An archaeological excavation team from Yarmouk University has recently discovered a Hellenistic temple and network of water tunnels in Umm Qais, Atef Sheyyab, president of the archaeology department at the university told the Jordan Times. 


Umm Qais is a town in the extreme northwest of Jordan, near it's borders with Israel and Syria. It is perched on a hilltop 378 metres (1,240 ft) above sea level overlooking the Sea of Tiberias, the Golan Heights, and the Yarmouk River gorge. It's known for its proximity to the ruins of the ancient Gadara.

A member of the Decapolis, Gadara was a center of Hellenic culture in the region, considered one of its most Hellenized and enjoying special political and religious status. By the third century BC the town was of some cultural importance. It was the birthplace of the satirist Menippus and one of the most admired Hellenic poets,  Meleager. In 63 BC, when the Roman general Pompey placed the region under Roman control, he rebuilt Gadara and made it one of the semi-autonomous cities of the Roman Decapolis.

The temple dates from the Hellenistic era (332 BC to 63 BC) and was later reused during the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras, Sheyyab said. The temple, built following the Hellenic architectural  design of “Distyle in Antis”, consists of a pronaos (the inner area of the portico of a Greek or Roman temple), a podium and a naos, the holy chamber of the temple. At the temple, the team has found a number of Ionic-order columns that once supported the structure’s roof.

The team has also discovered a network of water tunnels at the centre of the ancient town, which are separated from the external tunnel that was discovered decades ago in the area, the professor said.
The network consists of a number of Hellenistic wells and Roman tunnels, he noted, adding that the tunnels lead to a hot bath inside the town.

The team has taken pottery samples to examine in order to identify the exact date of the temple. The experts will also use them to prepare a blueprint showing the temple’s layout at the time, according to Sheyab.
Theokritos was a Hellenic bucolic poet who flourished in Syracuse, Kos and Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. His surviving work can mostly be found within an old compendium of 30 poems known as the "Idylls of Theocritus," Many of these works, however, are no longer attributed to the poet. In "Idyll 1" Thyrsis sings to a goatherd about how Daphnis, the mythical herdsman, having defied the power of Aphrodite, dies rather than yielding to a passion the Goddess has inflicted on him. Ift's a lovely song and I would like to share it with you today.


"‘Tis Thyrsis sings, of Etna, and a rare sweet voice hath he.
Where were ye, Nymphs, when Daphnis pined? ye Nymphs, O where were ye?
Was it Peneius’ pretty vale, or Pindus’ glens? ‘twas never
Anápus’ flood nor Etna’s pike nor Acis’ holy river.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

When Daphnis died the foxes wailed and the wolves they wailed full sore,
The lion from the greenward wept when Daphnis was no more.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

O many the lusty steers at his feet, and may the heifers slim,
Many the claves and many the kine that made their moan for him.

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

Came Hermes first, from the hills away, and said “O Daphnis tell,
“Who is’t that fretteth thee, my son? whom lovest thou so well?”

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

The neatherds came, the shepherds came, and the goatherds him beside,
All fain to hear what ail’d him; Priápus came and cried
“Why peak and pine, unhappy wight, when thou mightest bed a bride?
“For there’s nor wood nor water but hath seen her footsteps flee –

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

“In search o’ thee. O a fool-in-love and a feeble is here, perdye!
“Neatherd, forsooth? ‘tis goatherd now, or ‘faith, ‘tis like to be;
“When goatherd in the rutting-time the skipping kids doth scan,
“His eye grows soft, his eye grows sad, because he’s born a man; –

Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

“So you, when ye see the lasses laughing in gay riot,
“Your eye grows soft, your eye grows sad, because you share it not.”
But never a word said the poor neathérd, for a bitter love bare he;
And he bare it well, as I shall tell, to the end that was to be.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

But and the Cyprian came him to, and smiled on him full sweetly –
For thou she fain would foster wrath, she could not choose but smile –
And cried “Ah, braggart Daphnis, that wouldst throw Love so featly!
“Thou’rt thrown, methinks, thyself of Love’s so grievous guile.”

