Saturday, 30 April 2016


#biblestudy #greeknewtestament #matthew #whatjesussaid

Matthew Chapter 18 Verses 1-4

I know some bibles include 5 in the first paragraph of this chapter.

The word for word translation rough and ready !
Verse One
In that hour / time came forth / towards the students/ learners (its matheetai)
 to the Jesus saying

Who (ara is emphatic particle) most / greatests is in the Realm of the heavens?

Verse Two
and forthcalling a child he place/positioned/stood that child in middle in them

Verse Three
and said

Truly I say to you if not you turn around
 (yourself implied its an aorist passive subjunctive in greek )
and become as / like children
not / never (double negative in greek)
you will enter / come into the realm of the heavens!

Verse 4
Whoever therefore will humble himself as /so / like this child
this one is the greatest in the realm of the heavens

Will Humble is tapeinoosei tapeinow so to be humble and meek like a very small innocent child or perhaps a sensible child with good manners?

Maybe this child had be quietly edging his or her way closer and closer to Jesus and had been standing on the edge of the group quietly humbly waiting until Jesus called that child forward into the middle of the group?

Unlike the disciples he just wanted to listen or be near Jesus.

A good lesson when one spends too much time on hypothetical questions?

Don't just ask about the Divine BE with the Divine!

Though it is okay to ask hypotheticals if you get your priorities right!

Its Mothers Day in my country.

If you need an ecard or a file you can use as a starter for your own ecards or late minute designs please visit my and if you like the png use it!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Greek Polises Mantinea

#mantinea #fortifications #greek #polis #ancient history

Whoever built the foundations of the walls of Mantinea did such a good job that despite the usual centuries of locals using the rest of the city as a quarry the outline of the city walls shows VERY VERY clearly in Google Earth.

This is a photo from 1907.  The main difference I've seen in more recent shots is that in some sections less grass more wall.

Apparently there's been a lot of flooding in that area including lakes and rivers  forming and disappearing as sinkholes in the area blocked and unblocked and so silt to the benefit of local farmers has built up around the walls.  But such excellent walls!

Mantinea was originally Ptolis a settlement dating back to the Mycenaean age on a nearby hill now called Gourtsouli. The inhabitants moved down to the fertile plain and built a city.

That was centuries before the current surviving wall dating to about 370 BCE so possibly the walls follow or are on top on older ones probably the  mud brick wall damaged by a water diversion during a siege in 385 BCE.

As with so many Greek polises most of the surviving structures are what little is left of an agora and stoa and council hall and a nearby theatre shown below.

There are several small villages nearby and the city of Tripoli which seems to absorbed what was left of the residents of Tegea Mantinea and other Arcadian cities in the 14th century.

Saturday, 23 April 2016


Before we start Chapter 18 time for another word study.

If you read the #gospels in #newtestamentgreek and also read #Classicalgreek you have probably noticed #koinegreek in the #newtestament uses #ean and #subjunctive a lot more than #ei and subjunctive or #optative.

So a note on #EAN

EAN is defined as a Conjunction used at the start of a clause that contains a #conditional statement expressed by the use of the #subjunctive #verb mode in GREEK. It is a fusion of EI - IF and AN a conditional marker and has an #adverbial function!

It does not just say if  but it shows you that some that might might happen a probable condition event or action is a topic. Probable NOT Actual.

Compare if you have a dictionary ei to ean,  ho (relative not article) to hotan and epeidan to epei etc.

IF A THEN B is possible

oR ean mee A = NOT IF B is NOT ? UNLESS EXCEPT

Then we have ean and av plus relatives changing who what or which to SO EVER or EVER
Who A does B then ... UNFILLED CONDITION

As far as I can make out from my VERY limited knowledge of Aramaic and some googling of Aramaic that language has several ways of saying IF or IF SO EVER IF THAT and one of them is Word the site transcribed as Aen OeAn or D'eaN ... mmm very similar to AN and EAN?

