On the day of the Hene kai Nea, or sometimes (like this month), the day after, I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog and in projects and organizations related to it. I will also announce Elaion's coming PAT rituals.

PAT rituals for Pyanepsion:
  • 6 Pyanepsion - 5 October 2018 - Proerosia - agricultural festival for Demeter held at Eleusis
  • 7 Pyanepsion - 6 October 2018 - Pyanepsia - festival in honor of Apollon and Theseus
  • 8 Pyanepsion - 7 October 2018 - Oskhophoria - festival of the vintage (grapes)
  • 8 Pyanepsion - 7 October 2018 - Theseia - festival in honor of Theseus
  • 9 Pyanepsion - 8 October 2018 - Stenia - women's festival in honor of Demeter and Persephone
  • 11-13 Pyanepsion - 12-12 October 2018 - Thesmophoria - festival in honor of Demeter
  • 14 Pyanepsion - 13 October 2018 - Sacrifice to The Heroines at Erkhia
  • 16 Pyanepsion - 15 October 2018 - Apatouria - paternity festival. The first day (Dorpia) was celebrated with a communal feast within the brotherhood, the second day ('Anarrhusis') sacrifice were made to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria, and the third day ('Koureotis') young boys admitted to their father's brotherhood.
  • 30 Pyanepsion - 28 October 2018 - The Khalkeia - festival in honor of Athena and Hephaestus.

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

Would you like to support me? Buy me a coffee.
The archives of the palace of Zominthos on the plateau of Mount Psiloritis on Crete were discovered at the sprawling site during this year's excavation season, the Ministry of Culture said on Thursday.

The archives area is identified on the basis of a clay tablet in the hieroglyphics of Linear A, which lists 217 three-footed vessels. "The tablet looks like a ledger, definitely comprising a list of objects," which it said points to the fact the palace complex was well organized, the ministry said in a statement. Supporting evidence for the area being used for the archives includes its location and other circumstantial evidence.

Besides the multitude of vessels found throughout the site, discoveries included a hallway with pillars leading to a possible throne room. The remains of a seat were found in the latter room, with uses from earlier periods recorded as well (Protopalatial period, 1900 BC to Mycenaean times, ca. 1400 BC).

The remnants of clay pipes from a sophisticated drainage system were also discovered, as were an area of obsidian carving, and another area by the north facade of the main building - joined to it - that contained hundreds of clay vessels, including rhyta, the characteristic Cretan vessels used in rituals. According to research scientists, the whole area provides evidence of extensive metalwork carried out in workshops in the complex.

In addition, the ministry said, an earthquake in the Neopalatial era led to extensive changes, including the creation of a ramp.

This season's excavations were supervised by Efi Sapouna-Sakellaraki, who began excavating the area with her late husband Yiannis Sakellarakis. This season's results confirmed the existence of an older building under the current complex which is built in the Neopalatial period (1700-1600 BC).
"This year's excavations focused on examining the area around the central palatial building and yielded a lot new facts. A basic one is the confirmation that there was an older building under that of the Neopalatial period that was founded on the rock outcrop, occupied a larger area and contained a major number of this period," the ministry said.

I was asked what I would say is the most sacred place for Hellenic Polytheists. I know they were expecting a temple or sacred site as an answer (and try the Acropolis, or any of the old temple sites for that... Delphi even...) but to me, the most sacred place for Hellenic Polytheists is their home, their oikos. Even in ancient times, the majority of daily worship took place there, and it was where the most personal of connections was made with the Gods.

Back in ancient Hellas, most religious activities surrounding the household revolved around the central hearth, which was the physical manifestation of Hestia. The male head of household, the kurios, presented slaves, children and his new wife to the heart fire so they became part of the oikos and fell under the protection of Hestia and the other household Gods.

