Porphyry of Tyre (Πορφύριος, Porphyrios) lived from 234 to 305 AD. He was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre, in the Roman Empire. He wrote many works on a wide variety of topics but one was on his dislike of idolatery--the worship of an idol or a physical object as a representation of Deity. It is only the uneducated, Porphyry says, who identify the gods with the images. The images are to be taken purely as symbols, both as regards regards their material, their colour, and their form. White marble typifies the quality of light in the Gods, gold Their stainlessness, and so on. He then goes into detail about Zeus to make the point that any representation of the God is chosen by men to portray His charcteristics and attributes. His image, however, does not define Him.

Fragment 3
Now look at the wisdom of the Greeks, and examine it as follows. The authors of the Orphic hymns supposed Zeus to be the mind of the world, and that he created all things therein,containing the world in himself. Therefore in their theological systems they have handed down their opinions concerning him thus:

Zeus was the first, Zeus last, the lightning's lord,
Zeus head, Zeus centre, all things are from Zeus.
Zeus born a male, Zeus virgin undefiled;
Zeus the firm base of earth and starry heaven;
Zeus sovereign, Zeus alone first cause of all:
One power divine, great ruler of the world,
One kingly form, encircling all things here,
Fire, water, earth, and ether, night and day;
Wisdom, first parent, and delightful Love:
For in Zeus' mighty body these all lie.
His head and beauteous face the radiant heaven
Reveals and round him float in shining waves
The golden tresses of the twinkling stars.
On either side bulls' horns of gold are seen,
Sunrise and sunset, footpaths of the gods.
His eyes the Sun, the Moon's responsive light;
His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth,
Hears and considers all; nor any speech,
Nor cry, nor noise, nor ominous voice escapes
The ear of Zeus, great Kronos' mightier son:
Such his immortal head, and such his thought.
His radiant body, boundless, undisturbed
In strength of mighty limbs was formed thus:
The god's broad-spreading shoulders, breast and back
Air's wide expanse displays; on either side
Grow wings, wherewith throughout all space he flies.
Earth the all-mother, with her lofty hills,
His sacred belly forms; the swelling flood
Of hoarse resounding Ocean girds his waist.
His feet the deeply rooted ground upholds,
And dismal Tartarus, and earth's utmost bounds.
All things he hides, then from his heart again
In godlike action brings to gladsome light.

Zeus, therefore, is the whole world, animal of animals, and god of gods; but Zeus, that is, inasmuch as he is the mind from which he brings forth all things, and by his thoughts creates them. When the theologians had explained the nature of god in this manner, to make an image such as their description indicated was neither possible, nor, if any one thought of it, could he show the look of life, and intelligence, and forethought by the figure of a sphere.

But they have made the representation of Zeus in human form, because mind was that according to which he wrought, and by generative laws brought all things to completion; and he is seated, as indicating the steadfastness of his power: and his upper parts are bare, because he is manifested in the intellectual and the heavenly parts of the world; but his feet are clothed, because he is invisible in the things that lie hidden below. And he holds his sceptre in his left hand, because most close to that side of the body dwells the heart, the most commanding and intelligent organ: for the creative mind is the sovereign of the world. And in his right hand he holds forth either an eagle, because he is master of the gods who traverse the air, as the eagle is master of the birds that fly aloft - or a victory, because he is himself victorious over all things. 
Remember when I said yesterday that you were going to get something I wrote soley by myself? Ha! Yeah, I'm sorry but life has exploded. I hope to get a few more moments tomorrow to get you something all me! Excusez moi!

The Cantor Arts Center's Art + Science Learning Lab, art and science faculty, and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have teamed up to do something extraordinary: x-ray ancient Hellenic art to expose the elements within--iron potassium, calcium and zinc. Together they're rewriting art history.


A chemical map of Greek art revealed that a calcium-based color additive was used for white, which would have added an additional step. It also raised questions about the firing process due to the absence of zinc in the black regions. It had been assumed that a zinc additive was key to achieving the black figures in the heating process.

