Posts Tagged With: Ancient Greece

Goats to Gods: The Delphi Legacy

How a goatherder’s pasture became the center of the world for over 1,000 years.

(Re-post in celebration of my latest author interview at B.L. Kosiner’s Book Blog – Enjoy!)

Model of the temple mount at Delphi, Temple of Apollo top. -Lonely Planet

A crack in a mountainside 100 miles from Athens influenced the ancient Mediterranean world for an entire age. The holy city of Delphi was home to sacred temples, wealthy treasuries, renowned theaters, and active sporting arenas that marked it as the most important cultural, religious and financial hub in the Western world.

The mother of Delphi’s influence was a fissure in the rock breathing a mind-altering vapor, discovered by a goatherder around 1400 BCE. As the ancient mind went, this was obviously a portal into the divine dimension. The spot was considered the navel of the world and a sacred site grew up around it, eventually inspiring a huge Temple of Apollo to awe its visitors.

Priestess of Delphi -John Collier, 1891

Ensconced on a tripod seat over the fissure in the temple’s hallowed chamber, the entranced oracle – called the Pythia – became the conduit for the god Apollo, who would deliver for seekers vague personal messages to be interpreted by the attendant priests. The prophecies covered every human interest from romance to finance to empires.

The oracles were famously, even cruelly, cryptic. In the most infamous military blunder of all time Lydian king Croesus consulted the Oracle before invading Persia and was assured that a great empire would be destroyed if he did. Imagine his surprise when he lost the war he started and it was his empire that was destroyed!

Aegeus Consults the Pythia -ancienthistory.about.com

Among the many seers and oracles of the ancient world, none wielded the power and respect of Delphi. For more than a millennium kings, aristocrats, commoners and colonists paid dearly for a precognitive utterance from the Pythia that would give them some warning, guidance or blessing for their next endeavor.

Delphi’s influence eventually waned and it was shut down by Christian Rome in the 4th Century CE. But the mark of Delphi on our civilization is an undeniable hint at our magical, mythical and humble past.

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger

3 oracles from Delphi we wish we hadn’t followed:

  1. “Gerard Butler and the cast of 300 shall go into battle shirtless.”
  2. “The great vessel Titanic is indestructible – you shall turn off the radio and sail it anywhere.”
  3. “You shall have a new queen and she shall be named ‘Snooki!'”
Chris Everheart is author of the YA thriller
THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI

Available Now
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Categories: Ancient Greece, Ancient Secrets, archaeology, Hidden Archealogy, My Books, The Ancient World, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Coupl’a Leagues Under the Sea

One empty ancient ship tells the story of an entire age.

A wrecked Roman merchant vessel uncovered in the French Riviera found empty by archaeologists. -The Guardian UK

The Guardian UK reported this week that an ancient Roman merchant ship was uncovered during the construction of a parking ramp on the French Riviera. The timbers of this 2nd – 3rd century CE ship are so well preserved that they still show tool marks from the builders. In one minor discovery, the brush of one of the shipwrights – possibly used for waterproofing the ship’s seams – was found inside the hull.

The vessel’s discovery casts a light on one of the most interesting locations of the ancient Mediterranean world. The modern city of Antibes, France is a popular Riviera destination with ancient roots at least 2,600 years deep. Formerly the Roman port of Antipolis, Antibes was originally colonized around 550BCE as part of Greek Massalia (modern Marseille, France) and much fought over by factions of the ancient world – civilized and barbarian – since that time.

The Antibes discovery harkens to its big sister shipwreck discovered and excavated in the 1970’s in the waters off Madrague de Giens, France. The Antibes wreck is completely empty, indicating that its cargo may have been removed immediately after its sinking – like large portions of the Madrague de Giens cargo – by specialized recovery divers in depths up to 60 feet. Imagine doing such a rare and hazardous occupation in ancient times!

Mosaic depicting a Roman vessel similar to the one wrecked and discovered at Madrague de Giens, France.

