Two PAT ritual announcements today: On August 25th at 10 AM EDT, we will hold a PAT ritual for the Plataia, followed by a sacrifice to the heroine Basile on the day after, at the same timeslot.



The Plataia
The Plataia (or Plataea) seems to have been a commemorative festival, for the Hellenes fallen at the battle of Plataea. The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Hellas. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I. Some 38,700 Hellenes stood their ground against 300.000 Persians. The Hellenes marched out of the Peloponnesus and the Persians retreated to Boeotia and built a fortified camp near Plataea. The Hellenes surrounded the camp, but refused to enter the bare terrain surrounding the camp. They waited for eleven days, and then found their supplies dwindled. They attempted to retreat, and Persian general Mardonius ordered his forces to pursue them. The Hellenes, however--particularly the Spartans, Tegeans and Athenians--stood their ground, and won a great victory over the Perians. The Persian infantry was slaughtered, and Mardonius killed. Plutarch gives the date for the battle to be the fourth of this month, but also attested that the Athenians commemorated the event on the third. In Boeotia (and especially in Plataea), the remembrance seems to have been held on the fourth.

Herodotus, in his Histories (9. 52. 1), and Plutarch, in his 'Life of Arestides' both remark the following about what is most likely this battle:

"The seer slew victim after victim, Pausanias turned his face [historical general of the Persian Wars], all tears, toward the Heraion, and with hands uplifted prayed Kithaironion Hera and the other gods of the Plataian land that, if it was not the lot of the Hellenes to be victorious, they might at least do great deeds before they fell."[Life of Aristides, 18. 1]

As such we can assume that, besides the fallen, a sacrifice to Hera was also made. For this ritual, you can join us here. The ritual can be found here.



Sacrifice to Basile at Erkhia
In the calendar from Erkhia the heroine Basile was given a holókaustos on the 4th of the month of Boedromion. The sacrifice to Basile consisted of a white, female, lamb and was followed by a wineless libation. The colour of the animal is noteworthy, since holókaustoi have commonly been classified as khthonian sacrifices, and it is usually assumed that the victims used in such rituals were black. Basile was also worshipped elsewhere in Attica, but nothing is known of the kind of sacrifices she received at those locations. Basile seems to have been a local heroine. Nothing survives about her deeds, as far as we have been able to find, but she was important enough to warrant her own personal sacrifice--the Erkhian calendar also makes note of collective sacrifices to 'the heroines'.
For this ritual, you can join us here. The ritual can be found here.
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:
  • No major changes, but there is a new project in the works for Elaion! Upon request, we've pushed ahead with the publications of all the year's PAT rituals in a handy .pdf book format (that you can even print, if you'd like). No release date yet, it depends on the time I can make available, but somewhere this year for sure!
  • In another, more personal bit of news that I won't be spamming you with too often, my first full-length novel, "Survival Instincts", will be published in March. There is nothing Hellenic in it, but it would really help me a lot if you supported me on social media, either by following or interacting. You can find my website here, and of course social media: Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Thank you!
Statistics:
PAT rituals for Boedromion:

Anything else?
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 deadline to donate is today, August 22, 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!

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

Absolutely no pressure (I don't even drink coffee, after all), but do you see that little link at the top of the page? That takes you to my Ko-fi page. Once there, you can make a little donation, if you are willing, and Gods bless!
We are coming upon another festival celebrated in ancient Athens: the Niketeria. Surviving sources date the festival to the third of Boudromion, and it was in honor of one of the most important events in Athens' history: its naming and tutelage by Athena. We will be celebrating it on August 25th at the usual 10 AM EDT.


Many of us know there was a contest between Poseidon and Athena over who would rule the growing city of Athens (in the name it had before being called 'Athens'), and it is clear who won that contest. The earliest reference to this event we still have access to is from the fourth century BC by Plato, but it does not quite have the poetic touch Ovid's account has. For that reason, I will give the account of Ovid, and build from there. From the Metamorphoses, (trans. Melville):

"The rock of Mavors [Ares] in Cecrops' citadel is Pallas' [Athena's] picture [in her weaving contest with Arakhne] and that old dispute about he name of Athens. Twelve great gods, Jove [Zeus] in their midst, sit there on lofty thrones, grave and august, each pictured with his own familiar features: Jove [Zeus] in regal grace, the Sea-God [Poseidon] standing, striking the rough rock with his tall trident, and the wounded rock gushing sea-brine, his proof to clinch his claim. Herself she gives a shield, she gives a spear sharp-tipped, she gives a helmet for her head; the aegis guards her breast, and from the earth struck by her spear, she shows an olive tree, springing pale-green with berries on the boughs; the gods admire; and Victoria [Nike] ends the work." [6. 70]