The courtyard of the home often held a bômos, a free standing, raised, altar where the majority of household worship took place. Some houses also had a wall niche, an indoor worship area, either in a room especially designated for worship, or in the main family room. These altars were used to worship the Ephestioi (Εφεστιοι), the most personal of the household Theoi. These almost always included: Hestia, Zeus Ephestios (Overseer of the Hearth), Zeus Kthesios, and Agathós Daímōn. Worship of these deities was highly personal, and many other Theoi could be added to this worship list.

Hestia was represented by the hearth fire that was always kept burning. If it went out, the male head of household would go to the prytaneion (Πρυτανεῖον), the structure where state officials met and where the city kept a fire for Hestia burning day and night, for a new flame. All fires in the house were lit from this one fire, so Hestia would watch over everything and everyone inside the house. Zeus Ephestios was and is a more active defender of the home. He shields the actual structure of the house. Where Hestia watches over the occupants, Zeus Ephestios guards the very walls, the roof, the floor, and any possessions inside the structure. He was worshipped at the main altar.

Zeus Kthesios guards the pantry, and was honored there as well, where he had his own shrine, often adorned with a kathiskos. Agathós Daímōn and the ancestors were also worshipped at the main altar, although they may have had small shrines to themselves, especially in the case of wall niches.

In the courtyard of the house, the Herkeioi (Ἑρκειοι) were honored: those of the herkos or front court. Most notably, this was Zeus Herkeios (Ἑρκειος), protector of the enclosure of the house. And just outside the house, and especially near the gate to the street, small shrines and altars were placed in honor of the less personal protectors: Apollon (sometimes in his epithet of 'Aguieus' (Ἀγυιεύς), protector of the streets, public places, and the entrances to homes), Hermes Propylaios, Hekate, and especially in Sparta, the Dioskouroi. Hēraklēs sometimes took the place of Apollon.

Zeus Herkeios' altar stood in the courtyard and He, from the inside of the house, protected against anyone wanting to harm the house or the family living in it. These altars were most often pillars, on or around which the offerings could be placed. Hermes, Apollon, and Hekate were represented by a pointy four-sided post. The top was reserved for Apollon, the bottom often held a niche where Deipnon offerings could be placed to Hekate, and Hermes' face (and sometimes his genitalia) was  carved into the post. Hermes sometimes got his own post, called a 'herm', which was a rectangular post, with His face carved on top, and his genitalia carved out on the front.

Temples were of great importance to the many festivals of ancient Hellas, but nowhere was the worship of the Theoi so varied and extensive as in the home. Especially for modern practitioners who often lack temples and community, their own homes are the focal point of worship--as it should be, because at its core, Hellenismos is a household religion--a family religion--and I think that's beautiful.
At the Fab Lab on the Kennedy High School campus in Richmond, 18 students stopped by recently to check out “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: Discovery Tour.” Unlike the main games in the series, this version cuts out the violence and ratchets up the learning. It’s a project that repackages the video games developed by Ubisoft Montreal as experience that makes history come alive.

“It’s a lot better than a textbook,” said Angel Sanchez, a sophomore at Kennedy High School. Although he has never played an “Asssassin’s Creed” game, he was drawn into the environment that “Discovery Tour” offered. “There’s audio. They give you a tour about a place.”

Jim Hollis, executive director of the nonprofit Calculus Roundtable, said the game is a way for educators to connect with students. The nonprofit, which looks for ways that companies can aid education, organized the gathering. To show what he means, he asked the youths how many played video games, and nearly all of them raised their hands. He said video games are a medium that kids are familiar with and finding a way to allow them to learn with it makes the game-playing experience more tangible.

In “Discovery Tour,” students control an avatar and explore a re-creation of Greece circa 500 B.C. Players can venture to a thriving Acropolis full of worshipers and Athenian citizens before time and wars ravaged it. They can converse with famous historical figures such as Socrates or wander the temples and learn about the Greek civilization at the time.

