New Research on Origins of Ancient Greece’s Spiritual Knowledge Added to Site

'Thesmophoria' By Francis Davis Millet, 1894 1897 Crop Square

A 19th century painting depicting a procession of Greek women enacting the role of the Greek goddess Demeter and her attendants, whose mythology is associated with the equinox. Francis Davis Millet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

New research has been added to the site exploring the origins of the spiritual knowledge of ancient Greece, which has its roots in even older civilizations that practiced the Religion of the Sun in the region thousands of years earlier. These more ancient civilizations include the Mycenaean, Minoan, and Cycladic cultures.

Evidence indicates that people in this part of the world had knowledge of the religion of the sun and an advanced understanding of solar and celestial phenomena at a very early point in history. As described in the article on Cultures Descended from the Civilization of the Sun:

[…] Minoan monumental culture (located on the present-day Greek island of Crete) dates to at least 4,000 years before present, and there is evidence for settlements dating back 7,000 years.1 There is also evidence of sophisticated astronomical observation and solar calculations among Early Helladic culture on the Cyclades Islands dating back 6,000 years,2 and new discoveries continue to be made that expand our perception of how sophisticated these ancient cultures were.

Treasury of Atreus

Inside the “Treasury of Atreus,” showing the huge lintel stone, estimated to weigh over 120 tons. By michael clarke stuff (Mycenae Burial chamber 03 HDR) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Minoans and Mycenaeans are genetically similar to each other as well as to modern-day inhabitants of Greece; DNA evidence indicates that they settled the Aegean at least 9,000 years ago and are descendants of the Early Neolithic farmers of Europe, who are associated with the spread of agriculture across Europe after the end of the last ice age.34 This DNA connection suggests these cultures could have been seeded or influenced at an early stage by the civilization of the sun.

In addition to their great antiquity and the DNA evidence linking these ancient peoples to the civilization of the sun, there is extensive evidence in the archaeological record showing a reverence for the sun and knowledge of its movements:

[…] numerous ancient sites across the region are aligned to solar events, such as the mountain sanctuary at Petsophas, Crete, which aligns to the equinox and solstice,56 or the “Treasury of Atreus” in Mycenae, which has an equinox sunrise alignment.7 The famous palace/temple of Knossos is also aligned to the sun; researchers believe that a special concave stone in one of its halls was meant to hold liquid capturing the sun on the equinox sunrise and reflecting it to create a shadow touching a double-axe symbol carved on the wall.8

Minoan Double Axe Labrys

A gold Minoan labrys (double-axe), dated to be at least 3,500 years old. By Zde (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The double-axe is similar to the infinity symbol and one of the most prominent symbols of Minoan culture, connected to the equinox as a symbol of balance, reflecting day and night being equal.9 […] Other archaeological finds also reveal the deep understanding of solar and celestial phenomena among Aegean cultures of antiquity. Researchers have identified that ceramics from the Cyclades dating back 5,000-6,000 years (often referred to as “frying pans” because of their characteristic shape) contain markings that track the movements of the sun and planets, including several that possibly were intended to calculate the distance between the winter and summer solstice. Many are also connected to the movements of the planet Venus, which was known as the “Morning Star” in ancient times and was connected with a number of figures representing the Spiritual Son, such as Jesus and Quetzalcoatl.10

Frying Pan Venus

Cycladic ceramic with spirals and a sun/star shape. The markings provide a way to calculate the movement of Venus through the heavens. ((Tsikritsis, Moussas, and Tsikritsis, “Astronomical and mathematical knowledge,” 145.)) Circa 2,700 BC. © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Cycladic Frying Pan Solstice Marking

Cycladic ceramic has a cross inscribed on the handle. Together the markings on the circle and handle add up to 183 – the number of days between winter and summer solstice.11 Estimated age 2,800-2,300 BC. By Dan Diffendale[CC BY-NC-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Many other facets of ancient Greek culture that have survived to the present day also have their origin in these more ancient civilizations, including deities, mythology, and symbols.

Interestingly, researchers also note that one of these “frying pan” ceramics that they believe was used to track the movements of Venus contains a five-rayed star or pentagram, which is another symbol associated with the spiritual sun and is depicted in the heavens by the movement of Venus relative to our perspective on earth.12 It was also a symbol of the Pythagoreans.13


A drawing of Pythagoras. Public domain image found here.

