Gorytos is the name for a case for bows and arrows carried by warriors on horseback. This case was made either of wood or of leather and was gold plated. Four such quivers have been found in Southern Russia and were considered as a typically Scythian piece of armour until in 1977 the Vergina quiver was brought to light. Chemical analysis of the metalwork will prove whether or not this case for bows and arrows was manufactured in a Greek workshop or not.
Gold, in Greek mythology, is connected with countries of the East: even today the Paktolos of Chrysorroa River is spoken of, the sand of which came mixed with the precious metal. Besides the gold dust of the rivers that contained silver, mineral gold was also to be found in the veins of rocks. Various sources of gold are mentioned as existing on Greek territory but all were poor and soon exhausted. The study of golden objects (jewels, coins, textiles, painting mosaics) can supply us with extensive information about the techniques used in antiquity. The various techniques that are exclusive to a goldsmith were developed quite early on (ex. filigree and granulation).
In the cemetery of Mochlos, an island close to the northern shore of Crete, there was accidentally found a treasure of jewels which offer us an excellent picture of the goldsmith's work, during the third millenium. Of exceptional importance is the diadem, with free-standing antennae. This allows us to reconstruct the form of similar artefacts that were found before previous finds and to revise our views on funeral masks. The influence of this type of diadem is evident in paintings and terracotta figurines of the late minoan period. Gold, which was rare at the time, must have been imported from Asia Minor or Egypt, although the possibility that small quantities also existed in Crete cannot be ruled out.
During the first millennium BC, Iranian speaking tribes overflowed the steppes of Eurasia, from the Carpathian Mountains to the Sinic Walls, and created a civilizatiom common to all of them which is known to us as the Scythian. Works of art, astonishing in number and wealth, most of them in gold, have been found in tombs, fortified settlements and Greek colonies. Objects made of sensitive materials, cloth, wool and fur that would normally have hardly been kept from decay were kept preserved by the Siberian ice in the tombs of Altai.
The Derveni Crater dates back to the decade 330-320 BC. It is a masterpiece of metalwork of the 4th century BC. The main body of the vase is of the passion of Dionysus shown in relief. Four attached cast statuettes adorn the shoulder of the vase. The study of the technique employed for this crater supplies us with some extremely important information about the evolution of metalwork during the second half of the 4th century BC.
The fortunes of the golden byzantine coin follow the fortunes of the Byzantine Empire. "Το νόμισμα" or "Κωνσταντινάτο", as it is commonly known, is the first money to combine the three characteristics that make it the perfect coin. It is "solidum, integrum et totum". This fact makes it internationally accepted as currency and it circulates everywhere in the then known world. During the 11th century, because of the difficulties of the Byzantine Empire, “a sickness of the byzantine currency" is spoken of. Alexios Comnenos debases the coinage. Nevertheless, the Byzantine golden coin remains a symbol, even when worn round around the neck as jewelry.
Gold is common to mosaic backgrounds in all phases of Byzantine art. After the iconoclasm it is extensively used for the creation of a unified golden background, while known examples of such a background in early Byzantine art are few and far between. Gold, due to its natural properties symbolizes in Byzantine art and literature the eternal World of God, the Divine Light and the Revelation. Thus, gold illuminates the universe with the divine light and reveals at the same time the reason common to all things, namely God. In this use of a uniformly golden background the fundamental, Byzantine view of oneness is placed on a formal, aesthetic, level.
In the early age of the coinage (approximately at the end of the 7th century BC), the prevalent theme on coins, coming mainly from the Asia Minor workshops, is of a variety of animals. The front face of the coins is later decorated with various attributes of the gods. The representation of humans is still rare until the 6th century B.C. when figures of gods enrich the repertoire of coin iconography. The satraps of Asia are the first to issue coins with human figures, symbolizing themselves. The effort for a realistic representation of the human figure started in the mid 4th century BC, and paved the road for the Hellenistic coin portrait. In the next issue: the representation of Alexander the Great on coins and the most characteristic portraits of the Hellenistic period.
Archaeometry is a relatively new discipline that applies physical, earth and biological science to archaeology. It aims at answering some fundamental questions raised in modern archaeology such as provenance of raw materials, and the dating and technology of man-made objects It is hoped that, in the long run, the elucidation of this type of questions will, eventually, lead to a better understanding of the creativity, sensitivity and overall way of thinking of the men and women who manufactured and used the artefacts we examine today.
