mt etna

Billows of smoke during an eruption of Mount Etna Volcano
as seen from the Village of Viagrande
Sicilian town of Catonia
26 October, 20213

Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, has erupted,
sending up a towering plume of ash visible in
much of eastern Sicily




Dee Finney's blog

July 20, 2011

today's date February 24, 2013

updated 6-9-13

updated 10-26-13

page 454


2-24-13 - NAP DREAM - I was in my 16th St. house, trying to read a piece of paper that looked like it said  Etna Twining on it, but there was a big raucus noise outside in front of the house and I couldn't concentrate to even read the piece of paper in peace.

I went to the front door, and a large bunch of men were out front yelling and calling out names, and it was just too much to take.  I tried to close and lock the door, and it wouldn't close properly once it was opened -  the catch wouldn't take and it wouldn't lock - it just kept moving in and out with the noise.

I didn't know what to do to deaden the noise, so I though maybe I could get deeper into the house, but every door I tried to put between me and noise wouldn't close tightly enough to block the noise.

I kept thinking those words ringing in my head too, Etna Twining, EtnaTwining - what did that mean?

I woke up with those words ringing in my head non-stop!



Etna eruption closes air space

Etna's eruptions are not infrequent, although the last major one occurred in 1992.

A spokesman for Catania Airport said the eruption forced the closure of nearby air space before dawn, but authorities later lifted the order.

Several inhabited villages dot the mountain's slopes, but evacuations were not necessary despite the lava flow.

Press Association

Mount Etna Eruption 2013: Europe's Most Active Volcano Spews Lava In Italy, Forcing Airspace To Briefly Close

Catania airport said the eruption Saturday forced the closure of nearby airspace before dawn, but authorities lifted the order in early morning.

Several inhabited villages dot the mountain's slopes, but evacuations weren't necessary despite the lava flow.

Europe's most active volcano, Mount Etna, has been gushing lava for two weeks and today forced the airport in Sicily to close. But for volcano trackers it was a perfect time for a trek up the mountain.

In the past 24 hours, Mount Etna has been at its best. Scientists say it is as active as it was when it first erupted. The Italian military continued its fight to keep the lava away from Etna's ski resort. It is an amazing volcano and scientists say it could be a gold mine.

Borris Behnke is a German scientist, an expert on volcanoes. But out here he is like a child.

Today, Behnke led this team of amateur volcano watchers to Mt. Etna's most explosive craters.

Just how big are the boulders coming out of the mountain?

"Well surely some of them are bigger than cars, and some might be as big as trucks," said Behnke.

As spectacular as this crater looks during the day, at night it is almost beyond description. For those who study volcanoes, walking up the mountain is an essential trip. Dozens of volcanologists from all parts of the world climb this mountain everyday. This eruption, Behnke says, will be the most studied of all time.

"It will probably make us learn more about the dynamics of Etna and about the storage and transport of magma in the volcano than we've had before," said Behnke. "We will probably learn more about this volcano during this eruption than had been learned in 3,000 years."

One reason — hundreds of monitoring devices planted around the volcano send a constant stream of data to scientists a few miles away. They analyze the gases coming from the craters. They track the flow of lava and measure seismic activity. In the days leading up to this eruption there were more than 2,600 small earthquakes centered on the volcano. Even for Etna, that is remarkable.

Behnke said this is a complicated eruption becuase the lava is shooting out from so many places on all sides of the volcano. For scientists a complex eruption is a gold mine.

"I guess we'll be getting plenty of information about the plumbing system of the volcano, the places where magma is being stored," Behnke said. "For this we need to take rock samples."

Behnke said he will climb this mountain many times this year. The volcano, he believes will keep blasting for at least six more months.

ABCNEWS' Bob Woodruff contributed to this report.



-----Original Message-----
From: USGS ENS []
Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2013 3:12 PM
Subject: 2013-06-16 21:39:09 (M6.1) CRETE, GREECE 34.5 25.1 (82be)

                     == PRELIMINARY EARTHQUAKE REPORT ==

Region:                           CRETE, GREECE
Geographic coordinates:           34.512N,  25.091E
Magnitude:                        6.1
Depth:                            39 km
Universal Time (UTC):             16 Jun 2013  21:39:09
Time near the Epicenter:          16 Jun 2013  23:39:09
Local standard time in your area: 16 Jun 2013  13:39:09

Location with respect to nearby cities:
54 km (33 mi) S of Pirgos, Greece
80 km (49 mi) SW of Ierapetra, Greece
90 km (55 mi) S of Irakleion, Greece
91 km (56 mi) S of Nea Alikarnassos, Greece
404 km (250 mi) SSE of Athens, Greece

event ID                     :  us c000hsdj

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist at NEIC For subsequent
updates, maps, and technical information, see:

National Earthquake Information Center
U.S. Geological Survey


6-11-13 - DREAM - I started cooking early in the morning, for a crowd of people that grew larger during the day.

When I first got out the crock pot to make the chili or whatever it was I was cooking, the pale colored crock pot was cracked and looked like it needed to be repaired and the crack was growing bigger by the minute, but I had larger metal pot which I turned to next.

As the men gathered for a meeting during the day, they had clothing on, but all the men had their shirts open and were bare chested, not that they were necessarily doing it to show off their chests, but that it was hot outside.

I got the impression that everyone wanted to be naked - it was that hot.

While I was getting the ingredients together to cook with, I was using Costantino tomatoes.... bright red cans...

While I was cooking, I looked out the window and there were two very large long haired orange cats sitting there, like they were smelling the air from my cooking as well. 


At the tip of Italy’s “boot” lies Calabria. It is a beautiful, mountainous region populated by fishermen and small farmers. Rosetta Costantino grew up in this rugged landscape—her father a shepherd and wine maker and her mother his tireless assistant. When her family immigrated to California, they re-created a little Calabria on their property, cooking with eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers from their garden, fresh ricotta made from scratch, and pasta fashioned by hand. A frugal people, Calabrians are master preservers, transforming fresh figs into jam, canning fresh tuna in oil, and sun-drying peppers for the winter. Now Rosetta shares her family’s story and introduces readers to the fiery simplicity of Calabrian food. The first cookbook of a little-known region of Italy, My Calabria celebrates the richness of the region’s landscape and the allure of its cuisine.

Costantino's Kitchen is proud to offer our first pasta sauce. Combining the sweet taste of tomatoes with the spiciness of great Italian basil, fresh sauteed carrots, onions and garlic creates a wonderful depth of flavor and sweetness. We use an old and treasured recipe that has been in the family for four generations and make it the same way now as it was back in Italy.

San Costantino Calabro (Greek: Aghios Konstantinos Kalavros) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Vibo Valentia in the Italian region Calabria, located about 50 km southwest of Catanzaro and about 4 km southwest of Vibo Valentia. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 2,320 and an area of 7.0 km².[1]

San Costantino Calabro borders the following municipalities: Francica, Jonadi, Mileto, San Gregorio d'Ippona.

I couldn't stop thinking the word volcano too:

  • Ripacandida - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It extends along the slopes of volcanic of Vulture and is a large sub-area of
    Basilicata ... His successor, Italy became farmers, pastoralists, instituting the "
    Syssitia". ... In 2009, Thomas Hauschild accompanied the famous art historian
    Hans Belting ..... Ruvo del Monte · San Chirico Nuovo · San Chirico Raparo · San
    Costantino ...
  • Giants of Monte Prama - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    After the funds allocation of 2005 by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and
    the ... models, have been exhibited to the public at special events since 2009. .... (
    like in the cone-shaped baetylus of "Tamuli" and "San Costantino di Sedilo", and
    in ... by the proximity of Montiferru, a region that hosts an ancient volcano, site of ...
  • Contributed Talks: Abstracts

    Jan 6, 2013 ... T3.1 “Passive monitoring of Mt Etna volcano to probe the upper atmosphere” by
    Jelle. Assink, Alexis ... Costantino, Heinrich .... results taken during the major
    stratospheric warming of January 2009. ... Mount Etna, Italy (37 N).
  • Ciao A Tutti (Italian Lessons) | Facebook

    To connect with Ciao A Tutti (Italian Lessons), sign up for Facebook today. ....
    Etna is erupting again ... have a look at some beautiful pictures of this amazing
    volcano! .... Chiacchiere ( (Recipe adapted from Rosetta Costantino) ..... and an
    ex-government official charged with manslaughter over the 2009 L'Aquila
  • Unmasking the 1349 earthquake source (southern Italy ... - OoCities

    Paolo Antonio Costantino Galli a,b,*, Jose´ Alfredo Naso a a Dipartimento della
    Protezione .... P.A.C. Galli, J.A. Naso / Journal of Structural Geology 31 (2009)
    128–149. 129 ..... (partly coming from the Roccamonfina volcano, and partly from.



Italy’s Mount Etna has turned on again, spewing lava and gas in its first big eruption in 2013. The volcano is one of the most active in the world, and is Europe’s tallest active volcano, currently standing about 3,329 m (10,922 ft) high.

The volcano has been “simmering” for 10 months, but on February 19 and 20, the famous volcano came to life, providing dramatic visuals from the ground (see the video below) as well as from space, with three outbursts in less than 36 hours. This image from the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured Etna on February 19 at 9:59 a.m. Central European Time, about 3 hours after the end of the first outbursts.

The false-color image combines shortwave infrared, near infrared, and green light in the red, green, and blue channels of an RGB picture. This combination differentiates the appearance of fresh lava, snow, clouds, and forest.

Fresh lava is bright red—the hot surface emits enough energy to saturate the instrument’s shortwave infrared detectors, but is dark in near infrared and green light. Snow is blue-green, because it absorbs shortwave infrared light, but reflects near infrared and green light. Clouds made of water droplets (not ice crystals) reflect all three wavelengths of light similarly, and are white. Forests and other vegetation reflect near infrared more strongly than shortwave infrared and green light, and appear green. Dark gray areas are lightly vegetated lava flows, 30 to 350 years old.

Europe's tallest active volcano, Mount Etna, put on a stunning display on Tuesday night with red hot lava spewing into the night sky.'s Dara Brown reports.

By Becky Oskin

Italy's Mount Etna sent lava and gas shooting toward the stars on Tuesday morning, the first big eruption for the volcano in 2013.

The famous Sicilian volcano burst to life overnight, sending a fountain of fire into the air. The dramatic scene was captured in a video by Klaus Dorschfeldt, a videographer and webmaster at Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes, had emitted signs of an imminent paroxysm in recent weeks. On Jan. 22, lava and strong flashes in the volcano's New Southeast Crater were clearly visible from the Sicilian foothills; these often herald a new paroxysm: short, violent eruptive bursts.

Dorschfeldt said he knew Mount Etna's recent signals could precede new activity.  "(I've) followed the activity of Etna for many years, and with time you learn to know it as if it were your friend," he said in an email interview. "Following it constantly (you) learn to be a keen observer and a minor change can lead to something important," he said.

The tallest volcano in Europe, Mount Etna is almost constantly spewing gas or lava. Its Bocca Nuova crater also erupted earlier this year, from Jan. 10 to Jan. 20. In 2011, Etna's violent bursts were spotted from space.

Reach Becky Oskin at Follow her on Twitter @beckyoskin

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. 

Mount Etna: Plate Tectonic Setting

Mount Etna is associated with the subduction of the African plate under the Eurasian plate, which also produced Vesuvius and Campi Flegrei, but is part of a different volcanic arc (the Calabrian rather than Campanian). A number of theories have been proposed to explain Etna's location and eruptive history, including rifting processes, a hot spot, and intersection of structural breaks in the crust. Scientists are still debating which best fits their data, and are using a variety of methods to build a better image of the Earth's crust below the volcano.

Simplified plate tectonics cross section (A to B)
Plate tectonics of Mount Vesuvius
Simplified plate tectonics cross-section showing how Mount Etna is located above a subduction zone formed where the Eurasian and African plates collide. In this subduction zone a window has torn in the subducting slab. A three-dimensional view of this cross-section area is shown in Figure 9 of Claudio Faccenna and others, 2007, Slab disruption, mantle circulation, and the opening of the Tyrrhenian basins, Geological Society of America, Special Paper 481, pages 153-169.

Facts About Mount Etna
Location: Island of Sicily, Italy
Coordinates: 37.734oN, 15.004oE
Elevation: 3,330 m (10,925 ft)
Volcano Type: Stratovolcano
Last Eruption: Ongoing
Nearby Volcanoes: Stromboli Vesuvius

Mount Etna: Eruption History

Etna's eruptions have been documented since 1500 BC, when phreatomagmatic eruptions drove people living in the eastern part of the island to migrate to its western end. The volcano has experienced more than 200 eruptions since then, although most are moderately small. Etna's most powerful recorded eruption was in 1669, when explosions destroyed part of the summit and lava flows from a fissure on the volcano's flank reached the sea and the town of Catania, more than ten miles away. This eruption was also notable as one of the first attempts to control the path of flowing lava. The Catanian townspeople dug a channel that drained lava away from their homes, but when the diverted lava threatened the village of Paterno, the inhabitants of that community drove away the Catanians and forced them to abandon their efforts. An eruption in 1775 produced large lahars when hot material melted snow and ice on the summit, and an extremely violent eruption in 1852 produced more than 2 billion cubic feet of lava and covered more than three square miles of the volcano's flanks in lava flows. Etna's longest eruption began in 1979 and went on for thirteen years; its latest eruption began in March 2007, and is still ongoing.

Mt. Etna Eruption (October 30, 2002)
Mount Etna ash plume
An oblique photograph of Mount Etna looking to the southeast taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station on October 30,2002. The dark plume rising from the top of the volcano is an ash cloud. The broad white cloud streaming from areas of lower elevation is smoke produced by forest fires ignited as a hot lava flow moved through a pine forest. The ash and smoke caused air traffic to be diverted and forced the closing of roads, schools and businesses. Larger Image

Mt. Etna Eruption (October 30, 2002)
Mount Etna ash plume
An oblique photograph of Mount Etna on the west coast of the island of Sicily. This photo is looking to the southeast with the Mediterranean Sea in the background and was taken by astronauts onboard the International Space Station on October 30,2002. The scene shows the ash plume from the eruption being carried by wind across the Mediterranean Sea to Libya, over 350 miles away. Larger Image

Mt Etna Volcano - John Seach


Sicily, Italy

37.73 N, 15.00 E,
summit elevation 3350 m
Shield volcano

Mt Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe. It has an elliptical base (38 x 47 km) and a maximum elevation of about 3350 m. The volcano dominates the landscape of NE Sicily, Italy. The first eruptions at Etna occurred 500,000 years ago.

Mt Etna has the longest period of documented eruptions in the world. Etna is noted for the wide variety of eruption styles. The volcano is at its most spectacular when when both summit and flank eruptions occur simultaneously.

John Seach at summit of Mt Etna.

mt etna
Mt Etna gas rings

mt etna volcano
Sapienza, Etna

Mt Etna

mt etna volcano
Mt Etna

The structure of Mt Etna consists of a series of nested stratovolcanoes, characterised by summit calderas, the most important one being the Ellittico Caldera, which formed about 14,000-15,000 years ago.

Historically Mt Etna has produced effusive activity; however several pyroclastic deposits related to Plinian eruptions have been identified in the Holocene sequence. Under open vent conditions, ash emission only occurs during flank eruptions of Mt Etna volcano.

Structural and seismic data indicate that the regional deformation in the Etnean
area is generally dominated by N-S compression as the result of subduction of the African tectonic plate under the Eurasian plate.

2013 Eruptions
Strombolian eruptions occurred at Bocca Nuova Crater on 9-10 January 2013. A paroxysm occurred at southeast crater on 19th February 2013.

2011 Eruption
On the evening of 11th January 2011 an increase in volcanic tremor was recorded at Mt Etna volcano. Seismic activity reached a peak at 07:00 hr on 12th January when the source moved from north of NE crater to the SE crater. This corresponded to weak eruptive activity at SE crater on 11th January. On 12th January eruptions increased with strombolian activity recorded at SE crater. About 21:00 hr, lava overflowed the eastern rim of SE crater, and fed a flow that moved toward the western wall of the Valle del Bove.

Lava fountains occurred at SE crater, Mt Etna volcano on the night of 12-13 January 2011. The eruption consisted of a sustained lava fountain, lava flow, and an ash column reaching several kilometres high. The lava fountain lasted 42 minutes from 22:48-23:30 hr on 12th January and reached a height of 300-500 m. The lava fountain became pulsating after this time and reached a height of 100-200 m until 0:55 hr on the morning of 13th January. Ashfall was reported on the south flank of Mt Etna. The eruption was preceded by smaller episodes of Strombolian activity from SE crater on 23rd December 2010, and the evening of 2-3 January 2011. A lava flow descended the western slope of the Valle del Bove in three branches and reached the base after midnight. The longest flow surrounded the northern side of Monte Centenari, 4.2 km from the vent. On the 13th January ash emissions were caused by a partial collapse within the cone and eruptive activity at Mt Etna's SE crater.

2010 Eruption and Earthquakes
An ash eruption occurred at the summit of Mt Etna volcano, Italy on 8th April 2010. The eruption occurred at the lower east flank of the Southeast Crater. The eruption increased the crater from 10 m to 50 m. The eruptions were preceded by a series of earthquakes at the Pernicana fault on 2nd April. This was the first time in 6 years that earthquakes occurred in this location on Mt Etna (NE flank). The largest earthquake was magnitude 4.2. Ground cracking occurred adjacent to Ragabo mountain hut. Mareneve road, which links the town of Linguaglossa to the tourist area of Piano Provenzana, was fractured in two locations. The earthquake focus was at a depth of 1 km, and surface fractures occurred over a distance of 1 km. At a location 1 km up slope from Ragabo mountain hut, there was vertical displacement of the ground by 20 cm.

