27 February 2011

Happy Diasia

From A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology:
(*Meili/xios), i. e. the god that can be propitiated, or the gracious, is used as a surname of several divinities. 1. Of Zeus, as the protector of those who honoured him with propitiatory sacrifices. At Athens cakes were offered to him every year at the festival of the Diasia. (Thuc. 1.126; Xenoph. Anab. 7.7.4.) Altars were erected to Zeus Meilichius on the Cephissus (Paus. 1.37.3), at Sicyon (2.9.6), and at Argos (2.20.1; Plut. De cohib. Ir. 9). 2. Of Dionysus in the island of Naxos. (Athen. 3.78.) 3. Of Tyche or Fortune. (Orph. Hymn. 71. 2.) The plural θεοὶ μειλίχιοι is also applied to certain divinities whom mortals used to propitiate with sacrifices at night, that they might avert all evil, as e. g. at Myonia in the country of the Ozolian Locrians. (Paus. 10.38.4; comp. Orph. E. 30.)
Today is sacred to gentle Zeus. Last year, I started enriching some segments of Sallustius’ On the Gods and the World with public images from the Wikimedia Commons, and I dedicated that effort to Zeus because Diasia was the first formal holiday I celebrated in honor of a deity from the pantheon, and reading Sallustius completed my conversion experience.

We can argue forever about what a God is, but the universe is undoubtedly filled to the brim with Theoi. They protect and guide the entire Kosmos. They are curled up in the extra dimensions of string theory and present in the core of gravitational equilibrium-challenged stars on the brim of their death. They exist in the emptiness between the honeycomb edges our galaxies have fallen into, where the nothingness is cold and stars may never come into being. They are fundamentally good, and they hold all of us beneath their protective aegis.

Happy Diasia.

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