hellenic world

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Folk Greek farmer from the island of Crete.

In Syntagma square, Athens during farmers protest against new measures the were voted by the greek government.

Common Misconceptions About the Goddess Hekate

Many of these misconceptions can be very popular, but have no historical backing.

-She is a “crone goddess”
This misconception probably comes from more recent literary representations of her. In Ancient Greek religion she was always portrayed as a young maiden.

-She is a “triple goddess” or the Triple Goddess
The Triple Goddess is a purely modern creation/belief. This concept of deity was created in the mid 1900s along with Wicca. Since Hekate predates Wicca and neo-pagan movements by about 2,000 years, she couldn’t really be the Triple Goddess. She is not a Wiccan deity, so therefore, she would not be defined or characterized by a Wiccan concept of deity. While she is commonly portrayed as three women, that was only to depict her domain over the three way crossroads, unlike the Triple Goddess whose aspects each represent a different thing.

-Hekate is not a witch goddess
This is so far from true. Even if this role isn’t one of her original roles, such as the ones described by Hesiod, this aspect did become quite prevalent later in the Hellenic world. The evidence of her role as a witch goddess is very commonly portrayed in Ancient Greek literature and mythos. Kirke and Medea, arguably two of the most popular witches ever, were both priestesses, or in some cases daughters, of Hekate. Whenever witches performed their magic such as necromancy, binding spells, curses, image magic, and other spells, they called on Hekate. This relationship between witches and Hekate is not only shown in Greek literature but in Roman literature as well such as the tale of the witch Erichtho is Lucan’s Pharsalia.

-Hekate is JUST a witch goddess
Though her role as a witch goddess is probably the most popular in literature and with neo pagans and Wiccans, this is far from her only aspect. As described by Hesiod, she was a goddess of the heavens, the earth, and the sea, and a child protector. She was also known to be a goddess of the crossroads and the dead. She guards the gates to the underworld and holds dominions over the daemones (spirits) and ghosts. She also later became a goddess of the moon and is celebrated every dark moon at her Deipnon.

-Hekate is evil
This is more of a modern literary misconception. The Ancient Greeks did not believe in gods of pure good or pure evil. Each deity had aspects of both. The power to create or destroy. To bless or to curse.

Index of Religions

After a couple of hours, the list of every religion/tradition on this blog has been edited and reorganized alphabetically and geographically (excluding Abrahamic & Dharmic religions). If you have any corrections or would like to see a tradition that is not listed here, please feel free to ask! (And if it’s a correction, please be polite.)

The official blog page can be found here!

Abrahamic Religions:

  • Judaism
    -Orthodox (Hasidic)
    -Conservative
    -Reformed
    -Reconstructionist
    -Kabbalah (Mysticism)
    -{Abayudaya, Afghani, Amazigh, Ashkenazi, Bukharian, Cochin, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Igbo, Iranian, Iraqi, Japanese, Kaifeng, Moroccan, Sephardi, Tunisian, Yemeni}

  • Christianity
    -Eastern Orthodox (Ethiopian, Eritrean, Russian, Romanian, Greek, Coptic, Oriental)
    -Catholicism (Ambrosian, Armenian, Chaldean, Chinese, Coptic, Ge'ez, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Maronite, Melkite, Syro-Malabar; Nueva Jerusalen “cult”)
    -Protestantism
    -Nestorianism
    -Jehovah’s Witnesses
    -Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
    -Quakers (Religious Society of Friends)

  • Islam
    -Sunni {Hanabali, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafai'i}
    -Shi'a {Alawites, Alevism, Ismaili, Twelver, Zaidi Muslims}
    -Ibadi Muslims
    -Ahmadi Muslims
    -{Sufism; Chinese, Mexican}

  • Druze
  • Babism
  • Baha'i
  • Samaritanism

Dharmic/Indian Religions:

  • Hinduism
    -Shaivism
    -Vaishnavism
    -Shaktism
    -ISCKON (Hare Krishna)

  • Buddhism
    -Mahayana
    -Theravada
    -Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism)
    -Zen (Chinese, Japanese)

  • Jainism
    -Digambara
    -Svetambara

  • Sikhism

African/African diaspora traditions (Spirit Religions):

