Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ancient maps and the modern world

Did you know that every continent has a different world map? Well, the continents are pretty much the same but the way they are portrayed are different. Some examples?


United States:

And my favourite, Australia:
The ancient Hellenes also made world maps. Land ownership and geography was changed mainly according to new rulers and natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, and of course the ancient Hellenes didn't exactly have the grasp on geography we have today. Here are some of the major maps of Ancient Hellas:
Anaximander (c. 610 – c. 546 BC)
Hecataeus of Miletus (c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC)
 Eratosthenes (276 – 194 BC)
Strabo (64/63 BC – c. 24 AD)
As you can see, not entirely accurate but very amusing--and it worked for them. These maps helped along trade and travel, brought perspective to the world and pushed the art of geography forward. Most of these are reconstructed maps based on descriptions as the original work has been lost, but they are still brilliant to behond.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Delos museum and statue of Alexander the Great have been approved

In a time where economic crisis rules Greece and budget cuts in the culture sector are severe, I have two bits of good news for you: the Archaeology New Network reports that plans to built a Delos museum have been approved, and Ekathimerini reports that Athens has gotten the OK for the erection of an Alexander the Great statue.

Delos museum construction plans approved

Delos museum construction plans approved The plans for the construction of a new museum on the Greek island of Delos were approved by the Central Archaeological Council, after the funds for the plans were collected.

According to the plans, the new museum will have to adhere to strict bio-climatic architectural standards and must be situated as far away as possible from the sea, in order to better protect the antiquities and the museum itself from the elements.

The new museum will occupy a space of at least 5,000 square meters and will feature all of the exhibits displayed in the existing museum, along with many other artefacts located on the island’s archaeological sites and in storage. The funds for the construction plans were donated by the London-based International Foundation for Greece.

Athens gets OK for erection of Alexander the Great statue

The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) has given the City of Athens the green light to erect a bronze statue of Alexander the Great at either of two places proposed by the municipal authorities.
The statue, which depicts the ancient conqueror at an early age, was crafted by Yiannis Pappas in 1992 but has never gone on public display due to bureaucratic problems.

Earlier this week, the mayor of Delta, in the northern region of Macedonia, asked the City of Athens, which now owns the statue, to donate the artifact. Athens officials said the statue would eventually be installed either on the junction of Vassilissis Olgas and Vassilissis Amalias avenues or at Asomaton Square in Thiseio.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The ancient Hellenic drinking game of 'Kottabos' recreated

Assistant Art History Professor Heather Sharpe and her students of West Chester University recently invested a fair amount of time deciphering ancient Hellenic texts and artworks in order to recreate a drinking game. The game, known as kottabos, involved men gathered in a circle during a symposion (συμπόσιον), a meeting of men and their courtesans to discuss philosophy and network, and flinging dregs of wine at a target in the centre of the room from a special cup known as a kylix.

The students used a 3D-printed drinking cup, some diluted grape juice and willing students who soon got the hang of the game and the findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America this month.

There are two ways of playing, according to texts and art works. The goal is to knock down a disc carefully balanced a tall metal stand in the middle of the room. In another version the goal was to sink small dishes floating in a larger bowl of water. Players hit their target with the leftover wine-dregs at the bottom of their cup. To achieve the best results in kottabos participants had to toss the wine-dregs overhand at their target as though they were pitching a baseball or throwing a frisbee. Ancient Hellenic players would utter the name of the object of their affection before flinging the wine. Winners received all sorts of prizes, such as sweets and even sexual favours from the available courtesans.

Now you know what to do after your group comes together to honour the Gods!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tips on hiding your practice

"What should I do regarding shrines and worship if I'm hiding my practice from my parents? (I worship Gaia...might the Earth be a good "shrine"?)"

At some point in our lives, most of us find ourselves in a situation where we are held back from practicing the way we want to. It can be a because we’re living with people who do not understand our religion or practice, or whom we simply do not want to come out to. It can be because we are on holiday, because we have guests over or because we’re busy and life is chaotic.
That having been said, there are a lot of things we can do to practice our religion within the restraints placed upon us by either internal or external factors. Here are some tips to deal with these issues:
  • Strip your religion back to its basics and/or find out which practices matter most to you. This allows you to maximize the time and the amount of privacy you have by uncluttering your head.
  • Make a portable altar/shrine kit. This is a box, can or any other medium in which you place those things you can’t practice without. I have two sets; my original Eclectic one and a Hellenic one. Within my Hellenic box are two tea-lights and a holder, a container with khernips, a container with ethanol, a container with olive oil, a cup for khernips, a cup to burn offerings in, cloth to dry my hands and face, some incense, a hair clip, matches, a little prayer book of the hymns I use most, a spoon and a container of barley. I use this kit when I travel but it can also be used to quickly set up a place of worship and break it down just as quickly. The box can be hidden away when not in use so it does not take up living space, a valued commodity for some people. 
  • Find substitutes. For those who like to have some sort of permanent altar or shrine but don’t have the liberty to do so, find substitutes for the basics of your altar needs. I have seen eclectic altars set up with pebbles, seashells, flowers, pompoms, even Barbies. For those who are not allowed open flame or candles, find substitutes. Electrical candles work just fine and look pretty realistic. Use essential oils to smell and a feather to set the air in motion. Substitutes are not perfect but they get the job done. Often, it’s the thought that counts.
As a final note in regards to the original question: worship on the Earth is generally for Khthonic deities—mostly those of the Underworld. Gaea, however, could be worshipped in that regard as well so yes, you could worship Her ‘on the earth’.

