Last year, I made a post on aesthetics of the Hellenic Gods, taken from Tumblr. Because I don't repost artwork (and I will always link!), many of those are now missing, as you can see. So, time for an update! These are almost all from ars-aesthetica.

I have a very important deadline in eight days and my time to spend on anything but that is very limited. As such, I want t point you to a resource you might not know about. It's called Forgotten Books. Forgotten Books is a London-based book publisher specializing in the restoration of old books, both fiction and non-fiction. They have over 730.000 books available to read online, download as ebooks, or purchase in print, and many of those are related to ancient Hellas in some way.

Finding anything on Forgotten books can be a bit of a hassle, but I've got you covered. The easiest way to go through the books is to select a category and scroll from there. The ones of obvious interest are: Greco-Roman Philosophy, Mythology, and Art History.

Then there are the obvious searches that get you much closer to the content you're looking for right away: Greek Mythology, Greek Hymns, Greek Civilization, Greek Music, Greek Plays, and Greek Culture.

If that doesn't lead you to awesomeness right away, here are a few of my favorites: A Study of the Greek Paean (Arthur Fairbanks), The Religion of Ancient Greece & Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion (Jane Ellen Harrison), and The Ancient Use of the Greek Accents in Reading and Chanting (G. T. Carruthers).

Enjoy your reading time!
Greece is issuing a circulating commemorative €2 coin to celebrate the ancient settlement of Philippi. A total of 750,000 of the coins are due for release in the second half of 2017. So what's this settlement and why is it important enough to feature on a coin?

Philippi, or Philippoi (Φίλιπποι) was a city in eastern Macedonia, in the Edonis region. Its original name was Krenides (Κρηνῖδες), meaning "Fountains". It was establishment by Thasian colonists in 360/359 BC. The city was renamed by Philip II of Macedon in 356 BC and would eventually be abandoned in the 14th century after the Ottoman conquest. It was made a World Heritage Site in 2016.

The objective of conquering the town was to take control of the neighboring gold mines and to establish a garrison at a strategic passage: the site controlled the route between Amphipolis and Neapolis, part of the great royal route which crosses Macedonia from the east to the west and which was reconstructed later by the Roman Empire as the Via Egnatia. Philip II endowed the city with important fortifications, which partially blocked the passage between the swamp and Mt. Orbelos, and sent colonists to occupy it. Philip also had the marsh partially drained, as is attested by the writer Theophrastus. Philippi preserved its autonomy within the kingdom of Macedon and had its own political institutions (the Assembly of the demos). The discovery of new gold mines near the city, at Asyla, contributed to the wealth of the kingdom and Philip established a mint there. The city was fully integrated into the kingdom under Philip V. The city contained 2,000 people at the height of it Hellenic era. The most important (Hellenic and Roman) monuments of the site are:

The walls and the acropolis: The structure has two architectural phases: the first was built by Philip II and the second by Justinian I in A.D. 527-565. Inside the acropolis there is a tower dated to the Late Byzantine period.

The theatre, which was probably built by king Philip II around the middle of the 4th century B.C. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries it was overhauled to meet the demand in .

The Agora was the administrative center of Philippi in the Roman period. It is a complex of public buildings arranged around a central open square. The most imposing buildings are the North-East temple and the North-West temple.

Basilica A is a large, three-aisled basilica (130 x 50 meter) with transept aisle on the east side, a square atrium, and gallery over the aisles and the narthex. Fragments of the luxurious pavement and part of the ambo are preserved in the middle aisle. Particularly impressive are the frescoes that imitate orthostates (dados) in the porch of a chapel. Dated to the end of the 5th century A.D.

Basilica B is a three-aisled basilica dated to ca. 550 A.D. It has a narthex and annexes to the north and south (phiale, vestry). The almost square in plan, central aisle was covered with a vault supported by large pillars. This is the basilica portrayed on the coin.

Basilica C is another three-aisled basilica. It had luxurious marble inlays on the floor and rich sculptural and architectural decoration. The basilica is dated to the 6th century A.D.

The excavations on the site of Philippi began in 1914 by the French School of Archaeology at Athens. After the Second World War, excavations were resumed by the Greek Archaeological Service and the Archaeological Society. Nowadays, the archaeological exploitation of the site is carried out by the Archaeological Service, the Aristoteleian University of Thessaloniki and the French School of Archaeology at Athens. The finds from the excavations are housed in the Museum of Philippi.

An image of the archaeological site featuring part of Basilica B, and linear motifs inspired by a border pattern from an ancient Greek mosaic discovered at the site, appears on the obverse of the coin. Inscribed along the inner circle are Greek inscriptions translating to “Archaeological Site of Philippi” and “Hellenic Republic.” Also inscribed in the background is the year of issuance 2017 and to the right a palmette (the Mint mark of the Greek Mint). Visible at the lower left is the monogram of the artist, George Stamatopoulos.
I am very proud to announce that The United Hellenismos Association has become Pandora's Kharis' Hekatombaion 2017 cause now it's been pitched a second time!

The United Hellenismos Association is a Non-Profit Organization whose main purposes are education, orthopraxy, and keeping the Hellenic spirit and virtues alive throughout the world. It has just recently hit its one year mark and it continues to grow and develop communities throughout the US, and slowly the world. The UHA supports the training of a well educated priest/priestess program as well as will sponsor pagan chaplains for qualified individuals.