2009 Eruptions
Eruptions resumed at Mt Etna volcano, Italy after 4 months of inactivity. On 7th November Strombolian eruptions commenced at the eastern flank of South East crater. On 8th November at 07:51 am there was a magnitude 4.4 earthquake beneath the southwest flank of Mt Etna at a depth of 10 km.

2008 Eruptions
A paroxysmal eruption began at south-east crater on 10 May 2008. This was followed on 13th May by two fissures opening between 3,050 and 2,650 m elevation on Etna’s upper east side. The fissures sent lava flows 5 km into the Valle del Bove.

July 2006 Eruption
On 14 July 2006 at 2330 hr a fissure opened on the E flank of the Southeast Crater. Two vents along the fissure produced a lava flow which spread 3 km E to the Valle del Bove. The eruption ended on 24 July.

2004-2005 Eruption
An effusive eruption that started on 7 September 2004 on the W wall of the Valle del Bove. The eruption ended in March 2005. During the flank lava flows, there were no explosions at the summit.

2002-2003 Flank Eruption
The 2002-2003 eruption was one of the most explosive flank eruptions in the past 150 years at Mt Etna. The magma mixed with groundwater and was phreatomagmatic. Ash fell as far away as the Greek island of Cefalonia. Between 26 and 27 October 2002, strong seismicity accompanied the opening of fissures on the S and NE flanks of the volcano. Along the 4-km-long NE-fissure, eruptions consisted of Strombolian, Hawaiian fountaining and minor phreatomagmatic activity. On 27
October 2002, during the opening of the S-fissure, a 1-km-long curtain of fire fed a grey plume that reached a height of more than 3 km above the fissure. Between 20 and 21 November, a new effusive vent opened at the SSE base of the 2750 m cinder cone, causing a lava flow that threatened Rifugio Sapienza at an altitude of 1920 m. The effusive activity at the S vent finished on 28 January 2003.

2001-2002 Eruption
This was the first in a new series of flank eruptions at the volcano. Etna's flank eruptions have previously occurred at intervals of 1.7 years, during each series. In 17th July– 9th August 2001 the eruption of Mt. Etna caused significant damage to tourist facilities, and for several days threatened the town of Nicolosi on the S flank of the volcano. Seven eruptive fissures were active, five on the S flank between 3,050 and 2,100 m altitude, and two on the NE flank between 3,080 and 2,600 m elevation. The most voluminous of which reached a length of 6.9 km. One of the eccentric vents, at 2,570 m elevation, was the site of vigorous phreatomagmatic activity as the dike cut through a shallow aquifer, during both the initial and closing stages of the eruption. the eruption confirmed a trend, initiated during the past 50 years, toward higher production rates and more frequent eruptions, which occurred in the early to mid seventeenth century.

Between 1971 and 2001, the Southeast Crater was the most productive of the four summit craters of Mount Etna, with activity that can be compared, on a global scale, to the opening phases of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō-Kūpaianaha eruption of Kīlauea volcano, Hawai‘i.

Earlier Eruptions of Mt Etna.

Historical eruptions

Eruptions of Etna follow a variety of patterns. Most occur at the summit, where there are currently (as of 2008)[update] six distinct craters—the Northeast Crater, the Voragine, the Bocca Nuova, and the Southeast Crater. Other eruptions occur on the flanks, which have more than 300 vents ranging in size from small holes in the ground to large craters hundreds of metres across. Summit eruptions can be highly explosive and spectacular, but rarely threaten the inhabited areas around the volcano. In contrast, flank eruptions can occur down to a few hundred metres altitude, close to or even well within the populated areas. Numerous villages and small towns lie around or on cones of past flank eruptions. Since the year AD 1600, at least 60 flank eruptions and countless summit eruptions have occurred; nearly half of these have happened since the start of the 20th century, and since 2000, Etna has had four flank eruptions—in 2001, 2002–2003, 2004–2005, and 2008-2009. Summit eruptions occurred in 2006, 2007–2008, January–April 2012, and again in July–October 2012

The first known record of eruption at Etna is that of Diodorus Siculus.

The Roman poet Virgil gave what was probably a first-hand description of an eruption in the Aeneid:

A spreading bay is there, impregnable
To all invading storms; and Aetna's throat
With roar of frightful ruin thunders nigh.
Now to the realm of light it lifts a cloud
Of pitch-black, whirling smoke, and fiery dust,
Shooting out globes of flame, with monster tongues
That lick the stars; now huge crags of itself,
Out of the bowels of the mountain torn,
Its maw disgorges, while the molten rock
Rolls screaming skyward; from the nether deep
The fathomless abyss makes ebb and flow.

Virgil, Aeneid, edition of Theodore C. Williams, ca. 1908 [lines 569–579]

Portus ab accessu ventorum immotus et ingens
ipse; sed horrificis iuxta tonat Aetna ruinis;
interdumque atram prorumpit ad aethera nubem,
turbine fumantem piceo et candente favilla,
attollitque globos flammarum et sidera lambit;
interdum scopulos avolsaque viscera montis
erigit eructans, liquefactaque saxa sub auras
cum gemitu glomerat, fundoque exaestuat imo.

The same, in Virgil's Latin/

In 396 BC, an eruption of Etna reportedly thwarted the Carthaginians in their attempt to advance on Syracuse during the Second Sicilian War.

A particularly violent explosive (Plinian) summit eruption occurred in 122 BC, and caused heavy tephra falls to the southeast, including the town of Catania, where many roofs collapsed.[11] To help with reconstruction after the devastating effects of the eruption, the Roman government exempted the population of Catania from paying taxes for ten years.

During the first 1500 years AD, many eruptions have gone unreported (or records have been lost); among the more significant are: (1) an eruption in about 1030 AD near Monte Ilice on the lower southeast flank, which produced a lava flow that travelled about 10 km, reaching the sea north of Acireale; the villages of Santa Tecla and Stazzo are built on the broad delta built by this lava flow into the sea; (2) an eruption in about 1160 (or 1224), from a fissure at only 350–450 m (1,148–1,476 ft) elevation on the south-southeast flank near the village of Mascalucia, whose lava flow reached the sea just to the north of Catania, in the area now occupied by the portion of the city named Ognina.[citation needed]

Etna's most destructive eruption since 122 BC started on 11 March 1669 and produced lava flows that destroyed at least 10 villages on its southern flank before reaching the city walls of the town of Catania five weeks later, on 15 April. The lava was largely diverted by these walls into the sea to the south of the city, filling the harbour of Catania. A small portion of lava eventually broke through a fragile section of the city walls on the western side of Catania and destroyed a few buildings before stopping in the rear of the Benedictine monastery, without reaching the centre of the town. Contrary to widespread reports of up to 15,000 (or even 20,000) human fatalities caused by the lava,[12] contemporaneous accounts written both in Italian and English mention no deaths related to the 1669 eruption (but give very precise figures of the number of buildings destroyed, the area of cultivated land lost, and the economic damage), so it can be safely assumed that the enormous number of fatalities often picked up also by the news media must be a confusion with the earthquake that devastated southeast Sicily (including Catania) 24 years later, in 1693. A study on the damage and fatalities caused by eruptions of Etna in historical times reveals that only 77 human deaths are attributable with certainty to eruptions of Etna, most recently in 1987 when two tourists were killed by a sudden explosion near the summit.[13]

 Recent eruptions

etna exploding 2002
Etna's 2002 eruption, photographed from the ISS.




 A lateral crater of the 2002-2003 eruption near the Torre del Filosofo, about 450 m (1,480 ft) below Etna's summit.

Etna house destroyed

House destroyed by lava on the slopes of Etna.

Another large lava flow from an eruption in 1928 led to the first (and only) destruction of a population centre since the 1669 eruption. The eruption started high on Etna's northeast flank on November 2. Then new eruptive fissures opened at ever lower elevation down the flank of the volcano. The third and most vigorous of these fissures opened late on 4 November at an unusually low elevation, approximately 1,200 m (3,937 ft) above sea-level, in a zone known as Ripe della Naca. The village of Mascali, lying down-slope of the Ripe della Naca, suffered obliteration in just two days, with the lava destroying nearly every building. Only a church and a few surrounding buildings survived in the north part of the village, called Sant'Antonino or "il quartiere". During the last days of the eruption, the flow interrupted the Messina-Catania railway line and destroyed the train station of Mascali. The event was used by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime for propaganda purposes, with the evacuation, aid, and rebuilding operations being presented as models of fascist planning. Mascali was rebuilt on a new site, and its church contains the Italian fascist symbol of the torch, placed above the statue of Jesus Christ. In early November 2008, the town of Mascali commemorated the 80th anniversary of the eruption and destruction of the village with a number of public manifestations and conferences where among others eyewitnesses of the eruptions recalled their impressions of that experience.

Other major 20th-century eruptions occurred in 1949, 1971, 1981, 1983 and 1991–1993. In 1971, lava buried the Etna Observatory (built in the late 19th century), destroyed the first generation of the Etna cable-car, and seriously threatened several small villages on Etna's east flank. In March 1981, the town of Randazzo on the northwestern flank of Etna narrowly escaped destruction by unusually fast-moving lava flows. That eruption was remarkably similar to one in 1928 that destroyed Mascali. The 1991–1993 eruption saw the town of Zafferana threatened by a lava flow, but successful diversion efforts saved the town with the loss of only one building a few hundred metres from the town's margin. Initially, such efforts consisted of the construction of earth barriers built perpendicularly to the flow direction; it was hoped that the eruption would stop before the artificial basins created behind the barriers would be completely filled. Instead, the eruption continued, and lava surmounted the barriers, heading directly toward Zafferana. Engineers then decided to use explosives near the source of the lava flow, to disrupt a very efficient lava tube system through which the lava travelled for up to 7 km (4 mi) without essentially losing heat and fluidity. The main explosion on 23 May 1992 destroyed the tube and forced the lava into a new artificial channel, far from Zafferana, and it would have taken months to re-establish a long lava tube. Shortly after the blasting, the rate of lava emission dropped, and during the remainder of the eruption (until 30 March 1993) the lava never advanced close to the town again.[14]

Following six years (1995–2001) of unusually intense activity at the four summit craters of Etna, the volcano produced its first flank eruption since 1991–1993 in July–August 2001. This eruption, which involved activity from seven distinct eruptive fissures mostly on the south slope of the volcano, was a mass-media eruption, because it occurred at the height of the tourist season and numerous reporters and journalists were already in Italy to cover the G8 summit in Genoa. It also occurred close to one of the tourist areas on the volcano, and thus was easily accessible. Part of the "Etna Sud" tourist area, including the arrival station of the Etna cable car, were damaged by this eruption, which otherwise was a rather modest-sized event by Etna standards.

In 2002–2003, a much larger eruption threw up a huge column of ash that could easily be seen from space and fell as far away as Libya, 600 km (370 mi) south across the Mediterranean Sea. Seismic activity in this eruption caused the eastern flanks of the volcano to slip by up to two metres, and many houses on the flanks of the volcano experienced structural damage. The eruption also completely destroyed the tourist station Piano Provenzana, on the northeastern flank of the volcano, and part of the tourist station "Etna Sud" around the Rifugio Sapienza on the south flank. Footage from the eruptions was recorded by Lucasfilm and integrated into the landscape of the planet Mustafar in the 2005 film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.[15] The Rifugio Sapienza is near the site of a cable car station which had previously been destroyed in the 1983 eruption; it has now been rebuilt. Following a rather silent, slow and non-destructive lava outflow on the upper southeastern flank between September 2004 and March 2005, intense eruptions occurred at the Southeast Crater in July–December 2006. These were followed by four episodes of lava fountaining, again at the Southeast Crater, on 29 March, 11 April, 29 April and 7 May 2007. Ash emissions and Strombolian explosions started from a vent on the eastern side of the Southeast Crater in mid-August 2007.

On 4 September 2007 a spectacular episode of lava fountaining occurred from the new vent on the east side of the Southeast Crater, also producing a plume of ash and scoriae which fell over the east flank of the volcano. A lava flow travelled about 4.5 km (2.8 mi) into the uninhabited Valle del Bove. This eruption was visible far into the plains of Sicily, ending the following morning between the hours of 5 to 7 am local time. Catania-Fontanarossa Airport shut down operations during the night for safety precautions. A similar paroxysm occurred during the night of 23–24 November 2007, lasting for 6 hours and causing ash and lapilli falls to the north of the volcano. Again, the source of the activity was the vent on the east flank of the Southeast Crater. Following several months of rather minor activity from the Southeast Crater and flurries of seismic activity especially in the eastern sector of the mountain, a new powerful eruptive paroxysm occurred on the late afternoon of 10 May 2008. Due to bad weather, it was not possible to see much of the activity at the vent, but several branches of lava travelled down the eastern flank of the volcano, into the Valle del Bove depression, reaching a length of 6.2 km (3.9 mi). This latest paroxysm lasted about 4 hours, ending on the evening of 10 May 2008.

An eruption on the morning of 13 May 2008, immediately to the east of Etna's summit craters was accompanied by a swarm of more than 200 earthquakes and significant ground deformation in the summit area. The eruption continued at a slowly diminishing rate for 417 days, until 6 July 2009, making this the longest flank eruption of Etna since the 1991–1993 eruption that lasted 473 days. Previous eruptions, in 2001, 2002–2003, and 2004–2005 had lasted 3 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months, respectively. Lava flows advanced 6.5 km during the first few days of this eruption but thereafter stagnated at much minor distances from the vents; during the last months of the eruption lava rarely advanced more than 1 km downslope.

During the year 2010, the summit craters of Etna were the site of intermittent, minor explosive activity, which produced only minor quantities of ash and no lava flows. The most significant events were a single explosion from the vent on the east flank of the Southeast Crater cone on 7 April, a sequence of explosions from the western pit of the Bocca Nuova that started on 25 August and continued until 22 December, and ash emissions from the Northeast Crater on 14–15 November. The vent on the east side of the Southeast Crater cone became again active in late December; activity then intensified in early January 2011.

On 13 January 2011, a new episode of lava fountaining occurred from the vent on the east flank of the Southeast Crater cone, lasting about 1.5 hours. Italian Authorities were forced to temporarily close airports for a couple of hours while the ash cloud cleared. The event was well visible during the clear, moonlit night and attracted numerous spectators in eastern Sicily and as far as southern Calabria.[16][17]

The volcano has been sputtering with abundant steam and ash plumes and some strombolian explosions in the southeast pit crater on the morning of 8 May 2011, generating loud detonations that were audible many kilometres away, such as the Monti Sartorius (northeast flank) and the town of Zafferana Etnea. After sunset, Strombolian explosions were seen to occur at intervals of 3–10 minutes, ejecting incandescent bombs up to a few tens of metres above the crater rim. During the night, some explosions threw bombs well beyond the crater rim, down to the base of the cone that has grown around the crater during the recent paroxysms. This activity continued on the morning of 9 May, without any change in the frequency and size of the explosions and no variation was seen in the seismic activity either. On 11 May, this activity rapidly increased and some lava started to spill over the low eastern rim of the crater.[18] Then, around 0300h in the morning on 12 May (local time = GMT+2), the fourth lava fountain of Etna in the year 2011 burst into the night sky. For many hours, there had been increasingly vigorous Strombolian activity and a small lava flow, and the amplitude of volcanic tremor was rising. The fountain lasted for a couple of hours and ended at daybreak—by 0600 h it was essentially over.[19][20]

Mount Etna erupted again in 2011 on July 9, 18 and 19, 24 and 25, 30 and 31,[21] on August 5 and 6, 12, 20 and 29, on September 8, 19 and 28, on October 8 and 23, and on November 15, sending lava sprays several hundred metres into the air; no damage or casualties were reported as people were evacuated before it reached them.

In 2012, the first eruption occurred on January 5 sending up huge blasts after a short build-up during the night. A new phase of moderate Strombolian activity started at the New Southeast Crater on January 21 and continued during the first week of February. The activity consisted of frequent, modest-sized explosions, with incandescent ejections visible at night, and small puffs of dark ash visible during daylight, rising a few tens of metres high. It culminated in the second paroxysmal event of the year during the night between February 8 and 9 lasting well into the early morning hours. Other paroxysms occurred on March 4 and 18, on April 1, 12 and 24. On July 4, smoking and an increase of seismic activity began to occur at the Bocca Nuova Crater. This activity could signal an upcoming paroxysm. In late July, strombolian activity occurred at and confined in the Bocca Nuova, being signaled by weak incandescence at night and persistent steaming at day. As of September 19, 2012, the strombolian activity in the Bocca Nuova was considered over. No paroxysms or activity of any sort has happened at the new southeast crater since April 24, 2012. On October 2, 2012, the Bocca Nuova began another phase of strombolian activity from the site of the intercrater cone formed during the July–August episodes. On November 21, faint glow was observed from the New Southeast Crater, a sign that possible strombolian activity is occurring within the vent. On the morning of December 2, the glow, that before was visible only by webcams, had intensified and was clearly visible to the naked eye. During the day, the New Southeast Crater is producing a very large gas plume. Throughout the month of December 2012, the minor activity persisted, with fluctuations. Until December 24, the glow had almost completely stopped. Through the 24 until the 26, ash emissions and more weak glow had occurred. Throughout the first week of 2013, a large gas plume is still being produced and (possible) glow is visible through the webcams. On January 3, there was a short, but unusual event at the New Southeast Crater. The glow began to increase until strombolian activity was visible in the webcams. The event lasted no more than 10 minutes and quickly ended. On January 10, the Bocca Nuova began another phase of (this time violent) activity at the eastern vent that erupted earlier in 2012. Glow from the crater is visible in webcams. This activity continued until January 20, when it stopped. Two days later, a strong phase of strombolian activity began at the New Southeast Crater. This activity is clearly visible with lava and strong flashes easily seen from the foothills. Then, five paroxysms occurred in quick succession over a short period of 110 hours at the New Southeast Crater in February 2013. The first was a spectacular eruption at dawn on the 19th, followed by a second one shortly after midnight on the 20th and a third soon after noon on the same day. The fourth eruption followed at dawn on the 21st spewing dense clouds, ashes and grit, while the fifth occurred in the early evening of the 23rd when much stronger and louder explosions were reported, with tremors doubling those reached in the previous four.

