3rd century ce


The Legacy of Ancient Palmyra

The intentional destruction of Palmyra’s best-preserved monuments by ISIS in 2015 and 2017 was an attempt to erase its illustrious history and deprive current, and future, generations access to these remarkable vestiges of a past civilization.

The devastation unleashed in Syria today forces a renewed interpretation of the early prints and photographs presented in an new online-only exhibition about the Legacy of Ancient Palmyra.

They gain more significance as examples of cultural documents that can encourage a deeper investment in understanding humanity’s past achievements relevant to all historic sites. Understanding Palmyra through these invaluable accounts preserves its memory and connects us with its grandeur and enduring legacy.


Mithraic Sanctuary Uncovered in Corsica 

A sanctuary dedicated to the god Mithras was uncovered in Corsica. The building was erected within the ancient port city of Mariana in the 2nd century CE.  It is the first evidence has been found of Mithraism practiced in ancient Corsica. 

Mithras is a Persian solar deity whose cult was appropriated by Roman military in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE.  Very little is known about the actual religion because it is mystery cult; ritual practices were conducted in secret and the information that was written about the religion is fragmentary and unreliable. What is known for sure about the religion is that it was exclusively for men and that ritual feasting was a common ritual practice.

Artifacts found at the sanctuary include, several bronze bells and a broken altar relief depicting Mithras slaying a bull (shown above).

anonymous asked:

Hello! I was wondering what's this whole thing about Dionysus having influence from India? I haven't heard of it but it sounds interesting.

The ancient Greeks had a fair number of myths about Dionysos traveling to other nations, and even myths placing His place of origin in India. His myths about the Indian Wars are some of the most extensive about His time in India.  Philostratus writes about Dionysos being known and worshiped in India, and he also makes a good number of references to the mythical mountain of Nysa, birthplace of Dionysos, being located in India. Euripides writes about Dionysos starting His cults in India as well:

Euripides, Bacchae 14 ff (trans. Buckley) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
“I [Dionysos] have left the wealthy lands of the Lydians and Phrygians, the sun-parched plains of the Persians, and the Bactrian walls, and have passed over the wintry land of the Medes, and blessed Arabia, and all of Asia [Anatolia] which lies along the coast of the salt sea with its beautifully-towered cities full of Hellenes and barbarians mingled together; and I have come to this Hellene city [Thebes] first, having already set those other lands [of the East] to dance and established my mysteries (telete) there, so that I might be a deity manifest among men.”

And there are plenty of other mentions of Dionysos and His time in India by other authors of the time.

Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 2. 6-10 :
“Now the Hellenes disagree with the Indians, and the Indians among themselves, concerning this Dionysos [the wine-god worshipped in India]. For we declare that the Theban Dionysos made an expedition to India in the role of soldier and reveller, and we base our arguments, among other things, on the offering at Delphoi, which is preserved in the treasuries there. And it is a disc of Indian silver bearing the inscription : ‘Dionysos the son of Semele and of Zeus, from the men of India to the Apollon of Delphoi.’”

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 20 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
“You [Dionysos] hold in thrall the Orient, even those remotest lands where Ganges waters dusky India.”

Seneca, Phaedra 753 ff :
“Thou, Bacchus [Dionysos], from thyrsus-bearing India, with unshorn locks, perpetually young, thou who frightenest tigers with thy vine-clad spear, and with a turban bindest thy hornèd head.”

Here’s the link to the theoi.com page that focuses on Dionysos’ myths outside of Greece.

And, because of the importance of His role outside of Greece in myth, you get art work of Dionysos that holds influences from those different places as well. You can find some really lovely Greco-Indian art, which is Hellenistic in nature, rather than strictly Hellenic, and shows some beautiful and clear influence of both cultures. 

Drinking scene, with Dionysus and Ariadne on his lap, Greek drinking cups, Greek dress. Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara. Dated 3rd century CE. :

It’s all pretty neat stuff and well worth looking into if that’s your thing

anonymous asked:

I saw you tweeting about it, I always thought Apollo and Artemis were gods of the Sun/Moon not just music and the hunt. Is that not the case?

Classically speaking, for the most part, no. While Hellenists (Greek and Greek-ish peoples of the post-Alexander era ca 3rd century CE) often conflated Apollo and Artemis with the sun and moon, this didn’t become the standard belief until about the third century CE.

