Showing posts tagged anthropology
ancientpeoples:

Erotic Magic in Ancient Greece
Some “binding” curses in Ancient Greece were said to physically bind victims and inflict injury upon them. Another type sought to bind victims in a different way. The goal was to incite an uncontrollable passion (eros) in the victim. 
The common name for these curses, or spells, was agoge or agogimon spells meaning ‘a spell that leads’ because the aim of the spell was to lead the victim to the practitioner.
Some of these curses mention body parts, often in violent overtones, by which the speaker wishes to enjoin their invisible agents to retrieve the victim. Often spells of this type are accompanied by a figurine depicting the victim bound.
One example of erotic curses comes from a 4th century AD magical handbook which refers to spells dating back further. Philtrokatadesmos thaumastos IV.296-469 is a ‘Wondrous Erotic Binding Spell’. It instructs its user to create two figurines; a male in the form of Ares holding a sword, and a female kneeling with her arms behind her back about to be stabbed by the sword. Various vocae magicae or magic words are to be written on the female figures head, eyes, ears, shoulders, arms, hands, breast, belly, genitals, buttocks and feet. The female figure is then to be pierced with 13 copper needles- one in the brain, two in the ears, two in the eyes, one in the mouth, two in the midriff, one in the hands, two in the pudenda, and one in each foot.
During each piercing the practitioner said:
“I am piercing [body part] of her, [name of victim], so that she may remember no one but me, [name of practioner].”
The spell was then written out on a lead tablet and recited.
In Egypt, a single lead tablet and a female kneeling figure, pierced with 13 pins matches this spell has been found in a pot. However the figure itself is not inscribed. It is now housed in the Louvre and has been dated to the 2nd/3rd century AD. In this example a man named Sarapammon who wishes to attract a woman called Ptolemais. His curse tablet reads:
“I deposit this binding charm with you, chthonic gods, Pluto and Kore Persephone Ereskhigal and Adonis, also called Barbaritha, and chthonic Hermes Thoth Phokensepseu erktathou misonktaik and mighty Anoubis Pseriphtha, who holds the keys of the gates to Hades, and chthonic daimones, gods, men and women who suffered an untimely death, youths and maidens, year after year, month after month, day after day, hour after hour, night after night. I adjure all the daimones in this place to assist daimon Antinous.
Rouse yourself for me and go into every place, into every quarter, into every house, and bind Ptolemais, who Aias bore, the daughter of Horigenes, so that she may not be screwed, not be buggered, not do anything for the pleasure of another man, except for me Sarapammon only, whom Area bore, and do not allow her to eat, to drink, to resist or go out or to get sleep apart from me, Sarapammon, whom Area bore. I adjure you, corpse-daimon Antinous, by the dreadful and frightful name of the one at the sound of whose name the earth will open, at the sound of whose name the rivers and the rocks break. I adjure you, corpse-daimon Antinous, by Barbaratham cheloumbra barouch Adonai and by Abrasax and by Iao pakeptoth pakebraoth sabarbaphaei and by Marmaraououth and by Marmarachtha mamazagar.
Do not disobey, corpse-daimon Antinous, but rouse yourself for me and go into every place, into every quarter, into every house and bring me Ptolemais, whom Aias bore, the daughter of Horigenes. Keep her from eating and drinking until she comes to me, Sarapammon, whom Area bore, and do not allow her to have experience of another man except me Sarapammon only. Drag her by the hair, by the inward parts until she does not stand aloof from me, Sarapammon, whom Area bore, and I have her, Ptolemais, whom Aias bore, daughter of Horigenes, subject for me the entire time of my life, being fond of me, loving me, telling me what she has in mind. If you do this, I will set you free.”
Along with underworld Greek gods, a Babylonian goddess, Egyptian divinities, daimones and the dead are invoked to carry out the curse. 

ancientpeoples:

Erotic Magic in Ancient Greece

Some “binding” curses in Ancient Greece were said to physically bind victims and inflict injury upon them. Another type sought to bind victims in a different way. The goal was to incite an uncontrollable passion (eros) in the victim. 

The common name for these curses, or spells, was agoge or agogimon spells meaning ‘a spell that leads’ because the aim of the spell was to lead the victim to the practitioner.

Some of these curses mention body parts, often in violent overtones, by which the speaker wishes to enjoin their invisible agents to retrieve the victim. Often spells of this type are accompanied by a figurine depicting the victim bound.

One example of erotic curses comes from a 4th century AD magical handbook which refers to spells dating back further. Philtrokatadesmos thaumastos IV.296-469 is a ‘Wondrous Erotic Binding Spell’. It instructs its user to create two figurines; a male in the form of Ares holding a sword, and a female kneeling with her arms behind her back about to be stabbed by the sword. Various vocae magicae or magic words are to be written on the female figures head, eyes, ears, shoulders, arms, hands, breast, belly, genitals, buttocks and feet. The female figure is then to be pierced with 13 copper needles- one in the brain, two in the ears, two in the eyes, one in the mouth, two in the midriff, one in the hands, two in the pudenda, and one in each foot.

During each piercing the practitioner said:

“I am piercing [body part] of her, [name of victim], so that she may remember no one but me, [name of practioner].”

The spell was then written out on a lead tablet and recited.

In Egypt, a single lead tablet and a female kneeling figure, pierced with 13 pins matches this spell has been found in a pot. However the figure itself is not inscribed. It is now housed in the Louvre and has been dated to the 2nd/3rd century AD. In this example a man named Sarapammon who wishes to attract a woman called Ptolemais. His curse tablet reads:

“I deposit this binding charm with you, chthonic gods, Pluto and Kore Persephone Ereskhigal and Adonis, also called Barbaritha, and chthonic Hermes Thoth Phokensepseu erktathou misonktaik and mighty Anoubis Pseriphtha, who holds the keys of the gates to Hades, and chthonic daimones, gods, men and women who suffered an untimely death, youths and maidens, year after year, month after month, day after day, hour after hour, night after night. I adjure all the daimones in this place to assist daimon Antinous.