Second in series: This is the second edition of the series. The first was “Assassin’s Creed Origins: Discovery Tour,” a 2018 title that focused on ancient Egypt. Both are free for those who already own the game. In this sequel, the developers reward players who go off the beaten path by giving them rewards such as the option to switch their avatar to a new character. They’ll be quizzed at the end of each tour to reinforce what they learned. They can also stumble upon discovery sites scattered throughout the world that give more detailed information.

During the event, the students had a worksheet that they filled out. They recorded some of the information they gleaned while roving around Greece and taking in-game pictures of the sights.
“It’s a wonderful tool for the classroom,” said Tanner Kamphefner, a history teacher at Kennedy High School. He has played nearly all the games in the series and said he uses it as an incentive for students in class. If they do well, he brings in his Xbox One and allows them to explore the cities that were created with a fine attention to detail. He said the students are learning without even realizing they’re learning.

He said he can ask his students about a landmark, and they can recognize it because of the video game. “It’s an incredible way to teach,” he said.

Future opportunities: For Hollis, the partnership between the lab and Ubisoft also offers students a glimpse into the opportunities available in the video game industry. He told students that they didn’t need to be an expert at programming or know how to animate characters to work in the field.
To emphasize this point, he introduced the event’s main speaker, Ubisoft Montreal’s Max Durand. He went to college and focused on history of all things. That background made him a perfect hire for the “Assassin’s Creed” franchise, which is a video game based enveloped in historical fiction.

He started with “Assassin’s Creed 3” and showed how the creation of the video game takes experts from all disciplines and even the community. Regarding the origins of the series, he said the idea for the “Discovery Tour” series came from teachers themselves. Ubisoft Montreal received messages from educators who say they used previous “Assassin’s Creed” games to show their classes Italy during the Renaissance. The studio adapted that idea to gear it toward the classroom.

“It makes history accessible,” he said. “There’s the intuition. There’s engagement. These are tours. If you see a monument (in the game), you can’t unsee it.”

Although the company has good intentions, the question remains: Does it work?

Durand said Marc-Andre Ethier, a professor at the University of Montreal, is studying to see if “Discovery Tour” could improve learning in classrooms. The professor did a test comparing a group of students who learned via a teacher’s lecture and another that used “Discovery Tour.” The results, which were talked about in the Games for Change festival last year, found that the old-school way was better but they also found the kids who were taught with the video game had scores within 7% of the other group.

Durand said “Discovery Tour” won’t replace a teacher, but it is a way to augment learning, and it shows that “entertainment turned toward education” can help connect students with the subjects.
“Our goal is to make history accessible to as many people as possible, especially outside of the gaming realm,” the company said in an email. “We believe we have a very unique tool that has tremendous potential to allow people to enjoy discovering the past.”
Greece is moving ahead with legal action to re-claim an 8th century BC bronze horse which appears to have been removed illegally from the country, the culture ministry said.

In this direction, Culture Minister Lina Mendoni held talks in New York on Monday, with Assistant District Attorney of NY County Matthew Bogdanos, who heads a counter-antiquities-trafficking unit.
Mendoni briefed Bogdanos on ministry efforts to repatriate looted or trafficked Greek antiquities currently found in US collections, including a 14cm Corinthian Geometric period bronze figure of a horse which was the subject of a dispute with Sotheby’s last year, when Greece stopped its sale at an auction calling on Interpol to investigate.

The ancient Greek treasure was to go under the hammer in New York in May 2018 starting at 150,000-250,000 dollars. According to Sotheby’s, which took the case to court, the ancient Greek horse was legitimately purchased by Howard και Saretta Barnet in a New York auction in 1973, previously owned by London dealer – later accused of dealing in looted antiquities and sent to prison – Robin Symes, and before that by two dealers who had acquired it at an auction by Münzen und Medaillen in 1967.

In June this year, a US District judge rejected Greece’s claim – under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act – to dismiss the lawsuit. Mendoni went on to inform Bogdanos that the ministry in cooperation with the Council of State were looking into appealing the decision.
One of the classic stories in Hellenic mythology is the beheading of the Gorgon Medusa by Perseus. This intricate story in which Perseus finds his way, with the help of the Gods, to the lair of the gorgon sisters and decapitates the most evil of the three – Medusa. This is one story, anyway. You can read a lot more about that here. According to tradition, the myth appears to have been set within the confines of the Strait of Gibraltar and adjacent regions of North Africa.