Homer and Hesiod and Ovid and Vergil would not identify Apollo as the sun, for example.

Classically speaking, the sun and moon were the Titans Helios and Selene, whose names mean, well, sun and moon.

Apollo was the god of plenty of other things: music, prophecy, healing, poetry, light, the arts, truth, etc. Basically the things that were super important to the Greek cultural identity, which is why I often refer to Apollo as the god of being Greek. It’s for this reason that his name is just Apollo in Latin: he didn’t have a pre-existing Latin god that he could be pasted onto, so he was just borrowed whole hog.

(I should probably note, since some people may not know this: the Greek/Roman god situation was not one where the Romans were like, “Oh, we like these Greek gods, let’s borrow them and then change their names for some reason.” A major element of Greco-Roman religion and culture [which helped them in their pursuit of empire] was syncretism, which is basically the ability to say, “Hey, you thing is like my thing, they’re probably the same thing.” [This is also part of the reason why Judaism and Christianity did not jibe well with the generally religiously permissive Roman culture: it’s very easy to go to Egypt and say, “Oh, Zeus and Ammon are the same,” or else, “Oh, you have another god we don’t have? Add him to the pokedex.” With monotheism, it’s a littler harder to reconcile.] Anyway: as the Romans conquered Greece, they said, “Oh, the Greeks are way better than we are at everything except fighting, let’s try to be classy like them.” This included looking at their body of myth and looking at a way to make it their own, by pasting it on top of their already existing pantheon. “You’ve got a sky father? We’ve got a sky father. So Zeus and Jupiter must be the same dude.” Some fits weren’t that easy: Mars was originally an agricultural god, for example. But he was the closest fit to Ares. Also: the bellicose Romans felt WAY different about Mars than the Greeks did about Ares.)

Artemis was goddess of the hunt, wild animals and wilderness, young women, virginity, and, ironically, childbirth.

It’s not hard to see why Apollo and Artemis ultimately get conflated with Helios and Selene, though: they’re twins, Apollo is god of light, Artemis is goddess of childbirth (which was greatly associated with the moon), Apollo is gold, Artemis is silver.

The conflation seems inevitable in retrospect, but it would have been completely foreign to, say, Pericles.


Hecate or Hekate (Greek Ἑκάτη) is a goddess in Greek religion and mythology, most often shown holding two torches or a key and in later periods depicted in triple form.

She is associated with crossroads, entrance-ways, dogs, light, the Moon, magic, witchcraft, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, necromancy, and sorcery.

She is a pre-Olympian chthonic goddess and appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod’s Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess.

In the post-Christian writings of the Chaldean Oracles (2nd-3rd century CE) she was regarded with (some) rulership over earth, sea and sky, as well as a more universal role as Saviour (Soteira), Mother of Angels and the Cosmic World Soul.

She was one of the main deities worshiped in Athenian households as a protective goddess and one who bestowed prosperity and daily blessings on the family.

Her lips are not afraid to whisper to the dead and decaying things.

She is Magick and Witchcraft.

The maker of potions that grant power to those that use them.

A necromancer able to control and raise the dead, speaking with the spirits of those long gone from this world into the next.

She is summoned by Witches
Cauldron flames licking the ethers of otherworldly planes

Singing incantations Of her menacing name Hecate, come

The Roman Road in Cilicia is the remains of an ancient road located near the city of Tarsus in Southern Turkey. It is believed to be part of the major road which connected the regions of Cilicia and Cappadocia in antiquity. The road is believed to have begun in the city of Tyanna (present-day Bahçeli) in southern Cappadocia and ended in Tarsus, the capital city of Cilicia. The total distance of the ancient road is unknown. However, the modern highway distance between Tarsus and Tyanna is approximately 148 kilometers (92 miles). Only about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) of the road have been unearthed.

Near the southern end of the road there is a stone gate (pictured above) which is believed to have served as a border checkpoint. The gate was originally built during the reign of Caracalla in the 3rd century CE but was demolished and replaced with the present gate sometime in the medieval era.

The current remains were constructed by the Romans in the 1st century CE, but it is known that a road connecting Cilicia and Capadoccia has existed since the Bronze Age. Some scholars believe that a passage has existed as early as the Neolithic era due to reports of Neolithic petroglyphs near the location of the road. Today, the Roman road is a popular spot for local pastoralists.

