Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Thursday visited the archaeological site at the Epidaurus Asclepeion to be briefed on the progress of recent archaeological excavations which have revealed the remains of an even older temple building found at the shrine, in the vicinity of the Tholos.

The partially-excavated building, which is dated to about 600 B.C., consists of a ground floor with a primitive colonnade and an underground basement chipped out of the rock beneath. The stone walls of the basement are covered in a deep-red-colored plaster and the floor is an intact pebble mosaic, which is one of the best-preserved examples of this rare type of flooring to survive from this era.

The find is considered significant because it predates the impressive Tholos building in the same location, whose own basement served as the chthonic residence of Asclepius, and which replaced the newly-discovered structure after the 4th century B.C.

This shows that the worship of Asclepius at Epidaurus began much earlier than previously thought and had the same chthonic features, while altering what is known about the history of the region in general.

University of Athens Professor Vassilis Lamprinoudakis, head of the excavations in ancient Epidaurus, explained to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency when the building was first uncovered in January.

“This means the worship of Asclepius appears to have begun earlier in the Asclepieion of Epidaurus. Until now, it was believed to have begun around 550 BC, i.e., in the middle of the sixth century BC. Now it is evident that the structures are earlier, and this is particularly important for the history of the sanctuary and for the history of Asclepius himself. At the place where the Tholos was later built, a part of a building, a ‘double’ building, with basement and ground floor has been found. Since there is a basement, like in the Tholos, we consider it to be a forerunner of this ‘mysterious’ building called the Tholos. When it was decided to build the Tholos, this building was demolished. The empty space created by its basement was filled with relics from the old building, but also from other parts of the sanctuary. That is because (when) the great program of the 4th century BC began, some other buildings were also demolished, the material of which was buried with respect in the place.”

The archaeologist explained that the name Tholos “was only given to the structure by the ancient traveler Pausanias in the second century AD. Its original name, as we know from the inscriptions of the 4th century BC, was ‘Thymeli.’ Thymeli was a kind of altar (used in sacrifice), in which offerings were made without blood.”

Lamprinoudakis continued, saying “Research tells us that the Tholos was a kind of underground house of Asclepius, where patients were treated by injection.” The patient who slept in this special place would dream of the god Asclepius to reveal to him the cure for his illness. “This former building had a function similar to that of the Tholos, that is, its basement served as the seat of Asclepius on earth,” the archaeologist explained.

Mendoni encouraged the archaeologists on the site in the completion of their very important work of revealing the structure in its entirety.

The Culture Minister was also briefed on projects designed to showcase the archaeological site and the surrounding park using European Community funding, including the planting of a medicinal herb garden to illustrate how the sanctuary would have functioned.
Theokritos was a Hellenic bucolic poet who flourished in Syracuse, Kos and Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. His surviving work can mostly be found within an old compendium of 30 poems known as the "Idylls of Theocritus," Many of these works, however, are no longer attributed to the poet. In "Idyll 1" Thyrsis sings to a goatherd about how Daphnis, the mythical herdsman, having defied the power of Aphrodite, dies rather than yielding to a passion the Goddess has inflicted on him. Ift's a lovely song and I would like to share it with you today.

"‘Tis Thyrsis sings, of Etna, and a rare sweet voice hath he.
Where were ye, Nymphs, when Daphnis pined? ye Nymphs, O where were ye?
Was it Peneius’ pretty vale, or Pindus’ glens? ‘twas never
Anápus’ flood nor Etna’s pike nor Acis’ holy river.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

When Daphnis died the foxes wailed and the wolves they wailed full sore,
The lion from the greenward wept when Daphnis was no more.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

O many the lusty steers at his feet, and may the heifers slim,
Many the claves and many the kine that made their moan for him.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

Came Hermes first, from the hills away, and said “O Daphnis tell,
“Who is’t that fretteth thee, my son? whom lovest thou so well?”

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

The neatherds came, the shepherds came, and the goatherds him beside,
All fain to hear what ail’d him; Priápus came and cried
“Why peak and pine, unhappy wight, when thou mightest bed a bride?
“For there’s nor wood nor water but hath seen her footsteps flee –

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

“In search o’ thee. O a fool-in-love and a feeble is here, perdye!
“Neatherd, forsooth? ‘tis goatherd now, or ‘faith, ‘tis like to be;
“When goatherd in the rutting-time the skipping kids doth scan,
“His eye grows soft, his eye grows sad, because he’s born a man; –

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

“So you, when ye see the lasses laughing in gay riot,
“Your eye grows soft, your eye grows sad, because you share it not.”
But never a word said the poor neathérd, for a bitter love bare he;
And he bare it well, as I shall tell, to the end that was to be.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

But and the Cyprian came him to, and smiled on him full sweetly –
For thou she fain would foster wrath, she could not choose but smile –
And cried “Ah, braggart Daphnis, that wouldst throw Love so featly!
“Thou’rt thrown, methinks, thyself of Love’s so grievous guile.”

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

Then out he spake; “O Cypris cruel, Cypris vengeful yet,
“Cypris hated of all flesh! think’st all my sun be set?
“I tell thee even ‘mong the dead Daphnis shall work thee ill: –

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“Men talk of Cypris and the hind; begone to Ida hill,
“Begone to hind Anchises; sure bedstraw there doth thrive
“And fine oak-trees and pretty bees all humming at the hive.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“Adonis too is ripe to woo, for a ‘tends his sheep o’ the lea
“And shoots the hare and a-hunting goes of all the beasts there be.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

And then I’ld have thee take thy stand by Diomed, and say
“’I slew the neatherd Daphis; fight me thou to-day.’

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“But ‘tis wolf farewell and fox farewell and bear o’ the mountain den,
“Your neatherd fere, your Daphnis dear, ye’ll never see agen,
“By glen no more, by glade no more. And ‘tis o farewell to thee
“Sweet Arethuse, and all pretty watérs down Thymbris vale that flee.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“For this, O this is that Daphnis, your kine to field did bring,
“This Daphnis he, led stirk and steer to you a-watering.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“And Pan, O Pan, whether at this hour by Lycee’s mountain-pile
“Or Maenal steep thy watch thou keep, come away to the Sicil isle,
“Come away from the knoll of Helicè and the howe lift high i ’ the lea,
“The howe of Lycáon’s child, the howe that Gods in heav’s envye;

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

“Come, Master, and take this pretty pipe, this pipe of honey breath,
“Of wax well knit round lips to fit; for Love hales mé to my death.

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

“Bear violets now ye briers, ye thistles violets too;
“Daffodilly may hang on the juniper, and all things go askew;
“Pines may grow figs now Daphnis dies, and hind tear hound if she will,
“And the sweet nightingále be outsung I ’ the dale by the scritch-owl from the hill.”

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

Such words spake he, and he stayed him still; and O, the Love-Ladye,
She would fain have raised him where he lay, but that could never be.
For the thread was spun and the days were done and Daphnis gone to the River,
And the Nymphs’ good friend and the Muses’ fere was whelmed I ’ the whirl for ever."
The world has yet another archaeological treasure to study and admire this week as a statue created in the 300’s AD was unearthed on Monday in the Turkish province of Antalya, near the ancient city of Perge.

Believed to have been made around the year 300 AD, during the time of the Roman Empire, the exquisite piece of sculpture portrays a woman in floor-length robes. Her head has been broken off but it survives.