Rouse yourself for me and go into every place, into every quarter, into every house, and bind Ptolemais, who Aias bore, the daughter of Horigenes, so that she may not be screwed, not be buggered, not do anything for the pleasure of another man, except for me Sarapammon only, whom Area bore, and do not allow her to eat, to drink, to resist or go out or to get sleep apart from me, Sarapammon, whom Area bore. I adjure you, corpse-daimon Antinous, by the dreadful and frightful name of the one at the sound of whose name the earth will open, at the sound of whose name the rivers and the rocks break. I adjure you, corpse-daimon Antinous, by Barbaratham cheloumbra barouch Adonai and by Abrasax and by Iao pakeptoth pakebraoth sabarbaphaei and by Marmaraououth and by Marmarachtha mamazagar.

Do not disobey, corpse-daimon Antinous, but rouse yourself for me and go into every place, into every quarter, into every house and bring me Ptolemais, whom Aias bore, the daughter of Horigenes. Keep her from eating and drinking until she comes to me, Sarapammon, whom Area bore, and do not allow her to have experience of another man except me Sarapammon only. Drag her by the hair, by the inward parts until she does not stand aloof from me, Sarapammon, whom Area bore, and I have her, Ptolemais, whom Aias bore, daughter of Horigenes, subject for me the entire time of my life, being fond of me, loving me, telling me what she has in mind. If you do this, I will set you free.”

Along with underworld Greek gods, a Babylonian goddess, Egyptian divinities, daimones and the dead are invoked to carry out the curse. 

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)
ancientpeoples:

The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. The library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II (283–246 BC).
Plutarch (AD 46–120) wrote that during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC Julius Caesar accidentally burned the library down when he set fire to his own ships to frustrate Achillas’ attempt to limit his ability to communicate by sea. After its destruction, scholars used a “daughter library” in a temple known as the Serapeum, located in another part of the city.
According to the earliest source of information, the pseudepigraphic Letter of Aristeas, the library was initially organized by Demetrius of Phaleron, a student of Aristotle, under the reign of Ptolemy Soter (ca.367 BC—ca.283 BC).
Built in the Brucheion (Royal Quarter) in the style of Aristotle’s Lyceum, adjacent to and in service of the Musaeum (a Greek Temple or “House of Muses”, hence the term “museum”), the library comprised a Peripatos walk, gardens, a room for shared dining, a reading room, lecture halls and meeting rooms. However, the exact layout is not known. The influence of this model may still be seen today in the layout of university campuses. The library itself is known to have had an acquisitions department (possibly built near the stacks, or for utility closer to the harbour), and a cataloguing department. A hall contained shelves for the collections of scrolls (as the books were at this time on papyrus scrolls), known as bibliothekai (βιβλιοθῆκαι). Legend has it that carved into the wall above the shelves was an inscription that read: The place of the cure of the soul.
The first known library of its kind to gather a serious collection of books from beyond its country’s borders, the Library at Alexandria was charged with collecting all the world’s knowledge. It did so through an aggressive and well-funded royal mandate involving trips to the book fairs of Rhodes and Athens and a policy of pulling the books off every ship that came into port. They kept the original texts and made copies to send back to their owners. This detail is informed by the fact that Alexandria, because of its man-made bidirectional port between the mainland and the Pharos island, welcomed trade from the East and West, and soon found itself the international hub for trade, as well as the leading producer of papyrus and, soon enough, books.
Other than collecting works from the past, the library was also home to a host of international scholars, well-patronized by the Ptolemaic dynasty with travel, lodging and stipends for their whole families. As a research institution, the library filled its stacks with new works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, natural sciences and other subjects. Its empirical standards applied in one of the first and certainly strongest homes for serious textual criticism. As the same text often existed in several different versions, comparative textual criticism was crucial for ensuring their veracity. Once ascertained, canonical copies would then be made for scholars, royalty and wealthy bibliophiles the world over, this commerce bringing income to the library.
It is now impossible to determine the collection’s size in any era with any certainty. Papyrus scrolls comprised the collection, and although codices were used after 300 BC, the Alexandrian Library is never documented as having switched to parchment, perhaps because of its strong links to the papyrus trade. (The Library of Alexandria in fact had an indirect cause in the creation of writing parchment — due to the library’s critical need for papyrus, little was exported and thus an alternate source of copy material became essential.)
A single piece of writing might occupy several scrolls, and this division into self-contained “books” was a major aspect of editorial work. King Ptolemy II Philadelphus (309–246 BC) is said to have set 500,000 scrolls as an objective for the library. Mark Antony supposedly gave Cleopatra over 200,000 scrolls (taken from the great Library of Pergamum) for the library as a wedding gift, but this is regarded by some historians as a propagandist claim meant to show Antony’s allegiance to Egypt rather than Rome. No index of the library survives, and it is not possible to know with certainty how large and how diverse the collection may have been. For example, it is likely that even if the Library of Alexandria had hundreds of thousands of scrolls (and thus perhaps tens of thousands of individual works), some of these would have been duplicate copies or alternate versions of the same texts.
Ancient and modern sources identify four possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria: Julius Caesar’s fire in the Alexandrian War, in 48 BC; the attack of Aurelian in 270 – 275 AD; the decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in AD 391; and the Muslim conquest in 642 AD or thereafter.
In 2004, a Polish-Egyptian excavation team announced that they had discovered the remains of the Library of Alexandria.

ancientpeoples:

The Royal Library of Alexandria, or Ancient Library of Alexandria, in Alexandria, Egypt, was the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. The library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II (283–246 BC).

Plutarch (AD 46–120) wrote that during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC Julius Caesar accidentally burned the library down when he set fire to his own ships to frustrate Achillas’ attempt to limit his ability to communicate by sea. After its destruction, scholars used a “daughter library” in a temple known as the Serapeum, located in another part of the city.