Megisti Lavra, oldest and largest monastery on the Holy Mountain of Athos, was founded in 930 AD by St. Athanasius since called the Athonite. It is certain that some buildings in the compound as e.g. the Catholicon (main church) can be traced back to this early period. The Catholicon whose main features consist of a central core of the crossing–square type, enriched by side-apses, double narthexes, and side chapels, is considered to have served as the model for the churches of Athos in general, as well as for many more in Greece and the Balkans. The Catholicon of Megisti Lavra, together with the other Catholica, form a special type of church, whose main characteristic is the existence of side-apses, serving as special stands for choruses of chanters, hence their name of choroi, or chorostasia. The origin of this type of church with side-apses, known as athonite, provoked diverse theories. Some scholars consider this type as being an enrichment of the cross - in – square for liturgical needs, while others believe it to be a triconch or tri-apsidal type, stemming from Georgia or Armenia. But although side apses were always considered as belonging to the initial Lavra Catholicon, they have been added to an already existing building. This fact matches information given in contemporary texts. The Vita of St. Athanasius, believed to have been written about 1010 AD, states that the latter was killed by accident, when he fell from the scaffolding, while “enlarging” the church. Further research has also proved that side-chapels and outer-narthexes are also later additions. Thus, if the present complex is stripped of its extensions, what remains must be the initial Athanasian building. This rather simple church belonged in a way to the cross-type and most probably originates from Constantinople. The addition, during a second stage, of the side apses was the result of functional needs. Thus, it may be concluded that the athonite type of church was not imported but was born and evolved in the Mountain.
The censers of the Benaki Museum presented here are all copper alloys. Depending on their form, these can be put into four categories: a) Box shaped, with a lion grasping a boar on its sliding lid, from Egypt (no. 11533), b) Chalice-shaped with a hemispherical cover, from Egypt (nos. 11470, 11527), d) The so-called "katsi" type, a funerary censer with a broad handle (nos. 11469, 11402, 21502). The two first of these censers are the most elaborately decorated ones and they enrich considerably our knowledge of paleologian(?) metalwork.
Ideally the conservation / restoration of ancient copper objects should leave the patina intact for aesthetic reasons and for the purpose of better preservation. The original surface of the object (shape and size) should also be shown to better advantage. The conservation / restoration can be obtained by mechanic and / or chemical cleaning. In the case of the Benaki Museum's censers, the conservation process included the cleaning and the fixing of the objects in an air vacuum. Last they were covered with an acrylic varnish.
Determination and evaluation of the components that make a metal alloy are indispensable for the conservation and restoration of metallic objects,also determining the origin of the metal the object is made of and the workshop where it was made. It also provides some information on the technological background of the bronze foundries. We have analyzed the Benaki Museum's censers no. 21502, 11469 and 11402).
Two types of early post Byzantine ceramics have been found in Larisa: 1. Waterspots of type A. found 80-120 cm. below the present ground level. These feature a spherical belly and wide base, a narrow neck and a long spout rising close to the neck. They belong to the 17th-18th centuries. 2. Waterspots of type B. Group a. are with a spherical belly broadening at the poles of the pot, while the neck is wide and long. In Group b. the belly is strongly pressed along the diameter of the sphere and is small compared to the size of the neck. These belong to the 16th- 17th centuries.
During the later Mycenaean age (LH III B, C period, which is 13th -11th cent. BC), an intense settlement activity is observed in the geographically closed terrain of the plain of Krani on the island of Cephalonia. The clusters of tombs at Kokkolata, Mazarakata, Metaxata, Lakithra and Diakata show evidence of corresponding villages built on the slopes of the hills around the plain. The whole area most probably formed an administrative unit, a kingdom, and its Centre was the Acropolis of Krani on the innermost spot of the bay (the present Koutavos Bay). The analysis of the content of the tombs (kterismata) and the funeral ritual and customs are, for the time being, the main source of information about the level of civilization of the inhabitants and their contacts with other areas of the Mycenaean world. The complete presentation and scientific elaboration of the finds of the tombs along with the anthropological examination of the bones found in them are still an ongoing the pursuits of a research program in the area still in process.
The custom of the sacrifice of an animal, usually of a cock, on the foundations of a house but also references in popular tradition made to the sacrifice or the "building-in" of a human being, both done for the sake of of reinforcing, metaphorically, a building, are explained by a belief, common to many civilizations that the lifeless building and its surroundings obtain life through the sacrifice of a living creature. This happens because in traditional, pre-industrial civilizations the concept of space is qualitative and existential while in the industrial civilization it is quantitative and geometrically measured. The traditional man, a purely religious being ,seeks the sanctification of his dwelling where he will coexist with the divinity. Sanctification is achieved through the repetition and imitation of various deeds that god performed in some initial mythic time. The most important of these deeds is the Cosmogony, which almost in every religion is accompanied by a sacrifice. Therefore, the building of a house, as far as the religious, traditional man is concerned, must be a miniature of the Cosmogony, a belief and a need responsible for the above mentioned sacrifice.
