Tuesday, 31 December 2013

MHDEN AGAN Nothing in Excess

Happy New Year 2014 

You may download this for personal or educational Usage
 but not Commercial or Sale 

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 9

Blessed (are) the peacemakers for they sons of God will be called.

μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοὶ , ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται.

Note well that the verse says peace MAKERS not just keepers but makers!

Εἰρήνη PEACE and ποιοὶ makers from the verb ποιέω

The name Irene is derived from the word for peace.

I do wonder why huios was used rather than paidos. This is one of the signs that indicate Matthew's first language was Hebrew or Aramaic.

Κληθήσονται is the future passive of καλέω call summon name.

Why κλη as a stem in the passive. Greek has a feature called metathesis and an tendency to avoid triple consonant patterns especially involving aspirated consonants like th.

What can we do to create peace for ourselves and others? 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Hedylus and Future Optative Example

Athenaeus 111. 473a quotes one of Hedylus' Epigrams which I'm sharing because it has a fine example of the Future Optative and a lovely well expressed idea which tells us something about how Hedylus viewed his own style.

Εὕροιμ̕ ἂν λεπτὸν καὶ τι μελιχρὸν ἔπος.


 I shall find subtle and a sweet song.

Note ἂν plus the optative I will try... I probably will find … I wish want it to become real ….

Don't forget the convention of placing the breathing sign over the next vowel if its an eu.

The pronunciation was probably heuroim an lepton kai ti melikhron epos.

 Heuro not euro!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

And the Angels SPOKE


One Christmas cliché is a choir of angels hovering over the Stable at Bethlehem or the shepherds out in the fields and their herds but this didn't happen.

Read Luke Chapter 2 carefully.

Luke tells us that first a messenger of the Lord appeared glowing περιλαμψεν in the night bringing the Shepherds a message about a very special child and where to find him … then …

πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου pleeethos stratias ouraniou

a large undefined number of heavenly troops appeared

why did the shepherds think or perceive the angels looked like an army or warriors?

Did something or someone have to be chased away from Bethlehem that night?

Luke also says that the heavenly host were praising god αἰνέω a Greek verb translated into Latin as Laudo and here I think is how the idea of singing angels started with so many Psalms and later Hymns using the phrase Praise God?

Luke then states the angels were speaking praise not singing using λέγω

Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας

A literal translation from the Greek

Glory in highest to God and upon earth peace at this time or perhaps its adverbial moreover especially now to men good will

But then again the Speech of Angels is Music to mere mortals !

Enjoy Christmas 

and the angels spoke 2

Merry Xmas to my readers 
this is the greek text of the Angels message 
transliterated in our ABc for beginners 
see the angels spoke one for an explanation of why I translated the second en as  an adverbial now 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Metousia 2013 Xmas Card

This is a png file with print resolution free to download

enjoy and share

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Aphrodisias Graces

This is the oldest image I could find online. Oldest in being the oldest surviving image. We know from pausanias there were older paintings and sculptures but none have survived. Aphrodisias is a city of Asia Minor now Turkey.

Editorial note bumping this for upcoming IWD

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 8

#Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 8

Blessed (are) the pure in (the) heart for they God will see.

μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται.

A simple straightforward verse expressing a beautiful idea.

The dative form of καρδία means no preposition ἐν is necessary in  Greek.

Ὄψονται is indeed the future form of horaoo ὁραω despite its p stem.
Its one of those irregular verbs you need to learn more details of so please consult your dictionary and grammar for full details.

Ὁραω is the present but in other tenses the stem is op – οπ – or heo when the augment is added leading to ἑόρακα. 

My next post for Christmas Eve will be about Luke Chapter 2 and the Angels

and there will a xmas ecard watch out for it !

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Matthew chapter 5 verse 7 MERCY

(sorry this is late had computer problems ) 

Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 7

Blessed (are) the merciful for they will receive mercy.

μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται.

Read also Matthew 18: 33 and James 2:13

Quite straightforward but do note the link between showing and being shown mercy.

