"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition, it does not exist in nature." -Helen Keller

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Delphi is one of Greece’s most sacred places. It is situated on the slope of Mt. Panassus, where the god Pan and his nymphs were believed to have lived. It was home to the world’s most famous oracle and was thought of as the very middle of the world.

Apollo is the god that is most commonly associated with Delphi, though there were others before him, such as Gaea, Themis and Phoebe. According to legend, the monster Python protected the site and Apollo slew him and founded the first temple there. The Pythian games were held first every eight years, and then every four in remembrance of the deed. They eventually became mostly musical performances and the winner was crowned with a laurel wreath, as the Laurel was Apollo’s tree.

Delphi was thought of as the center of the world, and that belief is based on the myth that once upon a time, Zeus let his two eagles fly around the world and the place they met was Delphi. A stone called Omphalos, the Navel, was used to mark the spot. It is currently on display in the Delphi Archaeological Museum.

Anyone who had enough money could ask the Delphic oracle a question. They had to go through purification rituals and pay a tax, but then they could speak with Pythia, who was a young virgin from a nearby village. Her head was most likely clouded by some kind of narcotic, and she would mumble incomprehensibly and then a priest would relay her message to the visitor. The fortune was always vague, ensuring that the oracle was almost always correct. The sanctuary was a very wealthy one.

An earthquake destroyed a lot of Delphi in 373 BC, including the temple of Apollo. The city-states surrounding it rebuilt it by 323, and it was then that the well-known inscriptions that read “know yourself”, “keep the measure” and “E” were made.

The Delphi Archaeological Museum has many amazing finds from the site. I’m looking forward to visiting both the site and the museum, because the place holds many legends and stories of mythology, which are quite interesting to me. This is one of the places I’m most excited to see.


Monday, December 19, 2011

a·crop·o·lis/əˈkräpəlis/ (noun)
1.      1. A citadel or fortified part of an ancient Greek city, typically built on a hill.
2.    2.  The ancient citadel at Athens, containing the Parthenon and other notable buildings.

Today I’m going to spend some time writing about the Acropolis, which is probably the most important archaeological site in Greece.

Greece has many acropolises, but the Athenian one is the most famous. It reflects the culture and traditions of 5th century Athens, and is dedicated to the goddess Athena.

The word “acropolis” comes from the meaning of the two Greek words “acros” (“upper” )and “polis” (“city”). It is situated on a plateau and is eighty feet high and fifty feet wide. It was used partly for defense purposes during war -- as a way for the Athenians to study their enemies from above. It is home to some of the most recognized buildings in history.

The Parthenon is one of those buildings. Although often mistaken as a temple to Athena, it is more of a treasury. The statue of Athena inside the building had gold clothing on it that could be taken off in time of need. The architecture of the building is extremely unique; there are no straight lines. The floor is convex and bulges up in the middle of the building and the columns around it are wider in the middle and closer together at the corners.

The Erechtheion is another famous building on the Acropolis and is also renowned for its architecture. On the south side of the building there is a porch called the Porch of the Maidens (or caryatids), which uses six statues of women as columns supporting the roof. Each statue is slightly different. The style of using human figures as columns is copied after the Erechtheion. When visiting the porch, the maidens that you will see are not the originals. They are replacements, because the originals were being destroyed by pollution. They are currently safe inside the Acropolis Museum, which is newly remodeled home to many artifacts found on the acropolis. And also on the itinerary for our trip.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Second post in as many days! Well – almost.

Today I’m going to write a little about the Theatre of Dionysus, which is located in a hollow in the south slope of the Athenian Acropolis.
The Theatre of Dionysus was first constructed in the fourth century BC to honor its patron god, Dionysus, during the City of Dionysia festival, which included on-stage performances. But festivals were not the only use of the theatre; dramatic contests were held in the theatre, where famous playwrights such as Euripides, Aristophanes, Sophocles and Aeschylus displayed their work.
As the styles of Greek drama changed, so did the theatre. It went through many phases of construction.  When it was first built, it could seat around 25,000 people, but what is left of it today (which dates back to the time of the Roman Empire) and could seat 17,000 people.
It is believed that the ancient Greek plays that still exist in recorded history were first performed at the theatre, so it truly deserves the epithet “birthplace of drama”.
In 2009 a reconstruction plan on part of the theatre began and is scheduled to be finished by 2015. So right there is an excuse to visit Greece again.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The outside of the museum

Gold funerary mask. I wrote a research paper on Mycenaean burial customs, so I'll get to see what I researched and wrote about!
 Hello, blog readers. It’s been a while.
I’m going on a trip to Greece (!!!) in May with a tour company called EF Tours, let by my online teachers. My history and Latin teachers take groups to Europe annually, and this year I’m fortunate enough to go with them. As preparation I’m checking out different places that I’ll be visiting and getting a more in-depth look at them.
Today I looked at the Archaeological Museum in Athens.
As someone who wants to be an archaeologist, going to this museum will give me good idea if it’s something I love. I really like museums and history so I’m looking forward to it.
The museum was founded in the late eighteen hundreds to house artifacts and antiquities from all over Greece. It was originally just a place to house said artifacts, but now it’s a nationally renowned museum that people from all over the world come to visit. It has artifacts dating from the prehistoric times until the time of the Roman conquest of Greece.
It has over 11,000 exhibits and six main collections; the Prehistoric Collection, Sculptures Collection, Vase and Minor Objects Collection, Stathatos Collection, Bronze Collection and the Egyptian and Near Eastern Antiquities collection. Out of these, the one I’d most like to see is the Sculpture Collection, because throughout my fist semester of Greek History this year, we studied a lot about how art changed during the different periods, and getting to see the masterpieces in person would be amazing. The Stathatos Collection is interesting too, because it’s a little bit of everything – “minor objects of all periods” is what the website reads. I’d like to see everything, though.
Though we’ll only be spending one day at the Museum, and that is definitely not enough time to see it all, I can’t wait to see whatever it is we see.
There will be more posts to come about other places I’ll be going and things I’ll be seeing.

Artifacts that were found in a shaft grave in Grave Circle A

Add caption