On the day of the Hene kai Nea, I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog and in projects and organizations related to it. I will also announce Elaion's coming PAT rituals.

Changes to the blog:
  • I have had no life. sorry, very few changes
  • By the way, next month the number dates of the modern and ancient calendars will be exactly the same; Poseideon 1 is December 1; very rare!
Statistics:
PAT rituals for Poseideon:
  • 5/12 - Poseideon 5 - Plerosia festival at Attic deme of Myrrhinus
  • 10/12 - Poseideon 10 - Rustic or Lesser Dionysia in honor of Dionysos
  • 16/12 - Poseideon 16 -  Sacrifice to Zeus Horios at Erkhia
  • 21/12 - Poseideon 21 - Poseidea - festival in honor of Poseidon
  • 26/12 - Poseideon 26 - Haloa - fertility festival in honor of Dionysos and Demeter
Anything else?
Act4Greece has become Pandora's Kharis' cause for Maimakteria 2016. The money will go towards the crowdfunded restauration of the ancient theatre of Cassope, in the region of Epirus. The Grand Theatre of Cassope is located in the ruined hill northwest of cassope. It was constructed in the 3rd century BC and had a capacity of about 2,500 people. According to some authors it could accommodate 6,000 people. It was the largest of a total of two theaters that existed in the city. The other, called the Conservatory of distinction, could seat 300 to 500 people. The large theater is now largely destroyed due to natural decay and is nearly inaccessible. This is about to change, though.
The deadline to donate is November 30th, 2016. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the Pandora's Kharis website or by donating directly to baring.the.aegis@gmail.com. Thank you in advance!

Are you looking for an online shop to buy incenses and other Hellenistic basics from? Try The Hellenic Handmaid on Etsy.
I wasn't going to write more about the Terracotta Warriors of China and the recently formed theory that the 8,000 statues may have been crafted under the guidance of ancient Hellenic sculptors in 3rd Century BC. I reported on it, then on the subsequent row that formed in China and by global archaeologists alike. that was enough, as far as I was concerned, seeing as it's not exactly of interest to the modern Hellenist. It's just my inner history nerd that finds this interesting.

And then Heritage Daily wrote a background piece about this affair and darn it, it makes a few points that I do want people to read. Points that are of interest to the modern Hellenist because they speak to something that I encounter a lot: the glorification of ancient Hellas. I would like you to read the full article, but I am going to copy into this post the parts that jumped out at me.

"For centuries, archaeologists and art historians have been eager to see the imprint of the Greeks in works of art and architecture throughout the world. But this view rests on a Eurocentric logic which has long assumed other civilizations were fundamentally incapable of creating highly technical, impressive and aesthetically pleasing works of art.
 
In the West, classical Greek art and architecture is often presented as a singular achievement. The Greeks are credited with the invention of forms and techniques that were leaps and bounds ahead of their contemporaries. [...] Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, explorers and anthropologists [also] explained exotic foreign customs through a lens of Greek traditions. Likewise, travelers and archaeologists often fell back on theories of direct outside influence. How else could they explain sophisticated artistic techniques and engineering genius among “primitive” societies?
 
Whenever we say the cultural achievements of other societies are due to geographically remote – but familiar – genius and inspiration, there’s a cost. [...] It makes us forget the diversity of places that many look to for inspiration and validation. Erased are ideas of origins and narratives of belonging."

Ancient Hellenic culture produced many great thinkers, scientists and builders. There can be no debate about that. What can be debated, though, is that modern civilization started with them. When ancient Hellas was forming, the Egyptian empire had already largely formed and had made great advances in many fields of science, including medicine. By 1550 BC--long before Hypocrates--they had grasped the basics of medicine in examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. In the ancient Near East they were working on mathemetical laws millennia before Pythagoras became famous for them. And we're not even talking about the truly basic formation of civilization that started from at least 7000 BC on with the formation of a written script, the domestication of plants and animals and the fundamentals of astronmy and alchemy.

I am facinated with ancient Hellas and there is no denying that we have much to be grateful for when it comes to them. Astronomy, medicine, physics, biology, geology--the ancient Hellenes greatly furthered the research into all fields of science. But that is exactly what they did: they furthered it. And civilizations that rose after them furthered that knowledge even more until we end up where we are today.They did not rise to greatness in a vacuum. Many civilizations already existed, mixed and built with them. Not everything is Hellenic--and the ancient Hellenes don't have the basic and sole right to all advances in these fields. Great minds arose everywhere--that's what humanity does. that they came to simplar conclusions and had similar ideas is not unthinkable--and actually quite probable. It's the mixing of cultures we should be interested in, not in claiming victories for a sole people.
For those to whom it may be of interest: Cornell University in collaboration with research network ZOOMATHIA are looking for contributions to a conference on depictions and descriptions of animals in ancient Hellas, Rome and beyond. th deadline to submit is Wednesday, February 1, 2017.


Cornell University, Ithaca NY – September 8-10, 2017

Greek and Roman culture is replete with verbal and visual descriptions and depictions of animals, from Herodotus’ gold-digging ants or Pliny’s bestiary to Greek vase painting or the decoration of Roman houses and gardens. Research on ancient zoological knowledge has traditionally centered on identifying animal species in texts and images, determining the various sources of such knowledge, and relating these inquiries to their broader socio-historical and philosophical contexts. While these approaches can be fruitful, they often operate on the assumption that verbal and pictorial testimonies always record and illustrate specific information, echoing concrete ancient zoological knowledge.

This conference takes a decisively different approach.  We propose to consider depictions and descriptions of animals as methods of inquiry in and of themselves, rather than illustrations of knowledge ex post facto. Thus, for instance, Aristotle’s account of gregarious animals at the start of Historia Animalium may serve as a mode of understanding humans’ position within the animal world, rather than an account of ancient discoveries. In addition, ancient zoographers’ views might have been shaped by encounters with animals in contexts and media other than 'scientific' study or simple observation in nature. In this sense, do we seek to consider visual and textual sources as creative and active modes of representation and thereby forms of knowledge production, rather than reflections of it.

Contributions may focus on a single ancient description or depiction of an animal, or on a group of cases.  We particularly welcome contributions that engage with cognitive or media studies in their approach to texts or images;. And we also encourage contributors to think aboutconsider how ways in which ancient and medieval European zoological knowledge was produced differently from that in other times or areasof other cultures.

Papers Submissions may address the following questions:
- How do ancient descriptions and depictions of animals work as forms of inquiry to produce knowledge? 
- How do visual and verbal studies of animals interact with each other?
- How do descriptions and depictions of animals reflect human observation and experience?
- How do rhetorical images or metaphors work function as methods of inquiry?
- How do common knowledge vs. specialized inquiry influence depiction and description?
- (How) do sources distinguish between mythical and real animals?
- If depiction and description of animals create knowledge, do they shape literary or artistic styles? How do they relate to concepts of aesthetics and rhetoric?
- How do shifts in historical and cultural context affect animal description and depiction?
- What is the reception of famous depictions or descriptions (e.g. Herodotus' crocodile, Aristotle’s elephant, Myron’s cow?)

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words by February 1, 2017 to the conference organizers: Annetta Alexandridis (aa376@cornell.edu) and Athena Kirk (aek238@cornell.edu).
One of the most frequently heard frustrations about sacrifice in Hellenismos (at least from what I hear) is how to pour wine into your libation vessel (or fire) without making the darn fire go out. Trust me, I have been there! Just like with my incenese burning hack, though, I have found a solution: a pouring spout. Sometimes things are obvious.

