most famous single room of Classical Greek art in the world.

Only then will the Greek Stones truly speak."
I don't have children, but I can imagine raising any future children in the Hellenistic Tradition. Now the weather is improving, I'm going to describe some fun things to do with children to get them in the mood for a Hellenistic festival, and to help make them feel more included.

While the Hellenistic rituals are pretty fun, and children are easily included--washing their hands and face, throwing barley grains, acting as carriers of water, wine or offerings, etc.--there are most certainly specifically Hellenistic activities that you can undertake with your children to make the day memorable and prepare them for the rituals, should you so desire.
  • let the children design their own Hellenic clothing, and have a fashion show to show off the designs
  • pick flowers with the children and let them make their own wreath to wear for the festival
  • assist the kids in writing a mythologically inspired play, and let them perform it on the day of the festival; this play can be inspired by existing plays, of course
  • play '20 questions' with the kids by having them stick a post-it with the name of a Theos or Theia on it on their foreheads and asking each other questions to find out who they are
  • make temples of their own design with the kids; these can be drawn, fashioned out of clay, made out (or inside of) shoe-boxes, or with bricks and wood, if you have the resources at your disposal
  • a similar assignment can be done  for altars, pottery, columns, statues, or ancient Hellenic houses
  • Hellenic shields and helmets can be made out of cardboard
  • how about drawing monsters on cardboard and cutting them out? They can play 'Hēraklēs' with them afterwards and vanquish them
  • collect as many rocks and other markers as you can find and lay out the lines of a temple behind the altar, so they can play at being priests and priestesses
  • alternatively, the kids can make a labyrinth and find the heart of it, like Theseus when he went to hunt for the Minotaur. Having them find their way out is also an option, of course
  • cook as much Hellenic food together as you can stomach and have a tasting party
  • let the kids read and study the Hellenic alphabet, and compose coded messages to each other. Use clay or plaster to create a plaque the students can carve their name into. Use a paperclip as a hanger (apply to the plaster or clay while it hardens) so the plaque can go on the wall. Stone fleck paint or simple gray paint can be used to 'stonify' the plaque afterwards.
  • make ancient Hellenic coins out of clay, carving images into it, or using the clay to make a mould that you can pour tin in. Note, tin fumes are poisonous and is has to be melted! Don't let the kids do this themselves!
  • host Olympics with kids-appropriate sports like long jump, sprints, relay races, and things like frisbee throw, space hopper races, and rope jumping competitions
As you can see, there are a thousand-and-one things to do with children that will teach them about ancient Hellas, and make a festival day extra special. Besides, most of these things, I would love to do myself; the space hopper races, especially!

Image taken from: Culture24
Archaeologists in Bulgaria have found a pedestal fragment with an inscription in ancient Greek, dating to the second century BC. The discovery was made last week at the Great Basilica site in Plovdiv.

Overall researchers found three fragments, probably part of a large statue which was later reused for the paving of the atrium. The statue was probably in honour of a prominent citizen of Philippopolis, who organised celebrations in honour of the gods and goddesses, and it was probably placed in the theatre. After all, the word ‘theatro’ is still visible on the inscription.

The inscription is dated to the time of emperor Trajan or Hadrian, namely the first decades of the second century. The Great Basilica is estimated to date to the 4th-5th century. Therefore archaeologists believe the pedestal was probably somewhere nearby and was used as construction material for the basilica.

The inscription is of particular interest since it is the first time the Ancient Theatre of the city is mentioned explicitly. Another inscription found in the past linking the Basilica to the theatre comprised a list of  the Elders’ Council members. This second link between the two sites is therefore quite important.

