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Lost Ancient Greek Island Has Been Found

Lost Ancient Greek Island Has Been Found

By Toni Aravadinos -

Archaeologists believe they may have discovered the lost city of Kane, the site of the epic sea battle of Arginusae, which saw Athens crush Sparta in 406 BC. Archaeologists weren’t exactly sure where this island was located, until now.
An international team of archaeologists working with the German Archeological Institute think they may have found Kane in the Aegean Sea, just off the coast of Turkey. The ancient sea battle between the Athenians and Spartans is estimated to have happened towards the end of the 27-year Peloponnesian War.
It was a bittersweet win for the Athenians. Due to a storm the commanders abandoned thousands of their shipwrecked men after the war, something that was considered very dishonorable in the ancient times, as punishment six of them were executed and two were sent into exile on their return to Athens.
The Battle of Arginusae got its name due to its close proximity to the “Arginus” islands, which are now called the Garip islands. Ancient texts always cited the Arginus islands as having three land masses, though they are only two located where the Garip islands are today. What happened to the third island has been a mystery.
Researchers wondered if a nearby peninsula was perhaps the missing island, so they drilled into it and they made an interesting discovery, they found evidence that what is now a peninsula was once an island.

- See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/11/25/lost-ancient-greek-island-has-been-found/#sthash.ARN4s646.dpuf

 (NOTE: The naval Battle of Arginusae took place in 406 BC during the Peloponnesian War near the city of Canae in the Arginusae islands, east of the island of Lesbos. In the battle, an Athenian fleet commanded by eight strategoi defeated a Spartan fleet under Callicratidas. The battle was precipitated by a Spartan victory which led to the Athenian fleet under Conon being blockaded at Mytilene; to relieve Conon, the Athenians assembled a scratch force composed largely of newly constructed ships manned by inexperienced crews. This inexperienced fleet was thus tactically inferior to the Spartans, but its commanders were able to circumvent this problem by employing new and unorthodox tactics, which allowed the Athenians to secure a dramatic and unexpected victory.
The news of the victory itself was met with jubilation at Athens, and the grateful Athenian public voted to bestow citizenship on the slaves and metics who had fought in the battle. Their joy was tempered, however, by the aftermath of the battle, in which a storm prevented the ships assigned to rescue the survivors of the 25 disabled or sunken Athenian triremes from performing their duties, and a great number of sailors drowned. A fury erupted at Athens when the public learned of this, and after a bitter struggle in the assembly six of the eight generals who had commanded the fleet were tried as a group and executed.
At Sparta, meanwhile, traditionalists who had supported Callicratidas pressed for peace with Athens, knowing that a continuation of the war would lead to the re-ascendence of their opponent Lysander. This party initially prevailed, and a delegation was dispatched to Athens to make an offer of peace; the Athenians, however, rejected this offer, and Lysander departed to the Aegean to take command of the fleet for the remainder of the war, which would be decided less than a year later by his total victory at Aegospotami.)

Ruins of Ancient Greek City Found on Mount Pindos

Ruins of Ancient Greek City Found on Mount Pindos

By Toni Aravadinos -

(NOTE: The Pindus (also Pindos or Pindhos) mountain range is located in northern Greece and southern Albania. Because it runs along the border of Thessaly and Epirus, the Pindus range is often called the "spine of Greece". The mountain range stretches from near the Greek-Albanian borders in Northern Epirus, entering the Epirus region and Macedonia region in northern Greece down to the north of the Peloponnese. Geologically it constitutes an extension of the Dinaric Alps, which dominate the western region of the Balkan Peninsula. This vast complex of mountains, peaks, plateaus, valleys and gorges traverses the Greek mainland from the Northwest to the Southeast.) 

