Saturday, 31 August 2019

THALASSA ~ GREEK PRIMORDIAL GODDESS OF THE SEA


Apart from the famous Gods and Goddesses of Greek Religion who live on Mount Olympus, there are older deities preceding them. The Olympians are, in fact, the third Divine Generation in Greece. 


Characteristics of the Primordial Deities
The Primordial Gods and Goddesses in Greek Religion are linked with the immense depths of the past, when the cosmos was created. As they rose along with life itself, they shaped the basis on which all existence, mortal and immortal, developed. 
Even though They are depicted as men or women in some of their artistic representations, Primordial Gods resemble more that which each of Them represents. Because of this, They have always seemed more distant towards humans. This distance, though totally different from the overall attitude of the Olympians towards humankind, did not diminish the importance of the Primordial Gods within the Greek Religion. 

Thalassa, the Greek Goddess of the sea, is one of the most significant Primordial Deities before the Olympians.
Thalassa’s parents are the God Aether, the God of bright, upper air, and the Goddess Hemera, the Goddess of day. Thalassa’s partner was Pontus, the pre-Olympian God of the seas. Together, they had children, including:

Telchines. These are nine beings who are also called the storm Gods and typically known as the first beings to live on the island of Rhodes.
Halia. A sea Νymph, who was the mother to seven of Poseidon’s children.
Aphrodite. Ancient sources mention Thalassa became pregnant with Aphrodite after coming in contact with Ouranos’ severed manhood.
Aigaios. Aigaios is the God of storms.
Also, Thalassa is the Mother of all the fish in the sea.


Depictions of Thalassa 

While traditional representations of Thalassa are as the sea itself, other images of the sea Goddess exist as well.
In several mosaic works, Thalassa appears as a sturdy woman who is half under the sea. She wears seaweed, holds the oar of a ship in one hand and a dolphin in her other hand. Also, in these images, Thalassa has crab-claws protruding like horns from Her head.
According to fables written by Babrius Thalassa transforms into a half-submerged woman, made of water rising from the sea in order to answer to mortals who criticize Her or are disrespectful towards  Her.


PHEME ~ THE GREEK GODDESS OF FAME, REPUTATION AND RUMOURS


When we think of the Greek Gods and Goddesses, most of us usually think of the Olympians. However, there are other Gods and Goddesses who weren’t part of the Olympian Tradition. Pheme, the daughter of Gaia, Goddess of the earth, is one of them. According to Greek Religion, Pheme’s actions control the reputations of mortals and immortals alike. The chatty Goddess lives in a brass mansion at the top of a high mountain, where she can hear everything that happens above and below.

A sound as small as a whisper will reverberate through Her house,so that the Goddess never misses important news. When She’s not resting at home, the winged Goddess flies from place to place eavesdropping to hear the latest gossip. Pheme holds a trumpet, and each one of her feathers is adorned with an eye, a mouth and an ear.


 Zeus’s Messenger

Pheme has the important task of delivering messages for Zeus, the God of Thunder. The ancient Greeks thought so highly of Pheme that they erected an altar in Her honor at the city of Athens.She is often described as "She who initiates and furthers communication".


Vengeful Goddess

Like most Greek Goddesses, Pheme took revenge from time to time on those who displeased her. The Goddess had no qualms about lying to exact her revenge. Pheme would start by whispering a rumor about her enemy, and then she would gradually speak louder and louder. Eventually, Her lies would cause such a scandal that Her victim found his life in ruins. Perhaps, this is why the revered Greek writer, Hesiod, referred to Pheme as an “evil thing” in his epic poem, “Works and Days” of 700 BCE.

Pheme is one of those Goddesses who isn’t part of a lot of the main stories. However, She does have a place in Greek Religion which is worth learning about.