The most astounding thing about wrecks like these is the implication of widespread trade all around the Mediterranean and beyond. At Madrague de Giens, for example, many artifacts could not even be traced to locations thought to be known by Greco-Roman cultures. So, the mysteries of the ancients just keep widening.

One thing’s for sure. If the French didn’t need more parking spaces, we might never have found the Antibes wreck. So, chalk one up for car lovers, archaeologists, and construction workers – the unlikely ultimate history detective team.

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.

3 other unexpected things found just below the surface of the sea:

  1. The lost recipe for sea cucumber ranch dressing.
  2. A colony of actual Sea Monkeys – not just a disappointing school of tiny brine shrimp.
  3. The keys to my giant yacht. I swear I had them here somewhere … (patting my pockets)

Chris Everheart is author of the thriller

THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI

Available Now
Categories: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, archaeology, Hidden Archealogy, The Ancient World, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Olive Computer Corporation

How the Ancient Greeks invented the laptop computer over 2,000 years ago – and why.

The Antikythera Mechanism computer determined many astronomical events, plus the dates of the Olympic Games. -wired.com

There’s a lot of competition for the title of Inventor of the modern laptop computer. But one thing is confirmed – the Greeks had a computer small enough to hold on a person’s lap more than 2,000 years ago.

The Antikythera Mechanism, discovered in 1900 in a Greek ship wrecked in the first-century BCE, is a delicately designed and extremely precise astronomical computer.

The diagram of the internal working of the Antikythera Mechanism shows more than 30 tiny bronze gears.

Careful reconstructions of the device demonstrate that a knob on the side of the foot-high wooden frame turned more than 30 small bronze gears to adjust the circular displays on the front and back of the box. These displays showed several bits of information important to the ancient Greeks: zodiacal alignments; phases of the moon; yearly calendar; sun position; positions of the five known planets; eclipse cycles; even the schedule for the Olympic games.

The Mechanism was part of a trove of ceramics, glass work, marble and bronze statues, and other treasures being shipped across the Mediterranean to Greek colonies on the Italian peninsula.

While some Greek aristocrat or merchant stood on the shore waiting for his stuff to arrive, his ship was dashed against the jagged shore of the island of Antikythera and his treasure made a date with the twentieth century. His loss, our gain, and history (of the laptop at least) has been rewritten.

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.

3 little-known ancient computer facts:

  1. Many ancient Greek computer users were addicted to the Angry Gods game app.
  2. Early computer sales tanked when consumers realized that “486” stood for the last year BCE the PC would be usable.
  3. Unfortunately, Greek civilization fell before delivery of the a-Pad – Antikythera’s much-anticipated handheld media device.

Chris Everheart is author of the thriller

THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI

Available Now
Categories: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, archaeology, Hidden Archealogy, History, My Books, The Ancient World, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Dewey Digital System

5 ancient books you can view and read online – in today’s Burger Bite.

The ancient Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea collection -facscimile-editions.com

  1. Discovered in a desert cave in the 1940s, the Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest surviving biblical and extra-biblical texts. The digitization project, a partnership between Google and the Israel Antiquities Authority started in 2010 and is expected to continue until 2016.
  2. In April 2012, the British Library in London acquired for US$14 million a hand-scribed Gospel of St. John entombed with British cleric St. Cuthbert in the 9th century and immediately imaged the book in digital format for worldwide public study.
  3. The Bhagavad Gita, the 700-verse section of the sacred epic poem the Mahabharata, dates as far back as the 4th century BCE. Considered one of the axial Hindu scriptures, it is a guide to effective spiritual living and was Mahatma Ghandi’s favorite book.
  4. Homer’s epic tale of Odysseus’s journey home to his beloved Penelope from the battle of Troy is believed to have been first composed around the 8th century BCE and considered a foundational work of Western literature. The oldest known manuscript of The Odyssey dates from the 10th-11th century CE.
  5. For over 3,500 years, the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead has magically guided souls to the heavens, intrigued scholars, and fascinated viewers. The earliest known translation dates from 1805, leaving millennia of onlookers in the dark about its contents.

