Remember when I begged American readers to vote wise? I'm sure you all did, but we are still stuck with a raging lunatic in control of nuclear launch codes. On November 8, 2016, I predicted the following:

"There will be war, there will be economic crisis, there will be social crisis and there will be a healthcare crisis."

I hate how right I am so far--and after Trump's thoughtless and incredibly stupid words yesterday, I'm so afraid I'll be even more correct in my prediction. Trump has delivered his first speech to the UN, and in his infinite idiocy, he declared that unless Pyongyang halts the development of its nuclear weapons program the US may may have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea. He went on to call North Korean leader Kim Jong-in a: “Rocket man [is] on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”

Now, this is not a political blog and I'm not a political person. Threatening to totally destroy a country with 25 million inhabitants, however, goes beyond the boundaries of politics and spills into the core of human decency.

Yes, North Korea is dangerous. Their missile program is dangerous. The UN should have stepped up and addressed the issue a lot sooner. None of that excuses genocide. Nothing ever excuses the murder of millions of innocent civilians. Nothing excuses threatening to nuke innocent people. Period. 

I have thrown a lot of ancient wisdom at the "Trump situation" already, from Solon, to Aristotle, a lot of ancient wisdom applies. I'll leave you with another bit of ancient wisdom while I seethe about this situation, from  Plato's, The Republic. I wish the Americans who voted for this man had taken heed of this.

[W]hen the cobbler or any other man whom nature designed to be a trader, having his heart lifted up by wealth or strength or the number of his followers, or any like advantage, attempts to force his way into the class of warriors, or a warrior into that of legislators and guardians, for which he is unfitted, and either to take the implements or the duties of the other; or when one man is trader, legislator, and warrior all in one, then I think you will agree with me in saying that this interchange and this meddling of one with another is the ruin of the State."
Archeologists have unearthed a fortress in Russia’s Krasnodar Region, which was supposedly founded by Hellenic colonists in the fifth century BC. This reports The Greek Reporter.



Head of the expeditions department at the Research Center for Cultural Heritage Preservation Ivan Tupalov told TASS that the citadel had been found in the area where an energy bridge to Crimea is under construction.

"Security work was underway in connection with the construction of the energy bridge between Rostov and Taman [the part of the energy bridge that would incorporate Crimea in Russia’s energy grid, ensuring uninterrupted power supply to the peninsula – TASS]. During excavations, an ancient fortress was unearthed. Judging by its fortifications, it was a Greek citadel founded by colonists, who came to settle the Black Sea coast… Such discoveries are not made every day."

According to him, the fortress is estimated to date back 2,500 years, as it is believed to have been built approximately in the fifth century BC. Its walls were made of mud bricks, which is why they did not last until today, but some traces can be seen in places where the ditch was and where towers once stood. The citadel had an area of around eight hectares. In the seventh and eighth centuries AD, the earth ramparts left over from its walls were turned into a burial ground, while in the past decades, the area was partly occupied by fields.

Tupalov said that scientists have yet to find answers to a lot of questions. The number of the citadel’s residents is still unknown (it can be estimated based on the number of the uncovered ceramic shreds). Another puzzling question is whether during ancient times, the Kuban River was connected to the sea by a firth or did the Helenes build their fortress on the seashore, or did they move deep inland, something which was uncommon for them. In addition, Archeologists have found a number of noteworthy artifacts.

"For instance, a bowl has been excavated which has an interesting picture of figures engaged in a dance resembling the ‘sirtaki’ dance. Besides, there are various small incense burners as the Greeks were very fond of fragrances, there are also pieces of jewelry and ceramic shards."

The ancient Hellenes, who came to the territory of the present-day Kuban in the fourth century BC, established their or colonies on the sea coast. They founded the Bosporan Kingdom on the shores of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, spreading their civilization and peacefully coexisting with peoples living on the Taman Peninsula. In the fourth century AD, the Hun tribes drove the Greeks out of this area.
Swamped! So swamped! I'm sorry, have a video on philosophy. It's the best I can do today. More tomorrow!

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky lived from 29 July 1817 to 2 May 1900. He was a Russian Romantic painter and is considered to be one of the greatest masters of marine art. Aivazovsky was born into an Armenian family in the Black Sea port of Feodosia in Crimea and was mostly based there. In 1845, Aivazovsky traveled to the Aegean Sea with Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich and visited the Ottoman capital, Constantinople, and the Greek islands of Patmos and Rhodes, gaining inspiration for his art. During his almost 60-year career, he created around 6,000 paintings, making him one of the most prolific artists of his time. Today, I'd like to share some of his (ancient) Hellas themed art.

The Acropolis of Athens [1883]

The wedding of the poet in ancient Greece [1886]

Travel of Poseidon by sea [1894]

Crete [1897]
I was re-reading The Odysseia, as I am prone to do when life gets hectic. It's a gentle refuge for my mind. I grasp at it in the hopes of clutching calm, and gaining a soothed mind. The Odyssey (Ὀδύσσεια) is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homeros. The Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC and focuses mainly on the hero Odysseus, king of Ithaca, and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years of perilous journeying to reach his beloved Ithaca again.

In the Odysseia, Homeros describes the intense longing to be with someone who has departed, in this case Odysseus tells the story of how he spoke to the ghost of his mother and lamented that he wished to hold her. It rang true for me yesterday, at least the part about longing. That's why I'm sharing it with you today.

