Measurements and Currency Of Ancient Greece


Measurements and Currency Of Ancient Greece:

Length and Distance:
finger: c. 1.9 cm (a finger’s breadth, not the length of a finger)
palm: 4 fingers, c. 7.6 cm
hand: 5 fingers, c. 9.5 cm
foot: 16 fingers, c. 32 cm (this is the Olympic foot, supposedly based on the length of Heracles’ foot; the Attic foot was c. 30 cm)
pygon: 20 fingers, c. 38 cm
cubit: 24 fingers, c. 46 cm
royal cubit: 27 fingers, c. 52 cm
fathom: 6 feet, c. 1.9 m
plethron: 100 feet, c. 30 m
stade: 600 feet, c. 192 m
parasang: (Persian) equivalent to 30 stades, c. 5.5 km
schoenus: (Egyptian) variously equivalent to 30, 60 or 120 stades in Egypt; outside Egypt it was most commonly equivalent to 30 stades

cotyle: varies between 210 and 330 ml
choenix: 4 cotylae; in Athens, it measured a single man’s daily ration of grain
medimnus: 48 choenixes
amphora: (of liquid) equivalent to 144 cotylae
Laconian quart: (of liquid) estimated at anything between 9 and 25 litres

drachma: a silver coin roughly equivalent to the daily wage for a skilled worker
stater: a silver coin worth variously 2 or 4 drachmas”
Daric stater: a Persian gold coin, worth roughly ten times its silver equivalent
mina: (originally a Near Eastern unit of weight) equivalent in Greece to 100 drachmas
talent: a bar of silver, the value of which depended on the locality issuing it; it also served as a measurement of mass
The Euboïc talent was worth 6,000 drachmas and weighed 26 kg; its Babylonian equivalent weighed in at 30 kg. Herodotus himself (3.89) gives an exchange rate for the Euboic and Babylonian talents of 60:70.

Marcus Tullius Cicero


Marcus Tullius Cicero (3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Roman statesman, orator, lawyer and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, and is considered one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists.

His influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. According to Michael Grant, “the influence of Cicero upon the history of European literature and ideas greatly exceeds that of any other prose writer in any language”. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as evidentia, humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia)distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement.


Game Of Ur


This is the Ancient Royal Game of Ur – Will We Ever Understand It, how it’s played?

The Royal Game of Ur is a Sumerian version of the ancient Middle Eastern game generically called The Game of Twenty Squares, in Royal Tombs of Ur in Iraq by Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1926-1927, and is dated to roughly to 2500 BCE. One of the copies from Ur is kept in the British Museum.

The original rules of the Royal Game of Ur are unknown, but have been reconstructed by a few different historians based on a cuneiform tablet found in 1880 in Iraq, which is now located in the British Museum.  The tablet was written in 177-176 BCE by a Babylonian Scribe Itti-Marduk-balatu.

The problem with most rules proposed by historians, such as RC Bell and Irving Finkel is that the game is boring and not challenging. Considering that different versions of this game were found in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries with over 100 examples found archaeologically, we can assume that the game was popular and I interesting.

Historians who reconstructed rules of play lumped the Royal Game of Ur together with Egyptian Aseb, Jiroft Game of 20 Squares, and Shahr-i Sokhta Game of 20 Squares, which used the same board, but did not have any of the square markings, and since the boards are all similar looking and contain 20 squares. However, The Royal Game of Ur board is so much more elaborately designed than Aseb, Jiroft, and Shahr-i Sokhta that it would make more sense that this game is a similar type of game, but the rules are different.

Greek Deity Profile: Hekate (Hecate)

Greek Name: Ἑκατη Ἑκατα

Transliteration: Hekatê, Hekata

Latin Spelling: Hecate, Hecata

Translation: Worker from Afar

HEKATE (Hecate) was the goddess of magic, witchcraft, the night, moon, ghosts and necromancy. She was the only child of the Titanes Perses and Asteria from whom she received her power over heaven, earth, and sea.

Hekate assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her through the night with flaming torches. After the mother-daughter reunion became she Persephone’s minister and companion in Haides.

Three metamorphosis myths describe the origins of her animal familiars: the black she-dog and the polecat (a mustelid house pet kept by the ancients to hunt vermin). The dog was the Trojan Queen Hekabe (Hecuba) who leapt into the sea after the fall of Troy and was transformed by the goddess. The polecat was either the witch Gale, turned as punishment for her incontinence, or Galinthias, midwife of Alkmene (Alcmena), who was transformed by the enraged goddess Eileithyia but adopted by the sympathetic Hekate.