SOURCE: greekboston.com

Friday, 30 August 2019

HOW GODDESS ATHENA BECAME THE PROTECTOR OF ATHENS

In Ancient Greece, Athens hadn’t always been named after the Goddess Athena. Back in the days when Athens was ruled by kings, King Cecrops, the city’s first royal leader, realized that the city needed a patron God or Goddess. At the time, however, the city was already thriving – but the ruler thought that a patron or patroness was just what the city needed to make it thrive even more. Besides selecting the city-state’s patron deity, he also made other contributions to the society. According to legend, he instituted marriage, taught the people how to read and write, and instituted the practice of ceremonial burial.During that time, the city's name was Kekropia.


Athena and Poseidon Claim the Protection of the City 
Upon learning that the rising city needed a patron deity, both Poseidon and Athena immediately made their intentions known – They both wanted a shot at becoming the patron. What ensued was a rivalry between Them that was so intense, They caused considerable destruction and nearly went to war for the honor. However, just as Τhey were about to attack each other, Athena had an idea for a different approach.


Athena Suggests a Contest
Athena is both the Goddess of war and of wisdom.She is an effective battle strategist because of Her innate sense of wisdom, and it is this trait that compelled Her to suggest an alternative to fighting. She proposed that She and Poseidon enter into a contest in order to decide who would be the patron of the beautiful city. In the contest, whoever presented the city with the best gift would become the patron. King Cecrops was appointed as the judge.



Poseidon Presents His Gift First
It was determined that Poseidon would be the first God to present His gift. To do so, He struck the earth with His massive trident. As the God of the sea, He called on His power of the water to create a massive, foamy stream for the people of the city. Initially, they were excited to be given such a practical gift. However, as they approached the water, they realized that it was actually seawater, which made it unfit for human consumption.



Athena Presents Her Gift and Wins the Contest
After much thought, Athena decided to give the people of the city the gift of the olive tree. A highly practical choice, the olive tree provided the people with sustenance, fuel, and wood to create shelter. Her gift, however, wasn’t immediate. She presented it by planting the seed in the earth, and the people needed to wait and see what it would become. Once they realized what it really was, King Cecrops deemed Her the winner. Athena became the patroness of the newly named city of Athens – a name that still exists today. Eventually, the people build the Parthenon in Her honor.

However, it is important to note that just because Poseidon lost, doesn’t mean that the sea wasn’t important to the people. Over time, the people of Athens and the surrounding area used the sea for sustenance through fishing, and eventually Athens did develop a formidable navy.

SOURCE: greekboston.com

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

THE TAXILA COPPER PLATE ~ EVIDENCE OF THE USE OF THE GREEK CALENDAR IN PAKISTAN


The Taxila Copper plate ( also called the Moga Inscription or the Patika Copper plate) is a notable archaeological artifact found in the area of Taxila, Punjab, in modern Pakistan. It is now in the collection of the British Museum.
The copper plate is dated to a period between the 1st century BCE and the 1st century CE. It bears a date: the 5th day of the Macedonian month of Panemos, in the year 78 of king Moga. It is thought it may be related to the establishment of a Maues era, which would give a date around 6 CE.

The copper plate is written in the Kharosthi script. It relates the dedication of a relic of the Buddha Shakyamuni (Pali: śakamuni, literally "Master of the Shakas") to a Buddhist monastery by the Indo-Scythian (Pali: "śaka") ruler Patika Kusulaka, son of Liaka Kusulaka, satrap of Chukhsa, near Taxila.

The inscription is significant in that it documents the fact that Indo-Scythians practiced the Buddhist faith. It is also famous for mentioning Patika Kusulaka, who also appears as a "Great Satrap" in the Mathura lion capital inscription.

Another fascinating detail about the Taxila Copper Plate is that the date is according to the Greek calendar and more specifically, the variation which the Macedonians used. The month Panemos ( Πάνημος) is the 9th month of the calendar, between modern June and July.



