The Roman Goddes Luna

Today, March 31, in ancient Rome, the foundation of Luna’s temple, the moon goddess, on the Aventine Hill, was remembered. It was destroyed by the Great Fire of Rome in the year 64 C.E. Luna, was Roman goddess of the Moon, animals, and hunting. Varro and Virgilius describe her as one of the twelve fundamental divinity for agriculture. The Romans recognized three aspects of her, also called the triad. As the Moon-goddess, they called her not by chance Luna, italian for Moon while, as an underworld deity of magic Hekate,…

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Anthesteria: the Greek festival of spring and the dead

The Anthesteria, in Ancient Greek Ἀνθεστήρια, was one of the four Athenian festivals in honor of Dionysus, “dead and reborn”. It was held each year from the 11th to the 13th of the month of Anthesterion, around the time of the January or February full moon. It celebrated the beginning of spring, particularly the maturing of the wine stored at the previous vintage. During the feast, social order was interrupted or inverted, the slaves being allowed to participate, uniting the household. However, the Anthesteria also had aspects of a festival…

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18# Melomakarona: Greek Christmas Honey Cookies with curious origins

Sweet orange-zest cookies soaked in honey and topped with walnut? Yes, please! This treat is a holiday treat that regularly appears on tables in Greece. Known as melomakarona, if you visit Greece in Christmas time, you’ll eat far too many of these delicious Christmas honey cookies. Imagine a cross between baklava and an gooey pecan pie and you’ve got these: typical Greek Christmas honey cookies, and probably you won’t be able to eat just one. Every self-respecting Greek household has a huge pile of these on their Christmas treat table.…

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Garum: the bizzarre sauce that tells the story of Ancient Rome.

Probably romans needed a recharge after a rousing chariot race, dining with at least one food seasoned with this popular fermented fish sauce known as garum. The original Roman Garum was not an appetizing condiment. Lets face it: to the average stomach of modern man, there can be few things more disgusting than the thought of a spatter of fermented fish guts over your roast, which is basically what garum was. Even for the entrails-loving Romans, the smell of garum during the process of fermentation was said to be so…

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Did you know that Ancient Greek Funerals were decked out in celery?

When we leave flowers on a grave, we leave lilies, roses or other kind of common flowers. Sometimes, they’re fashioned into a funeral wreath. Most people don’t know is wreaths date back thousands of years! But ancient Greeks used vegetation to honor both victories and the fallen dead, and today, their Olympic olive wreaths are still familiar. But once something was different, in fact, in ancient Greece, the most potent way to show love for the dead was with a wreath of celery. Back then, it was a very different…

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