Epigraphist professor Nikolai Sharankov who examined the letters on the stone slab said that so far two letters of the person represented are visible, and hopefully more fragments will be found in the future and help restore it.
“Excellence, very-hard-work for mortal races,
The finest catch in life
For your beautiful form, Maiden,
it is an enviable fate to die in Greece
and to suffer hard, relentless toils.
This is the kind of bravery you
Toss in the heart, an immortal thing better than gold,
Or parents, or soft-glancing sleep.
Isn’t it for you that Zeus’ Herakles and the sons of Leda
Labored in their deeds,
Trying to gather up your power?
Because of longing for you, Achilles
And Ajax came to Hades’ home.
For your love and beauty too,
The child of Atarneous lost the light of the sun.
For this reason the deeds get a song and the Muses,
Memory’s daughters, will make it immortal,
Shouting out the glory of Zeus the god of hospitality
And the gift of trustworthy friendship.”

Ὁ δὲ ὕμνος ἔχει τοῦτον τὸν τρόπον·
ἀρετά, πολύμοχθε γένει βροτείῳ,
θήραμα κάλλιστον βίῳ,
σᾶς πέρι, παρθένε, μορφᾶς
καὶ θανεῖν ζαλωτὸς ἐν Ἑλλάδι πότμος
καὶ πόνους τλῆναι μαλεροὺς ἀκάμαντας·
τοῖον ἐπὶ φρένα βάλλεις
κάρτος ἀθάνατον χρυσοῦ τε κρεῖσσον
καὶ γονέων μαλακαυγήτοιό θ᾿ ὕπνου.
σεῦ δ᾿ ἕνεχ᾿ οὑκ Διὸς Ἡρακλέης Λήδας τε κοῦροι
πόλλ᾿ ἀνέτλασαν ἔργοις
σὰν ἀγρεύοντες δύναμιν.
σοῖς δὲ πόθοις Ἀχιλεὺς
Αἴας τ᾿ Ἀΐδαο δόμους ἦλθον·
σᾶς δ᾿ ἕνεκεν φιλίου μορφᾶς καὶ Ἀταρνέος
ἔντροφος ἀελίου χήρωσεν αὐγάς.
τοιγὰρ ἀοίδιμος ἔργοις, ἀθάνατόν τε μιν αὐξήσουσι
Μναμοσύνας θύγατρες, Διὸς ξενίου σέβας αὔξουσαι
φιλίας τε γέρας βεβαίου.

Today, I would like to announce the last PAT ritual for Skirophorion, the Diisoteria. It will be held on 3 July, 10 am EDT--our usual time--and we would like you to join us in honoring Zeus, Athena, Asklēpiós, and Hygeia.

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

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

Will you join us in this PAT ritual to reign in the new year? You can find the ritual here and join the community here.
How about a little overview today? An overview of the fertility gods of Hellenismos. I'm going to start off with a lesser known deity: Priapos (Πριαπος), protector of sheep, goats, bees, the vine and of all garden produce. He was depicted with a huge male member, and can be petitioned for aid with any issues regarding the male genitalia. He was native to the Mysian city of Lampsakos on the Hellespont but the ancient Hellenes adopted the God as the son of either Hermes or Dionysos. His mother was usually Aphrodite. Fun fact: primitive statues of Priapos were traditionally set-up in vegetable plots to promote fertility with the added benefit of functioning as a type of 'scarecrow' scaring away birds.

Rhea (Ρεα), wife of Kronos, is a female fertility Goddess--amongst other things. She also looks after mothers and children, and is one of the great mother Goddesses in the pantheon having obviously given birth to the Olympians. Anything female-related (including issues with fertility) can be put before Her. Hera, by the way, has many of the same domains as Her mother--logical as she is the new generation's mother figure.

Aphrodite is also a fertility Goddess. She along with Zeus, Hera, Eileithyia and Hymenaios were the Theoi Gamelioi (Gods of Marriage) who presided over the wedding rites. She was invoked as the Goddess of the consummation of marriage and the fertility of the bride.

Speaking of which, Eileithyia (Ειλειθυια) is the Goddess of childbirth and labour pains. According to some there were two Eileithyiai, one who furthered birth and one who protracted the labour. Her name means 'she who comes to aid'.

