The 30th of Pyanepsion is the date for the Khalkeia. It's the only festival to be held on a Deipnon and we will be celebrating it on 31 October, 10 am EDT.

The Khalkiea was the festival of bronze workers, a religious festival devoted to the God Hēphaistos and the Goddess Athena Ergane (Εργανη, Worker). In ancient Hellas, this was the day priestesses of Athena started work on a special peplos to be presented to Her during the Panathenaia. This festival involved a procession of workers with baskets of grain for offerings as well as meat sacrifices. Originally, it seems to have been a festival for Athena solely but over the centuries the focus shifted to Hēphaistos instead.

Elaion is holding a PAT ritual for the Khalkeia on 31 October, EDT. You can find the ritual here and join the community here. Also, make sure to celebrate the day by doing something crafty!
In the category 'these things are so very complicated but they make my heart hurt none the less', a moral dilemma. Joan Connelly, a renowned art expert, nationally known archaeologist, professor, and winner of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, has strongly criticized the Toledo Museum of Art’s auction of nearly 70 antiquities originally from Greece and other countries. She sees the sale as a great loss to the museum and Toledo (a city in Ohio, USA) while the museum views the objects as inferior and it will use the money generated to aquire new and better objects. What side are you on?

[Among the items being sold on the online auction,
which ends Tuesday, is an Apulian red-figured kantharos]

The Blade reports: Ms. Connelly, a Toledo native and professor of classics and art history at New York University, said she felt sick to her stomach when she learned of the sale. Viewing items such as these antiquities at the Toledo Museum of Art is what inspired her to become an archaeologist, she said.

“It’s just, for me, puzzling and distressing to see this shortsighted decision. As an archaeologist I’m just astounded any museum would sell off items with good provenance, which can be held forever. I think they’re all a great loss to Toledo.”

Even if the museum has other very similar items to those being put up for sale, she said that multiples are always more powerful in teaching about the ancient experience. Modern international cultural heritage laws make it impossible to acquire such antiquities, meaning the Toledo museum is unlikely to ever be able to replace the objects if leaders would choose to do so.

About half of the 68 items for sale are from Egypt and the rest are from Cyprus, Greece, and Italy. The museum’s offerings include:
- pieces of Egyptian pottery, bowls, jars, and cups, along with an alabaster jar lid in the form of the Egyptian god Hapi, bronze cats, a bronze falcon, and a limestone model of Ptolemy I as well as several Egyptian shabtis, or funeral figurines
- a Roman bronze strigil, which is a curved blade used to scrape the skin to get rid of sweat and dirt after a bath or exercise, from the first or second century
- an Apulian red-figured kantharos.

The sale is not only being decried by Ms. Connelly, who knows the antiquities well, but also by officials of the government of Egypt, who have called for the auction to be stopped. Shaaban Abdel Gawad, of the ministry’s antiquities repatriation department, told the news organization that the Egyptian government had contacted UNESCO and the International Committee of Museums, asking that they work with the Egyptian embassy in the United States to halt the auctions and have the items returned to their countries of origin.

Toledo museum director Brian Kennedy said the sale is expected to generate about $500,000, which can be used to acquire new works of art. Mr. Kennedy said the objects were chosen by the Toledo Museum of Art’s art committee during a review of the antiquities collection that took about two years. The museum’s board approved the list of objects for sale, he said. The process is called deaccession. The Toledo museum used a similar process to choose items to sell from its modern contemporary collection in 2002, its Old Masters collection in 2006, and its Asian art collection in 2008. Once the items are selected for deaccession, the museum prefers to sell them at public auction because that method is the most transparent, he said. Mr. Kennedy:

“We have hundreds and hundreds of antiquities. These were determined to be not up to the quality of our current collection.”

Many of the objects have not been on display for decades, or only have been periodically on display, said Candace Harrison, the museum’s communication director. The objects have not generally appeared in museum literature and scholars have not asked to study them, she said. Most of the items for sale have been with the museum since the early 20th century, toledoMr. Kennedy said. Many were acquired directly from their countries of origin in the 1910s and 1920s, with some coming to Toledo as late as 1972.

Some of the objects have been available in an online sale that began October 19 and closes on the 26th. The rest was sold at an auction of antiquities at Christie’s in New York City on Tuesday. A catalog of the items can be seen online at

I have such conflicted feelings about this. I understand the need to gather funds and aquire new items to keep the collection current. these items have not been displayed for many years and are, basically, gathering dust. Still, privatizing these items will fairly automatically mean losing sight of them--and possibily losing them to accident or malice. I would like to see these items preserved by proper (govermental) organisations--in their countryies of origin where possible. Of course, it's once more a money thing...
Whenever I am a little tired or down, there is one piece of ancient Hellenic literature that always cheers me up--and since I have been swamped lately and on my last legs, I need it today! That piece? 'Peace' by Aristophanes--especially the start. Why? Because it's basically about a guy so obsessed with the Gods that he tries to fly up to Them on a dung beetle. It's abolutely awesome.