Ἔλεος the stem of ἐλεήμων merciful and the verb ἐλεέω be merciful show mercy is not just an attitude but an action ἐλεος is pity mercy and compassion or as James puts it faith AND works.

Read the parable in Matthew 18: 33

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 6 hunger and thirst

Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 6

Blessed (are) those who hunger and those who thirst
for righteousness for they will be satisfied

μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται.

Luke 6:21 has those who thirst now you will be however it is a plural you so perhaps this minor difference could be explained by Luke's informant perhaps being someone standing further away from Jesus who didn't hear or remember all of the Sermon? 

πεινάω hunger and διψάω thirst two new contract verbs this time with A stems and yes διψάω is a present form not future.
The σύνη suffix is usually translated as – ness. Δικαιοσύνη comes from Δικαιος.
Χορτάζω to feed until full to be full to be satisfied.
Note the future passive.

Desire can be a good thing if focused on an ethical goal?

This has been your Sunday Bible Study Aid. Looking for something more secular?
Midweek I'm running a post series on the 3 Grace Classical theme and how its been used in Art over the centuries. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Maillol's 3 Graces

One favorite theme in Western art that dates back to Classical Greek culture and  is still used by modern artists is  that of the 3 Graces.

Here's a beautiful example by Aristide Maillol that demonstrated how the art of ancient Greece inspires us today.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Matthew 5 the meek will ...

Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 5

Blessed for the meek for they will inherit the earth

μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν

πραΰς is a 3rd declension adjective with a U stem if Masculine or Neuter but behaves if if it had an e stem if feminine or plural. Meek humble gentle of low rank.
Jesus was not just preaching to the elite or religious fanatics or cultists.
Verses like this are why the Gospel is described as inclusive.

They will inherit the earth. Κληρονομέω. They will receive a share not just of an estate or property but of the earth as a whole. Note that γῆ is used not KOSMOS.
When this will happen is … an exact time is not given.

I am not going to speculate on how thus relates to Revelations or various OT prophecies. Too many people have done that already.

I will say this the “little people” the poor are as important as the rich and the elite.
Remember what is recorded elsewhere about the rich and salvation.
Remember also if you're reading this at home and have easy access to a family computer or own one yourself however simple in many parts of the world that makes you well off and wealthy.

Work to be humble.

I've received no comments yet but I do hope these posts are of some use and help to those who don't know New Testament Greek or perhaps have just started studying it and can't afford commentaries or dictionaries of their own. I was blessed with receiving a Liddell and Scott lexicon as a gift many years ago so I have a print copy at home thankfully. Its getting harder and harder to find second hand copies so I hope these notes and other metousia blog posts are helping?

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Antiphanes on the Muses and Skill

Antiphanes on the Muses and Reason and Criticism

Antiphanes is one of several dramatists we know only by name and quotes in other works.

This quote comes from Athenaeus 1.3.b

ἀεὶ δὲ πρὸς Μουσαισι καὶ λόγοις πάρει,

ὅπου τι σοφίας ἔργον ἐξετάζεται.

Always the Muses and Reason(ings) are together / present
whenever any skilled work is tested

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Matthew 5 verse 4 COMFORT and ew verbs

Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 4

μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται

blessed those who are mourning for they will be comforted

noteworthy features

both verbs are εω verbs whose stems end in an e so they follow this contraction pattern ε + ω = ω ε + ει(ς) =εῖ(ς) ε + ο = οῦ etc.

πενθέω lament mourn grief here in 3rd person plural participle form

παρακληθήσονται is the future passive 3rd person plural of παρακαλέω
the same verb from which paraklete and para kleetos derive

summon call to help encourage exhort

however receiving help from the divine does not excuse us from our human obligations to try and help others so  remember what is written in James about faith and works.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Dative Spirit Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 3 some notes


MATTHEW Ch. 5 Verse 3

μακαριοι οἱ πτωχοι τῷ πνευματι

Blessed (are) the poor in spirit for theirs is the realm of the heavens

The parallel section in Luke 6. 20 – 23 omits pneumati

Now πνευματι is dative rather than genitive. Why?

Greek can use dative without a preposition.

This could be a dative of place, cause, means, or respect.