Demeter and Persephone were regarded as fertility Goddesses in the Eleusinian Tradition, and during Their Thesmophoria festival, women actively asked for fertility from Them. Demeter, especially, is obviously also very important for the growth of plant life.

Dionysos is mostly associated with the fertility of the soil, and especially in regards to the grape vine, but human fertility is amongst His descriptors. Pan is regarded as much the same, as are many of the Satyrs and daimons connected to Them--like Tykhon, Konisalos, and Orthannes.

Phanes (Φανης) is the Protogenos of procreation in the Orphic cosmogony. He is the primal generator of life, and was the driving force behind reproduction in the early cosmos. Phanes was hatched from the world egg when it was split into its constituent parts by the ancient gods Khronos and Ananke. Arguably, He still drives the process of reproduction, be it in plants, animals, or humans.
Last week, I announced that Ubrisoft is working on a game with Hellenic mythology themes. During E3, one of the largest game fairs, Ubisoft released its reveal trailer and it looks awesome! It shows a lone hero who we hear is pretty important.

"When heroes need help, they turn to the Gods. When Gods need help, they turn to you”. Said hero is charged with saving the Hellenic gods from the monsters that have overpowered them – so, it only follows that he’s going to have to take on things at least equal to the gods’ mightiness. The chief of these, and the orchestrator of the gods’ trouble, is the Titan Typhon.

The trailer also seems to show one of the biggest, baddest baddies it looks like your hero will tackle – a kind of harpy-type creature. It’s not confirmed this is what it is – but, boy, it sure looks angry.
Following this, the Gods & Monsters site says you’ll face off against some of Hellenic myths’ other beasts – including Gorgons, Hydras, and Cyclopes.

It looks then like the “painterly” and visually pretty world Ubisoft has created in the game may be a little at odds with the scary things you’ll find occupying it. However, take these beasts on successfully, and you’ll be the hero of all Olympus. There’ll definitely be some kind of hard-earned reward for that, right?

Gods & Monsters will release February 25, 2020. So excite!
For the third year running, underwater interdisciplinary research was conducted in June and July 2018 in the area of the Kynosoura peninsula and Ampelakia Bay on Salamis, i.e. the meeting place of the main part of the Greek fleet on the eve of the great naval battle in 480 B.C.

As mentioned in the announcement issued by the Ministry of Culture and Sports: The results of the 2018 research in the Ampelakia Bay head and Straits are particularly significant since: a) A new 'amphibian' technique was successfully applied to investigate ancient remains in the shallows, b) the unearthing of a large ancient public building was continued, yielding examples of original marble works of Greek sculpture and c) marine sediment data was acquired which will contribute together with other geophysical and archaeological elements, in reconstructing the area’s paleogeography with particular reference to the shape of the Bay and Straits at the time of the Battle of Salamis.

For a more successful investigation of the large submerged ancient building on the north west side of the bay head of today’s Ampelakia, an innovative technique was adopted; a flexible barrier was installed by “K&P Engineering”, a company run by Th. Katseli and G. Petrova, for draining the sea water, which allowed the combined use of methods and technical means for underwater and land excavation in researching the ancient building structure.

By using the ?amphibian” excavation technique, more new sections were unearthed of large stone plinth foundations of the big public building (temple or stoa), probably founded in late Classical/Early Hellenistic times and fully or partly operating up to the  late Roman era (3rd century A.D.).

The monumental construction which today is submerged in mud, seems to be positioned on a North –South axis, at present measuring 15 m and certainly extending towards the north and west. It turns out that the east side of the foundation makes up the base of a solid, later pier, constructed at least 200 years ago out of the ancient building’s materials.

The main archaeological layer in the excavated area contained, apart from considerable pottery from primarily  the Hellenistic era and also the late Classical – late Roman times; a valuable collection of fragments of marble statues, architectural members (?), columns or pedestals and other objects that are obviously  connected with the building’s thriving operation.