 Unusual characteristics

In the 1970s Etna erupted smoke rings,[22] one of the first captured events of this type, which are extremely rare. This happened again in 2000.[23]

 See also


  1. ^ a b The elevation varies with volcanic activity. It is frequently given as 3,350 m (10,990 ft), but many sources that support this concede that it is approximate. The coordinates given, which are consistent with SRTM data, are from a 2005 GPS survey. The elevation data are based on a LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) survey carried out in June 2007, see Neri, M.; et al. (2008), "The changing face of Mount Etna's summit area documented with Lidar technology", Geophysical Research Letters 35: L09305, Bibcode 2008GeoRL..3509305N, doi:10.1029/2008GL033740
  2. ^ "Italy volcanoes and Volcanics". USGS.
  3. ^ Aelian, Hist. An. xi. 3, referenced under Aetnaeus in William Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
  4. ^ "Decade Volcanoes". United States Geological Survey.
  5. ^ "Volcano – Podictionary Word of the Day". 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  6. ^ "Woodhouse's English-Greek Dictionary Page Image". Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  7. ^ (Italian) "Note di toponomastica". Archived from the original on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  8. ^ Chevedden, Paul E. (2010), "A Crusade from the First: The Norman Conquest of Islamic Sicily, 1060-1091", Al-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean 22 (2), doi:10.1080/09503110.2010.488891
  9. ^ Martin-Schutz, Alicia. "Mt. Etna".
  10. ^ Pareschi, M. T.; Boschi, E. & Favalli, M. (2007), "Holocene tsunamis from Mount Etna and the fate of Israeli Neolithic communities", Geophysical Research Letters 34: L16317, Bibcode 2007GeoRL..3416317P, doi:10.1029/2007GL030717
  11. ^ Coltelli, M.; Del Carlo, P. & Vezzoli, L. (1998), "Discovery of a Plinian basaltic eruption of Roman age at Etna Volcano, Italy", Geology 26 (12): 1095–1098, Bibcode 1998Geo....26.1095C, doi:10.1130/0091-7613(1998)026<1095:DOAPBE>2.3.CO;2
  12. ^ "Mount Etna (volcano, Italy)". (the Encyclopædia Britannica has been wrongly cited as one source of this false information).
  13. ^ "Etna and Man". Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  14. ^ Barberi, F.; Carapezza, M. L.; Valenza, M.; Villari, L. (1993), "The control of lava flow during the 1991–1992 eruption of Mt. Etna", Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 56 (1–2): 1–34, Bibcode 1993JVGR...56....1B, doi:10.1016/0377-0273(93)90048-V
  15. ^ "press_text_booklet.indd" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  16. ^ Italy's Mt Etna erupts | WORLD News
  17. ^ Ken Kremer (2011-01-15). "Spectacular Eruptions of Mt. Etna in Sicily from Space and Earth". Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  18. ^ "INGV - Etna Observatory". Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  19. ^ By etnaboris Boris Behncke+ Add Contact. "12nd May Etna eruprtion foto". Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  20. ^ "BBC News - Footage shows Mount Etna spewing lava and ash". 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  21. ^ "Sicily's Mount Etna erupts". The Telegraph. 2011-08-01. Retrieved 2011-08-01.
  22. ^ Smoke rings generated by eruptions of Etna volcano
  23. ^ "Etna hoops it up". BBC News. 2000-03-31. Retrieved 2008-10-09. Other: Most recent eruption was a paroxysmal eruption that occurred on February 18, 2013, the first eruption of the year.


 External links

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Which titan was buried under mount Etna by Athena?

ENKELADOS was a Gigante who battled Athene in their war against the gods. When he fled the battlefield, Athene crushed him beneath the Sicilian Mount Aitna ...

Retrieved from ""
However, according to other accounts, it was the giant Typhoeus who was buried beneath the volcano.

In Greek Mythology Titans were a race of powerful deities who were overthrown by the Olympian gods when they came to power. In Disney's Hercules, theTitans are portrayed as four elemental monsters who terrorized Ancient Greece. They were the physical manifestation of the element they controlled. These "Titans" were original creations for the film. Hercules: The Animated Series, which expands on the Greek Mythological setting and addresses many of the movie's inaccuracies and omissions, featured Titan characters from actual Greek Mythology.

In Greek mythology, the Titans (Greek: ΤιτάνTi-tan; plural: ΤιτᾶνεςTi-tânes) were a primeval race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Heaven), that ruled during the legendary Golden Age. They were immortal huge beings of incredible strength and stamina and were also the first pantheon of Greco-Roman gods and goddesses.

In the first generation of twelve Titans, the males were Oceanus, Hyperion, Coeus, Cronus, Crius and Iapetus and the females - the Titanesses - were Mnemosyne, Tethys, Theia, Phoebe, Rhea and Themis. The second generation of Titans consisted of Hyperion's children Eos, Helios, and Selene; Coeus's daughters Leto and Asteria; Iapetus's children Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, andMenoetius; Oceanus' daughter Metis; and Crius's sons Astraeus, Pallas, and Perses.

The Titans were overthrown by a race of younger gods, the Olympians, in the Titanomachy ("War of the Titans"). This represented a mythological paradigm shift that the Greeks may have borrowed from the Ancient Near East.[1]


Greeks of the classical age knew of several poems about the war between the Olympians and Titans. The dominant one, and the only one that has survived, was in the Theogony attributed to Hesiod. A lost epic, Titanomachia—attributed to the legendary blind Thracian bard Thamyris—was mentioned in passing in an essay On Music that was once attributed to Plutarch. The Titans also played a prominent role in the poems attributed to Orpheus. Although only scraps of the Orphic narratives survive, they show interesting differences with the Hesiodic tradition.

The Greek myths of the Titanomachy fall into a class of similar myths throughout Europe and the Near East concerning a war in heaven, where one generation or group of gods largely opposes the dominant one. Sometimes the elders are supplanted, and sometimes the rebels lose and are either cast out of power entirely or incorporated into the pantheon. Other examples might include the wars of the Æsir with the Vanir and Jotuns in Scandinavian mythology, the Babylonian epic Enuma Elish, the Hittite "Kingship in Heaven" narrative, the obscure generational conflict in Ugaritic fragments, and the rebellion of Lucifer in Christianity. The Titanomachy lasted for ten years.


Hesiod does not, however, have the last word on the Titans. Surviving fragments of poetry ascribed to Orpheus preserve some variations on the myth. In such text, Zeus does not simply set upon his father violently. Instead, Rhea spreads out a banquet for Cronus so that he becomes drunk upon fermented honey. Rather than being consigned to Tartarus, Cronus is dragged—still drunk—to the cave of Nyx (Night), where he continues to dream throughout eternity.

Another myth concerning the Titans that is not in Hesiod revolves around Dionysus. At some point in his reign, Zeus decides to give up the throne in favor of the infant Dionysus, who like the infant Zeus is guarded by the Kouretes. The Titans decide to slay the child and claim the throne for themselves; they paint their faces white with gypsum, distract Dionysus with toys, then dismember him and boil and roast his limbs. Zeus, enraged, slays the Titans with his thunderbolt; Athena preserves the heart in a gypsum doll, out of which a new Dionysus is made. This story is told by the poets Callimachus and Nonnus, who call this Dionysus "Zagreus", and in a number of Orphic texts, which do not.

One iteration of this story, that of the Late Antique Neoplatonist philosopher Olympiodorus, recounted in his commentary of Plato's Phaedrus,[2]affirms that humanity sprang up out of the fatty smoke of the burning Titan corpses. Pindar, Plato and Oppian refer offhandedly to man's "Titanic nature". According to them, the body is the titanic part, while soul is the divine part of man. Other early writers imply that humanity was born out of the malevolent blood shed by the Titans in their war against Zeus. Some scholars consider that Olympiodorus' report, the only surviving explicit expression of this mythic connection, embodied a tradition that dated to the Bronze Age, while Radcliffe Edmonds has suggested an element of innovative allegorized improvisation to suit Olympiodorus' purpose.[3]


Some scholars of the past century or so, including Jane Ellen Harrison, have argued that an initiatory or shamanic ritual underlies the myth of Dionysus' dismemberment and cannibalism by the Titans.[where?] She also asserts that the word "Titan" comes from the Greek τιτανος, signifying white earth, clay or gypsum, and that the Titans were "white clay men", or men covered by white clay or gypsum dust in their rituals.[where?] M. L. West also asserts this in relation to shamanistic initiatory rites of early Greek religious practices.[4]

According to Paul Faure, the name "Titan" can be found on Linear A written as "Tan" or "Ttan", which represents a single deity rather than a group.[5] Other scholars believe the word is related to the Greek verb τείνω (to stretch), a view Hesiod himself appears to share: "But their father Ouranos, who himself begot them, bitterly gave to them to those others, his sons, the name of Titans, the Stretchers, for they stretched out their power outrageously."[6]


In recent history, Jerry Wills, an archeaologist (in 2012) reported that he had just heard about a group of Giants being uncovered under the ground when the Greeks were digging a tunnel for a subway rail train.

In the grave tomb, the giants were laid out, dressed in royal war clothing, and were 16 feet tall.  Evidently the soldiers had been killed in war and given a royal burial for their efforts to the King.

Greek subway dig uncovers ancient Roman site 

Archaeologists in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, have unearthed a section of an 1,800-year-old road during a subway construction project.

greece burial

Archaeologists in Greece’s second-largest city have uncovered a 70-meter section of an ancient road built by the Romans.

Archaeologists have unearthed a section of an 1,800-year-old road during a subway construction project in Greece’s second-largest city.

The ancient marble-paved pathway, built by Romans, is believed have been the city of Thessaloniki’s main travel artery almost 2,000 years ago.

Several of the large marble stones discovered featured marks from wheels of horse-drawn carts. Others were inscribed with children’ s board games.

Archeologist Viki Tzanakouli said that excavators also found remains of an older road, built by ancients Greeks 500 years earlier, under the 70-meter section of the Roman road.

“We have found roads on top of each other, revealing the city's history over the centuries," Tzanakouli told the Associated Press. "The ancient road, and side roads perpendicular to it appear to closely follow modern roads in the city today."

The roads were discovered 23 feet below ground in the center of the northern port city.

Bases of marble columns, tools and lamps were also uncovered at the site.

The excavated area was opened to the public Monday, as the city announced a plan to raise the ancient roads and place them on permanent display when the subway opens in 2016.

Subway construction is often a slow process in Greece because workers frequently stumble upon ancient artifacts during construction.

Greece subway excavation

The marble-paved road will be raised to be put on permanent display for passengers when the subway opens.

Workers began building Thessaloni’s new subway system in 2006 but are already four years behind schedule due to both Greece’ financial crisis and excavation delays.

In 2008, workers unearthed more than 1,000 graves filled with jewelry, coins, and other objects while building a section of the underground railway.

The new subway system is expected to begin operating in 2016 with 13 stations, with 10 more stations to be added after.


Another Ancient Gold Wreath Found in Greek Subway Construction. According to the Greek Reporter, the wreath was found “inside a large box-type Macedonian tomb on the head of a buried female body.” It was approximately dated to the Early Hellenistic Era, at the end of the fourth — early third century B.C. Gold wreaths are rare finds and are usually associated with royal or aristocratic graves. About 23,000 artifacts have been unearthed during the dig for the Thessaloniki subway system.

An abundance of gold wreaths appear to lay hidden in a subway network in Greece.

Indeed, excavation work during construction of a new subway in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, has revealed another gold wreath – the ninth since work started in 2006.

Found on the site of an ancient cemetery at what will be the Dimokratias Station stop, the wreath of olive leaves lay buried for some 2,300 years.

PHOTOS: Accidental Archaeological Discoveries

According to the Greek Reporter, the wreath was found “inside a large box-type Macedonian tomb on the head of a buried body.”

It was approximately dated to the Early Hellenistic Era, at the end of the fourth — early third century B.C.

Gold wreaths are rare finds and are usually associated with royal or aristocratic graves. Featuring delicate decorations which imitated various leaves, such as oak, olive, vine, laurel and myrtle, the fragile gold wreaths were created primarily to be buried.

NEWS: Prehistoric Fossil May Have Inspired Greek Myths

In 2008 archaeologists found eight Hellenistic era golden wreaths again during subway work in Thessaloniki. The wreaths were placed within a female burial along with elaborately-crafted earrings and other artifacts.

About 23,000 ancient and medieval artifacts have been unearthed during the ongoing dig for the Thessaloniki subway system.

Much-delayed, the project is scheduled for completion in 2017.

Image: This photo, released by the Greek Ministry of Culture in 2008, shows one of the gold wreaths unearthed at that time. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture.

Subway construction workers in Thessaloniki, Greece, have uncovered a golden olive branch that dates back approximately 2,300 years. Located at what will someday be the Republic Station stop, the wreath was found inside a large, box-like Macedonian tomb — and it was still on the head of a buried female body. The beautifully preserved wreath dates back to the Early Hellenistic Period, at the end of the Fourth to early Third Century B.C.E.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and was founded back in 315 B.C.E by King Cassander of Macedon and named after his wife Thessalonike — the half-sister of Alexander the Great.

The discovery was confirmed by K.B. Misailidou, Director of 16th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. And amazingly, it’s now the ninth wreath to be uncovered during these subway excavations (which started back in 2008).

1,000 ancient graves from Thessaloniki

Ancient Graves Found in Greece

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek workers discovered around 1,000 graves, some filled with ancient treasures, while excavating for a subway system in the historic city of Thessaloniki, the state archaeological authority said Monday.

Some of the graves, which dated from the first century B.C. to the 5th century A.D., contained jewelry, coins and various pieces of art, the Greek archaeological service said in a statement.

Thessaloniki was founded around 315 B.C. and flourished during the Roman and Byzantine eras. Today it is the Mediterranean country's second largest city.

Most of the graves — 886 — were just east of the city center in what was the eastern cemetery during Roman and Byzantine times. Those graves ranged from traces of wooden coffins left in simple holes in the ground, to marble enclosures in five-room family mausoleums.

A separate group of 94 graves were found near the city's train station, in what was once part of the city's western cemetery.

More findings were expected as digging for the Thessaloniki metro continues. Digging started in 2006 and the first 13 stations are expected to be done by the end of 2012. A 10-station extension to the west and east has been announced.





pindar-etna 2

pindar etna 3

etna quote

Ibis:251-310 The Litany of Maledictions: Ancient Torments


May you not be tortured without ancient precedent,

nor your troubles be less than those of the Trojans,

and may you suffer pain as great as Philoctetes,

heir to Club-bearing Hercules, from venom’s torment.

Nor let your grief be less than Telephus’, who drank from

the doe’s teat, and armed received a wound, unarmed help:

or he who fell headlong from his horse in the Aleian field,

Philopoimen, whose character was nearly his own ruin.

May you know what Phoenix knew, and, robbed of sight,

find your perilous way with the help of a stick.

Nor see more than Oedipus whom his daughter guided,

both her parents being acknowledged sinners:

be blind as Tiresias, the old man famous for Apollo’s art,

after he’d acted as judge of the gods’ playful quarrel:

and as that man, Phineus, by whose command a dove of Pallas

was sent out to lead the way, and be a guide to the Argo:

and Polymestor, lacking eyes, that had viewed gold sinfully,

the father giving them as funeral gifts to his murdered child:

and like Polyphemus, Etna’s shepherd, whose blinding,

Telemus, son of Eurymus, prophesied before the event:

like the two sons of Phineus, from whom he took the same

light he gave: as the faces of Thamyris and Demodocus.

May someone sever your genitals, as Saturn,

when he was born, severed those of Uranus.

Nor let Neptune in the swelling waves be kinder to you

than to him whose brother and wife were turned into birds,

or to Ulysses, that cunning man, whom Ino, Semele’s sister,

pitied as he clung to the shattered timbers of his raft.

Or, lest your flesh shall have known only this one manner

of punishment, let it be split and dragged apart by horses:

or you yourself suffer what the man, who thought to be free

by disgracing Rome, endured from the Carthaginian leader.

Nor let divine power be prompt to your relief, just as

the altars of Jupiter brought Hercules no profit.

And as Thessalus leapt from the heights of Ossa,

you too will throw yourself from the stony cliff.

Or like Cychreus, who snatched Eurylochus’ crown,

let your body be food for ravenous serpents.

Or, as in Ariadne’s fate, may raging liquid rush

over your head, covered by the waters.

And like Prometheus, pinned there, without mercy,

and exposed, feed the birds of the air with your blood.

Or be thrown like stricken Eumolpus, scion of Erectheus,

three times defeated by mighty Hercules, into the vast sea.

