Saturday, 19 August 2017

Galatians 3:28

Yes this are my comments on #CHARLOTTESVILLE


There is neither Jew nor Greek, 
there is neither slave or free,
there is neither male nor female



But if you bite and devour one another 
take heed that you are not consumed by one another

the works of the flesh ...
idolatry enmity strife jealousy dissension 

If you were at Charlottesville 
as any part of the AltRight you were in the wrong.

If you are whining about Antifa and defending Southern heritage you are on the wrong side


the fruit of the Spirit ...
peace patience kindness self-control 

If any one was a hero at Charlottesville it would be the UNARMED pacific counterprotestors !

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Textual Variants are not Errors - The Tale of the Paralytic.

3 version of the story of the Paralysed Man
and the textual variant issue.

I often have seen people claiming textual variations are errata that invalidates scripture.
While I don't think every Bible verse needs to be read or interpreted literally at the other extreme I think a copyist changing one word or syllable vastly alters or invalidates the content of a verse.
The Classics I add have the same problem people arguing over variant texts.

My example here is three passages from Matthew Mark and Luke dealing with the story of the Paralysed Man.Matthew 9:1-8, Mark 2:13-17, Luke 5:27-32.

The main points of variance are not Jesus actual words but in the background setting and description.

Matthew writes of Jesus being in his own (idian) city, mark states it was Capernaum, in a house/home, and Luke just doesn't bother.
Matthew and Mark use the word paralutikon while Luke uses a perfect passive particle but form the same stem, using his higher level of education and usage of a more literary variety of Koine Greek.

Another point of variation is whether the bed is described as a klinee or krabatton or klinidion.

The idea seems to be the same though that the bed that was lowered was something of matting or low pallet.

None of these differences alter the meaning of Jesus' words and message of healing.

His ability to forgive sins and heal a paralysed man are both expressions of his power and authority as the "son of Man"  (Matt. 9.6)

All three versions of the story end with a command to the paralytic.

"rise up lift up your bed and go / walk to your home!"

I note also all 3 versions agree that the scribes teachers scholars and pharisees were mainly alleging Jesus was blaspheming.

Finally the other main variant can be easily explained.

Matthew doesn't mention the roof being removed. Mark and Luke do.

Mark describes the roof being removed and dug through and Luke writes of them going through the tiles roofing the house or chamber after climbing onto the roof.

A simple explanation? An older roof of mud brick or thatch or maybe just one large dining room was being converted to being tile covered. The 4 carriers of the paralytic probably used building equipment lying around to climb up onto the roof and break through it. The roof tiles were still loose and one section was still thatched. Perhaps they had to move both to make a large enough opening to lower the bed.

Unless you have a one of those easy read versions notes at the bottom will tell you if there's another spelling or a different word used. My English RSV and Greek Aland NT both list variants.

Just use also a good commentary that honestly but simply discusses any variation in the Greek.

In most cases you'll find its more likely to differ from English because a verb is Aorist Subjunctiv eor Imperative  or the word doesn't translate exactly into English.

We're dealing with three different views of the same event.

Matthew may have been an eyewitness. Mark was either a very young man or minor follower hearing the story from others and Luke heard the story much later.

Don't get hung up on textual variances. Just use a good sensible commentary.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Klimt's Athena

#klimt #athena #painting

For a change some "modern art" that shows classical influences and references not only in its subject but its details: the steely grey eyes, the helmet and the Aegis with the Gorgon's face.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

APHIENTAI Forgive is letting go.

#aphientai is usually translated as Forgive. It does however literally mean let go or send away.
#apo+hieemi send forth discharge send our or away let go set free permit let dissolve

Both Matthew and Mark and Luke record a confrontation during which Jesus asks the scribes which is better to forgive sins or heal.

Noe that he does both and heals the paralytic man.

they have been let go of/for you the sins are his words here.

Yes I'm being rather literal but I'm emphasizing a point

The use of Forgive  is a good translation but we should think of why that word was chosen to translate Aphientai?

not just I forgive you but You are forgiven and freed!

Byzantine Page Layout

#greek #calligraphy #byzantine #illuminedmanuscript

 Another example of #Byzantine #manuscript page layout

Note the way capitals are used and the placement of illustrations to the right rather than the left of the page and the delightful image of the stork nesting on a pillar.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

delayed posts

Sorry folks I've been sick off and on for the last week with the sort of minor ailments that tempt one to overdo things so one is sick one day and better the next but not fully recovered

stomach bug upsetting my blood sugar levels wattle pollen allergy leading to sinusitis sniffles mild flu or pollen reaction ... generic weird aches and twinges

I'm functioning on green tea and boringly sensible soups brown rice etc since anything much spicier sweeter or stronger makes me sick again

maybe by the weekend I've have the energy and inspiration to make a decent post

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Byzantine Eagle

#byzantine #eagle #mosaic from the 5th or 6th century AD

This shows how Greek and Roman techniques endured into the Byzantine era. I would have thought this was Roman or Hellenistic at first sight but it is Byzantine era.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Pure and Clean - Katharos

#biblestudy #wordstudy #greeknewtestament #classicalgreek


Both the Ancient Greeks and Hebrews often thought disease was caused by sin, having no microscopes and not knowing about viruses or bacteria.