I can see Jesus picking that form cos the word had a very similar meaning in both Greek and Aramaic and as several of the disciples may have been bilingual ...?

However the important thing to remember is that if you see EAN you will see a SUBJUNCTIVE verb and the sentence that verb appears in will be what grammar texts call CONDITIONAL.

A statement about something that is probable hypothetical general ... uncertain not fixed or finished ...

This is perhaps more elegant logical and powerful  than the English language's can could shall should may might etc...etc ...?

If you are reading this because you can't read Greek but are intrigued by notes in your commentary YES SUBJUNCTIVE is VERY IMPORTANT in GREEK.

Keep an eye out for those subjunctives. Some translators and commentators tend to under stress or over simplify them!

And use the Conditional carefully and thoughtfully in English too ?

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Megalopolis the City that should have worked

#megalopolis in #arcadia is an example of urban planning gone and why building a capital from bare ground often doesn't work.

#Megalopolis actually called the great city in Greek was founded to be the capital of the Pan Arcadian league in what seemed like a great location and built 371 - 368 BCE on a tributary of the Alpheios called the Hellison.

High montane valley with permanent river and other streams.

Timber nearby. No wetlands. Not more than minimally dependent on food imports since farmlands nearby.

On a major road junction too!

Here's the location of #arcadia within #Greece in Ancient times.

Some more detail.

Great location but what went wrong?

Possibly they put too much effort into megastructure or rather the Hellenistic equivalent thereof.

Below are the plans and a photo of the Theatre and the adjacent Thersilion Assembly Hall.

Gotta love that angle shot cos while it does show the remains of the Theatre once the largest in Greece and the adjacent #Thersilion though  it also carefully avoids showing the whopping open cut coal mine a short distance away.

I have never come across any references to Megalopolis actually having WALLS or fortifications ... even allowing for the tendency of Byzantine Greeks to treat older buildings as quarries ... in fact apart from these and a couple of other building foundations practically nothing of the city survives.

Modern Megalopolis is a nearby  medium sized town that was a minor village until coal was discovered.

Basically the city lasted only a couple of centuries before people migrated to other parts of Arcadia and by the time Pausanias wrote a description it was well and truly in a decline. 

The descendants of the first settlers and late migrants just seem to have been uncomfortable in a city with too much open space and so few defences?
As early as 362 BCE many of the migrants tried to return home.
Sparta attacked again in 353 331 234 and 223 BCE. 

Nowadays Megalopolis has other problems.

How anyone could allow an open cut mine to be so close to one of the few permanent rivers in Greece...

Mantinea on the other hand ...

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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Jesus on Faith and Seeds.

#biblestudy #matthew #gospel #whatjesussaid #greeknewtestament

MATTHEW 17: 17 -, 20-21.

After the Transfiguration Jesus was approached by a man who son was having seizures due to epilepsy or some other neurological disorder. Whatever.

Answerd and the Jesus said

O generation faithless and perverse
note that diestrammenee could be translated as perverse distorted twisted orcrooked as it is a perfect passive participle from the verb diastrephoo
how long then with you I will be!
how long then i will endure of you / how much more will i have to put up with
Note that anexomai is future of anekhomai  kh=s > ks / x
you plural bring / carry / bear to me him here !
Bring him over here to me!

The disciples approached him afterwards in private and asked when their own (limited) gifts did not work on the boy.

Jesus tells them

Dia why because the little /few /limited faith of you
truly for i say to you
whenever / if (nb ean) you have faith so /like / as much as mustard seed
you will say to the mountain this MOVE from here to there
and the mountain it will move
and nothing will be impossible or literally beyond your abilities what you can do dunamai !

Now some people take this verse as support for faith healing or proof there are demons but Jesus says nothing about demons Matthew just presumes it was a demon or spirit. He rebukes them for their lack of faith. Perhaps because he wanted them to fix problems themselves instead of relying on him too much when he would be leaving them soon.

