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Kerameikos

Kerameikos known by its Latinized form Ceramicus, is an area of Athens, located to the northwest of the Acropolis, which includes an extensive area both within and outside the ancient city walls, on both sides of the Dipylon Gate and by the banks of the Eridanos River. It was the potters' quarter of the city, from which the English word "ceramic" is derived, was the site of an important cemetery and numerous funerary sculptures erected along the road out of the city towards Eleusis; the area took its name from the city square or dēmos of the Kerameis, which in turn derived its name from the word κέραμος. The "Inner Kerameikos" was the former "potters' quarter" within the city and "Outer Kerameikos" covers the cemetery and the Dēmósion Sēma just outside the city walls, where Pericles delivered his funeral oration in 431 BC; the cemetery was where the Ηiera Hodos began, along which the procession moved for the Eleusinian Mysteries. The quarter was located there because of the abundance of clay mud carried over by the Eridanos River.

The area has undergone a number of archaeological excavations in recent years, though the excavated area covers only a small portion of the ancient dēmos. It was an area of marshland along the banks of the Eridanos river, used as a cemetery as long ago as the 3rd millennium BC, it became the site of an organised cemetery from about 1200 BC. Houses were constructed on the higher drier ground to the south. During the Archaic period large and complex grave mounds and monuments were built along the south bank of the Eridanos, lining the Sacred Way; the building of the new city wall in 478 BC, following the Persian sack of Athens in 480 BC, fundamentally changed the appearance of the area. At the suggestion of Themistocles, all of the funerary sculptures were built into the city wall and two large city gates facing north-west were erected in the Kerameikos; the Sacred Way ran on the southern side, to Eleusis. On the northern side a wide road, the Dromos, ran through the double-arched Dipylon Gate and on to the Platonic Academy a few miles away.

State graves were built on either side of the Dipylon Gate, for the interment of prominent personages such as notable warriors and statesmen, including Pericles and Cleisthenes. After the construction of the city wall, the Sacred Way and a forking street known as the Street of the Tombs again became lined with imposing sepulchral monuments belonging to the families of rich Athenians, dating to before the late 4th century BC; the construction of such lavish mausolea was banned by decree in 317 BC, following which only small columns or inscribed square marble blocks were permitted as grave stones. The Roman occupation of Athens led to a resurgence of monument-building, although little is left of them today. During the Classical period an important public building, the Pompeion, stood inside the walls in the area between the two gates; this served a key function in the procession in honour of Athena during the Panathenaic Festival. It consisted of a large courtyard surrounded by columns and banquet rooms, where the nobility of Athens would eat the sacrificial meat for the festival.

According to ancient Greek sources, a hecatomb was carried out for the festival and the people received the meat in the Kerameikos in the Dipylon courtyard. The Pompeion and many other buildings in the vicinity of the Sacred Gate were razed to the ground by the marauding army of the Roman dictator Sulla, during his sacking of Athens in 86 BC. During the 2nd century AD, a storehouse was constructed on the site of the Pompeion, but it was destroyed during the invasion of the Heruli in 267 AD; the ruins became the site of potters' workshops until about 500 AD, when two parallel colonnades were built behind the city gates, overrunning the old city walls. A new Festival Gate was constructed to the east with three entrances leading into the city; this was in turn destroyed in raids by the invading Avars and Slavs at the end of the 6th century, the Kerameikos fell into obscurity. It was not rediscovered until a Greek worker dug up a stele in April 1863. Archaeological excavations in the Kerameikos began in 1870 under the auspices of the Greek Archaeological Society.

