A 2,500-year-old slab, a relief depicting marching Ancient Hellenic warriors, or hoplites, has been discovered among other finds in the recent archaeological excavations of two temples of Apollon on the St. Cyricus Island, today a peninsula, in the Bulgarian Black Sea town of Sozopol.

The newly discovered slab with Ancient Greek warriors, or hoplites, appears to a piece of a larger depiction, other parts of which were discovered during digs in 2018 and 2019 in the zone of the two temples of deity Apollon Iatros (“The Healer") – one from the Late Archaic period and one from the Early Classical period of Ancient Greece – on the St. Cyricus Island in Bulgaria’s Sozopol.

The St. Cyricus Island, more precisely named Sts. Quiricus and Julietta Island, is rich in archaeological structures from the dawn of the settlement of Sozopol, which emerged as the Ancient Greek colony of Apollonia Pontica on the Western Black Sea coast in the 6th century BC.

The St. Cyricus Island (the Sts. Quiricus and Julietta Island) is believed to have been the site of the Colossus of Apollonia Pontica, a large, 13-meter-tall bronze statue of Apollon towering in the harbor of the Greek colony for four centuries before it was seized by the Romans and taken to Rome. The Colossus of Apollonia Pontica has been likened to the taller and far more famous Colossus of Rhodes.

Among the many archaeological wonders of Bulgaria’s Sozopol is also the 2010 discovery of relics of St. John the Baptist in an Early Christian monastery on the nearby island of St. Ivan (St. John), whose presence has been construed as a counterbalance to the religious significance of the ancient city in the pagan period.

In the fall of 2020, the Bulgarian government and the French Ambassdor to Bulgaria announced an initiative to turn the St. Cyricus Island in Sozopol into a museum of archaeology with aid from France, the OAE, and the Louvre Museum in Paris.

In Aristophanes’ comedy The Frogs, a nosy slave listens to his master’s conversations and spreads them around town, resulting in his master’s horrible misfortunes. The Aristophanes character, however, was not put there just for laughs. Gossip was a real tool in the hands of serfs who wanted to punish their masters if they had treated them badly in ancient Hellas.

Masters were justifiably worried that a slave might see or hear something in the household which could end up being used against them in a court of law or public opinion. There is even a Goddess who has gossip as her domain:Pheme (“fame” or “rumor” in English), daughter of Gaia. She was depicted as a terrible winged creature who delighted in ruffling her feathers. Beneath every feather there was a prying eye, a pricked ear and a wagging tongue. She flew from place to place at great speed, gabbling and screeching lies and half-truths to any person who would listen.

Idle gossip was a favorite pastime in ancient Hellas, as many historians have attested. People from all walks of life constantly indulged in sharing hearsay, rumors and half-truths. Serfs and low-status women without strong family connections could use gossip as their only weapon against their enemies. This propensity to gossip in almost every member of society served to open up conduits between the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor, the master and the servant.

The great philosopher Aristotle viewed gossiping as a frequently trivial, enjoyable pastime, but also saw that gossiping could have malicious intent when spoken by someone who has been wronged. Malicious gossip could damage a person’s reputation and irreparably hurt him or her.

In ancient Athens, court decisions were based heavily on a character evaluation of the defendant and very little on hard evidence. Therefore, an individual’s reputation was important when it came to judicial cases. In the absence of professional judges, speakers aimed to discredit their opponents’ characters in the eyes of the jurors, while presenting themselves as upstanding citizens.

The power of gossip was feared by litigants, so they carefully outlined how the negative stories the jurors might have heard about them weren’t true, and had been spread intentionally by their opponents. Because of the great crowds which gathered there, public places such as the Agora were prime locations to spread gossip and outright lies aimed at discrediting an opponent. In these instances, the intention of the gossipers was to spread false information across the city to generate an impression of the individuals involved which would help them win their legal cases.

In ancient Athens, women had few legal rights and depended on male relatives to act for them. However, women had one very powerful outlet – gossip – to serve as a useful tool in attacking an enemy.

Women’s gossip was used effectively to discredit the character of an opponent in court. Low-status women, with absolutely no access to legal help, could still use gossip to help achieve retribution when they were wronged.

The presence of gossip in legal cases shows that Athenians did not discriminate about the source, but freely took advantage of all kinds of rumors and innuendo in their attempts to defeat their adversaries.

Through calculated use of gossip, women, non-citizens and even serfs with no access to official legal channels whatsoever in ancient Hellas wielded a potent weapon in their attempts to attain justice against those who had wronged them.

Socrates, one of the greatest Hellenic philosophers, who lived from 469 – 399 BC, shunned gossip. It is said that one day he came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”

“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

“Triple filter?” his friend asked.

“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to filter what you’re going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”

“No, on the contrary… “

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you’re not certain it’s true?” The man shrugged, a little embarrassed. Socrates continued. “You may still pass the test though, because there is a third filter – the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really,” the man admitted.

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?”

The man who had tried to spread gossip to the great thinker was defeated and ashamed.

The restoration of the ancient city of Aizanoi, located in the Çavdarhisar district of western Turkey's Kütahya province, is expected to be resumed in April, Kütahya Governor Ali Çelik announced Sunday. Çelik stated that the excavation and restoration work at the 5,000-year-old site was to be continued in April after being halted due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will be restoring the Roman Bridge, five derelict structures across the temple and the Excavation Experience House whose project has been approved. We will also continue excavations at the sites of Penkalas creek and the Odeon region in April. We will be making environmental planning around the Penkalas creek in accordance with its ancient historical texture.” 

Aizanoi is a particularly special archaeological city of Turkey's many world-famous ancient sites, as it is home to one of the best-preserved temples in Anatolia dedicated to Zeus. Dubbed the second Ephesus of Turkey, the city was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2012. Archaeologists began restoration work on the ancient city in June 2020.

The excavation and fieldwork are being carried out under the coordination of Pamukkale University's Archaeology Department. Recent excavations around the Temple of Zeus indicate the existence of several levels of settlement in the city dating from as far back as 3000 B.C.

In 133 B.C. the city was captured by the Roman Empire. In 1824, European travelers rediscovered the ancient site.

Between 1970 and 2011 the German Archaeological Institute conducted excavation work, unearthing the theater and a stadium, as well as two public baths, a gymnasium, five bridges, a trading building, necropolises and the sacred cave of Metre Steune – a cultist site thought to be used prior to the first century B.C.

Since 2011, Turkish archaeologists have been carrying out restoration work at the ancient site, and more recently an exceptional collection of 651 silver coins belonging to the Roman period were unearthed in January.


Our blessed Goddess Aphrodite intrigues me. She is a Goddess of both love and war, of friendship and hate, of companionship and jealousy. She is one of the Goddesses with the widest range of domains and influence in our world and She is Goddess that touches us personally. She doesn't control the weather or the sea, She controls us directly.

Aphrodite's cult was very popular in ancient Hellas with numerous shrines and temples throughout the land. Her main cult centres within Hellas were the city of Corinth, and the island of Cytherea off the coast of Lakedaimonia. Beyond Hellas the island of Cyprus was famed for its Mystery cult of the goddess. Aphrodite was also worshipped with private rituals and prayers.