According to the earliest source of information, the pseudepigraphic Letter of Aristeas, the library was initially organized by Demetrius of Phaleron, a student of Aristotle, under the reign of Ptolemy Soter (ca.367 BC—ca.283 BC).

Built in the Brucheion (Royal Quarter) in the style of Aristotle’s Lyceum, adjacent to and in service of the Musaeum (a Greek Temple or “House of Muses”, hence the term “museum”), the library comprised a Peripatos walk, gardens, a room for shared dining, a reading room, lecture halls and meeting rooms. However, the exact layout is not known. The influence of this model may still be seen today in the layout of university campuses. The library itself is known to have had an acquisitions department (possibly built near the stacks, or for utility closer to the harbour), and a cataloguing department. A hall contained shelves for the collections of scrolls (as the books were at this time on papyrus scrolls), known as bibliothekai (βιβλιοθῆκαι). Legend has it that carved into the wall above the shelves was an inscription that read: The place of the cure of the soul.

The first known library of its kind to gather a serious collection of books from beyond its country’s borders, the Library at Alexandria was charged with collecting all the world’s knowledge. It did so through an aggressive and well-funded royal mandate involving trips to the book fairs of Rhodes and Athens and a policy of pulling the books off every ship that came into port. They kept the original texts and made copies to send back to their owners. This detail is informed by the fact that Alexandria, because of its man-made bidirectional port between the mainland and the Pharos island, welcomed trade from the East and West, and soon found itself the international hub for trade, as well as the leading producer of papyrus and, soon enough, books.

Other than collecting works from the past, the library was also home to a host of international scholars, well-patronized by the Ptolemaic dynasty with travel, lodging and stipends for their whole families. As a research institution, the library filled its stacks with new works in mathematics, astronomy, physics, natural sciences and other subjects. Its empirical standards applied in one of the first and certainly strongest homes for serious textual criticism. As the same text often existed in several different versions, comparative textual criticism was crucial for ensuring their veracity. Once ascertained, canonical copies would then be made for scholars, royalty and wealthy bibliophiles the world over, this commerce bringing income to the library.

It is now impossible to determine the collection’s size in any era with any certainty. Papyrus scrolls comprised the collection, and although codices were used after 300 BC, the Alexandrian Library is never documented as having switched to parchment, perhaps because of its strong links to the papyrus trade. (The Library of Alexandria in fact had an indirect cause in the creation of writing parchment — due to the library’s critical need for papyrus, little was exported and thus an alternate source of copy material became essential.)

A single piece of writing might occupy several scrolls, and this division into self-contained “books” was a major aspect of editorial work. King Ptolemy II Philadelphus (309–246 BC) is said to have set 500,000 scrolls as an objective for the library. Mark Antony supposedly gave Cleopatra over 200,000 scrolls (taken from the great Library of Pergamum) for the library as a wedding gift, but this is regarded by some historians as a propagandist claim meant to show Antony’s allegiance to Egypt rather than Rome. No index of the library survives, and it is not possible to know with certainty how large and how diverse the collection may have been. For example, it is likely that even if the Library of Alexandria had hundreds of thousands of scrolls (and thus perhaps tens of thousands of individual works), some of these would have been duplicate copies or alternate versions of the same texts.

Ancient and modern sources identify four possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria: Julius Caesar’s fire in the Alexandrian War, in 48 BC; the attack of Aurelian in 270 – 275 AD; the decree of Coptic Pope Theophilus in AD 391; and the Muslim conquest in 642 AD or thereafter.

In 2004, a Polish-Egyptian excavation team announced that they had discovered the remains of the Library of Alexandria.

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)
ancientpeoples:

Ishtar is the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, war,love, and sex. She is the counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the cognate north-west Semitic goddess Astarte.
Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution; her holy city Uruk was called the “town of the sacred courtesans”; and she herself was the “courtesan of the gods”. Ishtar had many lovers; however, as Guirand notes,

“Woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them. Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them. ‘Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength’, says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, ‘and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip.’ Even for the gods Ishtar’s love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and—if one is to believe Gilgamesh—this love caused the death of Tammuz.

Ishtar was the daughter of Sin or Anu. She was particularly worshipped at the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Ashur and Arbela. Besides the lions on her gate, her symbol is an eight-pointed star.
Like Ishtar, the Greek Aphrodite and Northwestern Semitic Astarte were love goddesses who were “as cruel as they were wayward”. Donald A. Mackenzie, an early popularizer of mythology, draws a parallel between the love goddess Aphrodite and her “dying god” lover Adonis on one hand, and the love goddess Ishtar and her “dying god” lover Tammuz on the other. Some scholars have suggested that:

“…the myth of Adonis was derived in post-Homeric times by the Greeks indirectly from Mesopotamia (Assyria and Babylonia) through the Western Semites, the Semitic title ‘Adon’, meaning ‘lord’, having been mistaken for a proper name. This theory, however, cannot be accepted without qualifications.”

Joseph Campbell, a more recent scholar of comparative mythology, equates Ishtar, Inanna, and Aphrodite, and he draws a parallel between the Egyptian goddess Isis who nurses Horus, and the Babylonian goddess Ishtar who nurses the god Tammuz.

ancientpeoples:

Ishtar is the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertilitywar,love, and sex. She is the counterpart to the Sumerian Inanna and to the cognate north-west Semitic goddess Astarte.

Ishtar was the goddess of love and war, above all associated with sexuality: her cult involved sacred prostitution; her holy city Uruk was called the “town of the sacred courtesans”; and she herself was the “courtesan of the gods”. Ishtar had many lovers; however, as Guirand notes,

“Woe to him whom Ishtar had honoured! The fickle goddess treated her passing lovers cruelly, and the unhappy wretches usually paid dearly for the favours heaped on them. Animals, enslaved by love, lost their native vigour: they fell into traps laid by men or were domesticated by them. ‘Thou has loved the lion, mighty in strength’, says the hero Gilgamesh to Ishtar, ‘and thou hast dug for him seven and seven pits! Thou hast loved the steed, proud in battle, and destined him for the halter, the goad and the whip.’ Even for the gods Ishtar’s love was fatal. In her youth the goddess had loved Tammuz, god of the harvest, and—if one is to believe Gilgamesh—this love caused the death of Tammuz.

