An altar to a Greek deity amalgamating characteristics of Pan and Zeus has been discovered in the ruins of a Byzantine church at the Banias Nature Reserve in northern Israel. The altar had been debased: used as a lowly building stone in a church wall, with its inscribed face concealed.

Perhaps the builders used it as a matter of simple convenience, says Prof. Adi Erlich of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at Haifa University, co-director of the church project with Ron Lavi. Or, its repurposing may have been a deliberate show of disrespect, marking the subjugation of the pagans to the Christians.

Earlier this month, Haaretz’s Noa Shpigel reported on the excavation of the church, under the auspices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Actually it’s the second church discovered at the Banias, on a site sacred to pagan gods going back millennia, Erlich explains. It is not rare for “sacred sites” in the Levant to be preserved over the millennia, utilized by the devotees of the various gods applicable at each time. 

The altar itself apparently dates to about 1,800 to 1,700 years ago (the Roman period in Israel), and was set in the wall of the later church dating to about the seventh century, the tail end of the Byzantine era in the Holy Land. Because of the timing, Erlich qualifies that they cannot be certain the early Christians were responsible for extracting the altar from its niche.

In any case, with hindsight, it stood out like a sore thumb. “The wall is made of small simple stones and there’s this one great big stone,” Erlich describes – all the others are local travertine or limestone. No less than a meter in height, it had been carved out of local volcanic basalt rock. (It bears adding that the Golan Heights today is volcanically extinct; the last eruption was around 100,000 years ago, Ron Lavi says.)

Actually, the archaeologists, from the Israel Antiquities Authority and University of Haifa, had found four altars from the Roman period: three plain and un-inscribed, and this one. Presumably deliberately, the church builders positioned the altar with the writing to the inside, unobservable by the Christian faithful.

It was only after they had extracted the exceptional stone from the wall and stood it up straight that they saw the inscription and realized it had been an altar, and a lovely one at that, Erlich tells Haaretz.

“On its front is an inscription encompassed in a frame, in Greek – the lingua franca here during the Roman period.”

Officials and soldiers spoke Latin, but the locals generally stuck either to Greek or Aramaic.) But what did the writing say? The inscription is still undergoing analysis by Avner Ecker of Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan. Engraving in basalt tends to “survive” relatively well and the stone had been spared some weathering thanks to the church-builders’ act, so it was relatively easy to read. Interpreting it is another matter, he explains.

Ancient inscriptions are formulaic, he says, and interpreting these cryptic messages from the long-gone past starts with knowing what kind of formula to expect. “Somebody not acquainted with the formulae might not realize what words to look for, which makes reading harder. You read letter by letter and then put it together – it’s usually not so well preserved as to read it just at one go,” Ecker notes. Of course – there’s no punctuation.

Also, the craftsman who engraved this inscription doesn’t seem to have been world-class. “It seems they didn’t plan their space very well,” Ecker says: the writing exceeds the boundaries of the text and the size of the letters decreases as one goes down, indicating that the hapless scribe realized he was running out of room. “The inscriber was no pro,” he sums up.

What it so unprofessionally says is this:

“Atheneon son of Sosipatros of Antioch is dedicating the altar to the god Pan Heliopolitanos. He built the altar using his own personal money pursuant to a vow he made.”

Now let’s pick this apart. The banal part, Erlich says, is the man’s name, his Greek identity and his vow to use his own wealth, which is very much the norm in such dedications.

The less banal part is that this was no local. He hailed from afar, and not even from one of the big cities nearby such as Tyre in Lebanon or Damascus in Syria. No, he came from Antioch, far to the north – its ruins lie near the west-central Turkish city of Antakya, which is 332 kilometers (206 miles) from the Banias as the crow flies (if it doesn’t get shot down by somebody assuming it’s a Mossad spy). Erlich suggests the fact of his trip could suggest how significant the Banias was to the Pan cult.

We can’t know if the Banias was Atheneon’s ultimate destination or if he was traveling through it. Erlich points out, Christians pray at churches by their homes but choose to travel to the Holy Land because it’s special. Banias (as Paneas) is mentioned in several extra-biblical ancient sources, so it may actually have been his goal to reach it, this site where Pan worship long predated the Romans.

Anyway, what did Atheneon vow? “He doesn’t specify,” Ecker says. But going by the facts that he hailed from Antioch in today’s southern Turkey, the third biggest city in the Roman empire at the time (after Rome itself and Alexandria), and that he reached the Banias, he may simply have been thanking the god for having made it so far in his quest, Ecker suggests.

If so, who exactly was he thanking? The cult of Pan, the Greek god of shepherds, was popular around the Mediterranean basin going back thousands of years: a spectacular gold mask of the god’s face was found in Hippos – a hilltop town overlooking the Sea of Galilee – to name but one example of the goatish deity’s adoration in local circles. In fact, the contemporary name “Banias” stems from the Arabic pronunciation of the original name, Paneas (Arabic has no letter “p” and replaces it with “b”).

But who is Pan Heliopolitanos? “That’s the most intriguing thing about the inscription: the syncretism of gods and religions. Heliopolitanos is a name usually associated with Zeus, not Pan,” Erlich explains.

Zeus Heliopolitanos, aka Jupiter Heliopolitanos, was the form in which that uber-god was worshipped from Syria to northern Israel, and beyond. The center of the Zeus Heliopolitanos cult was at the aptly named city of Heliopolis, aka Baalbek in Lebanon.

Another group who adored that aspect of Zeus were the local Roman soldiers, Erlich adds. Worship of Zeus Heliopolitanos reached its acme in the first and second centuries. And now we find this amalgamation of Pan with Heliopolitanos at the Banias.

“For the pagans, a god wasn’t static and holistic. The inscription is dedicated to a combination of Pan and a facet of Zeus. Not Heliopolitan Zeus, but a sort of combination of Pan and this aspect of Zeus.”

She points out that syncretization among the Greco-Roman gods was not rare: the very Acropolis itself in Athens had two representations of the goddess Athena: Athena Parthenos (meaning virginal), which has disappeared; and a temple to Athena Nike, representing victory, built at the entrance to the Acropolis some 2,500 years ago.