Matthew stresses poverty of spirit but the other kind of poverty is meant as well.

As a matter of style the use of the dative also contrasts with the genitive forms in the secondary subordinate clause.

Was Jesus bilingual in Greek? Could the minor differences between verses from Gospel to Gospel reflect jesus speaking first in Greek or Aramaic depending on his audience and then repeating himself in the other language?

However the primary message is the important one.


and it is a lovely example of the dative form too!

Friday, 15 November 2013

BREAD more than Artos

Some Names for Various Types of Bread

BREAD is Usually Ἄρτος in Classical Greek.

This word refers to loafs of wheat and bread in general if PLURAL.

However Bread was not made of wheat alone.
Bread baked from Barley was called μάζα and also Ἄλφιτον a word also used to refer to groats and porridge made from barley meal.

Unleavened bread was Ἄζυμον the opposite of leavened bread raised by yeast ζυμίτης

χονδρίτης was a kind of very coarse bread probably similar to our “wholegrain” very rough and coarse which the Greeks would have regarded as being low quality.

Hearth or Brasier Bread was something like Turkish gozleme a thick soft pancake cooked on a hot surface.

The Greeks also had a kind of bread baked in an oven or on hot coals in an earthenware covered vessel called κριβανίτης.

Fine white bread rolls were κόλλαβος possibly shaped like “knot” rolls.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

ATHENA Athens and Pottery


Athenaeus 1. 28c records a myth about Athena and Attic Pottery and her invention of the potters' wheel

τὸν δὲ τροχὸν γαίας τε καμίνου τ̓ ἒκγονον

κλεινότατον κέραμον, χρησίμον οἰκονόμον,

ἡ τὸ καλὸν Μαραθῶν καταστήσα τρόπαιον

and the potters wheel clay and oven she discovered / begot?
Noblest pottery useful for housekeeping
she who (at) marathoon  raised fine trophy

καὶ ἐπαινεται ὄντως ὁ Ἀττικὸς κέραμος.

and Attic pottery is held in high esteem

I wonder if there were ancient kilns near Marathon?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A note on Makarios

The Beatitudes section of Matthew's Gospel derive their name from the Latin translation of this adjective used frequently  in the opening lines.


blessed happy fortunate


it is derived from the stem  * mak make large long great a cognate of makros.

Note that the Gospels and Jesus uses this word rather than other more literary terms like eudaimonos. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Ares god of War

This is the oldest vase painting image I could google showing Ares.
 Its Attic dating about 570 bc. Notice the eye depicted in Archaic Greek style.

Another detail of interest is the attempt to use slip to suggest a lighter hair color and that he seems to be carrying two spears not one.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

FOLLOW ME Matthew 4 : 19

Your Sunday Bible Verse  from the Greek Gospels

I use the Bible Society edition and  the Liddell and Scott Lexicon 

Matthew 4 :19

and he said to them ( the fishermen Simon Peter and his brother Andrew )

Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου, καὶ ποιήσω ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων.

Plural form of Δεῦρο (come) here 
then a  preposition opisoo is not a verb  that takes genitive meaning  after 
so come here after me( as he walks along the beach)  of / with / behind me
 and I will make future form ποιέω
 you plural accusative fishers
 plural of ἁλιεύς
 of men genitive plural

Mark 1:6 adds γενέσθαι become

No unusual forms but a simple powerful command and a promise.

Follow me and you will become fishers of men.

Look at his choice of followers. Two strong willed fishermen used to manual labor one with the nickname in Greek of the Rock and the other called Manly. We're never told Andrew's Hebrew or Aramaic name or how they got their Greek names. Did Greek colonists work and socialise with the local Jewish fishermen?

Was it normal for everyone to be bilingual in Greek? 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

What Jesus Said : Matthew 4:17 Repent

 Matthew 4: 17 in Greek reads 

Μετανοεῖτε˙ ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

A word for word translation 

Repent / change your mind approaches for the realm of the heavens

Μετανοεῖτε Μετανοέω to perceive afterwards or too late to change one's mind later to repent. Thats from the Liddell and Scott lexicon by the way.
 Meta change alter after with + noeoo mind consciousness to think 

So repentance is not merely regret and sorrow but an active process of change.