Text of the inscription

1 [samva]tsaraye athasatatimae 20 20 20 10 4 4 maharayasa mahamtasa mogasa pa[ne]masa masasa divase pamcame 4 1 etaye purvaye kshaha[ra]ta[sa]
2 [cukh]sa ca kshatrapasa liako kusuluko nama tasa [pu]tro pati[ko] takhaśilaye nagare utarena pracu deśo kshema nama atra
3 (*de)she patiko apratithavita bhagavata śakamunisa shariram (*pra)tithaveti [samgha]ramam ca sarvabudhana puyae mata-pitaram puyayamt(*o)
4 [kshatra]pasa saputradarasa ayu-bala-vardhi[e] bhratara sarva ca [nyatiga-bamdha]vasa ca puyayamto maha-danapati patikasa jauvanyae
5 rohinimitrenya ya ima[mi] samgharame navakamika
Reverse: Patikasa kshatrapa Liaka



Original text of the Taxila copper plate inscription

In the seventy-eighth, 78, year of the Great King, the Great Moga, on the fifth, 5, day of the month Panemos, on this first, of the Kshaharata
and Kshatrapa of Chukhsa–Liaka Kusulaka by name – his son Patika - in the town of Takshasila, to the north, the eastern region, Kshema by name
In this place Patika establishes a (formerly not) established relic of the Lord Shakyamuni and a sangharama (through Rohinimitra who is the overseer of work of this sangharama)
For the worship of all Buddhas, worshipping his mother and father, for the increase of the life and power of the Kshatrapa, together with his son and wife, worshipping all his brothers and his blood-relations and kinsmen.
At the jauva-order of the great gift-lord Patika
To Patika the Kshatrapa Liaka

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Sunday, 25 August 2019

AMYNTAS NIKATOR


Amyntas Nikator  was an Indo-Greek king. His coins have been found in eastern Punjab and Afghanistan, indicating that he ruled a substantial territory.
Bopearachchi places Amyntas c. 95–90 BCE, whereas Senior places him c. 80–65 BCE.
Amyntas struck bilingual silver coins with a variety of portraits. Most of these bear the reverse of sitting Zeus holding a victory palm and a small statue of Athena, which according to RC Senior may have indicated an alliance between the house of Menander I and the house of Antialcidas. Some of his coins feature the reverse of fighting Athena typical for Menander's descendants. The epithet Nikator (Victor) was previously only used on the Bactrian coins of Agathocles, a century before Amyntas' reign.

His bronzes feature the syncretic deity Zeus-Mithra wearing a phrygian cap and Athena standing at rest, both forming the vitarka mudra.

Amyntas also minted some spectacular Attic coins, the largest silver coins of Antiquity: double-decadrachms, of a weight of 85g. These huge coins were found on the archeological site of Qunduz in Afghanistan. Some of these coins use his ordinary Zeus reverse, but some of them used Tyche in an identical position.


SOURCE: Wikipedia 

TEMPLE OF ARTEMIS IN SARDIS,TURKEY


Soon after Sardis was liberated by Alexander the Great, the construction of the Temple of Artemis began in about 334 BCE. The original temple was probably a dipteros - a temple with two rows of columns around an enclosed inner section. Unusually, the entrance was on the west side; a feature required by the nature of the site.

Just outside the entrance, there was an altar of Artemis much older than the temple itself,dating from the 6th century BCE. In the Hellenistic period, the altar was incorporated into a large stepped platform that still exists.

Construction on the temple was abandoned during the late Hellenistic period, probably due to the decline of Seleucid patronage in Lydia. Construction resumed c.175 BCE but it was again abandoned before its completion. The temple was then damaged by an earthquake in 17 CE.

At some point during this period, Artemis shared Her temple with Zeus. This is based on an early inscription at the site honoring both Artemis and Zeus, and a large head of Zeus that was discovered in the temple.

The third and most impressive stage of construction began during the Roman period, in about 150 CE. The project started after Sardis' gained the prestigious title of neokoros, "temple-warden." This newly acquired status meant that Sardis had to have a temple dedicated to the imperial family. The Temple of Artemis was thus divided into essentialy two separate temples: one half for Artemis and the Empress Faustina and the other half for Zeus and Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-61).



