A few days ago, I announced that the British Museum in London would organize a live-streaming presentation of its hit exhibition 'Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art'. It aired on Thursday, May 28, at 6:30 pm (local time). British TV historian Dan Snow provided a guided tour of the exhibition through a Periscope broadcast. After the museum’s closing hours, Snow was able to freely roam through the exhibits and provide a close up tour of the ancient Greek white marble, bronze and terracotta statues. Furthermore, viewers were be able to submit their questions regarding the exhibition via Twitter and the Periscope app. Today I would like to share this broadcast for those interested, as it's quite a beautiful look at the museum's exhibition.


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, even when the answers weren't short. Because they could sort of be grouped together as 'Hellenic Gods 101'.

"Can you tell me where can I find a list of old Greek Gods and/or a brief detail regarding them. Kind of a family tree. I found a number of them of internet but not sure which one is correct."

The funny part about genealogies of the Gods is that they are all equally 'correct', as long as they stem from ancient sources. Genealogies of the Gods were all written down by humans about the Gods, and there are a variety of them. Which one is entirely true is unknown, and perhaps none of them are--or all of them. The most famous account of how the Gods came to be comes from Hesiod. His 'Theogogy' is a complete recounting of the story, starting with Khaos:

"Verily at the first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundations of all  the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros, fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them. From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night; but of Night were born Aether and Day, whom she conceived and bare from union in love with Erebus. And Earth first bare starry Heaven, equal to herself, to cover her on every side, and to be an ever-sure abiding-place for the blessed gods. And she brought forth long Hills, graceful haunts of the goddess-Nymphs who dwell amongst the glens of the hills. She bare also the fruitless deep with his raging swell, Pontus, without sweet union of love. But afterwards she lay with Heaven and bare deep-swirling Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire." [ll. 116-138]

He goes on to list a great many deities, cutting out a rough shape of the cosmos while doing so. There are many variations of this family tree, and in the ancient writings, there are also creation stories that range beyond this basic framework. In the Orphic Theogonies, for example, the universe does not start with Khaos, but with Thesis and Hydros, reaching back to Hómēros:

"Originally there was Hydros (Water), he [Orpheus] says, and Mud, from which Ge (the Earth) solidified: he posits these two as first principles, water and earth . . . The one before the two [Thesis], however, he leaves unexpressed, his very silence being an intimation of its ineffable nature. The third principle after the two was engendered by these--Ge (Earth) and Hydros (Water), that is--and was a Serpent (Drakon) with extra heads growing upon it of a bull and a lion, and a god’s countenance in the middle; it had wings upon its shoulders, and its name was Khronos (Unaging Time) and also Herakles. United with it was Ananke (Inevitability, Compulsion) , being of the same nature, or Adrastea, incorporeal, her arms extended throughout the universe and touching its extremities. I think this stands for the third principle, occuping the place of essence, only he [Orpheus] made it bisexual [as Phanes] to symbolize the universal generative cause." [Theogonies Fragment 54] 
 
So I can't point you to one account. At best, I can tell you that many of the ancient writers had their own thoughts on the subject, undoubtedly inspired by the community they lived in, the region they lived in, and the circles they moved in.
 
 
"Is it true that Greek and Roman gods are/were the same, and that only their names are different?"
 
I am distinctly not of this opinion, no. Personally, I think that the Hellenic and Roman deities share the same (Hellenic) base, but that the Roman deities differ from the Hellenic ones. Some not so much, other a great deal. In general, I regard the Roman Gods as epithets of the Hellenic ones, with a few notable exceptions--especially where there is no viable counterpart in Hellenic mythology. Why? Well, for one  the Theoi came first. The Roman empire came up about a thousand years after the rise of the Theoi.  Hellenic mythology featured the Hellenes, their stories and their cities, while Roman mythology focussed on the Roman people, their stories and their cities. The Hellenes had the Iliad as a major introductory and poetic text to introduce the Theoi, and the Romans had their own text: the Aeneid, a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans.

Differences in the two societies also reflected on the Gods and Their importance. For one, the Hellenes valued  physical prowess, but it were poets and scholars who were held in the highest regards. For Rome, it were the warriors who received the most attention. This reflected in the Gods of both people as well: the Roman Gods resemble the Hellenic Gods, but they are stricter, harder and possess more bloodlust. At the same time, they were also pruder when it came to excesses of any kind. Ares, temperamental God of War, has his Roman counterpart in Mars, yet, Mars is a much stabler God, who is also in charge of agriculture and fertility. Bacchus, the Roman equivalent of Dionysos, lost all ecstatic rites that made the worship of Dionysos so famous.

Another major example of the differences between the two religions was that the Romans had no set shape for their Gods: they looked different to every individual. They were not revered for Their beauty, like their Hellenic counterparts. The Hellenes knew exactly how their Gods looked. They were often described as having muscular bodies (for the men), beautiful eyes and hair (both men and women), and delicate ankles (women). They were role-models to strive towards. Not so for the Romans.

The Roman culture also had a thing for the afterlife. Where the Hellenes focussed on this life and saw death as an inevitable conclusion of it, the Romans struggled to do good deeds and live good lives to be rewarded in the afterlife. They felt that, if they had been good enough, brave enough, warrior-like enough, they would take their place with the Gods after death. The Hellenes worried more about the judgement of the Theoi while they were still alive and knew they would go to the Underworld afterwards. Of course, things changed in that regard already: the mysteries brought the idea of awareness after reincarnation, and parts of the Underworld fell into disuse.

It seems to me, that the Romans tried becoming Gods their whole lives, while the Hellenes accepted their lot as mortals, and respected the Theoi as all-powerful and all-ruling. A frame of mind like that shows in Gods that get neatly packaged, made non-threatening and can be rivalled by mortals. Yet, because of the warrior mentality of the Romans, the Gods that became more predictable and less formed, also became harder. They still punished socially unacceptable behaviour, however, and myths from the Hellenic period got retold from the viewpoint of a warrior's society.
There are only three more constellations in the constellation series, and we will be talking about two of them today. But don't worry, I have a few bonus posts lined up around the theme. Today, we'll be talking about Ursa Major and Ursa Minor: the big and little bear.


Ursa Major (from the Latin: 'Larger She-Bear') is also known as the Great Bear and Charles' Wain. It is visible throughout the year in most of the northern hemisphere. Ursa Minor (from the Latin 'Smaller She-Bear') is also known as the Little Bear. Like Ursa Major, the tail of the Little Bear may also be seen as the handle of a ladle, hence the name Little Dipper. Both are amongst the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and remain two of the 88 modern constellations. Ursa Minor is notable as the location of the north celestial pole, although this will change after some centuries due to the precession of the equinoxes.

The first mention of Ursa Minor in ancient Hellenic texts was by 6th century BC philosopher Thales of Miletus, who pointed out that it was a more accurate guide to finding true north than Ursa Major. This knowledge had reportedly come from the Phoenicians in the eastern Mediterranean, and the constellation bore the term Phoenikē. Homer had previously only referred to one 'bear', leading to speculation over what he saw the stars of Ursa Minor as, or whether they were recognised at all. From Hyginus' 'Astronomica':

"There is a great diversity of opinion, too, as to why the Lesser Bear is called Phoenice, and why those who observe her are said to navigate more exactly and carefully; why, also, if she is more reliable than the Great Bear, al do not watch her. These people do not seem to realize the reason for her being called Phoenice. Thales of Miletus, who searched into these matters carefully, and first called her Bear, was by birth a Phoenician, as Herodotus says. Therefore all those in the Peloponnesus use the first Arctos; the Phoenicians, however, observe the one they received from her discoverer, and by watching her carefully, are thought to navigate more exactly, and suitably call her Phoenice from the race of her discoverer." (II.2)

