History is something that permeates Greece. Every town and city seems to be built upon the past, and there are often points where the ground has been peeled back to expose fragments of mosaics or marble pillars. Sometimes tiny Orthodox chapels are composed of the remnants of previous eras. Around ancient sites shards of pottery are scattered, some dating back to the Mycenaean and Roman eras - the painting still vibrant and colourful.
My love of Greece began in 1999, when I first visited the country. I went overland through Europe, taking a train from Marseilles to Ancona, and from there a night ferry to Patras. I made my way down the coast of the Peloponnese, cutting inland to visit Olympus and Mystra. In Athens I took a trip to the Cycladic Islands. Since then I have visited often and I even lived in Santorini for 3 years.
|Chapel in the North-west of Crete with Hellenic blocks|
|This one is from Ephesus in Turkey|
The above photo is from the famous ruined city of Ephesus in Turkey. I went there in 2012, part of a three month sojourn. The ruins there are well worth a visit, there are paved avenues and the remains of the ancient library are pretty impressive. Of course much of the ruins are Roman, and this piece is most likely of that era. Who or what it is I'm not sure yet... perhaps when I get around to Roman symbology!
|Pottery from Athens National Museum|
Athens National Archaeological Museum is another place well worth a visit. They have many of the Mycenaean artefacts, such as the so-called Agamemnon death mask. I make the pilgrimage there every time I go to Athens. Each time I discover some new treasure.
This simple motif (above), painted on a vase from Mycenae, portrays a design familiar to anyone with the faintest knowledge of Celtic Myth or art (see my Triskele posts, one and two). This doesn't automatically signify that the triskele originated in Greece, or even that the Celtic and Grecian motifs bear any similar significance, but it's intriguing none-the-less... especially when we see the slab below.
|Almost looks Celtic doesn't it? Actually it's Mycenaean|
|Stunning limestone corner piece from Myrna, Lycia.|
Myrna is another Lycian site in Turkey. It is part of the Lycian Way, a walking route that traces the Lycian coast and passes several amazing Lycian sites. The piece pictured lays outside the ruins of the ancient amphitheatre there. It indicates the common (Hellenic) culture (in artistic and religious forms though every region had its own tribal identity) once widespread across the Mediterranean.