The hieroglyphic Egyptian Book of the Dead depicts the ceremony where the deceased’s heart
is weighed to judge purity.

Chris Everheart is author of the thriller

THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI

History’s darkest secrets hid in plain sight.
Available Now
Categories: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Hidden Archealogy, History, My Books, The Ancient World, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The League of Delphi Launches

A lone teen, a suspicious death, an ancient conspiracy.

By my posts on the Brain Burgers Blog, I’m sure you can tell how much I love history, archaeology, kids, books, and libraries. Want to see it all come together in one dark, hair-raising place?

My thriller The League of Delphi launched this week on Kindle! (Available in paperback in two weeks.)

History’s darkest secrets
hide in plain sight.

In The League of Delphi 17-year-old Zach secretly returns to his wealthy hometown to discover that the deaths of his parents and a childhood friend are tied to a secret government that runs the town with mysterious links to Ancient Greece and the Oracle at Delphi.

I’m so happy about a review I got from a reader who read the book in ONE DAY!

5 stars. “Can’t put it down! This is such a great book. I found myself not being able to put my Kindle down because I needed to read what was going to happen next. I definitely was not disappointed & have been telling everyone I know to get a copy!”

The League of Delphi is a labor of love and fascination, the first in a thriller series that I expect to keep you up all night reading, dying to know what will happen next.

Kindle readers can pop over and download it today. If you’re a paperback reader, get ready for the release in two weeks.

Categories: Ancient Greece, Ancient Secrets, Hidden Archealogy, History, My Books, The Ancient World, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Overly Unachievable

The crushing pressure on kids to be the best – at everything

The author posing as an overachiever – University of Minnesota 1992.

Before “travel leagues” and “advanced placement,” kids played sports at the neighborhood park and competed in class for a teacher’s attention and at home for a parental pat on the head. But along with every other aspect of our lives today, childhood is accelerating.

Because it has become one of the scariest parts of being a kid today I made overachievement a key part of teens’ lives in my thriller The League of Delphi. Writing about a secret society that runs a town and pressures teens into dangerous overachievement is a creative way of dealing with this dark and destructive issue facing our kids in real life.

The Overachievers by Alexandra Robbins

In her revealing and sometimes shocking book The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids, Alexandra Robbins (a recovering overachiever herself) exposed the new world of social, academic, parental and extracurricular pressure overwhelming children’s lives. She found that the kids at her former high school were often dismayed, disheartened and depressed over their self-image in the face of constantly rising expectations. (BTW: Robbins also delved into another central theme of The League of Delphi – secret societies – in Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power)

The trend of helicopter parents jockeying to get their kids into the best preschools, terrified by the prospect of an ordinary, underachieving childhood, is not an urban myth. Even more disturbing, stories of parents like Wanda Holloway, the Texas mom willing to kill to get her daughter into a key cheerleading spot, have become a reality.

Today, kids feel more obligation than ever to be smart, popular, attractive, athletic – all of the above. Blame the media, fashion, video games, or simply the times we live in, but something in our culture is causing kids to push themselves to extremes formerly known only in the adult world.

In the near future kids may realize that only their own judgment matters when deciding how to spend the hours of their days and the days of their lives. Will they live in a society that punishes them for their individualism or will they remake the culture into one that supports the search for their true, self-determined inner calling?

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.

3 things overheard at a gathering of overachievers:

  1. “I thought San Andreas was my fault!”
  2. “That Einstein dude was such a slacker.”
  3. “I can’t cut back to only 7 hours of studying a day!”
Chris Everheart is author of the thriller
THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI

Available Now
Categories: Ancient Greece, Ancient Secrets, My Books, The Ancient World, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fault-y Prophet

5 facts behind the mythical, mystical power of the Oracle at Delphi stack up for today’s Burger Bite.