Ishtar was the daughter of Sin or Anu. She was particularly worshipped at the Assyrian cities of Nineveh, Ashur and Arbela. Besides the lions on her gate, her symbol is an eight-pointed star.

Like Ishtar, the Greek Aphrodite and Northwestern Semitic Astarte were love goddesses who were “as cruel as they were wayward”. Donald A. Mackenzie, an early popularizer of mythology, draws a parallel between the love goddess Aphrodite and her “dying god” lover Adonis on one hand, and the love goddess Ishtar and her “dying god” lover Tammuz on the other. Some scholars have suggested that:

“…the myth of Adonis was derived in post-Homeric times by the Greeks indirectly from Mesopotamia (Assyria and Babylonia) through the Western Semites, the Semitic title ‘Adon’, meaning ‘lord’, having been mistaken for a proper name. This theory, however, cannot be accepted without qualifications.”

Joseph Campbell, a more recent scholar of comparative mythology, equates Ishtar, Inanna, and Aphrodite, and he draws a parallel between the Egyptian goddess Isis who nurses Horus, and the Babylonian goddess Ishtar who nurses the god Tammuz.

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)

ancientpeoples:

Isis is a goddess in Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs, whose worship spread throughout the Greco-Roman world. She was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the patron of nature and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans, and the downtrodden, and she listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats, and rulers. She was a goddess for everyone. Isis is often depicted as the mother of Horus, the hawk-headed god of war and protection (although in some traditions Horus’s mother was Hathor), and she is depicted suckling him in a similar way to later images of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus. Isis is also known as protector of the dead and goddess of children.

The name Isis means “Throne”. Her headdress is a throne and, as the personification of the throne, she was an important representation of the pharaoh’s power. The pharaoh was depicted as her child, who sat on the throne she provided. Her cult was popular throughout Egypt, but the most important sanctuaries were at Behbeit El-Hagar in the Nile delta, and, beginning in the reign with Nectanebo I (380–362 BCE), on the island of Philae in Upper Egypt. 

Most Egyptian deities were first worshiped by small local cults, and they retained those local centres of worship even as their popularity spread. Most major cities and towns in Egypt were known as the home, or center of worship, for a particular deity. The origins of the cult of Isis are uncertain, but some believe that she was originally an independent and popular deity in predynastic times, prior to 3100 BCE, at Sebennytos in the Nile delta.

The first written references to Isis date back to the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt. Based on the association of her name with the throne, some early Egyptologists believed that Isis’s original function was that of throne-mother. However, recent scholarship suggests this aspect of Isis came later by association. In many African tribes, the throne is known as “the mother of the king”, a concept fits well with both theories.

In the typical form of her myth, Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, goddess of the Sky, and she was born on the fourth intercalary day (One of the 5 days at the end of a year which were added so that Nut could give birth to her children). She married her brother, Osiris, and she conceived Horus by him. Isis was then instrumental in the resurrection of Osiris when he was murdered by their brother Seth. Using her magical skills, she restored his body to life after she gathered together all of his body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Seth.

This myth became very important during the Greco-Roman period. For example, it was believed by some that the Nile River flooded every year because of the tears of sorrow which Isis wept for Osiris. Osiris’s death and rebirth was relived every year through a series of religious rituals. The worship of Isis eventually spread throughout the Greco-Roman world, and continued until the suppression of paganism in the Christian era.

Temples to Isis were built in the Near East, Greece and Rome, with a particularly well preserved example discovered at Pompeii. On the Greek island of Delos, a Doric Temple of Isis was built on a high over-looking hill at the beginning of the Roman period to venerate the trinity of Isis, the Alexandrian Serapis and Harpocrates. Delos was an important location in Greek myth as the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, and was venerated as sacred into the Roman period. The spread of Isis’ cult here (and to places like Athens (on the slopes of the Acropolis) and Rome) firmly established the goddess into the Hellenic pantheon (in so far as a goddess recognized by the ruling state to receive land for temples, festivals etc.) 

The cult of Isis and Osiris continued up until the 6th century CE on the island of Philae in Upper Egypt. The Theodosian decree (in about 380 CE) to destroy all pagan temples was not enforced there until the time of Justinian. This toleration of the goddess was due to an old treaty made between the Blemyes-Nobadae and Diocletian. Every year they visited Elephantine, and at certain intervals took the image of Isis up river to the land of the Blemyes for oracular purposes before returning it. Justinian sent Narses to destroy the sanctuaries, arrest the priests and take the divine images to Constantinople. Philae was the very last of the Egyptian temples to be closed.

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)

Artemis Brauronia

ancientpeoples:

The cult of Artemis Brauronia had two sanctuaries; one at the ancient site of Brauron (from which it the goddess derives her name), the other is situated at the heart of Athens, on the Acropolis. The tyrant of Athens Pysistratus was originally from Brauron, is credited for setting the cult up on the Acropolis therefore changing from a local to a state cult.

Brauron

image

On the Eastern coast of Attica, in a small inlet lies the early ancient site of Brauron (modern day Vravrona). The inlet has silted up since antiquity and now the coast has been pushed further away from the site. It was one of the 12 ancient settlements of Attica that existed prior to the mythological synoikismos of Theseus.

The sanctuary at Brauron consists of a small temple, a unique stone bridge, sacred caves, a spring, and a pi shaped stoa for feasting. It was used until the 3rd century BC when tensions increased between Athens and Macedon and the unfortified sanctuary was abandoned. File:Brauron.jpg

View today of the remains of the stoa and sacred spring

File:Brauron-1.jpg

The only example of a Classical period bridge.