The plan and structure of the private house has always been conditioned by certain factors as climate, local construction materials, economic potential, historic and social data. In Greece, climate was the determining factor that caused the formation of certain types of house like the megaron and the house with an atrium. The same factor must probably have been responsible for the fact that Greeks did not, in general, pay much attention to the aesthetic improvement of their houses. Having a mild, sunny weather, Greeks used to spend much of their time outdoors. Even when public architecture was in its heyday (5th century BC) the private house remained insignificant. Two main types of house plan were in use as early as 3.000 BC, the curved and the rectangular, the latter being the most popular. The megaron and versions of the megaron were among the most important of the rectangular type of building, but also the most popular since they remain in use from prehistoric times down to our days. In mainland Greece, however, besides the rectangular,the curved type of building was also in use, which started developing from the archaic period to the byzantine age and even later. The prytaneia, the tholoi and the hellenistic royal monuments testify to the popularity of this type of public architecture.
An important settlement was developed in the prehistoric period on the south coast of Thera island and close to modern Akrotiri. During the second millenium BC this Cycladic settlement was directly influenced by the Minoan civilization, so that it also showed a parallel boom of trade and navigation. In 1967 a first systematic excavation started south of Akrotiri, under the direction of Prof. Sp. Marinatos, who carried on intensively the work there until his death in 1974. Since then, the excavation has been continued under the direction of Prof. Chr. Doumas. The singular conditions under which the prehistoric settlement came to be destroyed has as a result impressive remains to have been saved and important information on the prehistoric civilization of Thera to have been preserved almost intact from natural decay and from human intervention. Although the architectural remains are in very bad condition, the fact that large parts of buildings have been preserved - in two or three stories-and the preservation of astonishing details of the buildings, often imprinted on the volcanic layer, offer to scientists a unique chance to study thoroughly a prehistoric settlement of the Cyclads. For the presentation of the settlement on Akrotiri special effort has been given to depict an the overall impression created and also to make clear the basic character of its architecture. Therefore, the relations to the Minoan architecture of Crete as well as the building details are not analyzed here. The area excavated so far covers approximately 10.000 square meters and is 100 m. away from the sea. The buildings, streets and squares that have been so far uncovered are only part of a large settlement of until now unknown, as yet, boundaries and dimensions. Thus, the information supplied mainly for the town-planning is deficient and probably not representative of the settlement. In any case, the basic characteristics of this part of the settlement are directly noticed by anyone who visits the excavation. The well-preserved facades of the one and two-storey edifices that flank the streets together with the absence of courtyards are characteristic of how densely built the settlement was. The frequent alternation of levels on the facades with projections and recesses form complicated outlines which affect and correspond to the street formation: certain parts are narrow, others wide, some even wider and form paved squares. Two groups of buildings can be distinguished on the basis of building techniques and interior arrangement: a) buildings with stone walls and wooden reinforcements, b) large elaborate buildings with walls dressed with turf.
A small town of ancient Macedonia, called Pella, was destined to become around 400 BC, the capital of Macedon, when King Archelaos decided to transfer his capital from the inland town of Aegae to the then coastal Pella. Archaeological excavations of the last 25 years have started bringing Pella to light, the town that remained the capital until the time of Perseus, the last Macedonian king. The town planning of Pella was the so-called "hippodameian", which prevailed in the 5th century BC. Most of the excavated areas belong to housing districts. Given the recent interest of archaeologists in the study of the private house in antiquity, the discovery of houses in Pella excavations becomes even more important. The private house of Pella repeats the typical plan and structure of an ancient house, the early examples of which derive from the Minoan palace. The interior of the house is more or less richly decorated - in one room, coloured stucco shows a two level decoration. Lower level: structural character decoration with tiles and imitation marble;top level: imitation of a colonnade, opening onto a blue sky - while the exterior remains simple and plain, interrupted only by the entrance and by small openings for light to enter. The Pella excavations reveal the form of the town and offer information on the social life of its inhabitants and aspects of the ancient Macedonian civilization that long remained absolutely unknown.
The founding of Constantinople in 324 AD by Constantine I established official recognition of the economic supremacy of the East on the basis of economic and political criteria. Already in the 6th century, Constantinople was a universal economic centre, a position kept until the 12th century. The wealth accumulated in the Byzantine capital was incredible for its time. As a result, the display of wealth and power found its best expression in luxurious houses. Cities of the time as far as we know, display in general, the strict town-planning of the Roman tradition. The urban house had often two, three or even four stories. The recent discovery of an early Christian house in Thessaloniki, which according to the present data must have been inhabited from the 5th on to the 9th century, proves the above remark. A quite complicated legislation decided building regulations where formation of the facade and the relation to neighboring houses were concerned. The construction materials must have been cheap, that is stones, mud and wood, since almost everything in these buildings has perished by fire. The cheap urban buildings reflect the bad economic situation. About the facades of Byzantine houses, in years of prosperity special attention must have been paid to the facades of houses. The various construction methods and the marbles, colours and mosaics employed for the decoration of façades must have been pleasant to the eye. Judging from the plan of the Thessaloniki house, the Roman concept of space organisation was still prevalent in early Christian years. The courtyard surrounded by rooms and the garden were still in use. Later, however, the concentration of too many people in the cities made such expenditure of space a luxury. The "triclinum" was the main room of the house and it was used only by the males of the family. Around this core were arranged the other rooms of the house. Some of them were exclusively used by women, others, like the kitchen, the dining room, the water closet, served everyday needs Later, when the space of the Byzantine house shrank, the "triclinium" became the substitute for more of the above rooms and their functions.