Most of what is left today at the site of the Temple dates from the Roman rebuild in the 2nd century.On the western side of the temple is a freestanding altar to Artemis that dates from the 6th-5th century BCE. Only two complete columns and a few partial ones still stand from the temple; however, it still remains an impressive site, reminiscent of the long and fascinating history of these lands. 


SOURCE: sacred-destinations.com

Friday, 23 August 2019

EPANDROS INDO-GREEK KING OF PUNJAB


Epander (Greek: 'Επανδρος) was one of the Indo-Greek Κings. He may have been a relative of Menander I, and the findplaces of his coins seem to indicate that he ruled in the area of Punjab.
Bopearachchi dates Epander to about 95–90 BCE and R. C. Senior  circa 80 BCE. The scarcity of his coins indicate that his reign was short and/or his territory limited.
Coins of Epander

Epander's silver drachms portray the King in diadem, with a reverse of Athena fighting, which was the type of Menander I coins. Epander probably claimed ancestry from this important King, but his epithet Nikephoros(Victorious) was unique to Kings using this reverse: their title was usually Soter (Saviour). He struck no Attic (monolingual) coins.

SOURCE: Wikipedia

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

GREEK DEITIES IN INDIA ~ THE WORSHIP OF HERACLES


Sometime around 305 BCΕ, the Greek geographer and explorer Megasthenes arrived at the court of the Indian emperor Chandragupta Maurya in Pataliputra (modern Patna). He was sent as an ambassador by Seleucus Nicator of the Seleucid dynasty, with whom Chandragupta Maurya had entered into a treaty and matrimonial alliance. During his stay in India, Megasthenes compiled the book Indica – a commentary on the geography, social traditions, and religious customs of India. Later Greek historians, such as Arrian and Diodorus Siculus have referred to Indica in their works; from their work, we can collect some significant observations made by Megasthenes as far as the presence of Heracles in India is concerned.
Heracles ~ Coin of Demetrius


The Greek Accounts of Hercules in India


Arrian (c.86 CE–160 CE) also wrote a book called Indica, in which he drew from Megasthenes’s earlier work of the same name. Arrian gives the following account about Heracles:
“The Hercules who penetrated so far, the Indians tell us, was a native of their country. He is particularly worshiped by the Suraseni (Shurasena), who have two great cities, Methora (Mathura) and Cleisoborus (Surapura), and the navigable river Jobares (Yamuna), passes through their territories. This Hercules, as Megasthenes asserts, and the Indians themselves assure us, uses the same habit with the Theban Hercules. Many male children, but only one daughter was born to him in India, for he married many women. The daughter’s name was Pandaea, and the land where she was born, and over which Heracles placed her as ruler, was named Pandaea after her.”

There are many parallels between Heracles and Balarama, the elder brother of Krishna. The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (c.50 BCE) also referred to Megasthenes’s work in his Bibliotheca Historica. His description of the Indian Hercules reminds us strongly of Balarama:

“Hercules was born amongst the Indians, and like the Greeks, they furnish him with a club and lion’s hide. In strength he excelled all men, and cleared the sea and land of monsters and wild beasts. He had many sons, but only one daughter. He built Palibothra (Pataliputra i.e. Patna) and divided his kingdom amongst his sons
These are apt descriptions of Balarama, who had a towering physique and possessed extraordinary bodily strength. In the Indian tradition he is credited with inventing various techniques of wrestling and unarmed warfare. Like Hercules, Balarama is always depicted holding a club (or a mace). He was an undisputed master of fighting with the mace, and was an instructor to the royal princes.

Balarama was depicted similarly on bronze coins issued by the Indo-Greek ruler Agathocles (c.180-165 BCE), which were discovered at the site of Ai-Khanum in Afghanistan. These coins, bearing legends in the Greek and Brahmi scripts, show Vasudeva-Krishna on one side, carrying a chakra and a conch. The other side depicts a two- handed Balarama, carrying a club in his right hand and a plough in his left. Both brothers are dressed as warriors, wearing ornate headdress and earrings, and have sheathed swords hanging from their belts.


