Marcus Aurelius was Roman emperor from 161 to 180, ruling jointly with Lucius Verus until Verus' death in 169 and jointly with his son, Commodus, from 177. He was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations, is a significant source of our modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. It is considered by many commentators to be one of the greatest works of philosophy.

I'd like to share a quote today, as I spoke to a young woman late last night, who wondered if the Gods were real--who had started to doubt. I sent her this part of the Meditations, and it seemed to sooth her worries. I hope it does the same for you, should you ever doubt.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 2.11-12

“Do, say, and think each thing as if it is possible to die right now. To leave the discussion of human affairs, if there are gods, it is nothing terrible—for they would not ensnare you in evil. If, moreover, there are no gods—or if the realms of men are not their concern—why would I live in a universe emptied of gods or their foresight?

No, there are gods and they are concerned with the affairs of men. And they have completely arranged it that the human race many not fall into evils that are truly evil. And if there is any evil in what remains, they would have foreseen this too, so that it would not be possible for us to fall into it completely. How can anything make a human life worse which cannot make the person worse?

The nature of the totality could not have overlooked this because of ignorance, or, if knowledgeable, because it was incapable of guarding against or correcting these things. Nor could it have made so much a mistake because of inability or lack of skill that good and evil things would happen to good and evil people indiscriminately. Nevertheless, death and life, fame and infamy, pain and pleasure, wealth and poverty, all these things are indications of good and even among men even though they are not intrinsically noble or shameful themselves. Therefore, they are not good or evil.

How swiftly everything disappears—in the universe, the bodies themselves, and in time, their memories with them. What kinds of things are all those sensed goods, especially those that delight us with pleasure or terrify us with pain or are shouted out because of pride! How simple, and despicable, and filthy, and temporary, and dead! It is the mark of our intelligence to recognize this—what these things are whose beliefs and voices obtain fame; what it means to die, and, if a person looks at dying itself and disentangles its phantom fears with a portion of his intelligence, he will suppose that it is nothing else than the work of nature. If the work of nature frightens someone, he is a child.”

Thank you all for the prayers! The fever has started to drop--which is a great relief! I'm going to try to get back to regular posting tomorrow. One more video today, which had me in stitches but which is also educational: The Try Guys Try The Ancient Olympics. See you tomorrow!

Still sick. More sick, actually, which is not how it's supposed to be, I think. If you have a prayer to Asklepios to spare, I'd be much obliged. For today: humor. I needed a good laugh!

Sorry, I'm still as sick as a dog. As such, I'm still mostly stuck browsing YouTube. I'm not a Star Wars fan (I was raised a Trekkie), but even I know the theme song. For those of you who do not, this is it. This is what it would sound like on ancient Hellenic instruments, and it's kind of awesome. The second half of the video shows which instruments were used and what defines them, so I'm just going to leave you with it. Back to bed with me!

My lovely girlfriend, who catches every flu in town, has finally managed to pass one on to me, so I am officially phoning in sick. I'm not going to leave you without a post, though! Since I'm reduced to spending my day surfing the web and watching bad movies, I've stumbled upon something very awe-inspiring.

Photographer Dustin Farrell spent the summer of 2017 chasing storms while toting a 4K camera rig that takes 1000 frames per second of raw, uncompressed footage. (For comparison: most movies are shot at 24 frames per second.) After driving 20,000 miles over a 30-day period, he had recorded 10 terabytes of data, which he then whittled down to 3:18 of spectacular video. Make sure to turn the volume up!

If anyone has to ask why I'm sharing it with you on Baring the Aegis, well, you might be in the wrong place. Bless Zeus!

I know at least a few people who frequent Baring the Aegis are users or proponents of divination via tarot cards, so I thought I'd share: Calliopi Kapousizi currently has a fundraiser up on IndiGoGo for a Hellenic mythology tarot that's quite pretty!

"In the ancient times of Greece the Oracles had a role in people’s lives. Answers would be given to questions about the future and history was written according to what the Fates determined. Oracles, secrets and mysteries in the ancient times are things that are possible to experience today by using the cards of the “Tarot of Fates” deck and find the answers to matters that trouble us. It was done then, in the ancient times and it is done again today. All you have to do is believe and you can find the oracle hidden in you.

As Clotho spun the thread of life, Lachesis measured it allotted to each person with her measuring rod and finally Atropos, inevitably, would cut the thread of life. She chose the manner of each person’s death and when their time was come, she cut their life thread with her shears.

So, Lachesis presented the things that were, Clotho the things that are and Atropos the things that are to be. Goddesses of great honor, placed by the side of Zeus said to be the daughters of Nyx and sisters of the Hours.

The interpretations of the cards are easy and clear. The images and figures have been carefully selected because the meanings hide stories to be explored based upon the history of such an important civilization. The book that is included contains stories for each figure, so that you can learn and therefore understand more about the meanings of the cards and any deeper meanings that are hidden.

My goal is to bring to all of you the chance to get to know piece by piece, story by story my country’s history and to use your imagination to discover the mystical part of the ancient Greek world where divinity always played an important role.

Collecting funds for the “Tarot of Fates”, will provide us the ability to pay for the printing (making a start with 500pcs) and promotion expenses. Even though we believe that you will spread the word after seeing our work, we won’t stop there. An e-shop with amazing Greek products such as clothes, jewelry, decoration, shoes, games and much more is being prepared. And if we reach the goal x4 android + ios applications is also planned. And our journey will begin thanks to your help."

It's not a  "standard" deck (which has 78 cards with 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana cards divided into four suits), but consists of 57 cards and an instruction manual for use. They also offer other purchases like shirts and jewelry connected to the imagery of the cards.

If you'd like to check it out, go here.

When I was a kid, I visited Greece twice. What I remember most about the trips is eating chocolate flake covered coconut bars and mastic flavored spoon sweets. Today in Greece, you can find mastic flavored bread, ice cream, sweets, and even high-quality mastic liquors and distillers.

Mastic drinks existed in antiquity as well. Marcus Gaius’ Roman Cookbook makes note of a drink made with it. It was a mixture of wine, honey, pepper, laurel leaves, saffron, and mastic. All ingredients were boiled together and the drink was served either cold or warm. Roman emperors used mastic along with honey, pepper, and egg in the spiced wine conditum paradoxum.

Mastic resin comes from the masic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), which is found most famously on Chios.
The word mastic comes from the ancient Greek verb "mastichao," which means "to chew." The name suggests that mastic trees resin has been used as chewing gum for much longer than as a flavoring.

The resin is said to have medicinal properties and ancient Hellenic writers praised it for its ability to cure intestinal problems, bad breath and as a remedy for snakebites. Hippokrates said chewing the resin helped cure the common cold. It was also considered good for the skin. Modern research has shown that mastic contains antioxidants and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It helps lower total serum cholesterol, and chewing the tears helps prevent tooth decay.

The knowhow of the production of Chios mastic is considered became an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2014 and its production is protected by UNESCO.