 Archaeologists were stunned to find the ruins of an unknown ancient city which dates back to the 4th century BC, at an altitude of 1,200 meters on the Greek mountain of Pindos. It is believed to be the highest archaeological excavation in Greece.
Some fragments of inscriptions which were found near the area of Kastri include the Greek letters “ΙΕΡ…” (ιερό/iero=sacred place) and have led archaeologists to believe that this might have been a very important place for the ancient Macedonians, filled with temples and places of worship. The exact name of this city is yet unknown.
“Even though the findings are many and are very important, we still are unable to find the name of this city and of the God it worshipped. However, the rest of the evidence, including its geographical location and the findings, even the heyday of its acropolis towards the end of the 4th century BC, prove the importance of this city’s historical frame in the ancient Macedonian kingdom” noted the head of this excavation Mrs Stella Drougou.
The systematic excavation in Kastri brought to light large portions of the fortified acropolis of this ancient city and as all evidence proves it had a religious character. Even though the remains of the acropolis are highly damaged, the coins, the ceramics and the vast variety of metallic equipment reveal a well organized economy which obviously leads to a well organized life. The excavation findings and the parts of architecture as well as the coins, date the city towards the end of the 4th century BC to the beginning of the 3rd, but the destruction of the acropolis (which is thought to have been very violent) is dated somewhere in the 2nd century BC. The large amount of copper arrows and fire traces prove that there was most likely some sort of warfare.
“All this data shows that our next excavation target should be at the east mountain slopes of Pindos with the certainty that in the future there can be a very interesting archaeological place in that area”  concluded Mrs Drogou.

- See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2015/11/25/ruins-of-ancient-greek-city-found-on-mount-pindos/#sthash.7gD10LuA.dpuf

New €20 note with improved security to enter circulation


Sandy Vega

 The European Central Bank launched the new €5 in May 2013 and the new €10 note came on stream in September 2014. Each new note includes a raised print, giving a unique feel.
New €20 notes will begin circulating across Ireland from tomorrow.
When held up to the light, a hologram of Greek mythology figure Europa can be seen.
The note has has an additional security feature known as the portrait window.
Meanwhile, when the new note is tilted, a silvery stripe reveals a portrait of Europa in a transparent window, and the emerald number will change to deep blue while moving up and down. In total, there were 18.1 billion banknotes in circulation with a face value of €1,053.8 billion.
The new notes are similar to the old ones which remain valid but will gradually be withdrawn as they become worn out. The new 50-euro bill is set to go into circulation in the second quarter of 2017, reported the Bank of France in a separate press conference.

Look to the Skies This Month for the Pleiades Star Cluster

The Seven Sisters will shine bright from dusk till dawn for the rest of November
By Danny Lewis

NOVEMBER 19, 2015
The Leonid meteor shower has come and gone, but there’s plenty going on this week to keep stargazers looking up. This Friday night, on November 20, the Pleiades star cluster will reach its highest point in the night sky before making its way back towards the horizon.
While the Pleiades are often mistaken for the Little Dipper, the star cluster is usually found by looking further south, above the bright orange star Aldebaran. One of the best ways to find the star cluster is actually to look towards Orion, Alan MacRobert reports for Sky & Telescope.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Pleiades hangs out high above the hunter, with orange Aldebaran smack in between the two constellations. Typically, the Pleiades will start rising around 7 P.M.
The Pleiades will be visible through next April, but in the Northern Hemisphere the star cluster is closely tied to the beginning of winter, with some referring to November as “the month of the Pleiades,” according to EarthSky.org’s Bruce McClure, when the star cluster shines brightly from dusk until dawn.
The name comes from figures in Greek mythology: The Pleiades were originally the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas, but Zeus turned them into stars after they begged to be saved from Orion the hunter, astronomer Steven J. Gibson writes for the Arecibo Observatory. After Orion died, he was transformed into a constellation, chasing the Seven Sisters through the skies forever.
While the Pleiades may take their name from Greek mythology, the stars had an important place in many ancient cultures across the world. McClure writes that Halloween is partly derived from a Druidic ritual that celebrated the Pleiades rise and marked a time when the borders between the worlds of the living and dead became blurry.
On the other side of the world, the Zuni people of modern-day New Mexico called the star cluster “The Seed Stars,” as their disappearance from the sky marked the beginning of their growing season.
In a way, the Pleiades are actually sisters—not only are the stars positioned fairly close to one another, but they were born out of the same dust cloud about 100 million years ago, McClure writes. While the seven stars shine the brightest, they are just several of a star cluster that numbers in the hundreds about 430 million light years away.
Editor's Note: Pleiades was mistakenly called a "constellation" in the original version of this article. However, changes were made to show that Pleiades is not a true constellation, but rather is a star cluster in the constellation Taurus.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/month-look-skies-pleiades-constellation-and-comet-180957327/#ufCfbRjBtiTUe5k9.99