EDITED FROM: Ancient Inquiries

Monday, 19 August 2019

ATHENA'S OWL ~ A TIMELESS GREEK COIN


The owl of Athena became the common obverse of the Athenian tetradrachms after 520 BCE. 
The owl was used by other Greek cities as well. In 480 BCE, in the Battle of Salamis, the Athenians saw owls flying above them. They considered this event as a blessing from Goddess Athena Herself, since the owl is Her sacred animal. The Greeks emerged triumphant from the Battle, and from then on, they depicted an owl with open wings on the decadrachms. 

Coins with the owl of Athena were minted almost all over the Hellenistic country after Alexander's era;  dozens of different cuts over the centuries in silver,gold and, much later, in nickel from the modern Greek State.

In 2002,  and Greece changed its currency and entered the eurozone. The owl is depicted on the Greek 1-euro coin, continuing thus its presence in the European continent. The sacred animal of Goddess Athena has also become a timeless symbol of Greek monetary history throughout eras and countries, which hasn't lost its appeal for the past 2,500 years.
  






Saturday, 17 August 2019

AFGHANISTAN ~ GREEK COIN ~ ATHENA 'S OWL IN BACTRIA



This coin, minted in Bactria, imitates the most widely circulated coin of antiquity: the Athenian "owl," which was copied in many different countries. Numismatists disagree whether this coin was issued before or after Alexander's foray into India. Considering the wide variety of styles and artistic qualities in which this coin is found, we feel it was quite possible that the coins were issued both before and after Alexander's presence in Bactria. This coin bears a monogram that was used later by the Seleucids, and therefore may well have been issued by Seleucos I to pay his troops during the period from 323 to 312 BCE, when he was struggling to consolidate his power.




HELLENIC PANTHEON ~ THE FAMILY OF GREEK GODS


The Olympians are a family of Gods who rule after Zeus led his siblings in battle for overthrowing the Titans. They live on Mount Olympus. Some are the children of the Titans Cronos and Rhea, and others are children of Zeus. The original 12 Olympian Gods include Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Ares, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis, and Hephaestus. Demeter and Dionysos have also been recognized as Olympic Gods.

The Olympian Gods have generally been credited with the first Olympics. One story credits their origin to Zeus, who began the festival after his defeat of his father, the Titan God Cronos. Another tradition claims that the hero Heracles, after winning a race at Olympia, decreed that the race should be re-enacted every four years.

Whatever their actual origin, the ancient Olympic Games were called Olympic after Mount Olympus, the dwelling of the Gods. The Games were also dedicated to these Greek Gods for nearly 12 centuries, until byzantine Emperor Theodosius decreed in 393 C.E. that all such "pagan cults" should be banned.

Cronos and Rhea

The Titan Cronos married Rhea and together they had six children,all of whom are among the Olympic Gods.

Poseidon: After overthrowing their father and the other Titans from power, Poseidon and his brothers drew lots to split the world among them. Poseidon's pick made him Lord of the sea. He married Amphitrite, daughter of Nereus and Doris, and granddaughter of the Titan Oceanus.
Hades: Drawing the "short straw" when He and His brothers shared the world  among them, Hades became God of the Underworld. He is also known as the God of wealth, due to the precious metals mined from the earth. He is married to Persephone.

Zeus: The only child of Cronos and Rhea who was not eaten by His father, Zeus is the most important of all the Olympic Gods. He freed his siblings from their father's stomach and led the war for domination. He drew the best lot of the three sons of Cronos, and became the leader of the Gods on Mt.Olympus, as well as Lord of the sky, thunder, and rain. Due to His many children and multiple affairs, Zeus is also worshipped as a God of fertility.
Hestia: The oldest daughter of Cronos and Rhea, Hestia is a virgin Goddess, known as the "Goddess of the Hearth." She gave up her seat as one of the original Twelve Olympians to Dionysos, to tend the Sacred Fire on Mt. Olympus.
Hera: Both the sister and wife of Zeus, Hera was raised by the Titans Ocean and Tethys. Hera is known as the Goddess of marriage and Protector of the marital bond. She was worshipped all over Greece, but particularly in the region of Argos.
Demeter: The Greek Goddess of agriculture.