The ancient Hellenes linked Ursa Minor and Ursa Major to the myth of Kallistô and her son Arcas, both placed in the sky by Zeus. In this myth, Zeus and Kallistô had a son together: Arcas. After Arcas was born, Hera caught wind of the affair and turned Kallistô into a bear. Alternatively, Kallistô was a priestess of Artemis, and Artemis punished her for losing her virginity by turning her into a bear. Because of the metamorphosis, the boy was raised by his maternal grandfather Lycaon. When Arcas grew up, he went out to hunt and found a beautiful bear. He chased her through the woods. The bear--his transformed mother Kallistô--ran towards him as soon as she recognized her son. Arcas was terrified and raised his bow to shoot her. Zeus intervened swiftly and placed Kallistô and her son in the sky. In this interpretation, Kallistô became Ursa Major and Arcas either Ursa Minor or Boötes. A furious Hera asked Tethys to chain the two to the night's sky, so that the constellations would never sink below the horizon and receive water. An alternate myth tells of two bears that saved Zeus from his murderous father Kronus by hiding him on Mount Ida. Later Zeus set them in the sky, but their tails grew long from being swung by the God. Hyginus describes all of this in the following way:

"We begin, then as we said above, with the Great Bear. Hesiod says she is named Callisto [Kallistô], daughter of Lycaon, who ruled in Arcadia. Out of her zeal for hunting she joined Diana [Artemis], and was greatly loved by the goddess because of their similar temperaments. Later, when made pregnant by Jove [Zeus], she feared to tell the truth to Diana. But she couldn’t conceal it long, for as her womb grew heavier near the time of her delivery, when she was refreshing her tired body in a stream, Diana realized she had not preserved her virginity. In keeping with her deep distrust, the goddess inflicted no light punishment. Taking away her maiden features, she changed her into the form of a bear, called arktos in Greek . In this form she bore Arcas.
 
But as Amphis, writer of comedies, says, Jupiter, assuming the form of Diana, followed the girl as if to aid her in hunting, and embraced her when out of sight of the rest. Questioned by Diana as to the reason for her swollen form, she replied that it was the goddess’ fault, and because of this reply, Diana changed her into the shape we mentioned above. When wandering like a wild beast in the forest, she was caught by certain Aetolians and brought into Arcadia to King Lycaon along with her son as a gift, and there, in ignorance of the law, she is said to have rushed into the temple of Jove Lycaeus. Her son at once followed her, and the Arcadians in pursuit were trying to kill them, when Jupiter, mindful of his indiscretion, rescued her and placed her and her son among the constellations. He named her Arctos, and her son Arctophylax. About him we shall speak later.
 
Some, too, have said that when Callisto was embraced by Jove, Juno in anger turned her into a bear; then, when she met Diana hunting, she was killed by her, and later, on being recognized, was placed among the stars.
 
But others say that when Jupiter was pursuing Callisto in the woods, Juno, suspecting what had happened, hurried there so that she could say she had caught him openly. But Jove, the more easily to conceal his fault, left her changed to bear form. Juno, then, finding a bear instead of a girl in that place, pointed her out for Diana, who was hunting, to kill. Jove was distressed to see this, and put in the sky the likeness of a bear represented with stars.
 
This constellation, as many have stated, does not set, and those who desire some reason for this fact say that Tethys, wife of Ocean, refuses to receive her when the other stars come there to their setting, because Tethys was the nurse of Juno, in whose bed Callisto was a concubine.

 Araethus of Tegea, however, writer of histories, says that she wasn’t Callisto, but Megisto, and wasn’t the daughter of Lycaon, but of Ceteus, and so granddaughter of Lycaon. He says, too, that Ceteus himself was called the Kneeler. The other details agree with what has been said above. All this is shown to have taken place on the Arcadian mountain Nonacris.
 
Aglaosthenes, who wrote the Naxica, says that she is Cynosura, one of the nurses of Jove from the number of the Idaean nymphs. He says, too, that in the city called Histoe, founded by Nicostratus and his friends, both the harbour and the greater part of the land are called Cynosura from her name. She, too, was among the Curetes who were attendants of Jove. Some say that the nymphs Helice and Cynosura were nurses of Jove, and so for gratitude were placed in the sky, both being called Bears. We call them Septentriones." (II.1, II.2)

Because Ursa Minor consists of seven stars, the Latin word for "North" (i.e. where Polaris points) is septentrio, from septem (seven) and triones (oxen), from seven oxen driving a plow, which the seven stars also resemble. This name has also been attached to the main stars of Ursa Major. About this, Hyginus also has something to say:

"But many have said that the Great Bear is like a wagon, and the Greeks do call it amaza. This reason has been handed down: Those who, at the beginning, observed the stars and supposed the number of stars into the several constellations, called this group no “Bear” but “Wain,” because two of the seven stars which seemed of equal size and closest together were considered oxen, and the other five were like the figure of a wagon. And so the sign which is nearest to this they wished to be called Boötes. We shall speak of him later on. Aratus, indeed, says that neither Boötes nor the Wain has these names for the reason above, but because the Bear seems, wagon-like, to wheel around the pole which is called North, and Boötes, is said to drive her. In this he seems to be considerably in error, for later, in connection with the seven stars, as Parmeniscus says, twenty-five were grouped by certain astronomers to complete the form of the Bear, not seven. And so the one that followed the wagon and was formerly called Boötes, was now called Arctophylax [Bear Watchter], and she, at the same time that Homer lived, was called Bear. About the Septentriones Homer says that she was called both Bear and Wain; nowhere does he mention that Boötes was called Arctophylax." (II.2)
 
In a variant of the story, in which it is Boötes that represents Arcas, Ursa Minor represents a dog. This is the older tradition, which explains both the length of the tail and the obsolete alternate name of Cynosura (the dog's tail) for Polaris, the North Star. Cynosura is also described as a nurse of Zeus, honoured by the God with a place in the sky.
 
Ursa Major is visible at latitudes between +90° and −30°, and best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of April. Ursa Minor is visible at latitudes between +90° and −10°, and best visible at 21:00 (9 p.m.) during the month of June.
A bit of museum news today, in the hope I can find time to write an actual post tomorrow. Sorry for having to put you all on the backburner a little bit, wonderful readers. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines.


Ancient amphora broken to pieces by tourist
An ancient amphora on display at the Archeological Museum of Heraklion managed to survive through the centuries until a tourist shattered it to pieces.

The tourist, aged 60, stood beside the ill-fated amphora when she began to feel dizzy. She fainted, falling on the ancient treasure of Crete that smashed to pieces. The guards did not know who to attend to first – the priceless treasure of Minoan Civilization or the tourist who was rushed to hospital. The tourist did not suffer from serious injuries.

A ministry statement says the prehistoric, Minoan-era vase, which had been broken in antiquity and restored after excavation, is being repaired and should be back on display on Friday.


British Museum to Air 30-Minute Greek Art Presentation
The British Museum in London has organized a live-streaming presentation of its hit exhibition 'Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art', set to air on Thursday, May 28, at 6:30 pm (local time). The 30-minute live broadcast, sponsored by Julius Baer, will be live-streamed through the Periscope mobile app, revealing to the world the secrets behind the remarkable works of Greek art.

British TV historian Dan Snow will provide a guided tour of the exhibition through the Periscope broadcast to be titled 'Discover the naked truth behind Greek art with Dan Snow in this exclusive live tour'. After the museum’s closing hours, Snow will be able to freely roam through the exhibits and provide a close up tour of the ancient Greek white marble, bronze and terracotta statues. Furthermore, viewers will be able to submit their questions regarding the exhibition via Twitter and the Periscope app. The questions will be answered by museum curator Ian Jenkins in an interactive Q&A hosted by Snow.

The link for the live broadcast will be shared by the museum’s Twitter account, using #DefiningBeauty. A recording of the guided tour will be available on the British Museum’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and official webpage.
On 25 April, and earthquake with a moment magnitude of 7.8 or 8.1Ms. Its epicenter was approximately 34 km (21 mi) east-southeast of Lamjung, Nepal. As of 30 April, it's taken the lives of over 6000 people. It was the most powerful disaster to strike Nepal since the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake. Little more than two weeks after Nepal’s worst earthquake in more than 80 years, the country was traumatized by a second deadly earthquake on May 12. In order to help the survivors of this horrible tragedy, the members of Pandora's Kharis selected CARE as Mounukhion 2015 cause, and you have stepped up en mass. You have collected $1300,- to donate, and it fills us with pride to make that announcement.