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

Then out he spake; “O Cypris cruel, Cypris vengeful yet,
“Cypris hated of all flesh! think’st all my sun be set?
“I tell thee even ‘mong the dead Daphnis shall work thee ill: –

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“Men talk of Cypris and the hind; begone to Ida hill,
“Begone to hind Anchises; sure bedstraw there doth thrive
“And fine oak-trees and pretty bees all humming at the hive.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“Adonis too is ripe to woo, for a ‘tends his sheep o’ the lea
“And shoots the hare and a-hunting goes of all the beasts there be.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

And then I’ld have thee take thy stand by Diomed, and say
“’I slew the neatherd Daphis; fight me thou to-day.’

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“But ‘tis wolf farewell and fox farewell and bear o’ the mountain den,
“Your neatherd fere, your Daphnis dear, ye’ll never see agen,
“By glen no more, by glade no more. And ‘tis o farewell to thee
“Sweet Arethuse, and all pretty watérs down Thymbris vale that flee.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“For this, O this is that Daphnis, your kine to field did bring,
“This Daphnis he, led stirk and steer to you a-watering.

Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

“And Pan, O Pan, whether at this hour by Lycee’s mountain-pile
“Or Maenal steep thy watch thou keep, come away to the Sicil isle,
“Come away from the knoll of Helicè and the howe lift high i ’ the lea,
“The howe of Lycáon’s child, the howe that Gods in heav’s envye;

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

“Come, Master, and take this pretty pipe, this pipe of honey breath,
“Of wax well knit round lips to fit; for Love hales mé to my death.

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

“Bear violets now ye briers, ye thistles violets too;
“Daffodilly may hang on the juniper, and all things go askew;
“Pines may grow figs now Daphnis dies, and hind tear hound if she will,
“And the sweet nightingále be outsung I ’ the dale by the scritch-owl from the hill.”

Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

Such words spake he, and he stayed him still; and O, the Love-Ladye,
She would fain have raised him where he lay, but that could never be.
For the thread was spun and the days were done and Daphnis gone to the River,
And the Nymphs’ good friend and the Muses’ fere was whelmed I ’ the whirl for ever."
A small catch-you-up news post today: Greece asks EU for the return of the Parthenon Marbles as part of Brexit, and the discovery of a 2000-year-old road in Western Turkey


Greece asks EU for return of Parthenon Marbles as part of Brexit
Greece asks EU for return of Parthenon Marbles as part of Brexit

For over three decades, Greece has repeatedly called on the British Museum to return the 2,500-year-old marble sculptures that once adorned the Parthenon and have been the subject of dispute since they were illegally removed and sold by Lord Elgin to the British Museum in 1817. Now, with Brexit negations going strong, the Greek government is requesting that the ongoing issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece be made a part of it. Greece cites EU treaty law as the foundation of its claim. European Parliament member Stelios Kouloglou adds:.

“Brexit negotiators must take into account the need to protect European cultural heritage… The Parthenon Marbles are considered as the greatest symbol of European culture. Therefore, reuniting the marbles would be both a sign of respect and civilised relationship between Great Britain and the EU, and much more [than] a legal necessity.”

In response, a European Commission spokesperson said he believed that the Brexit team is not legally obliged to address the issue, citing Articles 3, 50 and 167. “The Parthenon Marbles were removed long before this date, and the EU has no competence in the matter,” Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport said, referring to a directive on the return of unlawfully removed cultural objects which applies to items removed after January 1, 1993.


A 55-kilometer section of a road that was built 2,000 years ago has been discovered in ongoing excavations of the ancient city of Aigai, located in Turkey‘s Manisa province. Aigai was one of the 12 ancient cities established in Western Anatolia. Assistant Professor Yusuf Sezgin, faculty member at the Celal Bayar University Archaeology Department and head of the excavation team, explained that the team had come across a road dating back to the Roman era in 1st century A.D., which started from the Aegean Sea shore and was once used to facilitate transport between Izmir and Manisa.

"It is noteworthy that the road is as solid as the first day is was built. Our examination showed that large water discharge channels were constructed under the road to prevent possible flash floods. In addition, we noticed that engravings were carved upon the stone plating to prevent horses from slipping during winter."