Perhaps you have been doing this forever. Perhaps, like me for years, you've been pouring from a wine bottle and spilling wine all over the place--including pouring far too much into the bowl. Well, no more. They are cheap, simple and super easy to use so happy pouring!




Poseideon is the sixth month of the Hellenic calendar and we are slowly moving towards it. Poseideon is a special month; it was the month that would have been repeated (in a minor way) should the ancient calendar not line up with the phases of the moon (whch it didn't, after a while). You can read more about that here as it is beyond the scope of this post. What I would like to talk to you about today is the divine triad that oversaw Poseideon (the quartet, actually, but we'll get to that) and its significance.

Poseideon was ruled by Poseidon (honoured during the Poseideia), Zeus (during the Plerosia and a seperate sacrifice to Zeus Horios) and Dionysos (during the Lesser Dionysia and secondarily during the Haloa). Poseideon is the first true winter month; the first harvest was over, seafaring had ceased and thus war had come to an end. The focus was on the home and preparation for true, deep winter: the weather turned and the crops needed protecting. Because of this, it was also a month of threat; if the crops failed, if the seas became too rough when a daring fisherman was out on it, or if a river went out of bounds and flooded a well populated area there would be death.

I get on my soapbox a lot on my blog. One of my main points is that everything is connected in the ancient Hellenic religion. That everything was constructed the way it was for a reason; the pantheon, the calendar, the festivals, the way festivals were celebrated--if you spend time to sort out the why, you will discover it's all part of an intricate web that formed an entire civilization. Nothing--absolutely nothing--in our religion and in the ancient civilization it was formed in ended up in it by accident. We have lost a lot of knowledge and understanding of this society but we can try to piece things together if we put in the effort. So today I will put in a little effort to explain why Poseideon was ruled by Poseidon, Zeus and Dionysos. And why it mattered that it were Them.

During the Poseideia, Poseidon as savior of ships, protector of those who voyage in ships, and God of the lapping waters both salt and fresh important for agriculture, is thanked for the many gifts that came from faraway places that were likely given at that time. The immense trade and distribution was nearly all through shipping, relatively little overland, whether it be perfume from Cyprus or pottery from Corinth. One of Poseidon’s epithets is prosklystios, 'of the lapping water'. He is also invoked as Poseidon phytalmios which implies natural fertility and human procreation.

The Plerosia is a harvest festival of sorts. It was held to honour Zeus but presumably als Demeter. Poseideon marks the time to return home, take stock, and stay warm. It's a time to thank the Theoi for all that has been recieved and all that will get us through the winter. The word ‘plerosis’ means fulfillment, satiated, filled. Important note: the Plerosia seems to have been a women-only festival, perhaps because now that winter is upon us, we turn to the domain of the women: the house(hold). As such, it is her prerogative to thank the Gods for the food she can feed her family with.

The lesser Dionysia, a vintage festival, was celebrated in the various demes of Attica in the month of Poseideon. It was probably a very ancient festival, perhaps not originally associated with Dionysos. The Dionysia was a time when classes came together in order to celebrate their shared origins in the natural world; it was a vintage festifal for all.

The Haloa was held in honor of Demeter, Dionysos and a little bit in honor of Persephone. Like all festivals of Demeter and Persephone's 'Kore' persona, women were the only ones who were allowed to handle the religious and sacrificial side of it. The Haloa is assumed to be a celebration of the pruning of the vines and the tasting of the wine after its first fermentation, or it may be to encourage the growth of corn from the seed.

A few links between Poseidon, Zeus and Dionysos are clear instantly from the descriptions of these festivals. Poseidon and Dionysos are linked through water--moisture, actually. Plutarch already noted that Dionysos was a God of moisture--in particular the moisture associated with life and vigour as can be seen in plants and trees and most telling in the wine produced from the fruits of the vine. Poseidon is all but the personification of water of all kinds. Furthermore, one of the epithets of Dionysos is Dendrites, ‘of the trees’, connects him to branching life. The tree was similarly a metaphor for rivers whose branching nature was morphologically similar. This links Dionysos to Poseidon even more.

And what of Poseidon and Zeus? Poseidon is the brother of Zeus and Hades, and together they form a triumvirate who represents the dominion of the sea, the sky and the underworld respectively. In Hellenic mythology, the underworld is seen as an exact mirror and equally valid version of the ‘celestial’ world. In other words: Zeus is Hades inverted and Poseidon is the synthesis of both. Dionysos therefore unifieds these god-themes and manifested them in the mundane world.

This brings us to Hades, the fourth member of this triad. He is worshipped too, just not directly--never directly. the ancient Hellenes very rarely honoured Hades, not even Plouton, His ouranic epithet. But Hades' influence was most definitely felt; he's the third of the triumvirate, He is prevalent in the threat of death that hangs over the month and He is appeased though a medium who is perhaps unlikely: Demeter.

Mythological and epithological links exist between Demeter and Hades. Hades was celebrated as an important divine figure in the Eleusinian Mysteries. The seasonal drama of nature was said to depend on her annual passage into the underworld in the depths of winter when fruitfulness and vegetation dies back. Through Kore (Persephone) Hades and Demeter rule over the harvest. Hades takes and Demeter gives--or more accurately: Hades causes Demeter to take instead of give. In praying for fruitfulness of the earth to Demeter, it is also Hades who is spoen to and appeased, which makes Him an unofficial member of the triad (this is likewise true for Demeter and even Kore/Persephone).

To compelete the circle, Dionysos and Demeter are worshipped together during the Haloa, which drives home the agricultural ties all these five deities have  and the way they link to the mundane issues of this time of year; Demeter and Hades (Plouton) through the fruitful earth (underworld), Zeus through mild weather (sky) and Poseidon and Dionysos through sweet water (the intermediate). Because of Their links and domains, it can be only these deities that govern Poseideon.
Aphrodite was a Goddess of immense authority and universal significance for the ancient Hellenic people. She was one of the most widely worshipped deities in antiquity and was venerated in many different cults all around the Mediterranean.

Aphrodite enjoyed a broad geographic sphere of influence across the ancient civilized world, from the island of Cyprus in the east to the island of Sicily in the west; and she was especially honored in the harbors of great cities, such as Athens, Corinth, Naukratis, and Syracuse.

Aphrodite was evident in the daily lives of the ancient Hellenes. She was a major influence on how they negotiated their erotic and nuptial relationships, how they enhanced their physical appearance, and on how they traveled the sea.

The ancient Hellenes knew Her by many names, traits, and narratives. Aphrodite’s influence extends over the intermingled realms of sky, land, and sea. She is a Goddess of love who is not afraid to enter the battlefield and a Goddess of adornment who is the first to appear totally nude. She is also a Goddess born of the sea who emerges into the open sky.

I recently realized that I don't pay enough attention to Her. Perhaps it is because I am in a loving, nurturing relationship and have been so for over a decade; I really don't have a reason. Yesterday's post, though, brought with it a longing to sacrifice to Aphrodite and I did so today. It was a rite of gratitude for what She has provided me with in my life. Today I wanted to give a little homage to Her by sharing some beautiful ancient texts to praise Her.

Blessed are you, Aphrodite! And thank you for all!

 
Apuleius, The Golden Ass 10. 30
"After them a third girl entered, her beauty visibly unsurpassed. Her charming, ambrosia-like complexion intimated that she represented the earlier Aphrodite when that goddess was still a maiden. She vaunted her unblemished beauty by appearing naked and unclothed except for a thin silken garment veiling her entrancing lower parts. An inquisitive gust of air would at one moment with quite lubricous affection blow this garment aside, so that when wafted away it revealed her virgin bloom; at another moment it would wantonly breathe directly upon it, clinging tightly and vividly outlining the pleasurable prospect of her lower limbs.