The ancient city was known to have had females in its administration. It is unknown,  however, at this point, just who is depicted in the sculpture.

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s excavation department triumphantly announced the amazing find today, stating “First sculpture of 2020 found in Perge excavations,” in a tweet.

According to the Ministry, Sedef Cokay Kepçe, an archaeology professor at Istanbul University, is heading up the excavations which unearthed the stunning find. The plans are currently to display the third-century statue in the Antalya Museum when all the necessary cleaning on the piece has been completed.

The area has always been known for its wealth of sculpture, according to UNESCO.

The ancient Greek city of Perge has been the site of systematic excavations beginning in 1946; the area was included on UNESCO’s Tentative Heritage list in 2009 for its great historical significance.
Lights! Crickets. Birds. Bats. Action! The ancient theater of Epidaurus, renowned for its acoustics, has reopened for a limited number of open-air performances, with organizers planning a live-streamed event Saturday for the first time in the Greek monument's 2,300-year history.

Live concerts and events have been mostly canceled in Greece this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the Culture Ministry allowed the Epidaurus Theater in southern Greece and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens to host performances under strict safety guidelines. Maria Panagiotopoulou, spokeswoman for the cultural organization which organized the events, said:

"Only 45 percent of the seats are occupied, the refreshments areas are closed, there is no intermission, and tickets are only issued electronically. We normally have 80 performances in the summer. This year, it’s just 17. ... We kept changing the plans. We planned for a September start, and then we were concerned that all events might be canceled. We ended up with something in the middle. It would have been the first summer without a performance in 65 years."

Acts from abroad were off-limits due to the pandemic, and the scheduled artists were instructed not to give encores. Stewards wearing surgical gloves and plastic visors keep spectators apart as they clamber up the steep stone amphitheater steps to find their seats.

Just 4,500 of the usual 10,000 seats are being made available at Epidaurus Theatre, a honeycomb-colored stone venue with a shallow, half-funnel shape that allows music and voices from the stage to be clearly heard all 55 rows up.

Surrounded by pine-covered mountains of the southern Peloponnese region, audiences also can clearly hear the sounds of birds and crickets along with the protests of people who were locked out of the theater for arriving too late.

Christina Koutra, a musicologist from Athens, said she was happy to make the winding three-hour trip to Epidaurus to watch the season’s first event, a solo performance of Bach by acclaimed Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos.

"There is a feeling of harmony here. It’s a sacred place," Koutra said from behind a face mask as she left the theater with her parents. "Culture cannot stand still. We have to take part and keep it going," she said.

The National Theatre of Greece will be performing "The Persians" by ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus for Saturday's live-streamed show.
Attic Inscriptions Online (AIO) has publishes new material; new entries include photographic documentation for five post-Sullan monuments inscribed with decrees honoring ephebes and entries for the two major choregic monuments of Nikias and Thrasyllos (320-19 B.C.).

To begin with, Attic Inscriptions Online project has released AIO Papers 11B (July 2020); the publication comes to complete with photos and corrigenda the presentation at AIO Papers 11 (July 2019) of the five substantially preserved post-Sullan inscriptions carrying decrees of the Athenian Council and/or People honoring ephebes.

Furthermore, the database now contains entries for the monuments of Nikias and of Thrasyllos, two major choragic monuments post-dating the dissolution of the Athenian democracy in 321/0 BC. Also, it now contains a complete sequence of dedications by agonothetai, IG II3 4, 518539 (IG II3 4, 528 was already on AIO), and a revised version of notes on the Lysikrates monument (IG II3 4, 460). More, the publication of the marker of the property of the Piraeans, IG II2 2623 is also a new entry.

In addition, the database’s experts have revised further material such as the entries for Athens’ treaty with the Thracian kings, 357 BC (RO 47), and the treaty with the Thracian, Paionian, and Illyrian kings, 356/5 BC (RO 53). AIO now includes updated Greek texts, translations, and notes for all the Attic inscriptions in RO. They also adjusted AIO’s entry for the sacrificial calendar of Thorikos (CGRN 32) (ll. 40-41) in the light of the recent update of CGRN. As stated, “where up-to-date Greek texts are not available elsewhere online in open access, we have added them in this release to entries first published on AIO in 2017 and 2018, lightly revising the translations and notes. All translations on AIO are now accompanied by a corresponding Greek text either on AIO itself or on a linked open-access site.
I was recently asked if 'one should give liberations to the 12 daily? Or can you rotate depending on the calendar?'. They explained reading on the Theoi pantheon page that 'These twelve gods demanded worship from all their subjects. Those who failed to honour any one of the Twelve with due sacrifice and libation were duly punished.', and now they were slightly worried.

Within Hellenismos, the Gods rule supreme. We are here to serve and honour Them, and in return, They provide us with what we need to survive. This practice of kharis is one of the pillars of Hellenismos. Not complying with the will of the Gods is called hubris. Hubris, in dictionary terms, means excessive pride or arrogance and comes from the Greek (hýbris, ὕβρις). For me, hubris is not an adjective but a verb. It describes the act of wilful or ignorant refusal to comply by the will of the Gods.

Human kind is said to be a step above animals because we have the ability to think about our actions and predict their consequences, but we are below the Gods, because we are mortal. Unlike the Gods, we do not plan centuries ahead; we have only a limited amount of time to live, and our actions reflect that. We are encouraged to use our ability to think logically about our actions and choose wisely.
I have read on some Hellenic websites that the Gods do not intent to harm us in any way. They wish to help us better our lives and would never punish us.

I think there is overwhelming evidence of the contrary in ancient Hellenic practices, in mythology and in modern day UPG. Odysseus spent twenty years simply trying to get home because he had pissed off the Gods with his hubris; hubris killed many mythological people, amongst which all fourteen of Niobe's children, Tántalos, and even Íkaros, who flew too high towards the sun; many festivals included elements of appeasement; and building only on my own UPG experiences, I have definitely been told to remedy a situation in which I was displaying unintentional hubris, or else. Saying that the Gods will never (or always) do something is a clear example of hubris, to

That said, the Gods do wish the best for us. As long as we honour them as we should, they will provide for us abundantly. Does this mean you have to give honours to all the Gods every day--because there are many more Gods than the twelve (or thirteen, depending if you count Dionysos)Olympians? No, I don't thank so.

Literary and artistic evidence from ancient Hellas shows that daily worship centred around the oikos, the household. 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. There was no definite list everyone had to follow. The only list there was, was the festival calendar, and through that, most of the 'major' Gods were worshipped throughout the year.

In my opinion, offering a libation to the Gods on their special days is enough to appease Them; what matters is that They are at the forefront of your mind, and that you speak of them with pride and respect. The Theoi need to be a part of your life--an important part. Think of Them whenever you act, whenever you speak, whenever you think, and you will honour Them simply by being a good human being. Ethics is a huge part of Hellenismos, and along with regular active worship, you will built kharis just fine with the Theoi, even if you don't pour libations to the Olympians every day.
A new paper makes the case that scholars have ignored the role of female ceramicists in Greece going back some 3,000 years—and that this failing could speak to a more consequential blind spot involving gender.

Painted over the enormous midsection of the Dipylon amphora—a nearly 2,800-year-old clay vase from Greece—silhouetted figures surround a corpse in a funeral scene. Intricate geometric patterns zig and zag across cracks in the vase, framing the scene. The roughly 5-foot-tall amphora is one of many painted vases credited to a so-called Dipylon Master. Dipylon is the name of the cemetery gate near where people found this vessel.