Both the article on descendants and the updated introduction to the Practices from Ancient Greek Texts discuss the significance of the Greek philosopher, scientist, and spiritual teacher Pythagoras as someone who appears to have revived the knowledge of the Religion of the Sun in his own time, building on the knowledge in Greece and also reportedly travelling widely to other places that preserved that knowledge such as Persia, Egypt, and India.

The spiritual practices of ancient Greece, although mainly captured in later writings about the Pythagorean tradition, emerge from the foundation of a more ancient past and give compelling testimony of how the practice of the Religion of the Sun was kept alive among the Aegean cultures for thousands of years.

Read More

  1. John Bennet, “Minoan civilization,” in The Oxford companion to classical civilization, ed. Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998). 

  2. M. Tsikritsis, X. Moussas, and D. Tsikritsis, “Astronomical and mathematical knowledge and calendars during the early Helladic era in Aegean “frying pan” vessels,” Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 15, no. 1 (2015): 136. 

  3. Iosif Lazaridis, Alissa Mittnik, Nick Patterson, et al, “Genetic origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans,” Nature 548 (August 10, 2017): 214, doi:10.1038. 

  4. Jeffery R. Hughey, Peristera Paschou, Petros Drineas, et al, “A European population in Minoan Bronze Age Crete,” Nature Communications: 2, doi:10.1038/ncomms2871. 

  5. Emilia Banou, “Minoan ‘Horns of Consecration’ Revised: A symbol of Sun Worship in Palatial and Post-Palatial Crete?” Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 8, no. 1 (2008): 33-34. 

  6. Mary Sullivan Blomberg, Göran Henriksson, and Peter E. Blomberg, “Drawings – Petsophas,” Minoan Astronomy, , accessed November 10, 2017,

  7. Victor Reijs, “Possible alignments at Mycenae, Greece,” Geniet: Treasury of Atreus and Tholos of Clytemnestra, accessed November 10, 2017, See a video demonstration of the alignment here:

  8. G. Henriksson and M. Blomberg, “The Evidence from Knossos on the Minoan Calendar,” Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 11, no. 1 (2011): 61. 

  9. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun: Celebrating the Solstices & Equinoxes (Mystical Life Publications, Revised and updated second edition July 2017) 287. 

  10. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun (Second edition) 344. 

  11. Tsikritsis, Moussas, and Tsikritsis, “Astronomical and mathematical knowledge,” 143. 

  12. Belsebuub and Angela Pritchard, The Path of the Spiritual Sun (Second edition) 36. 

  13. Tsikritsis, Moussas, and Tsikritsis, “Astronomical and mathematical knowledge,” 136. 

About the author

Justin Norris

Justin Norris is a contributing writer at The Spiritual Sun, where he explores the Religion of the Sun as a researcher and practitioner. He has been a student of the spiritual and mystical since 2002 and is a published history writer. Today, his research explores the Religion of the Sun across the ages. He has a particular interest in alternative history and the early origins of the Civilization of the Sun, and he traces its legacy through descendant cultures, megalithic and sacred sites, and ancient spiritual texts.


  • Thanks Justin for the very informative article and for sharing your research on the cultural and spiritual history of the ancient Greeks, one that I truly admire and always seem to learn new things about like the Cycladic culture which is new to me too.

    Reading about ancient ancestors like the Mycenaeans, Minoans and Cycladic people who practiced and contributed to the spread of the Religion of the Sun makes me appreciate them even more, especially knowing how challenging it must have been for them to pass down and protect the spiritual teachings and knowledge in such incredibly remarkable ways, whether it’s encoded in their art, music, mathematical formuals, architecture, etc.

  • Thanks for sharing Justin, I’ve got a lot to learn about our ancient roots.

    Also, thank you to our Greek community for your valuable input.

  • Thanks for the article Justin. Although Classical Greece has been the most popular it seems that the more ancient civilizations that preceeded it were much closer to the spirituality of the sun.