The goddess's appearance offered contrasting colours to the eye, for her body was dazzling white, intimating her descent from heaven and her robe was dark blue, denoting her emergence from the sea.

[...] The flutes with their many stops were now rendering in sweet harmony melodies in the Lydian mode. As they affectingly softened the hearts of onlookers, Aphrodite still more affectingly began to gently stir herself; with gradual, lingering steps, restrained swaying of the hips, and slow inclination of the head she began to advance, her refined movements matching the soft wounds of the flutes. Occasionally her eyes alone would dance, as at one moment she gently lowered her lids, and at another imperiously signalled with threatening glances."

Sappho, Hymn to Aphrodite
"Iridescent-throned Aphrodite, deathless Child of Zeus, wile-weaver, I now implore you, Don't--I beg you, Lady--with pains and torments Crush down my spirit,

But before if ever you've heard my pleadings Then return, as once when you left your father's Golden house; you yoked to your shining car your Wing-whirring sparrows;

Skimming down the paths of the sky's bright ether On they brought you over the earth's black bosom, Swiftly--then you stood with a sudden brilliance, Goddess, before me;

Deathless face alight with your smile, you asked me What I suffered, who was my cause of anguish, What would ease the pain of my frantic mind, and Why had I called you

To my side: "And whom should Persuasion summon Here, to soothe the sting of your passion this time? Who is now abusing you, Sappho? Who is Treating you cruelly?

Now she runs away, but she'll soon pursue you; Gifts she now rejects--soon enough she'll give them; Now she doesn't love you, but soon her heart will Burn, though unwilling."

Come to me once more, and abate my torment; Take the bitter care from my mind, and give me All I long for; Lady, in all my battles Fight as my comrade."

Euripides, Hippolytus
"O Love, Love, that from the eyes diffusest soft desire, bringing
on the souls of those, whom thou dost camp against, sweet grace, O
never in evil mood appear to me, nor out of time and tune approach!
Nor fire nor meteor hurls a mightier bolt than Aphrodite's shaft shot
by the hands of Love, the child of Zeus."
I have been feeling miasmic lately. Between work stress, some minor physical issues and worrying about the event of and fallout after the US elections, I have just been feeling very... human. I practice with focus and know the Theoi are out there to guide, help and protect but I've been missing Them too, somehow. I never feel Them close to me outside of sacrifices and very rarely during sacrifices but I think I have a bigger need to feel them because I am feeling weaker than usual and more afraid. I usually read mythology then, but I have been too unfocussed for that as of late. So I need pictures and words instead. My go-to is a tumblr search and I'll save you the hassle of doing it. This is my (very small) collection. The words are by Nightquils, the images have been sourced.



"The bruises of love bites left by lovers on necks and thighs; smudged lipstick from hasty kisses; blood red roses with their sharp thorns still intact; the way you hug someone you love when you reunite after a lengthy separation."
 
 
"Polished instruments gleaming, held like the most precious of jewels by their owners; a sunny day with a clear blue sky where there are no clouds in sight; the rough script of poems penned out on scraps of paper or napkins before they're forgotten; when music is so loud that you feel it reverberating in your bones; the pale lines of fading scars."
 
 
"The hands of a fighter, short finger nails and bloodied knuckles; split lips that have scabbed over; the smooth and intricate lines of old weapons you see mounted on museum walls; deep trenches dug out from the earth; the way barbed wire contrasts against whatever it surrounds."
 
 
"Loose braids with wild flowers slipped in; the majesty of tall trees stretching up endlessly towards the heavens; the wide and captivating eyes of wild deer; cloudy nights where the moon is just barely peeking through; the colorful fletching of arrows drawn back to rest upon cheeks and along jaws."
              
 
"The straight and steady way a soldier stands at attention; fingertips smudged with ink; a stack of books to read piled on the floor or a nightstand; eyes gleaming with the glow of new ideas; the quiet and contemplative aura of museums and libraries."
              
 
"The way sunlight catches dust motes in the air through the gaps in the leaves of the trees; the feeling of life you get from standing in the middle of an orchard with bees buzzing around you; crocuses and snowdrops peeking through the last dredges of winter's snow."         
                
 
"The pleasure of holding something you've created in your palms; the soft glow of heated metal; the intricate beauty of cogs and gears fitting together precisely and working in tandem; the smooth and polished surfaces of high-rise business buildings."
 
 
"The lacy white of flowing wedding gowns; the way a couple's hands look clasped together; pairs of old wedding rings that are scratched from years of use; the feeling of surrealism that comes from looking at old family portraits; getting used to sharing a space with someone else and then seeing the mannerisms you've unknowingly adopted from them."
 
 
"The way that the low beam headlights of a car touch the roads that stretch ever onwards at night; old maps yellowed at the corners from their age; the way that things rush past when you look out the window of a car or train; quick hands slipping deftly into pockets and taking what they find."
 
 
"The light and protection of street lights in an otherwise dark city; the warmth of your bed on cold winter mornings; the heat of a fire as you sit around it with people you love; the comfort of a home-cooked meal."
 
 
"The way light looks when you're seeing it shine down from deep underwater; the effervescent colors of cresting waves; the eery beauty of shipwrecks; the ripples created when you trail your fingertips through still waters; dust clouds kicked up by the passing of strong hooves."
 
 
"The way that storm clouds darken the edge of the horizon; silhouettes framed against the sky by flashes of lightning; the splay of feathers of a bird's outstretched wings; the polished and tarnished brass of old fashioned scales."
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. Also: this is question collections post number sixty. Sixty! With an average of four answers per posts, that is at least 240 questions answered--say 250 because I like whole numbers. 250 answers. Quite the achievement. Here is to at least 250 more!


"Is there a Hellenic version of Yule or Winter solstice celebration?"

The closest thing we have to it is the Poseidonia or Poseidea or Poseideia. During the Poseidonia, Poseidon as savior of ships, protector of those who voyage in ships, and God of the lapping waters both salt and fresh important for agriculture, is thanked for the many gifts that came from faraway places that were likely given at that time. The immense trade and distribution was nearly all through shipping, relatively little overland, whether it be perfume from Cyprus or pottery from Corinth. Celebrating Poseidon's Festival seems to be lost in modern practice. It likely entailed bonfires, feasting, cutting of trees (probably decorated), and very likely gift giving. As God of begetting, that aspect was not forgotten.

We don't know, exactly, when the festival took place. Scholars have both claimed and disclaimed it took place during or near the Winter solstice. Elaion generally places it around the winter solstice; it's a point in time the ancient Hellenes would have been able to observe and they most likely did.

~~~
 
"Thoughts on Hermeticism?"

The Hermetic tradition represents a non-Christian lineage of Hellenistic Gnosticism and has greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition. It was considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The tradition claims descent from a doctrine which affirms that a single, true theology exists which is present in all religions and was given by God to man in antiquity. The Hermetica form the basis of Hermeticism. They discuss the divine, the cosmos, mind, and nature. Some touch upon alchemy, astrology, and related concepts. They are Egyptian-Greek wisdom texts from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, which are mostly presented as dialogues in which a teacher, generally identified as Hermes Trismegistus ('thrice-greatest Hermes'), enlightens a disciple. Many Christian writers considered Hermes Trismegistus to be a wise pagan prophet who foresaw the coming of Christianity.

I have stressed before on my blog the importance of narrowing down your practice to a time period and even a location. The reign of the Hellenes lasted for roughly 650 years. During that time, several major changes took place within the culture and religion of these people. Trying to reconstruct all these practices is not only impractical but also impossible. As a Hellenic Recon, it therefor becomes important to find out which classical, Hellenic, period speaks to us--and if we want to go beyond the scope of those time periods into the Graeco-Roman and Graeco-Egyptian. Of even more importance, perhaps, is if you want to follow or include mystery Traditions, like those taught at Eleusis, or by the Orphics, or even those found in the Papyri or Hermetica.

Hermeticism has no place in my personal practice. I base my practice on older traditions as that is what I am most comfortable with. that choice is a personal one and I do enjoy reading texts like the Hermetica. It's just not a religious text for me.

