So, the UK vote is in: everyone under 40 pretty much wanted to stay and everyone white above fourty pretty much wanted out. So this post is for you, generations that will have to deal with this mess. My sympathies are with you today. The true worth and value of a country is in its legacy.

Businessman Vasily Klyukin has been working on a conceptual architecture project for skyscrapers. At least, he was in 2014 as this is old news; I have no idea if the project has continued since then but that is not the point of this post. The whole project began after Klyukin bought a small building in Monaco which he then wished to replace with a tall tower that would become a landmark for the Principate.

In order to convince Prince Albert II, he began drawing original skyscrapers and towers with the aim of creating the most impressive and beautiful architectural landmark befitting the prestigious city-state. After working day and night for months and with the help of his friends, Klyukin (who has no formal training in architecture) came up with numerous highly ambitious designs for iconic buildings and towers, ranging from residential buildings to opera houses and hotels – all a manifestation of his firm belief that 'every serious building, in addition to a concept, should have its own story or legend.'

Klyukin’s designs are to say the very least, diverse; as they are mostly conceptual designs that are not planned to be built in the near future, they are also rather daring and experimental. His concepts include skyscrapers inspired by Ancient Hellenic statues, namely the Aphrodite of Milos and the Nike of Samothrace: considered two of the most celebrated sculptures in the world, for Vasily Klyukin they embody the essence of Beauty and Victory, two concepts that fit quite naturally with the ambitious spirit of designing such architectural legends.

Perhaps one day, these--or buildings like these--will truly be created and a touch of the Gods will return to our city's skylines. The point is: greatness remains, in both thought and practice.
The ancient Hellenic writers were dedicated historians, but they often neglected to mention the achievements of ancient Hellenic women. Now it so happens that I am a woman and I quite like having a few female heroes to look up to, so I want to introduce you to them. Today: the poet and warrior Telesilla of Argos.
Telesilla of Argos was a lyric poet of the 5th century BCE, listed by Antipater of Thesalonike (c. 15 BCE), the author of over a hundred epigrams in the 'Greek Anthology', as one of the great Nine Female Lyric Poets of Greece (along with Praxilla, Moiro, Anyte, Sappho, Erinna, Corinna, Nossis, and Myrtis). She was responsible for the metrical innovation of lyric poetry known as the Telesillean Metre. She is also said to be the masermind behind the defense of Argos when Cleomenes, king of Sparta, invaded the land of the Argives in 510 BC. He defeated and killed all the hoplites of Argos in the Battle of Sepeia and massacred the survivors, leaving Argos seemingly defenseless. Telesilla, however, organized all the slaves and women to the defense of the city and won (although it was mostly because the Spartans realized that fighting women and slaves would be very shameful and left).

First we must address her value as a very renowned poet. When Telesilla was younger, she was often sickly. She visited an oracle for help in restoring her health and heard that she should devote herself to the Muses. So Telesilla dedicated herself to the study of poetry and music. Her health did improve and she rose to great fame as a lyric poet. Of the considerable body of work she produced, only two lines remain extant as quoted by the ancient grammarian Hephaistion of Alexandria in his Handbook on Meter (c. 96 CE). References to her, however, appear in the works of Pausanius (c. 110-180 CE), Plutarch (45-120 CE), Athenaeus (c. 3rd century CE), and the work Bibliotheca ascribed to Apollodorus of Alexandria (2nd century CE), among others. She was an extremely influential artist who is always cited with respect by other ancient authors, no matter the subject. Antipater writes in the 'Greek Anthology':

"These are the divine-voiced women that Helicon
fed with song, Helicon and Macedonian Pieria's
rock: Praxilla; Moero; Anyte, the female Homer;
Sappho, glory of the Lesbian women with lovely
tresses; Erinna; renowned Telesilla; and thou,
Corinna, who didst sing the martial shield of Athena;
Nossis, the tender-voiced, and dulcet-toned Myrtis —
all craftswomen of eternal pages. Great Heaven
gave birth to nine Muses, and Earth to these ten,
the deathless delight of men." [9.26]

