As you all know, I recently moved! I'm still settling in, obviously, but one of the major benefits of moving is having friends come over to look at all your hard work and the home you're building for yourself. So, while I settle: somke words by Plutarch in his 'On Brotherly Love' on which he speaks of friendship--especially those friendships that should be fostered and how they should be approached. Enjoy!

"If the possessions of friends are common, then by all means the friends of friends should be common"; and one should urge this advice upon brothers with special emphasis. For associations and intimacies which are maintained separately and apart lead brothers away from each other and turn them toward others, since an immediate consequence of affection for others is to take pleasure in others, to emulate others, and to follow the lead of others.
For friendships shape character and there is no more important indication of a difference in character than the selection of different friends. For this reason neither eating and drinking together nor playing and spending the day together can so firmly cement concord between brothers as the sharing of friendships and enmities, taking pleasure in the company of the same persons, and loathing and avoiding the same. For friendships held in common do not tolerate either slanders or conflicts, but if any occasion for wrath or blame arises, it is dissipated by the mediation of friends, who take it upon themselves and disperse it, if they are but intimate with both parties and incline in their goodwill to both alike.
For as tin joins together broken bronze and solders it by being applied to both ends, since it is of a material sympathetic to both, so should the friend, well-suited as he is to both and being theirs in common, join still closer their mutual goodwill; but those who are uneven and will not blend, like false notes of a scale in music, create discord, not harmony.116 One may, then, be in doubt as to whether Hesiod117 was right or not in saying, 'Nor should one make a friend a brother's peer'.
The Daily Beast recently posted an interesting article about The Metropolitan Museum of Art's new exposition entitled 'Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World' which brings together more than 265 exquisite objects that were created through the patronage of the royal courts of the Hellenistic kingdoms, with an emphasis on the ancient city of Pergamon. The emphasis of the article, however? 'How Alexander the Great changed the art world forever'.

When Alexander conquered Persia, six thousand tons of gold were taken from the treasuries of Persepolis and Susa alone. Those fabulous riches combined with Greek skill meant a dawning of a new era in terms of cultural supremacy. While his empire was split into a number of kingdoms (the Ptolemaic perhaps being the most famous due to its library and Cleopatra), the art and architecture originating in Hellenic city-states exploded.
The exhibition notes that the wealth also changed Hellenic culture. Tossed out were the strictures and disapproval from city-states like Athens and Sparta against ostentations displays of private wealth. The result was a period of art that changed cultures across the ancient world. That influence is perhaps most palpable in ancient Rome, where the craze for copies of famous Hellenic works are often all we have left of Hellenic art.

The core of the exhibition—one-third of the statues on view—is comprised of works from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, many of which have never been to the U.S. before. The Pergamon was excavated in the late 19th century by German archaeologists who brought many of its treasures back to Germany. The Pergamon Museum is now undergoing a renovation, presenting a ripe opportunity for the Met.

One of those pieces here for the first time, which could perhaps be considered one of the exhibition’s centerpieces is the Athena from the Pergamon Altar. Weighing more than three tons, it was shipped in three pieces, Picón said. Even with its magnitude, the most stupefying thing about the towering work is that it is just one-third the size of the original carved by Phidias that stood in the Parthenon.
The Athena is surrounded by other monumental works, including the captivating Fragmentary colossal head of a youth from the 2nd century BC. There is also the impressive marble head and arm of Zeus from Aigeira from circa 150 BC on loan from the National Archaeology Museum of Greece.

Against another wall can be found the earliest known text of Homer’s The Odyssey from 285-250 BC, preserved because the papyrus it was on was reused for a mummy and buried in hot sand.

Each room in the exhibition has one signature piece. In one it is the Athena, in another the model replica of the Altar of Pergamon. In the final chamber, which focuses on Hellenistic art in the Roman period, stands the Borghese Krater. Standing nearly two meters high, the vase was made in Athens in the 1st century BC, shipped to Rome and discovered in the 16th century in a Roman garden. Purchased by Napoleon from the Borghese family in 1808, it has only left the Louvre twice.