Historians have assumed that this master was a man. In fact, the assumption has long been that male artisans crafted the iconic pottery of ancient Hellenic society throughout its history. After all, ancient Greece isn’t exactly known for its record of women’s rights and contributions.

In 'Politics', about 2,400 years ago, Aristotle wrote, “the male is by nature superior and the female inferior.” Sarah Murray, a classical archaeologist at the University of Toronto, says:

“No one had really thought that women were involved in making this pottery. There was no argument. It was just taken as the default.”

But in a recent article published in the American Journal of Archaeology, Murray and two of her undergraduate students challenge those assumptions. They argue that women were primarily responsible for the ceramics in at least one significant era of ancient Greek history.

Their analysis reframes archaeological questions about gender and paints a more cohesive picture of life during one of the most mysterious periods of ancient Greece. It also speaks to a larger effort underway in human history research: questioning how modern biases have skewed understandings of the past.

The Greek Early Iron Age—which included what scholars call the Protogeometric and Geometric periods—lasted from about 1050 B.C. to 700 B.C. No written records survived from this period.

“Pottery is the anchor of everything we say about the society—but I think that’s problematic.”

For one, they argue that gender roles may have shifted in the Early Iron Age period. They base this argument in part on historical evidence that the period was so economically and politically distinct from the preceding Bronze Age’s lavish palaces, and the subsequent Archaic period’s increased population and social complexity.

In contrast, the Early Iron Age evidence points to a drop in population. According to Murray, when societies have a lot of land and few people, women tend to lead pottery production.

Murray and her colleagues also point to the ceramics’ paintings as evidence for their theory. The period’s pottery is defined by an abrupt shift to geometric patterns on vases, like those on the Dipylon amphora.

Scholars have traditionally described those patterns as one stage in the artistic evolution of Hellenic men. Murray and her students make an entirely different case: This shift to geometric art on pottery suggests a connection to weaving. “The fact that the style seems to be inspired by textiles is kind of like the big, blaring horn,” she says. “Women are almost always the weavers.”

Funeral scenes on pottery also hint at women’s contributions. Even in many of ancient Hellenic society’s stories that have men as their protagonists, women play a large role in funeral rituals. They prepared bodies for burial, led processions, and even mourned professionally—a tradition that has continued up to recent years. Women’s and children’s graves from the period include a variety of ceramics, far more so than men’s graves. Unlike Archaic vases covered in war scenes, and epic warrior poems from this era, most Early Iron Age pots captured the world of Hellenic women.

Building on many such strands of evidence, Murray and her colleagues argue that women could have been the true potter-artisans of this society. Julie Hruby, a classicist at Dartmouth College says:

“By itself, I don’t think [certain evidence] would be a slam dunk case. But I think when you put all of these together, you get a much stronger case.”

Hruby, who describes Murray and her students’ paper as “extraordinarily well-reasoned,” is in the process of using fingerprints to shed further light on Greek potters.

In conventional fingerprint analyses, archaeologists examine ceramics for the impression of fingerprints and then take measurements of the ridges within prints. Many scholars believe it is possible to associate the depth and density of finger ridges with specific ages and sexes. Hruby is developing a new computational method for analyzing prints. “I would be surprised if I found fingerprint evidence that refuted what was in [their] article,” Hruby adds.

But Murray’s larger aim is not to identify who crafted individual works. Rather, the new paper airs a concern: Scholars to date may have failed to scrutinize evidence sufficiently because they have been projecting their own ideas about gender and art onto the ancient world.

Murray is not alone in asking this question. John Kantner, an anthropologist at the University of North Florida recently showed, along with his colleagues, that despite long-held beliefs that women were the potters in the U.S. Southwest’s Puebloan society, fingerprint analysis suggests both men and women crafted pottery. “It’s pretty clear when you look at all of these cases around the world, there is no intrinsically gendered activity,” Kantner says.

Kent Fowler, an anthropologist at the University of Manitoba who studies ceramics of different cultures and periods, makes a similar point, “Gender is not binary [now], and it’s not binary in the past either.” A challenge facing scholars, then, is how to overcome their own society’s ideas about gender so as not to let them influence their interpretations.

Though Fowler feels drawing conclusions about gender from weaving styles is a somewhat tenuous approach, he loves Murray’s “out-of-the-mold” thinking. He adds that her paper stimulates new questions and broadens ideas about what data are relevant, which can mean “potentially even changing how fieldwork is done, right from the beginning.”
The ramps for disabled people that smooth entry into many public buildings today aren’t a modern invention. The ancient Greeks constructed similar ramps of stone to help individuals who had trouble walking or climbing stairs access holy sites, new research suggests. That would make the ramps—some more than 2300 years old—the oldest known evidence of architecture designed to meet the needs of the disabled.

The evidence for ramps and their use has been there all along, but archaeologists haven’t paid much attention to it, argues Debby Sneed, an archaeologist at California State University, Long Beach. People tend to think all ancient Greeks were as muscular and fit as the individuals depicted in their art, she says.

“There’s this assumption that there is no room in Greek society for people who weren’t able-bodied.”

Sneed says there are plenty of clues to the contrary. Sculptures and vases regularly show men and women leaning on canes or crutches, she notes. Skeletal evidence reveals arthritis and joint disease were common. And small clay offerings depicting afflicted legs and feet were left behind by hopeful visitors to sanctuaries dedicated to Asclepius, the Greek god of healing.

Sneed focused on the fourth century B.C.E., when sanctuaries to Asclepius proliferated. She found that the two best documented healing sanctuaries she looked at were outfitted with more ramps than other sacred sites, and that their ramps were more likely to access buildings other than the main temple.

At Asclepius’s main sanctuary at Epidaurus, near Athens, for example, a broad stone ramp led up to the temple. Two more ramps led through the sanctuary gates. And a series of smaller side buildings also feature narrow ramps just wide enough to walk up, Sneed reports today in Antiquity. High stairs would be hard for people using crutches. And though wheelchairs wouldn’t be invented for more than 1000 years, visitors to healing shrines who couldn’t walk sometimes had to be carried on litters or stretchers—both easier to navigate up a ramp.

Often, when visiting sites in person she found ramps excavators hadn’t included in publications. And when ramps were published, they were usually described as ways to move animals or construction materials in and out of temples. Sneed says that’s unlikely: Animals were usually sacrificed outside, and most Greek buildings don’t have ramps, suggesting they weren’t common for construction purposes.

Sneed’s biggest clue came from how unevenly ramps were distributed. The massive Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, for example, has just two known ramps. But at Epidaurus,

“There are 11 stone ramps on nine separate buildings,” Sneed says. Another, smaller temple to Asclepius near Corinth also featured ample access to ramps. “The distribution is pretty clear: They show up in places where there are more disabled people.”

Not everyone is convinced. Katja Sporn, head of the German Archaeological Institute’s Athens department and the author of a paper examining temple ramps in the Greek world, notes that ramps are found predominantly in the Peloponnese, the heartland of ancient Greece. To her, that raises the possibility they were a regional and relatively short-lived architectural trend. At most, ramps were multipurpose conveniences, she argues.

“It helps everyone, also disabled people, walk into temples better, but that you would only do it for disabled people I don’t find convincing.”

