sanctuary of zeus

Tonight, honor Hestia by being a home for those who will lose all protection. Many are devastated. Protect them. Be a sanctuary, a retreat.

Honor King Zeus and Queen Hera by voting 2018, and engage in political activities. Vote, protest, be heard. Let them know what the people think. A leader’s job is to take responsibility. Let them know they are being held responsible. Let them know they are being judged.

Honor Demeter, the teacher of heavenly laws of ethics, by doing the right things. Keep your loved ones safe. Provide shelter, love, acceptance. May all hatred be silenced.

May Ares and Athena give you the will and strength to protect those in need, and may he protect you in turn. May you know rest and safety under his mighty shield.

They may rule a country, but they may not rule our hearts. May Aphrodite give it be filled with benevolence and love only. Love cannot be wrong, no matter what they say, and the heart cannot be defeated.

This is not over. It has only begun. May Hermes make sure you will not tire on this road. May Thanatos and the Fates decide it is not your time yet, nor your loved one’s.

And may Nemesis judge them and intervene, should their hubris become too much.


Archaeological Site of Dion:

Finds from the sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos. The sanctuary can’t be visited yet, but it’s quite visible from the pathway on the way to the sanctuary of Isis. On route it is located between the sanctuary of Demeter and the sanctuary of Isis. 

This sanctuary, however, is not the principal sanctuary of Zeus in the area. Dion, as its name betrays, started out as a place of worship of Zeus, sprawling later into antiquity into a more and more wealthy city. The most impressive worship site was the sanctuary of Zeus Olympios, a massive site- which hasn’t been fully excavated yet- in the vicinity of the Roman Theater.


Ancient Worlds - BBC Two

Episode 3 “The Greek Thing”

The Piraeus Athena, an over life-size (2.35m) bronze cult statue, dated to the 4th century BC (c. 360-340 BC), late classical period. It has also been suggested that this statue is a Hellenistic copy of a 4th century type.

The statue is is very well preserved and nearly complete, except for part of the left foot and the attributes originally held in hands (the left hand appears to have rested on a shield and may have held a spear. The right hand is extended forward, open palm and thumb are pierced with a hole for attachment of an object, but that item’s identity it is not certain. She may have held an owl, the sacred bird of the Goddess).

Athena wears a peplos (in ancient Greece a long, body-length garment established as typical attire for women) which falls sideways to the middle of her left thigh and is raised at the back, and a Corinthian helmet. Two owls are represented on the visor, and griffins stand on either side of the long crest. The eyes are inset.

The Piraeus Athena was found with three more large bronze statues, along with other artefacts, very close to the main harbour. Many scholars believe that the statues had been stored in a harbour’s stoa and were just about to be shipped (all the statues were not in random order but seemed to be packed). Piraeus was captured by the Romans led by Sulla in 86 BC and many have further speculated that the statues were going to be shipped in order to save them from the Roman attack. Other theory is that the statues were being shipped by the Romans to Italy as part of their spoils

It is thought that the statue may have originally come from the Sanctuary of Zeus Soter and Athena Soteira in Piraeus but other scholars believe that the statue may have come from Delos (the Romans captured Delos in 88 BC). 

A single copy of this statue exists, the Mattei Athena (Louvre Museum)

Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, Athens, Greece


Archaeological Museum of Dion:

Cult statues of Hera and Zeus (Roman Imperial times). The statue of Hera was found built in the Early Christian walls*. From the sanctuary of Zeus Hypsistos.

*Statues, reliefs, funerary monuments have been found multiple times in the walls of cities. Most of them were placed there from the 3rd to the 5th century AD, after a series of invasions in Greek space, an event that caused a profound need for new fortifications and readily available building materials. In some cases, like in that of the painted funerary stelai of Demetrias, this helped preserve the antiquities. From the 4th to the 7th century AD Christianity, now endorsed by the newly formed Byzantine Empire began to really take hold in Greece, hostilities against the old religion and its believers have been documented, but the use of these statues as building materials was not exactly an act of vandalism. A lot of artifacts had already been damaged, and old sanctuaries had already fallen to disrepair due to earthquakes, floods, invasions, or plagues. 

See also this post about statues in the walls of Nicopolis.