Hence we see the word Katharos and verbs derived from it translated as clean or pure.

IN #mark 1:40-45 we see a leper who could have had any one of several skin conditions asking Jesus to cleanse him - katharisai, an Aorist Infinitive.
Jesus's response is  katharisthee. I will you to be cleansed/purified!

Note that he asks the leper to have his cure verified by the priests but quietly.

We also read of purification rituals in Greek religion.

Further on in this chapter healing is linked to forgiveness
 HOWEVER this does NOT mean we should link ALL disease and disorders and disabilites

What Jesus does during his earthly ministry  is treat both body and mind /soul whatever the source of the ailment.

We however have access to modern medicine unlike the inhabitants of ancient Palestine, Greek, Roman, or Jewish, who had to rely on  herbs, minerals, or surgery, if they could afford them, or for demonic possession or mental illnesses, religious rituals that may or may not have worked.

Basic hygiene and changing into new clothes after bathing in mineral springs or baths with herbs added was one method of treatment hence the link of cleaniness and purity.

Remember whether your favorite Bible version or Greek drama uses cleanse or purify the Greek word is probably KATHAROS which can mean both cleanse physically and purify from sin or guilt.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Put a Sock in it!

#biblestudy #greeknewtestament


There's a verse in the #gospel of #mark that could well by translated by this very colloquial phrase.

Normally I don't favor OVER modernizing translations into paraphrase but in Mark 1:25 the verb used is NOT SIGAOO!

Yes its normally translated as Be silent but the #Aorist #Passive #Imperative is PHIMOW !

Jesus is literally telling the possessed man  to MUZZLE HIMSELF to shut up and become restrained like an animal wearing a muzzle!

Another excellent language of how he used STRONG language without using OBSCENITIES.

Possibly the person addressed actually had a mental illness or a compulsion to disrupt synagouge services or was schizophrenic or whatever.

The point of Mark recording this story was to emphasize Jesus' power and that he used it to HEAL as Mark goes on to relate how Jesus started healing other people who were sick or possessed, who had disorders of body, mind, and soul.

And it is a very lovely example of an Aorist Passive Imperative!

Reading both the English and Greek add depth and dare I say pleasure to one's Sunday  #biblestudy!

Mid week I have found some lovely examples of Greek Byzantine texts to share.

Join me. Follow me here or look for updates on my Twitter account ! @JVartndesign

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Minoan Bird Motif Vessel

Looking at this Minoan ouring Vessel I find myself wondering what the Minoans were using to apply color? The curved liens suggest some kind of brush but of what materials?

I do wonder if using a different kind of tool to apply colors might also be an explanation for the reversion to a more geometric style after the fall of Knossos and Mycenae. Or perhaps whichever animal the hairs came from for Minoan brushes was over hunted and came near to extinction?

Its splendid work matching the curves of the vessel and makes me wish more Minoan frescoes survived apart from Thera and Knossos so we could see more examples of Minoan painting.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Follow me

#gospel #mark #biblestudy #greeknewtestament

MARK ONE: 16 - 20

"and going along the sea of Galilee (walking along the shoreline parallel or very close to it) he saw Simon and Andreas the  brother of Simon casting nets into the sea. They were fishermen."

Casting is amphiballontas throwing around or over so its possible Simon and Andrew were not in a boat but wading through shallow water casting nets and then pulling them to shore unlike the sons of Zebedee working from a boat. There may be a hint here that James and John were a slighter high social class since hired servants are mentioned in association with their boat in verse 20?

Also the whole thing with Simon and Andreas having Greek names as Simon could be read and heard as Simo(n) snub nose or dolphin even or a Hebrew Aramaic name implying you are one who hears or listens.

And he spoke to them  the Jesus

 " Come here to (me implied) behind/after me!
And I will make you to become fishers of men."

and straightaway they let go of the nets following (as attendants) to him.

Deute is both a verb and an adverb. Used as as an adverb and command it derives from an older form of dew deusoo (see LSJ) and emphasizes there is a need for them to follow him.

Opisoo looks like a verb but derives from a noun.

The combination of both emphasizes that it is very important and urgent that Simon and Peter follow Jesus there and then!

What presence and power Jesus had to inspire both ordinary working guys to drop everything and walk after him and also get t6eh sons of a more prosperous fisherman who owned nets a boat and could afford to hire non family as crew to also follow him.

How many of us would be brave enough to do that also?

Next week mid week a rather lovely Minoan vase I just found a picture of while searching for something entirely different.

Sundays New Testament Greek Mid week unless I'm busy something on Hellenic culture.

Follow me too here or on twitter so you get regular updates ! Thank you

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Marks Mysterious Name

#bibletrivia #stmark #etymology #mark

While researching St Mark for the next bible study series I came across not one but three possible explanations of the meaning of Marks name.