Ecker adds that evidence of the syncretized Pan-Zeus deity has been found before, in another inscription found at the Banias. This newly discovered altar is further proof of connection between the Banias and Zeus worship at Baalbek, he says.

“We have seen similar things in the Alps – for instance, dedications to Jupiter of the Alps, thanking the god for success in travel, and in Israel, where inscriptions were found in the Judean Desert and in Machtesh Ramon, thanking the gods for success in travel. That is a theory of the vow Atheneon mad.”

Asked why the Greek gods were still adored centuries after the Romans rolled over the land, Erlich explains that the locals didn’t warm to the Roman versions of the deities: “Here they worshipped Aphrodite, not Venus, for instance,” she says.

Erlich notes the famous “Battle of Panium” (yes, that’s the Banias) between the Ptolemaic regime and the Seleucids in 200 B.C.E., which took place near the Banias spring. The Seleucids won, crushing the Ptolemaic forces to the point of no return. Later, according to the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus, King Herod built an altar there to his patron the caesar Augustus. In fact, Herod built three temples to Augustus, the others in Caesarea and Sebastia (in Samaria), Erlich says.

When Herod died in 4 B.C.E., Josephus related, control over the area went to his son Herod Philip, who in the first century developed it into a city called Caesarea Philippi (Josephus however called it Caesarea Paneas). The disciples Mark and Matthew both make mention of the city.

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’” (Matthew 16:13-16).

It is the next sentence that explains why a church was erected there:

“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’” (Matthew 16:17-18).

Erlich adds, to the amusement of us laypeople, that for decades archaeologists have been squabbling over where Herod built the temple to Augustus, and her colleagues thought she’d likely find it near the Pan grotto. They did not. “We found nothing connected with Herod,” she says. “This altar was built 200 to 250 years after Herod. There is, however, a candidate for the Augusteum, 3 kilometers to the south at Omrit.”

As said, the altar to the syncretized Pan-Zeus god was put into the second coming of the church at the Banias – and at the time they built it, pagan temples were probably still operational at the site, Erlich says. The first church at the Banias was built in the fifth century, but was destroyed by earthquake, then the second one would be built – just as the Christians were losing control of the Holy Land to the Caliphate.

Eight years ago, much closer to the start of this blog, I started the Constellation Series; a series aimed at explaining the ancient constellations list by Hellenic astronomer Ptolemy. Ptolemy set out forty-eight constellations, based in Hellenic mythology, of which some are still recognized to this day, and others got broken up or otherwise rearranged or added in the years that followed. Since it's been so long, I've decided to start reposting them for new readers, starting with Andromeda.

Androméda (Ἀνδρομέδα) is a princess, the daughter of Cepheus, king of Aethiopia, and his wife Cassiopeia. One faithful day, Cassiopeia boasted to an attentive court that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids. The father of the Nereids, the sea God Nereus, heard Cassiopeia's prideful boast and brought his grievance to Poseidon. Poseidon ruled in favor of Nereus and sent Cetus, a huge sea monster, to ravage the coasts of Aethiopia. Cepheus, desperate, visited the Oracle of Apollon to hear how he could solve the suffering of his people. The Oracle told his that Nereus would only be appeased when he sacrificed his daughter to Cetus.

Although Cepheus was reluctant, he knew it was the only way to keep his people safe, and so he took Androméda to a cliff overlooking the water and chained her to the rock. It is this image that was immortalized in the sky. Androméda was not sacrificed, though; Perseus, on his way back from defeating Médousa, came upon her and turned Cetus to stone with the Gorgon head. He married Androméda and took her off to his native island of Serifos. They had many children; sons Perses, Alcaeus, Heleus, Mestor, Sthenelus, and Electryon, as well as daughters, Autochthe and Gorgophone. After Androméda's death, Athena placed her among the constellations in the northern sky, near Perseus and Cassiopeia.

The Andromeda constellation is visible at latitudes between +90° and −40°. It is best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of November.

On November 14, 2015, near the village of Chrysovitsi in Arcadia, Greece, a group of German poachers discovered an ancient silver coin weighing 12 grams. They named it “Olympia”.

On its front the coin depicted an eagle with open wings holding a hare with its claws, and on the back it showed the winged Goddess Niki (Victory), just like the Niki of Samothraki statue which is now located at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The poachers stole the coin and sold it for 8,000 euros to an intermediary seller and a popular – among his peers – illicit dealer of antiquity, known by the nickname ‘The Grandfather’. The poachers thought that they had made a good deal. The value of the coin however, was much greater than they had estimated. 

On March 7, 2016, that same coin appeared in an auction house catalogue in Munich, Germany, for a starting price of 12,000 euros. It was eventually sold for 34,000 euros to an anonymous buyer.

The German poachers felt the original buyer, ‘The Grandfather’,  had deceived them, since he bought the coin for a much lower price than it was actually worth. They decided to return to Greece to search for more ancient coins to sell at auction.  A large group of illicit dealers from various countries was assembled to discover ancient artifacts and smuggle them to auctions in Germany, Austria, Great Britain and Bulgaria.

The Greek police recorded in detail the journey of the Olympia coin, as well as the stories of many other ancient Greek coins and artifacts, from discovery to sale in auction houses abroad.

In the Summer of 2015, the Greek authorities started monitoring phone calls between suspects of antiquities trades and thefts, and during some of these recorded conversations the sounds of metal detectors searching for coins in Greece and noises made by shovels digging could even be clearly heard. A year later, the same police investigation led to dozens of arrests.

Searches of the homes of the suspect poachers, their warehouses and their cars, resulted in the confiscation of 2,024 coins and 126 antiquities and part of the loot that had ended up abroad was repatriated.

All of the stolen ancient items were examined by a team of archaeologists and museum curators, who concluded that the value of the artifacts was “priceless and impossible to estimate, but would guarantee millions in earnings for the poachers”.

A similar story unfolded in May 2016, when a silver half drachma coin depicting the Olympian Goddess Demeter, was auctioned in Zurich, Switzerland for 15,000 Swiss francs. The coin had been discovered in an illegal excavation in Karpenisi in Greece, just three months earlier and sold to Swiss smugglers.