The Neoclassic style in Greek architecture first makes an appearance in the years of King Otto (1833-1862). It is first applied to the public buildings of Athens and of other urban Centres. Immediately after, private houses are built by the same architects in the same style. The Athenian State Library, the Academy, the Municipal theatre, the Polytechnic School are buildings directly related to such well- known architects of the time as Hansen, Ziller, Kaftatzoglou. The neoclassic style of the reign of Otto displays geometrically arranged masses and plain facades. Cleanthes, an architect, built villas and town houses for prosperous Athenians and established the type of the two -storied house with a tripartite facade. Among his better known are the houses built for the Duchess of Piacenza. During the reign of George I (1863-1913) the neoclassic style becomes popular and obtains a decorative character adopting baroque and rococo elements. The architect Ziller has greatly contributed to the popularity of the style by creating a type of house, which is frequently copied by colleagues of his in many provincial towns. Ziller’s pursuit has been to make a house in harmony with its surroundings and to cover the walls of the façade in a calligraphic way. The colouring of the exterior in soft tones and the painted decoration of the interior complete the character of the neoclassic house.
Athens today bears a very slight resemblance to the city it was in the 19th century, and although only 150 years have passed since the institution of the Modern Greek nation, the architectural form and scale have altered completely , while the original lay-out and the width of the streets have basically remained intact, at least in the city Centre. The old, one or two-storey houses with yard and garden and the classical style, characteristic of 19th century Athens have been replaced by new multistoried buildings. It is unfortunate that very few houses, dating between 1832 and 1860, still stand in place. The rest have long been demolished, so the chance to study and evaluate them or even to record them in drawings and photographs is gone. Thus, the research on this period depends more on official records, publications, old drawings and representations than on the buildings that survive in place of the old. However, in order to understand this early phase of contemporary architecture we must, first, have a good knowledge of Athens soon after the Greek Revolution of 1821 and also, of how the new city was developed. In addition, a great number of travellers’ descriptions and drawings dating from this period can contribute to this study. During the short period that Capodistrias governed Greece (1828-1831) the reconstruction of towns in the Peloponnese and the islands began, Athens was not included in this program, since it was added to the Greek nation only after the Constantinople Treaty and the London Protocol of 1832. The liberation of Athens basically dates from April 29, 1833 when the Turks handed the Acropolis over to the bavarian garrison on behalf of the Greek state. It is since then that the city of Athens attracts the interest not only of the official state but also of the whole world. Responsible for the first town-planning of Athens were two young architects, Stamatios Cleanthes and Eduard Schaubert, who wished to make its plan “equal to the ancient glory of the city”. Very interesting information on the houses built until 1840 is supplied by E. Stauffert – “Architect of the City of Athens” between 1835-1843 – in a series of articles published in the newspaper "Allgemeine Bauzeitung" of 1844. Beside Stauffert, many other architects and archaeologists who lived in Athens in these years contribute to our knowledge of the early houses. L. Ross, for example, notes that people did not care much whether their house was elegant or not because they tried to meet only their basic housing needs. As a result, the houses are simply built. The exterior of the Athenian house took gradually a distinctive form, which followed the principles of Romantic Classicism, prevalent in Europe since 1750. This form undoubtedly affected the urban architecture in most Greek towns. Most neoclassical houses of the early period, however simple, were well-built, they had classic proportions, and their exterior walls were either covered with plaster or (rarely) dressed with stone. The architectural decoration, depending on the economic ability of the owner, very often were kept in an Athenian tradition depending on the owner’s finances. Thus, the façade follows the rules of the neoclassical architecture, while the side facing the interior yard forms the loggia, typical of old-Athenian houses. The arrangement of the interior is simple and serves the everyday function of an urban home. We only know a few of the architects of the early houses, among them Stamatios Cleanthes, Lysandros Kaftantzoglou and Panagis Kalkos. A number of houses has been attributed to them, not always with good reason. A series of architectural plans and drawings made by Kaftantzoglou belong today to the Benaki Museum. Demetrios Zezos, one of the first architects, is more well-known as an architect of churches. Army engineers suchas Demetrios Stavridis, Th. Komninos and others have also considerably contributed to the development of Athenian architecture. Among the foreign architects, Th. Hansen, who lived in Greece from 1838 to 1846, is responsible for the work on many houses in Athens, as is also mentioned by Stauffert. In this short survey it would not be possible to present all the houses built between 1832 and 1860. However, from the buildings that have been preserved or that are known from old photographs and other relevant media, we examined the most representative ones, since they compose a fair picture of domestic architecture at this early period.