Now, the tale of how she organized the salvation of Argos. Some background first. The Spartan king Cleomenes I consulted the Oracle of Apollo on what would happen if he marched on Argos, and he would be victorious if he tried. So Cleomenes I took to the field and met Argives at Sepeia. He tricked his way to victory, killed most of the warriors and murdered those who fled by more trickery and cruelty, even going so far as to set fire to a sacred grove where they had sought refuge. After the massacre, Cleomenes I  marched on the city. Telesilla heard of what had happened to the men of the army and mobilized the women, youth, and elders of Argos for defense. Plutarch writes in his 'Moralia':

"Of all the deeds performed by women for the community none is more famous than the struggle against Cleomenes for Argos (494 B.C.), which the women carried out at the instigation of Telesilla the poet. She, as they say, was the daughter of a famous house, but sickly in body, and so she sent to the god to ask about health; and when an oracle was given her to cultivate the Muses, she followed the god's advice, and by devoting herself to poetry and music she was quickly relieved of her trouble, and was greatly admired by the women for her poetic art.

But when Cleomenes (I), king of the Spartans, having slain many Argives (but not by any means seven thousand seven hundred and seventy seven [cf. Herodotus, VII.148] as some fabulous narrative have it), proceeded against the city, an impulsive daring, divinely inspired, came to the younger women to try, for their country's sake, to hold off the enemy. Under the lead of Telesilla, they took up arms, and, taking their stand by the battlements, manned the walls all round, so that the enemy were amazed. The result was that they repulsed Cleomenes with great loss, and the other king, Demaratus, who managed to get inside, as Socrates [FHG IV, p. 497] says, and gained possession of the Pamphyliacum, they drove out. In this way the city was saved. The women who fell in the battle they buried close by the Argive Road, and to the survivors they granted the privilege of erecting a statue of Ares as a memorial of their surpassing valor. Some say that the battle took place on the seventh day of the month which is now known as the Fourth Month [tetartou], but anciently was called Hermaeus among the Argives; others say that it was on the first day of that month, on the anniversary of which they celebrate even to this day the 'Festival of Impudence', at which they clothe the women in men's shirts and cloaks, and the men in women's robes and veils.

To repair the scarcity of men they did not unite the women with slaves, as Herodotus (VI. 77-83) records, but with the best of their neighboring subjects, whom they made Argive citizens. It was reputed that the women showed disrespect and an intentional indifference to those husbands in their married relations from a feeling that they were underlings. Wherefore the Argives enacted a law, the one which says that married women having a beard must occupy the same bed with their husbands." [245c-f]

The reference to 'women who have beards' above is thought to refer to the women who fought for the city as though they were men and then refused to return to their former status as subservients. as such, laws had to be enacted to restore the community to the traditionalsituation that existed before the battle and the rise of the women in defense of Argos.

Historians have questioned the validity of the story of Telesilla and the Spartans for centuries, most notably because Herodotus, in Book VI of his Histories, writes about Cleomenes’ assault on Argos and the massacre of the Argives, and even references the oracle, but does not mention Telesilla. The credibility of women and slaves manning walls to attack invaders is also often called into question, even though there are historic accounts of women and slaves in other cities doing the same. After all, many ancient Hellenic cities lended themselves very well for this type of assault from above.

What happened to Telesilla after the battle with the Spartans is unknown, but she was remembered for her heroic achievement for centuries. Clement of Alexandria (c.150-215 CE) preserved an earlier poem regarding her heroism which contains the lines:

"They say that the women of Argos, under the leadership of the poetess Telesilla, by their simple appearance put to flight the Spartans, strong at war, and made themselves fearless in the face of death."