Today, scientists have revealed at the 2019 Calpe Conference, the discovery of fragments of a Gorgoneion, a ceramic representation of the Gorgon Medusa, from Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar. The location of the finds, in the deepest part of the cave, appears to give support to the myth and its location.

The discovery is a major breakthrough in the link between classical mythology and archaeology. It indicates that, in the eyes of ancient mariners of the 8th and 7th Centuries BCE, Gorham’s Cave, situated at the base of one of the Pillars of Herakles, was the home of the Gorgon Medusa.
Let me leave you with poetry this morning, one of my favourites--one I can recite from the top of my head even if you wake me in the middle of the night. You know, we used to make our schoolbooks pretty (and lasting) by covering them in wrapping paper and laminating them. Tradition says to add pictures of things you like to the wrapping paper before laminating, and one year, I used poetry only. This one was on my diary, so I read it at least ten times a day. Fond memories. You can read more about the poem here.

THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness,
  Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
  A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
  Of deities or mortals, or of both,
    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
  What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
  Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
  Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
  Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
    She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
  For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
  Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
  For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
  For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
    For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
  That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
  To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
  And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
  Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
    Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
  Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
    Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
  Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
  Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
  When old age shall this generation waste,
    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
  Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
The ancient Hellenes were not fearful of snakes. They might have been cautious of poisonous ones, but in general, happening across a snake was a good omen. Unlike in Jewish and Christian mythology, where the Devil working though a snake got Eve to eat the apple, Hellenic mythology usually reserves a very positive place for snakes. Today, I'm giving some examples of the positive images surrounding serpents and snakes, although there are, surely, also negative ones to take into account.
Asklēpiós was, and is, a much beloved Theos. He started out being honored as a hero--the son of Apollon and Koronis--but became a God in His own right because of his healing skill. Worship places of Asklēpiós were called 'asklepieia' (Ἀσκληπίεια). An asklepieion (Ἀσκληπιεῖον) served as a temple, a hospital, and as a training-institute of the healing arts. In ancient Hellas, the sick would come to an asklepieion and offer a sacrifice to Asklēpiós--amongst the recorded sacrifices are black goats or sheep, gold, silver, or marble sculptures of the body part that required healing, and coins--in hopes of healing. They would then settle into the abaton (άβατον) or enkoimeterion (εγκοιμητήριοn), a restricted sleeping hall, which was occupied by the sick alone, or sometimes by a group of them, as well as a good few snakes, which are considered sacred animals of Asklēpiós.

In mythology, after His training is complete, Asklēpiós receives the blood of Médousa from Athena. Drawn from two different blood vessels in Médousa's neck, some of it can kill, and some of it can heal even the dead. Asklēpiós uses the blood to resurrect the dead, but this is against the wishes of Zeus, who kills Him. He is either placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus, the Serpent Holder, or revived by Zeus as a God to satisfy a furious Apollon.

The Drakones were named after the Greek 'drakein' and 'derkomai, meaning 'to see clearly' or 'gaze sharply'. These were guardians, usually of wells and springs, groves, Gods, or treasure. As guardians, they were usually equipped with sharp fangs, deadly poison and/or multiple heads. In essence, they were however seen as giant snakes which--and this is wholly a personal observation--makes sense when most protective and purifying Theoi were depicted as snakes.

All sources but the ones where Agathós Daímōn is identified as Theos, represent the Agathós Daímōn as a snake; this applies to both artwork as assumed physical appearance. The Agathós Daímōn was always a positive in one's life, and was generally seen as the source of personal or familial good fortune. Libations of (unmixed) wine were given to Him with each newly opened case of wine, and during feasts and symposium, Agathós Daímōn received the first libation. When crossing a snake on the road, it was also customary to pour out a libation, just in case it was a herald of Agathós Daímōn, or Agathós Daímōn Himself.