Throughout phone conversations recorded by the Greek police, the defendants explained how the money from this sale was to be distributed, and revealed that the Swiss auction house itself had created fake certificates of origin showing the coin as a legally distributed currency from a legal European collection. The auction house reportedly received over 20% in commission for the sale of this particular coin.

On October 21st of this year, the first set of a series of trials against the antiquity dealers took place at the Three-Member Criminal Court of Appeal of Patras in Greece, where 47 defendants appeared.

The accusations against them and their illegal actions were presented before the court, along with a detailed description of the theft and distribution chain of the ancient items to large and well-known auction houses abroad.

The indictment case file – reportedly 2,546 pages long – suggested that some of these auction houses even attempted to pay off Greek smugglers to conduct illegal excavations and make illegal purchases, create fake certificates of origin, and allow fictitious strikes at auctions to manipulate the final price of each item.

After several years of investigation and observation, the Greek police managed to uncover a whole network of illegal dealers of ancient artefacts and bring to light a ‘laundering’ of antiquities.

In order to unravel the centre of action of the circuit, Greek authorities submitted requests for legal assistance from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain and Bulgaria and demanded the opening of bank vaults abroad, the detailed search of the e-mails of those arrested, as well as the files of the relevant auction companies.

A critical point in this grand recovery of the stolen artifacts was the arrest of the leader and initiator of most of these illegal transactions, knowns as ‘the Grandfather’. The Grandfather, also known among his co-accused poachers as ‘the ambassador’, is a 69-year-old man, who has a long history with illicit trade of antiquities in Greece and Bulgaria, and he reportedly pulled the strings of most of the illegal dealerships.

According to the police investigation, the Grandfather had connections with farmers and hunters in various parts of Greece who, believing that he was working for archaeological organizations and museums, would contact him first after their clandestine excavations, to assess the value of their findings. The Grandfather would then mediate with the various auction houses and would obtain a large amount of money in commission for his ‘services’.

According to reports by the Greek police, the Grandfather was implicated in 1977 and 1979 in the cases of the infamous German archaeologist Stefan Geriger – who tried to smuggle ancient artifacts to Germany – and also in 1991, when he was again accused of illegal antiquity trades and illegal distribution of ancient Greek coins. He was however, acquitted for all cases.

The arrest of The Grandfather is very important for the Greek police, as he has been the  link connecting smugglers and auction houses for decades, while making millions by selling ancient artifacts that belong in Greek museums.

Police reportedly spent many months analysing recorded phone calls to decode a secret language of the suspects used in an attempt to cover their tracks. Specifically, they called the coins “buttons”, the ancient tombs “underground shops”, while if an object was damaged or not of good quality, they called it “turtle” or “log”. In addition, Greek authorities discovered a number of videos showing gravediggers in Greece searching for artifacts, with plans to sell them to Bulgaria and Great Britain.

As the NIS (National Intelligence Service of Greece) continues the investigation it has been revealed that numerous European and American auction houses have been involved in these illegal transactions involving the ancient Greek artifacts, with more details to be revealed at the Patras Board of Appeals in the following weeks.

Original article with more images here.

Oedipus Rex, also known by its Greek title, Oedipus Tyrannus (Οἰδίπους Τύραννος), or Oedipus the King, is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed around 429 BC. Originally, to the ancient Hellenes, the title was simply Oedipus (Οἰδίπους), as it is referred to by Aristotle in the Poetics. It is thought to have been renamed Oedipus Tyrannus to distinguish it from another of Sophocles' plays, Oedipus at Colonus. In antiquity, the term “tyrant” referred to a ruler with no legitimate claim to rule, but it did not necessarily have a negative connotation.

Of Sophocles' three Theban plays that have survived, and that deal with the story of Oedipus, Oedipus Rex was the second to be written. However, in terms of the chronology of events that the plays describe, it comes first, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Prior to the start of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus has become the king of Thebes while unwittingly fulfilling a prophecy that he would kill his father, Laius (the previous king), and marry his mother, Jocasta (whom Oedipus took as his queen after solving the riddle of the Sphinx). The action of Sophocles' play concerns Oedipus' search for the murderer of Laius in order to end a plague ravaging Thebes, unaware that the killer he is looking for is none other than himself. At the end of the play, after the truth finally comes to light, Jocasta hangs herself while Oedipus, horrified at his patricide and incest, proceeds to gouge out his own eyes in despair.

Oedipus Rex is regarded by many scholars as the masterpiece of ancient Hellenic tragedy. In his Poetics, Aristotle refers several times to the play in order to exemplify aspects of the genre.

Maria Moscholiou has passed away. Moscholiou supervised the dramatic Lighting Ceremonies four times in total — in 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1980. She was presented with the City of Athens Medal in recognition of her extensive contribution to the dissemination of the Olympic Ideal. Moscholiou was born in Athens and studied the art of drama at the National Theatre, where she performed for many years.

In one of her rare interviews she stated: 

“Creating the Olympic Light is an unbelievable feeling. Watching what happens next in the countries where the Olympic Flame is travelling is unbelievable.”

She had recalled the welcome ceremony held in Mexico in 1968, when the flame passed above streets that were covered in flowers and in 1976 in Canada.

“In Montreal, the flame arrived through laser rays, and I remember Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau saying in his speech that if the ancient Greeks could see that lightning transmission of the Flame, then they would say that it happened with the gods’ intervention”.

The Canadians presented her with a gold-plated torch and a large flag from the Games.

The ritual of the Lighting of the Flame starts from the Altar of Hera, in front of the goddess’s temple (called the Heraion), which is opposite from the Temple of Zeus, at the archaeological site of Olympia. The ceremony begins with the procession of the priestesses, all under the supervision of the High Priestess. Dressed in Archaic-style clothing, priestesses then surround the altar.

Then, the High Priestess calls the Sun God Apollon to light the torch using a concave mirror to focus the sun’s rays. The High Priestess then says a prayer to Apollon and Zeus. When the flame lights, the High Priestess relays the flame in a small ceramic pot and heads to the Panathinaiko Stadium with all the priestesses in procession after her.