Her reputation for courage was such that, almost 700 years after the event, she continued to be remembered and honored for it as well as her poetry. In the city of Argos, a stele of her was errected in the temple of Aphrodite. Pausanias writes in his 'Periegesis Hellados':
"...and in front of the seated statue of the goddess is a stele engraved with an image of Telesilla the writer of poems. These lie as though thrown down beside her feet, and she herself is looking at a helmet which she holds in her hand and is about to put on her head." [II. 20 8]
I have a recipe up on my blog for honey cakes, which consist of barley flour, water, clear honey and olive oil. I have also mentioned I have a rather serious grain intollerance. Needless to say, the two don't match. So, for a while now, I have been using an adapted recipe and I can't believe I haven't shared it with you guys yet! Yesterday I got an ask on Tumblr that prompted this realization:

"Hi Elani! I was curious....I am a Hellenist and for the Noumenia celebrations, I really wanted to make honey cakes to sacrifice to the Gods (using the recipe posted on your blog). My issue is that I have a gluten intolerance that is agitated by eating glutinous grains like barley. Would it be appropriate to switch the barley out for a grain I'm capable of eating? I know it wouldn't be as "authentic" but if I were to partake in sacrifices, I'd have to eat it. What do you think?"

I can't eat grains of any kind and I did want to partake in the sacrifice--I find that part of the sacrifice more important than using ingredients the ancient Hellenes would have had access to--so I made my own recipe long ago. It is based off of the recipe for honey cakes but uses coconut and tapioca flour instead and it doesn't use olive oil although you can add a drop once it's done. I have found that adding it to the recipe keeps them from firming up enough not to break once taken off of the tray. Without it, they stay nice and firm and a little gooey on the inside. Delicious! The recipe below makes one hand-sized cake or, like I ususally do, four smaller cookies, the size of an Oreo.

- 10 grams of coconut flour
- 5 grams of tapioca flour
- 5 grams of honey
- luke warm water

Let me run through these real quick. Cocunut flour is one of the few non-grain flours that sucks up moisture and becomes a paste. It's a thickener and you need that. Tapioca flour is what makes the cake crispy on the outside but gooey on the inside. You can use 15 grams of coconut flour but it won't come out as nice, in my opinion. you can use more honey if you want but it'll mess with the consistency a bit. Also: coconut flour is very sweet already and you really don't need more than 5 grams for the taste. I'll show you what it needs to look like below, but you add water until the consistency of the dough is crumbly but sticky. Just add a liiiiitle bit at a time. Make sure the water is a little warm to help the honey dissolve later on.

Once you are done with the dough, you need to form it into the shape you want. The dough will want to fall apart just a little but you can use a knife to press it down and scrape it off of the counter to add to a baking tray. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and slide the plate into the center. Turn them after 5 to 7 minutes, when the edges start to brown. You might have to scrape them off and turn them carefully! Then bake them until the new top edges have browned again, probably another 5 to 7 minutes.Voila! Honey cakes!

Coconut flour, tapioca flour and luke warm water mixed to a crumbly consistency

With added honey--you really don't need more than this for consistency or flavour

Oreo sized cookies or one big one

Bake until the edges turn golden, then turn with a knife to bake until the edges are golden again

Done! Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside and deliciously sweet!

I woke up to another rainy day today. I say 'another' because it's been pretty much raining non-stop here for the last two weeks or so with a record 15 consecutive hours of rain yesterday. As such, I also woke up dreaming of Greece's pearly white sandy beaches and its plentyful sun. Care to take a small vacation with me, everyone? I'll be dreaming of these places today.

Daily Telegraph presented the best 17 beaches in its special ‘Travel Destinations’ section:

1. Myrtos, Kefalonia

One of Greece’s best known beaches – thanks, in part, to its starring role in the film adaptation of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (it’s where the Italian soldiers make merry and the location of the mine explosion). It’s particularly photogenic viewed from the headland to the north. Other recommendations on the island include the rust-red sands of family-friendly Xi Beach, on the south coast, which offers watersports and a couple of smart tavernas, and wild Petani Beach, on the west coast, which rivals Myrtos for its spectacular location

2. Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos
Probably the most photographed beach in Greece, Navagio Bay, as it is also known, is a picture-postcard arc of white sand and pebbles accessible only by boat, where you’ll see the hulk of a cigarette smugglers’ ship that beached there 30 years ago.