Children of Zeus

Zeus married His sister, Hera, and their marriage is quite a bit turbulent. Zeus is well known for his infidelities, and many of his children came from unions with other Goddesses and with mortal women. The following children of Zeus became Olympic Gods:

Ares: God of war.
Hephaestus: God of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, and fire. Some accounts say that Hera gave birth to Hephaestus without the involvement of Zeus, in revenge for his having given birth to Athena without her. Hephaestus married Aphrodite.
Artemis: Zeus's daughter by the immortal Leto, and twin sister of Apollo, Artemis is the virgin moon Goddess of the hunt, wild animals, fertility and childbirth.
Apollo: Twin of Artemis, Apollo is the God of the sun, music, oracles, medicine, and poetry.
Aphrodite: Goddess of love, desire, and beauty. Some accounts identify Aphrodite as the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Another tale says that she sprang from the foam of the sea after Cronus castrated Uranus and tossed his severed genitals into the ocean. Aphrodite married Hephaestus.

Hermes: Son of Zeus and Maia, Hermes is the God of boundaries and the travelers who cross them.He is also the patron God of merchants, shepherds and thieves.
Athena: Goddess of wisdom and unmarried girls, Athena sprang fully grown and fully armed from the forehead of Zeus. He had swallowed his pregnant first wife, Metis, so that she would not bear a child who could usurp his power—the child who later emerged as Athena.
Dionysos: His mother, Semele, died before giving birth, but Zeus took the unborn Dionysos from her womb and sewed him inside his thigh until it was time for the child's birth. Dionysos took the place of Hestia as an Olympic God, and is worshipped as the God of wine and ecstasy.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

THE TROJAN HORSE OF GANDHARA

A relief carving showing the Trojan Horse on wheels. Gandhara School,from the Hellenistic Kingdom of Kushan( c.2nd-3rd century), British Museum.

The Greek presence in Asia continued for many centuries after Alexander's death. Greek art became associated with Buddhism and Hinduism, which effectively received great influence from Europe through the Greeks.
Greek sculpture became the mother of Buddhist art. Statues of Greek Gods and pieces of Greek History were created in Asia, making the presence of the Greeks truly immortal in all those regions. 
The above relief which shows a scene from Homer's Iliad is a demonstration of the fact that Greek History had become a popular artistic theme in Asia.


THE GREEK TEMPLE OF APOLLO AT DIDYMA, TURKEY

11 miles south of the ancient port city of Miletus on the western coast of modern-day Turkey, the Temple of Apollo at Didyma or Didymaion was the 4th largest temple in the ancient Greek world. The temple’s oracle, second in importance only to that at Delphi, played a significant role in the religious and political life of both Miletus and the greater Mediterranean world; many rulers, including Alexander the Great, visited or sent delegations to this oracle seeking the guidance and favor of Apollo. In its heyday, Didyma was not a city, but a place of worship, connected with Miletus by the so-called Sacred Way. This road was used by the pilgrims who arrived at Didyma, seeking answers to nagging questions.
The Didymaion was the 3rd and largest temple that the Greeks built around the site of a natural spring, which they believed to be the source of the oracle’s prophetic power. The first temple was a humble structure that replaced a much earlier Carian sanctuary. In the 6th century BCE, the people of nearby Miletus began construction on a second, much larger temple. Wider than and as long as the Parthenon in Athens, this second temple reflected the growing fame and influence of the oracle. This temple, however, was plundered and destroyed, either in 494 BCE by the Persian king Darius or in 479 BCE by his son and successor Xerxes. It is said it that the sacred spring ceased to flow until Alexander the Great passed through on a conquest of his own and re-consecrated the site in 331 BCE.
While Alexander reopened the site at Didyma, his siege left Miletus heavily damaged and the tariffs levied against the citizens as punishment for their resistance financially crippled the city for decades. When Miletus finally began to recover - some thirty years after Alexander’s conquest - the citizens began construction on yet another temple at the site of the sacred spring. It is this third and final temple that is known today as the Temple of Apollo at Didyma or the Hellenistic Didymaion. As was common for Greek temples of such an immense size, construction continued for centuries and the temple was never completed; even in the late 4th century CE the temple lacked a pediment or a cornice and much of the sculptural ornamentation and even several of the massive columns remained unfinished. Nevertheless, the temple must have been a magnificent sight as even the ruins can leave the modern-day visitors awestruck.