Ἤγγικεν is at hand has drawn near comes closer approaches

Perfect Tense of ἐγγίζω which comes from ἐγγύς an adverb near nigh close coming near

Note the use of the Perfect and not the Imperative or an Aorist Subjunctive.

Change your mind for heaven has been and is coming closer!

Notice also sin is not mentioned just the importance of change?

Friday, 25 October 2013

Minoan and Mycenaean Depictions of an Octopus

just reposting  a old favorite  anyone see the documentary on octopus intelligence the other night ? some people think a giant octopus might have been the partial inspiration for the Hydra. The first image is Minoan

This one was from a mainland potter  a more severe formal flatter depiction but still with rhythm and symmetry

what a difference though !

Saturday, 19 October 2013

gegraptai it is written

Matthew 4: 4

The Temptation of Christ or should that be the testing of the devil?

Jesus responds to temptation by citing mainly Deuteronomy.

So whats interesting about his use of the word GEGRAPTAI

translated It is written

Its not Aorist or Present in Greek.

Its Perfect Passive a rarer form and why?

The Greek Perfect is often defined as a verb describing or expressing the


... it was written by someone  with the implication that it is active real true valid

the ancient past continuing into the future !

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Greek Classics to read

Here's my list of the essential Greek Classics any college graduate should have read in Greek or a good translation.

Homer Odyssey Iliad
Hesiod Works and Days Theogony
A good anthology cover greek poets Trypanis perhaps
A good anthology with selection from most greek philosophers or a copy of Diogenes Laertius
Aeschylus' Persians the other plays if possible
Sophocles Theban plays but do try to read the others
Euripides one early one middle and of course the Bacchae
Aristophanes Frogs or Lysistrata at least
Lysias orations
A general selection of other orators Classical and later
Plato The Apology Phaedrus Symposium As many of the others as you can
Aristotle The Nicomachean Ethics as for the rest oh dear which to choose
Rhetoric Poetics  Politics and his works on Logic!
Xenophon Anabasis
Polybius History
Do try to read one of the other hellenistic / roman greek historians
There's Appian Arrian Dio Cassius or Dionysios of Halicarnassus
Plutarch the Lives and try to read some of the Moralia too
The Greek Anthology
Apollonius Rhodios the Argonautica

Just read as much as you can

Friday, 11 October 2013

Some Bread names

Some Names for Various Types of Bread

BREAD is Usually Ἄρτος in Classical Greek.

This word refers to loafs of wheat and bread in general if PLURAL.

However Bread was not made of wheat alone.
Bread baked from Barley was called μάζα and also Ἄλφιτον a word also used to refer to groats and porridge made from barley meal.

Unleavend bread was Ἄζυμον the opposite of leavened bread raised by yeast ζυμίτης

χονδρίτης was a kind of very coarse bread probably similar to our “wholegrain” very rough and coarse which the Greeks would have regarded as being low quality.

Hearth or Brasier Bread was something like Turkish gozleme a thick soft pancake cooked on a hot surface.

The Greeks also had a kind of bread baked in an oven or on hot coals in an earthenware covered vessel called κριβανίτης.

Fine white bread rolls were κόλλαβος possibly shaped like “knot” rolls.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013



May YOU Be Destroyed!

May you perish come to be ruin die

ὄλοιο is the SeconD person Singular Aorist Middle of ὄλλυμι

A Terribly splendid verb with sound and meaning resonating together in dark harmony.

mmm if Daleks visited Ancient Greece? 

Monday, 30 September 2013

Hedyle Fragment

Here's one of the few fragments of the works of the poetess HEDYLE

Hedyle the daughter of a poetess Moschine had a son who wrote poetry but little remains of their works

From her poem Scylla these lines survive describing Glaucus bearing gifts to Scylla's cave before her transformation into a monster.

from the Erythean rock,
or the children of halycon (birds) yet wingless,
to the nymph.....”