One of the aspects of Aprodite's worship that has always fascinated me is Her connection to doves. Aphrodite's jewel-encrusted, golden chariot was drawn through the sky by a team of doves. The Syrian Aphrodite Astarte was said to have been hatched from an egg nursed by doves. In Hellenic art, Aphrodite's doves symbolize the pure, spiritual aspect of love, rather than physical love.

Aphrodite's primary festival, the Aphrodesia, also had a very special place for doves. An inscription on a stele of Hymettian marble found near the Beulé Gate at the site of the aedicula on the south-west slope of the Acropolis, dated between 287 and 283 BC, records that at the time of the procession of Aphrodite Pandemos, Kallias, son of Lysimachos of the deme of Hermai, was to provide funds for the purification of the temple and the altar with the blood of a dove, for giving a coat of pitch to the roof, for the washing of the statues, and for a purple cloak for the amount of two drachmas.

Doves were probably the first birds to be domesticated, possibly as early as Neolithic times. They also return home (to their mates), making them inherently "romantic" animals. They were also
considered oracular birds; the oracle at Dodona was considered the oldest in Hellas, even if it was later replaced in importance by the oracle of Apollon at Delphi. According to Herodotos, in his Histories, the oracle was founded when two black doves flew from Thebes in Egypt; one dove settled in Libya to found the sanctuary of Zeus Ammon, and the other settled in an oak tree at Dodona, proclaiming a sanctuary to Zeus be built there. Doves also take nectar and ambrosia to the Gods on Olymos.

Doves are not unique to Aphrodite's worship, but it strikes me that they are as diverse as Her. They are also very "personal" animals--domesticated, bringing food and drink to the Gods, coming home to their mate. They fit Her, and I have no trouble picturing them as Her birds.

 "I have a few questions, which I hope you'll answer with your expertise. Firstly, how and when should we conduct ritual for the heroes? What should we include in prayer to them? Are there any days sacred to the heroes? Can I do hero worship on my main altar?"

Heroes and heroines have a special place in Hellenismos, as they had in ancient Hellas. These were humans--most with at least a part divine heritage--who were considered so brave, so skillful, so extraordinary in their lifetime that they became revered. Some were priests or priestesses of a temple, some excelled in battle, others were skilled healers or good rulers. Once they passed to the realm of Hades, their names were remembered at least once a year on a special occasion, because the ancient Hellenes believed that if the name and deeds of a person were remembered, they would live forever and potentially look out for those they had looked out for before. Although linked, hero worship in ancient Hellas was not the same as ancestral worship; heroes and heroines transcended family bonds--although being related to a hero was most certainly something to boast about.

Archaeological evidence suggests that hero worship was closer to Khthonic sacrifices in execution than Ouranic ones the further back in time you go; especially in the archaic period, it seems that hero worship consisted of destructive sacrifices--sometimes in the form of a holókaustos where the entire animal was burned, sometimes in a sacrifice where only a part (most often 'a ninth' of the animal) was burned and the rest remained on the altar for the heroes to eat from until gone. The sacrifices were generally burned in an offering pit known as a bothros. The food offered to heroes consisted of meat, blood, and 'food eaten by men' like grains, fruits and other every-day dishes. These were usually offered to the heroes on a table--known as a trapeza--and the heroes were sometimes offered chairs or a bench to sit on. As time went on, the living began to eat part of the meal laid out for the heroes, joining them in celebration.
Several heroes were worshipped quit regularly. You can check my festival calendar for them. Heroes like Herakles and Theseus had various festivals throughout the year, for example. The ancient Erchians offered a white sheep to the heroines twice a year, once on the 19th of Metageitnion, and once on the 14th of Pyanepsion. In fact, the Erchians sacrificed to heroes a lot.


"I got ill on the Asklepieia, can this mean anything? Could it be a bad omen or a sign from the gods?"

You know, we're human. We get sick, especially at this time of year. I am a huge proponent of keeping your eyes open for signs of the Gods, but I also think that the Gods very rarely intervene directly with the lives of individuals--and if They were angry with you, you would know without a doubt. So don't worry too much and just focus on living a pious life. If there is something the Theoi want you to know, you'll know it soon enough. I hope you feel better!


And because I couldn't withhold this gem from you all:

"A Greek man walks into a tailor’s shop holding a pair of trousers. The tailor takes the pants and holds them up, turning to the man and he says “Euripides?”
 “Yes,” the man responded, “Eumenides?”"

Because it's been a while since the last constellation, and yesterday's blog post hardly counted, I'm going to give you not one but two constellations today (also because it's much easier to describe both in one post, seeing as the mythology surrounding these two has mixed throughout the years, so I'm really just making it easier on myself).

The Corona Australis, the southern crown, is located in the southern hemisphere, next to the constellation Sagittarius. As such, it is often linked to that constellation and regarded as the wreath that fell off of the head of one of the kéntauros that particular constellation is linked to. In the same regard, it is also linked to the kéntauros 'Centaurus'.

Corona Australis is most often regarded as a wreath, but in some descriptions and depictions, the Corona Australis is a crown. There is, however, one myth in which the Corona Australis does not depict a wreath or crown: in this myth, the constellation represents Ixion, king of the Lapits, who fell in love with Hera after being invited up to Olympos by Zeus. Zeus decided to test his integrity after He discovered His guest' lust for Hera, but Ixion failed miserably. Ixion was expelled from Olympus and blasted with a thunderbolt for failing his test. Zeus then ordered Hermes to bind Ixion to a winged fiery wheel that was always spinning. Therefore, Ixion is bound to a burning solar wheel for all eternity, at first spinning across the heavens, then into Tartaros. The Corona Australis is this very wheel, with Ixion tied to it.

The most famous of myths associated with the Corona Australis is the story of the birth of Dionysos, and the death of His mother Semele. In this version of the myth, Dionysos is born from Semele and Zeus, and while Semele is pregnant with Him, Hera plants seeds of doubt in her mind about the father of the child truly being Zeus. Semele asks Zeus to reveal Himself to her in His true form, and when He is left with no other option, He does so, killing her in the process. Zeus takes pity on His child, and takes Him into either His thigh or testicle, where He is eventually born from. When Dionysos grows up, He raises Semele to Olympos and grants her eternal life. He also places a wreath into the sky to honor her. The wreath would be made of myrtle leaves, for Dionysos left a gift of myrtle in the Underworld in return for His mother, and the followers of Dionysos wore crowns of myrtle.

Interestingly enough, Roman author Hyginus ascribes this myth to the Corona Borealis, and adds that Dionysos first received this wreath--now a golden crown--from Aphrodite. He gave it to His beloved Ariadne, daughter of Minos. According to Hyginus, it was the light that reflected off of this crown, that led Theseus from the labyrinth after slaying the minotaur. Hyginus then goes on to retell the story above, and says that Dionysos did not want to take the crown into the Underworld in fear of it being contaminated with miasma. When He returned from the Underworld, he threw the golden crown into the sky as a memorial.

