Saturday, 20 June 2020

Hesiod on grain

Hesiod declares: "When the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, are rising, begin the harvest". At the mid 8th century BCE in Bœotia, the heliacal rising of the Pleiades occurred about 47 days after spring equinox, which corresponds approximately to the first week of May...


He also declares: "Set your slaves to winnow Demeter's holy grain, when strong Orion first appears". At the mid 8th century BCE in Bœotia, the heliacal rising of Orion, occurred about 85 days after spring equinox, which correspond approximately to mid June, 40 days after harvest...

Threshing


Winnowing


The harvesting time of grain in the same region with the same climate never changes. It happens always at the same time with minimal variations depending on the amount of sun and rain around the harvest date...

So when James George Frazer visited Greece at the end of the 19th century, he noted, and then wrote in "The Golden Bough" that the grain harvest in lowland areas took place between the end of April (barley) and beginning of May (wheat)...

So the grain harvest at the time of Hesiod and at the time of James George Frazer happened at the same time, in Taurus...

Coin from Bithynia (340 - 320 B.C) KAΛX Bull standing left on ear of grain...Symbol of harvest in Taurus?


The other interesting thing is that threshing and winnowing, things performed on threshing floord, took place around summer solstice...No wonder threshing floors became centres of solar-agricultural cults. 

This picture shows sacrificing to the threshing floor pole, Serbia. From my article "Shield of Achilles


Now I have already talked about how and why bull is the symbol of summer


Summer starts in Taurus, when wild Eurasian cattle are calving and ends in Leo, when wild Eurasian cattle are mating...So grain harvest, threshing, winnowing and storing of grain all take place in the season symbolised by the Bull...


I wonder if Greeks, and other people from the areas with similar climate and agricultural calendar, equated "killing of grain" (harvest and all that goes with it) with "killing of the bull"? That would have interesting mythological connotations. I will leave it at this for now...

I will finish this article with this: 

Cyprus. The pic of the "του δρεπανιού", a solo male dance with a sickle imitating harvest movements. Photo: A. Ververis 1955. from the book of Lefteris Drandakis "Ο αυτοσχεδιασμός στον ελληνικό δημοτικό χορό" (Improvisation in Greek folk dance).


And here you can see this amazing weird (looks very much like martial arts to me) dance performed live. Enjoy... 

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