  • Ancient Egyptian
  • Atenism (Ancient Egyptian monotheism)
  • Candomble (Brazilian- diaspora)
  • Hoodoo
  • Kemeticism (Egyptian revivalist)
  • Rastafarianism (Jamaican)
  • Santeria (Cuban- diaspora)
  • Umbanda (Brazilian- diaspora)
  • Voodoo(Vodoun) (Haitian, Benin)
  • Yoruba (Nigerian)
  • {Ibibi, Luba, Zulu}

Asian Religions:

  • Bon Po (Indigenous Tibetan religion)
  • Caodaism (Vietnamese)
  • Chinese Popular (Folk) Religion
  • Confucianism (Chinese)
  • Phillipines: Indigenous  
  • Sanshin (Korean)
  • Sarnaism (Indian)
  • Shinto (Japanese)
  • Taoism (Wu Wei)
  • Tengriism
  • Vedic Religion (ancient Indian)
  • Vietnamese Folk Religion
  • Wuism (Chinese)
  • Yiguandao (Chinese)

Australian (People):

  • Aborigine Australians

European Religions, Mythology, & People:

  • Arthurian mythology
  • Asatru (Nordic)
  • Baltic mythology
  • Celtic mythology (Irish, Scottish, Welsh)
  • Church of the Last Testament (Russian cult)
  • Druidism (Neo-druidry)
  • Finnish mythology
  • Hellenism (Ancient & revivalist Greek & Roman religions)
  • Icelandic mythology
  • Mari (Russian indigenous)
  • Minoan (ancient Crete)
  • Mithraism (ancient Roman cult)
  • Norse mythology (Nordic)
  • Rodnovery (Slavic: Russian, Ukrainian, Polish)
  • Roman mythology
  • Romani

North American (People & Cultures):

  • Aleut
  • Apache
  • Cherokee
  • Comanche
  • Hopi
  • Inuit
  • Iroquois
  • Kiowa
  • Lakota
  • Mohawk
  • Native American Church
  • Navajo
  • Ojibwe
  • Peyote
  • Pueblo
  • Seminole
  • Sioux
  • Ute

South/Latin American Religions:

  • Aztec mythology
  • Incan mythology
  • Mayan mythology
  • Santo Daime

Middle Eastern Religions & People:

  • Ashurism (ancient Sumerian)
  • Babylonian mythology
  • Canaanite mythology
  • Kalash
  • Mandaeism
  • Manichaeism (ancient Gnostic Persian religion)
  • Ugaritic (ancient Syria)
  • Yazdanism (Kurdish: Yarsanism)
  • Yezidi/Yazidi (religion/culture)
  • Zoroastrianism (Persian & Parsi [India])

Polynesian Religions & People:

  • Hawaii'an
  • New Zealand
  • Phillipines
  • Polynesian mythology

Others:

  • Atheism
  • Gnosticism
  • Humanism
  • Luciferianism
  • Paganism (Neo paganism)
  • Satanism
  • Shamanism
  • Unitarian Universalist
  • Wicca

Marble portrait of Alexander The Great

Youthful image of the conqueror king

Hellenistic Greek, 2nd-1st century BC, Said to be from Alexandria, Egypt

Literary sources tell us, though perhaps not reliably, that Alexander (reigned 336-323 BC) chose only a few artists to produce his image, and famous names such as the sculptor Lysippos and the painter Apelles were associated with his portraiture. Though none of the famous images have been recovered, many sculptures in different materials, as well as portraits on gemstones and coins, survive. These were mostly produced long after Alexander’s death and while the portraits follow similar general characteristics, they also vary in style.

Alexander was always shown clean-shaven, which was an innovation: all previous portraits of Greek statesmen or rulers had beards. This royal fashion lasted for almost five hundred years and almost all of the Hellenistic kings and Roman emperors until Hadrian were portrayed beardless. Alexander was the first king to wear the all-important royal diadem, a band of cloth tied around the hair that was to become the symbol of Hellenistic kingship.

Earlier portraits of Alexander, in heroic style, look more mature than the portraits made after his death, such as this example. These show a more youthful, though perhaps more god-like character. He has longer hair, a more dynamic tilt of the head and an upward gaze, resembling his description in literary sources.

This head was acquired in Alexandria, the city founded by Alexander in 331 BC, and the location of his tomb. Alexandria was also the capital of the longest surviving Hellenistic dynasty, the Ptolemies. From the time of the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (‘Saviour’) (305-282 BC), Alexander was worshipped as a god and the forefather of the dynasty.