It should be said that Harrison believes Zeus Meilichios is an epithet of Zeus superimposed over an existing snake God: Meilichios, a 'home-grown, autochtonous [deity, from] before the formulation of Zeus'. Even more telling: the cult of Meilichios was very pronounced in Boeotia, where He was worshipped as a provider of wealth (Harrison, p. 21). I pose that, at the same time Zeus became equated with Meilichios, so did the Agathós Daímōn; a daímōn of good fortune (most likely through fertility and good harvest, the two greatest blessings from the Theoi), superimposed over the snake God Meilichios, exchanging positive qualities while assuming immortality for Himself. Zeus Meilichios adopted Meilichios' cleansing and purifying qualities.

In some cult worship, Agathós Daímōn was a male deity, who was married to the Theia (daímōn?) Agathe Tyche. Their worship was known in Athens, and They had a temple at Lebadeia, in Boeotia, where one could visit the oracle of Trophonios--but only after spending a fixed number of days in a building, which was sacred to the 'Agathei Theoi'--which probably refers to Agathe Tyche and Agathós Daímōn together--and most likely housed one or several snake(s). It was this building the suplicant was brought back to when he returned from the oracle--usually passed out from the experience--in order to recover.

Archaeologists suspect that Athena, Médousa and Poseidon found their origins in Libya. They came to Hellas through Crete at the dawn of Hellas. In the beginning of Her rein, Athena may have been a snake and fertility Goddess--a trait she shared with her Libyan counterpart, who had Her own cult--and may have either had a priestess who fit the Médousa myth or--and this is more likely--Médousa had her own cult as a snake, fertility and (menstrual) blood Goddess. Especially the latter may be linked to the myths concerning Médousa's blood.

Athena's role as a snake and fertility Goddess is still visible in the myth about the child she had with Hēphaistos;  Erichthonios (Ἐριχθόνιος), who was half man, half snake. It's even posed that in the early days, Athena was married to Hēphaistos and had His child willingly. As Athena was stripped of Her roles as a fertility and snake Goddess, Médousa's myth came into being, where Athena distances Herself from sex and snakes, by punishing an epithet of herself (Athena Tritogeneia, perhaps: 'born of Trito', a lake which was supposedly located in Libya), or the Libyan snake Goddess Médousa, who may have still been attached to Her worship. By placing Médousa's head on Her breastplate or shield, Athena's mythology is continuously linked to Her Libyan heritage, but harmlessly so, to Her new image of a virginal warrior.

Few references remain to Médousa's Libyan cult. There's vague reference to Médousa being a patron of Libya as a whole, or that she was the Goddess most worshipped by the Amazons. She was linked to protection, snakes, menstrual blood, blood, fertility, and femininity in general. If this is true, it's understandable why her worship did not match the Hellenic religion: for one, she's most likely a very powerful female deity. This did not match the hierarchy of the ancient Hellens, and so, Médousa became a monster, and was dealt with accordingly. Blood was one of the fluids that caused serious miasma, and menstrual fluid wasn't even spoken of in ancient Hellas, let alone revered. Not a single Goddess would have it in their portfolio.
Of course, this is not a complete list, but it is a starting point, and one I might build further on. Now our snake season is about to start again (and my girlfriend is fearfully eying the pond in our garden) I figured it would be good to have a reminder of the important mythology and customs surrounding snakes.
Archaeologists in northern Greece have uncovered a gold mask and bronze helmets from a vast ancient cemetery of Macedonian warriors at Ahlada, near the town of Florina.

In a statement Friday, the Culture Ministry said the most impressive finds came from the graves of warriors who died in the 6th century B.C. and were members of a powerful military aristocracy. Recovered artefacts included the valuable face mask, made specially for funerals, four bronze helmets, iron spearheads and fragmented iron swords, a large bronze urn with ornate handles, an iron model of a farm cart and bronze leg armor.