They have continued from 1913 to the present day under the German Archaeological Institute at Athens. During the construction of Kerameikos station for the expanded Athens Metro, a plague pit and 1,000 tombs from the 4th and 5th centuries BC were discovered; the Greek archaeologist Efi Baziotopoulou-Valavani, who excavated the site, has dated the grave to between 430 and 426 BC. Thucydides described the panic caused by the plague an epidemic of typhoid which struck the besieged city in 430 BC; the epidemic killed an estimated one third of the population. He wrote that bodies were abandoned in temples and streets, to be subsequently collected and hastily buried; the disease reappeared in the winter of 427 BC. Latest findings in the Kerameikos include the excavation of a 2.1 m tall Kouros, unearthed by the German Archaeological Institute at Athens under the direction of Professor Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier. This Kouros is the larger twin of the one now kept in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, both were made by the same a

Nissarana Vanaya Meditation System

The Nissarana Vanaya Meditation System was developed by Matara Sri Ñāṇārāma Mahathera, a respected senior meditation master of Sri Lanka and the first Upajjhaya of Sri Kalyani Yogasrama Samstha. This Buddhist meditation system uses samatha and vipassanā techniques in combination to allow what it claims are more intense insight results than ‘dry insight’ meditation, it was refined over decades by the head monks of the Nissarana Vanaya. In the 1960s, after the sixth Buddhist council had given Mahasi Sayadaw an eminent role in the Buddhist meditation revival, he was invited by the Sri Lankan government to train and help establish vipassana meditation centers in Sri Lanka. At that time a group of well known meditation monks received the opportunity to train and practice with Mahasi Sayadaw. Among those was the Venerable Matara Sri Ñāṇārāma Mahathera. Mahasi Sayadaw made him the main vipassana teacher after his departure and a friend of Matara Sri Ñāṇanārāma Mahathera invited him to lead the training facility for meditation in a newly founded association of forest monasteries, the Nissarana Vanaya.

Over the years Ven. Ñāṇārāma Mahathera added valuable instructions to the Burmese system. One of the fundamental additions was a greater emphasis on concentration meditation as well as a designed set of standardized instructions which helped newly ordained forest monks to methodically develop their concentration and insight faculties. During this time the Ven. Ñāṇārāma Mahathera published two renowned books on insight meditation: The seven stages of purification and The seven contemplations. In the late 1980s, one of his foremost students, a former lecturer for Pali, the Venerable Katukurunde Ñāṇananda held 33 discourses on the topic Nibbana. Many influential meditation teachers visited the monastery during this time or were influenced by its meditation methodologies. During the last decade of Ven. Ñāṇārāma Mahathera's life the meditation system was refined in its approach towards labeling and noting in vipassana meditation. The amount of labels was reduced, the importance of concentration meditation intensified.

This system is taught in many of Sri Lankan forest monasteries which were influenced by Ven. Ñāṇārāma Mahathera. Famous meditation teachers who were trained in this system or variants thereof include: Ayya Khema Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda Nauyane Ariyadhamma Mahathera Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero Bhikkhu Dhammajīva, current abbot of the Nissarana Vanaya forest hermitage Mitra Wettimuny, a famous Sri Lankan lay meditation instructor Ven. Amatagavesi, a famous Sri Lankan meditation teacher Ven. Pannyavaro Several Western students now teaching in Great Britain, the US and Sri Lanka Mitra Wettimuny Nissarana Vanaya Blog Nissarana Vanaya Blog Nibbana Sermons Ñāṇarama's publications In the tradition of Ñāṇarama Mahatthera Information about Nissarana Vanaya History on the establishment of Yoghashrama Samsthava Interview with Ven. Pannyavaro Dhamma talks by Ven. Nyanarama Mahatthera Ven. Ariyadhamma Thera Bio

Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science

The Mary Brogan Museum of Arts and Science known as the Brogan Museum, was an art and science museum located at 350 South Duval Street, Florida. The museum closed in 2013, due to insufficient finances; the museum was formed from the merger of two struggling Tallahassee museums, The Museum of Art/Tallahassee and the Odyssey Science Center. The two former organizations were created independently in 1991 respectively; the organizations agreed to share a common building, opening to the public in 1998, to merge in 2000. The building was constructed on land belonging to The City of Tallahassee and the Museum executed a transfer of its sub-lease to Tallahassee Community College from Leon County Schools in 2003. Presently the building is unoccupied, although there are efforts to use the bottom floor for a non-profit center, while the upper floors are tangled up in a legal dispute; the Brogan Museum attempted to stimulate interest in, understanding of, how visual arts, sciences and technology connect.

The museum had two floors of interactive science exhibits and an art gallery displaying a range of works. The Brogan Museum attempted to emphasize the nexus of art and science