Others say the research is a welcome step toward a better understanding of how disability shaped life—and buildings—in the past. “I think [Sneed] makes a very strong argument,” says historian Jane Draycott of the University of Glasgow. “These sites are predominantly catering to people with disabilities—doesn’t it make sense that they would be accommodating?”
Very few heroes in ancient Hellas had quite the impact of Herakles. Both mythologically speaking and as a practical part of the religion, Herakles has a special place and he is honored during the Herakleia. Will you honor him with us today, on July 23rd at the usual 10 am EDT?

Herakles was conceived by Zeus upon Alkmene, as He disguised Himself as her husband, returning early from war. Alkmene accepted Him in her bed gladly, as she was happy to see her husband again. When the real Amphitryon did return later that night, Alkmene realized what had happened, and told her husband. Amphitryon accepted her in his bed, regardless, and so she became pregnant with twins, one fathered by Zeus, and one by her mortal husband.

Hera, hearing of the affair, took an instant disliking to the unborn child. When it became time for Alkmene to give birth, Hera made Zeus swear a vow that a child born in the line of Perseus on this day would become King. Zeus agreed, and Hera hurried off to delay the birth of Herakles and Iphikles, and hurry along the birth of Eurystheus (Εὐρυσθεύς), grandson of Perseus. The two had unknowingly become part of a contest of wills between Zeus and Hera, to decide who would be the hero to drive off the last of the great monsters and pave the way for the Olympians.

Eventually, Hera was tricked into allowing the children born, as She would have postponed their delivery indefinitely. Alkmene, aware of the divine spark in one of her sons, took her distance from him, but the young Herakles was taken up by Athena and taken to Hera, who did no recognize the newborn nemesis of Her candidate, and took pity on him. She fed him from Her breast, but when he suckled so hard that he caused Her pain, She realized who he was, and cast him off. Athena rescued the infant and took him back to his mortal parents. Alkmene took him back and raised him with her husband.

Herakles was a strong child, so strong, in fact, that he inadvertently killed his music teacher Linos (Λῖνος) with a lyre, for which he was tried and found not guilty. He was still made to leave the city, however. Herakles set out to perform feats of strength, starting by defeating the lion of Kithairon, which had been a bane to his stepfather for far too long. Thespios, King of Thespiae, housed Herakles for fifty days as he hunted for the lion, and every night Thespios placed one of his fifty daughters in his bed, although Herakles thought he was only sleeping with one. Herakles eventually vanquished the lion. He dressed himself in the skin, and wore the scalp as a helmet. The Gods lavished him with gifts: a sword from Hermes, bow and arrows from Apollon, a golden breastplate from Hephaistos, and a robe from Athena. His famous club he made himself at Nemea.

Next, Herakles was drawn into a war between the Thebans and the Minyans. He happened upon heralds from King Klymenos, who had won a previous battle with Thebes and now demanded tribute from them. Herakles, who had been living in Thebes, cut the ears, noses and hands off of all but one of the heralds and told the last remaining one to take them back to his king as tribute. In the battle that followed, Herakles fought bravely with the king's army, and his side eventually won, earning him his wife Megara, eldest daughter of King Kreon of Thebes.

Due to Hera's jealousy, he was stricken mad and killed the five sons he had by his wife. When he was released from his madness by a hellebore potion--provided by Antikyreus--and realized what he had done, he cried out in anguish, and went on a long journey to cleanse himself of the miasma caused by these killings. First, he visited the oracle at Delphi, who, unbeknownst to him, was whispered to by Hera. The Oracle told Herakles to serve the king of Tiryns, Eurystheus, for ten years and do everything Eurystheus told him to do. Eurystheus gladly provided Herakles with these labors--ten of them, one for each year--and eventually ended up adding two more, resulting in the Twelve Labors of Herakles.

The Herakleia (Ἡράκλεια ἐν Κυνοσάργει, Herakleia en Kynosargei) were ancient festivals commemorating the death of Herakles. In Athens, the celebration was held just outside the city walls, in a sanctuary dedicated to Herakles. His priests were drawn from the list of boys who were not full Athenian citizens (nothoi, illegitimate children, like him) and were named 'parasitoi'. The Attic cults of Herakles were often closely connected with youth: at several of his cult sites there was a gymnasion attached, and there was a mythological tradition (perhaps originating in Boeotia) that after Herakles died he was taken up to Olympus, where he married Hebe, the personification of youth. Because of this, Herakles is sometimes worshipped as a God and sometimes as a dead hero.

In Thebes, the center of the cult of Herakles, the festivities lasted a number of days and consisted of various athletic and musical contests (agones), as well as sacrifices. They were celebrated in the gymnasium of Iolaus, the nephew and eromenos of Herakles, and were known as the Iolaeia. The winners were awarded brass tripods.

Will you join us in honoring Herakles on this day? You can join the community here and find the ritual here.
We have all heard of Sappho, but did you know there were many other female poets whose work survives to this day? I'd like to share some of them with you today--and about the women who wrote them.

Anyte of Tegea
Anyte of Tegea (Ἀνύτη Τεγεᾶτις) was an early 3rd century BC Arcadian poet, was the leader of a school of poetry and literature on Peloponnesus, which also included the poet Leonidas of Tarentum. Antipater of Thessalonica listed her as one of the nine earthly muses. At least 18 of her epigrams, written in the Doric dialect, survive in the Greek Anthology; an additional six are doubtfully attributed to her.

"To Pan the bristly-haired, and the Nymphs of the farm-yard, Theodotus
the shepherd laid this gift under the crag, because they stayed him
when very weary under the parching summer, stretching out to him
honey-sweet water in their hands." -- Anyte, to Pan and the Nymphs

Erinna (Ἤριννα) was a Hellenic poet, a contemporary and friend of Sappho, a native of Rhodes or the adjacent island of Telos or even possibly Tenos, who flourished about 600 BC. She wrote in a mixture of Aeolic and Doric Greek. Three epigrams ascribed to her in the Palatine anthology probably belong to a later date, though some debate on the first epigram exists.

"I am of Baucis the bride; and passing by my oft-wept pillar thou
mayest say this to Death that dwells under ground, "Thou art envious,
O Death"; and the coloured monument tells to him who sees it the most
bitter fortune of Bauco, how her father-in-law burned the girl on the
funeral pyre with those torches by whose light the marriage train was
to be led home; and thou, O Hymenaeus, didst change the tuneable
bridal song into a voice of wailing dirges." -- Errina, On a Betrothed Girl

Moero (Μοιρώ) or Myro (Μυρώ) was a 3rd century BCE from the city of Byzantium. She was the wife of Andromachus Philologus and the mother (according to other sources, a daughter) of Homerus of Byzantium, the tragedian. Antipater of Thessalonica includes Moero in his list of famous poetesses. She wrote epic, elegiac, and lyric poetry, but little has survived. Athenaeus quotes from her epic poem, Mnemosyne (Μνημοσύνη), and two dedicatory epigrams of hers are included in the Greek Anthology. She also wrote a hymn to Poseidon and a collection of poems called Arai (Ἀραί).