Hekate was usually depicted in Greek vase painting as a woman holding twin torches. Sometimes she was dressed in a knee-length maiden’s skirt and hunting boots, much like Artemis. In statuary Hekate was often depicted in triple form as a goddess of crossroads.

Her name means “worker from afar” from the Greek word hekatos. The masculine form of the name, Hekatos, was a common epithet of the god Apollon.

According to the most genuine traditions, she appears to have been an ancient Thracian divinity, and a Titan, who, from the time of the Titans, ruled in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea, who bestowed on mortals wealth, victory, wisdom, good luck to sailors and hunters, and prosperity to youth and to the flocks of cattle; but all these blessings might at the same time be withheld by her, if mortals did not deserve them. She was the only one among the Titans who retained this power under the rule of Zeus, and she was honoured by all the immortal gods.

“We are told that Helios (the Sun) had two sons, Aeetes and Perses, Aeetes being the king of Kolkhis (Colchis) and the other king of the Tauric Chersonese, and that both of them were exceedingly cruel. And Perses had a daughter Hekate (Hecate), who surpassed her father in boldness and lawlessness.”

~ Diodorus Siculus, Greek historian 1st Century B.C.

“If you think Latona [Leto] a goddess, how can you not think that Hecate is one, who is the daughter of Latona’s sister Asteria?”

~ Cicero, Roman rhetorician 1st Century B.C.

“Hekate whom Zeus the son of Kronos (Cronus) honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods . . . For as many as were born of Gaia (Gaea, Earth) and Ouranos (Uranus, Heaven) [the Titanes] amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Kronos [Zeus] did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the goddess receives not less honour, but much more still, for Zeus honours her.”

~ Hesiod, 8th or 7th Century B.C.


#ClassicalWisdom #GreekMythology #Titan #Hekate #Witchcraft

Memories of a Perfect Evening

We met on the steps of the Opera Bastille you and I,
I paused in admiration before you noticed me,
You were dressed all in black – sleek and willowy,
Our eyes met, a smile crossed your face with a blush,
My eyes transfixed upon you I felt strikingly underdressed,
I’d had a haircut, and my beard neatly trimmed,
I’d shopped all afternoon, dressed just how you liked,
I made my way up the stairs to meet your gazing eyes,
“You’re lovely,” I whispered with a quick kiss of your cheek,
You grow nervously flushed, nearly a dark Crimson,
I take your hands in my own giving them a tight squeeze,
Your lips part in silence as if you wish to say something,
Longingly you gaze into my eyes pulling me closer to you,
You wear the black leather choker I so adore,
Matched with your Victorian black lace gloves,
Your lips brush my own, I deeply inhale your breath,
“Come my dear you’re all mine tonight,” you deviously grin,
You take my right hand in yours’ leading me down the stairs,
Your nervous squeezes of my hand echo your excitement,
We wind through the crowds bustling outside the bars and clubs,
You pull me into a tiny club and down into the basement,
Winding your way to a reserved table in the corner,
You motion to a waitress placing our order,
I smile curious of the whole evening will be so orchestrated,
I hardly notice the waitress return as I gaze into your eyes,
“I’ve been planning this night all week,” you blush shyly,
Our lips meet in a more intimate embrace,
My heart races at the brush of your fingers over my knee.

Poetic Forms I Employ


There are a multitude of poetic forms that gave been used through the ages from a Shakespearian Sonnet to a Haiku to my favorite a Sestina. Definitions provided here adapted from website. Here are a few of the ones I employ on a regular basis:

Ballad – A popular narrative song passed down orally. In the English tradition, it usually follows a form of rhymed (abcb) quatrains alternating four-stress and three-stress lines. Folk (or traditional) ballads are anonymous and recount tragic, comic, or heroic stories with emphasis on a central dramatic event; examples include “Barbara Allen” and “John Henry.” Beginning in the Renaissance, poets have adapted the conventions of the folk ballad for their own original compositions. Examples of this “literary” ballad form include John Keats’s “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” Thomas Hardy’s “During Wind and Rain,” and Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee.”

Ballade – An Old French verse form that usually consists of three eight-line stanzas and a four-line envoy, with a rhyme scheme of ababbcbc bcbc. The last line of the first stanza is repeated at the end of subsequent stanzas and the envoy. An example is Hilaire Belloc’s “Ballade of Modest Confession”.