According to the Government of Nepal, over 130,000 homes were destroyed and more than 85,000 partially damaged. In some villages in remote areas, over 90 percent of the houses have been destroyed or damaged. With monsoon season less than month away, it’s a race against time to get emergency shelter to people.

Over the next month, CARE plans to reach 30,000 people with emergency shelter kits that include weather-resistant tarps, rope and a toolkit that will help protect them from the rains as they begin to rebuild their homes. As people more towards recovery, CARE will provide the support to help people make changes to the way they build, so their homes are safer and more resilient when the next earthquake strikes. In some cases, CARE will provide livelihood support or cash vouchers to help accelerate their own rebuilding process. Your donation will help them reach these goals.

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, especially with this cause where lives are at stake.
We have all heard of Sappho, but did you know there were many other female poets whose work survives to this day? I'd like to share some of them with you today--and about the women who wrote them.


Anyte of Tegea
Anyte of Tegea (Ἀνύτη Τεγεᾶτις) was an early 3rd century BC Arcadian poet, was the leader of a school of poetry and literature on Peloponnesus, which also included the poet Leonidas of Tarentum. Antipater of Thessalonica listed her as one of the nine earthly muses. At least 18 of her epigrams, written in the Doric dialect, survive in the Greek Anthology; an additional six are doubtfully attributed to her.

"To Pan the bristly-haired, and the Nymphs of the farm-yard, Theodotus
the shepherd laid this gift under the crag, because they stayed him
when very weary under the parching summer, stretching out to him
honey-sweet water in their hands." -- Anyte, to Pan and the Nymphs

Errina
Erinna (Ἤριννα) was a Hellenic poet, a contemporary and friend of Sappho, a native of Rhodes or the adjacent island of Telos or even possibly Tenos, who flourished about 600 BC. She wrote in a mixture of Aeolic and Doric Greek. Three epigrams ascribed to her in the Palatine anthology probably belong to a later date, though some debate on the first epigram exists.

"I am of Baucis the bride; and passing by my oft-wept pillar thou
mayest say this to Death that dwells under ground, "Thou art envious,
O Death"; and the coloured monument tells to him who sees it the most
bitter fortune of Bauco, how her father-in-law burned the girl on the
funeral pyre with those torches by whose light the marriage train was
to be led home; and thou, O Hymenaeus, didst change the tuneable
bridal song into a voice of wailing dirges." -- Errina, On a Betrothed Girl

Moero
Moero (Μοιρώ) or Myro (Μυρώ) was a 3rd century BCE from the city of Byzantium. She was the wife of Andromachus Philologus and the mother (according to other sources, a daughter) of Homerus of Byzantium, the tragedian. Antipater of Thessalonica includes Moero in his list of famous poetesses. She wrote epic, elegiac, and lyric poetry, but little has survived. Athenaeus quotes from her epic poem, Mnemosyne (Μνημοσύνη), and two dedicatory epigrams of hers are included in the Greek Anthology. She also wrote a hymn to Poseidon and a collection of poems called Arai (Ἀραί).

"Thou liest in the golden portico of Aphrodite, O grape-cluster filled
full of Dionysus' juice, nor ever more shall thy mother twine round
thee her lovely tendril or above thine head put forth her honeyed
leaf." -- Moero, To Aphrodite of the Golden House

Nossis
Nossis (Νοσσίς) was an ancient Greek woman epigrammist and poet, c. 300 BCE, who lived in southern Italy, at Locri. Her epigrams were inspired by Sappho, whom she claims to rival. Twelve epigrams of hers (one of which is perhaps spurious) survive in the Greek Anthology. Antipater of Thessalonica ranks her among the nine poets who deserved the honour to compete with the Muses.

"Nothing is sweeter than love, and all delicious things are second to
it; yes, even honey I spit out of my mouth. Thus saith Nossis; but he
whom the Cyprian loves not, knows not what roses her flowers are." -- Nossis, Love's Sweetness
Many of us will not be able to visit Greece. Either not in the near future or not at all. That much spare income in this economic climate is hard to cough up. It is for me, at least. That is why I like initiatives that digitalize the experience. It's not the same but it's something. That's why I would like to share two online experiences with you today.


360 video of Athens
We’ve seen many a video of Athens, presenting the Greek capital’s unique selling points and beautiful vistas. But Experience Greece, a company developing applications and taking advantage of new tech to promote tourism has started a series of videos with 360 degree cameras to explore the city. The first is a walk around the Acropolis of Athens, across Dionysou Aeropagitou street and through Thission and the Monastiraki area. Stay tuned for more to come.

 
 
 
Interactive Krete
Crete 3D provides unique multi-dimensional imaging of the most important monuments of Crete that are now accessible around the clock. The project is the result of a three-year study by the Digital Design Workshop of the National Technical University of Crete and is funded by Cyta. One point of minor frustration: I can't get it to work on most devices... But it looks pretty!
 
 

In news that I am actually excited about, Lionsgate is planning to develop at least two movies from Hómēros' 'Odysseia'. At the helm are 'Hunger Games' director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson. Peter Craig, who co-wrote the two 'Mockingjay' films (the two final movies in the Hung Games franchise), is penning the script for 'The Odyssey'.


Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer made the disclosure Friday in response to a question during the company’s conference call with analysts to discuss quarterly earnings. The deal with Lawrence contemplates more than one movie, according to Feltheimer. Judging by the words of Motion Picture Group co-chairman Rob Friedman, the endeavour will be a big budget one, and so far there is no mention of an intended audience of young adults.

Lionsgate has put this on a fast track. The plan is to begin production early next year, right after the filmmakers complete promotion of Mockingjay – Part 2, which will be released November 20. Motion Picture Group co-president Erik Feig is overseeing this with executive production veep Jim Miller and development director James Myers. The project took root when Feig pitched it to Lawrence in Paris while they worked on the Hunger Games finale.

What remains to ponder about is how true-to-book the adaption will be. To date, the Hunger Games stand as a very good book to movie adaption, so I have hope. I would love to see a trilogy of an Iliad/Odysseia mix, where the first movie focusses more on setting the stage and showing the Trojan war (or its conclusion) and then the following two movies focussing on Odysseus' journey back to Ithaca.

Are you excited about the news? Would you like to see this team helm an adaption of the classic of all classics? Let me know!
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.


"Is the agathos daimon a ouranic or chthonic being?"

I would say it's complicated? If I had to make a choice, I would say Ouranic, but like heroes, His worship has a link with, and a touch of, death. I wrote a detailed piece about Him long ago that might help?

~~~

"What power over mortals do heroes have? It is, of course, important to honor them because of the things they did in their lifetime, but what about now, when they're dead? How can they influence mortals?"

Heroes are complicated. Hero worship was very specific and it's a concept that translates with more difficulty than straight-up deity worship. In essence, heroes are the bridge between mortals and Gods. They were born  mortal (although often with a bloodline to the Gods) but through their deeds, they were rewarded with immortality themselves. They became Gods. Still, the lessons they teach us are all mortal lessons. Heroes were honoured more than worshipped, and we do that today as well. So heroes, like Gods, can be called on for counsel and aid, and like the Gods, you can establish kharis with them. But they don't judge us, not like the Gods anyway, because they were all just like us once.
 
~~~
 
"Tomorrow is Hekate's Deipnon. I've seen some posts about the calendar on your blog so... We should pray to Hekate tonight and not tomorrow's according to the Hellenic way, right? It's a bit confusing..."