3. Váï, Crete
Also know as Finikodassos (Palm Forest), this gently curving golden sand beach is backed by Europe’s largest natural palm grove – some 500 densely clustered trees in an oasis fed by a stream – which have stood here for more than 3,000 years. It might even look familiar – this is where the “taste of paradise” Bounty bar advert was filmed in the early 1970s.

4. Halikoúnas, Corfu
Essentially a duney sandspit dividing the open sea from brackish Korissíon lagoon, Halikoúnas is one of the wildest, most unspoilt beaches on Corfu, stretching 3km southeast to the little Venetian-dredged canal joining the lagoon to the Ionian.

5. Sarakiniko, Milos
Another of the country’s most photogenic beaches, Sarakiniko is backed with volcanic rocks whipped into otherworldly shapes by the sea breeze. Milos lies in the Cyclades island group and can be reached by plane or ferry from Athens.

6. Egremni, Lefkada
The west coast of Lefkada – an Ionian island that lures thousands of sailors and watersports fans each year – is dotted with beautiful beaches. Egremni, a couple of miles south of Athani, is arguably the finest. Long, sandy, and backed by sheer white cliffs, it is never crowded, largely thanks to the 355 steps that visitors must negotiate to reach it (and the absence of a WC). The shingle beach of Porto Katsiki, a little further south, is equally dramatic but there’s just 100 steps to contend with. Pefkoulia (sandy) and Kathisma (shingle), on the northwest coast, are excellent options for families.

7. Psilí Ámmos, Patmos
Meaning “fine sand”, it is just that – some 200m of it, with a selection of tamarisks for shade. “It’s only accessible by taxi-boat from Skála or an hour’s round-trip hike on a good, signposted trail from an impromptu car/scooter park at the Diakóftis isthmus,” adds Marc Dubin. “Although the sand shelves gently, it’s a reliably windy place with gentle surf. The southern third of the cove has traditionally been naturist. At the north end is a single taverna (late May-Sept), offering goat meat from herds on the surrounding hills

8. Hovolo, Skopelos
While the beaches on Skopelos are largely shingle or pebble, they are picturesque, backed by rocky green hills, and quiet. The closest to the capital is Glysteri, on the road north out of town and reached via a scented valley dotted with olive trees, but the best are found on the west coast. Limnonari, on the coastal road north from Agnontas, hemmed in by rocky headland, is as close to a truly sandy beach as you’ll find. Kastani, a key Mamma Mia! filming location, is equally pretty – but is the only place on the entire island that gets overcrowded. For real solitude, rent a motorboat from Panormos, and head north – you’ll find beautiful spots all the way up the coast (such as Hovolo, Ftelia and Neraki) that are inaccessible to cars and subsequently occupied only by other couples who have rented motorboats, and the occasional determined German naturist.

9. St Paul’s Bay, Rhodes
Another of Greece’s best known beaches is this spot on Rhodes, in the shadow of Lindos and it acropolis. Expect it to be busy in high season.

10. Elafonísi, Crete
“You’ll have seen it on posters or brochures long before you arrive, so will have no trouble recognising it,” writes Marc Dubin, our Greece expert. “A low islet tethered to the most southwesterly point of the Cretan mainland by a slightly pink-tinted sandspit, the two cradling a shallow lagoon with tropical-turquoise water.
” Don’t expect to have it to yourself, however. “Everybody and anybody goes – it’s one of the most promoted days out in western Crete,” he adds. “Stay the night in the nearby eponymous hamlet to derive more relaxation from the place.