    There has been a long debate among researchers about the astronomical orientation of Greek temples. The vast majority of them face East. Not all of them though are aligned to the Equinoxes or the Solstices. But as a general rule they face eastwards. There have been lots of explanations about the possible reasons with many saying that it is a coincidence or that the reasons are more mundane like more light shining in the temples in the mornings etc.

    However, in light of this information, that the Greeks were descendants of the Cycladians and the Minoans, it makes sense that the influence in architecture would also be apparent and that the Greeks would either build new temples according to the traditions they inherited or build over other more ancient sites.

    It would be interesting to know how close the Greeks were to the spirituality of the sun after the 5th century BC (Classical period) but there is definitely evidence of architecture and events happening connected to gods representing solar deities (e.g Dionysus, Persephone e.a).

    From what I have read though the mysteries were strictly for initiates (e.g. Eleusinian, Cabirian) and revealing or mocking the mysteries was punishable by death so little can really be known really about the origins and what exactly was happening behind the gates of the temples. Some events would be open to the public (e.g. Eleusinian equinox celebrations) and that’s what has been preserved along with some watered down explanations of god-worshipping to benefit farming or seafaring.

    It is definitely an interesting discovery. Maybe it will shed some more light in the spirituality of the sun as it was in its original form.

    • It’s interesting that there’s been some debate on the reason for the eastward orientation of Greek temples.

      I suspect it’s quite possible that the orientation of some later structures followed a tradition that had survived even as its deeper esoteric meaning was lost. On the other hand, the orientation of many sites does seem to have been deliberate and meaningful to those who built them, based on the efforts required and the effects created.

      In the case of the “Treasury of Atreus” for example, the way the sun goes through the triangular opening in the video I posted below seems quite purposeful. Although some have suggested that the triangular opening was designed to relieve the weight for the integrity of the structure, one researcher calculated that the opening was not actually necessary and that the 120 ton lintel could have carried a much greater load even without that opening to relieve the weight. It appears the opening was created for some other purpose, and given the dramatic effect it has around the equinoxes, it does seem quite likely that the effect of the sun was part of a plan.

      I should clarify that the research doesn’t state that the Greeks descended directly from Minoans and Cycladians (although the Minoan culture at its height did seem to be quite influential on the mainland culture). Rather the research just seems to indicate a high degree of DNA similarity between those peoples, indicating they have shared genetic origins. In fact, modern Greeks are apparently most genetically similar to Mycenaeans, who have an additional genetic contribution from eastern Europe or Siberia that the ancient Minoans lacked. This perhaps suggests that this genetic contribution occurred at a later time, after Minoan culture was absorbed into the mainland one.

      The exact way in which the region was populated over the course of thousands of years remains open to interpretation – the impression I get is of a number of distinct civilizations that rose and fell over the millennia, interacting, influencing, and absorbing each other and creating a region of shared culture around the Aegean.

  • Thank you for that research Justin and putting together all these information.

    It’s interesting that ancient Greece is widely well known for it’s classical and around that age period, when more advanced spiritually, let’s say, were the ages before that. It’s also very interesting the scientific paper “Genetic origins of the Minoans and Mycenaeans” you brought up. It partly answered one of my questions, where the first Minoans came from and it’s quite new published. And it looks like Minoan were started prior to Myceneaen’s civilization.
    It’s still unclear though when the pantheon of the Olympian gods first appear. Some sources say that was fully formed from the Mycenaean culture and on when the myth says that Minos, one of the kings of Minoans, was born from Zeus.

    Thank you also for bringing up the alignments of the treasury of Atreus. It’s a really impressive site. The most ancient Greek temples of the archaic and classical age are aligned East-West, but I’m not sure if that means that they align with the equinoxes.
    Thistransition from bronze until archaic age looks to me to be similar to the transition from medieval to reinsurance periods. In both cases, the prior was more advanced spiritually (let’s say) and in between, there is a dark age. Both archaic-classical and reinsurance the focus looks like is how things look outside, impressive, with great details, elaborate etc when before the dark age was more esoteric (let’s say again 🙂 ) using symbols and not so elaborate.

    There is so much to look into and not much available information but thanks again Justin for your input.