Having a facility like SSRL just up the hill from the Cantor's conservation lab lends a unique opportunity for students to probe cultural mysteries with advanced scientific tools, says Susan Roberts-Manganelli, director of the Learning Lab. About two years ago, she started a fellowship for science students interested in studying art conservation. She works closely with SSRL scientific staff to mentor students bringing delicate, valuable art objects to SLAC in search of discoveries that benefit art and science.

"We can do a lot of testing here at the Cantor. But some studies need more robust collaboration and more powerful X-rays to actually get answers to our questions."

One such study, done by Kevin Chow, BS '13, when he was a senior in collaboration with Stanford, SLAC and the Getty Conservation Institute, took a deeper look at the techniques of the ancient Greek potters, which are difficult to reproduce and not entirely understood. Using a technique called synchrotron X-ray fluorescence, the team was able to uncover surprising steps in the production process that challenge the conventional understanding. Chow's advisor Jody Maxmin, associate professor of art and art history and of classics, stated:

"Under what they thought was a single coat, they found other instances of painting that the naked eye could not see. It was thrilling to learn that a very humble vase -- hundreds of these were produced for the Festival of Athena every four years -- shows certain standards of aesthetic excellence. The artist invested more in his work than we had given him credit for."

Such collaborations spark scientific innovation as well. Well-conserved art objects allow researchers to look at uniquely complex materials of a certain age that generate intriguing chemistry questions and require new techniques, says SLAC staff scientist Apurva Mehta, who is also an affiliated faculty member at the Stanford Archaeology Center.

"We had to find a way to see all layers of the Greek pot in detail, which is something we want to do for other materials that might be used in batteries or electronics."

For Maxmin, seeing science students step boldly into art history is inspiring. So is watching her colleagues learn things in fields not their own.

"We are complicating the issues, and that's good. By looking across disciplines we are enabling unconventional friendships and discoveries."

Roberts-Manganelli concurs:

"You can't do science, art history or conservation in isolation. We all thought we could at one time, but now we realize we are stronger and better as a group."
I am completely swamped at the moment, so I am going to leave you with a news round-up today. I'll have something different for you tomorrow, I promise!

Aphrodite statue of dubious provenance spotted at Christies Auction House
One more ancient statue that has passed through the warehouses of Robin Symes, convicted for dealing in illicit antiquities, has been spotted by archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis in the Christie's auction house catalogue: the torso of a draped goddess, believed to be a Roman copy of a Hellenistic work that may represent Aphrodite (Venus).

Dr. Tsirogiannis, who works as a researcher at the University of Oxford, has sent a written report to Interpol and New York Police Department. According to the report, the ancient sculpture, listed in the Christie's catalogue as lot number 92, appears to be identical to that found in the confiscated archives of Robin Symes. The auction house has failed to list the 'Symes collection' in the history of the statue's provenance.

 "As over 93% of the antiquities sold by Symes were illegal, it would be useful to investigate the full collection history and true source of the sculpture, especially before 1991."

Christie's auction house has yet to respond to these allegations. Read more at the Archaeological News Network.

Ancient Hellenic sculpture perhaps inspiration for China's Terracotta Warriors
Archaeologists studying the Terracotta Warriors say that inspiration for the famed army built to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor near today’s Xian may have come from Ancient Hellas. Experts believe that the 8,000 statues may have been crafted under the guidance of ancient Hellenic sculptors in 3rd Century BC. Their findings suggest that western contact with China began long before European explorer Marco Polo arrived in China. Senior archaeologist Li Xiuzhen, from the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Museum was quoted as saying:

"We now have evidence that close contact existed between the First Emperor's China and the West before the formal opening of the Silk Road. This is far earlier than we formerly thought."

Meanwhile, a separate study cited by the BBC shows that European-specific mitochondrial DNA was found in China's westernmost Xinjiang Province, indicating that Westerners traveled, settled and died in the area before and during the time of the First Emperor. That would be 1,500 years earlier than commonly held. Read more ar the Archaeological News Network.
I've talked about 3-D printing projects before, especially in relation to ancient Hellenic art. I truly think 3-D printing is a wonderful tool in the preservation, reconstruction and popularization of ancient Hellenic art, ancient Hellenic culture and the ancient Hellenic Gods as a consequence. It is also a wonderful study and teaching tool, as this article posted by Phys.org proves.