I got this e-mail on the 17th, and yes, that was the evening of the Deipnon. For those of you confused by the placement of the Deipnon in relation to the moon, perhaps this post will help make the schedule clearer. I think it boils down to the fact that Hekate is a Khthonic deity and is thus worshipped at night, after dusk. Since the Hellenic day spreads from dusk on day one to dusk on day two, rituals for Kthonic deities need to be held in the night of day one, and ritual for the Ouranic deities during the daylight hours on the second day. 

~~~

"During my Hecate's Deipnon ritual, do I kneel when worshiping Hecate (she is, after all, a chthonic goddess, though I've heard she can be 'interpreted' in more than one way)?"

I tend to kneel for Hekate, yes. Her worship has gone through many stages of evolution, however, so a case can be made for either. She most certainly started out as an Ouranic deity, but with the introduction of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter--composed somewhere in the late seventh century BC or the sixth century BC--she becomes an Underworld Goddess, and She receives a Khthonius character. By the fifth century BC, as the Eleusian Mysteries are in full swing, Hekate's association with the crossroads emerges and by that time, she becomes an appropriation Goddess, associated with the cleansing of the home and whole-animal sacrifices. As this version of Her is associated mostly with the Deipnon, I tend to kneel, and I keep Her worship away from my main shrine, choosing a low altar instead to make the sacrifices.

~~~

"I would have a question, which is more to do with theology, than with worship and religious practice. Why do you think our gods are not perfect and can change, not just in character, but also in their domains, like Hecate?"

Hekate is an extreme example, of course, but many Theoi, indeed, change(d) throughout the years. I would not say this means They are not 'perfect' (what is perfect anyway?), simply that the Gods adapt with Their people. Life becomes more complicated, the wishes of worshippers change. Domains are divided between existing Gods and those added to the pantheon, imported from other places around the world. To quote Malcolm Reynolds: 'It's getting awfully crowded in my sky' ;-)
 
The Theoi adapt because we need Them to adapt. Look at modern worship: who do we pray to when we need a new job? Or when our computer breaks down? Who do we pray to we travel by airplane? Based on the domains we know the Theoi had in ancient times, we make assumptions and guesses, and eventually, domains shift and evolve to include our modern lifestyle: Zeus to guide us towards a new job, Hephaestos to help us with our computer issues, and Hermes to watch over our journey by plane, for example. And the Gods tend to be willing to adapt to the change out of Kharis with their worshippers.
The Archaeology News Network recently put up a very interesting article on the use of gas and oil seeps in religious and cultural practices, something that has been happening for thousands of years.

[At Yanartaş in the Olympos National Park in Turkey, natural gas burns
from many vents on the side of the mountain. It is thought to be the location of
ancient Mount Chimaera. This is the largest venting of abiogenic methane on
Earth's terrestrial surface.]

Seeps from which gas and oil escape were formative to many ancient cultures and societies. They gave rise to legends surrounding the Delphi Oracle, Chimaera fires and 'eternal flames' that were central to ancient religious practices - from Indonesia and Iran to Italy and Azerbaijan. Modern geologists and oil and gas explorers can learn much by delving into the geomythological stories about the religious and social practices of the Ancient World, writes Guiseppe Etiope of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy. His research is published in the new Springer book Natural Gas Seepage. According to Etiope:

“Knowing present-day gas fluxes from a seep and knowing that a seep was active and vigorous two thousand years ago, we can estimate the total amount of gas that has been released to the atmosphere thus far. What can be measured today is probably also valid, at least in terms of orders of magnitude, for the past. Such information may not only be relevant for atmospheric methane budget studies but may also be important for understanding the leaking potential of petroleum systems, whether they are commercial or not.”

Gas-oil seeps have been the source of mythological tales, and many a Biblical and historic event. The observations of ancient naturalists and historians such as Pliny the Elder, who lived two millennia ago, helped to chronicle many of these occurrences, especially in the Mediterranean area. For example, he wrote about Chimaera, a large burning gas seep in modern day Turkey. In ancient times, the temple of Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire, was built next to it.

Similar 'eternal fires' integrated gas and flame emissions into ancient religious practices in many cultures. For instance, the Zoroastrians worshiped the 'Pillars of Fire' near modern Baku in Azerbaijan. In Iraq, the Baba Gurgur seep was probably the 'burning fiery furnace' into which King Nebuchadnezzar cast the Jews. A legend of ancient Rome reports a stream of crude oil issuing from the ground around 38 BC. It became a meeting spot for the first Roman converts to Christianity, and is now the site for the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere. The sacred Manggarmas flame in Indonesia, which has been active at least since the 15th century, is still used in an annual Buddhist ceremony.

Etiope writes that hydrocarbon seeps also influenced the social and technological development of many ancient populations. It not only contributed to global civilization, but was often the source of wars. The first evidence for petroleum usage comes from Syria, where the Neanderthal used natural bitumen on stone tools some 40,000 years ago.
Elaion is proud to announce that on the sixth and seventh of Thargelion, we will be hosting another PAT ritual, this time for the Thargelia. PAT rituals, or Practicing Apart Together rituals, have become a staple for Elaion, where we, as an organisation, provide a date, time, and ritual for the festival at hand, and around the globe, as many of our members as possible perform the ritual at their homes. Some do it alone, some in groups, and we tend to share experiences and photographs of the altar or the festivities on the Elaion Facebook page.


On the 6th and 7th of Thargelion the two day festival of the Thargelia was held in honour of Artemis and Apollon Pythios. The Thargelia was a pre-harvest festival at Athens, and we will celebrate it over the course of two days. The rituals can be found here and here, with the focus on Artemis and Demeter on the sixth, and on Apollon on the seventh. You can join either for a one day celebration by combining the two.

The Thargelia (Θαργήλια) was essentially an agricultural festival, and as such, the Thargelia included a purifying and expiatory ceremony. While the people offered the first-fruits of the earth to Apollon, especially, in token of thankfulness, it was at the same time necessary to propitiate Him, lest He might ruin the harvest by excessive heat, possibly accompanied by pestilence.

In ancient times, two poor, ugly men (or a man and a woman) were chosen each year to be Pharmakoi. They were often prisoners, and fed for a while at public expense and were then paraded around Athens as scapegoats for the people, one wearing a string of black figs to represent the men, the other white figs to represent the women.  At the end of the procession, they were flogged and beaten with fig branches and squills (sea onions), and driven expelled from the city. It could be that in very ancient times, these men were  stoned to death themselves once they reached the place of sacrifice on the shore, but it's likely that they were soon replaced with animals, if they were ever even sacrificed themselves at all. Whatever the case, the bodies were burned, and the ashes thrown into the sea or land, to fertilize. The purificatory preceded the thanksgiving service. That first day, a sheep was also sacrificed to Demeter Khloe on the Acropolis, and perhaps a swine to the Fates.

The second day was a lot less gruesome: a great pot of vegetables was prepared as an offering of the first fruits to Apollon. A panspermia was ritually sown into the earth. The Thargelia also featured choral contests among pairs of phratriai, and was recognized by phratriai as a day of festival and sacrifice. An eiresione (olive branch of supplication) with fillets of white wool and first fruits attached was carried in procession along with a winnowing basket full of fruit. This was either a new one, or the one created for the Pyanepsia.

We hope you join us for this celebration at 10 am on 25 and 25 May, and that you will perhaps feel comfortable sharing your experiences on our Facebook page.
On the day of the Hene kai Nea, I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog. Well, that did not happen this time because of two new recap for Atlantis so... you're getting it a few days later. Same with the Pandora's Kharis donation.

Changes to the blog:
  • Remember when I announced two months that I would make an announcement this month about some changes that will renovate, invigorate and renew Elaion as a whole? And then I hoped it would happen last month? Yeah, me too, and I am aware it hasn't happened yet. Basically, Robert and I have had to deal with some things in our personal lives and the projects have been postponed again, which is frustrating, but sometimes it's all you can do just to keep the projects you already have going. I can say, though, that the projects are back on and we are working hard.
  • Atlantis has ended. Long live Atlantis! Are you fully caught up with the recaps?