Among the marble works from the late Classical/Early Hellenistic period is a complete head of a young man, possibly an athlete or a god (Hermes?). It is the first of its kind to come to light on Salamis. It is an original work, an exceptional example of Greek sculpture of the advanced 4th century B.C., the product of a first class work shop bearing the stamp of great art. Some stylistic features of the work have already been recognized as related to the School of Skopas or Lysippus.

In the wake of the 2018 research period, it seems very likely that the 'emerging' construction is one of the main public buildings in the district, or on the fringes of the Agora, on the lowest level of the ancient city, seen and described as ruined by Pausanias the Traveller around the mid-2nd century A.D. Its location, directly adjacent to the city’s harbour, is reminiscent of other coastal public building complexes on Thasos, Andros, and Delos.

As in previous years, the research was conducted by the Institute of Marine Archaeological Research (IMAR) in collaboration with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Ministry of Culture and Sports,headed by Dr Angeliki Simosi and Yiannos G. Lolos, Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Ioannina and president of IMAR, with the support of the Marine Geology and Physical Oceanography Laboratory of the University of Patras, under Professor George Papatheodorou. Funding came from the generous sponsorship of Michael and Myrto Pateras and resources of IMAR.

30 individuals from different fields of expertise actively participated in the 2018 underwater archaeological and geophysical research. The main collaborators were Dr Christina Marabea, responsible for field work and documentation and technical manager Nikolaos Golfis.
Modern society always seems to put itself above the ancient societies that preceded it, but without their inventions, we wouldn't be what we are today, and we certainly would not have what we have today. The ancient Hellenes were masters of literature, art, philosophy, mathematics, geometry, astronomy, medicine and many other sciences, but they also constructed some inventions we use to this day. Here is a list of 25 of them. How many were you aware of?

Anchor: the Hellenic contribution to ship construction is huge. You've heard of the Argo, right? The Hellenes were also some of the firsts who made long sea voyages and who build ships that could not be brought to shore, thus forcing them to find a way to tie their ships down when there was nothing to tie them to. Anchors of huge stones have been around since the Bronze Age, but the Hellenes were the first to solve the problem in a technological manner. Most often these anchors--often referred to 'teeth' (ὀδὁντες, dentes) in Hellenic poetry--consisted of sacks or buckets which were filled with stones, although later versions were made of stone and already had the shape of anchors so well know today. Every ship had several anchors.

Alarm Clock: the ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428–348 BC) was most likely the first to possess an alarm clock. It was a water clock of some design that, when having counted to the desired time, played something with the sound of a water organ. Ctesibius (285–222 BC) had a device which would drop balls of some sort onto a metal plate at a specified time, thus waking up the sleeping party.

Automatic Doors: Heron of Alexandria created a hydraulic system, based on steam power, which automatically opened the doors to an Alexandrian temple. The engine used air from a closed chamber heated by an altar fire to displace water from a sealed vessel; the water was collected and its weight, pulling on a rope, opened temple doors.

Catapult: accounts of Hellenic versions of the catapult date back to 399 BC. They often shot out arrow-shaped projectiles, not boulders, but the mechanism was very much the same as the later medieval catapults.

Cement: cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. Although the word is Roman, the Hellenes already had a version of it, adding limestone to a mixture of clay, water and sand. It was used from 100 BC onwards, and mostly in what is now the coast of Turkey.

Central Heating: although the Romans perfected the design, the ancient Hellenes already had a system in place where a fire heated up air, which was then forced through pipes hidden under the floor. The air warmed up the floor and, in turn, the room. Slaves kept the fire burning, of course.

Clock Tower: the ancient  Tower of the Winds dates back to about 100 BC. It housed a water clock which was connected to eight sundials on the outside of the tower. The entire mechanism has since vanished, but the tower remains, including the depictions of the eight wind deities: Boreas (N), Kaikias (NE), Eurus (E), Apeliotes (SE), Notus (S), Livas (SW), Zephyrus (W), and Skiron (NW). I have seen the Tower of the Winds in person, and it's beautiful. It's also (one of the) first clock towers of the world.