They pass by the Olive Tree, where they stand for a moment and the “Amphithalis Pais”, the young boy (both of whose parents are alive) cuts off an olive branch, as a symbol of peace and a meaningful winner’s prize.

When the procession arrives at the Stadium, the High Priestess then lights the torch of the first runner and the torch relay begins.

Far from the town and port of Aegina, on a hill on the northeast side of the island where a pre-Dorian deity was worshipped, the Aeginetans erected the first stone temple to the goddess Aphaia in c. 570 BC. It was a Doric limestone building with a prostyle porch, destroyed by fire around 510 BC.

Following the destruction of the first temple, the Doric limestone peripteral temple which survives today was built in the late 6th–early 5th c. BC. This is one of the best-preserved temples of ancient Greece, now restored. The exceptional marble sculptures on its pediments, depicting the mythical expeditions against Troy in which Aeginetan heroes of the Aeacid dynasty (including Ajax and Telamon) distinguished themselves, are a landmark in the history of ancient Greek sculpture.

Worshippers entered the temple courtyard via a propylon entrance in the south side of the peribolos enclosure delimiting the levelled area. Sacrifices to the goddess were offered by the priests on the altar outside the temple to the east. An inclined paved platform connected the temple to the altar. Votive offerings, such as the tall column topped by a sphinx, adorned the sanctuary.

The temple has 12 columns on the long sides and six on the short sides. It consists of the rectangular cella (inner chamber), the pronaos (portico) and the shallower opisthodomos (rear chamber), with two columns between the pronaos and the opisthodomos. The cella is divided into three parts by two rows of five columns on two levels. The place where the cult statue stood is visible in the central space. There was a doorway between the cella and the opisthodomos. Balustrades with doors blocked the gaps between the four central columns of the narrow façade and the two ends of the long walls, as well as the gaps between the columns of the pronaos and the opisthodomos.

Every visible part of the temple was coated in a painted layer of white plaster to protect the limestone. The metopes were undecorated. The roof was covered with terracotta tiles, apart from the first layer with the palmette-shaped antefixes, which was made of marble. The gutters were carved with lion’s-head spouts. Both the central palmette acroteria were also of marble, with a kore in Ionian dress standing on either side.

The temple, built at the peak of Aegina’s prosperity by an unknown architect, is one of the best examples of the Doric style.

By Sofia Michalopoulou via

A headless bronze statue dating from the Hellenistic times, weighing 300 kg (661 pounds) and measuring six feet in height, was recently caught by Turkish fishermen recently off the coast of Marmaris (Physkos), near Bodrum.

The statue was lifted out of the boat’s hull and was placed onto a vehicle by crane once on land. She was then handed over to the Marmaris Museum Directorate for examination and identification. They were astonished to find the enormous bronze figure of a woman which in many respects resembles the “Kyra of Kalymnos,” or the Lady of Kalymnos, which was discovered in 1995 off the Greek island and is how housed in the local museum.

Marmaris Museum Directorate officials have remained mum about the incredible find, saying only that they would have an official statement after the statue was thoroughly examined.

Similar sculptures, of the type of the “Megali Irakliotissa” have been found in that area previously and were a common sight in Greek cities in Hellenistic times. Like that statue, the new bronze is of a female wearing a tunic and a headdress.

The Lady of Kalymnos is of a similar size, measuring 1.95 meters high. Like the recent find, she was also dredged up from the bottom by fishermen; parts of a statue depicting a man on a horse were also found near her at that time.

At least, that is the official line. The new supposed find throws not only the new statue but the Lady of Kalymnos into question as well, since some say that she was actually found in Asia Minor.

Nikos Kaltsas, the former director of the National Archaeological Museum, reportedly once said during a meeting of the KAS “We do not know (The Lady of Kalymnos’) origin. “It probably came from Asia Minor.”

Regardless of its provenance, after dedicated preservation work which went on for twenty months, the statue is now displayed in an appropriate setting in the Kalymnos Museum. The torso of the man on horseback, which was reported to have been found near the Lady, was even displayed at the Acropolis Museum for a time.

I came across these a while ago and thought they might prove useful or at least entertaining. This is the source I have found but please correct me if the source is different. The Theoi and the sign they are most associated with, based on core domain and/or lore. For more symbols of these Theoi, go here.



The University of Liverpool’s Garstang Museum of Archaeology secured £40,000 investment from the Art Fund to produce digital exhibitions using 3D imagery – and to share this knowledge, expertise and equipment with similar institutions across the North West.

The Museums of the North West Photogrammetry Hub: building virtual 3D futures project will use the technique of creating 3D models of objects held in collections using multiple 2D images, allowing the public to get as close to these unique items as possible, as Covid-19 continues to keep the physical buildings sealed.

Garstang Museum Curator, Dr Gina Criscenzo-Laycock said: “The museums of the North West have some of the UK’s most important collections, and this project represents a huge step towards opening up these collections to make them accessible to people from both within and outside the region.”

The investment, which was awarded from the Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine appeal, will be used to engage a photogrammetry technician; purchase purpose-built computing equipment and software for the construction, editing and manipulation of 3D models; as well as allowing the purchase of photogrammetry equipment to loan to partner museums, to help support digital archiving of 3D models held across the region.

The Liverpool team will also provide training and direct working support to North West museum staff, which will help facilitate the construction of a digital exhibition, featuring augmented reality with accompanying app, that can be hosted at each partner institution.

Dr Ardern Hulme-Beaman leads the University’s Photogrammetry Team, in the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, he said: 

“We’re extremely pleased to receive this grant from the Art Fund and we’re very much looking forward to starting this collaborative project. The Photogrammetry Team in the University has been working extremely hard to advance efficient photogrammetry practices, and this award lays the foundations for future projects with our collaborative partners, both in terms of creative public engagement and research activities.”

The Garstang Museum, which was founded in 1904, houses more than 20,000 artefacts from Egypt, Sudan and the Near East – including rare pieces from Nubia – but is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The funding will allow The Garstang and it’s North West partners; The Atkinson Museum in Southport; Bolton Museum; Manchester Museum; Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery in Carlisle and the University’s Victoria Gallery & Museum to continue to make their collections available – in 3D – to interested members of the public, academics and students across the world.

Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum, added: “Manchester Museum is excited to be part of this project, which builds on our ambitions in this direction and – crucially – responds to a real need to engage with objects in new, virtual ways.”

To find out more about the University’s Photogrammetry Team, please visit and to find out more about the Garstang Museum of Archaeology, please visit

Listverse released a list of ten ancient Hellenic writers you should know. It's a good list, and the reasoning why these were chosen is a great read in and of itself. The ten who made the cut are:

10. Hómēros -- writer of the Iliad and the Odysseia
9. Sophocles -- the tragedian who wrote (amongst others) Antigone, Oedipus the King and Electra
8. Herodotos -- whose book The Histories is considered the first work of history in Western literature
7. Euripides -- the tragedian who wrote (amongst others) Alcestis, Medea and The Bacchus
6. Hippokrátēs -- who fathered modern medicine, mostly with his Hippocratic Corpus
5. Aristophanes -- the comic playwright who wrote (amongst others) The Clouds, The Wasps and Lysistrata
4. Plato -- one of the fathers of Western philosophy
3. Aristotle -- the last of the great Hellenic philosophers 
2. Euclid -- a mathematician and the father of geometry, whose main work--The Elements--is still used as a textbook in mathematics 
1. Archimedes -- a mathematician, engineer, inventor, physicist and astronomer whose ideas are as the basics of all these disciplines

I most certainly concur that this list lists some of ancient Hellas' most influential writers, but the list is far from complete. Today, I want to add five more to it, and most of my picks will no surprise you.

5. Sappho
Sappho (Σαπφώ) was a Hellenic lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos (Λέσβος) around 620 BC, although the exact date is unknown. She wrote beautiful and highly romantic poetry that comes and goes straight to the heart. One of the most famous of her works is her Hymn to Aphrodite.

4. Aeschylos
As the original list includes both Sophocles and Euripides, it seems only fair to include Aeschylos. Aeschylos (Aiskhulos, Αἰσχύλος) was the first of the three Hellenic tragedians whose plays can still be read or performed. According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in plays to allow for conflict amongst them, whereas previously characters had interacted only with the chorus. Aescholos' most famous works are undoubtedly the Seven against Thebes, the Supplicants and the Orestia. 

3. Pythagoras
Pythagoras of Samos ( Πυθαγόρας ὁ Σάμιος) was an Ionian Hellenic philosopher, mathematician, and the father of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. He lived from about 570 BC to about 495 BC, and made influential contributions to philosophy, religious teaching, math, ethics, and science. His most famous work is, undoubtedly, the Pythagorean theorem (a^2 + b^2 = c^2), that's standard in every math textbook. Interestingly enough, not a single bit of writing has been preserved--if he ever wrote anything down to begin with. His works are mostly quoted by his students, or known through critiques by Aristotle.

2. Plutarch
Plutach (Ploútarkhos, Πλούταρχος) was an ancient Hellenic historian, biographer, and essayist who lived between 46 and 120 AD. He is known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia, but much of his work is lost to us. Plutarch's writings are full of details about people and places, and are therefor a true treasure trove.

1. Hesiod
Hesiod (Hesiodos, Ἡσίοδος) was a Hellenic oral poet who lived between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Hómēros. I would dare say that his work--especially 'Works and Days' and the 'Theogony'--has shaped the way scholars and practitioners of Hellenismos view ancient Hellenic society, religion and way of life. This is why I strongly feel that anyone who feels drawn to the Theoi, might benefit from investing some time in reading his words.

Turkish fishermen casting nets outside Turkish territorial waters off the coast of the port city of Marmaris in southwestern Turkey made the catch of a lifetime. At dawn, when they began to reel in the nets they had thrown at a depth of 50 metres, they were surprised to see a large statue emerging from the sea. 

The fishermen informed the Turkish coast guard which in turn informed the Marmaris Museum Directorate and archaeologists were dispatched to examine the statue.

It turned out to be a female bronze statue about two metres tall and weighing 300 kilograms. The statue, which has not yet been dated, was placed in a vehicle with a crane and transferred to the Marmaris Museum for further examination and conservation.

The archaeologists did not provide more information on the matter, and referred to the official statements that will be made by the Ministry after the investigations.

Statuettes of the ancient Hellenic Goddesses Demeter and Persephone have been discovered in Anapa, a town in Russia.

The discovery was carried out by the staff of the Institute for History and Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The two intact terracotta semi-figures made more than two thousand years ago were found at a swimming pool construction site in a sanatorium in Anapa. They will be donated to the Anapa museum.

The excavation was carried on the western outskirts of the ancient Greek city of Gorgippia that was there in the 4th-2nd century B.C. Other objects discovered: Turkish smoking pipes, coffee cups, and Russian silver coins dating back to 1818-1913. 

 When I find myself in troubled times, I turn to the ancient writers for the comfort of their now familiar words. Yesterday I picked up Hesiod's Works and Days. Works and Days is a very soothing piece of writing for me. It describes the day to day; it looks in, not out. While the world burns, it gives reprieve. 

Works and Days (Erga kaí Hemérai, Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι) is a didactic poem written by the very early ancient Hellenic poet Hesiod. It was probably written around 700 BCE or earlier and is the first example we have of Hellenic didactic poetry (poetry that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities). It embodies the experiences of his daily life and work, forming a sort of shepherd's calendar, interwoven with episodes of myth, allegory, advice and personal history. It may have been written against a background of an agrarian crisis in mainland Hellas, which inspired a wave of documented colonization in search of new land. It was written for his son Peres, as advice to him.

While I was reading last night, I recognized that turmoil in the pages and I found his words even more sound and soothing. They reminded me that I can only control my own actions and through them inspire others to take good and just action. As much as I would like to do more, I cannot shoulder that burden, nor can any individual. So, listen to Hesiod today and remember his still very timely advice.

Hesiod - Works and Days
"...And there is virgin Justice, the daughter of Zeus, who is honoured and reverenced among the gods who dwell on Olympus, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Cronos, and tells him of men's wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and give sentence crookedly. Keep watch against this, you princes, and make straight your judgements, you who devour bribes; put crooked judgements altogether from your thoughts.

He does mischief to himself who does mischief to another, and evil planned harms the plotter most. 