~~~
 
"Why do you not think the use of magic is ok? I mean like what if you worship hades and hekate? "
I do think the practice of magic is okay, I just don't think it's Traditional. I am of the rather strong opinion that modern witchcraft has no place in Hellenismos--especially when that witchcraft is defined as acts which allow humanity influence over their lives and those of others, outside of the realm of the Gods. I call anything else 'praying', and if you need tools for that, than I take no issue besides the fact that it's non-Traditional--save for when it is.

Something I often hear about the ancient Hellenic religion, and prescribed about its modern equivalent, is that there was no magic in ancient Hellas. This is true. It's also a lie. It all depends on your definition of magic. Yes, there was 'magic' and 'witchcraft' in ancient Hellas and its mythology, but not in the way we know it now; this was divine magic; a manifestation of a trait major Gods manifest with a thought and for which lesser deities require a medium to manifest. Their powers, however, are still the powers of a God. This is exactly why I feel we, as Hellenists, should pray to the Gods for any aid we might require, and blessings we would wish upon our lives; to practice magic ourselves would be to equate ourselves with the (minor) Gods, and Hellenismos is clear upon the status of humans: we are human, not divine. In my view, to practice magic is to practice hubris, and that is decidedly dangerous in a Hellenistic context.

The ancient Hellenes worshipped Hekate just like they did other Gods. They worshipped Plouton (an Ouranic epithet of Hades) like that as well. In general, they did not worship Hades--or very rarely. Hades adn hekate were nto equated with the practice of magic; Hekate, if anything, was equated with protection from magic--mostly against the Evil Eye. Practicing magic, in a Traditional practice, makes absolutely no sense, and so I do not. that does not mean I am against it. I think the practice of magic is beautiful. To me, it just does not belong in Hellenismos.
Back in October, I reported on a maritime archaeology expedition in the Black Sea following the July discovery of more than 40 shipwrecks, many of which provide the first views of ship types known from historical sources, but never seen before. The wrecks, which include those from the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, provide new data on the maritime interconnectivity of Black Sea coastal communities and manifest ways of life and seafaring that stretch back into prehistory.


The international team, involving the University of Southampton's Centre for Maritime Archaeology and funded by the charitable organisation for marine research, the Expedition and Education Foundation (EEF), surveyed the Bulgarian waters of the Black Sea, where thousands of years ago large areas of land were inundated as the water level rose following the last Ice Age. Professor Jon Adams, Founding Director of the University of Southampton's Centre for Maritime Archaeology and Principle Investigator on the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (Black Sea MAP) said back then:

"The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys. They are astonishingly preserved due to the anoxic conditions (absence of oxygen) of the Black Sea below 150 metres. Using the latest 3-D recording technique for underwater structures, we've been able to capture some astonishing images without disturbing the sea bed. We are now among the very best exponents of this practice methodology and certainly no-one has achieved models of this completeness on shipwrecks at these depths. Maritime archaeology in the deep sea has often been a contested domain, but this project, the largest of its type ever undertaken, demonstrates how effective partnerships between academia and industry can be, especially when funded by enlightened bodies such as EEF."

Now a month has passed and much more has become clear about the wrecks and their condition. Brendan P. Foley, an archaeologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Mass., who has explored a number of Black Sea wrecks, said the sea’s overall expanse undoubtedly held tens of thousands of lost ships.

“Everything that sinks out there is going to be preserved. They’re not going away. You might find books, parchment, written documents. Who knows how much of this stuff was being transported? But now we have the possibility of finding out. It’s amazing.”

For ages, the Black Sea was a busy waterway that served the Balkans, the Eurasian steppes, the Caucasus, Asia Minor, Mesopotamia and Greece. It long beckoned to archaeologists because they knew its deep waters lacked oxygen, a rarity for large bodies of water. The great rivers of Eastern Europe — the Don, the Danube, the Dnieper — pour so much fresh water into the sea that a permanent layer forms over denser, salty water from the Mediterranean. As a result, oxygen from the atmosphere that mixes readily with fresh water never penetrates the inky depths. In 1976, Willard Bascom, a pioneer of oceanography, in his book 'Deep Water, Ancient Ships', called the Black Sea unique among the world’s seas and a top candidate for exploration and discovery.

Goods traded on the Black Sea included grains, furs, horses, oils, cloth, wine and people. The Tatars turned Christians into slaves who were shipped to places like Cairo. For Europeans, the sea provided access to a northern branch of the Silk Road and imports of silk, satin, musk, perfumes, spices and jewels. Experts said the success in Bulgarian waters might inspire other nations that control portions of the Black Sea to join the archaeological hunt. They are Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Yesterday marked the ate of the Pompaia festival. The festival was mostly a purificatory rite but like it's predecessor this month, the Maimakteria, the Pompaia was also linked to the weather. The rite fell in a month where people prepared for winter and where the weather got harsher. Zeus, as God of storm and stormy weather, had a major impact on the inhabitants of Athens and us today. Yesterday this was made ubundantly clear to me: The day of the festival coincided with the first true autumn storm to hit The Netherlands.


 
I love it when things like this happen, when you can look out your window and literally see why you are sacrificing. When you can look out and truly feel the need for prayer and divine aid. Zeus rages today and we offered appeasement. The storm brought warm weather and tomorrow the temperatur will be gentl and fair. Bless gloriou Zeus in all His many guises!
Zeno of Elea (Ζήνων ὁ Ἐλεάτης) lived from around 490 BC to 430 BC. He was a pre-Socratic Hellenic philosopher of Magna Graecia (the name given by the Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy) and a member of the Eleatic School founded by Parmenides. He is best known for a series of paradoxes which have puzzled, challenged, influenced, inspired, infuriated, and amused philosophers, mathematicians, and physicists for over two millennia. Perhaps the famoust of the paradoxes is the Achilles Paradox.

This is the paradox: Achilles, who we can assume is the fastest runner of antiquity, is racing to catch the tortoise that is slowly crawling away from him. Both are moving along a linear path at constant speeds. In order to catch the tortoise, Achilles will have to reach the place where the tortoise presently is. However, by the time Achilles gets there, the tortoise will have crawled to a new location. Achilles will then have to reach this new location. By the time Achilles reaches that location, the tortoise will have moved on to yet another location, and so on forever. Zeno claims Achilles will never catch the tortoise. Confused? Perhaps a video will help.


Although practically no scholars today would agree with Zeno’s conclusion, we cannot escape the paradox. Zeno assumed distances and durations can be endlessly divided into parts, and he assumed there are too many of these parts for the runner to complete. With this, he emphasized the distinction between appearance and reality; it would appear that Achilles would blow past the tortoise in a few paces but in reality there are an infinite number of points Achilles must reach where the tortoise has already been, he can never overtake the tortoise. The paradox thus supports his teacher Parmenides' doctrine that contrary to the evidence of one's senses, the belief in plurality and change is mistaken, and in particular that motion is nothing but an illusion.