"Thou liest in the golden portico of Aphrodite, O grape-cluster filled
full of Dionysus' juice, nor ever more shall thy mother twine round
thee her lovely tendril or above thine head put forth her honeyed
leaf." -- Moero, To Aphrodite of the Golden House

Nossis (Νοσσίς) was an ancient Greek woman epigrammist and poet, c. 300 BCE, who lived in southern Italy, at Locri. Her epigrams were inspired by Sappho, whom she claims to rival. Twelve epigrams of hers (one of which is perhaps spurious) survive in the Greek Anthology. Antipater of Thessalonica ranks her among the nine poets who deserved the honour to compete with the Muses.

"Nothing is sweeter than love, and all delicious things are second to
it; yes, even honey I spit out of my mouth. Thus saith Nossis; but he
whom the Cyprian loves not, knows not what roses her flowers are." -- Nossis, Love's Sweetness
On the day of the Hene kai Nea (or sometimes, like this month, days later because life happens), 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 Metageitnion:
  • Metageitnion 2 - 23 July - Herakleia - in honor of Herakles at Kunosarges gymnaisium outside Athens
  • Metageitnion 12 - August 2 - Sacrifice to Zeus Polieus, Athena Polias, and Apollon Lykeios in Athens
  • Metageitnion 15 + 18 - August 5 + 8 - Eleusinia, games held on forth year of every Olympiad, and on a lesser scale on the second year.
  • Metageitnion 16 - August 6 - Sacrifice to Kourotrophos, Hekate & Artemis at Erkhia
  • Metageitnion 19 - August 9 - Sacrifice to The Heroines at Erkhia
  • Metageitnion 20 - August 11 - Sacrifice to Hera Telkhinia at Erkhia
  • Metageitnion 25 - August 15 - Sacrifice to Zeus Epoptes at Erkhia

    Anything else?
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    Divination played a fairly large role in Hellenic every day life. Oracles given directly, like at Delphi, were rare and called chesmomancy. All other forms of divination practiced in ancient Hellas were performed by seers, not oracles. Seer staples were divination through the spotting of birds (ornithomancy and augury), dream interpretation (oneiromancy) and animal sacrifice (hieromancy, haruspicy, empyromancy and extispicy), but other forms of divination were definitely used, including cledonomancy (listening to words spoken by a crowd), oneiromancy (divination through the reading of birthmarks) and phyllorhodomancy, the reading of the sound rose petals make when slapping them together with your hands. The biggest difference between oracles and seers was that oracles gave long answers which usually needed some for of interpretation while seers usually answered yes-or-no  questions.

    Divination of any kind was rarely turned to, to predict the future. To desire knowledge of the future was considered hubris. Instead, oracles and seers were petitioned to help answer questions about the present or to advice on a decision which had to be made in the very near future. 'Shall I go to war?', ' Shall I put my sheep out on the high pasture?'. Most often, oracular questions were posed in a way which made it easy for the God(dess)--and the seer--to answer; they did not ask 'Shall I go to war?', they asked 'Don't you think I ought to go to war?'. Most likely, the answer of seers (and perhaps even oracles) depended on the offertory; if it was large enough, the answer was 'yes', if the offertory was dissatisfactory, the answer would be 'no'.

    Seers, in general, were considered touched by the Gods, and their gift was passed down through the blood line, often traced back to famous seers from mythology. These mythological people were considered gifted with the gift of sight and interpretation, and it could be passed by blood all the way down to the then-present. Some seers managed to make a good living from their job, others not so much and were rushed out of cities and towns when the answers they gave were not the desired ones.

    In modern times, divination has become a game everyone can play. There are some who still position themselves as seers or oracles, but in general, many of us perform at least one type of divination, and all of us keep our feelers out to maybe find out what the Gods want from us--be it sacrifice, taking or not taking a job, going or not going somewhere, etc. There is an art--a skill--in interpreting signs, and it comes with a lot of practice. I remember starting out many, many, years ago and thinking everything was a sign while doubting every sign I got. In general, I have discovered a few things about interpreting signs:
    • Almost always, that sign you think you have gotten is either some random occurrence without meaning or your inner sockpuppets talking to you
    • It doesn't matter if it's the inner sockpuppets or it's simply a bird flying overhead; if you feel you must or must not do something in your gut, then do or do not do it--the opinions of the Gods matter, but yours do as well
    • Saying you speak for a certain God had best come with a boatload of proof
    • Making fun of someone who says they speak for the Gods is never okay
    • It's okay to believe someone speaks for the Gods, and it's equally okay not to make use of their talents if you don't believe--or even if you do
    • Divination is a beautiful practice, but it's hard to find true meaning in--mostly because of said needed skill and the inner sockpuppets; use divination as a guide, not a law, if you make use of it at all
    • Don't be afraid to interpret (or misinterpret) signs; the Gods will steer you right eventually, and most likely you won't even notice
    • Go with your gut; always go with your gut--an always be respectful to the Gods and those who serve them
    Divination is a hot topic in the Hellenic community, mostly because of the historical foundation the practice is built upon. I rarely--if ever--use divination, but I do listen to my gut all the time. If I feel someone requires sacrifice, I'll do it, if I feel I'm meant to do something or walk away from something, I do it. Are those the Gods talking to me? I don't know, but I tend to believe they have instilled in me the qualities and wisdom to figure out my own life, and I have faith in Their willingness to steer my actions whenever I do something incredibly stupid. Interpreting signs is hard, and you will get it wrong many times over; that's fine. Keep at it, and once day you'll find the delicate balance between hope and faith.
    In Greek mythology, Atlas was a Titan or god who was forced to bear the sky on his shoulders after being defeated by Zeus, one of the next generation of gods called Olympians. The city’s archaeological park announced that the artwork, one of the most celebrated sculptures on the island, will be raised upright in front of the Temple of Zeus.

    The statue, eight metres high and built in the 5th century BC, was one of nearly 40 that adorned the ancient building, considered the largest Doric temple ever built, even if it was never completed and now lies in ruins. Roberto Sciarratta, director of the archaeological park, stated:

    “The reinstalment of the statue of Atlas is the culmination of a more comprehensive restoration [of the temple]. In the last decade, we’ve recovered and catalogued numerous artefacts that were once a part of the original structure … The goal is to recompose piece-by-piece the trabeation [beams] of the Temple of Zeus to restore a portion of its original splendour.”

     A view of Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
    Archaeologists and architects will soon start work to raise the statue in Sicily’s Valley of the Temples on the occasion of the founding of the ancient city of Akragas (now Agrigento) 2,600 years ago.

    It was one of the leading population centres in the region during the golden age of Ancient Greece and holds seven well-preserved Greek temples.

    Built on a high ridge over a span of 100 years, they remain among the most magnificent examples of Greek architecture. In the 5th century, more than 100,000 people lived there and, according to the philosopher Empedocles, they would “party as if they’ll die tomorrow, and build as if they will live for ever”.

    The city was destroyed in 406 BC by the Carthaginians, and its prosperity did not return until the rise of Timoleon in the late third century BC. During the Punic wars, the Carthaginians defended the settlement against the Romans, who seized control of the city in 210 BC.

    During the Roman era, the city – renamed Agrigentum (subsequently known as Girgenti) – underwent a period of monumental urban redevelopment with new public buildings, including at least two temples.

    Over the centuries, brickwork from the old monuments of the ancient city was taken for use in the construction of the buildings around Girgenti and the ancient harbour of Porto Empedocle.

    Historians also maintained that the Temple of Zeus was never finished because it was still lacking a roof when Akragas was conquered by the Carthaginians.