Note how he links faith to ability in his final statement.

kai ouden adunateesei humin

and nothing you will be unable to do

How do we join faith to action?

Or perhaps he's simply teasing them because its been a long stressful day?

Which could also explain the contrast of mountain and mustard seed.

Faith works yet faith is variable?

Personally I think its a good thing we have modern medicine and techniques to treat neurological disorders or whatever was wrong with that boy.

I rather fear most of us have  a level of faith closer to the mustard seed.

However one tiny seed can produce a plant that has more seeds and a larger crop in the future! I can have faith in that from growing my own lettuce and greens and herbs.

Maybe thats the real point since many of them would have been more familiar than farming and seed planting with a modern apartment dweller or home owner.

Gardening is faith building?

Friday, 15 April 2016

Other Cities - ARGOS

Secular Saturday #ancienthistory #argos #greece #maps

ARGOS is one of those Greek cities that have lasted for centuries.


Having two very convenient hills to center and strengthen your western defences helps!

First a map showing the general area of the #Argolid.  Notice the surrounding roads hills rivers and plains. A great location for trading with Laconia Arcadia and other polises. Two rivers. A nearby port at Tiryns. Mycenae guarding the north east pass to Corinth. A plain suitable for both crops and herds.

Now more detail.

Note that Larissa and the Aspis are both HILLS. 
BIG Hills with Forts and Citadels. 

The modern city center is further east since the invention of cannons and gunpowder overcame the advantages of two high hills joined by walls. 

Still great location. 
Water. Defences. Nearby Farmland. Trade by land and sea.
Successful cities share common resource factors. 

Next time we look at a polis where advance planning and a good location did NOT work yet could have!

Yes Megalopolis in Arcadia!

Monday, 11 April 2016


 The “FAITH” group of words deriving from a * πιτ stem is interesting for several reasons whether you are a #biblical or# classical scholar or student.

Faith trust confidence and persuasion are all related in Greek deriving from a *pVdental stem

     πει(σ)      πειθ     ποιθ     πιστ

Cognate with Latin #Fides and English #faith which also comes from latin via ME feith OF feid also the origin of Modern French Foi .

Apart from the semantics issues of a wide group of words generated from one stem there's the sound changes aspects as this group also demonstrates the alternates of o / e and the dentals s t and the aspirated dental th that later became a fricative.

We have πείθω and πείθομαι and the related verbs πιστεύω and πιστόω along with the adjective πιστός and that adjective used to rebuke the Disciples ὀλιγοπιστίαν and faith itself, πιστις.

Back to semantics Faith is an action and a relationship as well as virtue.
One might obey rely upon trust believe or be persuaded because something or one is also allegedly and hopefully faithful credible and trustworthy.

Seeing πείθ- or πιστ- start a word is like a signpost helping one establish a possible meaning even if its a verb form or rare variant you are less familiar with.

Saturday, 9 April 2016


#Tiryns #greekpolises #polis Hydro-engineering #mycenaeans #argolid

The #Argolid is one of the largest agricultural areas in Greece.

Legend and history describe the three major centres as Argos Tiryns and Mycenae. The rulers at Mycenae if we can trust the Catalogue of Ships section of the Iliad also controlled most of what was later called Achaia and had access or some kind of arrangement / alliance to use Corinth as a port.

Argos and Tiryns controlled much smaller areas but areas that allowed for grazing of horse and cattle and growing crops that could be traded with other areas plus Argos controlled several trade and road routes into the interior of the Peloponnese.

#TIRYNS may be inland today but it was a major power in the Mycenaean era because it was a port hard as that may seem to believe. It is odd Nauplia is not mentioned. Perhaps it was only a fishing village in that era?

WATER again is the key.

Notice how the shoreline has changed !

Here's a modern map for contrast.