Coin Money: long before the rule of the Hellenes, we developed a trade system that relied on a token, not goods. Commodity money was born, but the Hellenes were the first to develop coins of different sizes and materials and put a value on various trading goods.

Crane: in the sixth century BC, the Hellenes invented a way to lift the heavy stone blocks onto the emerging temple walls: a crane. Holes drilled into the stone suggest ropes were attached to the blocks, and pulled up to be fitted in place.

Crossbow: like the catapult, crossbows emerged in ancient Hellas and were a favored weapon. The arrows they fired traveled far, were absolutely deadly, and the weapon was relatively easy to load.

Lighthouse: the famous lighthouse of Alexandria was constructed around 300 BC, by Sostratus of Cnidus. With a height around 400 ft (120 m), it stood as one of the tallest man-made structures on Earth for many centuries. It was one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Maps: Anaximander, who lived from 610 to 546 BC, was the first to create maps with the concept of latitude and longitude, and it were later Hellenes Eratosthenes and Strabo who created maps of the entire known world at the time, which--granted--was not the known world as we know it today.

Odometer: an odometer--as car enthusiasts will most likely know--is an instrument that indicates distance traveled by a vehicle. In ancient Hellas, it was used to measure the distance between cities. Although the actual device was never recovered, some of the measurements were. They were so accurate that some form of technology had to be involved.

Plumbing: in the 400s BC, Athens began to develop highly extensive plumbing systems for baths and fountains, as well as for personal use within individual homes. Many houses in ancient Greece were equipped with closets or latrines that drained into a sewer beneath the street. They seemed to have been flushed by waste water. Some of the sewers were fitted with ventilating shafts.

Sinks: the ancient Hellenes were the first to have an automated sink with running water, so both hands could be washed at the same time.

Showers: especially in gymnasia, large, communal, showers could be found. As it wasn't manly to wash with anything but cold water, it was doubtful the water was heated. There are also vase paintings of female athletes using showers.

Spiral Staircase: Temple A at Selinunte, Italy, was special. It was build around 480 BC. Selinunte was one of the most important of the Greek colonies in Sicily. There were five temples, but of only the 'E'-temple, it is sure whom it was dedicated to: Hera. Who the A-temple was dedicated to is not clear, but it had a unique design feature: the first spiral staircase in history.

Steam Engine: it was a children's toy, designed by Heron of Alexandria. He called it an aeolipile; a cylinder, arranged to rotate on its axis, having oppositely bent or curved nozzles projecting from it. When the cylinder is pressurized, steam blows through the nozzles and the aeolipile spins around. It was the first steam-powered anything, and extraordinary in its own way.

Surveying tools: the Hellens were well aware that a building needed a solid foundation, and a city needed proper planning in order to stand safely for a long time. More on the latter below, but for both, it was incredibly important to pick out a good building site. In order to do this, the Hellens devised many tools to test the soil, measure out the slope of the ground, and gather other valuable information before building their structures. It shows; much of what stood then, survives to this day, more or less intact.

Thermometer: Philo of Byzantium was a Hellenic Jewish philosopher who discovered that air expanded when heated. He attached a tube to a hollow sphere and extended it over a jug of water. When the device was in the sun, air expanded out of the sphere and into the water, creating bubbles. When he put the device in the shade, nothing happened. Around that same time (+/- 50 AD) Heron of Alexandra worked on the first thermometer for medicine.

Umbrella: they were made from larger bones, wood or plant leaves, and used to block rain or sun. While they certainly were not up to par with modern umbrella's, they served their purpose well.

Urban Planning: in the Hellenic city of Miletus, a grid formation was used for residential and public streets and areas. This was around 400s BC.

Vending Machine: Heron of Alexandria made another contribution to our current wellbeing. He invented the original vending machine. It dispensed water when a coin was put in. When the coin went in, it fell on a pan that was itself attached to a lever, which opened a valve. The pan would tilt until the coin fell off, thereby turning off the water.