  • Justin, it is very interesting everything that you mention. Although in the past I had visited Knossos and Mycenae, I had not seen them from the perspective of the Spiritual Sun. I had seen the Treasury of Atreus, and it is very impressed. It is a tall domed building without windows and only one entrance. Now seeing the one photo you’ve uploaded with the entrance and the opening above the entrance, really made me interested and curious to search more about its alignment to the equinox..

    It is also impressive that the Cycladic civilization had some connection with the worship of the Spiritual hero and that there were ceramics that depicted the movement of the sun and the planets probably to calculate the distance between the winter and summer solstice.

    I saw the rest of the ceramics pictures. They are really great and impressive. I intend very soon to see them closely.

    About how sophisticated in ancient Greece were the people to calculate the movements of sun and planets, I remind you the mechanism of Antikythira that was the oldest computer, 2.000 years before. It was designed to predict movements of the sun, moon and planets.

    My wife also has done a big research where there was the worship of the Sun in Ancient Greece. I present only two excerpts in case they will help you (or anyone else) in your research further.

    “At the summer solstice the Athenians citizens were celebrating the feast of Demigod Hercules (as Jesus-Christ is called Godman or Homme-Dieu. The name Dieu reminds us the name of Dias that is the other name of Zeus). According to the Athenians Hercules symbolized the Sun and during the Skiofora celebration, where was taking place between 15 June and 15 July, there was a priest of the Sun.

    The 3 century BC, Harry the Lindios erected a huge statue where it became known as the Colossus of Rhodes and it is regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Pliny said that was 105 feet tall (33 meters). Τhis statue was dedicated to the Sun.”

    • Thanks for sharing that research Seraphim. Some interesting things to explore further there.

      I am familiar with the Antikythira although I haven’t researched it too thoroughly. It is definitely a remarkable mechanical device at any rate, and it is pretty amazing to consider something of that complexity existing perhaps 2,000 – 2,200 years ago. It makes me wonder whether even older and similar devices may have existed but been lost or corroded away over time.

      Regarding the “Treasury of Atreus” – it’s fortunate you were able to visit it in person. I was very impressed with the pictures of the structure. There was something very solemn and grand about it, especially when you see photos with people inside and realize how large it actually is. I saw some pictures of columns and decorative stonework that once adorned the front of it, and it included many spirals.

      If you watch this video by researcher Victor Reijs, it does an excellent job showing how the equinox alignment works. You can see how the light is channeled through the pyramid/triangular opening above the door to cast a shape on the far wall.

    • Seraphim, one of the things that often struck me about ancient Greek culture was just how much their annual calendar and everyday ways of life seemed to be entwined with the worship of different Gods. Without knowing the details of this, the fact that the whole society was arranged around a higher focus was always very inspiring. It’s seemed to me that Ancient Greece (and I use the term loosely, aware of my ignorance of historical dates) is one of the most recent examples we have of a society based on spiritual principles.

  • Justin, your research is revealing, and I will agree with your comments too.
    I was searching recently about this ancient culture at those times again, trying to find real evidences which link to spiritual sun and its teachings.
    Many things I have read about and many things for someone to reveal and link each other.
    For me it was difficult to find real evidences in Greek language,becaue lots of people have their own opinion. But, your research give me a boost to search better.
    As it has already been mentioned, Delphi is a good motivation for research and the mysteries in ancient Elephsina or Elefsina as well.
    It is amazing to see that the people who used to be closer to spiritual things, they used to treat their body as a temple… 🙂 I think this says many things too.
    Thanks everyone, speak again soon

  • What a timeline! Thank you Justin…

    I recall visiting ancient sites such as Knossos palace and Mycenae as a child and being told they were “sun worshiping” groups and how they used a lot of gold in those times too. I remember some of the elaborate artifacts and was impressed/amazed at the degree of skill in them as a child. I also remember sensing such sites were special (in a spiritual, mystical way) and much older too. I’ve wondered if Delphi is older than assumed as I got that feeling there also…?

    • Hi Dimi, it’s really fascinating to hear that the association of those places with sun worship is commonly known in Greece and that it’s even taught to little children.

      Delphi certainly seems like a place where some spiritual knowledge was preserved, given the famous maxims that were said to be inscribed there, such as “Know thyself.”