    Outside the temple, huge statues of Atlas were frozen in the act of supporting the temple.

    “The idea is to reposition one of these Atlases in front of the temple,” says Sciarratta, “so that it may serve as a guardian of the structure dedicated to the father of the gods.”
    For those unfamiliar with the Hermetica, they are Egyptian-Greek wisdom texts from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, which are mostly presented as dialogues in which a teacher, generally identified as Hermes Trismegistus ('thrice-greatest Hermes'), enlightens a disciple. The texts form the basis of Hermeticism. They discuss the divine, the cosmos, mind, and nature. Some touch upon alchemy, astrology, and related concepts.

    The Hermetic tradition represents a non-Christian lineage of Hellenistic Gnosticism and has greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition. It was considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The tradition claims descent from a doctrine which affirms that a single, true theology exists which is present in all religions and was given by God to man in antiquity. Many Christian writers considered Hermes Trismegistus to be a wise pagan prophet who foresaw the coming of Christianity.

    Like with the Greek Magical Papyri, or Papyri Graecae Magicae--another body of papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt, dating back to the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD, which each contain a number of magical spells, formulae, hymns and rituals--inclusion of these obviously muddled texts is up to the practitioner.

    I have stressed before on this blog the importance of narrowing down your practice to a time period and even a location. The reign of the Hellenes lasted for roughly 650 years. During that time, several major changes took place within the culture and religion of these people. Trying to reconstruct all these practices is not only impractical but also impossible. As a Hellenic Recon, it therefor becomes important to find out which classical, Hellenic, period speaks to us--and if we want to go beyond the scope of those time periods into the Graeco-Roman and Graeco-Egyptian. Of even more importance, perhaps, is if you want to follow or include mystery Traditions, like those taught at Eleusis, or by the Orphics, or even those found in the Papyri or Hermetica.

    So, if you feel the need to include the Hermetica, if its words speak to you on a religious or spiritual level, then by all means include them. You'll probably be a minority within the religion, but if you feel that is how you can best serve the Gods then go for it! Personally, I steer clear of both the Hermetica and the Papyri, but I've read both, and there is great beauty there. It's just not for me.
    The works to extend the Athens metro Line 3 towards Piraeus has included large-scale salvage excavations by archaeologists to depths unusual for such projects, with associated finds that include rare wooden remains from homes and even tree branches of antiquity.

    The stations being built in Piraeus and the shafts sunk into the earth have been mostly dug in Piraeus squares and open spaces that had never been built over, coordinator of excavations Giorgos Peppas told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

    As the archaeologist, enthusing over the extent and variety of the finds, says, "Imagine that the station is at a depth of 40 meters or more," which allowed the exploration of the pits of ancient wells; their bottoms are found at nearly 17-18 meters from the current surface. "We found very rare material - wooden and organic residues, which had remained in the water under the water table for nearly 20 centuries," he explains.

    He adds that the findings "are the largest collection in Greece of wooden objects coming directly from homes - that is, part of furnishings, vessels, tools, structural parts of a home - as well as seeds, pieces of wood, and branches of trees." A rare find includes a headless, extremely rare wooden statue of the god Hermes dated to the Hellenistic world, found in a well after the sack of the city by the Romans.

    The wells of the Hellenistic world, from Alexander the Great’s death in 323 BC to 31 BC, are the source of many of the objects found. Objects relate to "a phase of the city following the 86 BC invasion by the Romans - we found most material from the city destroyed by the Romans in the water cisterns and wells of the city no longer used. In essence, we are finding Hellenistic Piraeus in the wells," Pappas says. The already conserved material numbers over 4,000, along with 1,400 restored vessels and 1,300 wooden objects.

    Excavations have also provided the final identification of the city’s aqueduct, the chronology of which was revealed at the future stop of "Dimotiko Theatro" (the neoclassical Municipal Theater of Piraeus), and the 55-meter-long excavation of the aqueduct's central tunnel. The excavations reveal a timeline from the aqueduct's initial construction, believed to have taken place during Hadrian’s rule, until it was abandoned when the Goths invaded.

    As Pappas tells ANA-MPA, "We believe the water coursed from Athens through the Long Walls, specifically starting from the Ardittos Hill," which is by the present Panathenaic Stadium, but further detailing is necessary.

    The excavations have brought to light more of the details in the history of ancient Piraeus. In a great and unusual circumstance, the excavation’s conservation work may be observed by the public during the day in the "Xylapothiki" building, the wood-storage space modelled on an ancient Greek shed.

    The Xylapothiki building was turned into a laboratory and exhibition space in 2014, in collaboration with the metro construction company. The exhibition, "Stin Epifania" (Brought to light, or to the surface), is open to the public. "It is the only example in Greece where an exhibition works concurrently with an open conservation laboratory. The visitor can watch us carry out our work from above. Xylapothiki is open during the weekends," the archaeologist/coordinator reveals.

    An original stone mosaic floor found at the salvage excavations will be the centerpiece of exhibits at the Dimotiko Theatro stop, under glass, when the station is completed. The main theme will be waterworks and it will supplement the Xylapothiki exhibition. With eight different salvage excavations carried out within the area of ancient Piraeus, Peppas says, which roughly corresponds to the modern port city, the volume of salvaged material is massive; the Dimotiko Theatro station excavation alone is 0.5 hectares (5 stremmas).

    Speaking to ANA-MPA on behalf of Attiko Metro, head of the extension of Line 3 Evangelos Kolovos says that the large-scale salvage project proves that "the technical construction work of the metro can be combined harmoniously and yield impressive results along with the archaeological excavation."

    Noting that the construction contract included a 3-million-euro budget for salvage excavations, Kolovos notes two most moving moments at the excavations: "The first was a ring that I held as soon as it came out of the earth. The other was the bones of a rooster, which someone had sacrificed 2,000 years ago at the foundations of a home (...), a tradition that was followed for eons to recent years. It was truly moving and impressive."

    See plenty of images here.
    Plans to construct a new Archaeological Museum in Sparta have recently been approved, along with renovations to repair the old museum, which houses thousands of artifacts from the ancient world.  The announcement came a few days ago, following the approval and signing of the new initiative to construct the new facilities by Greece’s Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni.

    After the general agreement on the part of the authorities that Sparta needed a new facility, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation also played a decisive role in promoting the new redesign, donating funds for both the construction of the new institution and repairs to the old one.

    The reconstruction of two ancient floor mosaics dating back to the 4th century BC which were found during a 20th century excavation has also been approved. They were discovered in the garden of the famous house of Fustanos, Sparta at a depth of half a meter.

    These iconic pieces of art, as well as a range of other artifacts within the old museum, would go on to inspire a number of sculptures and artists, including the brothers Nikos and Pantelis Sotiriadis.

    Despite the old museum of Sparta being one of the country’s earliest such facilities, it was soon abandoned years later, with most of its pieces currently being stored in warehouses.

    Due to Sparta’s humid weather as well as a lack of general maintenance, the structure — as well as the museum artifacts that were left behind — were unfortunately subjected to the ravages of time.

    With the generous donations received from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation as well as approval from Minister Mendoni, both the construction of the new Archaeological Museum in Sparta as well as the restoration of the old facilities is now finally closer to becoming a reality.