Statistics:
Anything else?
Pandora's Kharis, a charity circle for and by Hellenistic Polytheists has selected CARE as its cause for Mounukhion 2015. If you want to donate, you have until tomorrow! Join us on Facebook if you would like to pitch a cause for next month!

If you're you looking for an online shop to buy incenses and other Hellenistic basics from? Try The Hellenic Handmaid on Etsy.

That is it for the last month's updates, as far as I can remember. Have a blessed month!
Here we are. End of the road for Atlantis. in the next 45 minutes of screen time, this story is ending one way or the other. We are at the crossroads: an upcoming meeting with Cilix where both parties seek to commit murder; two romantic relationships ready to crack, one nipped in the bud, the other rushed to marriage; and the bond between a father and son that is fractured, perhaps beyond repair. Pasiphaê is dead. Aeson is dead. Minos is dead. Medea sacrificed herself for the cause. The war for Atlantis has cost thousands of lives already, and tonight, it ends.


Ikaros runs straight to Goran and cilix. He tells them what Pythagoras said about the peace meeting and begs for the release of his father. Goran agrees, as promised. This is the time where Cilix speaks up about his desire to claim the throne. They will kill Jason and Ariadne at the peace talks and that will be that: Cilix will take the throne and Goran will be his general. They will rule together. Goran tells him that Cilic doesn't have the support of the people in political power, but he brushes the concerns off. He who is in charge of the army has the power to lad, after all.

Ikaros goes to get his father out of prison. Daedalos tells him he will never forgive him for what he did and once more tries to send Ikaros off, but Ikaros pushes to take him home and Daedalos--at the gates of Hades--accepts. He lets his son guide him out of the Atlantian prison he willingly went into to aid Jason, Pythagoras, and the efforts to free Atlantis.

The time of the meeting is now. The soldiers checked out the area surrounding the forest and everything looks as agreed. Cilix brought a huge army presence though--and Goran--so I have to admit to being a little worried. Cilix isn't. Not at all. He saunters up to Ariadne and Jason, soldiers on stand-by. He has also hidden a regiment in the woods, though, bows in hand, and doesn't wait long with the betrayal. He says they do both want peace, but that Jason won't be there to see it. That's when Jason's men come out of the literal woodworks and shoot and stab the hiding Atlantian soldiers in the back before they can kills Jason and Ariadne. They do so quietly, though, so Cilix is left calling for an execution that never happens. When that fails, he calls on the guards he brought to finish the job but Goran tells them to stand down. It seems that he who controls the army truly does have the power, and Cilix is left to stand alone.Instantly, Cilix becomes the weasel he is and tries to talk his way out of it. When that fails as well, he runs and Jason throws a knife into his back. Goran finishes him off.


Goran says he has seen too many people die and that Atlantis needs peace. He and the army will stand down in exchange for one thing: that there are no reprisals against his men. They followed orders, that's it. Jason says that all who swear loyalty to him will be spared and the rest will be given the opportunity for exile. It's enough. Goran says he will make arrangements in Atlantis while Jason gets the consent of the Gods for him to take the throne. They will have to trust each other's word on all of it. Jason realizes it's the best deal he is going to get and agrees.

In the camp, everyone packs up. Ariadne is worried and ponderous, but Hercules misinterprets why. Ariadne has Medea on her mind, Herules has Goran. He does give her a valuable piece of advice: they made their choice and they need to put their faith in it. And so they all leave the woods together to go back to Atlantis. Once they arrive, Ariadne is shocked at the sorry state of it, of the torture and cruelty.

Guards await the small group of Ariadne, Jason, Hercules, Pythagoras, and Diocles as they enter the Palace square, and on the steps is Melas, who throws himself at Ariadne's feet. He says he is beyond forgiving for his betrayal and Ariadne forgives him anyway. His loyalty is now bought for life. All the guards here have sworn a similar oath and Goran hands them over to Jason and Ariadne. Diocles remains behind as the rest walk into the palace Ariadne never thought she would see again.

In the woods, Pasiphaê's prayer to Hekate pays off: something large and flying lands and scoops her up.


Back in the palace, Jason comes up behind Ariadne and kisses her neck. she freezes. He asks her what is wrong and she says this place no longer feels like home. They have retaken Atlantis, Jason says, but he realizes there is more troubling Ariadne. She just tells him Pasiphaê said some things to her that she is pondering about. He tells her not to believe a word from that woman's mouth and reluctantly, she agrees. Jason realizes he's loosing her.

The whatever-it-is that took Pasiphaê drops her onto the altar in Hekate's temple and after a few moments, she blinks. Dead people are not supposed to blink, damn it!

Back in the Palace, Hercules is giving in to the temptation of sweet wine, but Pythagoras can't relax. There is something he must do, and that 'something' is talk to Ikaros. Hercules takes out more wine. Pythagoras appears in Ikaros' home and tells Ikaros of what has happened. Ikaros is so happy, so relieved, but Pythagoras can't be. Then he notices Daedalos and Ikoras finally comes clean about what happened to his father. "That's why you betrayed us," Pythagoras whispers and Ikaros swirls back around.

He asks how he knew, when. Pythagoras tells him there could have been no one else who had betrayed the plans to infiltrate the arena prisons and Ikaros realizes they played him from that moment on. He is shocked, ashamed. He tells Pythagoras he would never have done it if there had been another way to save his father, and while Pythagoras understands it, the pain over his betrayal is very real. Other would have died instead of Daedalos. He would have died instead of Daedalos. Pythagoras says he means nothing to Ikaros, and Ikaros breaks down. He takes his hand and holds it. "You mean everything to me," he says into the minimal space between them. Pythagoras, in tears, says he can't say that after almost getting him killed to save his father. Ikaors whispers that he had no choice and Pythagoras, openly crying, says there always is a choice--he just made the wrong one. When Ikaros tries to kiss him, Pythagoras stops him and Ikaros steps back, shattered. Pythagoras says he understands why Ikaros did what he did, but he will never forgive him for it. Then he leaves. Ikaros beg him to come back, but when Daedalos wakes up and gets up, Ikaros just mutters that he had to, that he couldn't see his father die. Daedalos finally offers him the hug he so desperately needs.


Back in the palace, Hercules is staring off in the distance at a fire when Ariadne comes up to him. Hercules asks where Jason is, and Ariadne says he's sleeping. Hercules admits that Jason is a constant worry for him and Ariadne relates. she laments that she wishes she had friends like Hercules and Pythagoras. Someone to talk to. Without missing a beat, Hercules asks her if everything is alright with her. She hesitates a moment, then says she can't sleep. He thinks it's logical to be nervous, but she corrects him, saying it isn't nerves. Just as she needs, he asks her what it is then, and she crumbles a little. She fears that the memory of Jason's with his blackened heart will haunt them forever. Hercules tells her that it's all in the past and suddenly she can't keep it in anymore. She tells Hercules about what Pasiphaê told her. Hercules, too, says she shouldn't put any stock into Pasiphaê's words, but Ariadne knows Jason is hiding something when he talks about Medea. she knows their bond is special. Hercules says that whatever that bond is, Jason married her, not Medea. But Ariadne knows something has changed in Jason and things will never be the same.

Someone really needs to tell me what the flying thing sent by Hekate is (didn't I decide it was a Griffon somewhere in the past?) because it just flew by the palace, just as Goran and a bunch of guards trail the hallways. They either hear or see something because they enter the throne room with their swords drawn. It seems our overgrown stork came to delver a package fit for its size: a very much alive, and worse for wear, Pasiphaê, deposited on the throne.


Goran is shocked, but tells her the throne isn't hers anymore. She doesn't give a shit about what he thinks and her magic is stronger than ever. When he tells the guards to capture Pasiphaê, she makes an example out of one of the guards by tossing him backwards into a wall that he dies instantly. The choice is easy: swear loyalty to her or die. Goran steps forward and asks her how many more will die to sate her thirst for power. "As many as it takes," she hisses. He refuses to kneel before her ever again and she starts to choke him with her magic until he is on his knees. she gloats, but he gets back up again. For his defiance, she snaps his neck. The guards sink to their knees and swear loyalty. They can't stand up against so much power.