In the broad field of anthropology, researchers study ancient relics to discover the truth about humanity’s past. Either it be through ancient artifacts (archaeology), ancient fossils (paleontology), or any other study, they all strive to attain that shared goal through excavation and preservation. However, there’s been a new movement of an anthropological extent that is receiving attention among history buffs and fans. Some researchers (or maybe experts and enthusiasts) are trying to revive the past. An example of this would be the Temple Mount Faithful trying to revive the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.
Now there is a new movement that is taking on the tantamount endeavor of reviving not just any relic of the past, but one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This movement wants to revive the Colossus of Rhodes.
According to the official website for the Colossus of Rhodes Project, the endeavor was made not out of just wanting to restore one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but to help the people who have greatly suffered in Greece’s failing economy. Collaborating with archaeological-cultural institutions and travel agencies, Rhodes architect Ari A. Palla wants to put the Colossus of Rhodes back on the map. By reviving the ancient statue honoring the ancient Greek mythological gods of victory, it would serve as a port-of-entry for three continents, attracting millions of visitors each year. With the uptick in tourism, it is expected new job opportunities and living conditions will follow.
It should also be noted the Colossus of Rhodes will be accompanied by a new museum which will house hundreds of archaeological findings left in storerooms not publicly accessible. Its construction will also contribute to the country’s economic development with a “domino effect” as more infrastructure is added to make room for newly-discovered artifacts in the future.
Needless to say, having the Colossus of Rhodes revived in modern society is exciting news among those who love history. According to Ancient Origins, the Colossus of Rhodes is the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to be completed back in 280 B.C.E. by Chares of Lindos. The island it was built on (known as Rhodes, of course) has a history of being conquered. Back in 357 B.C.E., its first record of being conquered was by Mausolus of Halicarnassus. That reign would be short-lived as 17 years later, the Persians took over the island in 340 B.C.E. Finally, it was captured by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.E.
The one battle that would bring forth the building of the Colossus of Rhodes was back in 305 B.C.E. when Antigonus sent his son Demetrius to capture Rhodes for forming an alliance with Egypt through Ptolemy I. Demetrius arrived with 40,000 men ready to take over. However, Ptolemy sent a relief force of ships one year later which forced Antigonus’ army to abandon the siege. In the process, they also left behind most of their siege equipment as well. To celebrate, the Rhodians sold the siege equipment for money to be used to build a huge statue honoring the mythological Greek sun god Helios. The statue was made to honor him but was also meant to honor other mythological Greek gods associated with victory and triumph.
 The Colossus of Rhodes is the last of the Seven Wonders of the World to be built. It was destroyed by an earthquake back in 600 C.E. [Image via Marten van Heemskerck (1498-1574)/Wikimedia Commons – http://www.rhodos-welten.de/koloss/koloss.htm]The Colossus of Rhodes did not last the test of time as it fell after 56 years. Its destruction wasn’t by the hands of invaders, but by an earthquake that hit Rhodes in 226 B.C.E. The statue broke off at the knees and toppled over, shattering into numerous pieces. The ruins of the Colossus of Rhodes would remain untouched until 654 C.E. when Arabs invaded and supposedly melted down the remains to be used for coins, tools, and weapons.

As of now, the Colossus Rhodes Project is just a proposal. Revival of the Seventh Wonder of the Ancient World have not gone through planning, purchasing, or contracts. Until the proposal is accepted, this project will merely remain a dream for the people of Rhodes. 

Amazing discovery of 22 shipwrecks off Greece offers wondrous glimpse into ancient life