Hyginus also gives another account for the the northern crown, the Corona Borealis:

"It is said that when Theseus came to Crete to Minos with seven maidens and six youths, Minos, inflamed by the beauty of one of the maidens, Eriboea by name, wished to lie with her. Theseus, as was fitting for a son of Neptune[Poseidon], and one able to strive against a tyrant for a girl’s safety, refused to allow this. So when the dispute became one not about the girl but about the parentage of Theseus, whether he was the son of Neptune or not, Minos is said to have drawn a gold ring from his finger and cast it into the sea. 

He bade Theseus bring it back, if he wanted him to believe he was a son of Neptune; as for himself, he could easily show he was a son of Jove [Zeus]. So, invoking his father, he asked for some sign to prove he was his son, and straightway thunder and lightning gave token of assent. For a similar reason, Theseus, without any invoking of his father or obligation of an oath, cast himself into the sea. And at once a great swarm of dolphins, tumbling forward over the sea, led him through gently swelling waves to the Nereids. 

From them he brought back the ring of Minos and a crown, bright with many gems, from Thetis, which she had received at her wedding as a gift from Venus [Aphrodite]. Others say that the crown came from the wife of Neptune, and Theseus is said to have given it to Ariadne as a gift, when on account of his valor and courage she was given to him in marriage. After Ariadne’s death, Liber [Dionysos] placed it among the constellations."

As you can see, there are many myths surrounding the two crowns. The Hellenic poet Aratos named them 'Stephanoi' (Στεφάνοι) around 300 BC, but did not differnetiate between the two, although they are not placed close together. As such, the Stephanoi are visible and best viewed at different times throughout the year. The Corona Australis is visible at latitudes between +40° and −90°, and best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of August. The Corona Borealis, located near the constellations of Hēraklēs and Boötes, is visible at latitudes between +90° and −50°, and best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of July.

Some 440 bronze sculptures are currently being held at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin. However it’s been announced they will now be returned to Nigeria, with a plan to display them in a newly opened German museum being scrapped. This has increased pressure on the British Museum in London and Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford to handover the Benin sculptures they possess.

The sculptures were seized in 1897 by a British military expedition which smashed the centuries old Benin Empire. British troops burned and looted Benin City, the empire’s capital, and carried off artifacts that ended up in European and American museums. London’s British Museum currently holds the world’s biggest collection. However Nigerian academics have been calling on it to follow the Ethnological Museum’s example and send them to Nigeria. A spokesperson for the British Museum hit back commenting: 

“The devastation and plunder wreaked upon Benin City during the British military expedition in 1897 is fully acknowledged by the museum and the circumstances around the acquisition of Benin objects explained in gallery panels and on the museum’s website. We believe the strength of the British Museum collection resides in its breadth and depth, allowing millions of visitors an understanding of the cultures of the world and how they interconnect over time – whether through trade, migration, conquest, or peaceful exchange.”

In 1897 a force of 1,200 men drawn from the Royal Marines, Royal Navy and Niger Coast Protectorate Forces invaded the Benin Empire and seized its capital. British troops seized 2,500 artworks from the city many of which were later sold at auction to help pay for the expedition. Earlier this month Andreas Gorgen, who leads the German foreign ministry’s cultural department, travelled to Nigeria to discuss the return of Benin artifacts. Speaking to The Guardian Victor Ehikhamenor, head of Nigeria’s Legacy Restoration Trust, described the move as “hugely significant”.

“If Germany follows through with these plans, then any European country that holds on to Benin bronzes no longer has a moral ground to stand on. The time has come for the British Museum to finally join in this debate. The current situation is a bit like a thief has stolen your watch and sold it to a pawn shop, but the pawn shop is refusing to hand it over to the police. It makes no sense.”

Nigeria hopes to open a new museum to house the sculptures with David Adjaye, a British-Ghanaian architect, having drawn up the plans.

The British Museum is also facing calls to return the Elgin Marbles, which were acquired by Scottish aristocrat Lord Elgin, to Athens. Greek culture minister Lina Mendoni said: 

“For Greece, the British Museum does not have legitimate ownership or possession of the Sculptures.”

The Greek government had been hoping to have the sculptures moved to Athens to mark the 200th anniversary of Greek independence this year. However the move has been opposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Speaking to a Greek newspaper he said: 

“I understand the strong feelings of the Greek people, and indeed prime minister Mitsotakis, on the issue.  But the UK Government has a firm longstanding position on the sculptures, which is that they were legally acquired by Lord Elgin under the appropriate laws of the time and have been legally owned by the British Museum’s trustees since their acquisition.”

The Ancient Diolkos of Corinth, one of the greatest technical works of antiquity, is being restored. Over the last year, the Corinth Ephorate of Antiquities is conducting works of enhancement and protection on the ancient stone paved road on which ships were transported overland from the Corinthian Gulf to the Saronic Gulf and vice versa. Once completed and when allowed by the pandemic situation, the iconic monument will be ready to welcome the general public through on-site tours being planned.

Archaeologist Georgios Spyropoulos, deputy head of Corinth Ephorate of Antiquities to the AMNA, states:

“The Diolkos of Corinth has been recorded in research as the first systematic attempt to transport goods and warships from the Saronic Gulf to the Corinthian Gulf and vice versa, to avoid the approximately 190 miles long circumnavigation of the Peloponnese. The monument’s first excavator, archaeologist Nikolaos Verdelis places its construction either at the end of the 7th cent. or the beginning of the 6th cent. BC. The idea of its construction is attributed to the tyrant of Corinth Periandros, whose rule is considered as a period of great economic and artistic prosperity for Corinth.”  

Mr. Spyropoulos supervises the project that has been included in the Regional Operational Programme “Peloponnese 2014-2020” of the NSRF, implemented by the Corinth Ephorate of Antiquities, the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and the Region of the Peloponnese and supervised on behalf of the Corinth Ephorate by Mr Spyropoulos himself, its head Panagiota Kasimi and archaeologist Aglaia Koutrombi. The monument is situated on the boundaries of the municipalities of Corinth and Loutraki-Perachora-Agioi Theodoroi.

With an “S” shaped course and a gradient of no more than 1.5%, the stone paved road had a total length of about 8 km from coast to coast, while its width ranged from between approximately 3.4 m to 6 m. What survives of the road today? “On the road surface, there are two main wheel ruts, about 1.5 m wide, as well as several secondary ones. A total of 1,100 meters have been uncovered and the course of the Diolkos has become known both on the west end, west of the Canal, on the Peloponnese, and at the School of Engineering, on the mainland. There is no evidence today however of its east end on the Saronic side, which written sources place in the area of ancient Schinounta (today’s Kalamaki)”, Mr. Spyropoulos informs us.

The Diolkos, used over many centuries from archaic times to the Roman period, was an innovative and inspiring technical achievement. Its mode of operation proves it: 

“According to the monument’s first excavator, the ships arrived at the NW end of the Diolkos, in the current location of Poseidonia, Corinth, where there was a paved platform for their towing onto dry land. They were then placed with the help of cranes on wheeled structures pulled along by slaves. In this way the ship was transported from one end of the Corinthian gulf to the Saronic or vice versa. The route was not easy and there was always the risk of derailment due to the bends of the Diolkos. So as to avoid accidents, additional small walls were constructed in hazardous spots such as the one inside today’s School of Engineering.”