      I researched Delphi very lightly but still don’t know a lot about it – it would be really interesting to dig more into its origins.

      • Hey Justin,

        I looked into Dephi a bit after visiting at the spring equinox a few years ago and being impressed by the site. (There were some groups there I remember, dressed in white and who did small ceremonies by one of the water springs there and at the foot of one of the temples.) The scale of the ruins and the beauty of the landscape were incredibly moving.

        One of the things that stood out to me was that as part the worship of Apollo, who’s obviously linked to the sun, the Oracle’s guidance was only allowed to be sought at certain times, and one of the cycles that governed this was the rising of the constellation Delphinus, seen as a small ‘dolphin’, Apollo’s animal, in the sky. When this emerged in its heliacal rising, communication with, and the worshiping of Apollo began. The stars’ presence was seen as the presence of the god on Earth too.
        The constellation would appear to travel across the sky for a number of months, and as it started to ‘move away’ from Delphi, it was seen as the god going to Hyperborea, thus being impossible to communicate with, until the next time the constellation started to be visible and travel ‘towards’ the site.
        I don’t remember exactly, but I believe the rising and significant stages of this constellation could be linked to the solstices and equinoxes.

    • Thanks for sharing Dimi,

      It’s interesting you should remember: sensing such sites were special.

      Many years ago a friend of mine called me on his mobile phone whilst standing near one of the temples in Greece and said that it was very important that I go there. He didn’t seem to know why at the time and I knew nothing of spiritual things when it happened. He seemed to have a sense that I should go there and wanted to drill that point home on the phone.

      I think he was in Delphi but can’t remember.

  • Nice to read this bit of research and to see it added to the page.

    It’s interesting to consider that some of these ceramics and other objects were not merely ornamental but served as instruments to measure celestial happenings.

  • It’s amazing just how far back the roots of ancient Greece go; thanks for pulling all that research together Justin. It’s interesting that, what we think of as “ancient Greece” is actually a much newer civilization on the scene compared to others that came before in the region, like the Minoans, which clearly carried the principles of the Religion of the Sun from much more distant times.

    I think ancient Greece is the most well-known because, as you point out, it has had such a big influence on Western civilization. It obviously had a big cultural influence on the Roman empire, and that influence continued in western civilization in art, philosophy, science, mathematics, etc long after that, despite the West becoming Christianized and the religious landscape changing radically.

    I’ve always been impressed with realism and fidelity with which the ancient Greeks rendered sculpture with such finesse, which seems to have been unmatched in its time by any other civilization. When you see art done with such fidelity to the true forms of life and attention to detail, it is like a celebration of the principles of creation, because the natural ratios are being reflected accurately and beautifully. It was a style that clearly influenced the great artists of the renaissance who continued in that tradition, and I think there was a continued respect for Greco-Roman artistic styles despite them being “heretics” by the Christian standards of the time, because artists, by expressing principles of creation in their works, could relate in a universal language that went beyond dogma. That influence of realism and fidelity carried on in western art until the unfortunate rise of modern art it seems.

    • Yes, it seems many figures in the Renaissance explicitly saw themselves as reviving certain values and aesthetics of the Classical age.

      I know what you mean about Greek sculpture. I saw some of the marbles that once topped the Parthenon in a museum, and even in their fragmentary state, they had a remarkable power and grace.

      I like your point about how classical art is faithful to the true forms of life and in this way captures principles of creation. I think it also presents these forms of life in an ideal way (as opposed to a more photo-realistic sort of naturalism, which is another modern trend that can be quite ugly and mundane I find). By showing reality but in a more ideal way, it seems it is reflecting those underlying principles come to a greater fruition.

      Interestingly, I read just the other day about a ring found in a Bronze age Mycenaean tomb that was recently cleaned and restored. It revealed a scene with an exquisite level of detail and a realistic depiction of the human form in a Classical style – only it was 1,000 years older. It was especially impressive given the small size, as some of the details were only millimeters large.

      Unfortunately the scene on the ring was quite violent, but it demonstrates that those stylistic roots are far older than was previously suspected and may trace back to the Minoan culture as well.

      • Interesting to hear that artistic style goes back thousands of years prior to the classical period of ancient Greece.