Source: British Museum

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The Ancient Egyptian City of Cats

In Ancient Egypt the cat was more than just a domesticated feline pet, it was a holy animal which represented the goddess Bastet.  By the New Kingdom of Egypt, cat worship became common place among Egyptians, and there was even a special “Cult of the Cat” dedicated to Bastet and the veneration of kitties.  In the 9th Century BC the Egyptian Pharaoh Shoshenq I made the City of Bubastis the capital of his empire, and dedicated the city to the worship of Bastet and of cats.  At the center of the city was a temple dedicated to Bastet, described as one of the most attractive temples in all of Egypt.  However it was not the temple itself that caught the eye.  After the time Egypt had become a part of the Hellenic (Greek) world Cult of the Cat continued to flourish in Egypt.  In 450 BC the Greek traveler and historian Herodotus visited Bubastis and the temple.  What he saw was shocking.  Thousands upon thousands of cats, all of which were venerated as sacred animals and cared for by priests. To control the cat population (in an age before spaying, neutering, or Bob Barker) periodic culling of the cat heard through ritual sacrifices conducted by the priests.  The mummified cats were then sold to pilgrims as relics.  Herodotus goes on further to report that the annual Festival of Bastet was held in the city every year, drawing as many as 700,000 people from all around Egypt, who would spend the time drinking, partying, and having sex, all because of the cats.  

While many may scoff at the idea of thousands of sacred cats occupying a holy temple, there is real evidence to back such a claim.  In the late 19th century a tomb containing the mummies of 80,000 cats was discovered near the Temple of Bastet in modern day Beni Hasan.  Peashooter is amazed by the thought of so many cats, but wonders how badly that temple must have smelled.

CAMP JUPITER/NEW ROME DON’T HAVE CHRISTMAS

It makes total sense, though, doesn’t it? The Romans have plenty to be salty at over Christmas

  1. Jupiter is probably still bitter that some upstart-monotheists managed to usurp him in the state religion after almost 6000 years of being head honcho
  2. The Romans had tons of festivals that were pretty awesome, and I bet New Rome goes all out for big festivals
  3. Literally EVERY SINGLE CHRISTMAS TRADITION COMES FROM PAGANISM. The day itself is based on the Winter Solstice, which every pagan cult celebrated. Evergreen boughs for the Solstice were a ROMAN TRADITION GODS DAMMIT, mistletoe was a ancient Celtic symbol of peace, the list goes on.

So when the Greeks, who fully dabble in the mortal world and have tons of other holidays, show up to visit New Rome for Christmas with presents and Santa and the whole nine-yards they are shocked to find not a single shred of Christmas. Instead the Romans are celebrating Saturnalia from December 17 - 22. 

“But wait,” you say, “Isn’t Saturn the Roman form of Kronos? Why would you celebrate that!?

KRONOS IS NOT SATURN. More on that under the cut. 

So the Romans would go all out celebrating Saturnalia. The Pontifex Maximus would perform a sacrifice to Saturn at the temple, the Senate has a public rite to honor Saturn, everyone has the day off, and there is a public feast in the Forum. It was a time for games, gambling, and masquerade balls (or as close as the Romans ever got to it). Pine boughs were hung everywhere, and on December 22 was the feast of Sol Invictus, “The Unconquerable Sun,” to celebrate the return of the sun after the longest night of the year. Fun times!

But before you get your knickers in a twist, Saturnalia is basically Christmas because on December 19th (Sigillaria) there would be an exchange of gifts, usually accompanied by a verse of poetry (presents and Christmas cards, the Christians stole literally everything). 

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

So I'm kinda confused. I've read that milk was a traditional offering to the Theoi. But the Greeks thought drinking milk was barbaric. I don't get why they'd offer something that they thought was barbaric.

I first wrote about milk in this post about food in ancient Hellas, in which I stated that the ancient Hellenes considered drinking milk was barbaric. I’ve come back to that statement later, in an answer to someone who asked why it was considered barbaric.