So was the Diolkos the first known means of wheeled transport in the world? 

“The Diolkos was indeed a means of wheeled transport with a specific route. The same function, however, was ensured by the carriage roads, the principles of which precede the Diolkos. What makes the Diolkos important however is that it was made with the aim of swiftly and safely moving ships, meant for sea transport, by land. It was not built in a straight line but followed the terrain so as to save resources and energy. As the Belgian archaeologist Rapsaet points out, the excavated parts of the Diolkos display technical features that make it an admirable work. The precision of its course and its meticulous construction, as well as its relatively long length regarding a permanent facility, suggest an emphasis on a ‘formal’ road network, with obviously important implications for the topography of the time.”

The ancient work provided resources for Corinth and control of trade and sea routes in both the Ionian (west) and the Aegean (east). At the same time, Corinth had two important, active ports, Lechaio to the west and Kechries to the east, to support this intense commercial activity. 

“Undoubtedly, the Diolkos played a key part in Corinth’s place as monarch of the seas at the beginning of the Archaic period, regarding its achievements and know-how in shipbuilding and navigation, but also its wealth, famed in antiquity, precisely because of its maritime trading supremacy. I should remind you that the triremes, the most important warships in antiquity, are a Corinthian invention. Thucydides, specifically, also mentions the name of the Corinthian Amenoklis as a builder of triremes.”

The restoration and enhancement of the Diolkos includes a set of complex works, earth removal, research and restoration to make the monument easier to interpret, the use of modern means to document its features and making it accessible to the public at large.

A bronze bull statuette came to light in Olympia during an inspection carried out by a team of scientists made up of staff from Central Services of the Ministry of Culture and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ilia.

Thanks to the observant archaeologist Zacharoula Leventouri, the small, intact statuette was found near the Temple of Zeus in the Holy Grove of Olympia, as one of its horns protruded from the soil after the recent, heavy rainfall. The statuette was removed immediately after its discovery and transferred to the workshop where it was taken care of by the conservators of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Ilia. In its now clean state it awaits archaeologists to study it thoroughly and classify it typologically and chronologically.

A first examination showed the well-made and perfectly preserved statuette of the bronze bull to be one of the thousands of votive offerings dedicated to Zeus in his great sanctuary of Olympia during the Geometric period (1050-700 BC). Up to modern times, the bull, like the horse, had played the most vital part in the survival and civilization of human kind. Thus it acquired a key role in the worship of the ancient gods, a favourite object which was dedicated by the faithful towards their, the gods’, appeasement, as a token of supplication or a sign of appreciation.

Like dozens of similar statuettes depicting animals or human figures, the bronze bull seems to have been offered by a believer during a sacrifice, as proved by evident traces of burning on the deposits and sediments removed while it was being cleaned. A large number of statuettes found in a thick layer of ash from the altar of Zeus spread across the entire area of the Altis, is exhibited in the second hall of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia and is indicative of the importance of the Sanctuary of Olympia as a Panhellenic center.

See here a related video made by the Ilia Ephorate of Antiquities showing the discovery and conservation of the bronze bull statuette.

 "When making our kathiskos, should we limit the food stuffs to less perishable items? I eat a lot of cheese and would rather not have a jar of honey, oil, water, and cheese sitting in my pantry for a month, I'm sure you understand. What do you think of a refrigerator kathiskos?"

The kathiskos is an offer jar of foodstuffs used to protect the household’s food storage. Typically, it has olive oil and water; the rest is up to the household. The kathiskos is dedicated to Zeus Ktesios, guardian of the household. The jar is typically emptied into the compost bin or garden and refilled with fresh foodstuffs every month, on the Noumenia.

The ancient kathiskoi were often unsealed, and I suspect that sometimes they would be tossed earlier than the new Noumenia or ingredients were carefully selected. Personally, I don't know anyone who has an unsealed kathiskos these days, because most Hellenists I know enjoy the tradition of keeping it for a month.

in all my years making a kathiskos, I have never shied away from using anything, and the worst the content of the kathiskos did was that the water turned a little murky. If you seal it up air tight, you won't have much of a problem--until you open it, of course. But I like to think of it like this: all the rotting and fermentation that took place in your kathiskos did not happen to your other foodstuffs. The worse the smell and the worse the status of your content, the better ;-)

"Hello! On your blog is says that the Panathenaia is from the 23rd of hekatombaion to the 30th. Does that mean it ends before the 30th begins or does the festival include the 30th day?"

It includes the 30th, unless the month only has 29 days, then the festival includes the 29th day, but doesn't stretch on into Metageitnion. The Greater Panathenaia includes the 30th, the two Lesser Panathenaia in-between include only the 29th.

"Would it be 'allowed' (seen as non-disrespecrful I guess) to make one alter for more than one god/goddess? Or are alters and shelves reserved for one theos only? Thanks :)"

Most shrines in ancient Hellas were, and even during festivals for a particular Theoi others were worshipped, so I don’t see why not!

"Is there a greek god of finding missing things?"

Not as far as I know, but in general, Gods and Goddesses whom you have built kharis with will help you when you are truly in need. From a purely personal perspective, Hermes would most likely be able to find your items, seeing as he’s been known to hide (and steal) items Himself ;-)

A man has been arrested on suspicion of antiquities smuggling for trying to sell an ancient marble statue of “exceptional artwork” that once likely adorned a temple on Athens’ famed Acropolis or the slopes around it, Greek authorities said Friday.

Police said the 5th century B.C. statue was recovered following a months-long police operation that involved an investigation by the Cultural Heritage and Antiquities Department.

Measuring only about 37 centimeters (14.5 inches) high, the statue depicts a seated young man who reclines slightly to the right. The head, arms and most of both legs are missing, and two small holes are visible behind the left shoulder, from which rods would likely have attached the statue to a pediment — the triangular gable-end above the short sides of an ancient temple.

“It is an exceptional work of art, of the kind not easily found, not even in systematic excavations,” archaeologist Dimitris Sourlas said during a presentation Friday at police headquarters in Athens. The statue, he said, could have been part of a larger composition, but more research was needed.

Authorities didn’t say why they linked it with the Acropolis area, and what made them suspect it came from a temple — which would narrow down the search for its provenance.

The work was found in the possession of a man in the southern town of Corinth, who was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of seeking a buyer for the statue for the price of 100,000 euros ($119,000), police said.

An investigation is under way into how the piece came into his hands, and whether he had managed to contact potential buyers for it. The statue appears to have been buried for a long time, and bore signs of damage from digging tools.

It is illegal to own, buy, sell or excavate antiquities in Greece without a permit.

On the sixth of the month of Elaphebolion, the people of Athens and Phocis (Φωκίδα), and perhaps other cities and city-states, held a modest festival for Artemis that gave lended name to the month: the Elaphebolia (Έλαφηβόλια). Will you join us on March 20th at the usual 10 am EDT in celebrating the rite?

It appears that the festival was a major festival in honor of Artemis Elaphêbolos (Αρτεμις Ελαφηβολος) down to the time of Plutarch. It was mainly observed at Hyampolis, to commemorate a Phocian victory over the Thessalians. Afterwards, it seems to have lost its grander, most likely in the face of the Greater Dionysia which was held only a few days later, starting on the tenth of the month, and the Asklepia, held on the eighth.