Here is the citadel of Tiryns today.

I chose this aerial shot of several available because it shows the thickness of the walls and just enough of the surrounding area to show how flat it is by contrast.

Modern Tiryns is further to the north east as ancient Tiryns was destroyed in a war with Argos. Areas that were once housing are now farms and fields.

Now when you saw the first two maps did you notice the ancient water courses around Tiryns?  In the 1960s archaeologists realised a water diversion shifting a river bed and credited to the Venetians actually dated back to the Mycenaean era after evacuations revealed the base of the "Tiryns dam" had stone work that predated Classical Roman or other styles. 

I read of this being described as a flood diversion scheme but another possibility is that some one in Tiryns realised a barrier placed there would not only divert floods away from the suburbs of the city and maybe slow down the silting of the bay but also cause silt to build up behind the barrier and create more farmland.

The dam / diversion weir became almost hidden because soil built up behind and around it.

You can see the farms in the area on Google Earth.

Eventually the shore line changed around Tiryns and it was no longer a port but it was and still is a farming area whereas on the other side of the plain the soil is much drier though fortunately for Argos and modern farmers the Lake or Lagoon at Lerna filled over the centuries creating more farmland.

Perhaps Argos should have invested in diversion weirs?

Tiryns may not be a major city by our modern standards but as a Greek polis considering it lasted from the Helladic well into the Classical era its a success story.   Because of water management.  And there's still a TIRYNS there! 

Saturday, 2 April 2016


#bible study #fear #phobos #wordstudy #greek

Matthew 17:7


Its a noteworthy feature of Koine Greek and the Greek New Testament that Jesus several times tells his disciples NOT TO BE AFRAID


and in Luke 12:32


Note both are Imperative Middle forms!

While #Phobos and #Phobeomai sometimes get translated as respect or awe the major usual meaning is FEAR.

Faith is one answer to faith and these commands not to be afraid are usually accompanied by an exhortation or a rebuke about  having faith and trust.

My Concordance lists three columns of biblical references to fear and most of the New Testament ones are about other people fearing Jesus because of his abilities not just to perform miracles but to speak the truth.

Fear is on my mind at the moment cos a minor phobia has flared up regarding a certain piece of communication technology probably cos I associate it with bad news  and stress and irritation.

I'm trying to take comfort and hopefully break that phobia from these two and one other verse.

 1 John 4:8

There is no fear in Love but Perfect Love casts out Fear.

Well those three verses and reminding myself a certain object is just a chunk of plastic and electronics and NOT created primarily to frustrate and annoy me.

Yeah I'm talking about my mobile!!!

Not the TV though I may sin grievously if I ever find out who or what creates interference that blocked my TV signal during Grantchester's first new episode in months ... fortunately there was a next day repeat.

Yes I like Grantchester the TV version and novels.


and meditating on that I will soon rise from the computer and take a walk!

Pylos Again and Nestor's Port

Okay I posted this map of #pylos #navarino bay last week but I'ld like people to take another look at it?

There's clearly been considerable silting in the northern end of the bay since ancient times and you can see the small semi circular shaped cove that was the port for mycenaean homeric and classical Pylos ... and the tiny narrow shallow channel between Sphacteria and the peninsula ancient Pylos was on before people moved down to the modern location.

Now Nestor is said to have had a large fleet and certainly the combatants during the 19th c battle of Navarino had no trouble manuvering in the southern part of the bay but were did Nestor keep his fleet?

Is it possible the Sphacteria channel was deep enough in the Mycenaean period for ships to get through using beacons and a high tide if they had a shallow draught?

Land uplift maybe at the north end of the bay? 

Any geologist reading this?
I know there's a major fault line along the western side of the bay creating cliffs of the eastern side of the island.

Could there be more structures buried under the sand dunes?

Could silting combined with shorelines changes be why Messenia and Pylos ceased to be a major SEA power even before the Spartan conquest?