“So she spoke but as I pondered this in my thoughts,
I wanted to clutch the soul of my departed mother.
Three times I reached out as my heart urged me to embrace her,
And three times she drifted from my hands like a shadow
Ora dream. The grief in my heart only grew sharper
And I spoke to her, uttering winged words.
“Mother, why don’t you wait as I come to hold you,
So we may even in Hades throw our arms around another
And have our fill together of cruel grief?
Or is it that dread Persephone sends only this ghost to me
So I may groan, grieving still more?”
So I spoke and my lady mother responded right away:
“Oh, my child, most ill-fated of all men,
Zeus’ daughter Persephone does not allow you things,
This is the law of mortals whenever they die.
We possess no tendons, flesh or bones—
Those things the strong force of burning fire
Consumed, and when the spirit first leaves its white bones,
The soul flits about and flies like a dream.”
[Odyssey 11.204-222]

The ancient Hellenes believed in ghosts; they were the people who could not find the entrance to the Underworld or who didn't have the money to pay Kharon for their passage. Those who were not properly buried were also doomed to wander the Earth for a hundred years. Interestingly enough, Hellenic heroes were also considered ghosts and were honored in the same type of rites as other types of ghosts. These ghosts, like Odysseus' mother, were summoned from the underworld with libations of animal blood, milk and honey, undiluted red wine, and water.

It's a scary world we live in today, isn't it? I long for quiet and safety, for reassurance, like Odysseus longs for his mother. Reading Homeros gave me a little respite from reality and for that I will always be grateful.
Two news articles in a row, bad me. Sorry, life is busy and the news is interesting. I came across this bit of research yesterday: it seems that the ancient Hellenes may have built sacred or treasured sites deliberately on land previously affected by earthquake activity, according to a new study by the University of Plymouth.


Professor of Geoscience Communication Iain Stewart MBE, Director of the University’s Sustainable Earth Institute, has presented several BBC documentaries about the power of earthquakes in shaping landscapes and communities. Now he believes fault lines created by seismic activity in the Aegean region may have caused areas to be afforded special cultural status and, as such, led to them becoming sites of much celebrated temples and great cities.

Scientists have previously suggested Delphi, a mountainside complex once home to a legendary oracle, gained its position in Classical Greek society largely as a result of a sacred spring and intoxicating gases which emanated from a fault line caused by an earthquake.

But Professor Stewart believes Delphi may not be alone in this regard, and that other cities including Mycenae, Ephesus, Cnidus and Hierapolis may have been constructed specifically because of the presence of fault lines. Professor Stewart said:

"Earthquake faulting is endemic to the Aegean world, and for more than 30 years, I have been fascinated by the role earthquakes played in shaping its landscape. But I have always thought it more than a coincidence that many important sites are located directly on top of fault lines created by seismic activity. The Ancient Greeks placed great value on hot springs unlocked by earthquakes, but perhaps the building of temples and cities close to these sites was more systematic than has previously been thought."

In the study, published in Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, Professor Stewart says a correspondence of active faults and ancient cities in parts of Greece and western Turkey might not seem unduly surprising given the Aegean region is riddled with seismic faults and littered with ruined settlements.

But, he adds, many seismic fault traces in the region do not simply disrupt the fabric of buildings and streets, but run straight through the heart of the ancient settlements’ most sacred structures.
There are prominent examples to support the theory, such as in Delphi itself where a sanctuary was destroyed by an earthquake in 373BC only for its temple to be rebuilt directly on the same fault line.
There are also many tales of individuals who attained oracular status by descending into the underworld, with some commentators arguing that such cave systems or grottoes caused by seismic activity may have formed the backdrop for these stories. Professor Stewart concludes:

“I am not saying that every sacred site in ancient Greece was built on a fault line. But while our association with earthquakes nowadays is that they are all negative, we have always known that in the long run they give more than they take away. The ancient Greeks were incredibly intelligent people and I believe they would have recognised this significance and wanted their citizens to benefit from the properties they created.”
Conservation, restoration and integration works have been initiated for the Hellenistic towers in the ancient city of Perge in the southern province of Antalya in Turkey. The work was carried out by the Antalya Directorate of Surveying and Monuments.


Perge (Perga in Greek) was once a very important city in the region of Pamphylia and the ancient ruins of Perge are located about 18 km east of Antalya near the town of Aksu, Turkey. It was an important city originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. Perge is located near the Kestros River and was originally a port city on a major trade route. Perga was a wealthy Greek city during the Hellenistic period, however, when the whole bay area silted up, that ended Perga’s port city status and sea trade.

The Hellenistic towers, Perge’s most significant structure, is one of the remaining pre-Roman structures at the site. It dates back to the 3rd century BC, this gate, consisting of two towers with a horse-shoe shaped court behind them, was clearly designed according to the defensive strategy of the day.

Restoration of the gigantic towers began in 2002 by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Within the scope of the restoration project, Prota provided damage assessment, seismic assessment, in-situ drawings, restitution and restoration and retrofitting designs for the Hellenistic Towers in Perge antique site. The towers were taken under protection in 2007 with the steel construction method, in order to prevent the stones from falling, or a possible collapse.

Antalya Surveying and Monuments Director Cemil Karabayram states that the tender has been finished for the restoration of the towers. The restoration project has a budget of 2.5 million Turkish Liras.

"Nearly 2,000 stones in the tower were classified. Now the proper stones will be used again in the restoration. The restoration will be complete in mid-2019. After the restoration, the steel frames will be removed from the towers. The stones were examined one by one and the project was approved by the relevant preservation board. At the moment, it is evident where most of the stones will go. When the work is complete, we will be able to open 70-80 percent of the Hellenistic towers for tourism. The project will be carried out under the consultancy of academics and scientists."