By morning, all the palace guards have been recruited and they will strike at Ariadne and Jason before the Gods can give their blessing in a ceremony. The guards guide Ariadne to the ceremonial hall where Jason is already waiting. They walk a whole line of guards who are about to stab them in the back and enter the temple where the priests of Poseidon, Melas, and Cassandra await. Hercules and Pythagoras are also there. The ceremony begins and Cassandra prays to Poseidon. Meanwhile the guards loyal to Pasiphaê kill all the guards they didn't recruit on the steps of the temple. Others guide Pasiphaê to it. Screams and shouts reach inside the temple and Jason and Ariadne look up, shocked. There is a whole regiment of guards behind them that I worry about. Jason reaches for his sword and at that time, the temple doors open and the guards storm in. It seems the regiment remained loyal, though, making the fight moderately fair.

Melas--shocked by the bloodshed inside a holy sanctuary--steps forward slowly, telling the men to put down their swords. No one listens. As Hercules and Pythagoras get an unarmed Ariadne to safety, Jason takes on the guards. Then Melas spots Pasiphaê and a look of sheer terror settles on his face. Pasiphaê stabs him and with his dying breath, he tells Cassandra to run. She does, to Ariadne, who is still being guarded by Hercules and Pythagoras. Then Jason sees Pasiphaê and he freaks the fuck out. Everyone runs from the temple, leaving Pasiphaê in control of it. they cut through guards to get to freedom and hide in someone's home as the guards search the city. Somewhere in the struggle, Hercules got hurt at least enough to draw blood.


Hercules swears to Jason that he killed Pasiphaê. Jason doesn't doubt it, but the fact remains that she is alive and searching the city for them. so they have to wait out the day here and then try to escape the city. Cassandra isn't doing well; Melas' death hit her hard. she impresses upon Jason that what Melas did was to protect her. He was a good man. Jason knows that, too.

Ikaros tells his father about Pasiphaê's return, and that everyone is hunting for Jason and Ariadne. "What about Pythagoras?" he asks, and a very worried Ikaros says he doesn't know what happened to him. He says he has to try to help them and he grabs his sword. Daedalos tells him he will be cut down before he even reaches a guard. He'll help him make an impact, through.

In the palace, a very vengeful Pasiphaê tells the guards that anyone helping the fugitives will be hanged in the streets. Daedalos and Ikaros couldn't care less, anyway. They are carrying a large package through the streets, dodging guards at every corner. By some miracle, the group hasn't be discovered yet, but going out is suicide. They know it. Jason comes to sit with Ariadne and she says that if this is the end, she needs to know about Medea. He comes clean: there was a moment between them in the darkness. But it's over, he is never going to see her again. And then the sounds of the soldiers come closer. They need to arm up. Their talk is cut short and the guards hack down the door.

On the city walls, Ikaros finally gets his mythological wings. While I am no aerospace engineer, I think I can say with absolute safety that there is no way in hell real life wings like that will carry you anywhere but down very swiftly. The show makes a lovely pun about the wax melting if he comes too close to the sun, though, and I have to laugh when Ikaros tells his dad that, uhhh, it's the middle of the night. It seems the wings work, because he glides out over the city like an eagle--after a bit f a rough descend.


The rest of the group has no wings, though. they just arm up and wait for the inevitable--and then Ikaros starts throwing fire powder bombs down on the soldiers and they all die instantly. Ikaros saved Jason, Hercules, Pythagoras, Ariadne, and Cassandra. It's glorious. One of the few surviving guards manages to get an arrow off, though, and rips Ikaros' wing. He crash-lands hard in a courtyard and Pythagoras rushes to see if he's alright, breaking away from the group to do so. When it seems like Ikaros didn't make it, Jason is devastated. But Ikaros opens his eyes, whispers he's sorry, and Pythagoras kisses him as he cries with relief. Yessss!!! I fully admit to yelling that out loud, by the way.

Hercules breaks them up by clearing his throat. They have a city to flee, damn it. Pythagoras and Ikaros claim another moment, then they all leave the city together.


The next morning, the familiar feeling of waking up on the forest floor is back. Cassandra is missing, through. She is praying for Melas a little way's off. Jason asks her if they will ever be rid of Pasiphaê, and she tells him it will be difficult. Pasiphaê will only be vanquished if he can find the source of ehr power and destroy it: the Golden Fleece... in Colchis (Kolkhis), where Medea is. And she is the one person destined to help him.

Jason tells Hercules and Pythagoras and they are not pleased, not even so much because of Medea, but because Colchis is the home of witches and black magic. Well, actually, Colchis was located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, centred on present-day western Georgia. According to the Hellenic mythology, Colchis was a fabulously wealthy land situated on the mysterious periphery of the heroic world. Here in the sacred grove of the war god Ares, King Aeëtes hung the Golden Fleece until it was seized by Jason and the Argonauts. Colchis was also the land where the mythological Prometheus was punished by being chained to a mountain while an eagle ate at his liver for revealing to humanity the secret of fire. Amazons also were said to be of Scythian origin from Colchis. But, of course, I digress again.

Hercules tries to convince him not to go, but Jason won't be dissuaded. He goes to tell Ariadne who--naturally--is not pleased. She offers to go with him, but he won't let her. she says she is coming, that someone needs to protect him from himself. Cassandra watches the proceedings with sorrow and guilt. she has to tell the truth, that is the curse that comes with her amazing ability. But it deeply hurts her to hurt others.


We get a few more shots of Atlantis being brought to its knees under Pasiphaê rule. She has claimed the throne and her rule of the city is like an iron grip, choking the life out of it slowly but surely. Our group of heroes reaches the coast and out at sea awaits them the ship that will carry them to their destiny: Argo, carrier of the Argonauts.

During the night, while everyone sleeps, Cassandra prays for a vision of the future. She sees the Argo, plowing through the waves. Medea and Jason, kissing passionately against the bars of a cell. Ariadne, standing in the gull of an island, abandoned.

And Medea, in Colchis, knows Jason will be heading her way soon.


That's it, my lovely readers: the end of Atlantis. It was a wind ride, and I would have loved to have seen a third season. I still hold out hope for one (because you never know, right?). Until then, here is the pretty much complete account of the mythological journey of the Argonouts for you to work into fandom. It was a pleasure recapping this show for you. Thank you for reading, it will be missed.
Things are rapidly spiralling out of control in Atlantis. Pasiphaê is still on the war path, Jason just lost his dad, Ikaros ratted them out to save his father, and--oh yeah--Jason and Medea kissed. I am sure that is not going to come back to bite you in the ass, my friend *cough*. This episode is the series finale, and was thus an hour and a half long. I'm going to spread the recap out over two days, so you get part two tomorrow.


Ikaros is meeting with Pythagoras in an Atlantian back ally. They duck away for a patrol. Atlantis most definitely is not a safe place yet. Ikaros guides them through the street but the patrols are everywhere and they have to flee. Eventually they escape by climbing onto a roof. I have no idea which side Ikaros plays for, but he helped Pythagoras here, anyway.

Back in some shed, Hercules is pacing and Jason is sulking. Pythagoras should have been back by now and Hercules is worried. It seems the errand Pythagoras is on ha to do with Diocles, the fighter who Jason bonded with last week when he was tossed into the arena. Hercules--obviously--is not a big fan of the plan.

Pythagoras asks after Daedalos, and just like before, Ikaros lies. They are lying on their back, looking up at the sky, stargazing as they wait and it's all very cute. I swear they were about to kiss there for a moment. Too bad Jason's father is dead because of Ikaros. They eventually make it back to the shed and Jason makes sure they weren't followed by asking very sternly. They leave for a suicide mission.


The suicide mission takes them down into the sewers--another thing Hercules is not at all amused about. Now he will be dead and smelly. The two lovebirds say goodbye and Pythagoras tells Ikaros to wait for them at the hunting lodge in three days time.

