Symbols of Easter older than Christianity

Everyone is familiar with the Easter egg and bunny, well its commercial aspect, thanks to chocolate companies creating all shapes of eggs and bunnies for the almighty dollar. Not the Almighty God in this case. Most of us would have had our fair share of purchasing and consuming the confectionery items. But where did these iconic figures come from and what is their true meaning?

Commons Free image

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Pagan roots of Easter

For those who have been following my blog know I am historian with a specialist interest and knowledge in ancient history. So, the content of this article may not come to you as a surprise. As today is Good Friday, I thought it would be an opportunity to write about the origins of this Holy event beginning with resurrection.

The Return of Persephone, c.1891 (oil on canvas) by Leighton, Frederic (1830-96); 203×152 cm; Leeds Museums and Galleries (City Art Gallery) U.K.; English, out of copyright

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Warning: don’t mess with the fairer sex!

Our next destination has a unique history, and perhaps the earliest forerunner of women’s liberation. Then again, what happened may raise a few brows and possibly considered extreme as to the outcome. We are off to the Island of Hephaistos/Hephaestus, today known as Limnos/Lemnos. It is one of the northern islands of Greece and not far from the Hellespont, the Dardenelles in Turkey, the famous trade route between the west and east, and also where Troy was situated.

From Google maps

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Demeter’s town

To continue with the blog series (that is hiccupping along!) I had begun last year. Click here to have a quick refresher of the infographic I created as an overview of the locations featured in my book The Labyrinthine Journey. In this post, we will be heading to Eleusis, renowned for the ‘mysteries’, and where the legend of Demeter and Persephone was ignited.

Map of Eleusis. Heritage management http://www2.aueb.gr/heritage/260.php

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Sacred centre of Ancient Greece

Evan and his companions leave Corinth to go to Delphi so they can meet with Pythia, who has information regarding the sacred relic. This is according to the information Evan was given by a chance encounter with a mysterious woman. To get to central Greece, they need to hire a boat to sail across the Gulf of Corinth and this is where they meet Jason and his crew, the Argonauts.

Ruins of the ancient Temple of Apollo at Delphi, overlooking the valley of Phocis.
By Skyring – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64170779

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Corruption, sex and St. Paul

After leaving Messene, Evan and his companions head north towards the Corinthian Gulf. However, the trip wasn’t without a few incidents: an altercation with a Mycenaean princess and her ignoble father, and a sword fight with brigands, in which Evan was seriously injured. In any case, the group eventually arrive in Corinth, a city St. Paul in 51CE, had preached to and pleaded Christian unity. Why did St. Paul go to Corinth? Aside from stamping out “paganism” and converting pagans to Christianity, Corinth was considered a sinful city.

Apollo Temple has been built in Doric style on the ruins of earlier temple, being a good example of peripteral temple, supported by 38 columns, only 7 of which are still in place.
By Chris Oxford at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44688121

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Book Trailer Exclusive

Today I am posting something a little different from the usual articles.

As loyal followers of my blog, I want to share an exclusive preview with you for my book Search for the Golden Serpent. This is the first of a three part series.

Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to your comments on my book trailer.

Purchase your copy of Search for the Golden SerpentAmazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Createspace | Kobo | Smashwords

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet. Subscribe and receive a free PDF on how to survive 7th century BCE http://eepurl.com/brIbFf

 

 

Symbols of Minoan Culture

There were a number of distinctive symbols the Minoans cultivated that had significant importance in their rituals and way of life. These distinguishing elements were not unique to the Minoans, which distinguished historians have identified were more cross-cultural, much like the representation of the Mother or Earth Goddess. The origins and similar features are evident (see article by J. Alexander MacGillivray) yet the purpose of the Minoan symbols evolved according to their needs and religious tenets. The main icons were the labrys, the bull horns, bees, and snakes.

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Female deity reigns

A predominant feature of Minoan culture was their affiliation with nature and the worship of a female goddess. Through their art, archaeologists have been able to identify the multiple roles the goddess represented. The Minoans also worshipped a male god, represented by the bull and the sun otherwise known as the ‘Earthshaker’. In later mythology, this was linked to Poseidon, Greek god of the sea, and the bull was his symbol as were horses. He did after all gift King Minos with a white bull to sacrifice in exchange for rulership of Crete and surrounding islands. For those familiar with the myth will know the outcome of the decision King Minos made by not sacrificing the bull to Poseidon.

Minoan Snake Goddess Heraklion Museum Courtesy of Wikipedia

Minoan Snake Goddess
Heraklion Museum
Courtesy of Wikipedia

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Where did the Minoans come from?

The Minoans came from somewhere, the question was where? In 2013, examination of the DNA of skeletal remains answered the puzzling enigma that surrounded the origins of the Minoans. Prior to this discovery, Sir Arthur Evans, opined the Minoans had to have come from Egypt and who were exiled from their homeland.

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