Mostly, the ancient Hellenes considered anything their non-Greek speaking neigbours did ‘barbaric’–and their neighboors drank milk. Peasants drank milk–because hey, precious food–but most likely they used most of the milk they got from their sheep, cows, and goats to make cheese. It’s an old custom to link milk to barbarism, by the way. It’s already in Hómēros’ ’Odysseia’ in which the cyclops that tried to eat Odysseus and his crew drank milk:

“He curdled half the milk and set it aside in wicker strainers, but the other half he poured into bowls that he might drink it for his supper.” [IX]

This observation follows after it’s minutely detailed how the crew ate only cheese and sacrificed only cheese as well. Speaking of sacrifice: milk was also an oft-given gift to the dead. We, generally speaking, avoid eating things we associate with the dead to avoid miasma. So cheese is fine, yoghurt is fine, but milk is not.

The question above is obviously a follow-up to that question, and a logical one. Truthfully, I think that not drinking milk was tied to a multitude of factors and came to be tradition throughout the years. Let’s list a few:

- The ancient Hellenes feared the wild and valued developed society. Part of developed society was the ability to take a raw product and turn it into another. Milk to cheese, barley to bread, grapes to wine, etc. This was most likely a large part of why drinking milk was considered ‘barbaric’–barbaric meant underdeveloped, close to nature, close to the wild nature that the ancient Hellenes feared in themselves.
- Cheese was more expensive that milk, so those who had milk, tended to make cheese out of it to sell. Especially for small farmers and herders, the extra income would be appreciated and drinking the raw product would cut into profit quite a bit.
- Milk is a substance fed to a newborn by a mother. Even in animals, anything connected to birth and death is somewhat tainted; miasmic. This connection is also, partially, Kthonic.
- In the same line: milk was an oft-given gift to the dead, another reason to shy away from it as living human beings.
- As said before: their 'barbaric’ neighbors drank milk, so the Hellenes, obviously, did not.

The Nymphs and other nature and Khthonic divinities are connected to the wilds, to the rustic landscapes and the purity of the land. Milk is a truly fitting sacrifice to Them as that is exactly what the ancient Hellenes associated it with as well. On top of that, milk is a base product, just like all agricultural products. The two are intrinsically linked. As such, it is not odd that Demeter–the very Goddess connected with these base products, was honoured with milk. Preferred it, even.

Milk was never–if very rarely–sacrificed to the Ouranic Gods, but the Khthonic Gods received it often. These were linked to nature and death, to the basics of human life. The ancient Hellenes sought to evolve themselves and the Ouranic Gods oversaw those processes. Milk was not a part of that. but when the ancient Hellenes honoured the world around them and the deities and spirits that oversaw it, milk was a huge part of the practice.

January 1: St Basil’s Day

In addition to being the first day of the new year, the first of January is a day of gift-giving in several parts of the world. One of these places is Greece, where children are visited by Saint Basil the Great on the first of the year.

From my forthcoming book:

Saint Basil of Caesarea, also known as Basil the Great, was a Greek bishop in Cappadocia, Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), who lived in the fourth century AD (he was born shortly before Saint Nicholas died). He was one of the most influential theologians of all time due to his fierce opposition to heresies and his many writings on Christian philosophy, which led to him receiving the title of “Ouranophantor,” or “revealer of the mysteries of heaven.”

Although he was known for a short temper which he displayed against heretics, and even against the Roman emperor himself (the emperor Valens asked Basil to compromise with a faction of heretics and Basil staunchly refused. When the emperor said no one had spoken to him like that before, Basil replied, “Perhaps you have never yet had to deal with a bishop.”), Basil was even more famous for his generosity and compassion. He personally selected priests who would not be persuaded into corruption by wealth, and criticized government officials who did not adhere to their duty of providing justice for the people.

But probably the most famous story of Saint Basil comes from his conflict with an earlier emperor, one who was known as Julian the Apostate because he had tried to turn Rome away from Christianity and back to the ancient pagan religion they had left behind. Basil and Julian had met each other as young men studying in Athens. Julian had never liked Basil, and so when he grew up to become the emperor of Rome, he put great pressure on Caesarea, where Basil was the bishop.

Julian threatened to crush the people of Caesarea with a huge army due to an argument he had had with Basil. The poor people of Caesarea knew they were in great danger, and so they amassed all of their gold, jewels, and other precious possessions in order to present them to the greedy Roman emperor. However, when Basil presented these treasures to the emperor’s messenger, the saint’s harsh words and the willingness of the destitute people of Caesarea to sacrifice everything they had greatly embarrassed the messenger, and he left without collecting payment. (The emperor himself died in battle soon after.)