Or like Phoenix, child of Amyntor, the loved will be hated through

shameful desire, and the son wounded by the cruel sword.

Let no more cups be mixed for you that are safe to drink,

than for him who was born of horned Jupiter.

Or die suspended like the captive Acheus who hung

a wretched witness to the gold-bearing waters.

Or like Achilles’ scion, known by a famous name,

struck down by a tile hurled from an enemy hand.

Nor let your bones lie more happily than Pyrrhus’,

that were scattered over the roads of Ambracia.

Die driven through by javelins like one born

of Pyrrhus: nor may that rite of Ceres hide you.

And like that king’s scion spoken of just now in my verse,

drink the aphrodisiac juice given you by your parent.

Or be said to have been killed by a sacred adultress,

as Leucon fell to an avenger said to be holy.

Ibis:311-364 The Litany of Maledictions: Ancient Torments


May you send those dearest to you to the pyre,

an ending to his life that Sardanapalus knew.

Like those about to violate the temple of Libyan Jove,

may the sand driven by south winds bury your face.

Like those killed by the later Darius’s deceit,

may the ash as it subsides consume your visage.

Or like he who once set out from olive-rich Sicyon,

may hunger and cold be the causes of your death.

Or like the Atarnean may you be brought, basely,

to your lord as a prize, sewn inside a bull’s-hide.

May your throat be cut in your room, like him

of Pherae, whose own wife killed him with a sword.

Like Aleuas of Larissa, by your wound, may you find

those faithless whom you thought were faithful to you.

Like Milo, under whose tyranny Pisa suffered,

may you be hurled alive into shrouded waters.

And may the weapons sent by Jove against Adimantus,

who ruled the Phyllesian kingdom, find you too.

Or like Lenaeus once from Amastris’s shores,

may you be left naked on Achillean soil.

And as Eurydamas was drawn three times round

the tomb of Thrasyllus by hostile Larissean wheels,

as Hector who often rendered the walls safe, circled

them with his body, they not long surviving him,

as the adulterer was dragged over Athenian soil

while Hippomenes’ daughter suffered strange punishment,

so, when that hated life has departed your limbs,

may avenging horses drag your vile body.

May some rock pierce your entrails, as once

the Greeks were pierced in the Euboean Bay:

and as the fierce ravager died by lightning and the waves,

so may the waters that drown you be helped by fire.

May your crazed mind too be driven by frenzies,

like a man who’s whole body is a single wound:

as Dryas’s son who held the kingdom of Rhodope,

he who was disparately shod on his two feet,

or as Oetean Hercules was once, Athamas the serpent’s son-in-law,

Orestes Tisamenus’s father, and Alcmaeon Callirhoe’s husband.

May your mother be no more chaste than her whom Tydeus

would have blushed to have as a daughter-in-law:

or the Locrian who, disguised as her murdered

servant, joined in love with her brother-in-law.

And may the gods grant you have such joy in your wife’s

loyalty as Talaus, or Agamemnon, Tyndareus’s son-in-law.

or such a wife as the daughters of Belus, who dared to plan

their cousins’ deaths, whose necks bow, carrying water.

May your sister burn with fire as Byblis and Canace

did, and not prove true except in their sinning.

If you’ve a daughter, may she be what Pelopea was

to Thyestes, Myrrha to her father, Nyctimene to hers.

Nor let her be more pious and careful of her father’s life

than yours was Pterelaus, or yours Nisus, towards you:

or she who made a place infamous with her crime’s name,

trampling and crushing her father’s limbs under the wheels.

Ibis:365-412 The Litany of Maledictions: Ancient Torments


May you die like the young men of Pisa, whose face

and limbs the mountain slopes outside received:

as Oenomaus who stained that soil more deeply, himself,

that was often drenched by the blood of wretched princes,

as that cruel tyrant’s traitorous charioteer, Myrtilus,

died, who gave a new name to Myrtoan waters:

as those who sought in vain the speeding girl,

Atalanta, she who was slowed by the three apples:

those in the hidden cave changed to new monstrous shapes,

never to return from the house of the dark one:

like those whose bodies violent Aeacides sent

to the high pyre, aged men, and then women:

like those we read of, whom the vile Sphinx killed,

those defeated by the tortuous questions she uttered:

like those sacrificed in Bistonian Minerva’s temple,

for whom the goddess’s glance is even now hidden:

like those who once were made into a banquet

in the blood-stained stables of Diomede of Thrace:

like those who encountered the lions of Therodamas,

or suffered the Tauric rites of Thoantean Diana:

like the terrified men that ravening Scylla, and

opposing Charybdis, snatched from the Ithacan ship:

like those consumed in Polyphemus’s vast gut,

like those who fell into Laestrygonian hands:

like those the Punic leader drowned in the waters

of the well, making the depths white with their ashes:

as Penelope’s twelve handmaids died, and the suitors,

and the chief of the tyrants who armed the suitors:

as the wrestler died, thrown by the Boetian stranger,

his conqueror astonished that he had died:

or the strong men crushed in that Antaeus’s arms,

or those killed by the savage crowd of Lemnian women:

or the one, denounced for wicked rites, on whom

a stricken victim, at last, brought down vast rains:

like Antaeus’s brother, Busiris, bound by that blood,

who stained the field, and died by his example:

like the impious man who having poor grass

for fodder, fed his horses on human entrails:

like those two Centaurs, Nessus, and Eurytion, son-in-law

of Dexamenus, killed, with separate wounds, by the same avenger:

like one from his city that your great-grandson,

Saturn, Asclepius, himself saw restored to life:

like Sinis and Sciron and his father Procrustes:

and the Minotaur, half man and half bull:

Sinis, who sent bent pine-trees from earth to air,

to gaze at the Isthmus’ seas on both sides:

and Cercyon, whom Ceres saw with delighted

gaze, dying at the hands of Theseus.

Ibis:413-464 The Litany of Maledictions: Ancient Torments


Let these ills, and none lighter than these, fall on you,

you whom my anger rightly heaps with curses.

Such as Achaemenides knew, abandoned on Sicilian

Etna, who saw Aeneas’ Trojan sails approaching:

such a fate as Irus, too, that beggar with two names, and those

who haunt the bridge: let it be more than you dare hope for.

May you love Plutus, god of wealth, Ceres’ son, in vain,

and riches fail however you search for them:

and as the ebbing wave retreats in its turn,

and the soft sand washes from under your feet,

so may your fortune always vanish, who knows how,

slipping away, endlessly, flowing through your hands.

And like Erysichthon, the father of Mestra who changed her form

repeatedly, may you be wasted by endless hunger though full-fed:

and may you not be averse to human flesh: but in whatever

way you can, may you be the Tydeus of this age.

And may you commit an act to make the frantic horses

of the Sun hurtle back from west to east:

may you repeat the vile banquet at a Lycaonian table,

trying to mislead Jupiter with a deceptive food:

and I beg someone to test the power of the god,

serve you as Tantalus’s son, or the son of Tereus.

And scatter your limbs through the open fields

like the ones that delayed a father’s pursuit.

May you imitate real bulls in Perillus’s bronze,

with cries that match the contours of the beast:

like cruel Phalaris, your tongue first slit with a sword,

may you bellow like an ox in that Paphian metal.

When you wish to return to years of youth, may you

be deceived like Pelias, Admetus’s old father-in-law.

Or may you be drowned, as you ride, sucked down

by the mud, so long as your name wins no renown.

I want you to die like those born from the serpent’s teeth

that Cadmus, the Sidonian, scattered on Theban fields.

Or as Pittheus’s scion’s did to Medusa’s cousin,

may ominous imprecations descend on your head:

like one cursed by the birds without warning,

who purifies his body in a shower of water

And may you suffer as many wounds as they say

they suffered, whom a knife used to cut at from beneath.

And, inspired, slash your private parts to Phrygian music,

like those whom Cybele, the Mother, maddens:

and like Attis, once a man, become not man or woman,

and strike the harsh cymbals with effeminate hand,

and at a stroke become one of the Great Mother’s cattle,

turned, in one swift step, from winner to sacrifice.

And lest Limon should suffer his punishment alone,

may a horse with cruel teeth feed on your entrails.

Or like Cassandreus, no gentler than his master,

be wounded and buried under a pile of earth.

Or like the infant Perseus, or the Cycnean hero,

may you fall, confined, into the ocean waves.

Ibis:465-540 The Litany of Maledictions: Ancient Torments


Or be struck down, a sacrifice to Apollo at the holy altars,

as Theudotus suffered death from a savage enemy.

Or may Abdera set you apart for certain days,

and many stones hail down on you, accursed.

Or may you suffer the three-pronged bolts of angry Jove,

like Hipponous’s son, Capaneus, or Dexithea’s father,

or Autonoe’s sister, Semele, or Maia’s nephew,

like Phaethon who guided the terrified horses he chose:

like the cruel scion of Aeolus, and his son of that blood,

of whom Arctos was begot, that never knows the water,

or as Macelo and her husband, struck down by swift flames,

so, I pray, may you die by the fire of the divine avenger.

And may you be their prize to whom is Diana’s Delos,

not before the day Thasos needed to be wasted:

and those who tore apart Actaeon catching shy

Artemis bathing, and Linus, scion of Crotopus.

Nor may you suffer less from a poisonous snake

than Eurydice, daughter-in-law of Calliope and old Oeagrus:

than Hypsipyle’s ward, Opheltes: than he, of famous horses,

who first fastened a sharp point into hollowed wood.

May you approach high places no more safely than Elpenor,

and suffer the effects of wine in the same way he did.

And die as tamely, as whoever delighted in calling

savage Dryops to his Theiodamantine weapons:

or as cruel Cacus died, crushed, in his cave,

given away by the bellowing of oxen inside:

or Lichas who brought Nessus’ gift steeped in venom,

and stained the Euboean waters with his blood.

Or like Prometheus may you hang in Tartarus 

from a high rock, or, as books tell, die Socrates’ death:

as Aegeus who saw the deceptive sail of Theseus’s ship,

as the child, Astyanax, thrown from the Trojan citadel,

as Ino, the nurse, also aunt, of infant Bacchus,

as Talus who found a saw the cause of his death:

as the envious girl who threw herself from high cliffs,

who had spoken evil words to the unconquered god.

May a brooding lioness of your country, attack you

in your native fields, and be the cause of a death like Phalaecus’.

May the wild boar that killed Lycurgus’s son, and Adonis

born of a tree, and brave Idmon, destroy you too.

And may it even wound you as it dies, like him

on whom the mouth, he had transfixed, closed.

Or may you be like the Phrygian, the Berecyntian hunter,

whom a pine tree killed in the same way.

If your ship touches the Minoan sands,

may the Cretan crowd think you’re from Corfu.

May you be buried in a falling house, like the offspring

of Aleus, when Jove’s star befriended a scion of Leoprepeus.

Or may you give your name to the flowing waters,

like Evenus or Tiberinus, drowned in the rushing river.

May you be worthy of truncation, like that son of Astacus,

Melanippus, a maimed corpse, your head eaten by your fellow men,

or may you give your burning limbs to the kindling pyre,

as they say Broteas did in his desire for death.

May you suffer death shut in a cave,

like that author of unprofitable stories.

And as fierce iambics harm their creator,

may your insolent tongue be your destruction.

And like him who wounded Athens with endless

song, die hated through a deficiency of food.

And as it’s said the poet of the grim lyre perished

may a wound to your right hand be the cause of ruin.

And as a serpent wounded Agamemnonian Orestes

may you too die of an envenomed sting.

May the first night of your marriage be the last

of your life: so Eupolis and his new bride died.

And as they say the tragedian Lycophron ended,

may an arrow pierce you, and cling to your entrails.

Or be torn apart and scattered in the woods by your kin,

as Pentheus at Thebes, grandson of the serpent, Cadmus.

May you be caught by a raging bull, dragged over wild

mountains, as Lycus’s imperial wife Dirce was dragged.

May your severed tongue lie there, before your feet,

as Philomela, her own sister’s unwilling rival, suffered.

And like dull Myrrha’s author, Cinna, harmed by his name,

may you be found scattered about throughout the city.

Ibis:541-596 The Litany of Maledictions: Ancient Torments


And may that artisan, the bee, bury his venomous

sting in your eye, as he did to the Achaean poet.

And, on the harsh cliff, may your entrails be torn

like Prometheus, whose brother’s daughter was Pyrrha.

May you follow Thyestes’ example, like Harpagus’s son,

and, carved in pieces, enter your father’s gut.

May the cruel sword maim your trunk, and mutilate

the parts, as they say Mamertas’s limbs were maimed.

Or may a noose close the passage of your breath

as the Syracusan poet’s throat was stopped.

Or may your naked entrails be revealed by stripping

your skin, like Marsyas who named a Phrygian river.

Unhappy, may you see Medusa’s petrifying face,

that dealt death to many of the Cephenes.

Like Glaucus, be bitten by the horses of Potniae,

or like the other Glaucus, leap into the sea’s waves.

Or may Cretan honey choke your windpipe, like one

who had the same name as the two I’ve mentioned.

May you drink anxiously, where Socrates, wisest of men,

accused by Anytus, once drank with imperturbable lips.

Nor may you be happier than Haemon in your love:

or may you possess your sister as Macareus did his.

Or see what Hector’s son, Astyanax, saw from his

native citadel, when all was gripped by flames.

May you pay for infamies in your offspring, as for his grandfather,

that father’s son, by whose crime his sister became a mother.

And may that kind of weapon cling to your bones, with which

they say Ulysses, the son-in-law of Icarius, was killed.

And as that noisy throat was crushed in the wooden Horse,

so may your vocal passage be closed off with a thumb.

Or like Anaxarchus may you be ground in a deep mortar,

and your bones resound like grain does being pounded.

And may Apollo bury you in Tartarus’s depths like Psamathe’s

father, Crotopus, because of what he did to his son Linus.

And may that plague affect your people, that Coroebus’s

right hand ended, bringing aid to the wretched Argolis.

Like Hippolytus, Aethra’s grandson, killed by Venus’s anger,

may you an exile, be dragged away by your terrified horses.

As a host, Polymestor, killed his foster-child Polydorus, for

his great wealth, may a host murder you for your scant riches.

And may all your race die with you, as they say

his six brothers died with Damasicthon.

As his funeral added to the musician’s natal ills,

may a just loathing visit your existence.

Like Pelops’ sister, Niobe, may you be hardened

to standing stone, or Battus harmed by his own tongue.

If a Spartan boy attacks the empty air with a hurled

discus, may you fall to a blow from that disc.

If any water’s struck by your flailing arms,

may it all be worse to you than the straits of Abydos.

As the comic writer died in the clear waves, while

swimming, may the waters of Styx choke your mouth.

Or as shipwrecked you ride the stormy sea,

may you die on touching land, like Palinurus.

As Diana’s guardian did to Euripides, the tragic poet

may a pack of vigilant dogs tear you to shreds.

Ibis:597-644 The Litany of Maledictions: Concluding Words


Or like a Sicilian may you leap over the giants’ mouth,

because of whom Etna emits its wealth of flame.

May the Thracian women, thinking you Orpheus,

tear your limbs apart with maddened fingers.

As Althaea’s son burned in the distant flames,

so may your pyre be lit by a burning brand.

As the Colchian bride was held captive by her new crown,

and the bride’s father, and with the father the household:

as the thinning blood ebbed from Hercules’ body:

so may the baleful venom devour your body.

As his Athenian child avenged Lycurgus may a wound

be left for you too to receive from a fresh weapon.

Like Milo, may you try to split open the wood with ease,

but be unable to withdraw your captive hand.

May you be hurt like Icarius, by gifts that an armed

hand brought him from the drunken crowd.

And as a virtuous daughter brought to death sadly

to her father, may your throat be bound in a noose.

And may you suffer starvation behind your own locked door

like the father who punished himself according to his own law.

May you outrage a phantom, like that of Minerva’s,

who stopped the straits at Aulis being an easy harbour.

Or may you pay by death for a false charge, as Palamedes

was punished, and not delight in what you did not earn.

As Isindius, the host, took the life of Aethalos,

whom even now Ion, mindful, drives from his rites:

as her father himself, from duty, brought Melanthea to light,

when she was hidden in the dark because of murder,

so may your entrails be stabbed by spears,

so, I pray, may all help be withheld from you.

May such night be yours, as Dolon, the Trojan, who by a coward’s pact, wished to drive the horses, that great Achilles drove.

May you have no quieter a sleep than Rhesus,

and his comrades before him on death’s road:

like those that forceful Nisus son of Hyrtacus ,and his friend

Euryalus, sent to their deaths with Rhamnes the Rutulian.

Or like the scion of Clinias, surrounded by dark fires,

may you bear your half-burned bones to a Stygian death.

Or like Remus who dared to leap the new-made

walls, may a simple spear take your life.

Last, I pray that you may live and die in this place,

between the Sarmatian and the Getan arrows.

Meanwhile lest you complain that I’ve forgotten you,

these words are sent to you in a hasty work.

It’s brief indeed, I confess: but, by their favour, may the gods

grant more than I ask, and multiply the power of my prayers.

You’ll read more in time, containing your true name,

in that metre in which bitter wars should be waged.