The deadline to donate is July 24th, 2017. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the Pandora's Kharis website or by donating directly to Thank you in advance!

Hm. It seems I lied to someone recently. Or, at least, told them something that wasn't true. I get a lot of questions and I forgot who asked the question so this is for you, person who asked about mermaids. Turns out: there are mermaids in Hellenic mythology--at least locally so.

I recently came across this tiny snippet in Diodorus Siculus' "The Library of History":

"Now there is in Syria a city known as Ascalon, and not far from it a large and deep lake, full of fish. On its shore is a precinct of a famous goddess whom the Syrians call Derceto; and this goddess has the head of a woman but all the rest of her body is that of a fish, the reason being something like this. 3 The story as given by the most learned of the inhabitants of the region is as follows: Aphrodite, being offended with this goddess, inspired in her a violent passion for a certain handsome youth among her votaries; and Derceto gave herself to the Syrian and bore a daughter, but then, filled with shame of her sinful deed, she killed the youth and exposed the child in a rocky desert region, while as for herself, from shame and grief she threw herself into the lake and was changed as to the form of her body into a fish; and it is for this reason that the Syrians to this day abstain from this animal and honour their fish as gods." [4.2]

Well then! Derceto was new for me (trust me, I do not know everything about ancient Hellenic mythology, especially not local deities). It seems to be a different (local) name for Atargatis, the chief Goddess of northern Syria in Classical Antiquity. She's a protective Goddess as well as a fertility Goddess and her sanctuaries had ponds close by. The priests were the only ones allowed to take care of the fish in the ponds, and if I remember well, they were also the only ones allowed to touch them. Atargatis' worship did travel into ancient Hellas, but I am truly not sure how wide-spread Her worship was. I do know that the mermaid myth was local to Ascalon, not even extending to the other shrines of Atargatis.

So, there: mermaids in ancient Hellenic mythology. It's slim, but it's there. Sorry I can't let you know directly, person!
Frankincense is one of the mainstays of Hellenic worship. Orphism dictates it as primary incense offering for many of the Gods and it's mentioned in many ancient writings as a sacrifice. The rocky Cal Madow mountains of Somaliland, a self-declared autonomous republic in Somalia's northwest, are one of the few homes internationally to wild frankincense trees. One of the species located in the area is endemic and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Currently the trade is facing a crisis: interest in the natural product is rising at such a rate that trees cannot regenerate fast enough.

Frankincense is still very much used in religious ceremonies, but it is no longer only reserved for honoring deities. Multimillionaire markets such as the French perfume business count the tree fragrance among their top components. While local people in Somaliland have harvested frankincense for millenniums, the current rhythm to meet the global appetite for essential oils leaves few options for sustainability - and these ancestral forests cannot replenish fast enough to survive the current overharvesting. Ahmed Ibrahim Awale, president of the Somaliland Biodiversity Foundation, told DW:

"Frankincense has been harvested in a sustainable manner for millions of years, but the rise in the global demand has completely changed it. [No longer being able to harvest sustainably] will be a disaster not only for the people of Somaliland, but for the whole world. It will be the end of unique species and of a millenarian heritage."

In the last six years, the price per kilogram of raw frankincense has shot up from one to around 6 US-dollars. With Somaliland suffering one of the worst droughts across the Horn of Africa region and with a rate of rural poverty of around 40 percent, it isn't hard to imagine why local people keep jeopardizing their forests and their lives. But while this might work for local people in the short-term, it could be disastrous in the coming years.

Harvesting in an unsustainable way means making a higher number of cuts per tree to extract as much sap as possible and tapping the trees year-round rather than seasonally. These practices weaken the trees, impede them from recovering and, ultimately, means they end up dying.

To avoid a point of no return, Awale said the first main goal is to raise awareness among the affected communities. With this aim environmental groups are working together with governmental agents and local communities, not only to inform but also to find much-needed solutions. Each local community should be able to impose their own regulations and decide on their own means of sustainability, but for this, they need support:

"The communities understand the gravity of the situation, but it is very complicated to find solutions due mainly to economic problems. We encourage our government and development agencies to intervene in the area and help those communities finding a sustainable way of livelihood."

The Gods who were offered frankincense within Hellenismos in the Orphic tradition: Ares; Boreas; Corybas; the Kourêtes; Dikaiosynê; Dike; Fortune; Helios (+ manna); Hēphaistos (+ manna); Herakles; Hermes; Mnemosyne; the Muses; Notos; Ouranos; Tethys; Themis; the Titans; Zephyros; and Zeus (+ manna).
John William Waterhouse was an English painter known for working in the Pre-Raphaelite style. He was alive from 1849 to 1917 and was fascinated with Ancient Hellas. Early on in his artistic career, he began focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Hellas. His work has always appealed greatly to me. His "Magic Circle" was probably thirty percent responsible for my interest in witchcraft, and to this day, his depictions of ancient Hellenic mythology and life are what comes to mind when I picture these. I am a little shocked his work has never featured on my blog before, so let me correct that today with a selection of my favorites.

Ulysses and the Sirens (1891)

Hylas with a Nymph (1893)

Hylas and the Nymphs (1896)

Echo and Narcissus (1903)

A Sick Child brought into the Temple of Aesculapius (1877)

Consulting the Oracle (1884)