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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ancient history

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

On the second day of the new Hellenistic month, we give sacrifice to (the) Agathós Daímōn, on a day named after the 'Good Spirit'. It's an important practice, and I have come to realize I don't know enough about Agathós Daímōn to do His worship justice. This is why this Pagan Blog Project post delves into His worship.

The mythology, application and existence of the Agathós Daímōn (ἀγαθός δαίμων) is a bit of a muddled mess. When one researches the term, six basic premises emerge:

  • The Agathós Daímōn is a Theos, married to the Theia Agathe Tyche (Ἀγαθή Τύχη, 'Good Fortune')
  • The Agathós Daímōn is an epithet of Zeus, or linked to Zeus Kthesios and/or Zeus Melichios
  • The Agathós Daímōn is linked Hermes Chthonius
  • The Agathós Daímōn is a fertility daimon, tied to the harvest and prosperity from agriculture
  • The Agathós Daímōn is a personal guardian spirit, either tied to the person, the family, or the oikos
  • The Agathós Daímōn is the personification of a person's conscious, or even their muse
Confused yet? Gods know I am. 
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Alright, so I'm writing this with a fever. If it makes a little less sense than usual, I'm sorry. Right, on we go. Last week, in a post on my own blog, I listed the mythical kings of ancient Athens. I ended that list with Codrus (Κόδρος), who ruled Athens from 1089 to 1068 BC. His son Medon was (probably) the first who ruled the city-state as archon. From that post:

During the Dorian invasion, the Oracle of Delphi prophecied that the Dorians would win, as long as the king of Athens was not harmed. Hearing of this prophecy, Codrus disguised himself as a peasant and snuck to the Dorian camp. Here, he made a fuss, and was prompty killed. The Dorians retreated upon learning what had happened. It was decreed that no one would be worthy enough to succeed Codrus on the throne, and so, Athens only had archons afterwards.

The archons did not rule as kings; where kings were sole rulers of the city state, archons ruled first in threes, then in nines, then in tens and their power did not extend to law-making. Indeed, the Athenians had a clear understanding of the difference between sovereign power and executive government, and they kept the two separate far more than any modern government.

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There was a special recipe for beer that the ancient Hellens called 'zythos', and which was imported from Egypt. Most ancient Hellens thought the barley beverage was absolutely undrinkable and only fit for barbarians, but some made use of it anyway.

Beer has been around for a very long time, at least six thousand years, although the art of beer-making could date back as far as fifteen thousand years ago. The ancient Hellens certainly were not the ones who invented it. Most likely, it travelled to them by way of the Egypt, but the Egyptians could probably trace the art back to Mesopotamia. A four thousand year old seal to the Goddess Ninkasi--the Goddess of beer--has been found, which is as well a hymn to Her as a recipe for beer.

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A few days ago, I was contacted through Facebook about the proper steps within Hellenistic ritual. I promised to write a post about it and here we are.

I have mentioned before that there are five steps to proper, Hellenistic, ritual: procession, purification, prayers and hymns, sacrifice/offerings, prayers of supplication and thanks, usually followed by a feast and/or theater and sporting events. Today, I want to delve into this deeper, in order to gain a greater understanding of where this formula came from.

There were many religious festivals in ancient Hellas. Some were attended my men only, some by women only, some by men and women, some by adults only, slaves were sometimes allowed to participate, etc. It depended upon the Theos in question who could participate. Roles in the festival were usually determined by your position in Hellenic society. The elite were given high honors during most festivals, citizens were always in the front of the line, slaves took what they could get, and the list goes on.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
    This is wonderful...a beautiful description of the festival. Thank you.
  • Elani Temperance
    Elani Temperance says #
    Thank you for reading

Ancient Hellas was brimming with active temples, where many came to sacrifice, plead and vow. The sacrifices are the most famous of the votive action and I've mentioned them--especial animal sacrifice--on lots of occasions. Yet, of equal importance were the votives and thank-offerings ancient Hellens donated to the temples they frequented.

Votive relief from the temple of Artemis at Brauron
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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Say the words "coloring book" and most people conjure childhood memories of kitchen tables or classroom desks covered in crayons, markers, or (if they were lucky) paint and brushes. Coloring books, with the rare exception, were and are targeted at children. In most cases, I am sure, the publishers are not specifically targeting a Pagan audience. Nonetheless, there is a large number of coloring books which will appeal to adults and children from a variety of Pagan paths. Those that deal with mythology and ancient history, in particular, can be great resources for parents and teachers, inspiring kids to ask questions about the hero or God or Goddess or culture before them. 

I still love coloring books. Perhaps that makes me odd, but there is nothing quite like returning to a favorite childhood activity after a stressful day of adulthood. It is comforting and reassuring. My latest acquisition is The ABCs of Lesser-Known Goddesses: An Art Nouveau Coloring Book for Kids of All Ages by W Lyon Martin. The twenty-six Goddesses included here are from cultures all over the world: Roman (Aestas, Pax), Chibche (Bachue), Greek (Chimera, Leucothea, the Moerae, Nike), Chinese (The Dark Maid, Wang Mu), Celtic (Flidais, Gula), Hittitte (Hannahanna), Cherokee (Igaehindvo), Semitic (Jerah), Egyptian (Kebechet, Opet), Incan (Quinoa-Mama), Hindu (Raka, Ushas, Vasudhara), Shinto (Tatsuta-Hime), Aztec (Xochiquetzal), Aboriginal (Yhi) and Russian (Zorya). I will definitely be doing research on some of these Goddesses.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year
  • Kyrja
    Kyrja says #
    These are some GREAT choices - which I will happily share with others! May I also suggest "Rupert's Tales: The Wheel of the Year

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