Ἐρυθραίης ἀπὸπέτρης,
ἢ τοὺς ἀλκυόνων παῖδας ἔτ̓ ἀπτερύγους,
τῇ νύμφῃ δύσπιστος ἀθύρματα. …..”

Friday, 27 September 2013

Simonides Quote

From Lyra Graeca Volume 2 trans j m edmonds 1924 ed

Simonides of Ceos bk 5 Eulogies Eucomiums Ode to Scopas

Quoted by Plato's Protagoras 339a - 347a

strophe b

οὐδέ μοι ἐμμελέως τὸ Πιττακεῖον νέμεται,
καίτοι σοφοῦ παρὰ φωτὸς εἰρημένον.
Χαλεπὸν φάτ̓ ἐσθλὸν ἔμμεναι.

(I do not  agree with pittakos tho a wise man what he said difficult thing good / noble to be / remain )

. I skipped a line
ἄνδρα δ̓ οὐκ ἔστι μὴ οὐ κακὸν ἔμμεναι,
ὃν ἀμάχανος συμφορὰ καθέλῃ.

And for a man not is nought but become evil when or what time being un able to plan for devise plan for calamity event overcome

.. they are best (who) the gods love

κἀπὶ πλεῖστον ἄριστοι τοὺς θεοὶ φιλῶσιν.

Basically its about the difficulty of being virtuous 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Greek Verse that Rhymes!


Rhyme does get used sometimes in Greek Verse.

Here's a sample from a lost comedy The Cyclops by Antiphanes a quote preserved in Deipnosophistae vii. 295 cited to show off fish names. Do try reading the Greek out aloud.

Ἔστω δ̛ ἡμῖν κεστρεὺς τμητός,
νάρκη πνικτή, πέρκη σχιστή,
τευθὶς σακτή, συνόδων ὀπτός,
γλαύκου προτομή, γόγγρου κεφαλή,
βατράχου γαστήρ, θύννου λαγόνες,
βατίδος νῶτον, κέστρας ὀσφύς,
ψητταρικίσκος,μαινίς, καρίς,
τρίγλη, φυκίς.
Τῶν τοιούτων μηδὲν ἀπέστω.

...and let there be a sliced mullet, a stewed electric ray, a split perch,
a stuffed squid, a baked smooth tooth,
the first cut of a grey fish (kind of mullet) thh head of a conger ell,
the belly of a fishing frog, the flanks of a tunny,
back of a ray, loin of a spet fish,
a mite of a sole, a sprat, a shrimp,
a red mullet and a wrasse.
Let none of such kind of things be absent.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Greek Verbs of Seeing ONE

This is the intro to a series .

αἰσθάνομαι perceive

βλέπω see Also used in Modern Greek

δέρκομαι  “Poetic”

εἶδον saw an Aorist with no present

θεάομαι gaze at admire

ὁράω see look 

σκέπτομαι view related to 


Monday, 9 September 2013

Alpha Filters Demo

Segoe print unmodified in centre filters added to outer characters.

Done in inkscape. Yes you can use those filters on non roman characters.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


or how to survive searching through thru the masses of fan art while looking for REALLY usefully images.

While I'm usually fairly good at Google Search sometimes even I have to give up cos no matter what parameters I use I get tired of scrolling down  past dozens of images that are obviously from some one's Deviant Art Fan Album for some Japanese Manga or Anime.

Hey I like some Manga and Anime but its a menace when you type in say "Hera the goddess" and get either the same Roman statue photographed five different ways or a 19th century symbolist painting and you're looking for say Vase Paintings!

Ouch looks like its time to create new search parameters.

Some of the fan art is great but its darn painful viewing stuff by what appears to 13 year olds some one give a digital pen to for Xmas and should GRRR not have.


 Try adding extra phrases or go to library and find out what's in museum collections and add a NOT parameter

The next post should have pictures.

You may have noticed a recent post about Thanatos.

I've also been dealing with clearing a relative's estate.

Back soon!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Invisible Women of Prehistory

3 Million Years of peace, 6000 years of war.

This book may both fascinate and annoy you.