Mark comes from Latin MARCUS.

Wikipedia favors the theory that Marcus was an alternative name for Mars from Etruscan or some other Italic dialect and may mean Warrior.

Some other scholars think Marcus is related to the #Mors stem meaning dying or mortal

Another theory is that it means hammer and that Marcellus small hammer derives from it and that for some reason the usage of a name replaced its usage as a common noun describing an object.

Marcus seems to have either John's Nickname (yes John was his Aramiac/Hebrew name) or the name he used for dealing with Roman bureaucracy.

It has also been suggested he was called this because possibly his father was a Roman citizen.

Take your pick.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

METANOEITE - change yourself


#wordstudy #gospel #greeknewtestament #classicalgreek

One of the first direct quotes from Jesus in Mark's Gospel is a statement that includes the word METANOEITE,( Mark 1:15) generally translated as REPENT, however its actually more a command to think again about previous actions and thoughts, you change because you have changed your mind or NOOS.

Note that Jesus doesnt say repent your sins but just METANOEITE!

You can check the LSJ online Lexicon site to confirm this but I want to recommend you look at one of Wesleys Sermons: VII of the 44 collected sermons. NO I'm not a Methodist but I found a copy of his sermons at a book sale and allowing for the 18th century context there is much sound common sense in them.

Some quotes from Wesley: " 'repent"; that is, know yourselves."

and further along "cease from evil, and learn to do well,

Modern readers may find his discussion of sin and guilt disturbing but bear in mind he also advises his listeners and readers to "be deeply sensible of this,"

Awareness of error is part of changing your mind.

Why cite Wesley. Remember he was a scholar who studied Latin and Greek before he became a preacher.

Metanoeite could also be literally translated as "Have after thoughts" or Consider your previous actions. Note also this is place before the words have faith in the Gospel.

Repentance is change. Metanoei Metaballei

Wednesday, 21 June 2017



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Sunday, 18 June 2017



#kairos #time #greeklanguage #oratory #biblestudy
There's a word at the beginning of Marks Gospel that also features in Classical Greek Literature and Oratory and Discussions of Rhetorical Technique


Mark 1:15 RSV translation "The Time is fulfilled ..." its Kairos not Khronos in Greek!

"Pepleerootai ho kairos " Why Kairos and not Khronos?

Kairos is not just time in general or season or event but the moment to take action, a kind of pivotal turning point during which action will have results whether its stabbing someone in a vital organ leading an attack giving a speech that's an exhortation to action or in the case of Marks Gospel, Jesus "heralding the good news from god" and telling people to repent and believe.

The use of kairos is an exhortation and a calling to action.

A final note on Kairos. The Romans translated it with a word that is the ancestor of our English word opportunity.

So whether you are reading about it in Aristotle Isocrates or the New Testament think about what sor tof "Time" is being referred to: Khronos or Kairos.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Athena and Hebe

#Athena #Hebe #greekvasepainting

A rare depiction of the Goddess Hebe shown here serving a drink to her sister Athena.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

MARK Begins with a Mosaic and a Manuscript

#byzantineart #manuscript #greeklettering #calligraphy #page layout

Lets begin looking at Mark with some Byzantine ART ! This post will also be of interest to calligraphers designers and typographers for the use of Greek letters so please scroll down!

First a page from a Byzantine manuscript 
Yes the Orthodox churches had a tradition of illumined manuscripts too!
I also picked this image because its an excellent and interesting example of design. 
I love the way the scribe has moved the iota up next to the gamma so that both words are balanced on the page and we also get a look at what sort of reading and writing desks  scribes used.

And here's how a mosaic artist dealt with lettering on a curved area.
Same letters but "heavier" and "bold" to make them stand out ! 

Next weekend more Mark and midweek perhaps Athena's owls.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Like a Dove and Textual Variants

#textual variant #gospels #greeknewtestament

A lot of people make a fuss about textual variants in the gospels however most of these variants are simply one of two words that do not effect doctrine.

Lets take Jesus' Baptism as an example.

My English version is the RSV

Matthew 3:16 behold the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him

Mark 1:10 saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove

Luke 3:21-22 the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form as a dove,

John 1:32 I (john the baptist) saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven

Really the only issue should be if there were any eye witnesses apart from John the Baptist?

All 4 accounts agreed the heavens opened that there was some sort of visual change in the air and that something came down katabaino that looked like a dove that the bystanders thought was the pneuma or spirit of god .

The main differences in Greek?

Matthew says open in aorist passive and uses hoosie instead of hoos and the greek says come down upon him erkhomenon epp autoon

Mark uses skhizoo split open  and eis instead of epi but eis can mean both into and onto

Luke gets more technical and uses somatikos plus eidei  and adds hagios holy to spirit

John emphasizes the Baptist as an eyewitness.

All 4 versions use katabaino All agree on a movement downwards materializing as something that looked like a dove that came down on Jesus.

And cynics might say it was a trained dove etc etc etc but the point is don't fuss over just one or two words when meanings are in concord?