11. Grias to Pidima, Andros
If a trip to the beach is all about escapism, Andros might just be for you. It’s rugged, mountainous and uncrowded – but has some stunning beaches. Among the most striking is Grias to Pidima, dominated by a large sea stack.

12. Voidokilia, near Costa Navarino, Messinia
This horseshoe-shaped beach is a short drive from the brand spanking new resorts of the Costa Navarino – but steeped in history. Above it are the ruins of thirteenth-century Frankish castle, while it is believed by many to be the “sandy Pylos” referenced in Homer’s Odyssey.

13. Kamári, Santorini
If you like your beaches golden, Santorini might not be for you. Almost all feature dark-grey volcanic sand. “Kamári is the most manicured and amenitied,” says Marc Dubin. “There are other top-drawer strands at southeast-facing Perívolos, which has beach bars pitched at a younger crowd and is found immediately south of busier and narrower Períssa. “Also notable are Baxédes, the only real beach near Oía, and scenic Kókkini Ámmos cove near the ancient Minoan site at Akrotíri, with reddish-purple sand but very crowded.

14. Pori, Koufonissi
“The sandy beaches that rim Ano Koufonissi’s south coast give onto cerulean blue sea of a hue that seems confined to artists’ palettes, seemingly impossible in reality,” writes Jane Foster. “Hidden away between the larger Cycladic islands of Naxos and Amorgos, Koufonissia (plural) is made up of two tiny islets, Ano Koufonissi (Upper Koufonissi) and Kato Koufonissi (Lower Koufonissi), which are separated by a 200-metre sea channel. While Kato Koufonissi remains uninhabited, Ano Koufonissi, with its whitewashed Cycladic cottages, has a buzzing little community of 366. Locals live mainly from fishing – it is claimed that there are more boats than residents – there are no real roads and hardly any cars, so everyone either walks or cycles.” For lesser-visited Greece, Jane Foster also recommends Stoupa, on the Mani peninsular.

15. Orkos, Kea
One of the nearest islands to Athens, Kea “draws on a civilised clientele of Athenian weekenders and second home owners in retreat from the city”, according to Adam Ruck. Its beaches are all quiet. “Rather than build new roads to remote beaches, the Keans have restored ancient mule tracks and waymarked them for hikers,” explains Adam. Pictured above is one such example, Orkos, although he also suggests taking the path from Kato Meria to the site of ancient Karthea – “90 minutes down, two sweaty hours back up. Fragments of column on a promontory between two empty beaches are all that remain standing of this powerful city state, a sacred site to rival Delos and Aegina.”

16. Karavostási
North-westerly Epirus is still unknown to many tourists. It shouldn’t be – not least because Karavostasi Beach, 15 miles north west of the little town of Parga, is a slice of Hellenic heaven, its half-mile of golden powder caught between two forested headlands.

17. Lalária, Skiathos
Little Skiathos is blessed with beaches – but you need to be in an adventurous mood to lie on Lalaria. Fixed to the north coast of the island, with a rock arch, it cannot be reached by road. You need a boat, or a pair of hiking boots.

Edited: as I posted this, the sun came through....
Since the year 2000 more than 23.000 people have died trying to reach Europe’s shores. Three business partners from Germany decided to found the non-profit NGO Sea-Watch e.V. in an effort to bring down those numbers. Since November 2015 Sea-Watch is working between Lesbos and the Turkish mainland to prevent further deaths in this part of the Mediterranean Sea, recording the highest number of drowned refugees in 2015. Pandora's Kharis members and any passing kind stranger can help them achieve this goal this month, because Sea-Watch has become Pandora's Kharis' cause for Skirophoria 2016.

The ship MS Sea-Watch was bought and refitted with a crew of volunteers, working day and night to make the vessel suitable for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. Due to scarce financial resources Sea-Watch had to improvise in terms of technical solutions. The success of the project was based mostly on hard work and the collaborative effort of a highly professional and motivated team. This was and remains Sea-Watch’s biggest asset. At the end of the launch season of the project, Sea-Watch can look back on a summer where it has been able to save the lives of more than 2.000 people found in distress at sea throughout seven missions.