In the palace, Pasiphaê is asked about state things in which she has absolutely no interest right now--especially when Goran tells her his informant told him that Jason is heading to the arena prison to break out a prisoner. She hesitates, though. She still doesn't want to kill Jason--not anymore. But Cilix is adamant. Medea pleads Jaosn's case again, but she tells her she has no choice. Medea looks like a woman who doesn't give up so easily, though.

Jason and the boys make it to the arena. It is eerily quiet--and that is never good. The entire arena is empty. The hallways are empty. And then a whole platoon barges in, watched on by a very guilty Ikaros. But Jason is a good fighter, and so is Hercules. They end the fight swiftly and free the prisoners. Goran leads an entire platoon of archers onto the lowest portion of the arena stands where they hide until Jason and the group have to cross the sand below to get back to the sewer entrance. They wait until the group is in the centre and bring on the rain. Needless to say, it's a massacre. Most of the prisoners die on the spot or are left to be killed later. The soldiers jump down and everyone with fighting skills fights to save their very lives. Jason, Hercules, Pythagoras, and Diocles are amongst the ones who make it, and Jason mentions that the soldiers were waiting for them. Pythagoras puts two and two together...


There are more soldiers waiting for the when they emerge from the sewers. Pythagoras is almost too shocked to move. Jason dispatches with the guards, but more and more and more come. Then Medea appears and magics the soldiers to death. She hides before Jason can talk to her, but Goran saw her and he rushes to tell Pasiphaê. Medea makes it back to the palace, realizing she got herself into major trouble.

At least her efforts helped to get Jason and the boys out of the city. In the forest, they meet up with about a dozen of the ex-prisoners, the rest was killed. Now they should make a camp. Pythagoras is staring off into the distance when Hercules comes over and asks him if he's thinking about Ikaros. "Don't worry," he says. "Ikaros will join them soon." Of course Hercules hasn't figured it out yet.

Ikaros is back in the prison, visiting his very sick father. He offers him some medication. Daedalos wonders--again--why he is still alive. He knows Ikaros is keeping a secret and asks what it is. Ikaros comes clean and Daedalos is shocked and sad--disappointed. Daedalos tells them that he would rather die than have a traitor for a son. He has never been so ashamed. He sends Ikaros away.

In the palace, Medea wakes up and realizes Pasiphaê has been sitting there, watching her. It seems she used to do that when Medea was a child, when she has nightmares. It seems Medea was calling for Jason in her sleep and she says she can't help it, that she is drawn to him, that she can almost feel what he feels, that they are a part of each other. Pasiphaê asks if that is why she saved him and after a moment of hesitation, she says she did. Pasiphaê sighs. She underestimated the bond between them. She should have protected Medea more. But Medea doesn't want to be protected: she's in love. Pasiphaê tells her to banish her feelings. He has turned her. If she sees Jason again, Pasiphaê will have no choice but to kill Medea as well.


Ariadne sits by the fire and makes arrows. I think that by now, she could supply an entire army. The princess has definitely turned into a warrior, and this life in the woods suits her well. Jason tries to surprise her, but her reflexes have become too good. They hug and then Ariadne realizes she is being watched. All the ex-prisoners look on, mightily embarrassed and fall to their knees. Right away, she tells them to get back up. They shouldn't kneel for her: Jason is the rightful heir. Aeson was king before Minos and Jason is his son. The ex-prisoners are all shocked, but very willing to accept Jason as their king. He did right by them, after all.

A little while later, Hercules realizes Pythagoras worried about something. And Pythagoras is. He walks off to 'stand guard' (read: pout and ponder). Meanwhile Ariadne tells Jason he ha a new army and that he 'inspires loyalty'. She brings up the wedding proposal and Jason says he would say yes again. At that, she proposes again and says she wishes to be married right now, here in the forest. And they are. In a quickly--but beautifully--put together ritual with Hercules presiding, Jason and Ariadne are married.


At that moment, Medea wakes up and flees the palace, eluding a guard to do so--and then killing him. Medea really is a bad enemy to have. And she is very crafty and lethal. She dispenses of every guard that stands in her way.

Cilix and Goran have a pissing contest about who is more loyal to Pasiphaê while trying to see if--should they betray her--the other will follow. I get the impression they both would in a heartbeat.

The next morning, Jason and ariadne wake up on a blanket on the forest floor. Their wedding night was cosy but not very private. It's only Jason who wakes up, though: he senses Medea. She found him easily--they always find each other. She wanted to see him before she left for home. She has realized Pasiphaê has been grooming her and she can't do it. She can't become like Pasiphaê. But she couldn't leave without seeing Jason one more time and that tonight, the night of the winter solstice, Pasiphaê must travel and while she will be well protected, she will be vulnerable when she prays at the temple of Hekate. Only those touched by the Gods may enter. She gives him another gift: the nectar of the passion flower. It will bind Pasiphaê's power.

She says she should leave and she valiantly holds back her emotions. But when Jason pulls her back and tells her that part of him doesn't want her to leave, she cracks. She kisses him and for a long moment, he drowns in her before pulling back. He can't, he's married. She gasps when she hears, and tells him this is goodbye. Heartbroken, she flees.


Ariadne is not stupid. We all know that. When she woke up alone in the morning, she knew something was up. So she asks Jason if something is troubling him. To his credit, he tells her that Medea came to see him. Hercules overhears and freaks out. The last time Jason trusted her, Ariadne got stabbed. Jason goes to bat for Medea, saying she is not who she thinks she is. It becomes an argument where Hercules and Ariadne refuse to be convinced by Jason who says that Medea has seen Pasiphaê for who she really is and she wants nothing more to do with her. He tells them about the plan Medea presented her with and Ariadne demands to know why Jason puts so much stock in her words after Medea nearly killed her. He doesn't have an answer.

Pasiphaê, meanwhile, gets ready to travel, with a boatload of men. The ex-prisoners and the boys travel to the temple behind them. Hercules takes the opportunity to inquire after Pythagoras' state of mind. Pythagoras tries to shake her off, but Hercules is like a dog with a bone. He drops Ikaros' name and Pythagoras looks up in shock. Hercules says he remembers how he felt when he fell for someone the first time. Again, Pythagoras brushes him off, saying he has no idea how Pythagoras feels right now.

By nightfall, they reach the temple of Hecate and the small group stays behind. Jason has to go alone just like Pasiphaê has to go alone. He drops the potion into the basin at the temple and waits as Pasiphaê prays and drinks. She sacrifices her blood and afterwards, she washes the cut with the water. Jason steps into the light. He says he pities her, that everyone she has ever loved has deserted her. He drops Medea's name and Pasiphaê asks if he has seen her. He says that she realized the extent of Pasiphaê's darkness and that she told him he would find Pasiphaê here, alone. She tries to bewitch him, but the potion worked. She says he can not kill her and he agrees. He knocks her out instead. Jason carries her out of the temple and while his men quickly clear a path for him, they escape into the woods with Pasiphaê for luggage.


Back at the camp, everyone gathers around an unconscious Pasiphaê. Ariadne can't believe the day has come. Cilix and Goran can't believe the day has come either.  Well, Cilix can and says that if Pasiphaê ever returns, she will have Goran's head on a stick for failing her. Maybe it's time he jumps ship. He says he is a soldier and  leaves the politics to people like Cilix.

in the camp, Pasiphaê has been put into a makeshift cage. When Ariadne comes to visit, she is sure the former queen is there to gloat, but Ariadne isn't. With one to the ex-con's, she gets Pasiphaê to swallow down another potion. Pasiphaê asks if Ariadne loves Jason, and she says she loves him more than Pasiphaê will ever understand. Then Pasiphaê taunts her by telling her Jason has been unfaithful. She asks what Pasiphaê means and Pasiphaê asks her if Jason hasn't told her about his feelings for Medea. Ariadne says that isn't true and Pasiphaê asks if she truly believes that. Medea wouldn't betray Pasiphaê for anything other than love.