Ancient Hellenic Neoplatonist philosopher Proklos (Πρόκλος) in 'On the Timaeus of Plato' speaks of this event as well, and notes that there is still a festival held to commemorate this event in his time (between 412 and 485 AD)

 "Farther still, the victories of Minerva are celebrated by the Athenians, and there is a festival sacred to the Goddess, in consequence of her having vanquished Neptune, and from the genesiurgic being subdued by the intellectual order, and those that inhabit this region betaking themselves to a life according to intellect, after the procurement of necessaries. For Neptune presides over generation; but Minerva is the inspective guardian of an intellectual life." [p. 153]

When this was celebrated, Proklos does not mention, but Plutarch does. One of these is in the Quaestiones Convivales, from the Moralia. Here, he answers the question: 'What is Signified by the Fable About the Defeat of Neptune? And Also, Why Do the Athenians Omit the Second Day of the Month Boedromion?'.

"While all were making a disturbance, Menephylus, a Peripatetic philosopher, addressing Hylas: You see, he said, how this investigation is no foolery nor insolence. But leave now, my dear fellow, that obstinate Ajax, whose name is ill-omened, as Sophocles says, and side with Poseidon, whom you yourself are wont to tell has often been overcome, once by Athene here, in Delphi by Apollo, in Argos by Here, in Aegina by Zeus, in Naxos by Bacchus, yet in his misfortunes has always been mild and amiable. Here at least he shares a temple in common with Athene, in which there is an altar dedicated to Lethe. And Hylas, as if he had become better tempered: One thing has escaped you, Menephylus, that we have given up the second day of September [Boudromion], not on account of the moon, but because on that day the gods seemed to have contended for the country." [Book 9, question 5]

Because of this, the official view of Elaion is that the festival of Niketeria--'Victory'--was celebrated not on the second of Boudromion as many modern researchers say, but on the third. The second day, after all, was no longer a part of the month. The question remains why the victory of one Goddess over one God was commemorated at all, and there is no adequate ancient explanation. None of the surviving works mention why and how the festival was celebrated. All we know is that it was noted--it might not even have been a true festival at all. We believe that by omitting the second day, the defeat of Poseidon was omitted, so as not to anger Him. A day later--in a somewhat unrelated fashion to Poseidon's defeat--there was a (possibly somewhat subdued) celebration of the victory of Athena, with sacrifices to Athena, Niké, and perhaps even Poseidon for the many wonderful gifts They had provided--and would hopefully continue to provide--for the city of Athens.

We will hold a subdued PAT ritual in honor of the Niketeria at 10 AM EDT on August 25th. Will you be joining us? The ritual can be found here and you can join the community here.
Don't you just want to look at pretty temples sometimes? Just click through and imagine what it could have been like to worship on the site of them? The lovely people over at Greece High Definition agree. They have created an overview of the most famous ancient Hellenic temples and with the list come very pretty pictures. Click on the picture below to visit the site.

https://www.greecehighdefinition.com/blog/2016/10/27/10-ancient-greek-temples?rq=Ital

The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies over the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens. The museum was founded in 2003, and I have never been there, but yesterday I took a stroll through its collection.

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/streetview/acropolis-museum/IwFUpQvIJ1QDVA?sv_lng=23.72884799999997&sv_lat=37.9685572&sv_h=237.7988111805615&sv_p=-1.2845305129461195&sv_pid=E2ffpS3Emg5tW00mF4AC7A&sv_z=0.996580440921653&sv_lid=6578783020017468350

The Acropolis Museum houses more than 3.000 famous artefacts from the Athenian Acropolis. Located in the historical area of Makriyianni, southeast of the Rock of the Acropolis, the Museum narrates the story of life on the Rock from prehistoric times until the end of Antiquity. The museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters.

A tailor made museum building with extensive use of glass ensures breathtaking views of the Acropolis, the surrounding historic hills and the modern city of Athens and immediate views of the archaeological excavation that lies below the Museum, visible through large expanses of glass floor. With the benefit of the changing natural light, visitors can discern and discover the delicate surface variations of the sculptures and select the vantage point from which to observe the exhibits.