By Yanan Wang October 30 

An archaic shipwreck —one of 22 — found in the small Greek archipelago of Fourni. (Vasilis Mentogianis)
In the Fourni archipelago of the Greek Aegean region, towering underwater cliffs descend into the darkness of the deep sea. Marine archaeologists comb these murky depths for objects made by human hands — a ceramic shard encrusted with sea sponges, or an ancient vase that an eel has claimed for its home.
Through the centuries here, human handiwork has been absorbed by its natural aquatic surroundings, with rock and reef steadily growing around any remnants of life from early Western civilization.
The seeming improbability, then, of finding substantive artifacts in the patchwork makes discovery all the more exciting.
 “You’re constantly scanning in any direction,” Peter Campbell, an underwater archaeologist at the University of Southampton, told The Washington Post. “There’s this moment that you see something, a straight line that doesn’t look natural, and your eye kind of flips over. You realize it’s an ancient pot or ancient anchor, then you notice this stuff is everywhere.”
While undertaking a survey of possible wreckage around Fourni last month, Campbell and his team experienced this sense of wonder an unprecedented 22 times over.
When Campbell and the expedition’s co-director, Greek archaeologist George Koutsouflakis, arrived at the collection of thirteen islands and islets in mid-September, they had heard some rumblings of artifacts from ancient ships to be found in the area.
As luck would have it, they came across a shipwreck on their very first dive, which the team took to be “a good omen.” Over the course of less than two weeks — the duration of their survey permit — they would have been content to find three or four wrecks in total.
After the first five days, that number hit ten. Then, on a single day, they found an additional six.
At this point, overwhelmed with the unexpected fortune, they decided to stop looking for wrecks so they could focus on adequately recording information from the ones they had already encountered. But even this decision didn’t stop them from finding a few more by the expedition’s end, making the sum uncovered in just 13 days an astounding 22 shipwrecks.
 An underwater archaeologist takes notes on ancient jars found in a shipwreck. (Vasilis Mentogianis)
During this short period, Campbell and Koutsouflakis’s crew of marine archaeologists, local fishermen, sponge divers and the occasional robot (read: remotely-operated vehicle) increased the total number of known ancient shipwrecks in Greece by 12 percent.
An announcement this week revealed that the survey, a collaborative effort between the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and the Florida-based RPM Nautical Foundation, yielded shipwrecks dating from the Archaic Period (700-480 B.C.) through the Late Medieval Period (16th century), including some wrecks that are more than 2,500 years old.
The small and relatively obscure region may be “the ancient shipwreck capital of the world,” the release says.
While a comparable number of wrecks have been discovered in major harbor sites like Pisa, Copenhagen and London, Campbell said, this find is significant because there was no major settlement or port in Fourni, which was merely a popular passing-through point.
These shipwrecks, however, illustrate just how crucial a passageway the small archipelago was for seafaring merchants of the ancient times. The storms that ravaged the neighboring islands of Samos and Icaria were so fierce that sailors often took refuge in Fourni’s abundance of gentle bays. The archipelago lies along a major east-west crossing route, as well as the primary north-south path from the Aegean to the Levant.
The large number of shipwrecks found suggests not that Fourni was an uncommonly dangerous locale, but rather that it welcomed an immense volume of sea traffic over a long period of time. Campbell estimates that there was likely no more than one wreck every hundred years.
By the time scientists can reach wrecks of this kind, any organic materials — wood, clothing, bodies — have long been eaten away by their environment. A shipwreck, then, is comprised of several hundred pieces of pottery, indicating the bulk of a ship’s cargo, that fan out from a distinct area.
Campbell said all the wrecks they found were from typical merchant sailing vessels and not from any warships.
“That suits us pretty well,” he said. “These shipwrecks tell the story of the every day person, and we’re really interested in what life was like for the average sailor in 400 B.C.”
According to the archaeologist, the narrative that emerges is one of a unique marine culture, in which a global sensibility permeated not only the objects that were shipped, but also the demographic makeup of the sailing crews. These outfits were often multicultural and multilingual, and were even known to have their own “mixed” language — the singular speech of men who spent most of their lives on water.
The ships carrying the found wreckage were all following the same trade route, Campbell said. It was one that connected the North Aegean and the Black Sea region to the Levant, Cyprus, Palestine and Egypt.
While historical texts had previously given archaeologists a general idea of how merchants sailed these routes, the wreckage around Fourni allows their travels to be traced in a way that was never before possible.
“This is one of the top discoveries in terms of what it can tell us about ancient maritime trade,” Campbell said. By combining terrestrial studies with close analyses of the unearthed ceramics, it will be possible to reconstruct entire itineraries of ancient voyages.
The amphoras (tall containers with two handles and a narrow neck) created back then had designs that were distinctive to their originating nation-states, so piecing together those patterns could yield quite a comprehensive understanding of the various stops that each ship made on their voyages.
While most of the artifacts remain in the ocean to preserve the encompassing natural habitat, a few are undergoing conservation treatments to prepare them for further examination. Through residue analysis, scientists may be able to draw conclusions about what the amphoras contained. (There are already hints of this in their shapes: thin necks for wine, larger necks for fish sauce.)
Campbell and Koutsouflakis’s team are in the process of applying for a permit for next year’s survey in the same area, where they expect to continue finding shipwrecks.
This year’s excursion, however, is almost certainly an outlier.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance again to come upon 22 shipwrecks in a single season,” Campbell said. “It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.”