Friday, January 23, 2015

$118,- raised for Terre des Hommes

Elaion is proud to announce that this month's Pandora's Kharis donation run has raised $118,- for our democratically decided upon cause Terre des Hommes. I am once more very happy to say you have all given generously, and in the spirit of the Gods!

The Terre des Hommes International Federation is a network of ten national organisations working for the rights of children and to promote equitable development without racial, religious, political, cultural or gender-based discrimination. This month we donated to their special campaign to end female slave labour in the textile industry. It costs 60 euros to send a former textile worker to school, which means two girls have just been saved.

From this moment on, the Pandora's Kharis Facebook page is open to pitches. If you do not have Facebook, feel free to pitch your cause in the comments. We will relay the message to the community. On to another month of pitching, voting, and giving. Thank you for your generosity!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The mystery of incuse coins

Researchers at Macquarie University's Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Studies (ACANS) have joined forces with scientists from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), on a joint research program to solve a twenty-five century-old mystery behind the technology used to produce a special variety of ancient Hellenic coins, thus reports the Archaeology News Network.

Twenty-five century-old mystery uncovered
Silver Stater from Lucania Metapontion, 510-480 BC: Obv. Ear of corn, META reversed; 
Rev: Ear of corn incuse [Credit: Rosenblum Coins]
There are many mysteries about ancient Hellenic society, and it seems these researchers are working hard to solve one of them: how did the ancient Hellenes mint coins which shows the same image on the front and back, but with the image on the back sunk into the metal so that it appears as a negative or incuse version of the front?

These coins were first minted around 540 BC in the cities of Southern Italy (modern Basilicata and Calabria) and has attracted a good deal of discussion but it has never been satisfactorily explained. The mysterious technique of manufacture, which appears to be quite difficult to execute, was in practice for over a century. There are no surviving contemporary accounts of ancient coin manufacture, and no illustrations. Only three or four of the dies once used for striking coins in ancient Greek mints survive today. Therefore, what we know about the earliest history of coin minting is derived from a study of the coins themselves.

Dr Vladimir Luzin, Instrument Scientist at ANSTO, is at the head of the new research which makes use of neutron scattering texture measurements.

"Our aim is to explore the technology behind the production of one of the world's first coinages. In particular, our objective is to explain the very singular technology and processes for minting incuse coins."

ANSTO's Bragg Institute leads Australia in the use of neutron scattering and X-ray techniques to solve complex research and industrial problems in many important fields. Although measurements of coins using neutron texture analysis have been implemented before, a systematic and full-scale study to set a benchmark is unique to this project. According to Associate Professor Kenneth Sheedy, Director of ACANS, ANSTO's neutron scattering texture measurements will provide insight into the mechanical processes undertaken to create the coins. Numismatists from ACANS will then infer the production steps undertaken to produce these coins using knowledge of ancient materials and equipment that were available at the time. I will keep you posted when more information becomes available.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Poseideon B updates

A while ago, I decided that on the day of the Hene kai Nea, I'd post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog.

Changes to the blog:
  • I cleaned up the tags and the blog in general a little. I'm not sure if anyone notices, but it makes me feel better ;-)
  • Atlantis came back but is currently on break. There are recaps, though!
  • So, last week, I came on the blog and found out I'd gotten 5000 views overnight--which, for me? A bit much. I average out around 500 views a day; small fish and all. I am chalking it up to one of the internet's mysteries, but I did immortalize it for posterity.
Anything else?
Pandora's Kharis, a charity circle for and by Hellenistic Polytheists is currently collecting for the Terre des Hommes. If you want to donate, you have until tomorrow! Join us on Facebook if you would like to pitch a cause for next month!

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

That is it for the last month's updates, as far as I can remember. Have a blessed Deipnon!