Mid week back to Greek gods ... Next weekend either another word study or we start on Marks Gospel.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Themis of Rhamnous

There are surprising few images of the Titans and Titanesses in Greek art.

One of the rare exceptions is this statue of #Themis from a temple at Rhamnous in Attica which seems to have one of the few places a Titan was actively worshipped.

The position the missing arm and the surviving hand suggest he may have been holding objects in one or both hands perhaps looted because it was ivory or gold?

It dates to the Classical era.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The most important word in the Greek new Testament

#agape #font #specialcharacters #greek

The most important word in the #greeknewtestament is surely this one?
Scroll down for a #howto #diy note !

ΑΓΑΠΗ αγαπη

αγαπη ΑΓΑΠΗ

ΑΓΑΠΗ αγαπη

How to generate Greek letters? In this example I was in Open Office and the fonts used to display AGAPE in Greek, are Times New Roman , New Athena Unicode, and Lucida Sans Unicode, and the method is to select and then use the Special Characters dialog box, scrolling down to the Basic Greek subset. Then I copy and paste the text into Google blogger.

Come back next Saturday or Sunday depending on your time zone and join us for Mark's Gospel.

I take or try to a very ecumenical approach in my comment on New Testament Greek.

Mid week I post mainly on Classical Greek art and literature, language and philosophy, and related topics, so do consider following regularly?

Next Sunday will either be another word study or we start on Mark's Gospel.

Mid week I'm still thinking about!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Heracles versus the birds.

#heracles #hercules battling the rather small  stymphalian cranes

And thats it! I have run out of ideas of bird related Classical Art !

Next sequence will be either Famous Greek or Hellenistic Queens or the Children of Zeus.

I have a birthday coming soon. If you're enjoyed or made use of the images I've found or the ideas I've shared please consider showing some appreciation? 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Greek Accents - a sampler

#fonts #accents #specialcharacters #greek

Sundays is usually bible study but as I just finished Matthews Gospel back to basics for a few posts!

A Sampler of how Greek Accents look in several fonts.

Remember you will need the insert Special Characters Command to find and add these.


Greek with Accents Times New Roman

α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ ς σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω

ά έ ή ί ϊ ΐ ϋ ό ύ ώ

Greek with Accents Palatino Linotype

α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ ς σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω

ά ἀ ἁ ἂ ἃ ἄ ἅ ἆ ἇ ᾰ ᾱ ᾲ ᾳ ᾴ ᾶ ᾷ

έ ἐ ἑ ἒ ἓ ἔ ἕ

ή ἠ ἡ ἢ ἣ ἤ ἥ ἦ ἧ ᾐ ᾑ ᾒ ᾓ ᾔ ᾕ ᾖ ᾗ

ί ϊ ΐ ῐ ῑ ῒ ΐ ῖ ῗ ἰ ἱ ἲ ἳ ἴ ἵ ἶ ἷ

ό ὀ ὁ ὂ ὃ ὄ ὅ ὸ ό

ϋ ΰ ϋ ύ ὐ ὑ ὒ ὓ ὔ ὕ ὖ ὗ ὺ ύ ῠ ῡ ῢ ΰ

ώ ὠ ὡ ὢ ὣ ὤ ὥ ὦ ὧ ὼ ώ ᾠ ᾡ ᾢ ᾡ ᾢ ᾣ ᾤ ᾥ ᾦ ᾧ ῲ ῳ ῴ ῶ ῷ

ῤ ῥ

Greek with Accents in Lucida sans unicode

α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ ς σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω

ά ἀ ἁ ἂ ἃ ἄ ἅ ἆ ἇ ᾰ ᾱ ᾲ ᾳ ᾴ ᾶ ᾷ

έ ἐ ἑ ἒ ἓ ἔ ἕ

ή ἠ ἡ ἢ ἣ ἤ ἥ ἦ ἧ ᾐ ᾑ ᾒ ᾓ ᾔ ᾕ ᾖ ᾗ

ί ϊ ΐ ῐ ῑ ῒ ΐ ῖ ῗ ἰ ἱ ἲ ἳ ἴ ἵ ἶ ἷ

ό ὀ ὁ ὂ ὃ ὄ ὅ ὸ ό

ϋ ΰ ϋ ύ ὐ ὑ ὒ ὓ ὔ ὕ ὖ ὗ ὺ ύ ῠ ῡ ῢ ΰ

ώ ὠ ὡ ὢ ὣ ὤ ὥ ὦ ὧ ὼ ώ ᾠ ᾡ ᾢ ᾡ ᾢ ᾣ ᾤ ᾥ ᾦ ᾧ ῲ ῳ ῴ ῶ ῷ

ῤ ῥ

Greek with Accents ms reference sans serif

α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ ς σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω

ά ἀ ἁ ἂ ἃ ἄ ἅ ἆ ἇ ᾰ ᾱ ᾲ ᾳ ᾴ ᾶ ᾷ

έ ἐ ἑ ἒ ἓ ἔ ἕ

ή ἠ ἡ ἢ ἣ ἤ ἥ ἦ ἧ ᾐ ᾑ ᾒ ᾓ ᾔ ᾕ ᾖ ᾗ

ί ϊ ΐ ῐ ῑ ῒ ΐ ῖ ῗ ἰ ἱ ἲ ἳ ἴ ἵ ἶ ἷ

ό ὀ ὁ ὂ ὃ ὄ ὅ ὸ ό

ϋ ΰ ϋ ύ ὐ ὑ ὒ ὓ ὔ ὕ ὖ ὗ ὺ ύ ῠ ῡ ῢ ΰ

ώ ὠ ὡ ὢ ὣ ὤ ὥ ὦ ὧ ὼ ώ ᾠ ᾡ ᾢ ᾡ ᾢ ᾣ ᾤ ᾥ ᾦ ᾧ ῲ ῳ ῴ ῶ ῷ

ῤ ῥ


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

EOS and Mnenon

#Eos #Dawngoddess #Mnenon  #atticvasepainting

Iris the Messenger is not the only Winged Goddess in Greek mythology. Her Cousin Eos the Dawn Goddess is often depicted with wings and is shown here holding the body of her mortal son by Tithonus, Mnenon. I wish we had more examples of early Greek Encaustic or Fresco paintings to compare to the colors used on ceramics. Did early paintings also use lines and outlines and dark backgrounds? Or not? The Vase painters had to limit their colors to mineral pigments that would not burn off in the final firing. While yellow and orange were available as ochres they seem to have chosen to focus on a contrast of black to red or a reddish brown. Were there no deposits of white clays in Attica?

Saturday, 13 May 2017

A note on Matheeteusate

#greeknewtestament #biblestudy

Matthew 28:19 states

go forth / travel therefore and then uses an IMPERATIVE form of Matheeteuoo?

Should we translate this as make students or instruct all the nations ?

Lidell and Scott says it can mean either.

I would prefer instruct as the translation myself since verse 20 emphasizes this opening with didaskontes ...teaching them.

Convert by teaching the message but not forcibly ?

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Archaic Greek Bird decorated Bowl

#archaicgreekceramics #bird #bowl #archaicgreekart

This clay bowl with a pattern of birds has been dated to Boeotia approx. 55O BC

It may not have the naturalism or realism of a Classical or Hellenistic piece but one thing I have noticed about Geometric and Archaic Greek Ceramics is that animals and birds feature far more frequently than in Classical art at least on ceramics. Their plumage becomes a pattern but usually a symmetrical graceful pattern such as this one.

Saturday, 6 May 2017


#greeknewtestament #wordstudy #biblestudy #koinegreek

The last words of Jesus in Matthews Gospel are an exhortation even an order to go and make students of all the nations to baptize them and teach people to keep on doing what Jesus taught.

( I should note there that matheuoo could also be translated as instruct rather than make to learn though it was strengthened by the use of the Imperative)

I'm going to analyze this paragraph in more detail over the next few weekends but first I want you to consider one word:


Verse 18 in the final chapter 

"It has been given to me ..."

Power and Authority over all heaven and earth!

What a startling statement this is when you give it deeper thought.

Many of my readers may be thinking "Yes Jesus is Lord!" but think about how great this power is!

Jesus is saying to his disciples that he has power greater than the Roman emperors and the magistrates and officials who served i,t or the temple theocracy or other powers, human , and more than human! Think how shocking that use of exousia would be to people in the first century who saw Rome dominating the known world.

Does he tell the disciples to worship him or rebuke them for doubting his resurrection?

No he commands them to do what he did, to travel about and teach others, to continue and complete the ongoing mission.

I end by reminding you what Jesus stated to be the two greatest commandments.

Love God and your neighbors with all your heart mind and soul.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Iris and Hermes Together

#Iris #Hermes #greekceramics

I was going to blog about Maia but while searching for good illustrations found this on Wikipedia Commons. The photographer didnt mention what museum it came from but it's an interesting image.

This is the only depiction I have seen of Hermes and Iris together.

Iris or Hermes feature in various plays and poetry as messengers of the gods but never together like this. Now I've mentioned before my belief some scenes on ceramics vases depict scenes or performances from plays especially Athenian vases. Did some Athenian dramatist write a play in which Hermes and Iris appear together? A comedy perhaps or a tragedy based on some obscure myth not recorded in other literature? 

Share please if you know where this vase is on display or have more information about it or any other works, ceramics, mosaics, or sculpture, showing Hermes and Iris together.


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Byzantine Christogram

Double metousia today since I couldnt do the midweek post however I'm still adjusting to a change of work hours so today some Christian #byzantine art featuring birds.

Back to #greeknewtestament next week !

I do love the corner knot patterns in this #mosaic and note the use of the Alpha Omega symbol!


#sirens #greek myths

While the #Harpies and their sister Iris were daughters of Titans although serving Zeus the Sirens were probably death spirits or fever demons since their use and appearance on funerary objects suggest they had other functions apart from beguiling sailors.

