Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bettany Hughes and Charlotte Higgins speak at WOW

Women of the World is a festival where people of all ages and backgrounds can celebrate women’s achievements but also examine the obstacles that prevent them from achieving their full potential and contributing to the world. For the 2015 edition, historian Bettany Hughes and writer Charlotte Higgins discuss the lost heroines of the prehistoric and ancient worlds – women who were either wonderful or about whom we should wonder, from mother goddesses to Medea, Aphrodite to Cleopatra.



Charlotte Higgins is chief culture writer at The Guardian and a member of its editorial board. This New Noise, a book based on her nine-part series of essays on the BBC, is to be published by Guardian-Faber in June 2015. Higgins began her career in journalism on Vogue magazine in 1995 and moved to The Guardian in 1997, where she has worked as classical music editor and arts correspondent. A classicist by education, she is the author of three books on aspects of the ancient world. The most recent, Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain (Vintage, 2014), was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction.

Dr. Bettany Hughes is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. She was awarded this year’s Distinguished Friend of Oxford Award for outstanding services to the academic life of the university and commitment to public engagement. She lectures around the world and is a passionate believer in the value of communicating ideas about humanity’s past to a broad international audience. Her television programmes such as Divine Women and Athens: the Truth About Democracy have now been seen by over 250 million people worldwide. Bettany regularly presents on Radio 4, most prominently with her series The Ideas That Make Us Human which looks at the power of philosophy in ordinary lives. Her latest book, The Hemlock Cup is a New York Times bestseller, while Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore has now been translated into 10 languages. Bettany is currently writing and filming a new BBC series about the lives of Socrates, Buddha and Confucius, and is writing a new history of Istanbul.

WOW is bold and broad-based in its approach, both lively and serious, and feeds the demand to discuss anything and everything. It presents the very best of recognised and emerging female talent across all fields including politics, the arts, economics, fashion, science, health, sport, business and education, and is made up of keynotes, talks, debates, performances, gigs, free music, a marketplace, speed-mentoring, a crèche, exhibitions, workshops, networking opportunities and more.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Ancient coin collection resurfaces at University Buffalo after 80 years

University Buffalo faculty member Philip Kiernan heard a rumour from a UB alumnus in 2010 that the UB Libraries housed a collection of rare coins. Three years later, Kiernan, an assistant professor of classics, channelled his inner Indiana Jones and journeyed to the depths of the UB archives to find them. The collection, he was shocked to learn, was real: 40 silver Greek coins, three gold Greek coins and a dozen gold Roman coins -- one from each era of the first 12 Roman emperors, from Julius Caesar to Domitian. They range in date from the fifth century B.C. to the late first century A.D.


Keirnan must have been the first person to touch them in almost 40 years. He brought in two experts to verify the coins' authenticity last semester and is now developing a graduate course to examine the items' history. It's the first time the coins will be extensively studied, and Kiernan and his class will publish their findings.

Within the collection is a "remarkably rare" coin of Roman emperor Otho, who reigned for a mere three months. The Greek coins were struck by some of the most powerful city-states and rulers of the ancient world, such as Athens, Corinth and Alexander the Great.

The coins were donated in 1935 to the UB Libraries Special Collections by Thomas B. Lockwood as part of a larger collection of rare books. However, it wasn't until Kiernan examined them out of curiosity that the currency's rarity and value were realized.
Lockwood's collection includes more than 3,000 books, medallions and additional coins from early America and England. Other notable items include a medallion of Napoleon Bonaparte and 36 British gold coins, including one of Queen Elizabeth I.

Lockwood, an avid reader and collector of rare and special books, purchased the items to supplement his personal collection. Accruing relics and art was common practice among affluent men in the early 20th century.
Kiernan focuses much of his research on ancient currency and antiquities, and the experts he brought in to examine the coins were numismatists--people who collect or study currency. The coins are one of the many treasures stored in the UB Libraries, which also hold original works by James Joyce, Dylan Thomas and William Shakespeare.

Most of the coins are in excellent condition, despite remaining in their original 80-plus-year-old casing. A few of the silver coins require conservation treatment. The collection's casing also will be improved. The UB Libraries will open the collection of coins to members of the campus and local communities pursuing relevant research.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Question Collections post 12

"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 wont 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 ;-)


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Socrates gets another retrial--and wins

2414 years ago, one of Hellas' greatest thinkers stood trial before a jury of 500 men, chosen by lot. Socrates (Σωκράτης), a philosopher who was of the opinion that people should not be self-governing; they needed to be led, like a shepherd led a flock of sheep. He was of the opinion that the average Athenian neither had the basic virtue necessary to nurture a good society, nor the intelligence to foster such virtue within themselves. As such, he was against the democratic system that came to fruition in the city of Athens at the same time he did.

 
Two years ago, when a Chicago court held a new trial. Dan Webb and Robert A. Clifford, who represented Socrates, were unable to successfully defend their long deceased client and he was convicted again.

Top legal minds in Australia recently gave Socrates another retrial at the Hellenic Museum. Greek-Australian actors interacted with top lawyers as Socrates was allowed to appeal his case.. Justice Lex Lasry, justice Emilios Kyrou and judge Felicity Hampel presided over the case, while QC Julian Burnside, QC Nicholas Papas and QC Ronald Merkel and Elizabeth King were tasked with his defence and prosecution of Socrates, played by Greek-Australian actor Tony Nikolakopoulos.