Postcard showing (clockwise) the Treasury of the Athenians, the Theatre and the Tholos. -unescards.blogspot.com

  1. After a century of debate, scientists in the 1980s confirmed ancient accounts of two converging fault lines in the hydrocarbon-rich limestone beneath Delphi capable of releasing ethylene gas that could explain the trance-like states of the Pythia (the Delphic oracle).
  2. While ethylene gas, first used as a surgical anesthetic in the 1920s, is capable of inducing unconsciousness, altered states, or incoherent speech, the side effects can be horrific – including crippling seizures and death.
  3. Due to the hazards of their duty, the Pythias observed painstaking rituals of fasting and preparation prior to delivering oracles only on the seventh day of the nine warm months of the year.
  4. The often-long journey to Delphi, the ritualized preparation for inquiry, and the sparse ceremonial schedule held the supplicants at the Oracle for extended periods, giving the Delphic priests ample time to gather intelligence that could be used in the interpretation of their prophecies.
  5. Because Delphi was the most important cultural, religious and financial hub in the ancient Mediterranean, it’s been suggested that the “interpretation” of the nonsensical oracles was simply an astute analysis of history, current events, and human interest by the well-informed attending priests.

Chris Everheart is author of the YA thriller

THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI

Available Now
Categories: Ancient Greece, Ancient Secrets, archaeology, Hidden Archealogy, My Books, The Ancient World, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Delphi: Goats to Gods

How a goatherder’s pasture became the center of the world for over 1,000 years.

Model of the temple mount at Delphi, Temple of Apollo top. -Lonely Planet

A crack in a mountainside 100 miles from Athens influenced the ancient Mediterranean world for an entire age. The holy city of Delphi was home to sacred temples, wealthy treasuries, renowned theaters, and active sporting arenas that marked it as the most important cultural, religious and financial hub in the Western world.

The mother of Delphi’s influence was a fissure in the rock breathing a mind-altering vapor, discovered by a goatherder around 1400 BCE. As the ancient mind went, this was obviously a portal into the divine dimension. The spot was considered the navel of the world and a sacred site grew up around it, eventually inspiring a huge Temple of Apollo to awe its visitors.

Priestess of Delphi -John Collier, 1891

Ensconced on a tripod seat over the fissure in the temple’s hallowed chamber, the entranced oracle – called the Pythia – became the conduit for the god Apollo, who would deliver for seekers vague personal messages to be interpreted by the attendant priests. The prophecies covered every human interest from romance to finance to empires.

The oracles were famously, even cruelly, cryptic. In the most infamous military blunder of all time Lydian king Croesus consulted the Oracle before invading Persia and was assured that a great empire would be destroyed if he did. Imagine his surprise when he lost the war he started and it was his empire that was destroyed!

Aegeus Consults the Pythia -ancienthistory.about.com

Among the many seers and oracles of the ancient world, none wielded the power and respect of Delphi. For more than a millennium kings, aristocrats, commoners and colonists paid dearly for a precognitive utterance from the Pythia that would give them some warning, guidance or blessing for their next endeavor.

Delphi’s influence eventually waned and it was shut down by Christian Rome in the 4th Century CE. But the mark of Delphi on our civilization is an undeniable hint at our magical, mythical and humble past.

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger

3 oracles from Delphi we wish we hadn’t followed:

  1. “Gerard Butler and the cast of 300 shall go into battle shirtless.”
  2. “The great vessel Titanic is indestructible – you shall turn off the radio and sail it anywhere.”
  3. “You shall have a new queen and she shall be named ‘Snooki!'”

Chris Everheart is author of the YA thriller

THE LEAGUE OF DELPHI

Available Now
Categories: Ancient Greece, Ancient Secrets, archaeology, Hidden Archealogy, My Books, The Ancient World, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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