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Tropaion is a web-log / electronic journal and Carnival for the ancient Greek Religion and history. The main goal of the web-log is to present original peer-reviewed and well referred posts on theoretical and practical aspects of the ancient Greek religion, to add to a broader circulation of Humanities and Classics in the Internet as well as to rise awareness for the Hellenic Polytheism today and to explore its relation with its ancient past.

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The Mt.Parnes is approximately 1480 meters high, a huge rocky land mass in the north-west of Attica. Our small settlement is in the south area of the mountain which is the “entrance” and main root towards the Attica’s plain. The area is rich in natural resources (timber, water etc.) and most importantly is a natural shelter of birds – and generally of eagles.

The existence and the variety of birds had been always considered a divine sign and a good omen. Mythology is rich with the inter-connection of Gods and the kingdom of birds (a comical work was produced by Aristophanes the Birds). Therefore, it is likely as settlers of the countryside to produce stories and even legends generation after generation for the manifestation of divinities close connected with the existence of birds. Zeus, the father of all Gods and men, could be the divinity usually appeared in our settlement’s legends. But let first see the connection of the eagle and the God.

Zeus, is the King of birds, with the companion of an Eagle. Cook in his eminent work explains why the eagle, and therefore, the birds, were connect with the God:

From the first the eagle appearing far up in the blue was a visible manifestation, nay an actual embodiment of Zeus (II 752)

In the Homeric epics, Zeus possesses the thunderbolt, and the eagle hardly appears to be link with the God; the eagle was a bird of omens (archos oionon). The Eagle appears in literature as companion of Zeus in Pindar. However, archaeology proves that the Eagle was as early as the 7th century the companion of Zeus. Thus, a bronze statue of Zeus Keraunios from the sanctuary of Mt. Lykaios (see excavation site) as well as some statues from Olympia (471 – 432 B.C), but most of all Zeus Ithomatas in Corinth Who was worshiped by the Messenians of Naupactos (Pausanias IV.33,2), proves the relationship.

Therefore we have already two main factors that make the rocky elevated area just above our heads unique and at the same time divine. The existence of i) a spatial importance (root, altitude and rich natural resources), the existence of ii) birds and most importantly eagles, as well as extreme clatters from thunderbolts – as they class on the rocks – that presents a manifestation of Zeus. Additionally, the fact that we need as a small community to create a community’s sacred area leads us to our first formal sacrifice in a slope just above the settlement.

The first sacred ritual in the selected spot was made by the richest family in our settlement which offered a number of white goads. After the first sacrifice the area was consecrated and the remains could eventually been used for additional sacrifices and offerings. We can picture the spot with just a pile of rocks and the remains of the burned offerings. There is nothing else there; however, that was the very first step for our future temple and cult.

To be continue…

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