Ancient Greek Statues, Now in Color!

Painted StatueThey’re iconic.  Stark white statues, busts, and ruins of the ancient Greeks have symbolized the purity and elegant simplicity of the ancient world to us for thousands of years.  They have left an impression on our collective consciousness, appearing in countless images from Renaissance paintings to modern film and television.

Yet recent technological advancements have revealed a secret lost to the wear and tear of time.

Those classic statues were actually brightly colored in their time.

A lamp is positioned carefully enough that the path of the light is almost parallel to the surface of the object…Brush-strokes are impossible to see, but because different paints wear off at different rates, the stone is raised in some places – protected from erosion by its cap of paint – and lowered in others. Elaborate patterns become visible.

Ultraviolet is also used to discern patterns. UV light makes many organic compounds fluoresce…On ancient Greek statues, tiny fragments of pigment still left on the surface glow bright, illuminating more detailed patterns…A series of dark blues will create a very different effect than gold and pink.

Ultraviolet Light Reveals How Ancient Greek Statues Really Looked

Painted Bust

The ancient world was vividly colored.

What do you think about the ancient statues having been colored?  If you have your own statues, will you paint them?

Honoring Artemis Potnia Theron Fosoros on Mounukhia

Àrtemis mata Acteó

Artemis Image by Sebastià Giralt via Flickr

The Mounukhia festival honors Artemis as her titles Potnia Theron (the Mistress of Beasts) and Artemis Fosforos (Artemis the Light-Bringer). It begins with a pompe in which the people carry round cakes in which small torches, or dadia, are stuck. These cakes are called amphiphontes (round-shining). They are offered to Artemis in thanks for the lives of beasts that were killed during the hunt, and for the light of the moon. Cupcakes studded with birthday candles make a simple and thoughtful substitute. Glaux Nest

Mounukhia is an ancient Greek festival dedicated to Artemis. It falls between late April and early May in the month of Mounukhion in the ancient Greek calendar. At this festival, Artemis is celebrated in her titles as Potnia Theron (the Mistress of Animals) and Artemis Fosforos (Artemis the Light-Bringer).

As with all Greek rituals, the participants are to be cleansed of miasma (negative energy) by first washing their hands and asperging themselves with water.

An offering of thanks is given to Artemis for the lives of beasts that were killed during the hunt, and for the light of the moon, in the form of a meat offering and cakes called amphiphontes. Amphiphonton (the singular) means “shining-all-around” because the cakes are ringed with lit candles to symbolize the light of the moon. The meat that was offered to her was generally a stag or some type of wild game, though modern reconstructionists have been known to sacrifice meat from the market, or even small cakes in the shape of stags.

The Mounukhia ritual also may include the reading of her hymns, and the telling of myths associated with the Goddess of the Hunt. Richard – The Pagan Village

Ritual Outline: Honoring Artemis Potnia Theron (Mistress of Beasts) & Fosforos (Light-Bringer)

Honoring Athene Ergane Agoraia, Patron of Craftsfolk

Pallas Athene

Pallas Athene via Wikipedia

I dedicated my artistic labors to Athene today and asked for Her to be my patron and give her blessing.  With barely cleansed with khernips and an olive oil sponde, I fed an ink-and-watercolor painting I created of Her to the hearth fire as an act of dedication.

This is the ritual outline I designed, based on Old Stones, New Temples by Drew Campbell and hymns researched on theoi.com.:

  • Wash hands and face with lustral water (khernips).
  • Process to the altar or shrine in a respectful manner.
  • Light incense.  Frankincense is generally applicable.
  • Read or recite a hymn.
    • [Orpheus] XXXI. TO PALLAS [ATHENE]A Hymn.
      Only-Begotten, noble race of Jove, blessed and fierce, who joy’st in caves to rove:
      O, warlike Pallas, whose illustrious kind, ineffable and effable we find:
      Magnanimous and fam’d, the rocky height, and groves, and shady mountains thee delight:
      In arms rejoicing, who with Furies dire and wild, the souls of mortals dost inspire.
      Gymnastic virgin of terrific mind, dire Gorgons bane, unmarried, blessed, kind:
      Mother of arts, imperious; understood, rage to the wicked., wisdom to the good:
      Female and male, the arts of war are thine, fanatic, much-form’d dragoness [Drakaina], divine:
      O’er the Phlegrean giants rous’d to ire, thy coursers driving, with destruction dire.
      Sprung from the head of Jove [Tritogeneia], of splendid mien, purger of evils, all-victorious queen.
    • [Homer] XI. TO ATHENA  Of Pallas Athene, guardian of the city, I begin to sing. Dread is she, and with Ares she loves deeds of war, the sack of cities and the shouting and the battle. It is she who saves the people as they go out to war and come back. Hail, goddess, and give us good fortune with happiness!
  • Plunge a burning twig (of rue if possible) from the hearth (hestia) into the clean water.  Sprinkle this water (khernips) over the offerings.
  • Place offerings (olives, flax, wool, crafts, & intellectual labors) before the statue or other sacred symbol.
  • Stand erect with palms up and make your own prayers.
  • Call upon the deity to listen to you, evoking as many epithets as are applicable.
    • Pallas (forename, as in “Pallas Athene”)
    • Glaukopis (Grey-Eyed, Owl-Eyed)
    • Ergane (Workerwoman)
    • Agoraia (of the Market)
    • Khruse (Golden)
    • Meter (Mother)
    • Nikephoros (Victory-Bringing)
    • Polumetis (of Manny Counsels)
    • Promakhos (Champion)
    • Soteria (Savior)
    • Sthenias (Mighty)
  • Remind Her of previous assistance.
  • Make your request and state what you will do in return when it is fulfilled.
  • Pour libation (sponde) into a cup or bowl and place on the altar.
    • Wine (best mixed with water)
    • Milk and Honey
    • Olive Oil (especially appropriate)
  • Process away from the altar.
  • Place offerings in the hearth fire or else outside in a sheltered place by the door or fence.

You are welcome to use this ritual, or modify it, as you like.

What rituals have you performed for Athene?

Dedication to Pallas Athene, Patron of Craftsfolk

Pallas Athene Statue

Pallas Athene Statue via Wiki

In this month of April, I’ve returned to my roots.  I’ve delved into art (particularly production design for media like film, TV, illustrated stories, etc.) through immersion in classes, correspondence with others in the business, reading, and tutorials.  The more I learn the more I am energized.  This may be my new career.

I am going to pray to Pallas Athene to be my patron, and at the same time, ask for Her blessing.  I am going to ask if I can integrate Her symbol of the owl, perhaps as part of water-marking my freelance art, as a way to honor Her.  To do this, I will need to perform a ritual. Continue reading