Dedications start from the 8th century BC with dedications in the spring, the temple is built in the 6th century, and in the 420’s BC work begins on the stoa and bridge. This last spurt of building may have been a direct result of the plague that struck Athens at this time as Artemis was a deity (along with her brother Apollo) associated with plagues and healing.

Finds from the site include a high number of statuettes of young children, many objects we classify as “feminine” (jewellery boxes, mirrors, spindle whorls, loom weights etc.), and a large number of kraters depicting girls racing and dancing, both clothed and naked. 

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The Myth

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As the Greeks were preparing to sail to Troy to recapture the stolen queen Helen from Paris, King Agamemnon killed a stag while out hunting. Unfortunately this stag was sacred to the goddess Artemis and she became very angry. She sent the winds against the King so the Greeks could not sail. Only when the king decided to sacrifice his own daughter, Iphigeneia did the winds change. In the version of the myth linked to Brauron, Artemis rushed in at the last second and took the young girl away from her father’s sacrificial knife, replacing her with a beast.

She took the girl away to Taurus to be a priestess their and serve the goddess who had saved her. Iphigeneia eventually returns to Greece with the help of her brother Orestes and goes to Brauron to serve as priestess. It is here she is said to have died and been buried.    

Rituals

Every 4 years a procession of young girl wound it’s way from the Acropolis in Athens to the rural sanctuary at Brauron. As the girls approached marriageable age they were formed into groups of arktoi ”she bears” and spent time in the service of the goddess, dancing in saffron robes, racing and making sacrifices.This was a ritual of “wildness”. Where girls hormones are running high they were said to be in the grip of the wild independent goddess herself, Artemis. By performing these rituals it was hoped that the goddess would guide the girls to maturity. During a final ritual the girls “shed” their saffron robes (representing their bear skin) to symbolise their maturation. These robes were then, probably, dedicated to Artemis.

The goddess presided over girls transition from the onset of puberty to marriage. At the Brauronia festival, girls approaching puberty were initiated into the cult.  

Childish things would be dedicated to the goddess here as the girls were seen to be leaving her care (in the capacity of protector of young girl (i.e. virgins)) and entering womanhood and marriage (the realm of the goddess Hera). The goddess would also be called up on for aid in childbirth. If a woman died in childbirth her robes would be dedicated to  at Brauron.   

image

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)

ancientpeoples:

The Garamantes, an ancient tribe that were located in south-western Libya, flourished about 3000 years ago. Living at the core of the Sahara desert they seemed to have had control of the trans-Saharan trade route. They appear in the area of Fezzan around 900 BC and continue until around 500 AD. Their culture grew in a hyper-arid environment and developed urbanisation (with around 8 major towns and many other small settlements), complex irrigation, trade routes, and a hierarchical, possibly slave using society.  

 

Tacitus (4.50) describes them as:

“An indomitable tribe and one always engaged in brigandage on their neighbours.”  

 

Rock depictions, made by the Garamantes, show two horse war chariots travelling in lines. Some believe that these represent the routes through the desert which the Garamantes controlled. The trade routes connected to Egypt, the Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa. Their contact with other peoples is probably best shown by the number of Roman artefacts found in a Garamantian context, such as glassware, amphorae, bronze statues and architectural motifs.  The Garamantes seem to have exported dates, salt, gold, semi precious stones, jewels and natron.

 

The “stones” which the Garamantes traded are said by Roman writers to have been so precious that even a small one was worth 40 gold staters. The Garamantes traded them to Carthage who, in turn, traded them and this trade helped Carthage become very wealthy. Pliny describes the stone as the “Garmantian carbuncle” which was also called the “Carthaginian carbuncle” because of the stones link to the wealth of Carthage. We don’t actually know what these precious stones actually were.

 

The Garamantes also seem to have been involved in both the capture and the trading of slaves from sub Saharan Africa.   

Herodotus (IV 183-4) says:

“The Garamantes hunt the Troglodyte [cave dwelling] Ethiopians in four-horse chariots: for the Troglodytes are the fastest on their feet of all men that we know … they eat snakes, lizards and such reptiles, and they speak a language unlike any other- they shriek like bats.”

The “troglodytes” are probably the Negroid Tebu of the Tibesti mountains, and they seem to have “hunted” them to be slaves.

 

They developed similar funerary practices to other Saharan populations, i.e. key-hole monuments and antenna tombs, and they probably learned their irrigation techniques from the Egyptians.

 

In 21/20 BC the Roman pro-consul of Africa L. Cornelius Balbus launched a punitive and deterrent campaign on the Garamantes in which there capital of Garama (according to Pliny NH v.36) was captured. This is at Djerma today where extensive Roman cemeteries have been found.  

 

The kingdom eventually fell into decline. This may have been caused by the over use, and eventual exhaustion, of water supplies. They relied on fossil water which they mined out of the ground for irrigation. However this was a non renewable source and appears to ran run out after 6 centuries of Garmantian use. 

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)

ancientpeoples:

Cylinder seals from the Old Babylonian period, third millennium BC. Images courtesy of the British Museum, London.

1. A royal figure faces a deity who has one hand raised, with between them a lion-scimitar and a bow-legged dwarf behind them. Old Babylonian period. Hematite, fair condition.

2. A kilted figure with one hand raised and a royal figure the god, clad in a striped skirt and with his arm extended. Old Babylonian period. Hematite, worn.

3. A god in a ladder-patterned robe faces a figure in a cap and striped kilt who raises one hand. Old Babylonian period. Serpentine, very worn.

4. A hero wrestling with a bull-man; a royal figure; and a nude goddess. Old Babylonian period. Goethite, fair condition.

The first known cylinder seals have been found in Susa in south-western Iran and at Uruk, south Mesopotamia, and date to around 3500 BC. These cylinders, carved in semi-precious stones such as hematite or serpentine, limestone, glass or faience, carry a pictorial story in negative relief. In later periods, versions with Mesopotamian hieroglyphs appeared. The seals were rolled onto wet clay, leaving behind an impression of the carvings in high relief. The picture stories often have a religious nature, are commemorative of a certain event or deploy a particular theme.