                              The End of Ibis


Banquet of the Gods
by Mel Copeland

Book I, Etruscans, Greeks,
Trojans, & Scythians

Table of Contents

Book 1, Etruscans, Greeks, Trojans, & Scythians, Banquet.html
Book II, Hindus and Celts, Banquet1.html
Book III, Hindus, Banquet2.html
Book IV, Persians and Celts, Banquet3.html
Book V, Trimalchio's Banquet (Of a Roman satire by Petronius), Banquet4.html
Book VI, Divine heroes of Mediterranean myths & the Bible, Banquet5.html

From ancient times it has been a tradition to celebrate through banquets important events, such as weddings and funerals. While special feasts were ordered in celebration of other events and memories, particularly of a society's faith, among the Indo-Europeans the mourning of a lost chief, king or hero called for a special event. It appears that twelve days  that period also being concordant with the 12 months – was the prescribed period for such events. Here we attempt to understand a peculiar, mysterious people, the Etruscans, by examining their work and other Indo-Europeans of the late Bronze Age and early Iron Age (circa. 1,200-850 B.C.) heritage.

Banquet scene in the Tomb of the Shields, Tarquinia

Through artifacts, including murals in tombs, and holy scriptures and other writings, we can learn to understand what the ancients believed, and also, as in the case of the Etruscans, we can learn a bit more about their language. Images left behind a society, whether as a writing or a painting, must be used together to reconstruct what a society such as the Etruscans may have believed. For instance, the Etruscans left elaborate tombs carrying grave goods, such as pottery and replicas of their earthly possessions, and wonderful murals and paintings on sarcophagi. These in themselves tell us of a society that deeply believed in an afterlife. A considerable expense in time and money was proferred by the Etruscans to their departed, whom we can see in the tombs, were transported to a place that we would today call heavenly. Today there are societies that still believe that after death their loved ones are transported to a heavenly place, paradise, as with the Judao-Christian-Moslem ethic, to be with God. In the days before Christ, the banquet included a pantheon, many gods. Among the Greeks, for instance, there were 12 major gods, presided over by a thunder and lightning wielding god, Zeus, who ruled from the heights of Mt. Olympus. Born from Chronos and Rhea, he and two other gods made up a triad: Zeus ruled over the heavens, and his brother, Poseidon earthshaker, ruled over the sea, whilst his other brother, Hades, presided in the Underworld, the place of the dead, called Erebus. The consort of Zeus was Hera, daughter of Cronus, a very jealous wife, who had given birth to several gods, one of whom was, Typhaon or Typhöeus. Zeus found him to be his worst enemy and ended up throwing the island of Sicily upon him. Here, in the image from the Tomb of Orcus, we can see Typhöeus, whose legs are serpents, bracing himself beneath the land. His constant struggle causes Mt. Etna to roar.

Poseidon's name means either "husband of the earth: or "lord of the earth," and while he reigned over the sea and springs, he was known as the cause of earthquakes. Hades, who ruled in the underworld, abducted Persephone and she was required, by agreement with Hades, to spend six months of the year in Hades and allowed to spend the other six months on earth.

The Etruscan pantheon included Tini (Tinia), who was like Zeus, a sea-god yet unidentified, and Aita (Hades). Tini, like Zeus, had many wives, but his principal consort was Uni (Hera). The consort of Atia was Phersipnei (Persephone). The two can be seen in a mural in the Tomb of Orcus (another word for Erebus, the Underworld). The other character in the scene before the throne of Atia is Ceron (Geryon), a three-headed monster who had a herd of cattle in Spain. One of Hercules' labors (the 10th) was to steal Geryon's cattle who ruled the island of Erytheia (now Cadiz). Geryon was later killed at the river Anthemus (Apollodorus 2.5.10).

Like the Romans who followed them in time, the Etruscans had a pantheon of gods, some of whose names can be traced to Greek gods. We don't know at this time whether the Etruscans had a mythological base as rich as that of the Greeks. All we can ascertain at the moment are the correlations of Etruscan gods to the Greek pantheon and their associated stories. For instance, in the Tomb of Orcus  a grim tomb to enter for both the living and the dead, it would appear the family that owned the tomb took care to include a mural for the divine banquet.

What happens when one dies has been something mankind has yet to resolve. It appears, for the most part, man during the past 30-40,000 years has believed that life after death can be much as it is on earth. To assure that the departed continue with the blessings of earth, grave goods were sent with the dead. And these could be anything from flowers (seen even in Neanderthal graves of 50,000 years ago, as well as today) to fancy settings including pottery vessels, gold, silver and bronze articles, clothing, baskets and sacrificial offerings, including cattle, horses and attendants. In war, in particular, a hero's tomb may include captives, which we shall see in the description of the burial of Achilles' friend Patroclos. from the Iliad.

The description from the Iliad of Patroclus' burial gives us good imagery of what the Greeks and Trojans were expected to do for their dead heroes. The practice involved at the least pouring an oblation, usually accompanied by the sacrifice of rams, sheep or cattle on an altar. A particular god was the recipient of a particular sacrifice. And if the priests who offered the sacrifice (sometimes the chief or king acted as the priest) neglected one god in favor of another, then there could be a disturbance in heaven, sufficient to cause a war among the gods. This happened to have been, as a matter of fact, a cause of the Trojan War, where one goddess was slighted over another. In "The Judgment of Paris," a play recording the episode where Paris (also known as Alexander) was required to judge the most beautiful goddess of three  Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena  Aphrodite was selected. This enraged Hera who swore to take out her wrath against the Trojans and was joined in the enterprise by Athena. Aphrodite became the mother of Aeneas, a hero on the Trojan side of the Trojan War. Aphrodite (Greek aphros = sea foam) was born from the foam raised up by the Genitalia of Uranus, as it floated near Crete. Uranus was castrated by his son, Cronus. Cronus (called Saturn by the Romans) was the ruler of the Titans. They were children of Ge (earth) and Uranus (sky). Cronus deposed his father Uranus by castrating him with a flint sickle. But he became as tyrannical as his father, and swallowed all but one of his children by Rhea, his sister and wife. These children were Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. When Zeus was born Rhea sent the child to Ge in Crete and fed Cronus a stone wrapped in Zeus' swaddling clothes instead of Zeus. On reaching maturity Zeus married the Oceanid Metis. She offered an emetic to Cronus who vomited up his other children. Zeus subsequently went to war with Cronus and the Titans and threw them all in Tartarus.

One of the first things we are served in this opening is the fact that the gods fed on one another. They were bloodthirsty and they had to be appeased. And they loved a good feast just as men do. Witness Zeus' view of the matter, as he discusses the fate of the Trojan hero Hector, who was killed by the Greek hero, Achilles:

But when the twelfth dawn came, Phoebus Apollo said at last: 'You are hard, you gods, you are torturers! Has not Hector in times past burnt you thigh-pieces of bulls and goats without blemish? Yet you can't bear to save his dead body for his wife to see, and his mother and his son, and Priam his father and his people, to let them burn him in the fire, and perform the rites of burial...' (1)

Apollo, the son of Zeus and the Titaness Leto and the brother of Artemis, was born on the island of Delos. He was worshipped as a shepherd god and god of wisdom and he had an oracle at Delphi where he had killed a huge snake or dragon. He had taken the side of the Trojans in the Trojan War and on several occasions managed to save Hector and others. But the argument over the body of Hector continued. Achilles dragged Hector's body behind his chariot, around the barrow of Menoitiades for eleven days, after killing Hector. Zeus closed the argument over Hector's body, suggesting that Achilles must accept ransom for Hector's body from King Priam:

'My dear Hera, don't go and get spiky with the gods. They shan't be in the same rank at all, but Hector really was a prime favorite with the gods more than any man in Troy  at least, I thought so, for he never failed in his friendly offerings. My altar was never without a good feast, or libations and spicy savors...' (1)

The old king, Priam, aided by Hermes, the messenger of the gods, was able to get into Achilles' compound which was surrounded by a dirt and stake reinforced wall and moat. Though Priam did not see the body until it had been turned over to him, balmed and wrapped, Hector's flesh had not decayed. (2)

Achilles gave king Priam eleven days for the funeral of Hector, and on the twelfth day the Greeks would resume their attack of the Trojan citadel. Until that time the Trojans were free to gather what they needed, including large amounts of logs from the forest atop the mountain, free from fear of Greek attack. Nine days they gathered with oxen and mules with infinite quantities of wood:

"When the tenth day dawned, they carried out brave Hector weeping, and laid the body on the pile and set it on fire.
When on the next day Dawn showed her rosy fingers through the mists, the people gathered round about the pyre of Hector. First they quenched the flame with wine wherever the fire had burnt; then his brothers and his comrades gathered his white bones, with hot tears rolling down their cheeks. they placed the bones in a golden casket, and wrapt it in soft purple cloth; they then laid it in a hollow space and built it over with large stones. Quickly they piled a barrow, with men on the look-out all round in case the Achaeans should attack before their time. This work done they returned to the city, and the whole assemblage had a famous feast in the palace of Priam their King. That was the funeral of Hector."

What was done for Hector seems to be a good summation of what was probably done for Etruscan nobles, as seen from their tombs. Because the story says there was limited time to raise the barrow, the large stones that were placed over the body could not have been megalithic in size. The barrow follows the description of most barrows which we can see today. What this ceremony also tells us is that there was no family barrow, or at least there was not a custom to use a family barrow among the family of Priam, otherwise Hector's urn or casket would have been placed in an existing barrow or tumulus. In Britain and Ireland barrows were often used over again and urns can be found on the perimeter of a barrow. Such tumuli can be see on www stone pages. We can compare this rite to the one given to Patroclus. These rites we can compare to the rites of the Aryans in the Indus Valley. 

While tumuli or dolmens can be traced from Britain to Korea, where they appear in India is not where the traditional Aryan homeland of India is (the traditional area being the Punjab and Indus River valley). Interestingly, the earliest Hindu documents, the Rig Veda, describe an area in the northwest of India and Pakistan, whereas the megaliths of India are found in the south of India, among the brown-skinned Dravidians. 

The Rig Veda records five tribes of Indo-Europeans whose primary concern was cattle-raids, gaining wealth through warfare against the brown-skinned natives. As we progress through the ten books of the Rig Veda we find ourselves dealing with a people whose concerns have transformed from those who were trying to lodge a place in the land to a people who were fighting not only their ancient enemies but also each other. Is it possible that in the episode the original pastoral Aryans were forced into the South of India where they left the Indo-European-like megalithic monuments? Following the Rig Veda in antiquity, and placing the foundations of the gods in the Rig Veda into sacred prose is the Mahabharata. This book bends towards a memory of a people who are definitely Iron Age and the Pandava heroes in the story are brown-skinned, but their gods, like Indra, tend to be fair-skinned 
 Indra, a god that throws lightning bolts, has yellow hair.

The god Shiva is hardly mentioned in the Rig Veda and becomes more prominent in the Mahabharata. There the god Shiva is often greeted in the forest, seen as an old man of the forest. This a early view of Shiva being connected to the animals of the forest that is common to the view of the Celtic god Cernunnos (Greek spelling, karnonou, from the Montagnac inscription recorded in Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise by Xavier Delamarre), who is depicted with stag horns coming out of his head and accompanied by a ram-headed serpent and a stag. He is pictured in the center of a Gallo-Roman altar from Reims, as well as the Gundestrup cauldron.

Image of the Celtic god Cernunnos on the Gundestrup cauldron

On either side of him in the Gallo-Roman altar from Reims are two gods. On his right is a god with a harp (Apollo) and thegod on his left is believed to be Mercury. On the Gundestrop cauldron the Celtic god is holding in his right hand a torque, wears one around his neck, and in his left hand he holds a ram-headed serpent, also a symbol of the sun-god.

To view Celtic coins go to or click on the coins above. The extensive coin collection, which can be reviewed by clicking on a map, includes an image of the Horned God. Between his horns is a wheel, a sign of the sun-god. "The Celtic Horned God is born at the winter solstice, marries the goddess Beltane, and dies at the summer solstice. He alternates with the goddess of the moon in ruling over life and death, continuing the cycle of death, rebirth and reincarnation,"says

The Horned God of the Celts is nearly identical to the Mahabharata picture of Shiva and is also like images on the Indus Valley (Harappa) seals. To view more seals and follow the progress of the Indus Valley archaeology go to: To read the Rig Veda and associated documents go to:

The Indus Valley Seals:

The Indus Valley seals  about 400 of them have been found carry inscriptions which have not been translated and date to about 1,800-1,500 B.C. Note how the Indus character here represented has two faces, like the Latin Janus. He is identified, like the Phoenician Melqart, with a bull. The sacrifices to the sun-god Melqart involved human sacrifice, which was also a practice of the Celts in their sacrifice to Curnunnos. We know that in the Iliad part of the memorial feast at the burial of a hero, such as Patroclos (Patroclus), involved the sacrifice of captives. While the Celtic sacrifice is connected with the seasons, rebirth, the sacrifice of the Trojan captives in the Iliadmay not have involved such. However, the sacrifice and burial ceremony took place at dawn.

In the burial of Patroclos animals are sacrificed and care is taken to make sure that the bodies of the victims were placed away from the bier of the hero which was in the center of the pyre. Instructions are given to put them along the edge of the sacrificial ring. Important to the sacrifice was the offering of a bull. This can be seen in the Indus Valley seal above and it was a practice of the megalith builders of Ireland and Britain. The evidence of Bull sacrifice is at Stonehenge, for instance. Megalithic monuments, including tumuli, were oriented with respect to the solstice and no doubt there were ceremonies conducted at dawn, probably also at dusk. The rite at dusk among the Celts and Germans involved at least the god Odin (Woden, after whom the day, Wednesday, is named), who is known for human sacrifice and his wild hunts on the full moon. Beheading was the common method of sacrificing humans, and the Celts had a reputation for riding into war and cattle-raids with the heads of those whom they conquered hanging from their horses. Hanging was another form of sacrifice and punishment. Odin was believed to pass by the hanging corpses of the dead during the evening. Odin has an interesting history, since the Norse tradition, which perhaps has given us the most complete memory on Odin, records that he and his people were originally located in Asia Minor, near the Black Sea. To read the story, called the The Ynglinga Saga, go to: According to Herodotus the Celts were "the most westerly of all the nations of Europe, excepting the Cynetians" (Herodotus, Book IV,

Greek and Trojan Burial Rite

When we examine paintings and images on artifacts, such vases, sarcophagi or the walls of tombs, we need to keep in mind that the images tell a story, and to understand the story being told we need to read the inscriptions with them, if they exist, and compare the images to written and drawn images of which we know. We should also keep in mind that funerals of heroes were great social events  no less so than a modern day funeral of a soldier fallen in the (currently on-going, as of 8.22.04) Second War of Iraq. When we watch funeral processions in the streets of Iraq, where the dead are carried in caskets above the shoulders behind a multitude of shouting and furious mourners, we can see at least in part the reaction that Achilles and his comrades held when they buried their hero and friend Patroclos. So let's get to it, with reference to the Iliad, translated by W. H. D. Rouse:

Iliad, Book XVI, p. 201, 202: When Hector [the Trojan hero] saw him retreating and wounded, he came near and stabbed him in the belly: the blade ran through, he fell with a dull thud, and consternation took the Achaeans. So fell Patroclos, like a wild boar killed by a lion, when both are angry and both are parched with thirst, and they fight over a little mountain pool, until the lion is too strong for the panting boar. Patroclos Menoitadês had killed many men, but Hector Priamidês killed him: and then he vaunted his victory without disguise:

"So Patroclos, you thought that you could sack our city! You thought you would rob our women of the day of freedom, and carry them off to your own country! Fool! In front of them are the horses of Hector prancing out to battle. My spear is well known among my brave Trojans, for I defend them from the day of fate: here you shall stay and feed the vultures! Ah, poor wretch, your Achillês is a good man, but he was no help to you, although no doubt he warned you earnestly when you started (and he stayed behind) 
 'Don't come back to me, my brave Patroclos, until you have stript the blood-stained shirt from Hector's body!' No doubt he must have said that, and you thought you could do it  no more sense in you than that!"

Patroclos replied, half fainting:
"For this once, Hector, make your proud boast; for you are the victor, by help of Zeus Cronidês and Apollo, who mastered me – an easy thing: they stript off my armor themselves. But if twenty men like you had confronted me, my spear would have slain them all on the spot. No, it was cruel fate that killed me, and Leto's son, and of men Euphorbos; you come third and take my armor. One thing I tell you, and you should lay it up in your mind: you have yourself not long to live. already death and fate are beside you, and Achillês Aiacidês shall lay you low."
Even as he spoke, the shadow of death covered him up. His soul left the body and went down to Hadês, bewailing his lot, cut off in his manhood and strength. But Hector answered him though dead:

"What is the prophecy of certain death to me, Patroclos? Achillês may be the son of the divine Thetis, but who knows if I may not strike him with my spear, and he may be the first to die!"
Then he set one foot upon the body, and treading it away from the spear, pulled out the spear, and went at once with the spear after the driver Automedon. He wanted to kill him too, but the immortal horses which the gods had given to Peleus were carrying him out of the way.

Iliad, Book XXII, pp. 262, 263 [Achillês, having just killed Hector] Hector answered him dying: "Ah, I know you well, and I forebode what will be...As he spoke, the shadow of death encompassed him; and his soul left the body and went down to Hadês, bewailing his fate, bidding a last farewell to manhood and lusty strength. Hector was dead, but even so Achillês again spoke:

"Lie there dead! My fate I will accept, whenever it is the will of Zeus and all gods to fulfil it."

He drew the spear out of the body and laid it aside. Then he stript off the armor, and the other Achaeans came crowding round. How they gazed in wonder at Hector's noble form and looks! Yet no one came near without a stab; they beat him and stabbed him, saying to each other: "Ha, ha! Hector feels very much softer now than when he burnt our ships with his blazing brands!"