Jason and Hercules sit close together, and tearfully Jason says he must ask something important of Hercules. Hercules takes up his sword. Jason doesn't have to ask, he knows. Jason requests a moment with Pasiphaê first and says it's over. It's never be open, Pasiphaê replies instantly. He comes to say goodbye to her. She says the Gods won't allow it, but he says she doesn't serve the Gods. He says a part of him will love her forever and he hopes that she will find peace in death. She sobs and tells him he will regret it forever if he goes through with this and he agrees. He will. They are both crying now, and when Jason gets up and leaves, she starts to beg and scream for him not to go through with this. It's heart-breaking. Gods, I am going to miss this show.


The next morning, Pythagoras and Hercules take Pasiphaê out of her cage and into the woods. Jason is crying as he watches her go and Ariadne supports him. The men force her onto her knees and she begs to pray to Hekate. Pythagoras says they have to let her or risk angering Poseidon. As she prays, the scene cuts to Ariadne, who ponders what Pasiphaê told her. Then Pasiphaê finishes praying and Hercules quickly and quietly runs her through with his sword. She dies instantly. They leave her on the forest floor. Once they return, Ariadne and Jason wait for the confirmation and they are both equal parts sad and relieved.

The conversation topic changes quickly, though, to Jason and his claim for the throne. Jason thinks he can just walk into the city and claim it, but Hercules knows that the people in power will never go for that. Ariadne agrees. Cilix is the key, they need to get to him. So they will try to lure him out... through Ikaros. Everyone is shocked by the reveal that Ikaros is the mole. They won't believe it at first, but they see how sure Pythagoras is--how heartbroken--and they have no choice but to believe.

When Ikaros gets to the lodge, Pythagoras is already there, waiting. They hug and it's painful for Pythagoras to touch the man he loves. They eat and talk. Pythagoras is open about pretty much everything, including that Jason and Ariadne are alive and that Pasiphaê isn't. When Ikaros brings up that he heard Jason and Ariadne want to make peace with Cilix, Pythagoras agrees with that as well. The trap is set and they walk part of the way to the city together. They exchange another hug and Pythagoras is dying...


The bait is set, now Cilix just has to take it so the final battle can begin. But will they be able to trick Cilix, or will Cilix get the better of them? Will Ariadne and Jason's relationship survive in the afterrmath of Pasiphaê's words? What will happen to Pythagoras and Ikaros? Find out tomorrow in the second part, and last recap, of Atlantis.
Oh, my beautiful, sweet, lovely, and supportive readers. Will you let me get away with a video today? This week has been batshit crazy and I've been pulling 14 to 16 hour workdays since Monday. I promise I'll do better after all the deadlines ;-) Don't worry, though; I am leaving you in very capable hands, especially after yesterday's post.




Mary R. Lefkowitz, former professor of classical studies at Wellesley College, says we can learn much about what it means to be human by studying the myths of the ancient Greeks. In the Distinguished Faculty Lecture during Wellesley's family weekend and in her fantastic book, 'Greek Gods, Human Lives: What We Can Learn from Myths' (Yale University, November 2003), Lefkowitz shows how myths have fascinated people through the ages while helping them cope with the uncertainties of their lives.

Diana Chapman Walsh, president of Wellesley College, introduces Mary Lefkowitz as she discusses this intriguing topic.
Protothema recently put up an article titled: 'Delicate Columbia Uni students say Ancient Greek myths 'trigger' pain'. According to the article, it seems that 'Columbia University students can handle Hollywood, but are too sensitive for rape, pederasty, bestiality and incest as depicted in Ancient Greek mythology'.


Students at Columbia University published an editorial complaining about Hellenic mythology being studied in one of their classes. They said that the texts “can be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, a person of colour or a student from a low-income background.” They stated that the texts trigger toxicity. Specifically, the students wrote:

"During the week spent on Ovid’s 'Metamorphoses,' the class was instructed to read the myths of Persephone and Daphne, both of which include vivid depictions of rape and sexual assault. As a survivor of sexual assault, the student described being triggered while reading such detailed accounts of rape throughout the work. However, the student said her professor focused on the beauty of the language and the splendour of the imagery when lecturing on the text. As a result, the student completely disengaged from the class discussion as a means of self-preservation. She did not feel safe in the class. When she approached her professor after class, the student said she was essentially dismissed, and her concerns were ignored.
 
Ovid’s 'Metamorphoses' is a fixture of Lit Hum, but like so many texts in the Western canon, it contains triggering and offensive material that marginalizes student identities in the classroom. These texts, wrought with histories and narratives of exclusion and oppression, can be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, a person of colour, or a student from a low-income background."

Look, I have never been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. I am as white as they come and while my parents were not wealthy, I always had food, and we went on vacation every three or four years or so. Besides the fact that Ovid was a Roman writer who made things appear ten times more brutal than they actually were in Hellenic myth (so bad teacher for teaching Ovid!), I can understand how reading Hellenic mythology without proper explanation and introduction to Hellenic culture can be a triggering experience, at least on sexual assault. I hope other readers can inform me how ancient Hellenic mythology is triggering to POC's and people from low-income households. I don't have the expertise to comment. I asked one of my black friends and she looked at me funny so... take from that what you will.

That said, this is not the way to look at Hellenic mythology. Especially on rape in Hellenic mythology, I have written a really lengthy piece, detailing that context matter extremely. I cannot and will not judge on what triggers or does not trigger survivors. Not ever. If something triggers you in class, you should be able to reach out to your teacher and you should be able to work something out. But I do want to say that mythological stories are not fairytales. They are meant to teach and show the darker side of life as well as the light. It's supposed to cautionary as well as a teaching aid. And again, context matters. Mythology cannot be viewed separately from the culture in which it originated. The culture dictated many of the stories and offered explanations for why this behaviour took place.

For those who read the article, I wanted to offer these words and give a space for discussion, if need be. It's a complicated issue as I put much value in personal truth, but on the other hand, these beautiful tales that I love deeply are not meant to trigger. They are meant to teach. They are meant to warn, inspire, thrill, and foster respect for the power of the Gods. And in the proper context, that is what they do. So invest in the context, please, before missing out of their beauty.
The issue of Greece’s standing demand for the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum has generated renewed interest by a portion of the press recently because of some new developments. I'd like to have a look today.

Daily Kathimerini reports that the Greek Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) government must decide whether it wants to take legal recourse for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum. A confidential memo sent to the Ministry of Culture by three global lawyers of the Doughty Street Chambers encourages Greece to take the UK to court over the sculptures.

London-based lawyers Amal Alamuddin, Geoffrey Robertson and Norman Palmer--who had visited Athens in October--sent a 150-page memo with three considerations that the government needs to mull over before taking action. Greece needs to bear in mind what court of law should address the issue, five different approaches that can be taken, the cost of the legal proceedings and the chances of success. The rapport stresses that legal action must be taken now or the opportunity to do so might be lost due to future legal obstacles. The lawyers want the Greek authorities to contact the British government and British Museum and notify them of their legal claim. Should their bid for the return of the marbles be ignored, then legal action will officially be taken.

The lawyers’ advice includes the statement: 'The British adhere to international law… The Greek government has never taken advantage of this Achilles’ heel'. The report suggests that the Strasbourg court of Human Rights would be favourable at examining the case under the European Convention on Human Rights though a possible obstacle is the fact that Conservatives have pledged to change the law so that Strasbourg’s rulings are no longer binding.

As a response, Alternate Minister for Culture Nikos Xydakis said in an interview on Wednesday that diplomacy rather than litigation will help Greece win its claim for the return of the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum. Greece has thus ruled out taking legal action against the UK to reclaim the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum.

"On the one hand, you can’t file a suit over any issue, and, on the other, the outcome in international courts is never certain. The way to winning back the Marbles is diplomatic and political."

He said he believed attitudes to the future of the Marbles were slowly changing and would favour Greece in a diplomatic approach. I understand the course taken--can respect it, even--it's still a blow to those who want to see the marbles restored to Greece. How are you taking the news?