Water Mill: even back in the day, power was needed to set mechanisms to work. In 300 BC, in Perachora, the first waterwheel was most likely created, and toothed gearing is also attributed to the Hellenes, who managed to set in motion various devices with it.

Wheelbarrow: it seems like something someone in the stone age would have come up with, but it wasn't. The Hellenes were the first to create a one wheeled cart around 400 BC. They were used on many construction sites throughout ancient Hellas, and who can blame them? Every little bit helps when you're creating massive temples.
Removing what had become over the years a real jungle that covered the western side of the walls of Paestum, the archaeologists of the Archaeological Park came across a completely unexpected discovery: capitals, columns, cornices and triglyphs belonging to a Doric building in the city of temples.

The most surprising discovery is a panel, probably a metope, in sandstone decorated with three rosettes in relief, such as are also found in other Doric buildings built between the sixth and fifth centuries BC in Paestum and its territory.

The cleaning of the walls began a few days ago as part of a European project funded with structural funds and aimed at the restoration and redevelopment of the walls of ancient Paestum, about 5 km long.

The architectural elements, of extreme interest also for the presence of traces of plaster and red painting, seem to have been accumulated along the perimeter walls during agricultural works since the 1960s. They seem to belong to a smaller building - a small temple or a portico (stoà) - which would date back to the same period as the Tomb of the Diver and the Temple of Athena (end of the 6th/beginning of the 5th century BC).

As the director of the Paestum Archaeological Park, Gabriel Zuchtriegel, explains, the area has in the past provided a votive collection, with clay statues of female deities on a throne and ceramic fragments dating back to between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC. It is located in the vicinity of what was probably the kerameikos of Paestum, the craft district where the famous painted vases of the city were made.

"Now, somewhere between the artisan quarter and the city walls, there must have been our building, a real jewel of late archaic Doric architecture. The question remains: where exactly?"
For the second PAT ritual of the month, Elaion would like to present to you the rituals for the Skiraphoria. The Skira(phoria) was celebrated mainly by women, perhaps to contrast the Greater Dionysia celebrated mostly by men, but we have created a separate ritual for men which excludes portions of the festival but does allow them to participate. Will you join us on June 16th at 10 AM EDT?

The Skira, or Skiraphoria was celebrated over a three day period and we have few details about it. What we do know is that the Skira is most likely a fertility festival, mostly of the earth so that a good harvest was ensured for the following year, which started a little more than half a month later. Demeter was certainly honored during the festival, as well as her daughter Kore, as the Goddess of spring growth. Yet, many other deities are tied to the harvest and the success of the nation in some way, especially in Athens from where most of the surviving material originated. There, Athena Skiras and Poseidon Pater also had a role to play.

What we know of the rites is that a gathering left Athens on the day of the Skira, and another delegation left Eleusis. At Skiron, a precinct on the road to Eleusis, stood a sanctuary dedicated to Athena Skiras, Poseidon Pater, Demeter and Kore. Here, the two delegations met, and the priests and priestesses of all Theoi involved interacted in some way; Plutarch mentions that one of the three 'sacred plowings' of the Athenians took place at this time. It is, perhaps, possible that at this time, the priestesses of Athena and the priests Poseidon made amends with the priestesses of Demeter and Kore--there was bad blood between them for, as Apollodorus reminds us:

"Athena, therefore, called the city Athens after herself, and Poseidon in hot anger flooded the Thriasian plain and laid Attica under the sea." [3.14.1]

The Thriasian plain is where Eleusis is located, and it would have been entirely flooded during this episode. Perhaps the Athenian deities ritually made amends for this during the Skira? Alternatively, or perhaps additionally, during the reign of Erechtheus in Athens, war broke out against the Eleusinians, who were assisted by Eumolpus, whose mother was Khione, daughter of Boreas, and whose father was said to be Poseidon Himself. Eumolpus attacked Ahens because, as he put it, that land belonged to his father. Could the rituals of the Skira be penance for this war as well, where Poseidon (and Athena) 'rode out' to meet Demeter and Kore in the middle for a rite that would settle their grievances?