Peace (Εἰρήνη, Eirēnē) is an Athenian comedy written and produced by the Hellenic playwright Aristophanes. It won second prize at the City Dionysia where it was staged just a few days before the Peace of Nicias was validified (421 BC), which promised to end the ten-year-old Peloponnesian War. The play is notable for its joyous anticipation of peace and for its celebration of a return to an idyllic life in the countryside. However, it also sounds a note of caution, there is bitterness in the memory of lost opportunities and the ending is not happy for everyone. As in all Aristophanes' plays, the jokes are numerous, the action is wildly absurd and the satire is savage.

The play starts with two serves who are frantically working outside an ordinary house in Athens, kneading unusually large lumps of something and carrying them one by one into the stable. They are feeding a giant dung beetle that their crazy master Trygaeus has brought home from the Mount Etna region and on which he intends flying to a private audience with the Gods. He makes it, too, only to find just Hermes home--the rest of the Gods have retured to somewhere far away where there are no idiot humans looking for war. Then Trygaeus discovers that the new tennant War has imprisoned Peace in a cave and After a lot of back nd forth, Trygaeus frees Peache, Harvest and Festival and it becomes Trygaeus' goal in life to ban war in all forms.

Let me quote the first few lines of the play. If it inspires you, you can find the rest here:

Quick, quick, bring the dung-beetle his cake.

There it is. Give it to him, and may it kill him! And may he never eat a better.

Now give him this other one kneaded up with ass's dung.

There! I've done that too. And where's what you gave him just now? Surely he can't have devoured it yet!

Indeed he has; he snatched it, rolled it between his feet and bolted it. Come, hurry up, knead up a lot and knead them stiffly.

Oh, scavengers, help me in the name of the gods, if you do not wish to see me fall down choked.

Come, come, another made from the stool of a fairy's favourite. That will be to the beetle's taste; he likes it well ground.

There! I am free at least from suspicion; none will accuse me of tasting what I mix.

Faugh! come, now another! keep on mixing with all your might.

By god, no. I can stand this awful cesspool stench no longer.

I shall bring you the whole ill-smelling gear.

Pitch it down the sewer sooner, and yourself with it. 

Maybe, one of you can tell me where I can buy a stopped-up nose, for there is no work more disgusting than to mix food for a dung-beetle and to carry it to him. A pig or a dog will at least pounce upon our excrement without more ado, but this foul wretch affects the disdainful, the spoilt mistress, and won't eat unless I offer him a cake that has been kneaded for an entire day.... But let us open the door a bit ajar without his seeing it. Has he done eating? Come, pluck up courage, cram yourself till you burst! The cursed creature! It wallows in its food! It grips it between its claws like a wrestler clutching his opponent, and with head and feet together rolls up its paste like a rope-maker twisting a hawser. What an indecent, stinking, gluttonous beast! I don't know what angry god let this monster loose upon us, but of a certainty it was neither Aphrodite nor the Graces.
An expedition mapping submerged ancient landscapes, the first of its kind in the Black Sea, is making exciting discoveries. An 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), is surveying 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) says:

"We're endeavouring to answer some hotly-debated questions about when the water level rose, how rapidly it did so and what effects it had on human populations living along this stretch of the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea. As such, the primary focus of this project – and the scope of our funding from the EEF – is to carry out geophysical surveys to detect former land surfaces buried below the current sea bed, take core samples and characterise and date them, and create a palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Black Sea prehistory."

Photogrammetric model of a wreck from Ottoman period
Credit: Rodrigo Pacheco-Ruiz

Based on board the Stril Explorer, an off-shore vessel equipped with some of the most advanced underwater survey systems in the world, the international team of researchers is surveying the sea bed using two Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). One is optimised for high resolution 3-D photogrammetry2 and video. The other is a revolutionary vehicle developed by the survey companies MMT and Reach Subsea. Surveyor Interceptor 'flies' at four times the speed of conventional ROVs and carries an entire suite of geophysical instrumentation, as well as lights, high definition cameras and a laser scanner. In the course of the project it has set new records for both depth (1,800m), sustained speed (over 6 knots), and has covered a distance of 1,250 km.

During these surveys, members of Black Sea MAP have also discovered and inspected a rare and remarkable 'collection' 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. Professor Adams comments:

"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."