Detail of a mosaic from Roman Spain on the labors of Heracles/Hercules, showing him retrieving the Apples of the Hesperides (the Eleventh Labor).  Artist unknown; 3rd century CE.  Found at Lliria, Valencia, Spain; now in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, Madrid. Photo credit: Carole Raddato.


Greco-Buddhism is the term given to refer to the cultural syncretism of Hellenistic and Buddhist culture in ancient Bactria and the India (present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Northern India) between the 4th century BCE and 5th century CE. The style gave rise after the invasion of Bactria (present-day Afghanistan) and the Indus Valley by the Greek armies of Alexander the Great, and flourished under the subsequent Indo-Greek Kingdom and the Kushan Dynasty, who incorporated the Greek Alphabet and other aspects of Hellenistic culture into their own society. The result was an interesting combination of Greek artistic elements in the local Buddhist art. It is generally believed that the first anthropomorphic images of the Buddha emerged during the Greco-Buddhist period in the 1st century CE. Scholars credit many stylistic elements of the image of the Buddha, such as his halo, stylistic curls, and top bun style to Greco-Roman artistic influence. Interestingly, many standing images of the Buddha at this time also depict him in a Greek contrapposto. Many deities from the Hellenistic pantheon were also adopted into Buddhist religion. The most notable examples are the deities, Heracles, Tyche, and Boreas, who eventually became associated with the Buddhist deities, Vajrapani, Hariti, and Oado respectively. Aspects of Greco-Buddhism managed to filter into Buddhist art within the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Asia as the religion started to spread eastward. Greco-Buddhism is one of the greatest examples of long distance cultural and artistic exchange in the ancient world, spanning between two continents and adapting elements from countless different cultures, most notably, Greco-Roman, Persian, and Hindu.

Greco-Buddhism particularly flourished in the ancient region of Gandhara which encompassed the land around the border of Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan. Excavations in the archaeological site of Hadda, located near the Kyber Pass in Afghanistan, recovered over 23,000 examples of Greco-Buddhist art. Many of these sites, unfortunately, were destroyed or heavily damaged through looting and vandalization by the Taliban in the 1990s. The artifacts that have survived are a testament of a very rich and diverse cultural syncretism.

1) Statue of the “Hadda Triad.” A Giant statue of the Buddha sits between the two deities, Vajrapani/Heracles and Hariti/Tyche who are sculpted in the Hellenistic style. From the Tapa-i-Shotor Buddhist complex in Hadda, Afghanistan. c. 2nd-5th century CE.  This statue was destroyed in the 1990s by the Taliban. Only photographs and illustrations survive.

2) Sculpture relief of the Buddhist gods Hariti/Tyche and her consort Pancika. The two figures are donned in Greek style dress and Hariti/Tyche is holding a Hellenistic-style cornucopia. From Gandhara, Pakistan, c. 3rd century CE. British Museum.

3) Bronze statuette of a seated Buddha. From Gandhara, Pakistan, c.1st-2nd  century CE. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

4) A reliquary known as the “Bimaran Casket.”  The Buddha, pictured in the center, is depicted in a contrapposto pose. He is surrounded by two deities, Brahma and Śakra, inside Greco-Roman style arched niches. From Hadda, Afghanistan, c. 1st century CE. British Museum.

5) Indo-Conrinthian capital decorated with a seated Buddha. From Gandhara, Pakistan. 3rd century CE. Musée Guimet

Vulpecula, God Of Runners

So this happened. 


Vulpecula is the diminutive form of the Latin Vulpes, meaning Fox; the god may be seen in the constellation Vulpecula cum Ansere, The Fox And The Goose, which in contemporary literature are usually two separate constellations.

Vulpecula is a god exclusive to runners, but traditionally encompassing a wide variety of runners including athletes, foot couriers, and “those fleeing persecution”.

Vulpecula is depicted visually as a fox with wings on the shoulders or ankles (see “In Early Art” for more detail). In references to Vulpecula in literature, the fox is usually a silent guide to a traveler. On one occasion in late Roman literature, they are depicted as a trickster, whose goal is “always to obtain a large meal”.

(There is a Read More! Please read more!)

(Also: In case you came here from some outside route, most of this is fiction. That’s why no sources are cited. It’s just a fun story I made up.)

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