Free Verse – Nonmetrical, nonrhyming lines that closely follow the natural rhythms of speech. A regular pattern of sound or rhythm may emerge in free-verse lines, but the poet does not adhere to a metrical plan in their composition. Matthew Arnold and Walt Whitman explored the possibilities of nonmetrical poetry in the 19th century. Since the early 20th century, the majority of published lyric poetry has been written in free verse. Examples include the work of William Carlos Williams, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and H.D.

Haiku – A Japanese verse form of three unrhyming lines in five, seven, and five syllables. It creates a single, memorable image. The Imagist poets of the early 20th century, including Ezra Pound and H.D., showed appreciation for the form’s linguistic and sensory economy; Pound’s “In a Station of the Metro” embodies the spirit of haiku.

Limerick – A fixed light-verse form of five generally anapestic lines rhyming AABBA. Edward Lear, who popularized the form, fused the third and fourth lines into a single line with internal rhyme. Limericks are traditionally bawdy or just irreveren. Examples include “A Young Lady of Lynn” or Lear’s “There was an Old Man with a Beard.”

Sestina – A complex French verse form, usually unrhymed, consisting of six stanzas of six lines each and a three-line envoy. The end words of the first stanza are repeated in a different order as end words in each of the subsequent five stanzas; the closing envoy contains all six words, two per line, placed in the middle and at the end of the three lines. The patterns of word repetition are as follows, with each number representing the final word of a line, and each row of numbers representing a stanza:

1 2 3 4 5 6
6 1 5 2 4 3
3 6 4 1 2 5
5 3 2 6 1 4
4 5 1 3 6 2
2 4 6 5 3 1
(6 2) (1 4) (5 3)

Sonnet – A 14-line poem with a variable rhyme scheme originating in Italy and brought to England by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, earl of Surrey in the 16th century. Literally a “little song,” the sonnet traditionally reflects upon a single sentiment, with a clarification or “turn” of thought in its concluding lines.

Petrarchan sonnet, perfected by the Italian poet Petrarch, divides the 14 lines into two sections: an eight-line stanza (octave) rhyming ABBAABBA, and a six-line stanza (sestet) rhyming CDCDCD or CDEEDE. John Milton’s “When I Consider How my Light Is Spent” and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee” employ this form.

Italian sonnet is an English variation on the traditional Petrarchan version. The octave’s rhyme scheme is preserved, but the sestet rhymes CDDCEE. Thomas Wyatt’s “Whoso List to Hunt, I Know Where Is an Hind” and John Donne’s “If Poisonous Minerals, and If That Tree.”

English (or Shakespearean) sonnet, which condenses the 14 lines into one stanza of three quatrains and a concluding couplet, with a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG (though poets have frequently varied this scheme) George Herbert’s “Love (II),” Claude McKay’s “America,” and Molly Peacock’s “Altruism” are English sonnets.

Spenserian sonnet is a 14-line poem developed by Edmund Spenser in his Amoretti, that varies the English form by interlocking the three quatrains (ABAB BCBC CDCD EE).

Villanelle – A French verse form consisting of five three-line stanzas and a final quatrain, with the first and third lines of the first stanza repeating alternately in the following stanzas. These two refrain lines form the final couplet in the quatrain. Example “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” and Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “The House on the Hill.”

Crisis: Diagnosis Alcoholic Cirrhosis


Bozeman Deaconess Hospital
July 25th, 2009

The limp body father and son carried a couple days earlier, an arm over each of their shoulders, was jaundiced, and helpless. They were headed for Doctor Patterson’s office hastily not certain what was wrong with their load. It would only take him a moment to recognize the signs and call the emergency room. A few hours earlier the father had broken into his youngest son’s apartment to find him confused and disoriented soaked in sweat and droplets of blood.

I had been diagnosed with end-stage liver disease. I was forced to close my little bookstore I lived above. I was lying in the intensive care unit as I had almost bled out from ruptured esophageal varices, abnormal, enlarged veins in the lower part of the esophagus. My parents were moving my possessions from my apartment into storage, I was moving back in with them unable to care for myself. I was an alcoholic who had brought this on myself. I was at ground zero, I had bottomed out, my life was in shambles and I was clinging to the unknown, the long road ahead of me through liver transplant and back to life. I had screwed up, screwed up big this time. I don’t make small mistakes, I make grandiose ones. I don’t screw up my life in subtle ways, I go over the top. I hadn’t really been living for sometime, merely existing, languishing too afraid to live, too afraid to die. My parent’s worried faces were burnt into my brain as they looked down on my body love in their eyes, tubes pouring out of me to the ticking, clicking, beeping monitors that kept me alive. The doctors had poured seven units of blood into my body in an effort to save my life, with three more to come in the next few days. It’d worked. Beyond all reason, I was ready to fight!