The source for Zeno's views is Aristotle (Physics Book VI, Chapter 8, 239b14-16) and some passages from Simplicius in the fifth century C.E. There is no evidence that Zeno used a tortoise rather than a slow human. The tortoise is a later commentator’s addition. Aristotle spoke simply of “the runner” who competes with Achilles.

So how do we solve the paradox instead of rejecting it? It boils down to the following 'problem': the tortoise moves continuous but because Achilles has to catch up, his path is discrete; he is, after all, continually catching up to a set point in space where the tortoise no longer is. This would look something like this:
________________________
The tortoise' continual path

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
Achilles' discrete path

It's too easy to say that if Achilles' aim is to overtake the turtoise, he should aim for a point ahead of the turtoise and thus create a continual path; if he did he is still required to go to every one of those locations that the tortoise touched. So what is the solution? It took humanity a while but we've come up with a Standard Solution to all of Zeno's paradoxes having to do with motion: math. First we must break down the paradox:

1: Achilles must first traverse an infinite number of divisions in order to reach the tortoise
2: it is impossible for Achilles to traverse an infinite number of divisions
3: therefore, Achilles can never surpass the tortoise
 
To overcome the paradox, one must prove mathamathically that Achilles isn't, in fact, following a discrete path but a continuum of his own. If they move move at a continuum, Achilles would very quickly overtake the turtoise, after all.

The math: Achilles travels a distance d1 in reaching the point x1 where the tortoise starts, but by the time Achilles reaches x1, the tortoise has moved on to a new point x2. When Achilles reaches x2, having gone an additional distance d2, the tortoise has moved on to point x3, requiring Achilles to cover an additional distance d3, and so forth. This sequence of non-overlapping distances (or intervals or sub-paths) is an actual infinity, but happily the geometric series converges. The sum of its terms d1 + d2 + d3 +… is a finite distance that Achilles can readily complete while moving at a constant speed. Here, have a chart:

The Achilles Argument presumes that space and time are continuous or infinitely divisible. So, Zeno's conclusion may not simply have been that Achilles cannot catch the tortoise but instead that he cannot catch the tortoise if space and time are infinitely divisible. Whatever the case, it's taken millenia to even come up with a standerd to beat the paradox--and that means that as ludicrous as the paradox sounds, it is definitely intricate and very advanced.
This month's Pandora's Kharis cause is the crowdfunded restauration of the ancient theatre of Cassope, in the region of Epirus. It the latest cultural project to be crowdfunded under National Bank’s act4greece program. The target is set at 80,000 euros, and it must be reached by December 31.


The Grand Theatre of Cassope is located in the ruined hill northwest of cassope. It was constructed in the 3rd century BC and had a capacity of about 2,500 people. According to some authors it could accommodate 6,000 people. It was the largest of a total of two theaters that existed in the city. The other, called the Conservatory of distinction, could seat 300 to 500 people. The large theater is now largely destroyed due to natural decay and is nearly inaccessible. This is about to change, though.

The act4Greece program is run by National Bank of Greece, with strategic partners including the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, the John S. Latsis Foundation, the Bodossaki Foundation, the Hellenic National Commission for UNESCO, and the Hellenic Network for Corporate Social Responsibility.

Diazoma, a citizens’ group that works to protect and promote Greece’s ancient monuments, recently came up with a proposal to include the Cassope theatre in the act4greece program – an idea that received the green light from National Bank.

The Cassope campaign was officially launched on September 17 at the Little Theatre of Epidaurus, in the Peloponnese, where Diazoma was hosting its ninth annual conference. Participants discussed a wide range of ideas regarding how scientific and funding initiatives can put monuments into the service of regional growth.

The ruins of the ancient city of Cassope, which flourished in the 3rd century BC, are located in a privileged position in the Preveza region, at the southern foot of Mount Zalongo, with a spectacular view of the Ionian Sea and the Ambracian Gulf.

Cassope, Nicopolis, Ambracia, Dodoni and Gitanae are the main highlights on a cultural itinerary for Epirus designed by Diazoma. Funded by the Epirus Regional Authority, the cultural itinerary is part of an effort to improve the tourism product of the region and includes booklets, an e-tour of the itinerary with a relevant app, information signs, minor accessibility interventions and much more.

The first project to be subsidized by the act4greece program was the Theatro Technis Karolos Koun. A total of 108,176 euros was raised.

The deadline to donate is November 30th, 2016. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the Pandora's Kharis website or by donating directly to baring.the.aegis@gmail.com. Thank you in advance!
Despite the lingering debt crisis in Greece over the past few years, the restoration and protection of the Acropolis hill has never ceased, partially due to the funds they receive from both Greek government and the European Union. Since 1975, the total cost of the restoration works on the Acropolis hill stands at 100 million euros (109.02 million U.S. dollars), according to Vassiliki Eleftheriou, director of the Acropolis Restoration Service. Considering the size of the project, the amount was small, she said. Eleftheriou is in charge of the operation and spoke recently about future plans for the massive undertaking.



 "Funding has never been a major problem. The Greek state always supported us. This is a national treasure and its protection is a national goal, a matter of national priority."

Standing on the hill, Eleftheriou said restoration of the cultural relics has always been a difficult and delicate task for her agency. Eleftheriou and her colleagues have to move forward with their restoration and maintenance work while keeping the Acropolis hill open to thousands of tourists every day.

Work at an open archaeological site does not progress at a very fast pace. Reporters at the scene saw only two cranes operating on site while archaeologists and craftsmen were confined to a small corner near the hill's entrance to do their job.

Comprised of experts who have won international acknowledgment for their work, the Acropolis Restoration Service was set up with the aim of preserving the masterpieces constructed in the 5th century BC. As technology advances, the service is constantly seeking the best materials, tools and techniques to reverse the damage caused by time, environmental pollution and the human factor, according to Eleftheriou.

To maintain the structural integrity and authenticity of the monuments, archaeologists are careful with the decisions and materials they use. Before any decision to restore the relics is made, a multidisciplinary committee of scholars will examine the proposal submitted by archaeologists, architects and other specialists.

To stabilize the monuments and address static problems, for example, Greek experts used titanium to reinforce broken stones in the past four decades. The use of the latest technological tools such as 3D filming is also helping Greek experts and officials to document the site with more accuracy for further scientific research as well as bringing it closer to wider audiences. Only the best materials are used. For example, the white marble used for completing the eroded architectural elements is quarried from the same mountain as the antiquity.

The Acropolis Restoration Service is also seeking wider and deeper collaboration with other countries, including China, on the know-how of antiquity protection. Eleftheriou believes this is an efficient way to ensure the Acropolis monumental ensemble is better protected and passed down to future generations.
The third Thursday in november is traditionally Wold Philosophy Day. This year it was on the 17th, yesterday. I had planned to post about it on the day of but the plans of mice and men...

World Philosophy Day is an intituative of uUNESCO. By celebrating World Philosophy Day each year UNESCO underlines the enduring value of philosophy for the development of human thought, for each culture and for each individual. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova says the following about it:

"Faced with the complexity of today’s world, philosophical reflection is above all a call to humility, to take a step back and engage in reasoned dialogue, to build together the solutions to challenges that are beyond our control. This is the best way to educate enlightened citizens, equipped to fight stupidity and prejudice. The greater the difficulties encountered the greater the need for philosophy to make sense of questions of peace and sustainable development."