        I know what you mean about some modern art glorifying what you could call mundane or perverse realism. It’s said the human body should be treated as a temple of the divine, and is a gift from the divine, and it’s also said we are made in the image of divinity. So it makes sense that real art trying to elevate people would depict ideal human figures in a beautiful way with elegance or poise — celebrating the human form we have been created with, not trashing it.

        But in some modern art where realism is still used, there is that tendency to glorify the banal, or even worse, the grotesque — figures of people who clearly are not treating their body like a divine temple to put it lightly, or which are realistic but have been distorted in some awful way — like a human pig hybrid (seriously).

        This has the effect of not elevating people as art should, but instead reinforcing the mundane, or in worse cases, dragging things down by celebrating the ugly or grotesque.

        Still, at least you can work out what you are actually looking at with those sort of works– a lot modern art is so vapid and hollowed out with intellectual pretensions you can’t even do that.

        • Yes it’s really sad. The inclination to depict beauty or elevated meaning has totally disappeared in the modern art I’ve seen.

          I think that a feeling for what is sublime, elevated, and beautiful is lacking in modern society, so it’s not surprising that art is dominated by intellectualism and/or an outlet for lower feelings and perceptions — since the arts produced by a society tend to reflect the society’s values.

          This seems to be the general trend for all the arts today, whether painting, sculpture, literature, poetry, public works of architecture, or music.

          It is good to see some artists rediscovering/reinterpreting a more elevated past by reaching back to their roots and reviving both more ancient values and their artistic expression (like Einar Selvik does in some of his Nordic music and other examples in the music section).

          This seems to be one way a contemporary artist could create something fresh and new and beautiful today.

  • Great introduction to Ancient Greece’s connection to the Religion of the Sun. I was especially intrigued by the quote from Plato’s Timaeus of the ancient Egyptian priest on the origin of their culture – that they were descended from a noble race: “descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived.” I’ve been meaning to read some of Plato’s writings on Atlantis and ancient Egypt, so maybe this is a good place to start!

    • The Timaeus is an interesting read. I was aware of it primarily for the well-known description of Atlantis, but in going back over it recently, I was really surprised at the detailed information given about a very ancient past.

      Reading it gave me a real sense of how we little we actually know and how much of the human story has just been lost.

      • Reminds me of what Angela said in one of her Sakro Sawel videos:

        Even the oldest civilizations by mainstream accounts, like those of the Egyptians and Assyrians, attempted many thousands of years ago, to understand where their own civilizations had come from.

        – From this post / video.

        I definitely feel like I have a lot to learn about the ancient cultures that practised the Religion of the Sun. I’d never heard of the Cycladic and Mycenaean cultures for instance! Much to learn about our true human history indeed.

        • I had never heard of the Cycladic culture either – they were apparently absorbed into the Mycenaean culture of mainland Greece at a very early stage. But many of the artifacts discovered are very old and quite remarkable.

          It also made me realize that just because modern archaeology and history haven’t identified or given name to a culture doesn’t mean there was just a void in that part of history. There was always “something” before, it’s just we may be ignorant of what it is. (Until the next Göbekli Tepe emerges and re-writes the narrative again.)

          • I’ve come across the Cycladic culture before when searching for symbols of the sun and was really impressed with those “frying pans” (this term just gets sillier and sillier btw the more you learn about these objects 🙂 ). I didn’t know about the solar calculator aspect and the connection to Venus, so that’s really interesting. What I did find very curious about the Cycladic pottery and arts is that many symbols I previously thought were of Viking origins were used in this region in earlier times, which was a surprising connection.

        • Thanks for highlighting that quote David. It really puts into perspective how time really does erase everything, through forgetfulness. It shows how each person’s forgetfulness is a small reflection of the forgetfulness of humanity.
          It really goes to show how important this, the Sakro Sawel and the Belsebuub sites really are. Being able to pull together the threads of the religion of the sun amazes me, constantly!
          It also goes to show how wrong the historical teachings we’re taught at school are. There’s always this belief that humanity is constantly ‘evolving’ (/improving), but clearly this is not the case.

          Yes, there’s much to re-learn indeed!

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