The cemetery has so far yielded nearly 1,300 graves, it was plundered in antiquity but still retained rich finds. Over 200 newly discovered graves were explored.

For many more images of the finds, please go here.
Xenelasia (ξενηλασία). Xenelasia was 'the right possessed and exercised by the Lacedaemonian magistrates of expelling from Sparta (and Doric Krete) any stranger whose presence was injurious to the public order or morals'.

In order to explain that, I need to give a bit of history on Sparta and the way it was ran. Sparta (Σπάρτα), or Lacedæmon (Λακεδαίμων), was a prominent city-state in ancient Hellas, located on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. Sparta was an oligarchy (oligarkhía, ὀλιγαρχία)--a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. The state was ruled by two hereditary kings of the Agiad and Eurypontid families, both supposedly descendants of Hēraklēs and equal in authority, so that one could not act against the power and political enactments of his colleague. The kings were in charge of religious festivals, judicial matters, as well as the military. Over time, the kings became mere figureheads except in their capacity as generals in war, but their power waned slowly, and democracy was never instituted in the polis.

From about 650 BC onwards, Sparta rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Hellas. Sparta was one of the city-states that never adopted a democratic political system; instead, they had the family as a model for the organization of the state; a family they protected from corruption by outside forces. Like a true family unit, Sparta had its own customes, holidays, and drunk uncles, and they were preserved as much as possible. In order to accomplish this, Lacedæmonian magistrates had the duty and authorization to expel any person who posed a threat to public order and morals

Foreigners were allowed into Sparta for religious festivals and missions of state but they were not allowed to live in the environs. Special exceptions were given to friends and allies who were called 'laconophiles'; lovers of Sparta. On the reverse side, the general populace was forbidden foreign travel. These laws were intended to preserve the native character of the Doric tribe from any taint of foreign influence. Plutarch, in 'The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans', wrote:

"And this was the reason why he [Lycurgus] forbade them to travel abroad, and go about acquainting themselves with foreign rules of morality, the habits of ill-educated people, and different views of government. Withal he banished from Lacedaemon all strangers who would not give a very good reason for their coming thither; not because he was afraid lest they should inform themselves of and imitate his manner of government (as Thucydides says), or learn anything to their good; but rather lest they should introduce something contrary to good manners. With strange people, strange words must be admitted; these novelties produce novelties in thought; and on these views and feelings whose discordant character destroys the harmony of the state. He was as careful to save his city from the infection of foreign bad habits, as men usually are to prevent the introduction of a pestilence."

Lycurgus (Lykoûrgos, Λυκοῦργος), pictured above, was the legendary lawgiver of Sparta, who established the military-oriented reformation of Spartan society in accordance with the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. All his reforms were directed towards the three Spartan virtues: equality (among citizens), military fitness, and austerity. It is said that after his reforms--which included the laws governing xenelasia--he left for the Oracle of Delphi to check with the Gods if they agreed. Before he left, he made every Spartan swear to uphold his laws while he was gone. Once at the Oracle, she told him that his laws were excellent, and Lycurgus prompty disappeared or starved himself so his laws would always remain in effect.

Xenelasia was part of any interaction with outsiders, be it in trade, in entertainment, during religious functions, and even applied to whom Spartans could ahve sex with and marry. While it sounds like these laws would interfere with xenia, they didn't; foreigners were welcome, but they were never considered truly Spartan. Only Spartans were Spartans. Even if you loved the polis, you would never truly be a part of it.

The laws of xenelasia were controversial in ancient Hellas, but they were a defining factor in what made Sparta great; its character caused Spartans to band together, to make their family unit proud, and it helped them accept the sacrifice of their individuality in favor of the greatness of the polis. In the end, however, it is suspected that their unwillingness to open up to the influence of others contributed to the demise of the once-great polis; there was simply no buffer to accommodate losses in battle.