Regardless of who their parents are (the stories vary) they are always described as living on islands near Sicily or in the Adriatic. 

Another possibility is a distorted memory of sacred islands guarded by priestesses in bird costumes?

The Sirens are never mentioned as preying on women only men?

Saturday, 22 April 2017

A beautiful thing

#matthew26 #greeknewtestament #biblestudy

In #Matthew26 the disciples complain about a woman coming into the dining room and pouring expensive scented oil over Jesus' head. Its very expensive oil "barutimou" in an alabaster which is white marble jar. They felt it should have been sold for charity.

Unspoken however may have been a concern that the Temple officials would be further provoked by this action as it could have been seen as consecrating Jesus as a ruler!

Some people wonder if  the woman was Mary Madgalene.

Let us focus on Jesus' response.

He calls her action beautiful! "kalon ergon"becuse she did it for him"eis eme"  not for herself!

Some scholars write about the "the poor will always be with you" but I want to draw your attention to the chilling words further along,

"for this woman by throwing this ointment/oil upon my body for entombment made me ready"

More prophecies fulfilled.

Extravagant acts of generosity are okay but so are regular acts of charity.

Perhaps we should balance both?

Remember Jesus approved of this because the act benefited another.

Also it was a party? A time and place for everything!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Harpies as young Girls

#harpies #Birds #goddesses

The Harpies literally the Snatchers are the daughters of Thaumas son of Pontos and Gaia and the Oceanid Electra. Apollonios Rhodios in his Argonautica describes them as monsters

They are said to have lived in a cave on Mt Dicte on the island of Thrace and had the role to sinning those who sinned against the gods.

Other artists had different ideas. The Harpies shown here appear to be young girls though the position and shape  of the wings suggest that maybe young boy dancers in costume for a play are being depicted? Also there are 3 Harpies not two.

Their older sister was Iris goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods in the oldest epics.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Chi Rho Symbol

Something simple today. A png to download. #chirho #easter #christ #typography

I was tempted to do an elaborate Celtic style construct of spirals within spirals and knots but opted for minimalism instead. Enjoy. Use it as a capital or whatever.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Artemis or Aphrodite with Bird you decide

This image could been Artemis as lady of the Beasts or Aphrodite with a dove.

In the Archaic period Artemis wasn't always depicted as a huntress with bow and arrow.

While it was found near a temple to Artemis that site is noted for a diversity of art depicting a variety of gods so its not impossible that a statute of Aphrodite might be on the precincts of the temple to another deity. This happens at several sites.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Why its PALM Sunday

#palmsunday #GospelofJohn #greeknewtestament #bibletrivia
 Lets face it Easter in its current state is a horrid muddle or folk pagan seculary myths and commericalizations and a few actual Christian traditions. However it is PALM SUNDAY


We don't know the exact date but have a statement by John 12:1 it was 6 days before Passover.
 Bear in mind for centuries in Europe Sundays were one of the few days off people had from work.

John is also the only Gospel writer who clearly states cut branches of date palms were used.

John 12:13 baia toon phoinikoon "Phoenician" palm branches ... the date palm.

Matthew 21:8 says cut branches ekopton klados
Mark 11:8 uses stibados kopsantes which could also be rushes grasses or other plants
Luke 19 only mentions clothes.

Now in some countries where date or other palm branches are not available different spring plants are used but many churches try to ship in date palm branches for authenticity.

While there was other palm species the date palm was the most common in the first century and this century.

Possibly John stresses the use of date palms because they were a scared symbol throughout the Middle East and linked to royalty.

You might want to read down to verse 16 where John says that the disciples did not understand egnoosan  this as first to prooton but later remembered the events though Johns reference to things that had been written makes me wonder if he was thinking of not just Old testament prophecy but also Marks gospel which may have been written before John's. Or some kind of protogospel was circulating and various people were creating their own versions. Of the four gospel writers Mark and Luke were not eyewitnesses but Matthew and John would have been there.

So John is our witness that the branches were palms and hence Palm Sunday!

Next week since its Easter some GREEK Byzantine Christian art though a goddess NOT Ostara may make an appearance in the mid week post!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Consider the Quail

Consider the #Quail

Ever wonder what ancient cooks used for eggs before the jungle fowl was domesticated?

Or ducks or geese?

For most of us Quail eggs and meat are luxury items.

Ever wonder why there are no references to sweet cakes or omelettes or other deserts in Homer and why they don't start getting mentioned until Aristophanes?

No or few eggs for cooking! Duck and geese eggs would have been seasonal.

Quail however are small birds that can be trapped with nets and raised for both eggs and meat.

However you still would have had to have spare grain to feed them!

While they will eat a variety of grain ... you have to have surplus to feed them hence quail eggs and meat as a luxury item , hunted or farmed, in ancient Greece and Europe.

They can't thrive on table scraps like some chickens.

Thats why many scholars think references to cakes in lyric poetry were references to cakes of pressed dried fruit .