The road was first used as a route for war campaigns, and later for trade caravans, Sezgin explained, noting that it was part of a larger system of paths operated by the Roman Empire, which was famous for building vast networks of roads. Sezgin said that excavation work, which began in 2004, has pointed to evidence that the city became a regional point of economic and cultural attraction during the Hellenistic period in the 3rd century B.C., with the support of the Kingdom of Pergamon, located some 30 kilometers north of Aigai, nestled in the Yunt Mountains of the Aegean region. Sezgin added that he hoped the road would be open for visitors in the upcoming years.
With overwhelming votes, Mrs. Beazoglou's Magnificent Mythology has become Pandora's Kharis' Metageitnion 2017 cause!


Mrs. Beazoglou is a teacher at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy in Hartford, CT, USA. This year her students will be reading the "The Lightning Thief." This fantasy-adventure based novel is based on Hellenic mythology. Unfortunately, her students come to school with little background or understanding about Hellenic myths. Beazoglou's goal is to build a classroom library of mythology books for her students to access after she teaches a concept or gives a book talk to learn more about a particular God or myth. It will also allow her students to make connections from "The Lightning Thief" to the old Hellenic myths.

The students will get reading instruction through a literature circle model. This model is a book club where each student is given a role to be an expert on the assigned chapter. Students will then meet as a group to discuss their findings and dive deeper into the message or theme of each book.

The project is for grade 6-8 students. More than half of them come from low-income households. The goal of the project is $ 340,- and around $180,- has been raised so far. We can do better, can't we? Spread the word and get these kids books!

The deadline to donate is August 22th, 2017. 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!
The annual sacrifice at Erkhia to Zeus Epoptes (Εποπτες) was held on 25 Metageitnion. It is a sacrifice to the King of the Gods, and we will celebrate it on August 18th, at 10 AM EDT. Will you be joining us?


'Epoptes' (sometimes 'Epopteus' or 'Epopetei') is often translated as 'overseer' or 'watcher'; 'to look down upon'. Among the ancient Hellenes, the title of 'epoptes' was used of those who had attained the third grade of initiation, the highest, of the Eleusinian Mysteries; a religious cult at Eleusis, with its worship, rites, festival and pilgrimages open to all Hellenes willing to undergo initiation. The epopteia were--appropriately--charged with overseeing the proceedings at Eleusis, but seemingly received the name mostly because they had beheld the full mysteries of the Mysteries.

From the calendar we have recovered from Erkhia, we know that the sacrifice to Zeus Epoptes was a pig, burned completely in a holókaustos, without an offering of wine. It cost the Erkhians three drachmas.

You can find the ritual for the sacrifice here, and if you would like to join our community page for it, come on over to Facebook here. We would love it if you could join us!

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.


"I recently participated in one of the Elaion PAT rituals. This was my first Hellenismos ritual and it was interesting. Coming from an eclectic Pagan background this was a quite different, but it felt good. I didn't have "honey sweet wine" (mead?) or several bowls for libation but I did the best I could, offering several times khernips. Does each Theoi have Their own offering bowl that is brought out at each ritual or can they be cleaned after each use? Any experience or advise coming from a Pagan background and moving into Hellenismos?"

The most common style of wine in ancient Hellas was sweet and aromatic, which is what we mean when we say "honey sweet". In ancient Hellas, sacrifices were given to the fire so the smoke could take the sacrifices up to Olympos. If you can't use a fire, feel free to pour all libations into a single bowl. Once the ritual is over, dispose of the libation and wash the bowl. Preferably, the libations are poured into a (small) pit outside

