An important ancient Greek archaeological site from the sixth century BCE, the Altar of the 12 Gods in the Agora at Athens, is currently endangered by the activity of a local railway company, the ISAP. One of the oldest ruins in the city, the altar honored the 12 Olympian gods: Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hestia, Apollo, Artemis, Hephaestus, Athena, Ares, Aphrodite and Hermes. Used as a point from which to measure distances in the city, the site is considered the very center or heart of Athens itself.
Among others speaking out about this potential international disaster are increasing numbers of enthusiasts for the ancient Greek religion, including those who consider themselves polytheists after the old ways.
As a Philhellene from childhood who studied in Greece, including at the American School of Classical Studies, which runs the excavation at the Agora, I am fascinated by finds of this sort, as well as by the apparent revival of one of my favorite mythological systems. There is little more exciting and spectacular than standing on a mountain site such as ancient Delphi and looking out upon the ruins backdropped by breathtaking views.
Moreover, the history of Greece is inextricably intertwined with Western civilization as a whole, appearing as the basis of much culture, including religion, mythology, architecture, art, philosophy, law and government. Hence, it is of the utmost importance that Greek antiquities be preserved as best as possible wherever they may be found.
In this regard, Greek activists are asking everyone to sign a petition to save this significant ancient site. Also, for those who are in or near Athens, there will be a gathering at the Athenian Agora on Sunday, March 13th, at 11:00 A.M. I wish I could be there!