I had known for sometime I was slowly killing myself with each drink, I was unhappy, severely clinically depressed, ready to die. I had begun passing blood two days before my thirty-seventh birthday. My stool was black, grainy, appearing like coffee grounds. I googled the symptoms. Word for word there it was on the computer screen, I was passing blood. Get yourself to the emergency room immediately. There was no grey area in the instructions. I poured myself another pint sized vodka tonic, heavy on the cheap vodka, Kamchatka. The tonic water just enough to give the hint of effervescence. I was sitting in the dark at my desk in the bookstore a half empty bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey on the desk, my vodka tonic in hand, and the computer screen screaming liver failure, alcoholic cirrhosis. I didn’t care, perhaps this would be it. I’d lie my head on the pillow and never wake, an end I was anticipating, even welcoming.

This tightrope, this cliff, this edge was the precipice where I seemed to live. The only people who truly know this precipice are those that have gone to excess. I had fallen. This was it, this is where I’d been headed for a few years. I wasn’t the heaviest drinker I knew, far from it in fact. There was Taylor who infamously in my circle of friends routinely completed the Jäger challenge. I’d watch with some perverse fascination as he’d slam down an entire pint glass of Jagermeister in one swallow. It was impressive on some level. There was Frank who was twenty years my senior and would drink pint glasses of whiskey sours with maybe a shot of sour mix. I would sit with him while he drank four, five, six or more of these in an evening, every evening. I was always the quiet one at the end of the bar, a classic novel perhaps Hemingway or Tolstoy in front of me, sipping my vodka tonic and a rocks glass of Jameson Irish Whiskey. I used to be a beer drinker, but that had changed somewhere along the way. I had built up a tolerance and needed something stronger, faster, cheaper.

I knew I had lost control about a year and a half earlier. Up until then I never drank at home, I never drank alone. Now my alarm went off in the morning and I’d pour myself a shot of Jameson and drink it down before I sat up in bed. How had I gotten to this point? The negative self talk had gotten worse, much worse. I’d wake each morning tremors wracking my hands as I needed my fix. A shot of whiskey and my hands calmed down, not steady but functional. I’d head downstairs to open my store. I’d pour myself a vodka tonic I kept in the dorm fridge behind my desk. My store that had once been doing pretty well, now the recession, a new public library, recently opened Barnes & Noble and Borders Books all cutting into the bottom line. I had poured myself into my little store and somehow I’d turn it around I endlessly told myself. I couldn’t fail at this, it’s all I had. I wasn’t ready to admit failure, not if I could help it, I’d rather die first.

Something had transpired between those last days of drinking and waking up in intensive care gazing into my parent’s eyes. It was utterly simple, for the first time I could recall in several years I wanted to live. I’m not sure at first if I wanted to live for them or myself, but unmistakably my thirst for life had returned. I had long known I needed a therapist, a psychiatrist. I desperately needed help. It had come on slow and suddenly at the same time. I guess that’s how mental illness works. It was hard to recall when I hadn’t been depressed. I was barely a teenager when I first noticed the hole growing inside me, something empty. It was small at the time, faint and lacking the substance it would develop in later years as I fed it with each cocktail. I’d learn to nurture and focus on the emptiness I felt so acutely. Did I really have it all that bad though, so many had it worse. After all I had a loving family, my own business, friends, and vodka. I’d just feed the growing hole another drink, ignore it, block it out. It was a sign of weakness to seek professional help for your problems, I could handle it myself, I’d simply pull up my bootstraps and carry on.

They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. You are only given what you can handle. The cliches are endless and infuriating, but sometimes on target. I had the most difficult fight of my life directly ahead of me. I was being held together by tubes and wires, the intensive care nurse checking on me every few minutes to take my vitals. I had no idea what I had been through the last few days as I lie there fading in and out of consciousness. No recollection of what I’d put my parents through as they prayed that I’d survive. I could read the worry in their faces as the doctor asked me questions. “Do you know the date? Do you know where you are? Do you know who these people are?” I could only imagine he’d asked me these questions before and I hadn’t known the answer. Guilt was already swelling inside me, but there was a more acute emotion dominating shame. Admitting to my Alcoholism was only the final confirmation of how weak I truly felt. My natural reaction was to pour myself another shot of Jameson and bury these feelings, but that wasn’t available to me here. Instead when the doctor asked how much pain I was in, I responded with a ten. In minutes a shot of morphine was administered and I faded into sweet numbness these negative thoughts would be there when I woke. The running was over, I’d make my stand.