This year, we celebrated World Philosophy Day immediately after International Day for Tolerance. This coincidence is deeply significant, given the link between tolerance and philosophy. Philosophy thrives on the understanding of, respect and consideration for the diversity of opinions, thoughts and cultures that enrich the way we live in the world. As with tolerance, philosophy is an art of living together, with due regard to rights and common values. It is the ability to see the world with a critical eye, aware of the viewpoints of others, strengthened by the freedom of thought, conscience and belief.

For all these reasons, philosophy is more than an academic subject; it is a daily practice that helps people to live in a better, more humane way. Philosophical questioning is learned and honed from the youngest age, as an essential key to inspiring public debate and defending humanism, which is suffering the violence and tensions in the world. Philosophy does not offer any ready-to-use solutions, but a perpetual quest to question the world and try to find a place in it. Along this road, tolerance is both a moral virtue and a practical tool for dialogue. It has nothing to do with the naive relativism that claims everything is equally valid; it is an individual imperative to listen, all the more striking because it is founded on a resolute commitment to defend the universal principles of dignity and freedom.

This year, UNESCO celebrated the birthdays of two eminent philosophers, Aristotle and Leibniz, who contributed to the development of metaphysics and science, logic and ethics. Both of them, a few centuries apart and in very different cultural contexts, placed philosophy at the core of public life, as the centrepiece of a free and dignified life. In turn, we must celebrate this spirit; let us dare to open spaces for free, open and tolerant thinking. On the basis of this dialogue, we can build stronger cooperation between citizens, societies and States, as a lasting foundation for peace.
The months of late fall and early winter are relatively light on the festival agenda--Maimakterion, the month we are in now, wasn't even on the sacrificial calendar of Erkhia, for example. This could have at least three reasons: It's getting cold and wet out and the ancient Hellenes held their rituals outdoors, most of the harvesting was done so food was assured or there was nothing that could be done to decrease the shortage, and with the fall of winter, warfare came to a halt; the seas were too rough to go on campaigns and it would soon be too cold to exist comfortably in a war camp. Seeing as these two latter two reasons were the major ones to have festivals, these months are quiet ones. In the Athenian calendar, only two festivals are attested to take place this month, and both are very minor--and archaic. Today, we speak of just one: the Pompaia, as Elaion will host a PAT ritual for the event November 20, at the usual 10 AM EST.


Let start with something obvious we do not know about the Pompaia: the actual date of the festival. Parke (in 'Festivals of the Athenians', page 96) states that the Pompaia in honor of Zeus Meilichios was held during the last third of Maimakterion which would be on or after 20 Maimakterion. Parke cites the treatise on the Pompaia by Polemon of Ilion so we're fairly confident he is correct on the date.

What we do know is that the Pompaia was not originally celebrated by the people of Athens, but solely by its priests. Potentially, it was only celebrated by the priests of Zeus. It was linked to purification. It was one of the festivals that, by Classical times, had already lost much of its original meaning, but which was repeated year after year because it had always been repeated year after year--and in general these had been good years. Not having the rite on the calendar could have devastating effects, so it was performed.

The Pompaia followed the Maimakteria during which a sheep was most likely sacrificed and the fleece collected and cleaned. During the Pompaia a second procession took place with the fleece. The fleece--the 'Diòs Koidion', as it was called--was said to have purifying and other magical qualities that would rub off on he who interacted with it, if he stood on it with his left foot. In fact, a sheep skin was used in the Eleusian Mysteries in this fashion to absolve those who had a lot of guilt to carry around--or a lot of grief. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter mentions her sitting down in a chair covered by a fleece, and there is also artwork of initiates shrowded in a fleece.

The sheep skin was most likely not connected to Zeus at the start of the practice; as we have seen, it had much stronger ties to other deities. The Pompaia rite simply called for a sheep skin. The connection with Zeus most likely happened through assimilation: the rite fell in a month where people prepared for winter and where the weather got harsher. As such, Zeus had a major impact on the inhabitants of Athens; he controls the weather after all. The sheep from which the skin was used became sacrificed to Him as an appeasement, and then the ritually charged skin made its way through the city.

In the same fashion, the kērukeion (κηρύκειον)--better known as the kaduceus--the snake-entwined staf that was the symbol of Hermes, was carried through the city. Most likely Hermes was not part of the actual rite; the kērukeion, like the Diòs Koidion, was a powerful symbol which was used to offer protection and purification to the city now winter was upon them. After all, the kērukeion was said to ward off all evil--and the cold, dark, days of winter most certainly had those. Hermes was added through the procession solely by association, but it is doubtful that He also recieved an animal sacrifice.

The Pompaia--meaning 'to exorcise'--was not popular, and in general these minor festivals were performed by the priests, for the city, without its inhabitants taking part. A small group of priests most likely walked the city with the objects and those who came upon the group would have said their prayers, spoke their wishes, and paid their respects. Yet, they were not included in the ceremony. This rite fell to the priests, so they could ask the Gods to continue placing their blanket of protection over the city.

As we have no ancient priests of Zeus hanging around, we take this responsibility upon ourselves instead. Will you join us on November 20, at 10 AM EST? You can join the community here and download the ritual here.
Yesterday night a supermoon. In fact, t was a special supermoon. The moon, yesterday, was the closest it’s been to the Earth since January 26, 1948—the next similarly large supermoon won’t occur until November 25, 2034. On the night of the supermoon, the diameter of the moon appeared up to 14 percent larger and the total area of the moon looked up to 30 percent larger and brighter. The moon appears so large due to its positioning on its orbit.

The moon’s orbit is not a circle, but rather an ellipse, just as with the planets. On average, the moon is about 239,000 miles away from the Earth. When it is at perigee, or its closest point to Earth, it can be about 225,000 miles away. When this happens during full moon, the apparent size of the moon, as seen from Earth, appears to increase.

In he Hellenic religion, the prime lunar deity is the Titan Selene (Σελήνη), who is the personification of the moon. She is linked to everything the moon can be connected to, including the night, ocean tides, magic, childbirth, dew, lunacy, nursing and the months. As such, last night was especially saced to Her. I hope you have all enjoyed Her in all Her glory. Else a similar experience can be had tonight. I'll share a few Google-found images of previous supermoons to at least give you the feeling of last night's special event--and of course they are all linked to ancient Hellenic monuments.

[Propylaia, Acropolis, Athens]
 
[Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion]
 
[Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion]
 
[Temple of Apollon, Corinth]
 
[Statue of Athena, Athens]
On November 19, at a yet to be determined tme and place, there will be a sacrifice for the healing of the nation after the elections and its aftermath. This is not a PAT ritual; it's not organised by Elaion itself. It's organised by ΘΙΑΣΟΣ ΦΟΙΒΟΣ (Thiasos Phoibos), which is aligned with Elaion. I do, however, endorce it and I will join in on the day and at the exact time if I can.


From the Facebook event:

"An Offering to Zeus and Hera for the Healing of the Nation.
We feel the need to light a Pyre and pour Libations to Zeus and Hera, to Athene and Themis, and any other Gods you may think of to unite the Nation.
We will Offer up Prayers, not Curses, and drink and eat together to restore our sense of Community.
We would like to open this Event to people of all Traditions and Faiths.We will let you know the Location very soon, it will likely be somewhere in the San Fernando Valley.
Bring something to eat or drink to the Potluck Feast."
 