In the winter months Sea-Watch started its mission between Lesbos, Greece, and the Turkish mainland, again facing a situation totally thrown out of joint. They are currently analyzing the difficult operational conditions to develop standard procedures for their missions. Additionally, theyare trying to establish an efficient network consisting of the many different initiatives, volunteers and official authorities.

You can help Sea-Watch become an even more valuable asset on the Aegean sea. The deadline to donate is July 8, 2016. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the Pandora's Kharis website or by donating directly to Thank you in advance!
The Archaeological News Network reports that the new underwater investigations at what has come to be known as the 'Antikythera shipwreck' in Greece have uncovered no more pieces of the most famous item on the ship's cargo--2,000-year-old astronomical instrument called the 'Antikythera mechanism'. It did, however, uncover dozens of other artifacts of equal interest.

Greece's culture ministry said Wednesday that the May 22-June 11 survey by Greek and U.S. archaeologists off Antikythera island located about 60 metal, stone, pottery and glass objects. These included a bronze spear, which would have been part of a statue, four fragments of marble statues, and a gold ring.

The Antikythera wreck is a shipwreck from the 2nd quarter of the 1st century BC. It was discovered by sponge divers off Point Glyphadia on the Hellenic island of Antikythera in 1900. The wreck manifested numerous statues, coins and other artefacts dating back to the 4th century BC, as well as the severely corroded remnants of a device that is called the world's oldest known analog computer, the Antikythera mechanism.

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient analog computer designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses. The computer's construction has been attributed to the Hellenes and was dated to the early 1st century BC. Technological artefacts approaching its complexity and workmanship did not appear again until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks began to be built in Western Europe.

The mechanism was housed in a wooden box and is made up of bronze gears (that we know of). The mechanism's remains were found as eighty-two separate fragments of which only seven contain any gears or significant inscriptions. Today, the fragments of the Antikythera mechanism are kept at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

There is no news currently about any further dives to uncover more items, wether part of the mechanism or not.

(Sorry, Blogger decided not to post this yesterday :( )
Alan Hovhaness (March 8, 1911 – June 21, 2000) was an American composer of Armenian and Scottish descent. He was one of the most prolific 20th-century composers, with his official catalog comprising 67 numbered symphonies (surviving manuscripts indicate over 70) and 434 opus numbers. The true tally is well over 500 surviving works since many opus numbers comprise two or more distinct works. Some of his works were recommended to me by a dear friend to listen to in a Hellenic context. I haven't gotten around to listening to them all so I am posting them here as much as a reminder to myself as to give you an opportunity to judge for yourself.

One thing I found in researching Hovaness is a quote I very much relate to, perhaps not in a Hellenic context but certainly as general view on modern society--and mind you, he said this in 1971(!):

"We are in a very dangerous period. We are in danger of destroying ourselves, and I have a great fear about this ... The older generation is ruling ruthlessly. I feel that this is a terrible threat to our civilization. It's the greed of huge companies and huge organizations which control life in a kind of a brutal way ... It's gotten worse and worse, somehow, because physical science has given us more and more terrible deadly weapons, and the human spirit has been destroyed in so many cases, so what's the use of having the most powerful country in the world if we have killed the soul. It's of no use."

I find this type of clarity about the world around him stimulating as I find myself searching for that as well. Awareness of the world around you is very important to me and it gives me great motivation to listen to his work.

Hovhaness was a modern composer and he did not write about the ancient Hellenic Gods specifically. but from what I heard, I can most certainly see the connections clearly. Lady of Light refers to Hera, for example, and The Garden of Adonis speaks for itself. At any rate, judge for yourself and enjoy! Oh, and disregard the random angel thrown into the video.

Alan Hovhaness - Lady Of Light
Alan Hovhaness - The Garden of Adonis
Alan Hovhaness - Meditation on Orpheus