The Hellenistic Didymaion

Like the Temple of Artemis in Ephesos, the Didymaion was built to resemble from the outside an ordinary, albeit huge, Greek temple. The Didymaion possessed an enormous temple platform or podium that created a level building area of over 5,500 square meters. Upon this raised platform rested 122 massive columns, each 2.5 meters in diameter, which in turn supported an elaborate coffered roof that extended out over the entire platform. In its nearly finished state, the walls of the temple rose to a towering height of nearly 28 meters above the ground.


While the exterior of the Didymaion appeared similar to an ordinary Greek temple, the interior was quite unique. The inner chamber or adyton of a traditional Greek temple was built directly on top of the temple platform or podium. The temple at Didyma, however, was built around a sacred spring and so the floor of the adyton had to be at ground level. The architects of the Didymaion came up with an ingenious solution; they constructed two long and narrow vaulted tunnels, each over 21 meters long and just over 1 meter wide, that led from the top of the temple platform back down to the grassy floor of the adyton. This clever “hollow” design allowed the Milesians to build a traditional-looking temple that rivaled the Artemision in Ephesus while also preserving the natural spring that had long been considered the sacred source of the oracle’s power. Moreover, while from the outside the temple appeared fully roofed, the inner chamber of the Didymaion was open to the sky. This allowed the temple staff to cultivate a grove of sacred trees on the adyton floor. In this idyllic environment, amidst the trees and beside the sacred spring, stood a much smaller temple or naiskos that held the cult statue of Apollo.


The Political & Religious Significance of the Didymaion

The Temple of Apollo at Didyma played a critical role in the religious and political life of ancient Miletus. The temple complex served as the site of important religious festivals, sacrifices, and votive offerings while the oracle exercised a significant influence on Milesian civic statutes, treaties, public enterprises, and was relied upon to provide protection against enemies and to help direct public and foreign affairs.
Archaeological research
The Society of Dilettanti sent two expeditions to explore the ruins, the first in 1764 under Richard Chandler, the second in 1812 under William Gell. The first excavations in Didyma were carried out in 1858, in the area of the Sacred Way, under the direction of the British archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton.

The grounds of the Temple of Apollo were studied for the first time by French archaeologists, Olivier Rayet and Albert Thomas, in 1872. Their goal was to find the statue of Apollo, and the excavations took two years. The statue was not found. However, the dimensions of the temple were determined, and its plan was reconstructed.

In the years 1895-1896, the French team worked in Didymaion again, this time under the supervision of Bernard Haussoullier. The focus was on the northern part of the temple, but this project was quickly abandoned for economic reasons.
More time was spent in Didyma by German archaeologists who worked there on behalf of Berlin Museums from 1905 to 1937. Thanks to them, almost the entire temple was excavated. The work was resumed under the supervision of the German Archaeological Institute in 1962 and it lasts until today, with particular attention devoted to the Sacred Way.
The most surprising discovery was made by German researchers in 1979. On the inner wall of the courtyard, some barely visible lines were discovered. Upon closer examination, these lines turned out to be the plans for the temple. They survived thanks to the fact that Didymaion was never finished, and the walls were not polished. From these sketches, the researchers have learned a lot about the planning and construction of the temple.

SOURCE:Ancient History Encyclopedia

DIONYSIACA OF NONNUS ~ THE TRIUMPH OF DIONYSOS IN INDIA ( FREE BOOK ) PDF

The Dionysiaca (Greek: Διονυσιακά ) is an ancient Greek epic poem and the principal work of Nonnus. It is an epic in 48 books, the lon...