Cylinder seals were used for a variety of purposes, and were sometimes even worn as amulets and given to the deceased as a funerary gift. The most widespread use is of the seal as a administrative tool. For instance, storage jars of grain or a bale of goods intended for transport would be sealed off with a strip of clay onto which a seal was rolled to prevent theft. Envelopes were closed using a seal, or they would roll a cylinder on an unhardened brick for decoration. 

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)

ancientpeoples:

A Mesoamerican ballcourt is a large masonry structure of a type used in Mesoamerica for over 2,700 years to play the Mesoamerican ballgame, particularly the hip-ball version of the ballgame. More than 1,300 ballcourts have been identified, 60% in the last 20 years alone. Although there is a tremendous variation in size, in general all ballcourts are the same shape: a long narrow alley flanked by two walls with horizontal, vertical, and sloping faces. Although the alleys in early ballcourts were open-ended, later ballcourts had enclosed end-zones, giving the structure an I-shape when viewed from above.

Ballcourts were also used for functions other than, or in addition to, ballgames. Ceramics from western Mexico show ballcourts being used for other sporting endeavours, including what appears to be a wrestling match. It is also known from archaeological excavations that ballcourts were the sites of sumptuous feasts, although whether these were conducted in the context of the ballgame or as another event entirely is not as yet known. The siting of the most prominent ballcourts within the sacred precincts of cities and towns, as well as the votive deposits found buried there, demonstrates that the ballcourt were places of spectacle and ritual.

The earliest ballcourts were doubtless temporary marked off areas of compacted soil much like those used to play the modern ulama game, the Mesoamerican ballgame’s descendant. Paso de la Amada, Soconusco, along the Pacific coast boasts the oldest ballcourt yet identified, dated to approximately 1400BCE. This narrow ballcourt has a 80 x 8 m (260 ft x 26 ft) flat playing alley defined by two flanking earthen mounds with “benches” running along their length.

By the Early Classic, ballcourt designs began to feature an additional pair of mounds set some distance beyond the ends of the alley as if to keep errant balls from rolling too far away. By the Terminal Classic, the end zones of many ballcourts were enclosed, creating the well-known I-shape.

Many – or even most – Maya depictions of ballgame play are shown against a backdrop of stairs. Conversely, Maya staircases will occasionally feature reliefs of ballgame scenes or ballgame-related glyphs on their risers. The most famous of these are the Hieroglyphic Stairs at Structure 33 in Yaxchilan, where 11 of the 13 risers feature ballgame-related scenes. In these scenes, it appears as if the players were actually playing the ballagainst the stairs in what would seem to be a Maya version of stoop ball.

The association of stairs and the ballgame is not well understood. Linda Schele and Mary Miller propose that the depictions record historic events and in particular record a “form of play … distinct from the game conducted on the courts”, one that “probably followed immediately after[ward] on steps adjacent to the ballcourts”. Other researchers are skeptical. Marvin Cohodas, for example, proposes that the “stairs” are instead stepped platforms associated with human sacrifice, while Carolyn Tate views the Yaxchilan stair scenes as “the Underworld segment of acosmogram”.

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)

ancientpeoples:

The sarcophagus chamber in the Pyramid of Unas; some of the Pyramid Texts can be seen written on the gable.

The Pyramid Texts are the oldest religious writings known to exist. They were first recorded in the pyramid of Unas, last king of Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty, and are called “Pyramid Texts” because they were carved in columns on the inner walls of the pyramid. Pyramids before Unas’ appear to have been undecorated on the inside. As the name suggests, these texts were reserved for the royal dead, and do not seem to have been available to the administrative élite for use in their tombs.

The Pyramid Texts are neither a theological discourse nor a mythological narrative, but present a sequence of often disjointed and seemingly nonsensical “utterances” or “spells”, which begin with the formula “Words to be spoken”. There are a total of 759 spells known to date, though not all of them are found in the same pyramid; Unas’ pyramid, for example, contains 228.

These spells vary from brief pieces of ritual, to lengthy description of the king’s behaviour in the afterlife, to long sequences which make little if any sense to the modern reader. Many of the spells appear to be connected with rituals for making the king live in the afterlife, and list items with them, perhaps to be offered or used in a ritual, as in Spell 90:

Osiris Unas, take the eye of Horus, the dim one, which Set has eaten from! (One Djesret-beer.)

In truth, though, no-one really knows what actions if any were performed with the Pyramid Texts, if the Pyramid Texts were performed at all. The above spell comes as part of a long series of spells exhorting the dead to “take the eye of Horus”.  The eye of Horus was a powerful amulet and icon, and could refer to the sun or the moon, or to Horus’ eye in a more direct sense. According to Egyptian myth, Horus’ left eye was gouged out in his battle with Set, his uncle (or in some versions of the myth, his brother), for control of Egypt, and this may be what this spell refers to. As can be seen, however, the meaning is far from clear.

Other spells give something closer to a narrative description of the king’s ascent into heaven to dwell in the afterlife. Among the more well-known of these are Utterances 273 and 274 from the Pyramid of Unas, which are together called the “Cannibal Hymn”. In this text, the king’s arrival in heaven is described, along with how he devours any god who stands in his way:

To say the words:

The sky is covered, the stars are darkened,

The bow-clouds tremble, the bones of the earth-gods shake,

The decans are still;

They have seen Unas, arisen as a soul, as a god, who lives on his fathers and feeds on his mothers.

Unas is the Bull of Heaven, who rages in his heart,

Who lives on the manifestation of every god,

Who eats the innards of those who come from the island of fire, their bellies full of magic.

It is Khonsu who gashes the lords, as he cuts their throats for Unas, and he removes for him what is in their bellies.

 …


It is not clear whether this should be taken as a literal reading, or as a more metaphorical description of the king’s assumption or absorption of the power of gods. The dramatic opening of the text, with the whole cosmos shaken by his arrival in heaven, is typical of a baw, the appearance or manifestation of a god in the world, which is often accompanied by similar, cataclysmic portents.