Of course I can't be there, but I will be there in spirit. It's been days now and I can still barely wrap my head around it. I read about the riots, the violence, the hate. I read about the things Trump plans to do, the rape to social welfare, economic welfare, environmental regulation LGBT rights and I am scared. I see my US friends getting scared. And angry. There is a lot of turmoil in the world and especially in the US. I will gladly pray to Zeus and Here, to Athena and Themis, to Niké and Nemesis to aleviate some of that, if They are willing. To right some wrongs and prevent further suffering. So come together, if you can be there in person or not, and pray with us to see us through the trying times to come.
You guys, I am tired. Worrying about current events and the pain and fear I see in my friends have exhausted me. You know, Plato and Socrates loathed democracy. Socrates believed that people very rarely took the time nor had the mental capacity to fully appreciate and comprehend that which they were voting on. Plato rejected Athenian democracy on the basis they followed citizens' impulses rather than pursuing the common good, that democracies are unable to allow a sufficient number of their citizens to have their voices heard, and that such democracies were typically run by fools.

The lack of coherent unity in Athenian democracy made Plato conclude that such democracies were a mere collection of individuals occupying a common space rather than a form of political organization. As a result, Plato accused such democracies of lacking rules outside where its citizens see fit and lacking leadership due to the notion of equality in Athenian democracy. Plato claimed that in Athenian democracy, individuals' pursuit of their own desires led to self-centredness and conflict rather than the pursuit of the common good. Due to the citizens being free to pursue their passions, Plato claimed that rational leadership was impossible in Athenian democracy as elected representatives served the citizens' passions. Plato claimed that the significance of the voice of the individual in an Athenian democracy depreciates as the population of the democracy increases.

I don't like Socrates and Plato's views on manyn things--I am more of a Stoic in my views and the sheer pessimistic views of Socrates and Plato bring me down. But as I look at the state of affairs today--first Brexit, now Trump--I can't claim their views are false. I have been reading a lot of Plato the last few days--not good for my mood but somehowe comforting because it shows these fears and worries I have are of all ages. I'm tired of thinking, though, and tired of the negative. So today I am sharing a video on ancient Athenia democracy. It won't make things better, but it gives perspective to the words and views of socrates and Plato and on the current state of events.


In this video--titled 'Ten things you really should know aboout ancient Greek democracy'--professor Paul Cartledge explores the democracy in ancient Hellas and the origins of the word, and how that distinguishes from todays notion of democracy. One of the main myths he tackles is the fact that we say there was democracy in ancient Hellas. There was no such thing. That is, there was no such one thing. Even Athens, which invented both the thing and the name, had at least three versions over a span of about 150 years. But although the ancient Hellenes have given the world democracy, ancient Greek democracy was in several crucial and fundamental respects very different indeed from, if not opposite to, what passes for democracy today.

Gresham College has been giving free public lectures since 1597. There are currently over 2,000 lectures free to access or download from their website.

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New evidence discovered by Greek scientists concerning the cataclysmic volcanic eruption on the island of Santorini 3,600 years ago suggests a new narrative for the disaster that crippled the Bronze Age civilisations that had thrived in the prehistoric Aegean for more than 2,000 years. A new theory says 'pyroclastic flows' caused the devastating Bronze Age tsunamis that smashed into Minoan Crete, reports the Archaeology News Network.

Santorini (Σαντορίνη), classically named 'Thera' and officially Thira (Θήρα), is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece's mainland. Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island and created the current geological caldera.

The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis. That is the old theory anyway.

Now, Geologist-Oceanographer Dr. Paraskevi Nomikou and her colleagues from Athens University's Geology and Geo-Environment Department have now suggested an entirely different time line for these tsunamis, based on new seismic and ocean floor data, combined with modelling. According to their theory, published in Nature Communications, the tsunamis were the result of 'pyroclastic flow'--the hot ash, rock and lava that was spewed into the ocean before the crater's collapse.

The new data from their study seems to indicate that the caldera was not open to the sea during the main phase of the volcanic eruption but flooded afterwards, when the eruption was over. The Greek scientists have discovered a submarine channel measuring one kilometre across and three kilometres in length that links the caldera with the sea. They said that this was initially blocked by ash and other material from the explosion, acting like a dam. This subsequently gave way and filled the previously dry bed of the caldera with sea water in less than two days, or possibly even hours.

Talking to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, Dr. Nomikou said that scientists have been studying the morphology of the Santorini volcano for years to discover which sections sank and which remained on the surface after it erupted.

"The new study shows us that there was a channel between Oia and Thirasia that was filled in by the explosion, so that the main caldera collapsed without causing a tsunami. Afterward, when the dam in the channel between Oia and Thirasia broke, sea water entered the caldera in two days at the most. Something like this, however, did not cause a tsunami. This was caused because, during the third and fourth phase of the eruption, huge quantities of volcanic ash were blown up into the air, and pyroclastic flows then entered the sea. These were what caused the tsunami that affected northern Crete and all the eastern Mediterranean."

While the main eruption was in full swing, the Greek scientists suggest, there may have been little of no water inside the crater, which was cut off from the surrounding sea. They believe that a shallow caldera may have already existed in the north section of the island's volcanic field, created by a previous eruption 18,000 years ago. The major volcanic eruption in 1610 B.C. then made this more ancient caldera deeper and wider until it was flooded with water.

In support of this theory, researchers have found deposits of pyroclastic material up to 60 metres thick on the seabed around the shores of Santorini, in quantities sufficient to cause a tsunami-like wave. This also agrees with later studies on the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, which identified pyroclastic flows as the culprit for the tsunami generated at that time.

Scientists estimate that the eruption of Santorini took place at around 1610 B.C.--give or take 15 years--and was probably one of the largest the world has seen for the last 10,000 years. According to Nomikou, however, it was not responsible for wiping out Minoan civilisation as popularly supposed. She pointed out that Crete's Minoan civilisation managed to survive for almost two centuries after the tsunami hit--until roughly 1450 B.C.--and finally collapsed due to endogenous causes, though it was made more vulnerable.

Working with Nomikou on the Greek study were Dr. Dimitris Papanikolaou and Danae Lambridou, along with other scientists from France, Britain, Germany, the United States and Iceland.
The Maimakteria is one of those festivals not a lot has survived about. We know it was in honour of Zeus Maimaktes, the Blustering, and that it was connected to the weather and protection of crops. Protecting our crops is a desire we have to this day so we will celebrate the Maimakteria, regardless. Will you join us on November 16, at the usual 10 am EST?


The months of late fall and early winter are relatively light on the festival agenda. This could have at least three reasons: It's getting cold and wet out and the ancient Hellenes held their rituals outdoors, most of the harvesting was done so food was assured or there was nothing that could be done to decrease the shortage, and with the fall of winter, warfare came to a halt; the seas were too rough to go on campaigns and it would soon be too cold to exist comfortably in a war camp. Seeing as these two latter two reasons were the major ones to have festivals, these months are quiet ones. In the Athenian calendar, only two festivals are attested to take place this month: the Maimakteria and the Pompaia.

Most likely, the Maimakteria was connected to the Pompaia, which took place at a later date in the month. I say 'a later date' because we are not sure of the dating. Parke (in 'Festivals of the Athenians', page 96) states that the Pompaia in honor of Zeus Meilichios was held during the last third of Maimakterion which would be on or after 20 Maimakterion. Parke cites the treatise on the Pompaia by Polemon of Ilion so we're fairly confident he is correct on the date. He also states that the Maimakteria took place 'mid-month'. The sixteenth is as viable a date as any other around this time.

The Pompaia was linked to purification. During this rite a white sheep's fleece--the 'Diòs Koidion', as it was called--was placed on the ground and the priests who took part in the rite stood on it with their left foot to be purified and blessed. We believe the Maimakteria was when this sheep was sacrificed.

If the rite followed the standard practice of Hellenic ritual, the sheep was led to the altar--most likely that of Zeus--in procession and then sacrificed. The animal was skinned and the fleece cleaned. The Diòs Koidion was said to have purifying and other magical qualities that would rub off on he who interacted with it, if he stood on it with his left foot.