I don't agree with the authors belief Indo Europeans invented war and spread it around the world nor in Mayan - Chinese contact or a regular transpacific trade route however they do have some interesting ideas about using symbols and art  to analyse ancient culture and unlike some writers in this area they do look at actual artifacts and cite sources and review writings on matrilineality.

Worth a look at.

Saturday, 10 August 2013



Eurocentric Afrocentric

Two viewpoints about Ancient Greek Culture that clash.

The first tends to be conservative and support the ideas about the uniqueness and specialness of greek culture.

The other stresses the influence of Egypt and the near East on Greece and Africa.

Egypt however is not Africa.

So where do I stand apart from that statement?

Evidence comes first.

The Ancient Greeks had legends about Cadmos and others migrating to Greece from Egypt and Phoenicia.

Artifact evidence is sparser though.

The Linguistic evidence I am more inclined to support partially because of my research into creolisation for a couple of linguistic courses I did in university.

If you're looking into the case for  or against Afrocentricism bear these two things in mind.



' nuff said...

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Ephesians Chapter 4 Verse 6


εῖς θεὸς καὶ πατηρ πάντων,
ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν.

Use this to explain prepositions 
or (Christian) mysticism

Thursday, 25 July 2013


Some quotes from Euclid

Σημεῖόν ἐστιν, οὗ μέρος οὐθέν.

A point is that which has no part.

Γραμμὴ δὲ μῆκος ἀπλατές.

A line is length without breadth.

Ὅρος ἐστίν, ὅ τινός ἐστι πέρας.

A boundary is that which is the limit of anything.

τὸ ὅλου τοῦ μέρους μεῖζόν

the whole is greater than the part

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Mosaic from Olynthus

A Mosaic from the Olynthus colony in northern Greece.

The motif of 2 griffins attacking a deer originated in Central Asia and came to Greece via the Persian Empire. Perhaps the artist saw a woven carpet ?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

The Unswept Floor A Mosaic

Sosus' Unswept Floor

One of the few mosaics master we do know the name of is Sosus of Pergamos famous for his work The Unswept Floor which inspired later copies.

This was said to represent the floor of a dining room after a banquet.

Notice the little mouse and the seashell. Exquisite detail on a simple background of white stones !

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dionysios Mosaic at Delos

One noted site for Mosaics is the Island of Delos. However clearly whoever created this one hadn't seen a leopard unless the cat depicted here is some unknown now extinct sub species? I suspect given some of the depictions of leopards I've seen in other ancient art that  some artists had seen what are now called king cheetahs and given the spots thought they were a kind of leopard.

The Hellenistic master who designed this piece has moved away from the older outline style influenced by vase painting towards a more tonal style.

This may be a copy of a painting however it could also be an original work. Pliny writes about pictors who apparently designed and oversaw the creation of mosaics. My next  post features one such work.

Monday, 24 June 2013


These are the two oldest images of death I could find.

Note that the idea of winged death predates Christianity and that Death is shown as being male.

Heracles fighting death for the life of alkestis from a vase painting possibly depicting the scene from Euripides' play about this legend ?

part of a relief from the temple of ephesus thought to depict death note that he has a sword rather than a scythe

 please note the spelling THANATOS

Thanos in Marvel comics is an alien from Titan with an obsession with Death.

No connection with the Titans of Greek Myth !

Thanatos according to Hesiod (Theogony 212)  is the child of Night who is the daughter of Chaos (Theogony 123)

Friday, 7 June 2013

The Pella Mosaics

The Pella Mosaics

found in Macedonia are a valuable reminder that while the best known ancient mosaics are from the ROMAN era the technique developed elsewhere.

The earliest known use of tiles of clay stone or glass come from Mesopotamia and while the Greeks seem to have preferred frescoes they were also notable mosaic workers .

This image is of a legendary griffin attacking a deer a motif probably taken from Central Asian art via Persia. But notice the Greek touches the delicate shading and the tonal contrasts between the background and foreground.


Friday, 31 May 2013

Kronos and Zeus The old and the New

Kronos  and Zeus

A quote from Timotheus of Miletus preserved by Athenaeus in Deiphnosophists 3.122 d page 69 vol 2 in the loeb edition.