The exhibition will run from April 18 to July 17, 2016, at The Met.
Yesterday, I officially moved into the new house I will share with my girlfriend. This move was preceded by two grueling weeks of non-stop renovations. Every day from eight am to eleven pm, or midnigt, or one am and then back to the old place on my bike to do it again the next morning. I am not sure if I have ever felt exhaustion this profound, but also a feeling of accomplishment this profound. It's our new home! And our blood, sweat and tears are in it! These images were from one am last night when we finally tidied everything. As you can see, we are far from settled, but it is am amazing start.

As I'll be making build-in blosets, (book)shelves, windowsills and a built in corner bench myself from wood that has yet to be delivered, most of our stuff upstairs is still on the ground in piles.
Thiat is my current view, for example.
As soon as everything has been put away and built, I'll write and perform a rite to Hestia and the household Gods, which I will share with you all, of course, to invite Them into this house. But until then, I am sure They know They are already very, very welcome! For now, it's time to rest.
Back in My 2015, Greek authorities announced the arrest of four people in Iraklio, Crete on charges of attempting to sell a priceless 3,500-year-old statuette of a young man, dated to the mid-Minoan era. Now, the statue has been valued and the number is astronomical.

The 30cm-high bronze statuette is of a young man in worship, his hands folded across his chest, making it a unique find of its type throughout the island of Crete. The figure has long hair, a gold-plated belt and remains of gold leaf on its calves and left knee. At the base is a peg indicating that it was probably set on a pedestal in an area of worship. Archaeologists at the Lasithi Antiquities Ephorate have dated the statuette to the 16-15 century B.C.

The case was cracked as a result of a coordinated Hellenic Police (ELAS) operation that culminated in the arrests of four men, two aged 35 and two aged 41 years old. Police initially stopped one of the 35-year-olds driving a car, in which they found an ancient bronze artifact. The other three men were following behind in two private trucks and also arrested. The police inquiry revealed that the suspects had illegal possession of the statuette and that two of them had shown this to unknown prospective buyers, while the other two were acting as lookouts along the route. The statuette was handed over the antiquities ephorate and the car confiscated as evidence, while police are continuing the inquiry. The four suspects were led to the Lasithi misdemeanors' court prosecutor.

From that point on, a commission set up by the ministry carried out an evaluation of the statue to determine the value. They came to a sum of 1.3 million euros. The commission arrived at this price estimate based on the figurine’s age, material and structural features but mostly on its unusual size, noting that it was the largest of its kind ever found.

I announced two days ago that we'd have a PAT ritual to the the hero Leukaspis on the 28th of April. A day later, the sacrificial calendar of Erkhia dictates a sacrifice to the Tritopatores (Τριτοπατορες). Suidas describes the Tritopateres as follows:

"Tritopatores : Demon in the Atthis says that the Tritopatores are winds (anemoi), Philochoros [Greek poet C4th B.C.] that the Tritopatores were born first of all. For the men of that time, he says, understood as their parents the earth (gê) and the sun (hêlios), whom then they called Apollon. Phanodemos [C4th B.C.] in [book] 6 maintains that only [the] Athenians both sacrifice to them and pray to them, when they are about to marry, for the conception of children. In the Physikos of Orpheus the Tritopatores are named Amalkeides and Protokles and Protokleon, being doorkeepers and guardians of the winds (anemoi). But the author of Explanation claims that they are [the offspring] of Ouranos (Heaven) and (Earth), and that their names are Kottos, Briareos and Gyges."