Artemis Elaphêbolos is the stag-killer, the shooter of deer, the huntress who relishes the chase. She's the slayer of prey, both animal and human, and in ancient Hellas, she guarded Hyampolis and the surrounding cities from the horrors of war.

The festival was most likely quite grand right after the war, but slowly became a festival which consisted almost entirely of a single offering. In the early days, the offering was always a stag, one per family, most likely. As the years went on, however, and the expansion of cities drove the stag far into the Athenian hills, only the city's elite was able to offer a stag to the Goddess. Everyone else made due with cakes in the shape of stags. It seems these stag cakes--called 'elaphos' (ἔλαφος)--were made out of the basic dough mixture with honey, and sesame seeds.

You can find the ritual here, and we really hope you will join us on the community page here.

Remember when I basically said that with Cepheus, we had come to the end of the Andoméda-related constellations? Yeah, I unintentionally lied. There is one more: Cetus, located in the aquatic portion of the sky, where many water-related constellations are places.

Cetus is the Latin spelling of the name; the ancient Greek form was Kētos (Κῆτος), or Kêtos Aithiopios (Κητος Αιθιοπιος, Ethiopian Monster). It was the name of the sea monster sent by Poseidon as a favor to the sea God Nereus, who was insulted by the queen of Ethiopia, Cassiopeia, who boasted that either her daughter, or she, or both were equal or even greater in beauty than Nereus' children, the Nereids.

Cetus tormented the coast of Ethiopia, drowning many and wiping entire towns off of the map. Ethiopia's king, Cepheus, went to an oracle to find out how to stop the suffering of his people, and was told to chain his daughter to a rock on a cliff so Cetus could devour her. The royal family resisted, but eventually did what they were told. What happens next is beautifully told by Roman poet Ovid in his Metamorphoses:

"Chain'd to a rock she stood; young Perseus stay'd his rapid flight, to view the beauteous maid. So sweet her frame, so exquisitely fine, she seem'd a statue by a hand divine, had not the wind her waving tresses show'd, and down her cheeks the melting sorrows flow'd. Her faultless form the heroe's bosom fires; the more he looks, the more he still admires. Th' admirer almost had forgot to fly, and swift descended, flutt'ring from on high. O! Virgin, worthy no such chains to prove, but pleasing chains in the soft folds of love; thy country, and thy name (he said) disclose, and give a true rehearsal of thy woes. 

A quick reply her bashfulness refus'd, to the free converse of a man unus'd. Her rising blushes had concealment found from her spread hands, but that her hands were bound. She acted to her full extent of pow'r, and bath'd her face with a fresh, silent show'r. But by degrees in innocence grown bold, her name, her country, and her birth she told: and how she suffer'd for her mother's pride, who with the Nereids once in beauty vy'd. Part yet untold, the seas began to roar, and mounting billows tumbled to the shore. Above the waves a monster rais'd his head, his body o'er the deep was widely spread.

[...] So when the monster mov'd, still at his back the furrow'd waters left a foamy track. Now to the rock he was advanc'd so nigh, whirl'd from a sling a stone the space would fly. Then bounding, upwards the brave Perseus sprung, and in mid air on hov'ring pinions hung. His shadow quickly floated on the main; the monster could not his wild rage restrain, but at the floating shadow leap'd in vain. As when Jove's bird, a speckl'd serpent spies, which in the shine of Phoebus basking lies, unseen, he souses down, and bears away, truss'd from behind, the vainly-hissing prey. To writh his neck the labour nought avails, too deep th' imperial talons pierce his scales. Thus the wing'd heroe now descends, now soars, and at his pleasure the vast monster gores. Full in his back, swift stooping from above, the crooked sabre to its hilt he drove. The monster rag'd, impatient of the pain, first bounded high, and then sunk low again. Now, like a savage boar, when chaf'd with wounds, and bay'd with opening mouths of hungry hounds, he on the foe turns with collected might, who still eludes him with an airy flight; and wheeling round, the scaly armour tries of his thick sides; his thinner tall now plies: 'Till from repeated strokes out gush'd a flood, and the waves redden'd with the streaming blood. 

At last the dropping wings, befoam'd all o'er, with flaggy heaviness their master bore: a rock he spy'd, whose humble head was low, bare at an ebb, but cover'd at a flow. A ridgy hold, he, thither flying, gain'd, and with one hand his bending weight sustain'd; with th' other, vig'rous blows he dealt around, and the home-thrusts the expiring monster own'd. In deaf'ning shouts the glad applauses rise, and peal on peal runs ratling thro' the skies. The saviour-youth the royal pair confess, and with heav'd hands their daughter's bridegroom bless. The beauteous bride moves on, now loos'd from chains, the cause, and sweet reward of all the heroe's pains"

Cetus was visualized by the ancient Hellenes as a hybrid creature, with enormous gaping jaws and the forefeet of a land animal, attached to a scaly body with huge coils like a sea serpent. In some ancient drawings, Cetus comes out more comical than frightening, but the Cetus of myth was nothing to laugh at. Other visualizations of Cetus are in the form of a whale. This is mostly due to the latinization of the name; Cetus is the Latin word for the order Cetacea which includes the whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

The constellation Cetus is visible at latitudes between +70° and −90°, and best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of November.

When it comes to teaching our children the subject of history, fact disguised as literary fiction is an easy way to feed even the most bored child the important morsels of our bygone times. But when it comes to Hellenic mythology, can myth and legend, fairy tales and fantasy, be just as informative as historical facts?

From astronomy to chemistry, mathematics to science, so much of our education derives from the teachings of Ancient Hellas. Literal references to Hellenic mythology are everywhere from terms like ‘the Midas touch’, to ‘Achilles’ heel’. Without a basic knowledge of Hellenic mythology, these phrases would be meaningless.

For young children, Hellenic mythology is a vital way to teach them about humanity, virtues and the lifelong dichotomy of ‘good versus evil’. In more mature literature, the lines between good and evil become blurred, and different interpretations pave the way for confusion and double meanings. Stripped back, the tales of Hercules, King Midas, Jason and the Argonauts, Theseus and the Minotaur, and others, have very clear depictions of who is good and who is evil. Emotions like jealousy and anger, which can be difficult to explain to innocent minds, are addressed time and time again in Hellenic  mythology. 

Through the behavior of the characters, children are able to identify these emotions. Virtues such as wisdom, courage and a sense of right and wrong are also easily identifiable in the stories. Courage in the face of adversity, hope when all seems lost, and love in a world of hate are at the moral core of many of the Greek myths.

Greek mythology also has no barriers to equality amongst men and women. Six of the twelve Olympian Gods are men and six are women. While it is true that most of the tales feature men as the heroes, the women are portrayed as highly intelligent, skilled and cunning. It is Ariadne who helps Theseus find his way in the labyrinth of the minotaur, and the Witch-Maiden Medea saves Jason’s life on several occasions as well as helping him to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Many of the female characters are courageous warriors and huntresses, and the Goddess Athena herself embodies one of the most important of the cardinal virtues: wisdom.