Ancient Greek furniture has not, until recently, come to the attention of scholars, probably because almost none has been preserved. Furniture differs from country to country although it serves the same purpose and needs everywhere. It is in accordance with the aesthetics and the environment, and, above all, with the tradition of each people. As a result, various styles of furniture have been created as the Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Gothic, baroque, etc. During the Minoan period the design of Minoan and Greek furniture derived from west Asia and Egypt. From the Mycenaean period and the time of Homer, however, this furniture affected by the Aegean light and the Greek spirit, started turning into pure Greek forms ; a happy marriage of Greek to more ancient civilizations. By the 6th century BC Greek furniture was entirely Greek in conception and execution. The Greek craftsmen employing their imagination and art reached perfection of form and function. This furniture served as a model for Roman, Medieval, and even for European furniture.
In the Homeric epics, Helen’s abduction by Paris was the reason for the Trojan War. However there is another version by many ancient writers where Helen is first abducted by Theseus. Theseus, king of Athens, kidnaps Helen together with Peirithous and puts her in his mother Aithra’s keeping in Afidna outside Athens On the occasion, however, that Theseus descends to the underworld in order to assist Peirithou in kidnapping Persephone, Helen’s brothers Castor and Polydeukis grasp the opportunity to free their sister. The mosaic made of pebbles from Pella depicting Helen’s abduction by Theseus is so vividly rendered that it is considered to be a copy of a painting of the subject.
The head of Herakles as it appears on the royal coins chosen by Alexander the Great raises the question for scholars whether or not this portrait depicts Alexander himself. The specialists dealing with the subject reject, on the basis of literary sources, the possibility that coin portraits of Alexander existed, since he had forbidden any other artist but Appeles, Lysippos and Pyrgoteles to portray him in any medium. In early Hellenistic portraits, Alexander is represented either as Ammon-Zeus or wearing an elephant hide on his head. In the age of the Successors, Demetrios I Poliorcetes is the first to dare have his figure depicted on coins ,one of the most beautiful idealized portraits of the Hellenistic period was thus created. The coins of Philip V and of Titus Flaminius best illustrate the process from the idealized to the personalized and realistic representation of a figure. The coin portrait of Perseus, the last Macedonian king, executed by Zoilos, has a place among the most skilfull representations, while that of Philaeterus, the founder of the Pergamene Dynasty is distinguished for its dynamic character The coin portraits of the Dynasty of Mithridates of Pontos are works of Greek engravers, emigrants to the coast of the Black Sea, who are considered to be keen artists. The series of portraits just mentioned is rounded off by a unique silver tetradtachmum representing Mithridates V Evergetes .This is regarded as connecting the realistic school with the new tendency for idealized portraits. The head of Berenice II and that of Ptolemy V, of the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. respectively, belong among impressive coin portraits. The coin portrait of Cleopatra VII is worth mentioning in which not only the features of her face are depicted but also qualities of her character are shown.
The Argos excavations, carried out by the French School of Archaeology, although less impressive in their finds than the excavations in Delphi and on the island of Delos, are equally important. The reason is that the finds of an excavated sanctuary usually do not provide us with information on the structure of a society in the same way as the finds of an entire city like Argos, which has been inhabited continuously since the end of the 3rd millenium BC. The case of Argos is exceptionally interesting because, in spite of all the invasions, foreign occupations and destructions the town underwent, it has not ceased to develop. Since 1960 however, the antiquities of Argos have been put at risk by increased building activity. This situation, that has become an emergency, forced the French School of Archaeology and the Greek Archaeological Service to undertake a common operation for the rescue of the town. They started a close collaboration on answering questions and exchanging information relating to the ancient town, resulting in better handling of town-planning problems and the formation of valid proposals pursuing the harmonic coexistence of the modern and the ancient town, These proposals can be summarized as follows: A zone of antiquities should be outlined, in which the hills of Aspis and Larissa will be included, as well as the area around the ancient theatre and the Roman baths. The area could form an archaeological park in the crowded town centre. Argos should expand north-eastwards. Last, but not least, special attention should be paid to the remaining buildings that date back to Capodistrias. These can only be preserved if the state incorporates the original function of such premises in the life of the modern town. In areas with protected buildings new edifices can be allowed under the strict condition that their form and appearance should be in harmony with the old ones. The above proposals do not seek to transform Argos into a museum-town, rather to help, so that Argos, along with development, retains its exceptional cultural character.
The ancient Greeks ate most foods. They preferred fish to meat and out of domestic animals chickens were the most frequently eaten. Larger animals were slaughtered and eaten only when they could no longer work and there was a special market for donkey’s meat in Athens. The ancient Greeks were mainly vegetarian cereals being a favourite food. They cooked wheat in different ways. It was often offered amylon, that is to say without being ground in a mill. Garlic cost more than onions did, and bulbs, roots and vegetables were great delicacies. Foods were cooked in oil. The ancient Greeks ate lots of fresh and dried fruits. There seem to have been 44 kinds of fig and 32 kinds of apple.