The eye of Zeus, seeing all and understanding all, beholds these things too, if so he will, and fails not to mark what sort of justice is this that the city keeps within it. Now, therefore, may neither I myself be righteous among men, nor my son -- for then it is a bad thing to be righteous -- if indeed the unrighteous shall have the greater right. But I think that all-wise Zeus will not yet bring that to pass.

But you, Perses, lay up these things within you heart and listen now to right, ceasing altogether to think of violence. For the son of Cronos has ordained this law for men, that fishes and beasts and winged fowls should devour one another, for right is not in them; but to mankind he gave right which proves far the best. For whoever knows the right and is ready to speak it, far-seeing Zeus gives him prosperity; but whoever deliberately lies in his witness and forswears himself, and so hurts Justice and sins beyond repair, that man's generation is left obscure thereafter. But the generation of the man who swears truly is better thenceforward.

To you, foolish Perses, I will speak good sense. Badness can be got easily and in shoals: the road to her is smooth, and she lives very near us. But between us and Goodness the gods have placed the sweat of our brows: long and steep is the path that leads to her, and it is rough at the first; but when a man has reached the top, then is she easy to reach, though before that she was hard."

 Archaeologists have discovered more important artifacts on Vryokastraki, the small rocky islet near the Greek island of Kythnos.

The excavations were undertaken by the Department of Archaeology of the University of Thessaly’s Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology and the Cyclades Antiquities Ephorate of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

According to the Greek Ministry of Culture, the findings detail the history of the island, which was inhabited from the 12th century BC until the 7th century AD. However, new evidence shows there was also a Cycladic settlement on the islet in the 3rd millennium BC.

A series of inscriptions found during excavations, describes the time when the islet was ruled by a pirate named Glafketis.

Well-preserved ceramics, clay figurines and jewellery were also discovered in the sanctuary.

A bust of Hermes, in good condition, was discovered in central Athens during sewage work, authorities said Sunday.

The Greek Culture Ministry said that the head, one of many that served as street markers in ancient Athens, was found Friday and it appears to be from around 300 B.C. — that is, either from the late fourth century B.C., or the early third century. It depicts Hermes at “a mature age,” the ministry said, in contrast to his usual depictions as youthful.

The head is in the style of famed Greek sculpture Alcamenes, who flourished in the second half of fifth century B.C., the ministry said.

After serving as a street marker, the head, at some point, had been built into the wall of a drainage duct, the ministry said. The find was transferred to a storeroom of the Ephorate of Antiquities.

 On the day of the Hene kai Nea, 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 Poseideon I:

None. All festivals will fall in Poseideon II.

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 ancient Hellenes viewed the Earth as a round disk divided into equal parts by the Mediterranean Sea and the (Black) Sea (first called the Inhospitable Sea by Pindar, then the Hospitable Sea once the shores became inhabited). Okeanos, a mystical river, flowed around the entire disk, and mysterious peoples—the Hyperboreans in the north, the Ethiopians in the far south and the Kimmerians in parts unknown—lived outside Okeanos' perimeter. 

The ancient Hellenes also believed that the heaven was made up of celestial spheres. The celestial spheres, or celestial orbs, were the fundamental entities of the cosmological models developed by great philosophers and astronomers like Plato, Aristotle, and Ptolemy. It was believed that the stars were fixed and did not change their positions relative to one another. As such, it was argued that they must be on the surface of a single starry sphere. The apparent motions of the fixed stars and the planets are accounted for by treating them as embedded in rotating spheres made of an aetherial, transparent fifth element (quintessence).

According to the Homeric hymns, the ancient Hellenes also believed that there are columns that keep apart earth and heaven. It's most likely these columns or pillars were mountains in the centre of the disk, or at the edge of the disk. It were these pillars that Atlas guarded, or he was the actual pillar who held up the spheres--and thus the actual mountain. 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." [744]

Now we are on the topic, it also depends upon tradition if Atlas held up the celestial orbs as punishment, or if he was chosen to do it as an honour to him. The punishment part is perhaps best described by Hyginus in his Fabulae:

"After Juno [Hera] saw that Epaphus, born of a concubine, ruled such a great kingdom, she saw to it that he should be killed while hunting, and encouraged the Titanes to drive Jove [Zeus] from the kingdom and restore it to Saturn [Kronos]. When they tried to mount to heaven, Jove with the help of Minerva [Athene], Apollo, and Diana [Artemis], cast them headlong into Tartarus. On Atlas, who had been their leader, he put the vault of the sky; even now he is said to hold up the sky on his shoulders." [150]

Hómēros, in his Odysseia, takes an opposite--or at least milder--view, implying the honour in Atlas' position:

"Atlas the baleful; he knows the depths of all the seas, and he, no other, guards the tall pillars that keep the sky and earth apart." [1.52]

It makes sense, in fact, to have holding up the heavens be an honour: if Atlas slacks even a moment, the celestial spheres would crash down onto Earth and destroy it, killing everyone. It's a huge responsibility, and to give that to someone pissed off for losing a war seems foolish. 

Like many of the myths concerning the ancient Titans, there are versions of mythology where Atlas no longer bears the heaven. In this case: Pindar describes it as such in the Pythian Odes:

"Does not even now great [Titan] Atlas struggle to bear up the weight of heaven, far from his fathers’ land and his possessions? But almighty Zeus set free the Titanes, for as time passes and the breeze abates, the sails are set anew." [4]

The Farnese Atlas is a 2nd-century Roman marble copy of a Hellenistic sculpture of Atlas kneeling with the celestial spheres, not a globe, weighing heavily on his shoulders. It is the oldest extant statue of Atlas, as well as the oldest known representation of the celestial sphere. The globe shows a depiction of the night sky as seen from outside the outermost celestial sphere, with low reliefs depicting 41 (some sources say 42) of the 48 classical Hellenic constellations distinguished by Ptolemy. The sphere is made up of solid marble, and contains no actual stars. This may have aided the formation of the common misconception that Atlas was forced to hold the Earth on his shoulders. I hope this post clears up a bit of the confusion.