With the payment uncollected, Basil found himself surrounded by piles of gold and jewels and with no idea what belonged to whom that he might return them to their owners. His solution was this: he had each piece of treasure baked into a pie, which he then distributed to the people of Caesarea. Miraculously, when each person cut into the pie, they found inside exactly the treasure that had belonged to them.

This great miracle is re-enacted in Greece and elsewhere each Saint Basil’s Day (January 1), when a vasilopita (Basil’s pie) is baked with a coin inside, and slices are cut for everyone present, plus slices for Christ, the Virgin Mary, Saint Basil, the Church, the house, the traveler, the visitor, the poor, and the Kallikantzaroi. Whoever gets the piece with the coin receives a special blessing or gift.

Each January 1, Saint Basil travels the Hellenic world, touching dead branches with his staff and causing them to grow again, and distributing presents to children all over Greece, including the greatest present of all: wisdom. As Saint Basil said: “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”

LIBYA, SHAHAT : Mohamed Eid Abed al-Hawwari, a Libyan man from Benghazi, practices his Parkour skills on May 30, 2015, at the archaeological site of the ancient Greek city of Cyrene, a colony of the Greeks of Thera (Santorini) and a principal city in the Hellenic world founded in 630 BC, located in the suburbs of the Libyan eastern town of Shahat. AFP PHOTO / ABDULLAH DOMA

To Helios, with fumigations from frankincense and... frankincense?

Alright, forgive the sarcastic title, but I have a bone to pick with the generic Hellenic friendly online community (I’m not even bothering with specific titles at this point): lazy scholarship breeds misinformation.

There is one small point of contention for me when it comes to misinformation. I see it all over the place in various Hellenic sites, conversations on blogs, and even amongst the Hellenic polytheists I know personally. The title there is a bit of a spoof, it’s referencing the seventh (according to Taylor) Orphic hymn, To Helios. The next line states appropriate offerings: fumigations from frankincense and manna. And I see it, over and over again: “our best guess is that manna is powdered frankincense” or “manna, which is sweet frankincense”, and so on, in a thoroughly bothersome manner. Please ask yourself, why would the Orphic hymn to Helios require you burn frankincense and… frankincense? That little tidbit alone obviously does not discredit the theory, however it does help me highlight the flaw in said theory.

Manna as frankincense is not sound, or at least, not for early Greeks. I will concede that perhaps in the Hellenistic era, when frankincense was readily available in mass quantities due Eurasian trade routes was frankincense considered a replacement for manna (the ancient world has always made due with what was available) since frankincense was so highly regarded; its name does mean “truest incense”, but it was not always so. I find it to be lazy scholarship to call manna frankincense when we know what manna is and even still have manna in the modern day. At this point, I’ve probably lost you, but bear with me, I will explain.

May 8th of 2013, I wrote my post on honey in the ancient Hellenic world. In it, I described the origin of the word, some of the origins of apiculture, and some of its use in worship and relation to various Theoi. What I did not do, was explain the other words which share its origins in honey—the other substances which the Greeks considered honey, and how they all relate to manna. In Greek, the word Μέλι or “meli” is translated to honey, but the ancient Greeks knew three types of honey, or rather referred to three different substances all as honey. It is my belief that for much of Hellenic history, manna was the weepings of the ash tree. After all, the Μέλισσα were the bee nymphs, but also the nymphs of ash trees in the First Age. 

The ash tree holds a strange prominence in Greek mythology that many do not talk about today. It’s easy to focus on the obvious, the oaks belong to Zeus, pines to Pan, olive to Athene, myrtle to Aphrodite, vine to Dionysos, but the ash, if we were to simplify such things, belongs to the nymphoi. Hesychius in his lexicon contains this entry: melías karpós: tò anthrópon génos. (“Seed of ash: the race of men”), and is referring to the castration of Ouranos, when his bled fell to the earth and created the ash nymphs.  Various authors translate  the nymphs as either bee nymphs or honey gatherers or eaters, or as ash tree nymphs, but rarely are they both. To the ancient Greeks, however, a distinction of that sort would never need to be made. The ash trees, of which ancient Greece was home to at least four varieties, hold a particular attribute about which many people don’t know. I would surmise many anthropologists, philoligists, and translators would not know what naturalists, culinarians, and the ancient Greeks do/did: they secrete a pale sugary substance from their bark and leaves, similar to the resins of other trees, and which is sold commercially even today. Up until the last century, it was sold as a pharmaceutical, although today it is little more than a novelty or candy. nd do you know what this substance is called? Manna.