Οὐκ ἀείδω τὰ παλαιά. Καινὰ γὰρ μάλα κρείσσω.

Νέος ὁ Ζεὺς βασιλεύει. Τὸ πάλαι δ̓ ἦν

Κρόνος ἄρχων. Ἀπίτω μοῦσα παλαιά.


Not I sing (of) the ancient things new / recent for rather (is) greater /better.
New (is) the Zeus reigning the ancient but was Kronos ruling go away muse ancient

Monday, 27 May 2013


a simple and hopefully useful diagram 
on adding sigma to stems

Stems ending in

β π φ πτ plus σ change to ψ

γ κ χ σσ ττ plus σ change to ξ

δ τ ζ θ plus σ change to σ

Thursday, 23 May 2013


You see this poem a lot in anthologies
so I thought it would be a good idea to upload the original

Anyte Greek Anthology 6. 312 The PET BILLY GOAT

Ἡνία δή τοι παῖδες ἐνί, τράγε, φοινικόεντα

θέντες καὶ λασίῳ φιμὰ περὶ στόματι,

ἵππια παιδεύουσι θεοῦ περὶ ναὸν ἄεθλα,

ὄφρ̕ αὐτοὺς ἐφορᾐ νήπια τερπομένους.

There was a huge outcry last year about inhumane goat races.

The ancient Greeks also raced goats but if this goat had purple reins it was a beloved indulged pet not some poor half feral animal? The mention of a temple and a god watching suggests this race may have been part of a festival? 

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Divers Tomb

Greek frescos are very rare.

Until the discovery of the Paestum Necropolis most of our knowledge of Greek painting came from Vases or mosaic copies of Greek paintings from the Hellenistic era.

The Divers tomb dates back to the Classical period and confirms that early styles of fresco were probably very similar to the Attic white ground ceramics.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Test Everything


Or its okay to be a critic but not a fool.

Πάντα δοκιμάζετε Test or examine everything.

The verb Paul uses in Thessalonicians 5.21 is one that means you should be looking for proof and evidence the dokima or marks of genuineness like a metal assayer testing the purity of metals.

Paul also advises Timothy and Titus not to allow their congregations to be caught up in endless vain discussions of myths genealogies and speculations that lead to foolish strife quarrels and controversies. Note that he does not ban speculation or discussion but he wants it to be instructive not divisive or destructive. Note also he's talking about church doctrines not practical science.

Πάντα δοκιμάζετε Test or examine everything.

A good motto for a scholar whatever their beliefs?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A Shocking Dictionary Discovery

A Shocking Discovery
On the Library Discards Sale TABLE!

Today dear readers whoever you are (sheesh will someone PLEASE use the comments box !) I will made a shocking discovery at the local library.

Our library has a policy of moving infrequently used books to the "stacks" and then alas to the DISCARDS book sale table. This applies to fact fiction and even reference books like dictionaries.

Today  I found a copy of Woodhouses English to Classical Greek dictionary on the table  of doom! Shudder.

Okay so we are a suburban library and I suppose they thought the only schools teaching Greek or Latin in the immediate area are the big private schools or the selective highs  and yes you can NOW access WOODHOUSE ONLINE when the server its housed on is working  which fortunately is most of the time.

B U U U T it makes me very sad to see the library thinks there's so little interest in the Classics and Classical Greek  that they can justify selling this.

On the other hand a bargain price of ONE DOLLAR but still ... darn and dang and stronger words given the size of the Greek policy in Sydney you'ld think there would be more students doing Classical Greek NOT LESS


Dear readers if your library is discarding print reference  books to make more room for fiction and newer material and computer terminals  you can find Woodhouse on line at


Monday, 6 May 2013

Name this ruler?

I'm shamelessly testing you to see if you remember a earlier series of posts in which I showed images of the heirs of Alexander.

This rather austere looking ruler who looks almost Roman was a king with a name starting with A from which derives a famous city.

People tend to think of Hellenistic sculpture as being "Baroque" and emotional and expressionistic and dramatic. No its not all like that.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Lucian on Time and Fortune an epigram

For men who are fortunate all life is short
 but for those who fall into misfortune one night is infinite time.