Solar radiation, rain, humidity and extreme temperatures. Cultural heritage is exposed to an array of external factors that deteriorate it over time. Among them, the most aggressive may well be microbial contamination, caused by an ample ecosystem of fungi, algae, bacteria and microscopic lichens that grow inside the pores of the materials the buildings are made of and they make these buildings less resistant to other external agents, speeding up the deterioration process over time.

When restoring historical monuments, it is important to use tough materials that can withstand these microorganisms. This task is complex, given that the materials used in these kinds of restorations must be in accordance with the original materials, made of plaster, lime mortar and stones such as limestone or marble. Cement and concrete, materials commonly used in the latest research, are ruled out as they are incompatible with materials such as lime mortar and could even worsen the problem.

A research team from the University Research Institute into Fine Chemistry and Nanochemistry at the University of Cordoba (the FQM 214 and FQM 175 groups) and Seville’s Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of the Spanish National Research Council (abbreviated to IRNAS-CSIC in Spanish) worked together to create a biocide additive, as in one that kills microorganisms, that can be incorporated into materials used to rebuild historic monuments and buildings.

“The materials that contain these kinds of chemical compounds are widely used in restoration but their effectiveness usually lasts for a brief amount of time -about two years – since the external agents, in addition to deteriorating the material, end up weakening its biocidal properties,”

...explains Adrián Pastor, one of the researchers on the study which is part of his doctoral research for his thesis titled “New functional materials to decontaminate cultural heritage and urban habitats”. The study has been performed under the guidance of Dr. Luis Sánchez and Dr. Ivana Pavlovic and with the participation of Dr. Manuel Cruz Yusta and Dr. Beatriz Gámiz (RNM 124).

In this research, the team tested hydraulic lime mortar to which they added carbendazim, a biocide compound generally widely used in paint, as it has low water solubility and is therefore more water resistant. In order to do so, they compared, on the one hand, the antimicrobial effectiveness of a lime mortar to which carbendazim was directly added and on the other hand, a lime mortar whose clay contained an anchored biocidal compound.

Both underwent several microbiological tests in order to test their ability to fight microorganisms and a leaching process, in which the soluble parts of a material are removed, simulating various rain cycles in a short amount of time.

“In the first microbiological test, we verified that the first mortar, to which we directly added carbendazim, had a somewhat greater biocidal capacity. However, after the leaching processes, we verified that the second mortar, that had carbendazim anchored to the clay, showed better results since the biocide compound was released more slowly and therefore, its effect is more long-lasting.”

This is a preliminary study that requires further research to get this material under study on the market, meaning a larger scale study, as well as studying the material’s specific physical properties in order to verify that it complies with regulations regarding durability, adhesion and other properties.

The story of the Piraeus Lion is one of several which are part of Greece’s long history of ancient sculpted masterpieces — and their subsequent looting, which has meant that many of them are now scattered in museums and historical sites around the world. The imposing lion statue, thought to have been sculpted around 360 BC, was the landmark of the ancient Greek port of Piraeus, which stood proud in its place at the entrance to the harbor until 1687 — when it was looted by Venetian naval commander Francesco Morosini. It is currently on display at the Venetian Arsenal, as a symbol of Venice’s patron saint, Saint Mark.

The port of Piraeus has served as the harbor of Athens from ancient times until today. Its proud lion was a famous landmark that caused the Italians to name Piraeus “Porto Leone” (Lion Port), leaving out its actual location. In fact the first mention of the port as Porto Leone is made on a naval map drawn up by the Genoese Pietro Visconti in 1318.

Made of white marble, the lion is an imposing 3 meters (9 feet) tall. It is in a sitting position and its hollow throat and the marks of a missing pipe running across its back indicates that its was most likely part of a fountain, as the description by the Venetians about water flowing from its mouth into a cistern at its feet indicates.

Travelers and sailors over the centuries have created several legends about the lion. One of these says that a pregnant Turkish woman looked at the statue and then gave birth to a monster with the face of a lion, with rabbit’s ears and human legs, which cried out like a dog. At that time, it is said that Turkish authorities ordered the newborn’s killing and did not allow the baby’s burial, sending it to France for study. Similar legends circulated throughout the Middle Ages, generating awe in the seamen of the time.

The lion was defaced during the 11th century by Swedes, who were mercenaries in the service of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Emperor. The Swedes carved graffiti on the lion, in the form of runes, which were recognized many years later as such by Swedish diplomat Johan David Akerblad, at the end of the eighteenth century.

The inscriptions have been eroded by the weather and pollution in Venice, making many of the individual runes barely legible now. Translators who tried to reconstruct some of the runes, filling in the blanks to determine what words they represented, came to inconclusive results.

During the war of the Venetians against the Ottoman Empire in 1687, the Venetians captured Athens and Morosini’s cannons were fired at the Parthenon, causing damage. The Venetian forces then sacked the city  and took the famous lion statue back to Venice as war booty.

Today, a copy of the lion gazes like a fearsome guard at all the incoming ships in the port, while other copies are exhibited at the Piraeus Archaeological Museum and, interestingly enough, at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm.

A new digital platform that offers users a unique experience of Greek history through a virtual tour of Ancient Olympia, has just been launched and is available online for everyone around the world. The new platform, funded and created by the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency along with a team of archaeologists offers users a personalized tour of Olympia’s archaeological sites, and allows these virtual visitors to take control of their journey throughout Ancient Olympia.

The aim of the platform is to educate the public about the significance of the Olympian sites, monuments and sculptures located at the site where the Olympic Games were born, and to promote the cultural resources of the wider area of Katakolo – Ancient Olympia, which has become a large tourist attraction over the last decade.

“This new platform will be a modern way of highlighting archaeological sites, cultural wealth, tourist infrastructure and attractions, through an integrated system with a specially designed interface environment.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with various countries in lockdown around the world, people have the opportunity to travel to Ancient Olympia through their screen, choose any of the available routes and paths within the archaeological site and wander among the ancient monuments, just like they would in real life.

The online destination management platform provides potential visitors with relevant information about the most important points of tourist interest and also encourages them to actively participate in various activities around the site.

“The digital content that will be offered, will have a historical sequence and thematic correlation, thus depicting the historical development of the ancient city and allowing visitors to explore the modern and BC Olympia on their own.” 