Grecian belief in an underworld populated by daemons, ghosts

Is the tradition of Halloween tainted by the blood of primeval human sacrifices? The origins of Halloween lie in Samhain, the Celtic New Year festival, in which the Gaelic druids might have ritually sacrificed some human victims, according to some accounts and some recent evidence. Such hypothesis is not unreasonable, as many communities in the ancient world decided to appease their enraged chthonic deities with human flesh.
But the European neighbors of the Celts, the ancient Greeks, did something even more disturbing: they brutally sacrificed the ugliest among them in order to maintain the common good.
When we think about ancient Greece, usually the first images that come to mind are philosophers wandering in their white robes, enlightened politicians arguing about the bases of democracy, or artists sculpting perfectly proportionate figures in white marble. But there is a darker aspect of Grecian society that is less widely-known—a belief in an underworld populated by daemons, ghosts, and bogeys which personified people’s most dreadful and terrifying fears. This morbid side underlies even the ancient Greeks’ greatest achievements; many classic plays, for instance, are obsessed with murder and death. And perhaps nothing can introduce us to this hidden and disturbing side of the Grecian’s psyche more vividly than the pharmakos ritual, a ceremony that's survived from Greece's darkest ages to the brightest peak of its civilization, roughly from 8th to 5th century BC. The origins and details of this ritual are as mysterious as its purposes: the sources are fragmentary and no one tells us exactly when it began, or why, or how long did it last.
But the surviving evidence points us to a frightful ceremony unknown to many of us.

A statue of Apollo. The Thargelia was one of the chief Athenian festivals in honor of the Delian Apollo and Artemis. (Photo: Ricardo André Frantz/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0)
In early Greek history, during times of plague or famine, when the precarious agrarian societies started to fear for their survival, each Greek town would elect its ugliest inhabitant, known as the pharmakos. ("Ugly" in this case probably meant deformed in some way, and certainly from the fringes of society. An aristocrat with a big nose would not qualify.) For a while, this person would be fed at public expense with the most exquisite delicacies available at the time—figs, barley cakes and cheese. Afterwards, he or she (or they – some places, like Athens, would choose two lucky uggos, a man and a woman) would be driven through the town while being violently smote with leeks and wild plants by a wrathful mob. This ugly unfortunate's fate largely depended on the town’s own tradition. In some places he or she was merely cast out of the city, while in others the pharmakos would be stoned to death, burned, or thrown off a cliff.
How popular was this ritual? In some places, so popular that it became annual. In Athens, for instance, it was celebrated during the yearlyThargelia festival.
Why a society choose to sacrifice its ugliest inhabitant in such a brutal way is complicated. First of all, ancient Greek society was obsessed with purity; those who deviated from institutionalized norms were viewed as a threat. Physical imperfections were seen as corresponding to moral flaws so therefore, disabled children were exposed and abandoned outside the city walls, and the ugly and deformed were suspiciously regarded as tainted beings.
Secondly, Greek mythology frequently suggests that the sacrifice of one individual has the power to save an entire community—a primordial reflection of a pre-civilization time when a herd needed to sacrifice its weakest members to predators in order to survive. The pharmakos ritual, then, acted like a catharsis, a purification of the iniquities of the entire society through the sacrifice of one of its marginal members. The related word pharmakon, which later originated the English word "pharmacy," meant both poison and medicine. This reflects the ambiguous role of the unfortunate pharmakos: he held the guilt for all the evils that had affected society, but he was also its savior. But, at a psychological level, people could not accept their redeemer to be just any scum—therefore, for a period of time, he had to be treated as a very important person. In exceptionally difficult times, this fiction was no longer enough. According to some authors, it had to be the king himself who was sacrificed for the community’s sake.

A c.470BC depiction of Apollo and Artemis. (Photo: Public domain/WikiCommons)
The physical elimination of the pharmakos did not actually make all the town's afflictions disappear. But it relieved the social tensions that had accumulated during those precarious times, and avoided the possibility of a chaotic and uncontrolled bloodshed among the members of the society, while reinforcing the reassuring status of belonging to a group.

This practice might be unthinkable now in most cultures, but it's worth noting that the psychological underpinnings of pharmakos have not gone away. How often does our society blame someone else for its own drawbacks—the indigent, the homeless, the immigrants? How often does someone rejoice at the prospect of punishing a person who represents our darker and upsetting side? Like the Greeks, we tend to project our most terrifying aspects onto someone else. Shame is a powerful, damaging force, even when it's currently more associated with online diatribes than a literal mob.