Greg Lewis, at the time a fourth-year student double-majoring in mechanical engineering and classics, enjoyed associate professor Tyler Jo Smith's 2014 art history class so much that he decided to make Smith a thank-you gift. Combining his interests in art and engineering, he used UVA's Rapid Prototyping Lab to create a miniature, 3-D-printed vase mimicking the ancient Hellenic vases he studied in class. Smith loved the gift – and it gave her an idea. What if she and Lewis teamed up to create exact replicas of ancient Greek vases and teach students about 3-D printing in the process?

Over the past year, Smith and Lewis, now a graduate student in the mechanical engineering program, have used a Dream Idea grant from UVA's Mead Endowment to realize Smith's goal, working with digital resources coordinator Leah Stearns and collections manager Jean Lancaster at The Fralin Museum of Art at UVA, as well as UVA Library information visualization specialist Will Rourk. Six students – two graduate students and four undergraduate students studying art, archaeology and art history – also joined in on the fun.

Lewis used a specialized scanner with two cameras and a laser to capture even the tiniest contours of the vases, accurate down to about 0.3 millimeters. The vase Lewis is scanning above was made in southern Italy and dates back to the fourth century. The design on the vase references Dionysos. It was likely used as a wine cup and then stored in the tomb of its owner, where it remained intact until it was unearthed centuries later.

Rourk helps students scan the vases and explained the inner workings of the software programs that use scans to build virtual 3-D models of objects. Data from the scanner is transferred to a software program that builds an intricate virtual model of the object. That file gives the 3-D printer the information needed to create a replica.

Many of the objects that the group scanned are on display in The Fralin Museum of Art's Joanne B. Robinson Object Study Gallery. The gallery has approximately 140 objects on view, ranging from Chinese ceramics and sculptures to ancient Mediterranean coins, African masks and figures and beadwork, ceramics and silver from the Museum's American Indian collection. Once scanned, Lewis printed 3-D replicas of the vases using 3-D printers in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The school's Rapid Prototyping Lab is home to several different types of 3-D printers available to students, faculty, staff and external clients.

The printers can create extraordinarily intricate objects with many moving parts or oddly shaped components. Objects are printed using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, the same plastic used to create LEGO toys. Creating one vase takes about nine hours, as the machines print hundreds of extremely thin layers on top of each other, eventually building the whole object.

The finished product is a colorful replica that exactly reflects the contours and thickness of the original vase created so many centuries ago. Unlike the original, students pick up, handle and measure the replicas as often as they wish, creating a tactile learning experience not often found in the study of ancient art.
We are very happy to announce that the American Friends of the Blind in Greece has become Pandora's Kharis' Pyanepsia 2016 cause!

[A blind woman visiting the Tactile Museum,
supported by American Friends of the Blind in Greece]
The American Friends of the Blind in Greece identifies, acquires, and delivers the best possible resources and opportunities available to organizations in Greece, dedicated to improving the lives of Greece’s blind and severely sight- impaired people.

Starting small, The American Friends of the Blind in Greece first brought visually impaired children to the United States to study agricultural methods so they would have essential, in-demand skills upon their return to Greece to facilitate the ability to earn a living on their own. Eventually the organization established a small school for the blind outside of Athens. Over the years, our contributions in conjunction with other charitable donations led to the creation of The Lighthouse for the Blind In Greece. For almost 70 years, the American Friends of the Blind in Greece has contributed to the blind in Greece to improve their quality of life.

Recently, the situation for the blind in Greece has become increasingly dire. Government funding has been cut dramatically; grants have decreased by 90 percent and the Lighthouse for the Blind in Greece is continually presented with adults who need our assistance with education, training, life skills and the ability to support themselves.
We urge you to help those who need help the most, and join theAmerican Friends of the Blind in Greece in their efforts to provide support for the blind in Greece.