Achillês, when he finished stripping the spoils, turned to the crowd, and made them a speech in his downright manner: "My friends, " he said, "princes and captains of the nation, since as you see the gods have granted me to kill this man who has done us more damage than all the rest put together, let us go round the city ready for battle, and find out what they mean to do: whether they will leave their fortress now that this man is dead, or whether they will still confront us although they have no Hector. 
 But stay, what am I thinking about! Patroclos lies beside our ship unmourned, unburied! Patroclos I can never forget so long as I live and move! And even if in the house of Hadês men forget their dead, yet I will remember my dear comrade even there. Come on, my lads, let us march back to our ships singing our hymn of victory, and bring this man with us. We have won a great triumph; we have killed Hector, to whom the Trojans prayed as if he were a god!"
And then he thought of a shameful outrage. He cut behind the sinews of both hector's feet from ankle to heel and strapt them together with leather thongs, and fastened them to his chariot leaving the head to drag. Then he laid the armor in the car, and got in himself and whipt up the horses. Away they flew: the dust rose as the body was dragged along, the dark hair spread abroad, there in the dirt trailed the head that was once so charming, which now Zeus gave to his enemies to maltreat in his own native land. And as the head was bedabbed thus in the mire, his mother tore her hair and threw away the covering veil, and wailed aloud seeing her son; his father lamented sore, the people wailed, and lamentation filled the city. Such lamentation there might have been, if all frowning Ilios were smouldering in ashes.

Iliad, Book XXIII, pp265-281. While the Trojans were mourning within their city, the Achaeans made their way to the ships beside the Hellespont. Most of them dispersed to their own vessels, but Achillês would not let the Myrmidons disperse until he had addressed them in these words:
"Your horses have done good service today, my brave comrades; but we must not unyoke them yet. Let us go, horses and chariots and all, to mourn for Patroclos, for that is the honour due to the dead. When we have consoled ourselves with lamentation, let us unharness them and take our meal."
Then he led the cavalcade three times round the body, all mourning and crying aloud; and Thetis lamented with them. The sands were drenched, so much their hearts longed for that mighty man. And Peleidês led their lamentations, as he laid his manslaying hands on his true friend's breast:
"Fare thee well, Patroclos, even in the house of death! See now I am fulfilling all that I promised! I said I would drag Hector to this place and give him to the dogs to devour raw; and in front of your pyre I would cut the throats of twelve noble sons of the Trojans, in payment for your death."
Then he did a vile outrage to royal Hector; he stretched the body on its face in the dirt beside the bier of Menoitadês.
After that all took off their armor, and unharnessed the loud-whinnying horses, and sat down beside the ship of Achillês in their thousands. There he provided a fine funeral feast. Many bellowing bulls fell under the knife, many sheep and bleating goats; many tusker boars bursting with fat were stretched out to singe over the fire. Around the dead body the blood of the victims poured out in cupfuls was running all over the ground.
Meanwhile Prince Peleion was being led by the Achaean chieftains to Agamemnon. They had trouble to persuade him, so deep was his sorrow for his comrade. At the King's headquarters orders were given to set a cauldron of water over the fire, that his body might be washed clean of the bloodstains, but he flatly refused and swore to it:
"No, by Zeus highest and greatest of gods! It is not lawful that water may come near my head, before I lay Patroclos on the fire and build him a barrow and cut off my hair! For no second sorrow like this shall come upon me so long as I am among the living. Yet, for this present we must consent to the meal which we hate. Then tomorrow, my lord King Agamemnon, shall be for bringing firewood and providing all that is proper to send the dead down into the dark. The fire shall burn him quickly out of sight, and the people shall return to their work."
[They did accordingly and Patroclos appears to Achillês in a dream that evening] ..."You sleep, Achillês, and you have forgotten me! When I lived you were not careless of me, but now that I am dead! Bury me without delay, that I may pass the gates of Hadês. Those phantoms hold me off, the souls of those whose work is done; they will not suffer me to join them beyond the river, but I wander aimlessly about the broad gates of the house of Hadês. And give me that hand, I pray; for never again shall I come back from Hadês when once you have given me my portion of not lay my bones apart from yours, Achillês, but with them, as I was brought up with you in your home...Then let one urn cover my bones with yours, that golden two-handled urn which your gracious mother gave you."
...They were still mourning when Dawn showed her fingers of light. Then King Agamemnon sent out mules and men from the whole camp to bring firewood..On the foothills of Mount Ida they felled the tall trees busily...Down on the shore they laid their logs in order, in the place where Achillês designed a great barrow for Patroclos and himself.
When the logs were laid in their places, the men sat where they were, all together. Then Achillês ordered his Myrmidons to don their armor and harness their horses; they mounted the cars, fighting men and drivers, chariots in front, a cloud of footmen behind, thousands, and in the midst was Patroclos borne by his comrades. They had cut off their hair and thrown it over the body like a shroud. Achillês came behind him clasping the head; his own unspotted comrade he was escorting to the grave.
At the place which Achilles had appointed, they laid him down and piled great heaps of firewood. Then Achillês did his part. He stood away from the pile, and cut off the golden tress which he had kept uncut among his thick hair for the river Spercheios, and spoke deeply moved as he gazed over the dark sea:
"O Spercheios! This is not for thee! That vow was vain which Peleus my father made, that when I returned to my native land I would consecrate my hair to thee, and make solemn sacrifice, and that he would sacrifice fifty rams without blemish into thy waters, at the altar which is in thy precinct at the same place. 
(2) ..Now therefore, since I am not to return to my native land, I wold give the warrior Patroclos this to carry with him."
Then he laid the hair in the hands of his well-beloved companion. All present broke into lamentation with all their hearts; and they would not have ceased while the sun shone, but Achillês drew near to Agamemnon and said to him:
"Atreidês, you are our lord paramount, and it is yours to command. There is plenty of time for the people to mourn, but just now I ask you to dismiss them from this place and tell them to get ready their meal. All this is the business of those who are nearest akin to the dead; and let the chieftains remain with us."
Agamemnon accordingly dismissed the people, while the mourners remained, and piled up the wood, and made a pyre of a hundred feet each way, and upon it they laid the body. They killed flocks of sheep and herds of cattle in front of the pyre, skinned them and cut them up; Achillês took away all the fat, and covered the dead with it from head to foot, and heaped the flayed bodies about him. Jars of honey and oil he placed leaning against the bier. Four horses he laid carefully on the pyre, groaning aloud. Nine dogs the prince had, that fed from his table; two of these Achillês took, and cut their throats and laid beside him, The twelve noble young Trojans he slew without mercy. Then he applied the relentless fire to consume all, and with a groan he called on his comrade's name:
"Fare thee well Patroclos, even in the grave fare thee well! See, I now fulfil all that I promised you before. Here are the twelve noble sons of Trojans 
 the fire is eating them round about you! Hector Priamidês the fire shall not have to eat, but the dogs!"
But his threat was in vain: no dogs were busy about Hector, for the dogs were driven off by the daughter of Zeus, Aphroditê herself, by day and by night. She washed the skin with rose-oil of ambrosia that it might not be torn by the dragging; and Phoebus Apollo drew down a dark cloud from heaven to earth, and covered the place where the body lay, that the sun might not scorch the flesh too soon over the sinews of his limbs.
But the pyre would not burn, and Achillês did not know what to do. At last he stood well away from the smouldering heap, and prayed to North Wind and West Wind promising them good sacrifices; many a libation he poured from his golden goblet, praying them to come and make the wood quickly catch fire, to burn the bodies. 
Iris heard his prayers, and flew quickly to the Winds with her message...Her message given, away she flew, and the Winds rose with a devil of a noise and drove the clouds in a riot before them. They swooped upon the sea and raised the billows under their whistling blasts; they reached the Trojan coast and fell on the pyre till the flames roared again. All night long they beat upon the fire together blowing and whistling; all night long stood Achillês holding his goblet, and dipt into the golden mixer, 
(3) and poured the wine on the ground, till the place was soaked, calling upon the soul of unhappy Patroclos. As a father laments while he burns the bones of his son, newly wedded and now dead, to the grief of his bereaved parents, so Achillês lamented as he burnt the bones of Patroclos, stumbling up and down beside the pyre with sobbings and groanings. But at the time when the morning star goes forth to tell that light is coming over the earth, and after him the saffron mantle of Dawn spreads over the sea, at that hour the flame died down and the burning faded away. Then the Winds returned over the Thracian gulf to their home, while the waters rose and roared.
And then Achillês moved away from the pyre, and sank upon the ground tired out; sleep leapt upon him and gave him peace.
Now the people were all gathering round Agamemnon. They made such noise and uproar that Achillês sat up and said:
"Atreidês, and you other princes, you must first quench the pyre with wine wherever the flames have touched. Then let us gather the bones of Patroclos Menoitidês, and be careful to find the right ones. They are easy to know, for he lay right in the middle and the others were on the edge, horses and men together. His bones we must wrap in a double layer of fat and lay them in a golden urn, until I myself shall be hidden in Hadês. But I do not wish any great mound to be raised for him, only just a decent one. Afterwards another can be raised both broad and high, by those of you who are left behind me."
They did his bidding at once. First they quenched the pyre with wine wherever it had burnt and the ashes were deep; then weeping they gathered the bones of their gentle companion, and laid them covered with fat in a golden urn, which they wrapt up in fine linen and put away safely in the hut. 
(4) Round the pyre they set up a circle of stone slabs to mark the outside limit, and shovelled earth within.
As they were about to go after finishing this task, Achillês told them to stop, and made them sit in a ring while he sent back for prizes: cauldrons and tripods, horses and mules and fine cattle, women also and grey steel. (5)

The next step in the burial ceremony is the conduct of games, in competition for the prizes offered by the host (Achillês). Many of these prizes represent items found in tumuli, from among the Scythians to the British. The Etruscans not only painted these games in their tombs, many items of the games and everyday things were carved on the walls of the tombs. A view of the games venerated in the Iliad can be seen through the Etruscan tombs. To view the murals click here:Etruscan_Murals.html. We abbreviate the games conducted by Achillês:

For the chariot-race he offered as first prize a woman skilled in women's work, and a tripod of two-and-twenty measures with handles to it. The second prize was a mare..The third was a cauldron of four measures, brand-new and still white. The fourth, two ingots of gold, and the fifth a breand-new basin with handles...[on how to win the chariot-race] "And the tricks of the trade make driver beat driver. One man leaves everything to horses and car, wheels wide to this side or that side carelessly, the horses go roaming over the course, he does not hold them in hand; but he that knows his tricks may have inferior horses to drive  yet he keeps his eye always on the post, wheels close in, does not forget how much to stretch the horses at first by the handling of the reins, but keeps them well in hand and watches the man in front.
"Now I will tell you the mark 
 you can't miss it. There's a dry stump at the turn of the road standing about a fathom above the soil, oak or fir, which does not rot in the rain. Two white stones are set against it, one on each side, and the land round this is smooth for horses. It may be the mark of some man dead long ago, or set up for a post in former days, and now Achillês has fixed it for the turning-point of his race. (6)...[a description of one of the chariots] and the car with its gold and tin plates gleaming rolled behind: the tires left hardly a trace in the light dust, so quickly they flew.
...Next he displayed the prizes for boxing. a hard battle that is! And the prize was a much-enduring mule, a six-year-old yet unbroken, the hardest age to break. The prize for the loser was a two handled goblet...Euryalos rose alone, a splendid fellow..Tydeidês got him ready. He put on his belt, gave him the gloves of good oxhide straps, cheered him up, and wished him luck.
...Without delay Peleidês displayed the third set of prizes, for the wrestling 
 and a hard bout that is! He showed the prizes all round. For the winner, a large tripod to stand on the fire, which the spectators valued at twelve oxen. For the loser, he brought out a woman well skilled in women's work, valued at four oxen...
Achillês now brought out prizes for the footrace. There was a silver mixing-bowl finely wrought, holding six measures. It was the most beautiful bowl in the world, for it was the work of Sidonian artists, and Phoenician merchants had brought it over the sea to the harbour of Lemnos and given it to Thoas as a gift; his grandson Euneos Isasonidês gave it to Patroclos as the price of Lycaon. This bowl Achillês offered as first prize, for the second a great fat ox, and for the last a half-nugget of gold. 
...Now Achillês brought out the armor of Sarpedon which Patroclos had taken in the field 
 the long spear and the shield and helmet, and said:
"We invite the two best men to contend for these. Let them arm themselves and take their blades, and try one another before us. Whichever shall first pierce through the armor to what is within and touch the flesh and draw blood, to him I will give this fine Thracian sword silver-bossed which I took from Asteropaios, but the armor both shall hold together; and we will make a good feast to entertain them."
...Again Achillês brought out a lump of roughcast iron which that mighty man Eëtion used to hurl. When he killed Eëtion, he brought it away with the rest of the spoils. He rose now and said:
"Rise you who wish to contend for this prize. Any man will have enough here to use for five revolving years, even if his fat fields are far away. No shepherd or plowman will need to visit the city for iron, there will be plenty at home." ...and Epeios took up the weight, circled it round his head and put it, and the people roared with laughter. Next to put the weight was Leonteus, that veritable sprig of Arês; third Telamonian Aias lifted it and hurled it. The cast from that strong man went beyond the others. But when Polypoitês raised the lump, he threw it as far beyond all the others as a herdsman sends his cudgel flying over the herds of cattle. 
..Next for the archers Achillês brought forward blue steel  ten axes and ten half-axes...Again Peleidês brought out a long spear, and a brand-new cauldron ornamented with flowers, worth one ox..

By the time of Herodotus (~484-420 B.C.), of Halicarnassus, Asia Minor (now Bodrum, Turkey), the citadel of Troy was "insignificant." Click here to read his view, as a historian of his time under Persian dominion at Halicarnassus. Here you can read his view of the history of Lydia. In Book II (link below) Herodotus points out that the Pelasgians who occupied Greece before the Greeks had not assigned names to their gods. Homer and Hesiod, who lived 400 years before his time: "For Homer and Hesiod were the first to compose Theogonies, and give the gods their epithets, to allot them their several offices and occupations, and describe their forms; and they lived but four hundred years before my time, as I believe."

Egyptian Sacrifices, according to Herodotus (from

Male kine are reckoned to belong to Epaphus, and are therefore tested in the following manner:- One of the priests appointed for the purpose searches to see if there is a single black hair on the whole body, since in that case the beast is unclean. He examines him all over, standing on his legs, and again laid upon his back; after which he takes the tongue out of his mouth, to see if it be clean in respect of the prescribed marks (what they are I will mention elsewhere); he also inspects the hairs of the tail, to observe if they grow naturally. If the animal is pronounced clean in all these various points, the priest marks him by twisting a piece of papyrus round his horns, and attaching thereto some sealing-clay, which he then stamps with his own signet-ring. After this the beast is led away; and it is forbidden, under the penalty of death, to sacrifice an animal which has not been marked in this way.

The following is their manner of sacrifice:- They lead the victim, marked with their signet, to the altar where they are about to offer it, and setting the wood alight, pour a libation of wine upon the altar in front of the victim, and at the same time invoke the god. Then they slay the animal, and cutting off his head, proceed to flay the body. Next they take the head, and heaping imprecations on it, if there is a market-place and a body of Greek traders in the city, they carry it there and sell it instantly; if, however, there are no Greeks among them, they throw the head into the river. The imprecation is to this effect:- They pray that if any evil is impending either over those who sacrifice, or over universal Egypt, it may be made to fall upon that head. These practices, the imprecations upon the heads, and the libations of wine, prevail all over Egypt, and extend to victims of all sorts; and hence the Egyptians will never eat the head of any animal.

The disembowelling and burning are, however, different in different sacrifices. I will mention the mode in use with respect to the goddess whom they regard as the greatest, and honour with the chiefest festival. When they have flayed their steer they pray, and when their prayer is ended they take the paunch of the animal out entire, leaving the intestines and the fat inside the body; they then cut off the legs, the ends of the loins, the shoulders, and the neck; and having so done, they fill the body of the steer with clean bread, honey, raisins, figs, frankincense, myrrh, and other aromatics. Thus filled, they burn the body, pouring over it great quantities of oil. Before offering the sacrifice they fast, and while the bodies of the victims are being consumed they beat themselves. Afterwards, when they have concluded this part of the ceremony, they have the other parts of the victim served up to them for a repast.

The male kine, therefore, if clean, and the male calves, are used for sacrifice by the Egyptians universally; but the females they are not allowed to sacrifice, since they are sacred to Isis. The statue of this goddess has the form of a woman but with horns like a cow, resembling thus the Greek representations of Io; and the Egyptians, one and all, venerate cows much more highly than any other animal. This is the reason why no native of Egypt, whether man or woman, will give a Greek a kiss, or use the knife of a Greek, or his spit, or his cauldron, or taste the flesh of an ox, known to be pure, if it has been cut with a Greek knife. When kine die, the following is the manner of their sepulture:- The females are thrown into the river; the males are buried in the suburbs of the towns, with one or both of their horns appearing above the surface of the ground to mark the place. When the bodies are decayed, a boat comes, at an appointed time, from the island called Prosopitis,- which is a portion of the Delta, nine schoenes in circumference,- and calls at the several cities in turn to collect the bones of the oxen. Prosopitis is a district containing several cities; the name of that from which the boats come is Atarbechis. Venus has a temple there of much sanctity. Great numbers of men go forth from this city and proceed to the other towns, where they dig up the bones, which they take away with them and bury together in one place. The same practice prevails with respect to the interment of all other cattle- the law so determining; they do not slaughter any of them.