Which version(s) of the Tritopateres were worshipped at Erkhia is unclear. The latter in Suidas are often seen as the Hekatonkheires: Kottos (Κοττος, 'Grudge', 'Rancour'), Gyês (Γυης, 'Of the Land'), Briareôs (Βριαρεως, 'Strong', 'Stout'), Obriareôs (Οβριαρεως, 'Strong', 'Stout'), and Aigaiôn (Αιγαιων, 'Goatish', or 'Stormy'). As the Anemoi, the Tritopateres are: Amalkeidês (Αμαλκειδης, 'Bound to That Place'), Prôtoklês (Πρωτοκλης, 'First Locked Away), and Prôtokleôn (Πρωτοκλεων, 'First Confined').
Which version(s) of the Tritopateres were worshipped at Erkhia is unclear, but we find favour with the theory that they are connected to the wind-Gods. According to the Greater Demarkhia, the sacrifice to the Tritopatores was a ram, along with a 'libation not of wine'. In modern times, a libation of milk, honey, and/or water will most certainly do.

The ritual for the Tritopatores may seem rather strange (at least different) but it is based on elaborate and specific instructions from the inscription from the Selinus tablet and we think it is in the spirit of ancient sacrifice. The arrangement and sequence is crucial. Robert will conduct the sacrifice for the foul Tritopatores as that had to be done by a specific priestly group and as the senior member of Elaion, and with the facilities to conduct this sacred rite, he should be the one to do this. We have marked in the ritual which parts of the rite you should perform and which you should not.

You can find the ritual for the PAT ritual for the sacrifice to Tritopatores here and join the community page here. The sacrifice to Tritopatores will take place on April 29 at the standard 10 AM EDT. We hope you will join us!
The Attikos deme Erkhia was located near the modern Spata, approximately twenty kilometers (twelve miles) east of Athens, with the deme center located at Magoula. The deme of Erkhia is unique as we have recovered an elaborate sacrificial calendar--the Greater Demarkhia--listing sacrifices, costs and rules for the festivals held under the supervision of the demarch. The calendar prescribes 59 annual sacrifices to 46 separate divinities, including heroes, nymphs and Gods, and some of them seem unique to the deme.

The Gods most frequently honored at Erkhia were Zeus, Apollon, Kourotrophos ('She who raises the young') and Athena. A few times a year, the men traveled to Athens to sacrifice to Zeus an Athena 'of the city', to Apollon Lykeios, and to Demeter of Eleusis. For worship at the deme, Erkhia had its own Akropolis, where the same Theoi were worshipped as on the Akropolis at Athens, as well as more obscure Gods, like Zeus Epopetes, the Heroines, the Herakleidai, the nymphs, and the Tritopateres, as well as local heroes like Leukaspis ('he of the white shield') and Epops.

Two of these sacrifices are upcoming: the one to the Leukaspis on the 20th of Mounikhion and the sacrifice to the Tritopatores on the 21th of Mounikhion. This is an announcement for the PAT ritual for the sacrifice to Leukaspis.

Leukaspis is the name of a good few heroes in Hellenic mythology. The most famous is the one depicted here on a drachma from Syracuse--designed around 405-400 BC by Eukleidas. Leukaspis, 'He of the White Shield' was a famed warrior and hero and tied to the myth of Herakles:

“While Heracles was making the circuit of Sicily at this time he came to the city which is now Syracuse, and on learning what the myth relates about the Abduction of Kore, he offered sacrifices to the Goddesses on a magnificent scale, and after dedicating to Her the fairest bull of his herd and casting it in the spring Cyanê, he commanded the natives to sacrifice each year to Kore and to conduct at Cyanê a festive gathering and a sacrifice in splendid fashion. He then passed with his cattle through the interior of the island, and when the native Sicani opposed him in great force, he overcame them in a notable battle and slew many of their number, among whom, certain writers of myths relate, were also some distinguished generals who receive the honours accorded to Heroes even to this day, such as Leucaspis, Pediacrates, Buphonas, Glychatas, Bytaeas, and Crytidas.” (Diod. Sic. IV 23)

As he was a Sican of Sicily, and apparently non-Hellenic, it's quite unlikely he was the one worshipped at the deme of Erkhia. It was most likely another Leukaspis that was a local hero. What, exactly, the source of this Leukaspis' renown was has been lost to us.