The sheep skin was most likely not connected to Zeus at the start of the practice. The connection with Zeus most likely happened through assimilation: the rite fell in a month where people prepared for winter and where the weather got harsher. As such, Zeus had a major impact on the inhabitants of Athens; he controls the weather after all. The sheep from which the skin was used became sacrificed to Him as an appeasement, and then the ritually charged skin made its way through the city.

We hope you will join us for the Maimakteria on November 16. You can download the ritual here and join the community for the event here.
It has been twenty-four hours since I heard the news. Twenty-four hours and it's still not sunk in. I am shocked. I am terrified. I am saddened by the level of fear that is prevalent in our society. America cast its vote as a plea for safety, stability and a shot at a better life. I understand that. I also know, though, that the coming years will be hard to every single person in the US that I know and love. POC friends, LGBT friends, non-Christian friends. I can't even imagine how they are feeling even though I talked with them all day yesterday, reaching out to make sure they all knew how loved and appreciated they are--an that there is support for them. I'm reaching out to everyone who needs it, to everyone who is scared, angry and/or still reeling. This too shall pass, eventually. Stay strong until then. May the Theoi blanket you all in safety and love.

I have some ancient words of wisdom for Trump, as spoken by Solon of Athens. Solon (Σόλων) was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker, and poet, who lived from 638 BC to 558 BC. He spent most of his adult life trying to legislate against political, economic, and moral decline in archaic Athens. His ideologies are often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. As a statesman, Solon put principles before expediency. In a time when Athens was struggling under the burden of civil war, his reforms strove to bridge the gap between the rich an the poor. Solon's reforms created a system where the power was in the hands of the people, if they were willing to work hard for it.  For those without political aspirations, Solon's reforms provided judicial safety and a sense of power.
"Good government makes everything well ordered and fit,
 And at the same time it throws shackles on the unjust.
 It levels out the rough, stops insolence, and weakens arrogance.
 It causes the growing blossoms of blindness to wither.
 It straightens crooked judgments and it levels out over-reaching deeds.
 It stops the acts of civil conflict and
 It stops the anger of grievous strife and because of it
 Everything among men is wisely and appropriately done."
[Solon, fr. 4.32-39]
It seems that even back in the ancient times people were prone to depression as archaeological finds from the Ancient Hellenic city of Bathonea, located on the banks of Küçükçekmece Lake in Turkey has revealed.


The city of Bathonea dates back to the 2nd century BC and is located in Istanbul’s Avcilar District and archaeologists have discovered many finds among the ruins of the ancient city, including seven hundred small glass and ceramic bottles containing medicines that are believed to have been used to treat depression and heart disease.

According to published material  from Hürriyet Daily News, there were more than just the seven hundred bottles that gave insight into the activities of this ancient society as archaeologists also uncovered an entire laboratory, complete with mortars, pestles and big cookers alongside many spatulas and other medical tools.

The laboratory itself is believed to be from around 7th century AD or earlier and evidence of a fire dating between 620 AD and 640 AD has led archeologists to believe that it was most likely destroyed during an attack by the Avar Empire in 626 AD.

The medicine found in the bottles was made from local plants which were also uncovered in the excavation. The two medicines found were methadone, which is an antidepressant and phenanthrene, which is used for heart disease, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) reported.
So, today you Americans are going to decide how badly your country is going to get messed up in the coming four years. I won't lie, I am not a fan of either candidate, but I will state for the record that I would vote for Clinton if I could. If Trump becomes president, I truly fear for you all--and especially if you are a woman, POC, under thirty and anything below super wealthy. There will be war, there will be economic crisis, there will be social crisis and there will be a healthcare crisis. That is my soapbox speech. Vote wise, America, vote and vote wise!

In ancient Athens, sovereign power was held by the ekklesia, and only by the ekklesia. Every citizen in ancient Hellas who was eligible to vote had the right to vote on new or changing laws and was thus required to be aware of them and have an opinion on them; a direct democracy. Very roughly measured, about a quarter of the inhabitants of ancient Athens were eligible to vote (we're not sure about the rest of ancient Hellas). At the height of ancient Athens, this would have constituted about 25,000 men. 6,000 were needed before any vote even went up. On slow days, serfs who were part of the Scythian Guard literally wrangled citizens (!) into the halls, with a rope smeared with red ochre--called a 'miltos'--to get enough bodies in the seats.

Getting 25,000 people--or even 6,000--to do anything in union is a very daunting task, so the ancient Athenians formed a 'boule' (βουλή), who met at the 'bouleterion'. The term comes from the ancient Greek word for 'citizens': bouleutai (βουλευταί). Every citizen in Athens had to belong to one of the ten tribes, eight of which were named after its mythical kings. The boule was assembled from 50 men, chosen from each tribe, for a total of 500 men. They oversaw the daily workings of the city, administered justices, looked after the placement of orphans, etc.
The boule still consisted of far too many people to get anything done in an orderly fashion. The next step was to dilute an even smaller group from the 500 members of the boule. Five men from each of the ten tribes represented in the boule were chosen to form a subgroup called the 'prytaneis' (πρυτάνεις), for a total of fifty. Membership of the prytaneis was rotated each tenth of a year. This meant that if you were a member of the boule, you would serve roughly 36 days as a prytanis (πρύτανις).

During their days as prytanis, members of the prytaneis ate at public expense in the 'Tholos' (θόλος), a circular edifice constructed for them next to the bouleterion. In effect, they lived there for the duration of their time as prytanis. My guess as to why, is because they would be easy to find that way. Prythaneis were the only people who could summon the ekklesia in case of emergencies so, in case of emergencies, they needed to be locatable.

In short: ancient Athens was ruled by the ekklesia of about 25,000 voting citizens. The ekklesia, in turn, was managed by the boule of 500 citizens, taken from the ranks of the ekklesia. The boule, finally, was managed by 50 members of the boule, called the prytaneis. Everyone in the ekklesia voted, but their votes were tallied by the boule-members of their tribe, who related the votes to the prytanis of their tribe, who then tallied and proclaimed the votes.
The right to vote, in ancient Hellas, was reserved for only a part of the population. In order to be eligible to vote on anything, you had to fulfill a good couple of criteria:

- You had to be male
- Both of your parents had to be Hellenic citizens
- You had to be a landowner
- You had to be an adult
- In Athens, you needed to have completed your military training as ephebes
- Also in Athens, your right to citizenship could not be under suspicion

This means that children, women, slaves, foreigners and landless men were not allowed to vote on any decision put in front of the assembly. But despite the limited voters, ancient Hellas--and especially Athens--was definitely a democracy. The word 'democracy' (δημοκρατία) is made up of two, Greek, words: dêmos (δῆμος), meaning 'people' and krátos (κράτος) meaning 'power' or 'force'. In fact, in ancient Hellas, no one voted on a person to represent them; they represented themselves.
I greatly encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote. The right to vote, either looking at it from a modern or ancient perspective, is exactly that; a right, a privilege. Besides children, most of us now have the right to vote. We have a right to voice our opinion and make a stand. It may be difficult, confusing and it may even seem like your vote won't matter, but if you don't voice your preference and those who would vote opposite of you, do... well... you can only blame yourself if your candidate doesn't win, right?
 
So go out today, America. Vote. Vote wise. And I will say this: I truly believe that if you are a Hellenist, if you live and breath the Delphic Maxims, if you read the mythology and study the society that wrote them down, you cannot vote for Trump. Ponder that and go out to vote.