We’re off to see…

Today, we are off to where Evan’s journey in the ancient world started: in the Mediterranean Sea. Literally. He was plucked from his comfortable 21st Century home by Zeus and ditched in the middle of a shipwreck.

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Images and inspiration to write

I’ve been contemplating a new series for my blog, and coming up short with ideas. Then I had little brainwave, I wanted to show some of my favourite images that relate to the places mentioned in my books. Some I have been to, others I haven’t travelled to as yet and are on my ever-growing bucket-list. I definitely need two life-times, one isn’t enough to do all that I’d like!

thought-2123970_640

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Symbols of Easter older than Christianity

Everyone is familiar with the Easter egg and bunny, well its commercial aspect, thanks to chocolate companies creating all shapes of eggs and bunnies for the almighty dollar. Not the Almighty God in this case. Most of us would have had our fair share of purchasing and consuming the confectionery items. But where did these iconic figures come from and what is their true meaning?

Commons Free image

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Mistranslation altered meaning of ancient festival

Some years ago, when I was researching about Pandora for my short story collection Accursed Women, I learnt there was an error in translation of a word. The significance of that mistranslation changed the way in which the myth was told and, subsequent interpretations through art and spin off stories. You can read about my blog post here: Idle curiosity of malicious intent. While researching about the origins of Easter, I learnt (many of you may already know this) that the Greek word ‘Pascha’ meaning Passover was mistranslated as Easter.

Das, Vraja Bihari (2018). Power of Traditions. Yoga for Modern Age. http://yogaformodernage.com/power-of-traditions/#prettyphoto/0/

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Pagan roots of Easter

For those who have been following my blog know I am historian with a specialist interest and knowledge in ancient history. So, the content of this article may not come to you as a surprise. As today is Good Friday, I thought it would be an opportunity to write about the origins of this Holy event beginning with resurrection.

The Return of Persephone, c.1891 (oil on canvas) by Leighton, Frederic (1830-96); 203×152 cm; Leeds Museums and Galleries (City Art Gallery) U.K.; English, out of copyright

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Warning: don’t mess with the fairer sex!

Our next destination has a unique history, and perhaps the earliest forerunner of women’s liberation. Then again, what happened may raise a few brows and possibly considered extreme as to the outcome. We are off to the Island of Hephaistos/Hephaestus, today known as Limnos/Lemnos. It is one of the northern islands of Greece and not far from the Hellespont, the Dardenelles in Turkey, the famous trade route between the west and east, and also where Troy was situated.

From Google maps

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Dangerous, yet beautiful

Our next port of call is the Cycladic island, Santorini. I’ve been fortunate to go there twice and I still remember how excited I was the first time I went. It was research for my series, Servant of the Gods, but it was so much more. I wanted to see Akrotiri, the Bronze Age city that was buried when the volcano erupted but unfortunately it was closed to the public. I was so disappointed. I had travelled from Australia specially to see it, and I never got to step a foot near the place. I did later hear when I returned to Perth that someone, a tourist, was injured at the site.

Santorini Map and Travel Guide
BY C. H. KWAK
Courtesy of https://www.tripsavvy.com/santorini-map-and-travel-guide-4135202

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Where the ancient past meets the present

Moving on to the next stage of Evan’s and his companions journey, and accompanied by Plato no less. We are going to one of the busiest ports in the world, and perhaps the most ancient that is still in use. Those of you have read The Labyrinthine Journey will know exactly what port I am referring to, and for those who are ancient Greekophiles like me, will know too. It is Piraeus.
Today, ship liners and cruisers as well as naval vessels fill the three harbours, and there is constant traffic, with holiday makers visiting via big ships, or those who take the ferry to one of the many islands.

ANCIENT TOWN-PLANNING
By
F. HAVERFIELD
Oxford
at The Clarendon Press
1913
Project Gutenburg

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The birthplace of democracy – Athens

I have been fortunate to visit Athens twice, and though the second time was just a day trip, I was still excited to spend time there. I first went to Athens in 2004, the year in which the modern Olympics returned to Greece in over a hundred years. There was so much going on and travelling from the airport on the bus into the city, there was rubble, construction and mayhem everywhere. I did wonder whether the Greeks would be ready for the onslaught of athletes and spectators that were soon to arrive on their shores. Speaking with the locals, there was no doubt they’d be ready and on time for the big opening; and they were! It was a spectacular. I wasn’t there for the Olympics, and in fact it was better, as I didn’t need to wait in line to go to venues or places to eat.

Nineteenth-century painting by Philipp Foltz depicting the Athenian politician Pericles delivering his famous funeral oration in front of the Assembly http://www.ancientgreekbattles.net/…/Pericles.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7725777

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Demeter’s town

To continue with the blog series (that is hiccupping along!) I had begun last year. Click here to have a quick refresher of the infographic I created as an overview of the locations featured in my book The Labyrinthine Journey. In this post, we will be heading to Eleusis, renowned for the ‘mysteries’, and where the legend of Demeter and Persephone was ignited.

Map of Eleusis. Heritage management http://www2.aueb.gr/heritage/260.php

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