Compelling and insightful, Greek mythology is not just a maze of fable and fiction. It addresses universal issues that we may all face in life, and allows for critical and philosophical thought regarding situations that we might otherwise find too complex to explain to young minds.

Researchers at UCL have solved a major piece of the puzzle that makes up the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism, a hand-powered mechanical device that was used to predict astronomical events.

Known to many as the world's first analogue computer, the Antikythera Mechanism is the most complex piece of engineering to have survived from the ancient world. The 2,000-year-old device was used to predict the positions of the Sun, Moon and the planets as well as lunar and solar eclipses.

Published in Scientific Reports, the paper from the multidisciplinary UCL Antikythera Research Team reveals a new display of the ancient Greek order of the Universe (Cosmos), within a complex gearing system at the front of the Mechanism. Lead author Professor Tony Freeth (UCL Mechanical Engineering) explained: 

"Ours is the first model that conforms to all the physical evidence and matches the descriptions in the scientific inscriptions engraved on the Mechanism itself. The Sun, Moon and planets are displayed in an impressive tour de force of ancient Greek brilliance."

The Antikythera Mechanism has generated both fascination and intense controversy since its discovery in a Roman-era shipwreck in 1901 by Greek sponge divers near the small Mediterranean island of Antikythera.

The astronomical calculator is a bronze device that consists of a complex combination of 30 surviving bronze gears used to predict astronomical events, including eclipses, phases of the moon, positions of the planets and even dates of the Olympics.

Whilst great progress has been made over the last century to understand how it worked, studies in 2005 using 3D X-rays and surface imaging enabled researchers to show how the Mechanism predicted eclipses and calculated the variable motion of the Moon.

However, until now, a full understanding of the gearing system at the front of the device has eluded the best efforts of researchers. Only about a third of the Mechanism has survived, and is split into 82 fragments - creating a daunting challenge for the UCL team. The biggest surviving fragment, known as Fragment A, displays features of bearings, pillars and a block. Another, known as Fragment D, features an unexplained disk, 63-tooth gear and plate.

Previous research had used X-ray data from 2005 to reveal thousands of text characters hidden inside the fragments, unread for nearly 2,000 years. Inscriptions on the back cover include a description of the cosmos display, with the planets moving on rings and indicated by marker beads. It was this display that the team worked to reconstruct.

Two critical numbers in the X-rays of the front cover, of 462 years and 442 years, accurately represent cycles of Venus and Saturn respectively. When observed from Earth, the planets' cycles sometimes reverse their motions against the stars. Experts must track these variable cycles over long time-periods in order to predict their positions. PhD candidate and UCL Antikythera Research Team member Aris Dacanalis explained:

"The classic astronomy of the first millennium BC originated in Babylon, but nothing in this astronomy suggested how the ancient Greeks found the highly accurate 462-year cycle for Venus and 442-year cycle for Saturn."

Using an ancient Greek mathematical method described by the philosopher Parmenides, the UCL team not only explained how the cycles for Venus and Saturn were derived but also managed to recover the cycles of all the other planets, where the evidence was missing. PhD candidate and team member David Higgon explained: 

"After considerable struggle, we managed to match the evidence in Fragments A and D to a mechanism for Venus, which exactly models its 462-year planetary period relation, with the 63-tooth gear playing a crucial role."

Professor Freeth added: 

"The team then created innovative mechanisms for all of the planets that would calculate the new advanced astronomical cycles and minimize the number of gears in the whole system, so that they would fit into the tight spaces available."

Co-author, Dr Adam Wojcik (UCL Mechanical Engineering) added:

"This is a key theoretical advance on how the Cosmos was constructed in the Mechanism. Now we must prove its feasibility by making it with ancient techniques. A particular challenge will be the system of nested tubes that carried the astronomical outputs."

68 Ancient Greek silver coins were discovered two days ago by a retired police officer in the Romanian village of Radomirești, 120km west of Bucharest and 40km north of the Bulgarian border.

They bear the inscription “MAKEDONON FIRST” and are perfectly decorated with oak branches, Infognomon reported.

The silver coins were handed over to the police department and will be sent to the Ministry of Culture to have the authentication verified and time of minting.

This kind of coins is already on display at the Amphipolis Archaeological Museum in Greece.

 I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

"Do you believe that Ancient Greek should be learned or at least studied? There's conflicting opinions amongst people who consider themselves Greek Reconstructionists."

The short answer is 'yes', but I will tell you right away that I haven't yet invested the time. It's a matter of convenience--I already have so many projects that I simply would not know where to find the time--and avoidance because I am terrible at learning languages. I have years and years of built up high school frustration from taking German and French language courses and ultimately failing them both. I swear to the Gods that I only learned English because I was a hard-core 'Buffy: The Vampire Slayer'-fan and I quoted entire episodes.

It's not mandatory in Hellenismos to speak (ancient) Greek but I would love to be able to read the hymns, myths and plays I base my practice on in their original language and form. Translations are lovely but there is always artistic freedom. Besides, for me, it's the language of the Gods. I believe it should be studied as a way to get closer to Them. Of course, to each their own; I just know it's on my to-do list.

"Can I offer one libation to more than one god? Like, I don't know, a shared libation or something?"

The ancient Hellenes very rarely gave sacrifice to just one God at a time. The big sacrifices were usually an animal and since animals are expensive and sacrifice establish kharis between the devotee and the God, it just makes sense to honour more that one God with one sacrifice. Beyond that, the ancient Hellenes were vary aware that they were worshipping a pantheon of Gods, not just loose entities thrown together; Apollon was worshipped with His sister and mother, and it was always prudent to worship Hestia and Zeus, and if you give sacrifice to Zeus you really should also give sacrifice to Hera because there may be tension with her otherwise because you are worshipping Zeus'  illegitimate child with another woman, etc. The main goal may have been to give sacrifice to Apollon, but there are many Gods connected to Him either through genealogy or function.

Say, for example, that you were giving sacrifice to Apollon for health, you would naturally include Asklēpiós and His daughters as well, and Hestia and Zeus, of course, and then Hera as well, maybe, and onwards. During animal sacrifice, hymns and prayers were given to each God in turn before, during, and after the sacrifice burned. It's fairly the same with libations: the Gods worshipped were also grouped and they were called on and prayed to in turn. Each one got a little pouring out of liquid. So yes, you can definitely give libations to more than one God during the same ritual. In fact, it's expected.

"Hi, I was just wondering if there was a different way to work with a patron in comparison with who you devote yourself to? Is there different way of doing rituals etc. Thank you for taking the time to read my ask :)"

So, I would love to answer your question, but I don't know how. Personally, I don't believe in personal patronism in Traditional Hellenism--which is the branch I subscribe to. Now, I don't have anything against it as a practice, it's just not Traditional. I wrote about the how's and why's of personal and professional patronism (more aptly named 'tutelage') on my blog a while back, which might be an interesting read. To summarize, modern patronage, in this context, is the support or encouragement of a patron, where the patron or patroness is a divine being. In these relationships, the active party is often the deity in question, who claims the passive human. Some will describe a sense of 'being owned' by their patron. The human becomes a conduit for the work and will of the patron in question, and is required to spend large portions of their lives in active service to that deity.