The deadline to donate is Oktober 31th, 2016. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the Pandora's Kharis homepage or by donating directly to baring.the.aegis@gmail.com. Thank you in advance!
The Apatouria was a paternity festival. The first day was celebrated with a communal feast within the brotherhood, the second day sacrifice were made to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria, and the third day young boys admitted to their father's brotherhood. We don't have these kinships anymore and we won't be celebrating all days of the festival because of it. What we do want to do is sacrifice to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria in gratitude of the kinship we have found in Hellenismos and Elaion. Will you join us on Monday 17 October at the usual 10 AM EDT?

Apaturia (Ἀπατούρια) were ancient Hellenic festivals held annually by all the Ionian towns, except Ephesus and Colophon. In Athens, the Apatouria was the central element in the ritual calendar of the phratries, the kinship organizations crucial for determining Athenian citizenship. The three-day festival occurred in the autumn in the month Pyanepsion and was celebrated at the separate phratry shrines throughout Attica.

On the first day of the festival, called Dorpia or Dorpeia (Δορπεία), banquets were held towards evening at the meeting-place of the phratries or in the private houses of members.

On the second, Anarrhysis (from ἀναρρύειν, 'to draw back the victim's head'), a sacrifice of oxen was offered at the public cost to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria.

On the third day, Kureōtis (κουρεῶτις), children born since the last festival were presented by their fathers or guardians to the assembled phratores, and, after an oath had been taken as to their legitimacy and the sacrifice of a goat or a sheep, their names were inscribed in the register. The name κουρεῶτις is derived either from κοῦρος, 'young man', i.e., the day of the young, or less probably from κείρω, 'to shear', because on this occasion young people cut their hair and offered it to the gods. The children who entered puberty also made offerings of wine to Herakles. On this day also it was the custom for boys still at school to declaim pieces of poetry, and to receive prizes.

Ancient scholarship links the Apatouria to the myth of the ritual combat between the Athenian Melanthos (the 'dark one') and the Boiotian Xanthos (the 'fair one') for the kingship of Attica, which Melanthos won through a trick (apate). Although some modern scholars have therefore seen a connection to the ephebes and to rites of passage involving social inversion, the rituals of the festival have no apparent connection to the narrative of the myth, and most modern scholars now link the Apatouria to the control, maintenance, and affirmation of kinship and of membership in society at every level.

Will you join us for this event? The ritual can be found here, the community page here.
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: Diotima of Mantinea.

Diotima of Mantinea (Διοτίμα) is a female philosopher and priestess known solely through the works of Plato. She is best portrayed in his Symposium. It is uncertain whether she truly existed or is merely a fictional creation, but nearly all of the characters named in Plato's dialogues have been found to correspond to real people living in ancient Athens. aS such, I feel free to assume she, indeed, existed.
As a philosopher, the ancient Hellenic writers focussed on her ideas, not her life so we don't know much about her as a person. The name Diotima means 'honoured by Zeus'. She came from Mantinea, and ancient Hellenic city on the Peloponnese which was the site of the largest battle of the Peloponnesian War.

All we have to base our knowledge of Diotima on are Plato's words--and those words have been 'filtered' through the character of Socrates, too! Based on the writing, however, she seems to have possessed a very strong personality and she was very sure of herself. She could see things that were beyond the scientists’ universe and that puzzled Socrates--who was at the time of meeting her very much a scientist. Socrates sees in her a natural philosopher to whome understanding of the world came easy. He admired (and desired) that in her. She is described as incredibly beautiful but in describing her as such, Socrates hints that she was also witty and very intelligent--qualities he admired greatly. Meeting Diotima changed how Socrates percieved the world and--perhaps more importantly--how he wanted to percieve it. She put him onto the path of philosophy, which is quite a legacy to leave behind!

Diotima's ideas are the origin of the concept of Platonic love. In Plato's Symposium the members of a party discuss the meaning of love. Socrates says that in his youth he was taught 'the philosophy of love' by Diotima. In her view, love is a means of ascent to contemplation of the Divine. For Diotima, the most truthful way to love others is to embrace a love that transcends the earthly plane, to touch divinity. A genuine Platonic love recognizes the beauty and loveliness in another person in a way that inspires the mind and soul to the spiritual, rather than the physical.