Image property: Wikipedia Commons

Davide Tanasi is a digital archaeologist at the University of South Florida. He creates highly detailed 3-D scans of archaeological artifacts that can be viewed online or used to create 3-D printed replicas.
Digitize these artifacts as 3-D objects helps spread knowledge about them and guarantees that they will be passed to future generations. F

For example, the USF Libraries Farid Karam M.D. Lebanon Antiquities Collection is one of the largest collection of Lebanese archaeological artifacts in the U.S. Some of the objects are 3,500 years old. Due to space and personnel restrictions, it was never exhibited and made fully available to the general public. Being unpublished, hardly accessible and poorly visible online, it basically does not exist. The project to recreate the collection in 3-D is called the Virtual Karam Project. It allows for these objects  to be shared around the world, hopefully triggering interest to curate and display the collection.

The 3-D models of archaeological artifacts must be geometrically accurate to satisfy interested scholars but also realistic enough to engage the public. The "body" of the artifacts is captured with an ultra-precision 3-D scanner integrated into a measuring robotic arm. The multicolored "skin" is acquired via a set of high quality digital photographs. From the combination of the two features comes the actual 3-D model.

The fire which recently destroyed the National Museum of Brazil was a global wake up call for curators to start plans for the 3-D digitization of historical and archaeological collections. Plans not just for simple archiving and dissemination purposes but also to create a sister digital collection, which can be 3-D printed and function as a "surrogate" in case the originals are destroyed. With the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution leading the charge, it is becoming more common even for small museums to start virtualization projects for their collections.

Tanasi is working on the Joseph Veach Noble Collection at the Tampa Museum of Art, a group of 150 artifacts, mostly high quality Greek black and red-figure pottery from Athens, Attica and South Italy. Another of his projects involves the Luigi Palma di Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Antiquities, which includes exquisite examples of ancient pottery and statues ranging between 2,500 B.C. to 400 A.D. Both collections are largely unpublished, only partly accessible to the local public, with poor digital representation.

These scans are an advanced archival record for the museum. But the 3-D models can also be built in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality experiences for the public. Digital replicas can also be used by scholars in every part of the world or to popularize archaeology or trigger interest towards a certain museum or site. Digital collections can also be integrated in the teaching curriculum at K-12 and university level for history, art history and anthropology.
I would like to share with you the The Palaikastro Hymn to Cretan Zeus. At the end of May in 1904 a fragmentary inscription bearing a Hymn to Zeus was discovered at Palaikastro in East Crete, during the excavation of the sanctuary of Dictaean Zeus, on top of the ruins of a Minoan harbour town which contained this hymn. From the very informative, and very well researched paper by Mark Alonge on the subject:

"The Palaikastro Hymn—better known as the Hymn of the Kouretes—does not celebrate a god of pre-Hellenic pedigree, who is Zeus in name only, as scholars have believed with virtual unanimity. Rather, an understanding of the conventions of Greek hymnic performance in its ritual context goes far to elucidating many of the ostensibly peculiar features of the Hymn. Moving out from Palaikastro, in eastern Crete, to survey the island as a whole, I show that the Cretan iconographic and epigraphic records contradict the widely accepted theory of a special, Minoan 'Cretan Zeus.' "

 The hymn goes as follows:

"O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. We weave it for you with lyres, having blended it with pipes, and we sing having taken our places around your well-walled altar.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. For on this very spot, your shield-bearing guardians received you, an immortal child, from Rhea and beating their foot, kept you hidden.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. [two verses missing]…of the beautiful dawn.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. The Seasons teemed year by year and Justice held mortals in her power, and Peace, who loves prosperity, governed all creatures.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. But, lord, leap to our wine jars, and leap to our fleecy flocks, and to our fields of fruit leap, and to our homes made thereby productive.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song. And leap to our cities and leap to our seafaring ships, and leap to our new citizens and leap to fair Themis.