Alternatively, Noel Robertson in 'Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities', page 173, notes:
“When we meet Leupaspis at Erchia, we should not imagine that a Sican hero was brought to Attica.  Instead, the same name has been given to similar powers in the two places.”

Leukaspis appears not to be so much a war hero in Erchia but a, what Robertson describes as a 'functional hero'. In Hellenic warfare a hoplite presses on the enemy with his shield, so that a buffering wind may well be likened to a shield-bearing warrior. As such, Leukaspis might have been a power associated with winds and tied to the begetting of a good harvest. So we wrote the ritual in that sense and used the two Orphic Hymns that best fit, To Zephyros and To Notos.

According to the Greater Demarkhia, the sacrifice to Leukaspis was a ram, along with a 'libation not of wine'. In modern times, a libation of milk, honey, and/or water will most certainly do.

You can find the ritual for the PAT ritual to Leukaspis here and join the community page here. The sacrifice to Leukaspis will take place on April 28 at 10 am EDT.
Late March Palmyra, Syria, was recaptured from IS forces. Although it first seemed like the damage to historic artifacts was less than expected, experts are not so sure anymore now. This reports the Archaeological News Network. The first foreign experts who visited the museum in Palmyra after it was taken over from Islamic State militants offered grim new details about the extent of the destruction caused by the extremists during their 10-month stay in the ancient town.

Bartosz Markowski, from the Polish Archaeological Center at the University of Warsaw, told The Associated Press that most of the 200 objects which were exhibited on the ground floor of the Palmyra museum were destroyed, many of them apparently with hard tools like hammers. Many artifacts have been stolen, he added, thought it was not possible to know how many. In addition to the damage inflicted by IS, Markowski said the museum building has suffered structural damage due to bombs falling.

"There's broken ceilings, broken walls, roofs, a lot of garbage and fragments of bricks everywhere, and among that there are fragments of sculptures."
He and his colleagues were the first specialists to visit Palmyra after it was taken over by the Syrian army, and spent a week working and assessing the damage. They found the museum trashed and some of its best-known artifacts and statues smashed by the militants, who cut off the heads and hands of statues and demolished others before being driven out last month. Speaking to the AP in the garden of the National Museum in Damascus, he said:

"We collected everything we could. The fragments were spread around the whole museum among broken glass and furniture ... It is a catastrophe." 

During rule of Palmyra, the extremists demolished some of the most famous Roman-era monuments that stand just outside the town, including two large temples dating back more than 1,800 years and a Roman triumphal archway, filming the destruction themselves for the world to see. The sprawling outdoor site, a UNESCO world heritage site, as well as the museum were among Syria's main tourist attractions before the civil war.

Among the best-known statues destroyed was the famous Lion of Allat, a 2000-year-old statue which previously greeted visitors and tourists outside the Palmyra museum. The statue, which used to adorn the temple of Allat, a pre-Islamic goddess in Palmyra, was defaced by IS militants and knocked over by bulldozers. On a visit to Palmyra on Thursday, The Associated Press saw the statue lying outside the museum building with its face cut and some of its broken pieces lying next to it. Markowski, who in 2005 took part in a Polish archaeological mission that did renovation work on the statue, said:

"Fortunately we collected most of the fragments and I hope it can be reconstructed very soon." 

He said the restoration will require a massive international effort and years to accomplish. According to him, most of the objects can be restored, but they will never look as they did before. His colleague, Robert Zukowski, said the limestone lion statue should be the first thing restored and that it should stay in Palmyra as a sign of resistance.

The museum did not hve a large Hellenic collection--it was a Roman settlement, not Hellenistic--but it grieves me to see this kind of damage inflicted on all things ancient. At least ome of the museum's treasured pieces had been on loan to other museums around the world and can be collected in due time.