I’m sure you’re thinking this couldn’t possibly be the same manna that the ancient Greeks used, but I do believe it is. The origin of the word manna has not been sufficiently explained yet. The word is a fine example of Indo-European language, easily translatable and understood in the varying languages across Europe and Western Asia. If the tales of manna from the sky come to mind, you would not be remiss. In early Hebrew, we have the word mân (what?). The Israelites in the Wilderness of Sin, seeing manna for the first time, are said to have exclaimed mân-hû, “what is this? This seeming foodstuff which fell from the sky and onto the rocks and trees. Mân passed into Egyptian (mennu), Arabic (mann), of course to Greek (μάννα) and Latin (manna).Modern authorities have pointed out that the Arabic mann also means “gift,” in the sense of “free gift,” “gift from God” or “gift from heaven” (mann as-samā). This is what I was taught in my many years in Catholic education, manna means gift, (as that is what we were taught was the best translation from Sinaitic dialects of Hebrew). It is my belief that throughout the ancient world, manna was understood to be sweet secretions from trees, most commonly  Fraxinus ornus, or Fraxinus excelsior. Also of not, is the Indo-European word for ash, os, which not only is the father of our word for the tree, but is also related to the word for beech, oxúe, as well as ox, which brings about a fascinating parallel with the ox-born bees of the Egyptian born rituals of bugonia.

Now you may be thinking that while this is al very interesting, the etymology of one word in various languages doesn’t prove that the ancient Greeks thought manna was some weird sap. You are correct, fortunately, there are plenty of other sources which do prove exactly what I’m claiming. The Lidell-Scott-Jones Greek English Lexicon does a very good job of defining melí as”honey”as well as a “sweet gum collected from certain trees, manna” The definition is followed by the definition for melía as “manna ash, Fraxinus ornus”. It is taken for granted that “ía” is commonly used as a suffix denoting a plant which is named after some other root word. Even if we throw etymology out the window, the mythology and other literature cannot be denied. Classical writers used one word to describe three substances, to the Greeks, they were essentially all the same: honey made by bees, honeydew (which we now know is produced by aphids and certain other insects), and manna secreted by trees. Both the Greeks and the Romans felt that bees’ honey resulted from the bees’ collection of the other two substances. The belief that honey was one of the divine foodstuffs of the Theoi, and falls from the skies to be collected by bees, not only from flowers, but also from tree leaves, fields, etc. is attested by Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, and several other sources.

Aristotle wrote:

The honey is what falls from the air, especially at the risings of the stars and when the rainbow descends. On the whole there is no honey before the [morning] rising of the Pleiad… Honey [the bee] does not make, it fetches what falls.

In many counrties, until regulations were placed on the labeling and production of honey, honeydew was still regarded as true honey, even though it is a byproduct of an entirely different creature. The actual source of honeydew would probably be bewildering to ancient Greeks, nevertheless, they regarded all three substances as equal in sweetness, in making kindly, in sacredness. There is even texts that the Greeks wrote about foreigners eating their foreign manna”! Aelian mentions honey from box trees in Pontus and reports of honey from plants in Thrace. He claims that there are rains of honey in the spring in India. Diodorus Siculus says that the Nabateans ate “plenty of so-called honey from trees”, probably the Biblical tamarisk manna. Herodotus mentions the town of Callatebus in Lydia, “where craftsmen make honey from wheat and tamarisks”. Polyaenus describes the Persian king’s daily requisition of food, inscribed on a brass column. It includes 100 cakes of “raining honey”. This early manna, is still sold is some countries today, though mostly Iran. Some culinarians believe it is manna which inspired the invention of Turkish nougat. And a rare few believe it was fermented manna (as manna does deepen and mellow in color and flavor with age and eventually ferment) which was the first honey wines of the ancient Greeks.

Manna represents to the ancient Greeks, the edible secretions of trees, archetypally the ash, but also others, but it would not be merely frankincense. That isn’t to say manna and frankincense don’t have much in common,they do in ters of associations with gathring, harvesting, heat, and certain celestial associations. And given the ancient worlds absolute fascination with frankincense it is an easy conclusion to make, that manna would be another word for frankincense, but it is simply not so. I think the ash tree and its importance in Greek mythology deserves to have its moment in the spotlight again.