I came into Hellenismos from a practice of Eclectic Religious Witchcraft and yes, it's definitely different. The best advice I can give you is to embrace repetition and leave as much flair behind as you can. Find the absolute barebones of your religious practice to "detox" from all the embellishments of modern Paganism and build up from there. Oh, and enjoy it!

~~~

"I have been working on refining my practice and have been doing more reading about daily ritual and trying to incorporate certain elements into my daily practice. My question is about Libation. So far as I can tell from my reading is that the Cthonic Gods gets Libation poured on the ground. Others Deities that I have seen seem to get some of the Libation poured on the altar or on the fire. Even some get a bowl. I currently live in an apartment. How could one provide libation in such a setting. I could do a bowl, but do I pour it outside?  Also as a devotee of Aphrodite would you have any specific recommendations of libation (unfortunately I cannot drink alcohol, but could I do something like grape juice and honey?)."

Wine is the traditional libation liquid; as drinking water was often stagnant, wine was used to purify it, and mask the taste. All men, women and children drank water which had some wine added to it. Wine was believed to be a healer–and it is–so everyone drank it, sometimes more when they were sick. Now, that is the Traditional side of it; what you do as a modern Hellenist is allowed to differ due to the changed from the ancient to the current society. One part of that is finding substitutes if wine is not something you want to consume–or can’t consume.

As wine pretty much was the ancient Hellenic equivalent of water, water is a good replacement. That said, it may feel a little to plain and personally I enjoy the fact that I libate wine because it has ties to the grape vine and Dionysos. So, as a replacement, I would suggest plain grape juice–as pure and sugarless as you can find it. It still has the same ties to the Gods, but without the alcohol.

Traditionally speaking—which is what I practice—all Ouranic sacrifices should be burned. Sacrifices to heroes too, by the way, and even some Khthonic sacrifices were burned. The ancient Hellenes burned things (like sacrifices, incense, but also the firebrand to make khernips) because smoke was the only way the sacrifice reached the Ouranic Gods. That’s how the sacrifice traveled to Olympos and how the sacrifice itself became sacred. Pure. Not burning sacrifices, traditionally speaking, is promising the gods sustenance and giving them an empty plate along with a message saying “just imagine it’s food. I’m sure you’ll feel full”. Of course, I–and hopefully They–know it isn’t always possible, but I do advocate burning sacrifices if at all possible. That's also why household worship was mostly practiced outside, by the way: the smoke needs to be able to rise up freely. If you burn your libations, you also won't have a wet bowl at the end Most Khthonic offerings are buried as that is where most Khthonic Gods reside—not in the soil but far below our feet, which is why scooping earth into a bowl and pouring libations into it wouldn't traditionally reach Them.

All of that said: most of us practice with limitations. A bowl of dirt put on the ground could work to pour libations into for the Khthonic Gods. Pouring libations into a bowl on your altar without burning them and praying really, really hard might please the Ouranic Gods. It's a choice you will have to make, based on the options at your disposal.

~~~

"Hi! Thank you for all you do and for being so informative and helpful in people's practices. You said in an earlier ask if people has suggestions for more YouTube videos to send them. Idk if this would be visually appealing but maybe going over a traditional prayer structure? Another thing is disposing of offerings/ashes. I think you said you give them to Hecate at crossroads but obviously not everyone can do that. Either way I'd be interested to see how you do it! Thank you!"

I think that might be a good video idea, but I already have a post about prayers (and hymns) too. Offerings and ashes are still sacred to the Theoi, and are to be disposed of in a respectful manner. In ancient Hellas, these were buried in votive pits, on the temenos, the sacred site, be it near a temple or at home. In modern times, this is usually a (shallow) pit dug in the garden where you can dispose of whatever remains after sacrifice. As for the crossroads: a crossroad is by definition a point where two roads meet, but in ancient Hellas it was often seen as any liminal place--a point of transition--from home to street, for example. I place my offerings to Hekate near the gateway from our home to the alleyway that runs past our backyard, for example, as that is a crossroad too.
The 21th of Metageitnion, Hera Thelkhinia was honoured at Erkhia. Hera Thelkhinia, Goddess of Charm. Will you join us in honouring Her on August 14, at the usual 10 am EDT?


We know very little about this epithet of Hera, and it is often confused (including by yours truly) with 'Telkineia', missing the  'H'. The epithet Telkinios (Telkineia) is used for Apollon, Hera, and the Nymphs. It is linked to the island of Rhodes and either to metalworking or storm, at this point in time I truly am not sure. Metalworking would make sense, after all Hephaistos is the son of Hera.

In the Erkhian calendar, however, the epithet of Hera is Thelchiniai (ΘΕΛΧΙΝΙΑΙ), with an 'H'. The only references to this epithet is ‘charm’ and ‘charming’, not metal working. H. W. Parke, in Festivals of the Athenians' writes on page 179:

“Hera besides her festival with him [Zeus] had a sacrifice alone on the 20th of the same month under a title which seems to mean ‘Goddess of Charm’ (Thelchinia). So in Erkhia she may have included in her sphere the functions of the classical Aphrodite who was not worshipped in the deme.

The ritual for this sacrifice can be found here, and you can join our community page here.