In ancient Hellas, there were priests; most of them were chosen through hereditary lines and often served short terms in the temple of a deity their family was connected to, either through the family line or by choice. There were also priests who chose to come into the service of a God; they were voluntary priests and they devoted themselves to the God(s) they were drawn to or especially thankful to. Neither type of priest would have worshipped only the deity they were in service to, and all would have attended state festivals, and most likely had a household practice that included a large number of deities. Note that the active party in these relationships is the human, not the deity in question.

Modern patronage is a beautiful thing and if you feel you have been claimed by a God or Goddess, then go for it. I am just not the right person to give you advice. Perhaps someone who reads this might have that for you and add a comment. Be well!

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 Elaphebolion:
  • Elaphebolion 6 - March 20 - Elaphebolia - festival in honor of Artemis
  • Elaphebolion 8 - March 22 - Asklepieia - festival in honor of Asklēpiós
  • Elaphebolion 10-17 - March 24 - 31 - Greater (City) Dionysia in honor of Dionysos
  • Elaphebolion 16 - March 11 - Sacrifice to Semele and Dionysos at Erkhia
  • Elaphebolion 17 - April 7 - Pandia - festival in honor of Zeus, following the Greater Dionysia
  • Elaphebolion 14 - April 8 - Galaxia - festival in honor of the Mother of the Gods (Rhea), Kronos, Zeus and Hera

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.

From 4 to 21 September 2020, the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities carried out systematic underwater archaeological research off Kythira of the historic shipwreck “Mentor”, headed by archaeologist Dr. Dimitris Kourkoumelis. During this year’s research, the trench opened in 2019 at the western tip of the ship’s surviving hull continued being investigated and excavated. 

A lot of timber was discovered in the trench both from the ship’s hull, and parts of the frames. These parts were randomly scattered, evidence of the total destruction that took place at the shipwreck’s site both at the time of its sinking and during the subsequent shipwreck stages. The picture of the ship’s catastrophe was particularly unsettling, with parts of the frames found trapped under rocks, indicative of the intensity of the swell in the region caused mainly by south winds affecting the seabed at a great depth.

Found at the trench site, just as in the previous 2019 excavation season, was a significant number of wooden and metal objects mainly related to the rigging of one or two of the ship’s masts. Wooden blocks used to raise the main sail’s halyard up the mast, wooden blocks to prevent the coiling of ropes, wooden cleats for tying ropes, single or double pulleys of various sizes, some of which still retain parts of their mooring ropes (to date, 35 pulleys, intact or in pieces, have been hoisted up from the shipwreck, out of a total of 120 required for the rigging of a ship the size of the Mentor). 

All in all, results from the research confirm that the excavated site corresponds to that of one of the ship’s two masts (the Mentor being a two masted brigg) and probably that of the stern, since some of the wooden components are connected with the rigging of the mast’s halyard. Moreover, during this year’s research, it became possible to hoist up two sections of the ship’s frames and photograph them in 3D. The frames were not in their original position having been moved when the ship was shattered and after being photographed they were replaced in the trench.

The other movable finds that were hoisted were also particularly interesting. Parts of leather shoes and buckles were located for the first time, as well as items such as a small coin / token used mainly in card games. It is known from the testimonies of both crew and passengers that during the accident they lost all personal belongings, including their clothes. This has been confirmed by the findings of this year’s excavation. In addition to the above, various other small items were hoisted up, such as two chess pieces (in previous years another six had been found, probably from the same set), coins and fragments of cooking utensils.

Participating in the 2020 underwater research were a total of 18 people of various specialties and scientific expertise; archaeologists, marine biologists, diving instructors, surveyors / engineers, antiquity conservationists and seabed equipment technicians. 

When a whole family gets uplifted into the sky, the breakdown of their constellations gets a little repetitive over time, sorry about that. When we last saw the Aethiopia ruling family, we discussed the constellations Androméda and Cassiopeia. Today, we close the trilogy with Capheus, father of Andromeda, and husband to Cassiopeia, and add a good bit of info to the myth.

Cepheus was king of Aethiopia when he heard his wife Cassiopeia boast that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids. Shocked, he tried to silence his wife, but it was too late. 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. It destroyed villages, kept fishermen off of the sea and caused huge floods that killed hundreds at a time. A cry went up from the people for Cepheus to remedy the situation and to appease the Gods. Cepheus, desperate, traveled to the oracle of Apollon (or Zeus) to hear how he could solve the suffering of his people. The Oracle told him that Nereus would only be appeased when he sacrificed his daughter to Cetus.

Stricken with grief, Cepheus raised his hands to the sky--the position he was immortalized in--and prayed for another resolve of the situation that would not lead to the death of his much beloved daughter. The Theoi, however, remained silent. Cepheus resisted the oracle's message as long as he could, but eventually, the anguish of his people became too much for a king to withstand. In other versions of the myth, Androméda (like Iphigeneia) offered herself up to be sacrificed, as she realized her life was not worth the lives of all those who were dying now.

Androméda was chained to the cliffs near the palace, and awaited her faith there, while both Cepheus and Cassiopeia looked on with immense sadness. Thankfully, Androméda was rescued from her fate by Perseus, on his way back from defeating Médousa. King Cepheus hosted a huge wedding banquet at his palace to celebrate the wedding. There was one problem, however: Androméda had already been promised to Phineus, Cepheus' brother. While the celebrations were in progress, Phineus and his followers bursted in, demanding that Androméda be handed over, which Cepheus refused to do--too grateful to Perseus for rescuing his daughter from certain death. Ovid has described the battle that ensued in the Metamorphoses, but before the battle begins, we first get a speech by Cepheus to his brother, who begs him to let his claim to Androméda go:

"Hold, brother, hold; what brutal rage has made your frantick mind so black a crime conceive? 
Are these the thanks that you to Perseus give? This the reward that to his worth you pay, whose timely valour sav'd Andromeda? Nor was it he, if you would reason right, that forc'd her from you, but the jealous spight of envious Nereids, and Jove's high decree; And that devouring monster of the sea, that ready with his jaws wide gaping stood to eat my child, the fairest of my blood. 

You lost her then, when she seem'd past relief, and wish'd perhaps her death, to ease your grief 
With my afflictions: not content to view Andromeda in chains, unhelp'd by you, her spouse, and uncle; 
will you grieve that he expos'd his life the dying maid to free? And shall you claim his merit? 
Had you thought her charms so great, you shou'd have bravely sought that blessing on the rocks, where fix'd she lay: but now let Perseus bear his prize away, by service gain'd, by promis'd faith possess'd; 
To him I owe it, that my age is bless'd still with a child."

Phineus refused to listen to reason, and threw a spear at Perseus, who barely managed to dodge it. After that, all hell broke loose. Perseus cut down many of his attackers, turning the remainder to stone by showing them the head of Médousa. Eventually, he hailed victorious, and got to carry off his bride. In doing so, he left Cassiopeia and her husband to the fate of Poseidon, who would still have His revenge. As such, He took both Cassiopeia and Cepheus up into the sky and placed them near each other in the heavens. Poseidon placed Cassiopeia close to the North Celestial Pole on her throne, spending half of her time clinging to it so she does not fall off. In old portraits of the constellation, she is seen as either tied to her throne--which most often resembles a torture device--or desperately clinging to it. Later on, she was depicted as holding a mirror (or palm leaf) to show her vanity. 