“Is king Alexander still in the world?” Depending on the answer given to the fish woman’s question a calm passage or a storm is provided. The mermaid is a compound of mythical forms, one of them being the Gorgon whose head, once an object of aversion, in the person of the mermaid (gorgona) becomes seductive. The Seirenes annihilate mariners and their craft in the sea between Italy and Sicily. Scylla, who sinks their vessels in the sea lying between Sicily and Messene also has influence over mariners. On the Kymi two drachm coin (Southern Italy 440-420 BC) Scylla is shown with a fish tail and two dogs coming out of her shoulder blades.
The Earth’s size and shape have been perceived in many different ways throughout human history. Civilizations that developed over the centuries formed their own theories and perception about the dimension and the shape of the earth. In the preceding pages we attempted presentations of the various theories developed by the civilizations that flourished in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Persia, seeing that Greece was culturally affected by these parts of the world. Ideas about the shape of the earth ranged from the belief that it was a simple plane, to the cyclical or rectangular shape. In Egypt, for instance, our planet was thought of as a rectangular flat surface, in Mesopotamia - Persian and Judean tradition it assumed a cyclical shape while finally in Greece “volume” becomes an attribute of the earth. Contrary to Homer and Hesiod’s (8th century BC) belief that the earth is a simple flat surface, Anaximander (7th -6th century BC), thought of it as a cylinder, the Pythagoreans as a sphere, Plato (5th-4th century BC) as cubic and, finally, Aristotle as a sphere. During the period of Christianity, the earth was perceived as a simple flat surface. According to all theories mentioned above, the earth was considered as the centre of the universe, while since the Renaissance the sun has assumed its place as the centre of the universe. Thus, the transition from the geocentric to the sun-Centred universe came about.
The Greeks were aware that the sea brings together material goods, freedom, knowledge and readiness for action. This knowledge guided Greeks at every turn of their history to perform glorious deeds in peace and in time of war. Continuously increasing archaeological data proves beyond the shadow of a doubt the importance and influence of navigation on the development of the prehistoric civilization of Greece; that of the Neolithic period, the Cycladic, the Early Helladic II, the Minoan and the Mycenaean civilization. Research done on navigation in the prehistoric age lacks written sources. The Homeric poems, documents connecting prehistory to history, describe the naval life of the Achaeans, while Linear B, the texts of the Mycenaean period ,are succinct in relevant information. Shipwrecks are also an important source, since their cargo can supply research with valuable information. Pictures of ships are found on Cycladic pottery and other art media, like wall paintings, Minoan seals etc. while the ships decorating Mycenaean pottery are briefly sketched. Ship-effigies made of clay or metal come from tombs of all periods. The fact that obsidian, volcanic glass, has been found in all the Neolithic settlements in Macedonia, Thessaly and the Peloponnese, is evidence of the existence of trade-ships, since this material could only come for the island of Melos. The sailing boats carved on Minoan seals probably depict those trade-ships in which the Cretans travelled all over the then known world. The theory of the thalassocracy (sea rule) of Crete is based on the fact that the Minoan coastal settlements were not fortified and also on the abundance of representations of ships carved on seals. Judging, however, from the evidence that pottery offers, we come to wonder whether this thalassocracy (sea rule) belonged to the Mycenaeans rather than to the Minoans. Minoan pottery has been found in Egypt, while Mycenaean pottery prevails from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea to southern Italy. The importance the sea gained in the Cycladic era is further underlined by the role ships play in the religion of the time as an object lidea; ships’ effigies have been found in tombs, a ship is included in the religious scene painted on the famous sarcophagus of Agia Triada and similar scenes with the indispensable ship-symbol decorate Minoan and Mycenaean jewelry. The most significant representation, however, is the marine wall-painting from Thera Island, telling the tale of a special kind of ritual. The impressive ships depicted there, symbols of power, cannot belong to any other but to a seafaring civilization going back centuries.
Ever since the early days of navigation, the sea offered a source of income to pirates. In antiquity, the distinction between piracy and the hostilities of sea battles in general was not always clear and this confusion continues until almost today. The means and methods of piracy, as well as pirates’ strongholds have not essentially changed throughout the centuries. When a nation seek to suppress piracy and to master the seas it should be politically and economically strong, as the examples of Crete, Athens and Rhodes can prove. Attention should also be paid to the relation between pirates and mercenaries at sea and to the financial and geographic causes that have produced these phenomena.