The details of the procession to the Skiron and the subsequent ritual are largely lost to us. Although debated by certain scholars, it seems that those in the procession--or perhaps only the priests and priestesses--carried umbrella-type canopies over their heads which were of a bright white color. It is possible that this was only one large canopy per group, and it was held over the heads of the priests and priestesses by others in the procession. The canopy was or were called 'skiron' as well. Of the sanctuary itself, we know very little besides its location and deities. It is, however, said to have been the place where the first sowing took place, tying the Skira rituals back in with the purpose of fertility.

The Skira was celebrated over a three day period, but when this procession took place is unclear. To bring fertility, the women abstained from intercourse on these days, and to this end they ate garlic to keep the men away. We also know that during the Skira, offerings were thrown into the sacred caves of Demeter located in a cliff at Eleusis: cakes shaped like snakes and phalluses, and very real piglets. These became the Thesmoi--'things laid down'--that were removed in the Thesmophoria. The piglets were fertility symbols but also related to the myth of Demeter, Persephone and Hades, because it is said that when Hades opened a chasm to swallow up Persephone--the caves of Demeter--a swineherd called Eubouleus was grazing his pigs and they were swallowed up in the chasm as well.

For the men, there was a race in which they carried vine-branches from the sanctuary of Dionysos to the temple of Athena Skiras. The winner was given the Fivefold Cup, or 'pentaploa', containing wine, honey, cheese, some corn and olive oil. Only the winner was allowed to pour libations to Athena from the cup, and ask Her to bless these fruits of the season.

For these rites, we will honor Demeter, Kore, Athena, and Poseidon. The female version of the rite which includes Demeter and Kore as well as the Thesmoi, and that of the men has sacrifices to Poseidon, Athena, and Demeter. We also encourage the men to perform some sort of athletic feat afterwards to honour Athena.

The PAT ritual will take place on the 16th of June, at the usual 10 am EDT. The rituals can be found here for the women, and here for the men. We look forward to your participation and if you would like to discuss the rite or festival with others, feel free to join us on Facebook on the event page. We hope you will join us!
A number of doctors participated in a ceremony reviving the Hippocratic Oath in its birthplace, the Asclepeion archaeological site on the Greek island of Kos in the Aegean Sea, where Hippocrates (460-370 BC), the ancient Greek "father" of medicine, lived and practiced, the International Health Tourism Center (IHTC) announced.

Doctors from east China's Anhui Province and representatives of medical associations and universities from Anhui and Shanghai, along with Italian doctors of Reproductive Medicine, took the authentic Hippocratic Oath during an event organized by IHTC that aims at cross border collaboration for high quality health tourism, according to an IHTC e-mailed press release.

The Hippocratic Oath is an ethical code which has been adopted as a guide to conduct by the medical profession throughout the centuries and is still used in graduation ceremonies of several medical schools across the world. In the oath, doctors pledge to do their best to treat their patients and live an exemplary professional and personal life.

The revival of the Hippocratic Oath is an initiative undertaken in cooperation with the Hippocratic Foundation as part of efforts to disseminate ancient Greek medical knowledge to today's and tomorrow's doctors worldwide, IHTC said.

Addressing the event, George Patoulis, IHTC's President, head of Athens Medical Association, and newly elected Governor of Attica, stressed the significance of strengthening such exchanges between medics from the West and the East. Peng Daiyin, head of Anhui University of Chinese Medicine, added:

"After what we lived, after what we felt, I will return to our university in Anhui and announce that from now on all our students will take the authentic Hippocrates Oath at Kos."

"Every doctor must once in his life come into this place to feel the energy, connect with the past, and understand that everything about Medicine really started here," Filippo Maria Ubaldi, Clinical Director of the General Center of Reproductive Medicine of Italy, noted on his part.

The physicians visited Greece on the occasion of a fertility forum organized by IHTC in Athens over the past weekend.
Ever so often, I repost something I published years ago, for the new generation of readers. This video is one of the things I'd like people coming into Hellenismos to view.