However, because Cepheus had nothing to do with Cassiopeia's original declaration, because he had done everything in his power to make things right afterwards, and he had plead his case to the Gods again and again, Cepheus was placed into the sky unchained--either regally on his throne or with his hands raised in pious prayer--and a little further away from the pole. He still circles it in punishment, but his position is a lot less precarious than that of his wife. 

The constellation Cepheus is visible at latitudes between +90° and −10°, and best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of November, the same as the constellations of his wife and daughter.

 The striking, nearly 5-foot tall Dipylon Amphora, from approximately 700 BC, is a masterpiece of the art of Ancient Greek pottery. Its exquisite painted exterior shows a funeral scene with wasp-waisted human and stylized animal figures alongside geometrical shapes and patterns. Discovered in Kerameikos, Athens at a gate called Dipylon at the entrance to an ancient cemetery there, the maker of this gigantic piece, along with all the others who created ancient Greek masterpieces of pottery, has always been assumed to be male. Indeed, the artisan here is always referred to by historians as the “Dipylon Master.” But what if the creator of this striking grave marker, and many other pieces of pottery, was actually female? Sarah Murray, a classical archaeologist from the University of Toronto, along with two of her undergraduate students, are questioning long-held beliefs in this arena.

They believe that not only did females participate in the making of artistic pottery but that they were primarily responsible for the creation of ceramics in the early Greek Iron Age, which lasted from 1050 BC to 700 BC. Unfortunately, there are no written records extant which date back to that era. Indeed, pottery itself serves as much of the historical record of these times in Greece. Murray says in a new article in the American Journal of Archaeology:

“Pottery is the anchor of everything we say about the society—but I think that’s problematic. No one had really thought that women were involved in making this pottery. There was no argument. It was just taken as the default.”

Indeed, most indisputable historical records from all the eras in Greek history show that it was for themes part a clearly male-dominated society. However, Murray and her team posit the theory that, due to huge societal shifts which took place between the preceding Bronze Age, which represented a high point in artistic expression of every kind in Greece, and the Iron, women may have taken on new roles and begun to create pottery as well.

The Iron Age differed from the previous era in many ways — there was a measurable drop in population from the previous Bronze Age, something which, Murray says, leads to women stepping into the breach and beginning to create pottery themselves.

This situation may not have continued into what is called the Archaic Age, with its rebound in population and the concomitant social classifications which accompanied it — but for this time period, it is entirely possible, according to Murray, that females put their mark on the Ancient Greek art of fine pottery.

Additionally, as seen on the Dipylon vase above, there is a sudden and marked emphasis on geometric patterns such as zigzags and diamonds, representing an enormous change from prior pottery decoration.

Murray believes that this may actually be a recreation of the geometric patterns used in weaving — which was purely a female art at the time. 

“The fact that the style seems to be inspired by textiles is kind of like the big, blaring horn. Women are almost always the weavers.”

The fact that the Dipylon vase itself portrays mourners is another tell for Murray, who explains that women always had played a huge role in funeral rituals, including preparing the bodies and even being professional mourners, roles which go across nearly all human civilizations.

Additionally, most Iron Age pottery carries motifs of women’s daily lives — weaving and doing other typically female chores. Later pottery from the Archaic period often was decorated with battle scenes and even poetry, retelling epic battles.

At the present time there is research being undertaken to closely examine pottery for impressions of the fingerprints of the ancient potters, which may shed light on the gender of the person who created the piece.

Julie Hruby, a classicist from Dartmouth College, is zeroing in on using this new technology to finally determine who these ancient potters might be, creating a new method for analyzing prints. She states 

“I would be surprised if I found fingerprint evidence that refuted what was in (Murray’s) article.”

In 2007, the crew of a Dutch ship crossing the Mediterranean Sea unearthed a well-preserved ancient Greek helmet near the Israeli city of Haifa. As required by local law, the dredging vessel’s owner promptly handed the find over to archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Now, reports the Greek City Times, researchers have offered new insights on the object, which is the only intact helmet of its kind found along Israel’s coast.

Crafted in the sixth century B.C., the Corinthian armor was likely used during the Persian Wars, which pitted Greek city-states against the Persian Empire in a series of clashes between 492 and 449 B.C.  Kobi Sharvit, director of the IAA’s Marine Archaeology Unit, said in a statement:

“[It] probably belonged to a Greek warrior stationed on one of the warships of the Greek fleet that participated in the naval conflict against the Persians who ruled the country at the time.”

After spending 2,600 years on the seafloor, the helmet’s cracked surface is heavily rusted. But scholars could still discern a delicate, peacock-like pattern above its eyeholes. This unique design helped archaeologists determine that craftsmen made the armor in the Greek city-state of Corinth.

According to Ancient Origin’s Nathan Falde, metalworkers would have fashioned the piece to fit tightly around the head of a particular person—but not so tightly that it couldn’t be swiftly and safely removed in the heat of battle.

“The helmet was expertly fabricated from a single sheet of bronze by means of heating and hammering,” notes the statement. “This technique made it possible to reduce its weight without diminishing its capacity for protecting the head of a warrior.”

As Owen Jarus wrote for Live Science in 2012, archaeologists excavated a similar helmet near the Italian island of Giglio, which is about 1,500 miles from where the crew found the recently analyzed artifact, during the 1950s. That headgear—also around 2,600 years old—helped modern scholars determine when craftspeople manufactured the Haifa Bay armor.

Experts speculate that the headpiece’s owner was a wealthy individual, as most soldiers wouldn’t have been able to afford such elaborate gear. Sharvit and scholar John Hale stated in a research summary quoted by UPI:

“The gilding and figural ornaments make this one of the most ornate pieces of early Greek armor discovered.” 

One theory raised by researchers speculates that the helmet belonged to a mercenary who fought alongside the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II, per the Express’ Sebastian Kettley. Another explanation posits that a Greek soldier stationed in the Mediterranean donned the headpiece, only to drop it into the water or lose it when his ship sank.

Though archaeologists aren’t sure exactly who owned the artifact, they do know that the warrior sailed the seas at a time when Persia controlled much of the Middle East. As Live Science’s Jarus explains in a more recent article, the Persians attempted to invade Greece around 490 B.C. but were defeated near Athens during the Battle of Marathon.

A second attack by the Persians culminated in the Battle of Thermopylae, which saw a heavily outnumbered group of Spartans led by King Leonidas mount a doomed last stand against Xerxes’ Persian forces. (The 480 B.C. clash is heavily dramatized in the film 300.) But while Thermopylae ended in a Greek loss, the tides of war soon turned, with the Greeks forcing the Persians out of the region the following year.

In the decades after the Persians’ failed invasions, the Greek military continued the fight by campaigning against enemy troops stationed in the eastern Mediterranean. Ancient Origins notes that the helmet’s owner was likely active during this later phase of the war—“when the Persians were often on the defensive” rather than offensive—and may have served on either a patrol ship or a battleship.