In an inland sea like the eastern Mediterranean, where piracy had an endemic character, the Byzantines managed to establish an effective mechanism against piracy. Both the glorious and the unfortunate phases of Byzantine history respectively, serve to mark the chronological division of piracy into four periods: a. 4th to 7th century, b. 7th to 10th century, c. 10th to 11th century, d. 11th to 14th century. A prerequisite for piracy was not onl men used to the hardships of life at sea, it also depended on adequate retreat harbours for the fitting out and repair of the pirate-ships, tolerance of the authorities of the country, and the possibility of bringing the loot to friendly markets. The chaotic situation that succeeded the capture of Constantinople by the Latins in 1204, created ideal conditions for piracy that became thereafter a general and permanent phenomenon. From the 14th century on, an undeclared war was waged between members of the Mediterranean society, that is, between merchants and pirates who were so to speak the anti-merchants.
From prehistoric times on, transport greatly contributed to people communicating through travel. Colonization and the Olympic Games opened new ways for communication between nations. Adventures at sea and impressions of journeys on land have already been described in the Homeric poems (8th century BC). Solon, the Athenian, travelled in the 6th century BC with the sole purpose of enriching his knowledge of foreign lands and people while Hecataeus, the geographer from Miletus (6th century BC) was the first to attempt to record whatever concerned an expedition in his (now fragmentary) work. Herodotus, in the 5th century BC met in his travels the people that the Greeks conquered during the Persian Wars. His work supplies us with invaluable information on these peoples’ religion, customs and behaviour, on geography and archaeology. In the 4th and 3rd centuries BC travelling had become popular with the Greeks and particularly with the Athenians. With Alexander the Great’s conquests and the founding of the Hellenistic states in Asia, the traveller’s interest was also attracted to oriental cities such as Alexandria, Pergamum, Ephesus and others. In the 1st and 2nd centuries AD the expansion of the “Imperium Romanum” gave new opportunities and opened new horizons to travellers. It was in the same era that Pausanias, the traveller, recorded in his work all the monuments and historic sites that played a role in Greek history and thus a valuable guide for modern historic and archaeological research has come down to us.
A traveller in antiquity could travel either by sea or by land. Sea travel was more comfortable but it involved quite a lot of unpredictable risks, like storms and piracy. Travelling by land was safer but at the same time more tiring and it often lasted longer. People used to carry along an entire household whenever moving from one place to the other: clothing and blankets, food, water and wine, pots and pans, bath accessories and sometimes merchandise and gifts. Besides the “official descriptions” of trips that have survived until now, a lot of information on travelling can be found in travellers’ diaries and correspondence.
The subject of this article is the book of Thomas Smart Hughes who, in 1913, accompanied Sir Robert Townley Parker on his "Travels in Sicily, Greece and Albania". The interest of the copy, recently acquired by the Library of Thessaloniki University, consists in the fact that it belonged to Sir Robert Townley Parker himself who incorporated in his copy notes, letters, etchings and engravings he had made or collected, all relating to his journey.
In Thessaloniki of the 19th century, quite a few inns were built outside the city walls and close to the railway station, like the “Korytsa” inn, the only one preserved today but not in use anymore. Here we deal only with the inn known as the “Patera” inn that was built in the 19th century and was demolished in 1979 soon after the earthquake of the previous year. It was built in the traditional way as a rectangle around a courtyard occupying 200 squ. m. In 1918, a corner of the inn was converted into a shelter for immigrants. Extensive repairs and alterations were made in 1948, which resulted in the creation of a modern hotel of European standards that stood there serving its clientele for thirty whole years, until the earthquake of 1978. The abandoned inn “Korytsa” comes down to us as it was before any alteration was attempted.
On visiting the monasteries on mount Athos the traveller is housed in the “archondariki”. The hospitality on Athos is as old as the monasteries. Visitors are offered food and shelter at the archondariki and they are attended on by the archondaris. The archontarikia are special, independent buildings, the importance of which varies according to the monastery they belong to. The main rooms are the dining room, sitting rooms, bedrooms and lavatories, the number of which are adapted to the needs of the monastery. The larger archontarikia also have their own kitchen. To avoid any contact between visitors and the monks who wait on them, the archondaris lodges at the archontariki.