The archaeological excavation that lies beneath the Museum provides the opportunity to visitors to appreciate both the masterpieces of the Acropolis in the upper levels of the Museum against the remains of the day to day lives of the people that lived in the shadow of the Acropolis over various periods.

After crossing the ground floor lobby of the Museum, the first collection that lies before the visitor presents finds from the sanctuaries and the settlement which were developed on the slopes of the Acropolis during all historic periods.

On Level One visitors learn about the history of life at the top of the Rock, from the 2nd millennium BC until the end of Antiquity. On Level Three, visitors are afforded the opportunity to view the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon, the most significant temple of the Acropolis.

It's going to be a while until I can visit the museum myself, but through the wonders of the internet (and Google), you can already have a look at not only the collection but the museum itself. In order to relax a bit after a stressful day, that's exactly what I did last night. Go grab some tea, put your feet up, and have a look at all the pretty things by clicking the picture above.
To this day, Spartans are seen as the toughest SOB's of the ancient Hellenic world--and they were! The physical (and often intellectual) prowess of both Spartan men and Spartan women outdid that of those of any other Polis. Why? Because every minute of a young Spartan's life--right up to adulthood--was taken up with becoming the best adult they could be.


Spartan youngsters faced their first obstacle the second they were born: their father. If their father found a birth defect or otherwise rejected the child, he or she was literally left to the wolves. A child deemed worth raising was raised by its mother until it was seven years old, but boys accompanied their father to the syssitia (τὰ συσσίτια, tà sussítia, dining clubs) where he would sit on the floor and learned what it was like to be a Spartan man through watching and listening.

The laws of Sparta were developed and written by Lycurgus, a legendary lawmaker who, in the 7th century BC reorganized the political and social structure of the polis, transforming it into a strictly disciplined and collective society. He also developed the stringent military academy of the agoge (ἀγωγή, agōgē), where Spartan boys were trained from childhood to adulthood in three stages: the paídes (about ages 7–17), the paidískoi (ages 17–19), and the hēbōntes (ages 20–29).

Lycurgus instituted the practice of appointing a state officer, the paidonomos (παιδονόμος, paidonómos, boy-herder) who organized the boys into divisions of about 60 each called agelai (ἀγέλαι, agélai, herds). These were groups of peers of the same age. Most of their time was spent in this compan. The agelai were under the supervision of an eiren (εíρήν, young adult) aged about 20, at whose house the agelai ate.

Children went barefoot to encourage them to move swiftly, and they are encouraged to learn to withstand the elements by having only one outfit. They were never satiated with food or fed fancy dishes. If the boys wanted more food, they went on hunts or raids. Their stealing was not only allowed but encouraged--but if they got caght, they suffered floggings. If they made a sound during their punishment, they were flogged again. From Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus comes this little titbit:

"The boys make such a serious matter of their stealing, that one of them, as the story goes, who was carrying concealed under his cloak a young fox which he had stolen, suffered the animal to tear out his bowels with its teeth and claws, and died rather than have his theft detected." [18.1]

During the day, the boys played ball games, and learned to ride and swim. They studied dance as a kind of gymnastic training for war dances as for wrestling. This was so central that Sparta was known as a dancing place from Homeric times. It is not clear whether they learned to read; Sparta abhorred written records and laws, and prided themselves on not needing them. After dinner, the boys sang songs of war, studied history, and discussed morality with the eiren. He also quizzed them, trained their memory, logic, and ability to speak laconically. They slept on reeds.

And what of Sparta's girls? The law reforms of Lycurgus also included certain rules and allowances for them. Spartan women were seen as the vehicle by which Sparta constantly advanced. Unlike many other ancient Hellenic girls, they were afforded formal education as well, although it seems they lied at home with their mothers instead of being into room and board like the boys. They also could not use their education to have careers or earn money.

Spartan girls were forbidden from wearing any kind of makeup or enhancements. The girls would exercise outdoors, unclothed, like the Spartan boys, which was impossible in the rest of the ancient Hellenic world. They also participated in athletics, competing in events like footraces.

Giving Spartan girls a physical (and mental) education was seen as a guarantee that the strong and fit Spartan women would reproduce, and when they had babies, those babies would be strong warriors in the making. I note the mental aspect because Spartan women of all ages mingled, in public, with Spartan men. Through these meetings, they learned many of the intellectual pursuits of the men and the ancient Spartan women were infamous for their ability to trade conversation and give political commentary. They were known for their razor-sharp wit and outspoken natures.

Their methods worked: Around 650 BC, Sparta rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Hellas and held that position for almost 300 years.
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.