Τοῖσι μὲν εὖ πράττουσιν πᾶς ὁ βίος βραχύς ἐστιν,
Τοῖς δὲ κακῶς μία νὺξ ἄπλετός ἐστι χρόνος.

A good example of men and de and expression of irony.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Feigned and Acted the adjective Anupokritees

Greek has an adjective ἀνυπόκριτος that has been translated as unfeigned or genuine.

If this word was translated literally it might be unactorly or not dramatically or by a phrase not like a stage performer or actor or even unmasked since actors and performers in Greek and Roman Dramas wore masks.

Here's a quote that includes that word.

Romans 12:9 ἡ ἀγάπη ἀνυπόκριτος

Let love be genuine or in some older versions unfeigned is used.

Love Agape must be an sincere action not an act.

This word is also used again in 2 Corinthians 6.6

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Lucian An Epigram

LUCIAN An Epigram
From Book 10/ 27
The Greek Anthology

Ἀνθρώπους μὲν ἴσως λήσεις ἄτοπόν τι ποιήσας,
οὐ λήσεις δὲ θεοὺς οὐδὲ λογιζόμενος.

If you do a foul thing it may perchance be hidden from men, but from the gods it shall not be hidden, even if you but think of it.

Things to consider during translation

What verb is  λήσεις  a form of ?

the men de pattern for contrast 

 ἴσως seems to mean equal even chances not equally 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

CRATES on Simplicity

Crates the Philosopher on Simplicity

Greek Anthology book 10 104

Χαῖρε θεὰ δέσποιν̕, ἀνδρῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀγάπημα,
Εὐτελίη, κλεινῆς ἔγγονε Σωφροσύνης.
Σὴν ἀρετὴν τιμῶσιν ὅσοι τὰ δίκαἰ ἀσκοῦσιν.

Rough Translation.

Hail goddess or divine mistress of good men beloved / admired 
Simplicity of glorious begotten / born Sophrosune 
(the word order has been changed to match the metre )
Sophrosune is Moderation or Temperance.
Your virtue /excellence they honor justice /righteousness practising

Simplicity is honored /valued by those who practise righteous actions.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

ANACREON I care not for ...

From the Greek Anthology book 11 47

Οὔ μοι μέλει τὰ Γύγεω,
τοῦ Σαρδίων ἄνακτος,
οὔθ̓ αἱρέει με χρυσός,
οὐκ αἰνέω τυράννους.
Ἐμοὶ μέλει μύροισι
καταβρέχειν ὑπήνην.
Ἐμοὶ μέλει ῥόδοισι
καταστέφειν κάρηνα.
Τὸ σήμερον μέλει μοι.
τὸ δ̓ αὔριον τίς οἶδεν; 

A Literal translation you can tidy up.  

Notice  the use of dative with melei 

Not to me  is a concern or care (so I care not reads better in English)  for the  ta = things = wealth of Gyges
 of Sardis (wealthy city in Asia Minor)  the anax or ruler 
nor does take (captive) me GOLD
  not  I praise tyrants.
 I care to drench my beard with scent
 I care to garland / crown my head with roses.  

Garland is often translated as crown because a "Crown" for many ancient rulers was a band of flowers or metal on the head.

  I care for today 
and tomorrow who knows?

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Future Middle Participles and a Poem

Future Middle Participles

Two Lovely Examples
From the Greek Anthology
Book 10. 26 

Lucian on Thrift and Moderation

Ὡς τεθνηξόμενος τῶν σῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀπόλαυε,
ὡς δὲ βιωσόμενος φείδεο σῶν κτεάνων.
Ἔστι δ̓ ἀνὴρ σοφὸς οὗτος, ὃς ἄμφω ταῦτα νοήσας,
φείδοῖ καὶ δαπάνῃ μέτρον ἐφηρμόσατο.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The First Greek Font

The First Greek Font for Printing was developed and designed by Aldus Manutius and Francesco Griffo of the Aldine PRess in Venice.

The font was based by the handwriting of Greek scholars who were refugees from the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453  who had settled in Venice.