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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What to write???

I’ve been sitting at the computer for over an hour cleaning out my email inbox—I had emails sitting unread from over 12 months ago. Not a good thing, but I am hoping to keep up this year! As I was deleting, I felt bad as I had wanted to read them but just didn’t have the time. Also, it was form of procrastination as I contemplated the next article to write for my blog.

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Island Nations

The Minoans came from one place—Crete—as far as evidence shows, yet their influence stretches across the Aegean to mainland Greece. The reconstruction of the palaces at Pylos, Tiryns and Mycenae show similar structural features as did the artwork. The confluence of such occurrences was a result of trade which the Minoans were renowned. The fame of the three city-states mentioned was due to Homer and his tale of the Iliad. The era he spoke of 1300 BCE was 500 years before his time and the three cities were no longer in power.

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In the beginning…

For my next series, I’ll be delving into the world of the Minoans but before I get into this amazing civilisation I’d like to explain why. Many of you following my blog would know back in May, I published a novel called Search for the Golden Serpent. One reviewer wrote:

“This is a tale of a modern-day hero’s adventure through time travel and to ancient sites such as Atlantis, Thebes and Pylos.” Linnea Tanner

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Homer and Hollywood

I was surfing the web curious as to how many variations of Homer’s Iliad been made into a movie. What I found was surprising. A total of four movies; correction, three, one was a television series. Dickens’ Great Expectations, on the other hand, had seven movies and three television series created. I won’t even attempt Shakespeare’s works, it would be like the Roadrunner and Coyote episodes. Given that, some adaptations have been less than faithful to the original story, digressing so much the story is unrecognisable. Though to be fair, to write a script that fits into two hours to three maximum, would be a difficult task.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

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Reviled and Ostracised: the Plight of Women

‘Well behaved women rarely make history.’
Eleanor Roosevelt

Imagine yourself sitting in a magnificent citadel and outside you can hear the roar of men as they charge at each other. The ringing of swords as they clash. The thunder of hooves as horse drawn chariots race across the plain of Troy. The whistling of arrows jettisoned into the air. The cries of men as they are stabbed, slashed, pierced and hacked. The ground covered with dead bodies. The stench of blood, urine and loosened bowels suffocates and billows into the air. Ten long years you have listened and watched the decimation of human life. What could you have done? What should have you done?

Helen of Troy Lord Frederick Leighton Wikimedia

Helen of Troy
Lord Frederick Leighton
Wikimedia

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Fatal Lust, Fatal Consequences

‘What is left when honour is lost?’
Publilius Syrus

To love and be loved is the greatest desire every person hopes to have. It is human nature, written in our DNA since the conception of people. The image of stone-age man dragging a female by her hair, whether correct hypothesis or not, is a scene a few may recognise. The point is love is an illogical emotion, it makes people do things they may not normally do. Maslow understood this as he ranked it as number 3 on his hierarchy of need:

• Social Needs – belongingness, affection and love, – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.

He believed people are ‘motivated to achieve certain needs’ and when you succeed that level you move onto the next. So was Paris motivated by need or the desire to possess the most beautiful woman in the world?

Enrique Simonet (1866–1927)  Spanish: El juicio de Paris The Judgement of Paris The painting shows the Judgment of Paris, an event in Greek mythology. Figures, from left to right: The goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite, then Aphrodite's son, Eros, and Paris. 1904 Museum of Málaga  Wikimedia

Enrique Simonet (1866–1927)
Spanish: El juicio de Paris
The Judgement of Paris
The painting shows the Judgment of Paris, an event in Greek mythology. Figures, from left to right: The goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite, then Aphrodite’s son, Eros, and Paris.
1904
Museum of Málaga
Wikimedia

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A Father’s Loss

‘In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons.’
Herodotos

How does one reconcile the loss of so many offspring, the destruction of their home and the death of their people? Such personal suffering could never be healed. These events litter the history books and still wars happen. Power, greed, the desire to dominate and subjugate, annihilate are the basic premises. The cost of innocent lives, homes, cultures and humanity don’t seem to be considered as long as the end result is achieved, however one gets there. For Priam, the last King of Troy, he witnessed the end.

Death of Priam Louvre Wikipedia

Death of Priam
Louvre
Wikipedia

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Heroic Virtues Don’t Always Win

The ability to inspire and encourage others is a characteristic not many people possess. Some are born with it, a few have to work hard to develop the skill and then there are those who believe who can but have no idea how to lead. Agamemnon is the perfect example of the latter. He ruled by force and show of power. He certainly did not evoke loyalty or a harmonious union. Hektor, Troy’s greatest fighter and hero put the defence of his city and people before his own personal needs. For his bravery and virtue, he was Troy’s favoured and most respected son.

Triumphant Achilles: Achilles dragging the dead body of Hector in front of the gates of Troy. The original painting is a fresco on the upper level of the main hall of the Achilleion at Corfu, Greece. Franz von Matsch (1861–1942)  Wikimedia

Triumphant Achilles: Achilles dragging the dead body of Hector in front of the gates of Troy. The original painting is a fresco on the upper level of the main hall of the Achilleion at Corfu, Greece.
Franz von Matsch (1861–1942)
Wikimedia

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Under Sufferance

There is a terrible and nasty thread that runs throughout the history of the world—the “rape” of women and girls. Rape is in quotations as there are various definitions of the word:

• The offence of forcing a person, especially a woman, to submit to sexual intercourse against that person’s will;
• The act of despoiling a country in warfare;
• Any violation or abuse—i.e. the rape of justice;
Collins Dictionary

With regards to war, whether thousands or years ago or even today’s so called “enlightened” period, the above definition stands to be true. Women are the “spoils of war”, the male need to dominate, possess and demonstrate power runs in the face of human decency. The Trojan women did try and fight but many were resigned to their fate, raped and abducted, taken to Greece as concubines and slaves. Sadly many were killed. At a recent dig at the site of Troy, a young adolescent girl’s bones have been found, buried in a shallow grave. Evidence of the bones showed trauma and suggests the girl was killed during the siege. For Hektor’s wife, Andromache, a tragic figure in the Iliad with many personal losses, managed to survive the war.

Andromache mourns Hector's death Jacques-Louis David (1783) Wikipedia

Andromache mourns Hector’s death
Jacques-Louis David (1783)
Wikipedia

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