On the digital platform the visitor is be able to, among other things:

- Tour Ancient Olympia’s archaeological sites and choose different destination routes
- Stop at various points of interest and see monuments around the area
- Access photos, texts, videos, audio documents, maps, and many more resources
- Browse events that happened in Ancient Olympia as well as modern day events that  honour the athletic games of the city
- Explore the cultural wealth of the area through advanced multimedia presentation applications
- Contribute to the platform by adding personal content, communicating with other visitors and networking with people from around the world.

Interactive maps will also be provided to all visitors, with suggested routes and detailed presentations of each stop point featuring important attractions. General information, such as duration of each route, distance and list of monuments will be provided as well, to make the experience as realistic as possible. At the same time, an electronic calendar service will show all the important event dates relating to Ancient Olympia, such as sports competitions, and will enable users to virtually travel back in time.

“This is an extraordinary chance for all people, who have love for the Greek culture and history, or are eager to learn more about it, and stay inside their homes all day long because of the coronavirus pandemic. People who did not get to travel over the summer will now feel like tourists in this magnificent ancient city.”

Throughout the virtual journey, three poles sites have been highlighted as the biggest touristic attractions of the area, and offer users special activities and features.

“Ancient Ilida, Ancient Olympia and the Temple of Apollo the Great are poles of international scope, with enormous archaeological and wider scientific significance.” 

Archaeologists that worked on the platform also explained that “based on the number of visitors, these three sites, are the main (almost exclusive) pillar of the cultural / archaeological product of the region of Western Greece. Among them, the most popular is the site of Ancient Olympia, the site of the Olympic Games, which has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1989. The annual number of visitors to the site (before the pandemic) exceeds 450,000 per year, making it 5th most visited archaeological site in Greece.”

“In total, the archeological site of Ancient Olympia, in 2014, attracted 98% of the total visitors to archaeological sites in the region. Also, the area in Ilia and Olympia is characterized by a developmental dualism. On the one hand, it has an unprecedented gateway for fun touristic spots (such as the Katakolo port) and an emblematic cultural site of universal value (Ancient Olympia), the sustainability of which requires the implementation of a comprehensive and constant economic and environmental reconstruction. On the other hand, there is an urban, semi-urban and a mountainous hinterland, with significant growth potential, complementary to coastal development, but also to some extent autonomous, which is reaped only a little by the tourist flows.”

The municipality of Ilia is also working on various other projects in the city, to enhance the experience of tourists, but also enable local people to “utilize and promote the surplus of cultural, natural and tourist resources of the area, so that the rich history of Olympia and its unique landscape and nature, are not only complementary to the dominant tourism product, but also a lever for the development of the wider region.”

Borrowed, with gratitude from Sententiae Antiquae as I have very limited time to put a blog together today. A swan song (κύκνειον ᾆσμα) is a metaphorical phrase for a final gesture, effort, or performance given just before death or retirement. And its origins in text are found in ancient Hellas. 

“The Swan, which the poets and many prose authors make an attendant to Apollo, has some other relationship to music and song I do not understand. But it was believed by those before us that the swan died after he sang what was called its “swan-song”. Nature truly honors it more than noble and good men and for good reason: for while others praise and morn people, the swans take care of themselves, if you will.”

[Aelian, History of Animals 2.32]

“Singing the swan song”: [this proverb] is applied to those who are near death. For swans sing as they die and they know then the end of life is coming upon them and so, in this way, they face that arrival bravely. But human beings fear what they do not know and think that it is the greatest evil. But swans sing out at death the kind of song sung at a funeral…”

[Michael Apostolios, Proverbs 10.18]

“Chrysippos was writing about something like this again in the same work. When someone who loved to make fun of people was about to be killed by the executioner, he said that he wanted one thing, to die after singing his ‘swan-song’. After the executioner agreed, the man made fun of him.”

[Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 14 (616b)]

“Internationally acclaimed Byzantinologists unite their voices for the preservation of antiquities at the Venizelos Metro Station in Thessaloniki”, announced the Association of Greek Archaeologists . The same announcement contains related video messages from Maria Mavroudi, Professor of Byzantine Archaeology at the University of Berkeley, Jean-Pierre Sodini, Emeritus Professor at Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne and Member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Young Richard Kim Associate Professor of Classical and Mediterranean Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Dimiter Angelov, Professor of Byzantine History at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks.

Also being sent is a translated text by Jean-Michel Spieser, Emeritus Professor of Early Christian and Byzantine Archaeology and Art at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. The professor, who knows the city well because of his doctoral dissertation on Early Christian Thessaloniki, mentions, among other things, the important findings of the Venizelos station: 

“For me it is self-evident that the findings must remain in place and be accessible to the public. Their detachment would cause the loss of their unique character, as they would become part of an artificial framework no longer allowing ancient Thessaloniki to be seen as it was […]. I wholeheartedly hope that the Council of State will vindicate you and decide on the “in situ” preservation of the antiquities. These will be of great interest to science, the education of students, but also to Thessaloniki’s tourism. The site will be an additional enhancement to the city , as are the beautiful churches with their mosaics and frescoes”.

It is reminded that various institutions have appealed to the Council of State requesting the annulment of the decision on removing and relocating the antiquities. The appeal is scheduled to be heard on Friday, November 6.

To see the video messages press here, here, here and here.

 Thank you, Nike, thank you, America. That is all I have to say today. May the healing begin.

"O powerful Nike, by men desired, with adverse breasts to dreadful fury fired, thee I invoke, whose might alone can quell contending rage and molestation fell. 'Tis thine in battle to confer the crown, the victor's prize, the mark of sweet renown; for thou rulest all things, Nike divine! And glorious strife, and joyful shouts are thine. Come, mighty Goddess, and thy suppliant bless, with sparkling eyes, elated with success; may deeds illustrious thy protection claim, and find, led on by thee, immortal fame."
- Orphic Hymn 33 to Nike 

As new lockdown measures are sweeping the globe, those of you with kids might be running out of things to do with them. I'm going to describe some fun things to do with children to get them in the mood for a Hellenistic festival, and to help make them feel more included.

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

Image taken from: Culture24