The trial managed to revive the ancient philosopher’s story for modern audiences in Melbourne. The retrial was based on the opinions of current legal professionals in Australia with the modern law being used to evaluate the case of Socrates as well as to address moral and social philosophica questions that transcend time. This time, Socrates was found 'not guilty' by the jury, although I am not sure which points were made to secure his freedom. It seems this trial is long from over.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PAT ritual announcements for the Elapebolia and the Asklepieia

The festival season is starting up again, and Elaion is on a mission to host PAT festivals for all of them, so instead of spamming you with four posts for upcoming rituals, you are getting just one--with two of them, the Elapebolia, and the Asklepieia--today, and to--the Dionysia and the Pandia--in a few days.


The Elaphebolia
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 ritual that gave its name to the month: the Elaphebolia (Έλαφηβόλια). 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 Theia. 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.

The Elaphebolia was an important festival of Artemis. The 2015 festival day starts at dusk on the twenty-sixth of March, and will continue until dusk the day after. As Artemis Elaphêbolos is Ouranic, the sacrifice should be made during the daylight hours, so Elaion is hosting a PAT ritual for the Elapebolia on the 27th of March, at the usual 10 AM EDT. You can find the ritual here, and we really hope you will join us again.


The Asklepieia
Two days later, on the eighth day of Elaphebolion, the Asklepieia (Ἀσκληπίεια) was held in honor of Asklēpiós, who was honored monthly on the eighth. The Asklepieia is linked to the Epidausia, celebrated six months later, as both were special days where those in the medical profession--as well as those seeking medical counsel--made sacrifices to Asklēpiós.

In 242 BC, during the Mercenary War, the sanctuary at Epidaurus was granted immunity from war, and the Asklepieia Megala was established as a festival of athletic and musical competitions, held every four years, for a nine day period. Theater performances were also a huge part of the festival, and the famous theater of Epidaurus still stands today, one of the seven wonders of ancient Hellas.

The first of the festival days was spent preparing for the actual festival. The second day, religious exercises were undertaken. All temples and shrines were richly decorated and sacrifices were made to Apollon, Asklēpiós, Artemis, and Leto. Perhaps and the children of Asklēpiós--Hygieia (health, cleanliness, and sanitation), Iaso (recuperation from illness), Aceso (the healing process), Aglaea (beauty, splendor, glory, magnificence, and adornment), and Panakea (universal remedy)--also received sacrifice. Apollon received the first offering along with Asklēpiós: a cock, the fowl associated with Asklēpiós. They also received barley meal, wheat, and wine. Asklēpiós was then gifted a bull, a second bull was sacrificed to His male associates, and a cow to His female associates.

On the eve of the third day, a statue of Asklēpiós was driven through the precinct, and followed by torch-bearers and priests, who sung hymns to Him. The priests sang and spoke the praise of the Theos. There were vigils throughout the night, and during the daylight hours of the third day, there were feasts. The succeeding days were given up to athletic contests in the stadium, races, wrestling contests, singing contests and theater performances.

The Asklepieia Megala was only held at Epidaurus; all other asklepieia--as well as at Epidausus the other three years--held only a small ceremony for the Theos. The festival did not include athletic games outside of the Asklepieia Megala, but there might have been a focus on singing, and there might have been large banquets, held after sacrifices were made to the Theos.
 
On the twenty-ninth of March, Elaion is hosting a PAT ritual for the Asklepieia, at the usual 10 AM EDT. You can find the ritual here, and we really hope you will join us for this one, too!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Pandora's Kharis raised $65,- for the Wounded Warrior Project

Elaion is proud to announce that Pandora's Kharis members have raised $65,- for our democratically decided upon cause the Wounded Warriors project. As always, you have all given generously, and in the spirit of the Gods!


Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001 and their families.

From this moment on, the Pandora's Kharis Facebook page is open to pitches. If you do not have Facebook, feel free to pitch your cause in the comments. We will relay the message to the community.

On to another month of pitching, voting, and giving. Thank you for your generosity!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Juliette Binoche As Modern ‘Antigone’ On BBC

Later this spring, BBC Four British television channel plans to broadcast the magnificent Greek masterpiece of  Sophocles’ 'Antigone', opened at London’s Barbican Theatre on March 5. This reports the Greek Reporter. The play, which is already sold out, features the BAFTA and Academy Award-winning actress Juliette Binoche taking the lead role of the tragic figure of Antigone, who chose to collide with her own uncle’s political power to pay proper respects to her dead brother Polynices.


In the delicate new translation of  'Antigone' by the 'TS Eliot Prize'-winning poet Anne Carson, the audience will have the opportunity to travel in an odd world of gloomy aesthetics while being challenged to face classic yet timely philosophical questions about love, family and political arrogance. The Head of the Barbican Theatre, Toni Racklin, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the BBC to bring a televised version of our production of Antigone to BBC Four audiences this spring. This has been a unique collaboration, with both organizations working closely together to realize two visions of the production – on stage and on screen. This ground-breaking collaboration means that the production will reach an even wider audience, supporting our mission to inspire more people to discover and love the arts,”

Worldwide fans of Juliette Binoche, the French actress known for her great artistic success in films, such as 'The English Patient' and 'Chocolat', are already excited to watch her in this unusual production as 'Antigone' under the directions of Ivo Van Hove on BBC Arts, as part of its 'The Age Of Heroes: Ancient Greece Uncovered'-season.