Such Egyptians as possess a temple of the Theban Jove, or live in the Thebaic canton, offer no sheep in sacrifice, but only goats; for the Egyptians do not all worship the same gods, excepting Isis and Osiris, the latter of whom they say is the Grecian Bacchus. Those, on the contrary, who possess a temple dedicated to Mendes, or belong to the Mendesian canton, abstain from offering goats, and sacrifice sheep instead. The Thebans, and such as imitate them in their practice, give the following account of the origin of the custom:- "Hercules," they say, "wished of all things to see Jove, but Jove did not choose to be seen of him. At length, when Hercules persisted, Jove hit on a device- to flay a ram, and, cutting off his head, hold the head before him, and cover himself with the fleece. In this guise he showed himself to Hercules." Therefore the Egyptians give their statues of Jupiter the face of a ram: and from them the practice has passed to the Ammonians, who are a joint colony of Egyptians and Ethiopians, speaking a language between the two; hence also, in my opinion, the latter people took their name of Ammonians, since the Egyptian name for Jupiter is Amun. Such, then, is the reason why the Thebans do not sacrifice rams, but consider them sacred animals. Upon one day in the year, however, at the festival of Jupiter, they slay a single ram, and stripping off the fleece, cover with it the statue of that god, as he once covered himself, and then bring up to the statue of Jove an image of Hercules. When this has been done, the whole assembly beat their breasts in mourning for the ram, and afterwards bury him in a holy sepulchre.

...The Egyptians were also the first to introduce solemn assemblies, processions, and litanies to the gods; of all which the Greeks were taught the use by them. It seems to me a sufficient proof of this that in Egypt these practices have been established from remote antiquity, while in Greece they are only recently known...Besides this form of divination [referring to the Dodonaean, women oracles who sounded like doves] the Greeks learnt also divination by means of victims from the Egyptians.

The Egyptians were also the first to introduce solemn assemblies, processions, and litanies to the gods; of all which the Greeks were taught the use by them. It seems to me a sufficient proof of this that in Egypt these practices have been established from remote antiquity, while in Greece they are only recently known.

The Egyptians do not hold a single solemn assembly, but several in the course of the year. Of these the chief, which is better attended than any other, is held at the city of Bubastis in honour of Diana. The next in importance is that which takes place at Busiris, a city situated in the very middle of the Delta; it is in honour of Isis, who is called in the Greek tongue Demiter (Ceres). There is a third great festival in Sais to Minerva, a fourth in Heliopolis to the Sun, a fifth in Buto to Latona, and a sixth in Papremis to Mars.

The following are the proceedings on occasion of the assembly at Bubastis:- Men and women come sailing all together, vast numbers in each boat, many of the women with castanets, which they strike, while some of the men pipe during the whole time of the voyage; the remainder of the voyagers, male and female, sing the while, and make a clapping with their hands. When they arrive opposite any of the towns upon the banks of the stream, they approach the shore, and, while some of the women continue to play and sing, others call aloud to the females of the place and load them with abuse, while a certain number dance, and some standing up uncover themselves. After proceeding in this way all along the river-course, they reach Bubastis, where they celebrate the feast with abundant sacrifices. More grape-wine is consumed at this festival than in all the rest of the year besides. The number of those who attend, counting only the men and women and omitting the children, amounts, according to the native reports, to seven hundred thousand.

The ceremonies at the feast of Isis in the city of Busiris have been already spoken of. It is there that the whole multitude, both of men and women, many thousands in number, beat themselves at the close of the sacrifice, in honour of a god, whose name a religious scruple forbids me to mention. The Carian dwellers in Egypt proceed on this occasion to still greater lengths, even cutting their faces with their knives, whereby they let it been seen that they are not Egyptians but foreigners.

At Sais, when the assembly takes place for the sacrifices, there is one night on which the inhabitants all burn a multitude of lights in the open air round their houses. They use lamps in the shape of flat saucers filled with a mixture of oil and salt, on the top of which the wick floats. These burn the whole night, and give to the festival the name of the Feast of Lamps. The Egyptians who are absent from the festival observe the night of the sacrifice, no less than the rest, by a general lighting of lamps; so that the illumination is not confined to the city of Sais, but extends over the whole of Egypt. And there is a religious reason assigned for the special honour paid to this night, as well as for the illumination which accompanies it.

At Heliopolis and Buto the assemblies are merely for the purpose of sacrifice; but at Papremis, besides the sacrifices and other rites which are performed there as elsewhere, the following custom is observed:- When the sun is getting low, a few only of the priests continue occupied about the image of the god, while the greater number, armed with wooden clubs, take their station at the portal of the temple. Opposite to them is drawn up a body of men, in number above a thousand, armed, like the others, with clubs, consisting of persons engaged in the performance of their vows. The image of the god, which is kept in a small wooden shrine covered with plates of gold, is conveyed from the temple into a second sacred building the day before the festival begins. The few priests still in attendance upon the image place it, together with the shrine containing it, on a four-wheeled car, and begin to drag it along; the others stationed at the gateway of the temple, oppose its admission. Then the votaries come forward to espouse the quarrel of the god, and set upon the opponents, who are sure to offer resistance. A sharp fight with clubs ensues, in which heads are commonly broken on both sides. Many, I am convinced, die of the wounds that they receive, though the Egyptians insist that no one is ever killed.

The natives give the subjoined account of this festival. They say that the mother of the god Mars once dwelt in the temple. Brought up at a distance from his parent, when he grew to man's estate he conceived a wish to visit her. Accordingly he came, but the attendants, who had never seen him before, refused him entrance, and succeeded in keeping him out. So he went to another city and collected a body of men, with whose aid he handled the attendants very roughly, and forced his way in to his mother. Hence they say arose the custom of a fight with sticks in honour of Mars at this festival.

The Egyptians first made it a point of religion to have no converse with women in the sacred places, and not to enter them without washing, after such converse. Almost all other nations, except the Greeks and the Egyptians, act differently, regarding man as in this matter under no other law than the brutes. Many animals, they say, and various kinds of birds, may be seen to couple in the temples and the sacred precincts, which would certainly not happen if the gods were displeased at it. Such are the arguments by which they defend their practice, but I nevertheless can by no means approve of it. In these points the Egyptians are specially careful, as they are indeed in everything which concerns their sacred edifices.

...In the neighbourhood of Thebes there are some sacred serpents which are perfectly harmless. They are of small size, and have two horns growing out of the top of the head. These snakes, when they die, are buried in the temple of Jupiter, the god to whom they are sacred.

The Funny Bald Men east of the Scythians, the Argippaeans
(according to Herodotus, Book IV,

Beyond you enter on a region which is rugged and stony. Passing over a great extent of this rough country, you come to a people dwelling at the foot of lofty mountains, who are said to be all- both men and women- bald from their birth, to have flat noses, and very long chins. These people speak a language of their own,. the dress which they wear is the same as the Scythian. They live on the fruit of a certain tree, the name of which is Ponticum; in size it is about equal to our fig-tree, and it bears a fruit like a bean, with a stone inside. When the fruit is ripe, they strain it through cloths; the juice which runs off is black and thick, and is called by the natives "aschy." They lap this up with their tongues, and also mix it with milk for a drink; while they make the lees, which are solid, into cakes, and eat them instead of meat; for they have but few sheep in their country, in which there is no good pasturage. Each of them dwells under a tree, and they cover the tree in winter with a cloth of thick white felt, but take off the covering in the summer-time. No one harms these people, for they are looked upon as sacred- they do not even possess any warlike weapons. When their neighbors fall out, they make up the quarrel; and when one flies to them for refuge, he is safe from all hurt. They are called the Argippaeans.

The Argippaeans seem to have imbibed something like the Soma made by the Aryans of the Rig Veda, yet to be discussed. Recent discoveries in Siberia and Kyrgyztan revealed Scythian tumuli with cannabis among the offerings.

The Issedonians, according to Herodotus, Book IV:

The Issedonians are said to have the following customs. When a man's father dies, all the near relatives bring sheep to the house; which are sacrificed, and their flesh cut in pieces, while at the same time the dead body undergoes the like treatment. The two sorts of flesh are afterwards mixed together, and the whole is served up at a banquet. The head of the dead man is treated differently: it is stripped bare, cleansed, and set in gold. It then becomes an ornament on which they pride themselves, and is brought out year by year at the great festival which sons keep in honour of their fathers' death, just as the Greeks keep their Genesia. In other respects the Issedonians are reputed to be observers of justice: and it is to be remarked that their women have equal authority with the men. Thus our knowledge extends as far as this nation.

The dressing of heads with gold is a practice of the Celts. They also used the golden heads as cups.

Scythian sacrifices, according to Herodotus, Book IV:

Thus abundantly are the Scythians provided with the most important necessaries. Their manners and customs come now to be described. They worship only the following gods, namely, Vesta, whom they reverence beyond all the rest, Jupiter, and Tellus, whom they consider to be the wife of Jupiter; and after these Apollo, Celestial Venus, Hercules, and Mars. These gods are worshipped by the whole nation: the Royal Scythians offer sacrifice likewise to Neptune. In the Scythic tongue Vesta is called Tabiti, Jupiter (very properly, in my judgment) Papaeus; Tellus, Apia; Apollo, Oetosyrus; Celestial Venus, Artimpasa; and Neptune, Thamimasadas. They use no images, altars, or temples, except in the worship of Mars; but in his worship they do use them.

The manner of their sacrifices is everywhere and in every case the same; the victim stands with its two fore-feet bound together by a cord, and the person who is about to offer, taking his station behind the victim, gives the rope a pull, and thereby throws the animal down; as it falls he invokes the god to whom he is offering; after which he puts a noose round the animal's neck, and, inserting a small stick, twists it round, and so strangles him. No fire is lighted, there is no consecration, and no pouring out of drink-offerings; but directly that the beast is strangled the sacrificer flays him, and then sets to work to boil the flesh.

As Scythia, however, is utterly barren of firewood, a plan has had to be contrived for boiling the flesh, which is the following. After flaying the beasts, they take out all the bones, and (if they possess such gear) put the flesh into boilers made in the country, which are very like the cauldrons of the Lesbians, except that they are of a much larger size; then placing the bones of the animals beneath the cauldron, they set them alight, and so boil the meat. If they do not happen to possess a cauldron, they make the animal's paunch hold the flesh, and pouring in at the same time a little water, lay the bones under and light them. The bones burn beautifully; and the paunch easily contains all the flesh when it is stript from the bones, so that by this plan your ox is made to boil himself, and other victims also to do the like. When the meat is all cooked, the sacrificer offers a portion of the flesh and of the entrails, by casting it on the ground before him. They sacrifice all sorts of cattle, but most commonly horses. Such are the victims offered to the other gods, and such is the mode in which they are sacrificed; but the rites paid to Mars are different. In every district, at the seat of government, there stands a temple of this god, whereof the following is a description. It is a pile of brushwood, made of a vast quantity of fagots, in length and breadth three furlongs; in height somewhat less, having a square platform upon the top, three sides of which are precipitous, while the fourth slopes so that men may walk up it. Each year a hundred and fifty waggon-loads of brushwood are added to the pile, which sinks continually by reason of the rains. An antique iron sword is planted on the top of every such mound, and serves as the image of Mars 
(10): yearly sacrifices of cattle and of horses are made to it, and more victims are offered thus than to all the rest of their gods. When prisoners are taken in war, out of every hundred men they sacrifice one, not however with the same rites as the cattle, but with different. Libations of wine are first poured upon their heads, after which they are slaughtered over a vessel; the vessel is then carried up to the top of the pile, and the blood poured upon the scymitar. While this takes place at the top of the mound, below, by the side of the temple, the right hands and arms of the slaughtered prisoners are cut off, and tossed on high into the air. Then the other victims are slain, and those who have offered the sacrifice depart, leaving the hands and arms where they may chance to have fallen, and the bodies also, separate.

Such are the observances of the Scythians with respect to sacrifice. They never use swine for the purpose, nor indeed is it their wont to breed them in any part of their country.

In what concerns war, their customs are the following. The Scythian soldier drinks the blood of the first man he overthrows in battle. Whatever number he slays, he cuts off all their heads, and carries them to the king; since he is thus entitled to a share of the booty, whereto he forfeits all claim if he does not produce a head. In order to strip the skull of its covering, he makes a cut round the head above the ears, and, laying hold of the scalp, shakes the skull out; then with the rib of an ox he scrapes the scalp clean of flesh, and softening it by rubbing between the hands, uses it thenceforth as a napkin. The Scyth is proud of these scalps, and hangs them from his bridle-rein; the greater the number of such napkins that a man can show, the more highly is he esteemed among them. Many make themselves cloaks, like the capotes of our peasants, by sewing a quantity of these scalps together. Others flay the right arms of their dead enemies, and make of the skin, which stripped off with the nails hanging to it, a covering for their quivers. Now the skin of a man is thick and glossy, and would in whiteness surpass almost all other hides. Some even flay the entire body of their enemy, and stretching it upon a frame carry it about with them wherever they ride. Such are the Scythian customs with respect to scalps and skins.

The skulls of their enemies, not indeed of all, but of those whom they most detest, they treat as follows. Having sawn off the portion below the eyebrows, and cleaned out the inside, they cover the outside with leather. When a man is poor, this is all that he does; but if he is rich, he also lines the inside with gold: in either case the skull is used as a drinking-cup. They do the same with the skulls of their own kith and kin if they have been at feud with them, and have vanquished them in the presence of the king. When strangers whom they deem of any account come to visit them, these skulls are handed round, and the host tells how that these were his relations who made war upon him, and how that he got the better of them; all this being looked upon as proof of bravery.

Once a year the governor of each district, at a set place in his own province, mingles a bowl of wine, of which all Scythians have a right to drink by whom foes have been slain; while they who have slain no enemy are not allowed to taste of the bowl, but sit aloof in disgrace. No greater shame than this can happen to them. Such as have slain a very large number of foes, have two cups instead of one, and drink from both.

Scythia has an abundance of soothsayers, who foretell the future by means of a number of willow wands. A large bundle of these wands is brought and laid on the ground. The soothsayer unties the bundle, and places each wand by itself, at the same time uttering his prophecy: then, while he is still speaking, he gathers the rods together again, and makes them up once more into a bundle. This mode of divination is of home growth in Scythia. The Enarees, or woman-like men, have another method, which they say Venus taught them. It is done with the inner bark of the linden-tree. They take a piece of this bark, and, splitting it into three strips, keep twining the strips about their fingers, and untwining them, while they prophesy.

Whenever the Scythian king falls sick, he sends for the three soothsayers of most renown at the time, who come and make trial of their art in the mode above described. Generally they say that the king is ill because such or such a person, mentioning his name, has sworn falsely by the royal hearth. This is the usual oath among the Scythians, when they wish to swear with very great solemnity. Then the man accused of having foresworn himself is arrested and brought before the king. The soothsayers tell him that by their art it is clear he has sworn a false oath by the royal hearth, and so caused the illness of the king 
 he denies the charge, protests that he has sworn no false oath, and loudly complains of the wrong done to him. Upon this the king sends for six new soothsayers, who try the matter by soothsaying. If they too find the man guilty of the offence, straightway he is beheaded by those who first accused him, and his goods are parted among them: if, on the contrary, they acquit him, other soothsayers, and again others, are sent for, to try the case. Should the greater number decide in favour of the man's innocence, then they who first accused him forfeit their lives.

The mode of their execution is the following: a waggon is loaded with brushwood, and oxen are harnessed to it; the soothsayers, with their feet tied together, their hands bound behind their backs, and their mouths gagged, are thrust into the midst of the brushwood; finally the wood is set alight, and the oxen, being startled, are made to rush off with the waggon. It often happens that the oxen and the soothsayers are both consumed together, but sometimes the pole of the waggon is burnt through, and the oxen escape with a scorching. Diviners- lying diviners, they call them- are burnt in the way described, for other causes besides the one here spoken of. When the king puts one of them to death, he takes care not to let any of his sons survive: all the male offspring are slain with the father, only the females being allowed to live.

Oaths among the Scyths are accompanied with the following ceremonies: a large earthen bowl is filled with wine, and the parties to the oath, wounding themselves slightly with a knife or an awl, drop some of their blood into the wine; then they plunge into the mixture a scimitar, some arrows, a battle-axe, and a javelin, all the while repeating prayers; lastly the two contracting parties drink each a draught from the bowl, as do also the chief men among their followers.

The tombs of their kings are in the land of the Gerrhi, who dwell at the point where the Borysthenes is first navigable. Here, when the king dies, they dig a grave, which is square in shape, and of great size. When it is ready, they take the king's corpse, and, having opened the belly, and cleaned out the inside, fill the cavity with a preparation of chopped cypress, frankincense, parsley-seed, and anise-seed, after which they sew up the opening, enclose the body in wax, and, placing it on a waggon, carry it about through all the different tribes. On this procession each tribe, when it receives the corpse, imitates the example which is first set by the Royal Scythians; every man chops off a piece of his ear, crops his hair close, and makes a cut all round his arm, lacerates his forehead and his nose, and thrusts an arrow through his left hand. Then they who have the care of the corpse carry it with them to another of the tribes which are under the Scythian rule, followed by those whom they first visited. On completing the circuit of all the tribes under their sway, they find themselves in the country of the Gerrhi, who are the most remote of all, and so they come to the tombs of the kings. There the body of the dead king is laid in the grave prepared for it, stretched upon a mattress; spears are fixed in the ground on either side of the corpse, and beams stretched across above it to form a roof, which is covered with a thatching of osier twigs. In the open space around the body of the king they bury one of his concubines, first killing her by strangling, and also his cup-bearer, his cook, his groom, his lacquey, his messenger, some of his horses, firstlings of all his other possessions, and some golden cups; for they use neither silver nor brass. After this they set to work, and raise a vast mound above the grave, all of them vying with each other and seeking to make it as tall as possible.