The Pyramid Texts are focussed exclusively on the royal afterlife, and were indeed almost exclusively used by the kings of the latter part of the Old Kingdom. It is also found in the pyramids of some queen-consorts, but in the Old Kingdom at least, a celestial afterlife appears to have been confined to the king. While the king hoped to join the gods in heaven, as a god in his own right, or to live everlastingly as one of the “imperishable stars”, the non-royal, elite dead could look forward to an eternity in their tombs, sustained by food-offerings from their living relatives. (What happened to the ordinary Egyptian who couldn’t afford a tomb when they died is unknown.)

In the early Middle Kingdom (c. 1900-1600 BC), parts of the Pyramid Texts re-appear, heavily redacted, in non-royal tombs and on the coffins of the elite, but these are sporadic appearances, and the Coffin Texts are more commonly found, a corpus more suited to the needs of the elite and incorporating some material from the Pyramid Texts. The Pyramid Texts reappear in non-royal tombs again in the Late Period (664 – 332 BC), when archaism became a major feature of funerary and religious practice. The Pyramid Texts had originally been written in archaic language, and by the Later Period were around 1500 years old, and appear to have been copied directly from the pyramid walls of the Old Kingdom, so it may be that their new readers could not fully understand the funerary texts they were borrowing.

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)
ancientpeoples:


Herodotus
Herodotus is often referred to as the “father of History” in so far as he seems to be one of the first “historic” writers. However I would be inclined to called him the “grandfather of History”…or maybe the “slighty mad uncle in the corner at parties of History”. Some of the accounts, or stories, in his “Histories” are particularly fanciful. This has led to his other nickname “The father of Lies”. This is unfair. Herodotus’ work literally means “Inquires”, they are him exploring the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars (along the way covering other subjects like geography, anthropology, ethnology, zoology, fables and folklore) where he inquires and reports back all he has heard. Things are worth reporting primarily if they are interesting, not just if they are true or not.
His focus is on the achievements of mankind, not of the gods and heroes like epic poetry, and of great and marvellous deeds (by all peoples and even in nature like the Nile inundation.) He attempts to build a full a picture as possible, using these of the build up to the War and then the War itself.
I want to share some of the brilliant and strange stories which turn up in Herodotus’ work. They are testament to the fantastic imagination of mankind.
All these examples come from Book II (the Egyptian logoi). I’ll probably do some more examples another time.
On the Nile (2.19-27)
He gives to following reasons for the Nile flood:
1. Winds- North winds blow, preventing adequate flow to the sea. (Herodotus argues that this incorrect because it floods even if the winds fail and the winds have no effect on other rivers)
2. It flows from the great Ocean that encircles the world (a more legendary explanation apparently)
3. It’s caused by melting snow (this is apparently just as worthless a theory as the others because the countries the Nile comes from are hotter than Egypt)
4. Displaced water from other rivers because the sun changes his path in different seasons (H’s own theory, I love ancient Greek logic)
 On the Egyptians being weird (2.35-8)
1. The women go to market and men stay at home and weave. Women even urinated standing up and men sitting down. 
2. They knead bread dough with their feet and clay with their hands and even handle dung (the horror!)
3. They are religious to excess, and make a point of washing cups and clothes (how dare they!), they even circumcise themselves to be clean rather than comely (I love my translation)
On the Hippotamus (2.71)
1. It has 4 legs, cloven hoofs like an ox, a horse’s mane and tail, conspicuous tusks, a voice like a horse’s neigh, and is the size of a very large ox (I am really not sure if he ever saw a hippo from that…)
On the Phoenix (2.73)
1. Visits every 500 years when its parent bird dies. Its gold and red and shaped exactly like an eagle. 
2. One story says it carries a lump of myrrh to make into a kind of egg coffin for its dad and then buries it in the temple of the sun (Herodotus doesn’t find this credible surprisingly)
On flying Snakes (2.75-6)
1. Opposite Buto there are loads of skeletons of flying snakes piled up in a mountain pass. The snakes try to migrate into Egypt from Arabia but the ibis greet them at this pass and kill all of them.
2. They have wings like a bat.

Blind Pheros
1. Pheros was a King of Egypt who went blind. He had got angry at the river for flooding too high and thrown a spear at it. (which of course made him blind…)
2. After 10 years the oracle at Buto said he’d served his punishment and would be cured if he washed his eyes out with the urine of a woman who had never slept with any man except her husband. So he tried his wife’s urine…didn’t work (awkward), then many many many other women…eventually one worked and he could see again (huzah!).
3. All those women whose urine failed were collected together and burned. He then married the lady whose pee worked (I wonder what ever happened to her husband…)

The Clever Thief
1. Once there was a very rich king who put all his silver in an elaborate treasury. The builder eventually died, but on his death bed he told his 2 sons about a secret door. The brothers used it and eventually the king noticed. He hid some traps inside the treasury. Next robbery one brother got caught in the trap. He begged his brother to chop off his head so that the king wouldn’t recognise him and the brother could carry on as normal. So the brother did and the king found a headless corpse in the trap.
2. The king hung the body up and had it guarded trying to spot the thief should he come and mourn. The thief’s mum was angry and wanted the body of her son to bury. She nagged the remaining brother. He got the guards very very drunk and stole the body, he even shaved the right cheek of each of the guards.
3. King was very angry. So he order his daughter to join the local brothel and ask every man who came to her what was the cleverest and wickedest thing they had ever done in the hopes of catching the thief. So eventually the thief arrives. But he has heard about the king’s plan and so cuts off the arm of his corpse and goes to see the princess. 
4. He tells her about cutting off his brother’s head (wickedest thing) and getting the guards drunk (cleverest thing). She quickly grabs him and calls her father, but she grabs the corpses arm and the thief escapes.
5. The king is impressed. He sends out a message that the thief is forgiven as he is clearly the cleverest man ever. Thief appears and marries the prostituted princess. (Yay for happy endings.)
Cheops and his Pyramid
1. He closed all the temples and made all his people slaves. He made them build his pyramid.
2. He ran of money so made his daughter a prostitute. She charged each punter one stone. These were made into the middle pyramid at Giza.
Well there we go for now, I hope you have enjoyed reading a few of these. The ancient writers tell some really amazing stories and hopefully I’ll get round to writing a few more of these. Like the one-eyed men chasing griffins, or the gold digging ants of India, or the queen who went too far and chopped off the breast of all the women in a town and hung them up on the walls as their husbands were slowly impaled beneath them… but its ok the queen ends up being eaten by worms.