    The beautiful thing about our religion is that not only do we have a clear way to honor the Theoi, and incentive to do so, we also get to live in a world governed completely by the Theoi. Hellenismos is special in that regards because it also largely matches up with science. To me--and many others with me--that is something very comforting. Now, as you are probably all aware, I live in a world full of Gods and Nymphs; for example, I take great strength in greeting Eos each morning as she paves the way for Helios, but there are many Gods who are, or who control, the cycle of day and night, and I would like to write out this cycle, if I may.

    For all things geneological, I will always turn to Hesiod first. In his 'Theogony', he speaks of the birth of the Dawn, Sun and Moon:

    "And Theia was subject in love to Hyperion and bare great Helios, and clear Selene, and Eos." [177]

    Diodorus Siculus, in his 'Library of History' shares this world vieuw and moves a (pseudo-scientific) step beyond it:

    "Of Hyperion we are told that he was the first to understand, by diligent attention and observation, the movement of both the sun and the moon and the other stars, and the seasons as well, in that they are caused by these bodies, and to make these facts known to others; and that for this reason he was called the father of these bodies, since he had begotten, so to speak, the speculation about them and their nature." [5.67.1]

    Hyperion (Ὑπερίων), meaning 'The High-One', was a Titanes God born from Gaea and Ouranos. Theia and Euryphaessa (as mentioned in, for example, the Homeric Hymns) are generally regarded as the same Deathless woman: 'Theia' is the Hellenic word for 'Goddess', so it was likely 'Theia Euryphaessa' translated to 'Goddess Euryphaessa'. This means that the family tree is as follows:

         Khaos ------------ Gaea
             |         |
       Ouranos --- |
                           Hyperion --- Euryphaessa
                      Eos - Helios - Selene

    The three of them--put into motion by Hyperion--form the basic cycle of these planets associated with specific times of day. Yet, the ancient Hellenes saw Night and Day as quite seperate from the heavenly bodies that are associated with them today. I have spoken before of the Protogenoi, and how They--contrary to the Olympians--are actually of the world; They, together, form the tapistry of earth and life. They literally make up our universe. As such, the further towards the Big Bang you go, the more abstract the Theoi become; They take on large, mostly unformed, chunks of the material that makes up our world and the further away you go from Khaos, the more specialized the Gods become--as well as numerous.

    As such, starting this explination with Hyperion is actually incorrect--I should have started with Khaos itself, but if not there, than at least with Nyx, who is the deep Night, and Her daughter Hêmera (Ἡμερα), who is the Protogenos of the Day and the sister-wife of Aither (Light). In Hellenic mythology, Nyx draws a veil of darkness between the shining atmosphere of the aither and the lower air of earth (aer) at set times in the day, bringing night to man. In the morning, Hêmera removes this veil, and exposed the Earth once more to Light. As Hesiod writes in the Theogony:

    "[At the ends of the earth, where lie the roots of earth, sea, Tartaros :] There stands the awful home of murky Nyx wrapped in dark clouds. In front of it [Atlas] the son of Iapetos stands immovably upholding the wide heaven upon his head and unwearying hands, where Nyx and Hemera draw near and greet one another as they pass the great threshold of bronze: and while the one is about to go down into the house, the other comes out at the door. And the house never holds them both within; but always one is without the house passing over the earth, while the other stays at home and waits until the time for her journeying come; and the one holds all-seeing light (phaos) for them on earth." [744]

    Once we reach AD times, Hêmera is often identified with Eos, but in centuries prior, she was very much Her own Goddess, and Hêmera was as well. Hómēros, for example, in the 'Odysseia' writes: 

    "The ship [of Odysseus] in due course left the waters of the river Okeanos and reached the waves of the spacious sea and the island of Aiaia; it is there [Okeanos] that Eos the early-comer (Erigeneia) has her dwelling place and her dancing grounds, and the sun himself has his risings. We came came in; we beached our vessel upon the sands and disembarked upon the sea-shore; there we fell fast asleep, awaiting ethereal Dawn." [12.1]

    So, to recapitulate: Nyx and Hêmera continually work to both create and dissolve darkness on Earth; Selene moves with Nyx, and Helios with Hêmera, as heralded by Eos. In this recap, it is quite obvious we are yet missing a speciffic time of the day: dusk, or the evening. This was in the domain of the Nymphs, in this case the Hesperides (Ἑσπεριδες), who--depending of source--are either the daughters of Nyx or Atlas. Diodorus Siculus, in the 1st Century BC., wrote in his 'Library of History': 

    "Now Hesperos (Evening) begat a daughter named Hesperis (Evening), who he gave in marriage to his brother [Atlas] and after whom the land was given the name Hesperitis; and Atlas begat by her seven daughters, who were named after their father Atlantides, and after their mother Hesperides." [4. 26. 2]

    Yet, older sources agree that the Hesperides were born from Nyx; Hesiod, for example:

    "And Nyx (Night) bare hateful Moros (Doom) and black Ker (Violent Death) and Thanatos (Death), and she bare Hypnos (Sleep) and the tribe of Oneiroi (Dreams). And again the goddess murky Nyx, though she lay with none, bare Momos (Blame) and painful Oizys (Misery), and the Hesperides who guard the rich, golden apples and the trees bearing fruit beyond glorious Okeanos."

    Of course, there are more Gods--motly Titans--who are in some way connected to the cycle of night and day, but these are the most important ones and it's quite a hand full already. So perhaps next time when you awake, you will think of Hêmera, and rosy Eos, and when the sun is high in the sky, you will think of Him as well, and when you look upon the Moon before going to bed, you will give honors to Selene and Nyx, who holds Her and Gaea in Her embrace. Our Gods are everywhere; you only have to be aware of Them to notice.
    One of those days, people... one of those days... I'm going to have to leave you with a bit of ancient text, and I want to broaden the horizon a little today by giving you one of the spells/prayers from the Papyri Graecae Magicae, also known as the 'Greek Magical Papyri'. They are a body of papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt, which each contain a number of magical spells, formulae, hymns and rituals. The materials in the papyri date from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD. The manuscripts came to light through the antiquities trade, from the 18th century onwards. One of the best known of these texts is the so-called Mithras Liturgy.

    Today I would like to quote the logos--the invocatory utterance--of the document. It would have been spoken upon entering the magical rites and it's uzzeling and deliciously un-Hellenic. Enjoy!