When a year is gone by, further ceremonies take place. Fifty of the best of the late king's attendants are taken, all native Scythians 
 for, as bought slaves are unknown in the country, the Scythian kings choose any of their subjects that they like, to wait on them- fifty of these are taken and strangled, with fifty of the most beautiful horses. When they are dead, their bowels are taken out, and the cavity cleaned, filled full of chaff, and straightway sewn up again. This done, a number of posts are driven into the ground, in sets of two pairs each, and on every pair half the felly of a wheel is placed archwise; then strong stakes are run lengthways through the bodies of the horses from tail to neck, and they are mounted up upon the fellies, so that the felly in front supports the shoulders of the horse, while that behind sustains the belly and quarters, the legs dangling in mid-air; each horse is furnished with a bit and bridle, which latter is stretched out in front of the horse, and fastened to a peg. The fifty strangled youths are then mounted severally on the fifty horses. To effect this, a second stake is passed through their bodies along the course of the spine to the neck; the lower end of which projects from the body, and is fixed into a socket, made in the stake that runs lengthwise down the horse. The fifty riders are thus ranged in a circle round the tomb, and so left. (8)

Such, then, is the mode in which the kings are buried: as for the people, when any one dies, his nearest of kin lay him upon a waggon and take him round to all his friends in succession: each receives them in turn and entertains them with a banquet, whereat the dead man is served with a portion of all that is set before the others; this is done for forty days, at the end of which time the burial takes place. After the burial, those engaged in it have to purify themselves, which they do in the following way. First they well soap and wash their heads; then, in order to cleanse their bodies, they act as follows: they make a booth by fixing in the ground three sticks inclined towards one another, and stretching around them woollen felts, which they arrange so as to fit as close as possible: inside the booth a dish is placed upon the ground, into which they put a number of red-hot stones, and then add some hemp-seed. 

Hemp grows in Scythia: it is very like flax; only that it is a much coarser and taller plant: some grows wild about the country, some is produced by cultivation: the Thracians make garments of it which closely resemble linen; so much so, indeed, that if a person has never seen hemp he is sure to think they are linen, and if he has, unless he is very experienced in such matters, he will not know of which material they are.

The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed, and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapor as no Grecian vapor-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy, and this vapor serves them instead of a water-bath; for they never by any chance wash their bodies with water. Their women make a mixture of cypress, cedar, and frankincense wood, which they pound into a paste upon a rough piece of stone, adding a little water to it. With this substance, which is of a thick consistency, they plaster their faces all over, and indeed their whole bodies. A sweet odor is thereby imparted to them, and when they take off the plaster on the day following, their skin is clean and glossy.

The Scythians have an extreme hatred of all foreign customs, particularly of those in use among the Greeks, as the instances of Anacharsis, and, more lately, of Scylas, have fully shown. The former, after he had travelled over a great portion of the world, and displayed wherever he went many proofs of wisdom, as he sailed through the Hellespont on his return to Scythia touched at Cyzicus. There he found the inhabitants celebrating with much pomp and magnificence a festival to the Mother of the Gods, and was himself induced to make a vow to the goddess, whereby he engaged, if he got back safe and sound to his home, that he would give her a festival and a night-procession in all respects like those which he had seen in Cyzicus. When, therefore, he arrived in Scythia, he betook himself to the district called the Woodland, which lies opposite the course of Achilles, and is covered with trees of all manner of different kinds, and there went through all the sacred rites with the tabor in his hand, and the images tied to him. While thus employed, he was noticed by one of the Scythians, who went and told king Saulius what he had seen. Then king Saulius came in person, and when he perceived what Anacharsis was about, he shot at him with an arrow and killed him. To this day, if you ask the Scyths about Anacharsis, they pretend ignorance of him, because of his Grecian travels and adoption of the customs of foreigners. I learnt, however, from Timnes, the steward of Ariapithes, that Anacharsis was paternal uncle to the Scythian king Idanthyrsus, being the son of Gnurus, who was the son of Lycus and the grandson of Spargapithes. If Anacharsis were really of this house, it must have been by his own brother that he was slain, for Idanthyrsus was a son of the Saulius who put Anacharsis to death.

The Sacrifice of Zarpiya, physician of Kizzuwatna, when the year is ruinous (see Hittite Treaties.html)

(1 [Thus says Zarp]iya, physician of Kizzuwatna, (regarding) [when the year] is ruinous (and) in the land there is continual dying. [Then] in which (ever) city (there is) ruin as a result [the master of (each)] house will do as follows:

(2 I hang up the kelu 
 of the client. Its huppali  is bronze. Its hazziul are of a shaggy lion-skin. But its footstool is of basalt, and its (the footstool's) hazziul is of lapis. The paw is strong. (It) is the paw(?) of a bear [...] but he h[angs the ...] of a wild goat.

(3 And the ali-s are of black wool and red wool (and) the yellow wool of the town of arnuwaila. Before the sinew of a dog is sakalsan, he [...] three [...s]. On one side he hangs one (piece) on a peg (made of) apricot(?)-wood, (2) while on the other side he hangs one (piece) on a peg (made of) cornel wood.

(4 First and foremost, in front on that side he hits the apricot(?)-wood peg into the gate. He hangs a cooked kuggula of barley flour, a kuggula of hariyanti- barley flour, and one jug of wine. On this side, however, he hits [the peg] of cornel wood i[nto the gate], and from it (the peg) he hangs a cooked kuggula of barley flour, a kuggula of hariyanti- barley flour, and one jug of wine.

(5 With the pegs, a white bush is stuck in/planted. Downwards from the ground [...] downwards at the front. On either side he buries wassi-, whose name is huwallari. Furthermore, the gate behind the door of the courtyard on which he hangs the kelu-s-down in front of the kelu-s he places a wicker table and on top of it he sets an ax (3) of bronze, one warm bread, thick bread (and) cheese. Thereon (he sets) a bronze ax, a bronze dagger, a strung bow, [and] one arrow.

(6 Down in front on the wicker table he places one huppar-vessel of wine from the puri-stand, and from the puri-stand he places one pitcher of PIHU drinking beer. Into the pitcher of PIHU drinking beer he inserts one straw.

(7 They bring in one billy-goat and the master of the estate libates it with wine before the table for Santas. Then he holds out the bronze ax and says as follows: "Come Santas! Let the Innarawant-deities come with you, (they) who are wearing bloodied (clothes), who have bound on (themselves) the sashes(?) of the mountain dwellers,

(8 who are girt (?) with daggars, who hold strung bows and arrows. "Come and eat! We will swear (an oath)." When he is finished speaking, he places the bronze ax (4) down on the table and they slit (the throat of) the billy-goat.

(9 He takes the blood and and the straw that was left in the mug-he anoints that (-an) with the blood. Then they bring the raw liver and the heart and the master of the estate holds them out for the gods. Further he takes a bite (and) they imitate (him). (5) He puts (his) lips on the straw and sips and says as follows:

(10 O Santas and Innarawant-deities, we have just taken the oath.

(11 We have bitten from the raw liver; from a single straw we have drunk. O Santas and Innarawant-deities, do not step to my gate again. They cook the liver and heart on a fire and they butcher the entire goat "plain."

(12 Then, when the fat arrives, they bring out the liver and heart and the flesh 
 everything  to the god. With it they bring two times nine thick loaves (made) from wheat flour of one-half handful (of flour). He breaks nine loaves. Over these they place the liver and heart and he sets them back on the table and says as follows: "Eat, O Sun God of Heaven above and below. Let the gods of the father of the house eat! Let the thousand gods eat.

(13 And for this oath be witnesses. Next he libates the wine nine times before the table of the Innarawant-deities. He takes the shoulder and the breast (of the sacrifice) and breaks nine loaves of bread.

(14 He scatters them on the potstand and pours wine opposite. Then they bring (in) nine(!) (6) boys who have not yet gone to a woman. On one boy they put a goatskin and that one walks in front and calls (out) in the manner of a wolf. They surround the tables and devour the shoulder and breast.

(15 But for eating [the liver and heart are also (7)] good, and he brings (them) in the same way and they devour the li[ver and heart]. They also drink. [He brings] the pitcher [of PIHU drinking beer] and they drink the pitcher of PIHU beer.

(16 The master of the house a staff/branch from a suruhha-tree, steps into the gate and in Luwian conjures as follows: ÛÛ17-18 {Luwian incantation} Û19 He breaks a thick bread, while reciting as follows in Luwian: ÛÛ20-21 {Luwian incantation}

(22 They take up the ritual implements and he closes the door. He anoints it with fine oil, and says:

(23 "Let (the door) shut out evil and let it keep in good."

(24 One tablet. Finished. The word of Zarpiya, physician from Kizzuwatna. If a year is ruinous and the land is dying, then the kelu- rituals he offers in this way.


(1) The Iliad,translated by W.H. D. Rouse, Mentor, New American Library, NY, (by arrangement with Thomas Neslon and Sons, Ltd.,1938), pp. 282,283 (2) ibid, p. 290
(2) Rouse's note: A boy kept one part of his hair uncut and this he dedicated to his river-god at puberty: Aeschylus Choephoroe.
(3) In the Rig Veda 
 which is a book of prayers  there are divinities who are the principal recipients of the prayers. Usas, the dawn; Surya, the sun-god, whose symbol was a bull. To bind the bull and sacrifice it at dawn is to secure the blessings of sunlight [Rig Veda Book 1, Hymn 121. 7]; Indra, the god of thunder and lightning (like Zeus, Jupiter and Thor), Agni, the god of fire and the messenger of the gods; Varuna, the sky-god (like Uranus, who was castrated by his son Cronos; Aphroditê was born from the foam from his discarded genitals). The wind-god, cloud-gods, called Maruts, Mitra, Vishnu and many other gods are called upon in during three principal ceremonies during the Hindu day: the dawn, high-noon, and dusk. Like the Greeks and Trojans of the Iliad, the Indo-European Aryans of the Rig Veda ~1,500 B.C. cremated their dead, as the Hindus do today. A large part of the hymns in the Rig Veda are dedicated to Agni, because Agni not only bore messages to the gods, he invited the gods to the sacrifice and carried the dead to the gods (heaven). The Rig Veda does not address the deep, dark Hadês of Greek, Trojan and Etruscan thought. In contrast it anticipates the continuation of the soul back on earth, recycled like the vegetation or grass upon which the communion participants and invited gods sat. Imagine a circular altar with a trench around it, around which were placed the Aryan chiefs and their priests. Next to the fiery altar was a post to which sacrificial animals were tied (probably a similar device was used by the Greeks at Patroclos' funeral). Like the Greeks of the Iliad, the fats of the animals, offered in slabs, was most prized by the gods. The Greeks and Trojans poured wine as an oblation, but a butter-like oil, or gee, is also mentioned, which was a principal oblation mentioned in the Rig Veda that was continuously ladled upon the fire (upon the god Agni). But the Aryans had an oblation which we shall discuss latter, called Soma, which was drunk by the participants and fed to the gods. They had large wooden vats near-by in which they brewed Soma, a sap beaten out of a plant (probably cannabis) gathered in the mountains. They filtered the brewed sap through a woolen cloth and mixed it with honey, milk, curds and barley (The barley may have been part of the brew in the wooden vat). This mix was put in jars, from which they ladled the meath (mead) into the fire or into beakers bowls and cups. Beakers are frequently mentioned, and a significant feature of megalithic burials along the Atlantic coast of Europe and in the Balkans, was beakers. Drinking honeyed-mead was an integral part of the Celtic celebrations and the Greeks, Trojans and Etruscans had their mead as well. In the Etruscan Tomb of the Baron we can see a particularly large, cauldron-like vase as well as a jug used for pouring wine. The rites we are reviewing in the Iliad were not too far from the rites of the Rig Veda or those that took place with reference to the Etruscan rites.
"Achillês holds a goblet, and dipt into the golden mixer, and poured the wine on the ground" 
 The Greeks and Trojans of the Iliad mixed their wine with water.
(4) "in the hut." Note that Patroclos' burial is in a "hut." Hector's remains were placed within a group of stones (like a dolmen). Patroclos' burial, in fact, resembles the "Germanic" and Scythian style of burial, where the remains were placed within a wooden frame structure, in the Iliad presumably "the hut." Tumuli across Europe and Asia, including the tholos tombs of the Etruscans, had at least one ring of stones (sometimes stakes) marking the boundary of the mound. Sometimes the stone boundary would would be double-walled.
(5) "and grey steel." There are several references to steel and iron in the Iliad, giving more reason for an Iron Age event, than that of an earlier Bronze Age. Thus, the event must be ~1,200 B.C. to 850 B.C. "Iron Age" and "Bronze Age" or "Stone Age" may not refer to a specific time period, but can serve as a guide. For instance, American Indian tribes were in the "Stone Age 
 neolithic" when American settlers were driving their wagon trains across the western prairies in the 19th century. My grandmother, who was able to watch the Apollo landing on the moon several years before she passed away, told me at that time that she had crossed the United States in a covered wagon from Missouri to Montana. She made the comment with regard to my question, asking her how she felt about the event, knowing that I had directly participated – working in the "think tank" of North American Aviation's Space & Information Systems Division, the Prime Contractor of the Apollo Program. No people, other than her generation, have been able to witness such a marked change in technology in such a short span of time! From horses to space travel in one generation!
(6) One of the items used as a prize in the games was a raw hunk of iron. While it is described as a captured weapon of Eëtion, Achillês does not value it as a weapon but rather as a source of metal from which to make plowshares. In the Mahabharata, which is a Vedic story about the Pandavas, states in the battle, "Down upon the Pandava army fell ten thousand arrows with fiery mouths and ten thousand gleaming darts; one hundred thousand swords and maces and axes; a million razor-edged wheels spinning; and heavy iron balls roaring and tumbling [Mahabharata, Book 13, "Trees of Gold," p. 280, retold by William Buck, University of California Press, 1973]. The razor-edged wheels recall a discus-like weapon. The discuss is mentioned in the Iliad, but representations of the Celtic "Horned God" Cernunnos show him carrying a wheel. One may wonder whether the wheel had a razor edge and was thrown as a weapon. Indra had such a weapon. The wheel is another symbol of the sun-god of the Indo-Europeans. The modern discuss thrown in the Olympic games is made of wood with a steel edge. Another Olympic games competition involves the shot-put, the throwing of a large steel ball. In Scottish games the ball has a chain attached to it, the means of which allow for a longer throw, as the thrower whirls around before releasing the ball.
(7) The Sidonian bowl brought by Phoenician merchants suggests a time-line of about 850 B.C. for the Iliad. Had the bard said, "captured from Sidon," suggesting a raid, such as the raids of the Sea Peoples ~ 1,200 B.C. one might be able to argue a Late Bronze Age date for the story. The merchant suggests 1,200-850 B.C.
(8) A great overhead photo of Celtic Hallstatt burial site is at: Hartwick College has a great commentary on chariot warfare, with an illustration of a Kurgan chariot burial photographed by N. Vinogradov. The page is at: A British chariot burials are at: and
(9) Here we find testimony on the use of hemp seeds (Cannabis) among the Scythians, but not as a mead, but as a smoke in a sauna! The customs of the Scythians, for the most part, are like the Celts; the red-headed Tocharians of Scythia, dressed in tartan plaids, draw a closer comparison. Scythian tumuli fields also seem to be centralized, like the Celts and the Cnutes (British). A detailed examination of the use of hemp and Cannabis seed can be viewed at Maps of the distribution and use of the plant 5,000 years ago are on the site to aid in the illustration of its use. The Asian map shows the distribution and use among the Siberian Scythians and in China. Interestingly, though we suspect the use in India in ancient times, no archeological evidence of its use in India, they say, has been revealed: "By ca. 3000 BP, Cannabis had most likely migrated west and south over the Himalayas and into India, probably coming with nomads and traders over the trade routes that crossed the region. In light of the accepted antiquity of Cannabis in India, it is noteworthy that no Cannabis remains have been recovered from archeological sights there." This site is well worth visiting for those who are interested in the subject. We shall be reviewing the Rig Veda and its divine substance, Soma, which I believe 
 as do others  was made from Cannabis stalks. There is no agreement among the Rig Veda scholars that Soma produced a reaction that might be expected from a drug like Cannabis. While poppies might be another source of the effect produced through the Soma, the instructions for making Soma did not describe a flower as an ingredient. The ingredient that produced the "trip" in Soma was a grass-like plant gathered in the mountains  probably hemp. Based upon the maps and study at I would believe that the main ingredient of Soma was Cannabis. Also, with respect to the Scythian use of Cannabis, of throwing the seeds on hot rocks in a sauna, I suspect they were drinking the sap: like the Aryans to the south of them who composed the Rig Veda, the Scythians may have been grinding the plant and throwing it into their mead  and possibly trading it to the Aryans to the south of them in the Indus Valley.
(10) An antique sword serving as the image of Mars; note the sword between the feet of the Etruscan Aule Serelus on the tomb-stone from Vetulonia (SeeMiscellaneous_Scripts.html). The lines radiating from the sword suggest power, as in the lines that radiate from the Egyptian sun god, Aten, Amon-re, etc.

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