ancientpeoples:

Herodotus

Herodotus is often referred to as the “father of History” in so far as he seems to be one of the first “historic” writers. However I would be inclined to called him the “grandfather of History”…or maybe the “slighty mad uncle in the corner at parties of History”. Some of the accounts, or stories, in his “Histories” are particularly fanciful. This has led to his other nickname “The father of Lies”. This is unfair. Herodotus’ work literally means “Inquires”, they are him exploring the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars (along the way covering other subjects like geography, anthropology, ethnology, zoology, fables and folklore) where he inquires and reports back all he has heard. Things are worth reporting primarily if they are interesting, not just if they are true or not.

His focus is on the achievements of mankind, not of the gods and heroes like epic poetry, and of great and marvellous deeds (by all peoples and even in nature like the Nile inundation.) He attempts to build a full a picture as possible, using these of the build up to the War and then the War itself.

I want to share some of the brilliant and strange stories which turn up in Herodotus’ work. They are testament to the fantastic imagination of mankind.

All these examples come from Book II (the Egyptian logoi). I’ll probably do some more examples another time.

On the Nile (2.19-27)

He gives to following reasons for the Nile flood:

1. Winds- North winds blow, preventing adequate flow to the sea. (Herodotus argues that this incorrect because it floods even if the winds fail and the winds have no effect on other rivers)

2. It flows from the great Ocean that encircles the world (a more legendary explanation apparently)

3. It’s caused by melting snow (this is apparently just as worthless a theory as the others because the countries the Nile comes from are hotter than Egypt)

4. Displaced water from other rivers because the sun changes his path in different seasons (H’s own theory, I love ancient Greek logic)

On the Egyptians being weird (2.35-8)

1. The women go to market and men stay at home and weave. Women even urinated standing up and men sitting down.

2. They knead bread dough with their feet and clay with their hands and even handle dung (the horror!)

3. They are religious to excess, and make a point of washing cups and clothes (how dare they!), they even circumcise themselves to be clean rather than comely (I love my translation)

On the Hippotamus (2.71)

1. It has 4 legs, cloven hoofs like an ox, a horse’s mane and tail, conspicuous tusks, a voice like a horse’s neigh, and is the size of a very large ox (I am really not sure if he ever saw a hippo from that…)

On the Phoenix (2.73)

1. Visits every 500 years when its parent bird dies. Its gold and red and shaped exactly like an eagle.

2. One story says it carries a lump of myrrh to make into a kind of egg coffin for its dad and then buries it in the temple of the sun (Herodotus doesn’t find this credible surprisingly)

On flying Snakes (2.75-6)

1. Opposite Buto there are loads of skeletons of flying snakes piled up in a mountain pass. The snakes try to migrate into Egypt from Arabia but the ibis greet them at this pass and kill all of them.

2. They have wings like a bat.


Blind Pheros

1. Pheros was a King of Egypt who went blind. He had got angry at the river for flooding too high and thrown a spear at it. (which of course made him blind…)

2. After 10 years the oracle at Buto said he’d served his punishment and would be cured if he washed his eyes out with the urine of a woman who had never slept with any man except her husband. So he tried his wife’s urine…didn’t work (awkward), then many many many other women…eventually one worked and he could see again (huzah!).

3. All those women whose urine failed were collected together and burned. He then married the lady whose pee worked (I wonder what ever happened to her husband…)


The Clever Thief

1. Once there was a very rich king who put all his silver in an elaborate treasury. The builder eventually died, but on his death bed he told his 2 sons about a secret door. The brothers used it and eventually the king noticed. He hid some traps inside the treasury. Next robbery one brother got caught in the trap. He begged his brother to chop off his head so that the king wouldn’t recognise him and the brother could carry on as normal. So the brother did and the king found a headless corpse in the trap.

2. The king hung the body up and had it guarded trying to spot the thief should he come and mourn. The thief’s mum was angry and wanted the body of her son to bury. She nagged the remaining brother. He got the guards very very drunk and stole the body, he even shaved the right cheek of each of the guards.

3. King was very angry. So he order his daughter to join the local brothel and ask every man who came to her what was the cleverest and wickedest thing they had ever done in the hopes of catching the thief. So eventually the thief arrives. But he has heard about the king’s plan and so cuts off the arm of his corpse and goes to see the princess.

4. He tells her about cutting off his brother’s head (wickedest thing) and getting the guards drunk (cleverest thing). She quickly grabs him and calls her father, but she grabs the corpses arm and the thief escapes.

5. The king is impressed. He sends out a message that the thief is forgiven as he is clearly the cleverest man ever. Thief appears and marries the prostituted princess. (Yay for happy endings.)

Cheops and his Pyramid

1. He closed all the temples and made all his people slaves. He made them build his pyramid.

2. He ran of money so made his daughter a prostitute. She charged each punter one stone. These were made into the middle pyramid at Giza.

Well there we go for now, I hope you have enjoyed reading a few of these. The ancient writers tell some really amazing stories and hopefully I’ll get round to writing a few more of these. Like the one-eyed men chasing griffins, or the gold digging ants of India, or the queen who went too far and chopped off the breast of all the women in a town and hung them up on the walls as their husbands were slowly impaled beneath them… but its ok the queen ends up being eaten by worms.

(Reblogged from ancientpeoples)
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