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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 stone made kadiskos from the Hellenistic Halos.
With a growing demand, I would like to start a series of brief posts that will present in detail the ancient Greek household worship and religious practice. One, major, problem that exists when a research is been conducted for the ancient Greek world and especially the ancient Greek religion is generalization. As it has been identified by a great number of scholars for every aspect of ancient Greek religious practice, generalization is in fact an error which has been occurred as soon as omissions and over-simplifications entered the falsification of facts. It is even more difficult to produce a generalized opinion for the ancient Greek household religion or household cults. Another issue that must be addressed is that the private religious practice that includes the household of the ancient Greeks has not been described in any detail in literature. Why? As it is the fact today, any family prayers, even if still they remain in some households, are obsolete. Therefore modern household household piety, if recorded, leaves a great deal of details out, which then required the future researcher to fill the gap with cross referencing from other sources, using even his imagination. Something similar it needs to be said for the ancient Greek household religious practices. My purpose, therefore, is to minimize the methodological difficulties mentioned above, by pointing out the sources, date and possible region or community for which the household practice is presented.

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For those interested in some concise information on the Ancient Athenian Calendar I post below soem traditional information on the 7th month of the lunar Calendar: Gamelion. (Keep in mind that since it is based on the lunar calendar - the modern dates vary each year....)


Gamelion

7th Month - 2nd Year of the 697th Olympiad (2011)

Beginning at sundown on Wednesday the 5th of January 2011, is the Noumenia, the new month, and the following day beginning at sundown on Thursday 6th of January is the Noumenia kata Selene – the first crescent moon which marks the beginning of Gamelion which is the seventh month of the second year of the 697th Olympiad. Each Olympiad lasts four years.

Noumenia kata Selene, Agathos Daimon

On the second day of Gamelion, the day of the first crescent moon, beginning at sundown on Tuesday the 6th of January, the Noumenia kata Selene is celebrated in honor of Selene, Apollon Noumenios, and the household Gods. For every month, on the second day the Agathos Daimon (spirit of abundant goodness, usually Zeus as the bringer of abundant goodness) is honored.

On the third day, Athena is honored, and on the fourth day, Aphrodite, Herakles, Hermes, and Eros are honored. On the sixth day, Artemis is honored and, on the seventh day, Apollon is honored. On the eighth day, Poseidon and Theseus are honored, and, for this month, Apollon Apotropaios, Apollon Nymphegetes, and the Nymphs. For this month, Athene is honored again on the ninth day.

Lenaea

In ancient Attica, from the twelfth through the fifteenth Gamelion (16th-20th January 2011), the Lenaea, a festival of Dionysos, was celebrated at the Lenauion with a procession, many sacrifices, and competition in tragedy and comedy.

Theogamia (Gamelia)

The month of Gamelion is noted most for the celebration of the marriage of Zeus and Hera, the Theogamia (Gamelia), on the 27th of Gamelion, beginning at sundown on the 31st of January. Ge (Earth) is honored as Kourotrophos (Nurse of children) and Zeus Teleios and Poseidon are also honored on this day.

Gamelion was the month for marriages in ancient Greece as marriage was instituted by Zeus and Hera. It is not only a time for marriage but a time to renew marriage just as the Gamelia is renewed each year. In particular, the Gamelia or Theogamia (marriage of Gods) is a pronouncement of the joint rule of Zeus and Hera as echoed in Homeric Hymn 12 to Hera where Hera is revered and honored no less than Zeus:

Of Hera I sing,
the golden-throned,
whom Rhea bore to be queen of the immortals,
of supreme beauty,
sister and wife of Zeus the loud-booming;
glorious one,
whom all of the blessed ones on long Olympus revere and honour
no less than Zeus whose sport is the thunderbolt.

A number of early temples such as the temple to Hera at Olympia were built for Hera and Zeus with separate temples to Zeus built later. In patriarchal ancient Greece, women had powerful goddesses for protection and guidance such as Hekate and Artemis and Hera who is Goddess of Beginnings, Marriages, and Light and especially Queen of the Immortals.

Hekate’s Deipnon

Hekate’s Deipnon will be celebrated on the thirtieth of Gamelion beginning at sundown on 3rd February.

May blessings go with you, and may the Goddess watch benevolently over you and guard you with favorable fortunes. (Bob)

[Thanks once again to Bob Clarke of the Hellenic Recon
Yahoo chat list for supplying this traditional information.]
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