Maslenitsa (Russian: Мaсленица, Ukrainian: Масниця, Belarusian: Масьленіца; also known as Butter Week
Crepe week) is an Eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday, celebrated during the last week before Great Lent, that is, the eighth week before Eastern Orthodox Pascha (Easter).
According to archeological evidence from 2nd century A.D. Maslenitsa may be the oldest surviving Slavic holiday. Maslenitsa has its origins in the pagan tradition. In Slavic mythology, Maslenitsa is a sun-festival, personified by the ancient god Volos,and a celebration of the imminent end of the winter. In the Christian tradition, Maslenitsa is the last week before the onset of Great Lent. The most characteristic food of Maslenitsa is bliny - thin pancakes or crepes.
In some regions, each day of Maslenitsa had its traditional activity. Monday may be the welcoming of “Lady Maslenitsa”. The community builds the Maslenitsa effigy out of straw (из соломы), decorated with pieces of rags, and fixed to a pole formerly known as Kostroma. It is paraded around and the first pancakes may be made and offered to the poor. On Tuesday, young men might search for a fiancée to marry after lent. On Wednesday sons-in-law may visit their mother-in-law who has prepared pancakes and invited other guests for a party. Thursday may be devoted to outdoor activities. People may take off work and spend the day sledding, ice skating, snowball fights and with sleigh rides. On Friday sons-in-law may invite their mothers-in-law for dinner. Saturday may be a gathering of a young wife with her sisters-in-law to work on a good relationship.
The ancient theatre at Delphi was built further up the hill from the Temple of Apollo giving spectators a view of the entire sanctuary and the valley below. It was originally built in the 4th century BC but was remodeled on several occasions, particularly in 160/159 B.C. at the expenses of king Eumenes II of Pergamon and in 67 A.D. on the occasion of emperor Nero’s visit. The koilon (cavea) leans against the natural slope of the mountain whereas its eastern part overrides a little torrent which led the water of the fountain Cassotis right underneath the temple of Apollo. The orchestra was initially a full circle with a diameter measuring 7 meters. The rectangular scene building ended up in two arched openings, of which the foundations are preserved today. Access to the theatre was possible through the parodoi, i.e. the side corridors. On the support walls of the parodoi are engraved large numbers of manumission inscriptions recording fictitious sales of the slaves to the god. The koilon was divided horizontally in two zones via a corridor called diazoma. The lower zone had 27 rows of seats and the upper one only 8. Six radially arranged stairs divided the lower part of the koilon in seven tiers. The theatre could accommodate about 4,500 spectators.On the occasion of Nero’s visit to Greece in 67 A.D. various alterations took place. The orchestra was paved and delimited by a parapet made of stone. The proscenium was replaced by a low pedestal, the pulpitum; its façade was decorated with scenes from Hercules’ myth in relief. Further repairs and transformations took place in the 2nd century A.D. Pausanias mentions that these were carried out under the auspices of Herod Atticus. In antiquity, the theatre was used for the vocal and musical contests which formed part of the programme of the Pythian Games in the late Hellenistic and Roman period. The theatre was abandoned when the sanctuary declined in Late Antiquity.
A Monumental Marble Bust of Zeus or Asklepios. Roman Imperial, 2nd Century A.D., the Socle, Shoulders, and Restorations circa 1780s, attributed to Vincenzo Pacetti (1746-1820) Sotheby’s June 2015. http://hadrian6.tumblr.com
Relief with Phanes, ca. 2nd century A.D. - Modena Galleria Estense
Phanes (Ancient Greek: Φάνης]), or Protogonos (Greek: Πρωτογόνος, “First-born”), was the mystic primeval deity of procreation and the generation of new life, who was introduced into Greek mythology by the Orphic tradition; other names for this Classical Greek Orphic concept included Ericapaeus (Ἠρικαπαῖος or Ἠρικεπαῖος “power”) and Metis (“thought”).
In these myths Phanes is often equated with Eros and Mithras and has been depicted as a deity emerging from a cosmic egg, entwined with a serpent. He had a helmet and had broad, golden wings. The Orphic cosmogony is bizarre, and quite unlike the creation sagas offered by Homer and Hesiod. Scholars have suggested that Orphism is “un-Greek” even “Asiatic” in conception, because of its inherent dualism. Time, who was also called Aion, created the silver egg of the universe, out of this egg burst out the first-born, Phanes, who was also called Dionysus. Phanes was a uroboric male-female deity of light and goodness, whose name means “to bring light” or “to shine”; a first-born god of light who emerges from a void or a watery abyss and gives birth to the universe
Alabaster figure of a reclining woman. Reclining figures are common among Greek terracottas, and the appearance of the posture in Mesopotamian sculpture may reflect the influence of Greek terracotta manufacturing centers along the eastern Mediterranean.
~ Mosaic floor with Dionysus’ head from a Roman villa.
Date: Second half of the A.D. 2nd—3rd century
Provenance: Corinth, Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth
(Αρχαιολογικό Μουσείο Αρχαίας Κορίνθου)
Couch and footstool with bone carvings and glass inlays, Imperial, Roman, 1st–2nd century A.D., Wood, bone, glass.
These pieces of furniture have been reassembled from fragments, some of which may come from the imperial villa of Lucius Verus (co-emperor, A.D. 161–169), on the Via Cassia outside Rome. It is not certain that the square glass panels are original to the bed frame and stool, but the carved bone inlays are paralleled on other Roman couches. On the couch legs are friezes of huntsmen, horses, and hounds flanking Ganymede, the handsome Trojan youth who was abducted by Zeus in the guise of an eagle to serve as his wine steward; on the footstool are scenes of winged cupids and leopards; and on the sides of the bed frame, the striking lion protomes have eyes inlaid with glass.