    "O Primal Origin of my origination; Thou Primal Substance of my substance; First Breath of breath, the breath that is in me; First Fire, God-given for the Blending of the blendings in me, [First Fire] of fire in me; First Water of [my] water. the water in me; Primal Earth-essence of the earthy essence in me; Thou Perfect Body of me - N. N. son of N. N., son of N.N. (fem.) - fashioned by Honoured Arm and Incorruptible Right Hand, in World that's lightless, yet radiant with Light, [in World] that's soulless, yet filled full of Soul!
    If, verity, it may seem good to you, translate me, now held by my lower nature, unto the Generation that is free from Death; in order that, beyond the insistent Need that presses on me, I may have Vision of the Deathless Source, by virtue of the Deathless Spirit, by virtue of the Deathless Water, by virtue of the [Deathless] Solid, and [by virtue of] the [Deathless] Air; in order that 1 may become re-born in Mind; in order that 1 may become initiate, and that the Holy Breath may breathe in me; in order that 1 may admire the Holy Fire; that 1 may see the Deep of the [New] Dawn, the Water that doth cause [the Soul] to thrill; and that the, Life-bestowing Æther which surrounds [all things] may give me, Hearing.
    For 1 am to behold to-day with Deathless Eyes - I, mortal, born of mortal womb, but [now] made better by the Might of Mighty Power, yea, by the Incorruptible Right Hand - [I am to see to-day] by virtue of the Deathless Spirit the DeathlessÆon, the master of the Diadeins of Fire - I with pure purities [now] Purified, the human soul-power of me subsisting for a little while in purity; which [power] I shall again receive transmitted unto me beyond the insistent Bitterness that presses on me, Necessity whose debts can never go unpaid - I, N. N., son of N. N. (fem.) - according to the Ordinance of God that naught can ever change.
    For that it is beyond my reach that, born beneath the sway of Death, I should [unaided] soar into the Height, together with the golden sparklings of the Brilliancy that knows no Death. Stay still, O nature doomed to Perish, [nature] of men subject to Death! And straightway let me pass beyond the Need implacable that presses on me; for that I am His Son; I breathe; I am!"
    "Were the women engaging in holy prostitution doing it willingly or were they forced?"

    This refers to this post about sex and ritual in which I mention sacred prostitution in relation to the worship of Aphrodite. This is a hard question to answer. For one, accounts are incredibly fuzzy and there appear to be many forms of ritual prostitution, especially in relation to the worship of Aphrodite. Before we go into the question, let me reiterate a bit of what I have explained about women in ancient Hellas before: women were property. They could be bought and sold, they could be given away in marriage, and within the law, they could be raped without punishment (same goes for men, by the way). Women did not have the autonomy to plan their own life--that honour went to her father or her husband, and if those were not available, the privilege went to her son(s) or another male family member. This sounds pretty dire, but it wasn't; it was just life.

    Because much of what we know of ancient Hellas was written by men who condoned and enjoyed this system of male economic and social superiority, we will most likely never know exactly how women felt about these arrangements, let alone temple prostitution. And in a system like this, where is the line between willing and forced? If the women knew there was an alternative, would they have resisted? Did they now? Did they see it as their sacred duty to Aphrodite, or did the men in their lives think so?

    I can tell you a bit: many of these practices were old--far older than Hellenic civilization. Some were also imported from other parts of the surrounding world, and the Goddess that was originally worshipped with these rites was adapted to Aphrodite as well. There are accounts of a great variety of prostitution rites: women sold to men in grand sales where the men had to promise to wed the women (thus making them lawful wives, not a doûlos, a slave) and where the funds raised went to the temple of Aphrodite; women put out by the side of the road and sold to men for a coin for one night, after which she would never have to submit to a man ever again (and once more, the coins went to Aphrodite); or a ritual where women had to cut their hair and if they refused, they had to sleep with strangers for a day and all the funds went to Aphrodite. There are countless of these examples, although many grew outdated fairly early on in Hellenic history.

    It's important to note that temple prostitution was not frowned upon. A woman who collected her dowry by prostituting herself was considered pure and pious, and men would wed her readily. If a woman prostituted herself and gave the proceedings to the temple, she was considered pious and worthy of great respect.

    Temple prostitutes did more than offer sexual intercourse to visitors of the temple or its festivals: they entertained by way of musical instrument, by song or dance. they gave brilliance to the rites performed and enhanced the festival proceedings greatly. They were always invited, and while they weren't priestesses of Aphrodite, they were considered part of the temple and somewhat sacred to Her. The temple of Aphrodite Porne at Corinth was said to be so wealthy that it kept more than a thousand of these women.

    Did these women do it willingly? I don't know. It was part of the worship of Aphrodity, as proclaimed by the men who took advantage of these sacred laws. Very rarely can these type of circular logic problems be answered with a 'yes' or a 'no'. The reasons for taking part in temple prostitution must have been numerous, and I don't know if the women could refuse. It's tempting to look at this from a modern point of view, but it's useless to do so. Times have changed, and this is an aspect of Hellenic religion, we have rightfully left in the past.

    "Were there male temple prostitutes?"

    The short answer is: we don't know. We know that there was (young) male prostitution that ancient Athenial lawmaker Solon regulated. These men were called 'πόρνοι pórnoi'. Some of them aimed at a female clientele but the vast majority of male prostitutes were for a male clientele. The period during which adolescents were judged as desirable extended from puberty until the appearance of a beard. Boys kept on afterwards were looked down upon, and if the matter came to the attention of the public they were deprived of citizenship rights once come to adulthood. For the relations that were built up (instead of just a quick tryst ), see pederasty, the socially acknowledged erotic relationship between an adult male and a younger male usually in his teens which was practiced mostly in the Archaic and Classical ages of Hellenic history. Due to the age difference and the societal function the practice served, this type of relationship was accepted and not considered homosexual. The younger partner was always the passive party and performed to role of 'woman' in the exchange, thus making it a heterosexual relationship between two men (as contradictory as that may sound).

    As for temple prostitution: I haven't seen a single mention of it anywhere. It may have existed, but personally I doubt it for the reason listed above: the men who slept with temple prostitutes did so to honour a female deity who was--in essence--above them is standing. To raise a young boy to the same height when the rules of pederasty were so clear cut just does not fly with me. I'll let you guys know if I ever find out more.
    The people of Ancient Hellas could have believe in the existence of zombies. The conclusion was made by scientists after researching the necropolis of Passo Marinaro, which is located near the town of Kamarina in Sicily.

    There are several thousand graves on the plot and scientists have studied almost three thousand of them. Archeologists have found many interesting and strange things, including artifacts. A few burials were different from the other, since they used additional weight in the form of stones. It looked as if the inhabitants of Ancient Greece did not want those resting there getting out. In addition, they also found tablets containing incantations against the “living dead.”

    Necrophobia, or the fear of the dead, is a concept that has been present in Hellenic culture from the Neolithic period to the present, according to Weaver. She underlines that Katadesmoi – tablets with magic spells inscribed – were also found, suggesting that some inhabitants of Kamarina used incantations to raise the dead from their graves. Petitions on tablets were addressed to underworld dieties so that the spirits of the dead could fulfill the request of the person making the petition.

    The ancient Hellenes also believed in ghosts; they were the people who could not find the entrance to the Underworld or who didn't have the money to pay Kharon for their passage. Those who were not properly buried were also doomed to wander the Earth for a hundred years. Interestingly enough, Hellenic heroes were also considered ghosts and were honored in the same type of rites as other types of ghosts.

    The Ancient Hellenes held festivals in honor of ghosts, and the Theoi that presided over them, so they would be sated and appeased and would not haunt them. Most of these festivals included a holókaustos and were solemn affairs, conducted at night and without an offering of wine.

    This fear of spirits and other supernatural entities was named 'deisidaimonia' (δεισιδαιμονία). The ceremonies of riddance were known to the Hellenes as apopompai (ἀποποπμαί), 'sendings away'. There isn't a single word in the English language that conveys the practice. Closest would be 'exorcism'.

    Becoming a ghost was not a good thing. While heroes like Hēraklēs, Theseus and Orpheus head into the Underworld and return from it alive, they never do so without a struggle and the fact that heroes were considered ghosts is food for thought. They have seen the Underworld and have not left the whole of it behind. Ghosts were feared and needed to be appeased, fed with blood to sustain them and/or warded off.