This is a video by Cara Schulz; a Google chat session where she spoke to The Order of Hekate about how Hekate was worshipped in ancient times, as well as the basics of Hellenismos. Her talk incorporates Hekate's Deipnon, Noumenia, Agathós Daímōn, household worship, household worship vs. state worship, the future of Hellenismos and interfaith work. It might look like a long video, but it's very worth it, especially once Cara gets on a roll.

Cara, for those unfamiliar with her, is a member of Hellenion, the largest Hellenic polytheist organization in the United States. Her workshops on Hellenismos have been held at some of the largest Pagan gatherings in the United States, including Pagan Spirit Gathering and Sacred Harvest Festival. She is also the Managing editor of the Pagan Newswire Collective and founder of International Pagan Coming Out Day.

Ubisoft has unveiled Gods & Monsters, a light-hearted Hellenic mythology adventure game coming on February 25, 2020. The game is an accessible mainstream title that will run on cloud platforms such as Google Stadia as well as the PC and traditional game consoles, according to Ubisoft game leaders Marc-Alexis Cote and Jonathan Dumont.

The idea is to take the Homeric stories and classical Hellenic myths and make them accessible to everyone. The game will run on the PC, Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.

The idea came to life during the development of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, a hardcore game that was set in ancient Hellas. The team found such a rich array of stories to tell from ancient Hellenic mythology, but they couldn’t include all of it in Odyssey, said Dumont, creative director.

“It’s the story of the most courageous greek hero: you. You are named Phoenix, and your task is to help the Olympians save the Island of the Blessed. To do it, you have to venture into the Underworld and defeat Typhon and his minions.”

The game is a free-form exploration title with risky traversal. If you try to jump across the chasm, you have to make sure you can make that jump. It has over-the-top mythical combat, puzzles, and world challenges.

“The world is vibrant, with light role-playing game mechanics. You will fight Harpes, Cyclops, and other beasts.”

The idea is to go after a mainstream audience with a story that is relatable to everyone. It is an open world based on Hellenic mythology, with a painterly art style, and a light narrative tone. You can do things like dash and kick or engage in aerial combat.

Needless to say, I'm here for this!
Is your life religious, or are you religious in life? There is a difference between the two, and although neither is 'better', or 'more valuable', it is something to consider, at least. Figuring out this question for yourself will come with a lot of clarity. That I can assure you. So, what is the difference? Religion is an interesting thing. For me, who grew up in a non-religious household, religion was something I had to learn. I started out not believing, then I wanted to believe, and over the years, I found myself religious. It took a while, to be honest. I grew up with the sense there was something there, something to explain some of the most important aspects of my life, but what (which eventually turned into 'who') was there, was a question that felt very foreign.

Religion is like a muscle; you can train it. It involves training your brain to see the divine in everything. This has nothing to do with you eyes, by the way. Eyes see--or don't see--everything. It's the brain that filters. And even if you're blind (in whatever way), there is no reason why you cannot invest in the mental pathways to a religious life. To live a religious life means to see the divine in everything, to live a life with the Gods always in mind. To shape yourself in the image They desire of you, to perform pious rites of your own free will, and to spread their message to whomever wants to hear it.

There is a second way to honor the Gods: by being religious in life. By acknowledging the Gods and following a calendar that suits you, by making Them a part of your life, but not the main event. Religion, as a path to happiness. This is not my way, but I support anyone for whom this manner of worship feels right. As I have said before, I don't have knowledge of the One True Way™, I just know what works for me.

Figuring out what place the Gods take in your life brings clarity and peace of mind; you can try to follow a different path, but if it does not suit you, you won't find much happiness in it. This can be a bit of a search, however, and it'll involve asking yourself the hard questions. Sometimes, it means taking some flack for your ideas. In the end, it'll be worth it, though, because not only will you have discovered something about yourself, you will have discovered a way to honor the Gods that you can stick with for years.