O supreme son of Kronos, salutations! All-powerful over refreshment, you stand at the head of the gods. Come to Dicte at the turn of the year and take pleasure in our song."
The Department of Antiquities, Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, has announced that on Thursday 12th September 2019 an important antiquity originating from Cyprus, was handed over at the offices of the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Cyprus to the European Union in Brussels. The Cypriot antiquity was in the possession of Ms. Christiane Koojj, a resident of Brussels, Belgium. Ms. Koojj had recently informed in writing the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Paris that the cultural object was inherited to her and her siblings from their late mother and that their request was to deliver it back to its country of origin. The Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Belgium referred Ms. Koojj to the Director of the Department of Antiquities as the competent authority on such matters.

The said antiquity is the upper part of a limestone funerary stele consisting of a horizontal cornice, decorated with geisipodes in relief, over which a pediment with a frame in relief is formed. The pediment corners are crowned by acroteria, two of which (at the lateral ends) are decorated with roughly carved anthemia, while the central one, without bearing any sign of breakage, is scarcely marked.

In the middle of the two oblique sides of the pediment, there are carved pomegranates. In the middle of the pediment, within the frame in relief, appears to be an apotropaic Medusa head (Gorgoneion). The horizontal cornice bears a Cypro-syllabic inscription, while other Cypro-syllabic symbols cover the pediment, which may be later additions. Based on palaeographic criteria, the inscription dates to the end of  the 4th-beginning of the 3rd century BC.

The carved pediment is very similar to another Cypriot funerary pedimental stele from the village of Tremetoushia (Larnaka District), now in the British Museum. The Tremetoushia pediment had been previously dated to the 1st century AD, however, the discovery of this second similar stele, which is evidently from the same workshop, allows for a more accurate dating, four centuries earlier than the initial dating.

The antiquity was handed over to the Director of the Department of Antiquities Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou by Ms. Christiane Koojj in the presence of the competent Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Elpidoforos Economou. Present during the ceremony were Police Inspector Mr. Michalis Gavrielides, Head of the Office for Combating Illegal Possession and Trafficking of Antiquities (Cyprus Police), Dr. Eleftherios Charalambous, Conservator at the Department of Antiquities and Mr. Lucas Verhaegen of the Belgium Police.

The Department of Antiquities as the competent authority in Cyprus for the protection and management of cultural heritage, will continue its intensive efforts to encourage the support of citizens in the protection and preservation of cultural heritage, not only at a local but also at an international level. The cooperation of all competent authorities in the fight against the looting and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage and the repatriation of cultural objects to their country of origin is extremely valuable and of utmost importance.

Although it is acknowledged that the fight against illicit trafficking is an extremely difficult and complex issue, the Department of Antiquities is confident that through coordinated efforts, the desired results related to the protection of the Cultural Heritage of all nations will be reached. One of the main priorities of the Department of Antiquities is the combatting of looting and illicit trafficking of cultural heritage.

The repatriation of the antiquity to Cyprus will take place on 15 September 2019 and is the result of the coordinated efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Antiquities, the Cyprus Police and the Department of Customs and Excise.
I came across this gem yesterday and I just had to share. IT comes from the Greek Anthology. The Greek Anthology (Anthologia Graeca) is a collection of poems, mostly epigrams, that span the classical and Byzantine periods of Greek literature. Most of the material of the Greek Anthology comes from two manuscripts, the Palatine Anthology of the 10th century and the Anthology of Planudes (or Planudean Anthology) of the 14th century. Needless to say, they are not ancient Hellenic, but use themes from its mythology and I enjoy sampling them.

Meleager to Zenophila, his lover

“Sharp-buzzing mosquitoes, shameless suckers
Of human blood, wing-borne predators of the night,
I beg you to leave Zenophila alone for a while to sleep
In peace. Come here, fill yourselves on my limbs.
Ah, but why do I uselessly cry out loud: Unfeeling beasts
Also delight to find warmth in her delicate skin.
But I am warning you, evil things, do not be bold
Or you will learn the power of my envious hands.”

[Greek Anthology 5.151]