See my previous post and the notes and  translation of the swallow song.

Saturday, 1 April 2017



No bible study today I'm recovering from a stomach bug!
Instead  a little something extra for Easter

The Greek letters Chi and Rho the first letters of Christ often appear in Christian art even in areas and eras where Latin had replaced Greek.Here's my rough attempt at a ChiRho. You're welcome to play with it further! I'm attempted to draw a more detailed Celtic spiral one but that could take hours!

Swallow Song Two Notes and Draft

#swallowsong #greeklyricpoetry

Next installment a more polished version!

This is a rough DRAFT with Notes


Source Lyra Graeca and other D. Campbell texts
Recorded byAthenaeus in Doctors at dinner
citing a book by Theognis on Rhodian Festivals

Note Dialect is Doric

λθ̓ λθ̓ χελιδὼν (she) comes comes aorist swallow

καλς ρας γουσα, fine seasons / hours times – as ending doric bringing

καλος νιαυτούς, fine years plural returning again ?

ἐπὶ γαστέρα λευκά, upon stomach belly white

ἐπὶ νῶτα μέλαινα. upon back black (swallows b+w)

παλάθαν σπροκύκλει cakes you roll out
prob preserved pressed fig or dried fruits
ἐκ πίονος οκου out of ??? house
pionos fat oily rich in slang ?

ονου τε δέπαστρον of wine and cup/ and cup of wine
depastron < depas
τυροῦ τε κάνυστρον. Of cheese and basket a basket of cheese
usually a not u cane / wicker baskets
καὶ πύρνα χελιδὼν and wheat loaves (for) swallow

καὶ λεκιθίταν and pulse “bread'” some kind of bean cake
or porridge served cooked in pan

οὐκ ἀπωθεται. πότεῤπίωμες λαβώμεθα;

not you it drive away apootheoo whether or not will we get
  • mes ending doric apeimi nor will we go away

εἰ μέν τι δώσεις. εἰ δὲ μή, οὐκ ἐάσομες.

If any u give if and not we will not relaese let go

τὰν θύραν ϕέρωμες ἢ τὸ ὑπέρθυμρον

neither or the door we will carry away subjunctive / future or the lintel?

τὰν γυνακα τὰν ἔσω καθημέναν.

Or the woman wife inside sitting ?

μικρμέν ἐστι, ῥᾳδίως νιν οσομες.

Small little she is easily nin =ionic min it her him enclitic form autos
fut form of pheroo we will carry away

ἄν δὴ φέρῃς τι, μέγα δή τι φέροις.

anything whatever you bear to us let it be big

ἄνοιγ̓ ἄνοιγε τὰν θύραν χελιδόνι.

Open open fut form The door to swallow

οὐ γὰρ γέροντές ἐσμεν, ἀλλὰ παιδία.

Not for elders we are but children

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

#Swallowsong #greekfolksong #lyric

For those of you who may not have a copy of Campbell or Loeb's Lyra Graeca or Trypanis
here is the SWALLOW SONG in a slightly larger font size and double spaced

This should print out or save to one a4 page


λθ̓ λθ̓ χελιδὼν

καλς ρας γουσα,

καλος νιαυτούς,

ἐπὶ γαστέρα λευκά,

ἐπὶ νῶτα μέλαινα.

παλάθαν σπροκύκλει

ἐκ πίονος οκου

ονου τε δέπαστρον

τυροῦ τε κάνυστρον.
καὶ πύρνα χελιδὼν

καὶ λεκιθίταν

οὐκ ἀπωθεται. πότεῤπίωμες λαβώμεθα;

εἰ μέν τι δώσεις. εἰ δὲ μή, οὐκ ἐάσομες.

τὰν θύραν ϕέρωμες ἢ τὸ ὑπέρθυμρον

τὰν γυνακα τὰν ἔσω καθημέναν.

μικρμέν ἐστι, ῥᾳδίως νιν οσομες.

ἄν δὴ φέρῃς τι, μέγα δή τι φέροις.

ἄνοιγ̓ ἄνοιγε τὰν θύραν χελιδόνι.

οὐ γὰρ γέροντές ἐσμεν, ἀλλὰ παιδία.

Notes and translations in next post

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Visit and Help

More on people misreading Matthew 25 #biblestudy #greeknewtestament

VISIT THE SICK doesn't just mean get well messages.

Yes VISIT is the simplest translation but lets take a look at the Greek Verb used in Verses 36 and 43.

EPISKEPSASTHE is an aorist middle form of EPISKOPEOO.

Yes its related to the same word we get BISHOP from!!!

So it is visiting but visiting with thoughtful regard to look into or at a situation.

If you have access to a Liddell and Scott  in any format online or print look at the entry for EPISKOPEOO.

Ah you say maybe I'm reading too much into the verb!?

Think about the rest of the passage. Its about helping people!

You visit the sick to help them with food or treats or making sure they have adequate medical care or helping change bandages or checking they can cover their bills or need a lift to the hospital or doctor or clinic.

You visit to help. 