The Black Sea MAP team comprises of researchers from the University of Southampton's Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA), who have established a formal partnership with the Bulgarian National Institute of Archaeology with Museum and the Bulgarian Centre for Underwater Archaeology (CUA). Partner institutions include the Maritime Archaeological Research Institute at Södertörn University, Sweden; the University of Connecticut, USA; the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Greece; and MMT, the company whose founder Ola Oskarsson designed the Surveyor Interceptor. Core samples recovered from the Black Sea will be analysed at the British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

The project operates under permits from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in strict adherence to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001).
Herbert List (7 October 1903 – 4 April 1975) was a German photographer, who worked for magazines, including Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Life. His austere, classically posed black-and-white compositions taken in Italy and Greece have been highly formative for modern photography. From 1937 to 1939 List traveled in Greece and took photographs of ancient temples, ruins, sculptures, and the landscape, many of which were published in magazines and books. I would like to share some of those today.
Statue and temple of Apollon in the background
Corinth, Peloponnese, Greece, 1937
Athéna, 1937
Cleopatra’s house
Island of Delos, Cyclades, Greece, 1937
Temple of Olympian Zeus
Athens, Greece, 1937
The Acropolis, Athens, Greece, 1937
'Turned into stone'
Ancient Corinth, Greece, 1937
Palace of King Minos
Knosos, Crete, Greece, 1937
 The Acropolis Propylae columns
Athens, Greece, 1937
The Acropolis (Parthenon interior)
Athens, Greece, 1937
This month's Pandora's Kharirs cause is American Friends of the Blind Greece, but I have next month's cause picked out already. Veto. Sorry everyone! No, just kidding, but this is most definitely going to be one of the pitches! Restoring the ancient theatre of Cassope, in the region of Epirus, is 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.
Porphyry of Tyre (Πορφύριος, Porphyrios) lived from 234 to 305 AD. He was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre, in the Roman Empire. He wrote many works on a wide variety of topics but one was on his dislike of idolatery--the worship of an idol or a physical object as a representation of Deity. It is only the uneducated, Porphyry says, who identify the gods with the images. The images are to be taken purely as symbols, both as regards regards their material, their colour, and their form. White marble typifies the quality of light in the Gods, gold Their stainlessness, and so on. He then goes into detail about Zeus to make the point that any representation of the God is chosen by men to portray His charcteristics and attributes. His image, however, does not define Him.

Fragment 3
Now look at the wisdom of the Greeks, and examine it as follows. The authors of the Orphic hymns supposed Zeus to be the mind of the world, and that he created all things therein,containing the world in himself. Therefore in their theological systems they have handed down their opinions concerning him thus:

Zeus was the first, Zeus last, the lightning's lord,
Zeus head, Zeus centre, all things are from Zeus.
Zeus born a male, Zeus virgin undefiled;
Zeus the firm base of earth and starry heaven;
Zeus sovereign, Zeus alone first cause of all:
One power divine, great ruler of the world,
One kingly form, encircling all things here,
Fire, water, earth, and ether, night and day;
Wisdom, first parent, and delightful Love:
For in Zeus' mighty body these all lie.
His head and beauteous face the radiant heaven
Reveals and round him float in shining waves
The golden tresses of the twinkling stars.
On either side bulls' horns of gold are seen,
Sunrise and sunset, footpaths of the gods.
His eyes the Sun, the Moon's responsive light;
His mind immortal ether, sovereign truth,
Hears and considers all; nor any speech,
Nor cry, nor noise, nor ominous voice escapes
The ear of Zeus, great Kronos' mightier son:
Such his immortal head, and such his thought.
His radiant body, boundless, undisturbed
In strength of mighty limbs was formed thus:
The god's broad-spreading shoulders, breast and back
Air's wide expanse displays; on either side
Grow wings, wherewith throughout all space he flies.
Earth the all-mother, with her lofty hills,
His sacred belly forms; the swelling flood
Of hoarse resounding Ocean girds his waist.
His feet the deeply rooted ground upholds,
And dismal Tartarus, and earth's utmost bounds.
All things he hides, then from his heart again
In godlike action brings to gladsome light.

Zeus, therefore, is the whole world, animal of animals, and god of gods; but Zeus, that is, inasmuch as he is the mind from which he brings forth all things, and by his thoughts creates them. When the theologians had explained the nature of god in this manner, to make an image such as their description indicated was neither possible, nor, if any one thought of it, could he show the look of life, and intelligence, and forethought by the figure of a sphere.

But they have made the representation of Zeus in human form, because mind was that according to which he wrought, and by generative laws brought all things to completion; and he is seated, as indicating the steadfastness of his power: and his upper parts are bare, because he is manifested in the intellectual and the heavenly parts of the world; but his feet are clothed, because he is invisible in the things that lie hidden below. And he holds his sceptre in his left hand, because most close to that side of the body dwells the heart, the most commanding and intelligent organ: for the creative mind is the sovereign of the world. And in his right hand he holds forth either an eagle, because he is master of the gods who traverse the air, as the eagle is master of the birds that fly aloft - or a victory, because he is himself victorious over all things.