Even if how you can do is pass on health care tips online thats still helping though probably best to that if its something you have personally experienced for seen work for another.

You could also help the sick by doing first aid training and by supporting private charities or public health plans.

And do please look up the verb at Perseus or elsewhere or in your library!

LSJ Liddell Scott and Jones

and before anyone asks what I do or have done ... by odd coincidence I am now working in health care only part time and limited hours since I have health issues myself ... and yes I have first aid training!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Another Eagle Coin

I'm still working on the Swallow Song notes and translation so here's another #eagle #coin

This one is Hellenistic and was issued by one of the Ptolemies. Note the lettering and that the eagle is holding Zeus' thunderbolts. The Greeks excelled at Sculpture on a small scale as well as large!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The least of these and Strangers too.

#biblestudy #greeknewtestament

Yesterday there was a brief twitter storm over some media pundit who claimed to understand Greek stating two verses in Matthew referred to helping the Christian poor only.


Verse 28  talks about taking away from someone for not using the money they were given.

However even a single talant would have a small fortune by the standards of that time.

Verses 35 to 36 The Son of man enthroned as King welcomes those who fed the hungry gave drink to the thirsty and welcomed a stranger and clothed the naked, comforted the sick and visited prisoners.

Now Xenos can mean Stranger or Guest but once a Xenos has received hospitality and entered a household then he or she is a guest with certain rights  and the verse talks about welcoming strangers without specifiying anything about their background, rich, poor, Jewish, Greek, Roman.

Then Verse 40 the words of my brothers the least of these are used and again in 45 the words least of these are used. The word for least is elakhistos the very smallest a superlative form of micros.

Finally anyone who thinks brethren means fellow Christians only urgently needs to reread the story of the Good Samaritan or Peters Vision in Acts.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Minoan Swallow Vessel

#minoan #ceramics

Our next bird will be the #Swallow

This ceramic vessel shows the Hellenic admiration for the grace and beauty of swallows dates back to the beginnings of the culture and isn't just limited to the Thera frescoes.

Note how effectively the decoration makes use of a three color system of slips,
 yellow ochre, iron red and iron black.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


#biblestudy #anaginooskoon #noeoo

Matthew 24:15 ends with a clause probably inserted by a later editor but the insertion is a very sensible piece of advice whether one is reading biblical or classical greek or other ethical texts.



ho anaginooskoon noeitoo

Present Active participle followed by a Present Imperative

Anaginooskoo - to know something and think about it also to read in NT  greek and note it is followed for emphasize by an Imperative form of NOEOO to see something and and think before taking action.

READ the TEXT Biblical or other THOUGHTFULLY and THINK about it as well as ACT.

Bible or other study is NOT how much text you read but knowing and understanding the text and taking action. Since the two chapters are linked you might want to take a look at the end of Chapter 25?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Sicilian Eagle Coin

#greekcoinage #greekcoins #eagle

In  keeping with our #bird theme here is a particularly beautiful #Sicilian #coin depicting two eagles from one of the Greek Colonies on that island . I have no why a grasshopper is in the background! Note that the prey is an HARE not a rabbit!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Leavetaking and the Rapture

#rapture #biblestudy #paralambano

Matthew 24 is rather disturbing and trickier than it looks in English because of the constant shifting of tenses.

At first Jesus seems to be talking about the destruction of the Temple during the Jewish Wars then he seems to be forecasting future persecutions and the Second Coming but than he returns to stating these things will happen very soon Verse 34
'that not will pass the generation this until heoos in greek all these things have happened"Now that seems to fit the destruction caused by the Jewish Wars also forecast in verse 2!?

However disturbing has those forecasts are I want to draw your attention to two verses used to support a belief in the Rapture and depictions of the Righteous being raised into heaven.

In some unknown day and hour in the future (see verse 36 ) two men may be working side by side in a field

tote duo esontai en tooi agrooi

one will be taken as one left

likewise of two women working in a mill the

The verbs are  paralambano and  aphieemi in presnet passive forms.

There's nothing there about an ascent into heaven ???

Paralambano is take along receive or accept

Aphieemi can mean forgive or remit debts or sins , be let go, or left behind,

so a disturbing thought to me ... 
what its the sinners who get taken away for judgement 
and the forgiven who are left behind ?

Meanwhile we must Verse 13 endure to the end  hupomeinas eis telos and performing good works to demonstrate faith?

Skip ahead to the end of 25 and read and  remember what we have to do!

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Zeus and his Eagle

#eagle #zeus #greek #ceramics #archaic #naucratispainter

Naucratis Painter 560 BCE Zeus and his eagle

Zeus is depicted as a male aristo with long hair and a cloak with elaborate patterning.

The consensus or Majority opinion is that his eagle was a Golden Eagle seen as the King of the birds because it was one of the largest bird species known to the Greeks.

A note on technique. The reds and blacks are a clay slip of iron oxides. The higher the iron content the darker the slip. The yellow ochre lines are a technique called sgraffito of making lines by scratching thru the slips down to the base clay with some kind of stylus.