The first attempts of the Greek mind to understand the nature of the universe date back to the 7th century BC. Ionian philosophers in the 6th century put these ideas into words. These Greeks of the coast of Asia Minor travelled to mainland Greece where they spread their theories. Not only did they become well-known but also they influenced contemporary art, as we will attempt to show. The column or the pillar, are known as cosmic symbols and at the same time serve as aniconic representations of the deity in the Minoan and Mycenaean world as well as in the East and in later civilizations. The philosopher Anaximander considers the earth a column with its flat top inhabited by humans. A kylix in the Vatican Museum, dating from around 550 BC, serves as a good example of the influence of Anaximander’ s theory on the pictures that decorate Laconic pottery; the composition of the cylix stands on a Doric column and Atlas carries the heavens on his shoulders; the mythical figures symbolize the two ends of the world. The pre-Socratic philosophers also gave consideration to the other celestial bodies. Thus, the stars are described as fiery cycles (Anaximander), as nails stuck in the heavens or as shoes painted on the sky. Archelaos describes the stars as flaming masses of stone or metals, while Parmenides calls them a compressed mass of fire. The sun is described by Anaximander as a shining circle, while Democritus considers it to be a flaming mass of stone or metal. In the pottery of the 6th and the early 5th centuries the representation of the celestial bodies are very popular; the sun and the moon are indicated with a disc and a crescent respectively. From the same group of cosmic symbols the Archaic disc-shaped mirrors must also originate, most of which were found in sanctuaries and were dedicated to the gods. It is highly possible that in concept and use they originally were religious sidereal symbols. What has been so far mentioned proves the strong effect the ideas of the pre-Socratic philosophers had on the Greek world of the 6th and 5th centuries BC and especially on artists of the time. The philosophic concept and description of celestial bodies changes in the 5th century, but the depiction of such things in art remains more or less popular. Anaxagoras conceives the earth as something flat and wide, while other philosophers, like Democritus, describe it as an elongated or elliptical disc with a recess in the middle, or like a drum, as Leucippus does. The idea of a globular earth prevails in Plato’s times, but it seems that it was a notion developed by the Pythagoreans. It is then that the conception of the spherical universe and of the motion and revolving of the earth are finally formulated.
The discovery and study of sepulchral tumuli at Pogoni, Epirus, brings a new dimension to archaeological research of the prehistoric age in Epirus, since this part of Greece has so far remained relatively unknown. Future conclusions drawn from the study of the tombs will prove whether this cemetery and the settlement to which it belongs relate to the first settlement of Greek tribes in Epirus, or to the descent of the Molossoi from the Northwest in the years between the Bronze Age and the early historic period. The tombs excavated so far form two sepulchral tumuli, distinguished by the letters A and B. They are located on the woody north slopes of the Koutsokrano Mountain. The systematic excavation of Tumulus A began in 1979 and was completed in 1981, the same year that the research on Tumulus B, 50 m. south of Tumulus A started. Other tumuli have also been located scattered over an area of 2 km. around Tumulus A; their size varies, while some are covered with large, irregular stones, others with earth. The existence of such an expanded cemetery that remained in use from the 10th on to the 4th century BC and after an interval was used in the early Christian age, as the finds from Tumulus A testify, points necessarily to the existence of a thriving settlement of long duration in time. The settlement was located in 1981 to the east of the large cluster of tumuli. Foundations of circular, semicircular and rectangular buildings are still visible here. Cemeteries consisting of a considerable number of tumuli – the tumuli originate from the North – are known in many countries of Northwestern Europe, the Balkans and the Dalmatic coasts. Similar cemeteries have also been discovered in Greece dating from the Prehistoric age to the 4th century BC. Tumulus A in Pogoni has a diameter of 12 metres, it is almost 1 m. high and contains 30 box-shaped tombs. The question of the origin of box-shaped tombs, which is the common way of burial during the MH and LH period in southern Greece, has not yet been answered. Most of the tombs, although looted, disclosed finds like shreds from prehistoric, hand-made pottery and parts of tools made of stone and knives made of iron. Objects and coins from an unlooted tomb date back to the 4th century BC, while the jewelry from another date in the 7th – 10th century AD and are quite close to similar finds from Albania. The Tumulus B has approximately 8 m. diameter and its height hardly reaches the 0,50 m. The tombs, that can be dated as early as the 11th – 10th centuries BC, have a spoked arrangement and are again box-shaped. The finds of Tumulus A, compared with other relevant, published material, lead us to date the tumulus in the period between the Bronze Age and that of Iron, while the Tumulus B must date earlier, that is from the 11th century BC The continuous use of Tumulus A. from the 11th to the 4th century BC, as well as the existence of a great number of other tumuli and of building foundations bear witness to a lasting and prosperous contemporary community. The group of the tumuli in Pogoni must be related to the tumuli in Illyria, not only because the sites belong to the same geographical unit but also because their tumuli have been in use from the prehistoric period to the Middle Ages. The tumuli of the western Balkans have generally been considered of northern origin, an influenced that is, by the way of burial of the tribes of the Kurgan civilization. These tribes descended from the North to the Balkans and, according to N. Hammond, reached Albania and through the coasts of Illyria and Lefkas Island moved forwards to the rest of Greece.
Ceramics have always been looked on by archaeologists as bearing witness to everyday life throughout the centuries. Byzantine and post Byzantine ceramics however neglected by the modern scholar, can very well supply us with information concerning the trade, technology and aesthetics of their time. They can help us positively with the dating of buildings and stratigraphy in an excavation. In addition, they help evaluate the tradition that puts contemporary ceramics in historic perspective. Up to the end of the 7th century AD Byzantine ceramics follow the Greco-Roman tradition. The pottery of this period falls into two basic groups, unpainted pottery for everyday use and the more luxurious “terra sigillata”, made of orange-coloured clay and glazed in the same colour and bearing an incised decoration or decoration in relief. After the 7th century AD an important change in the technique of Byzantine pottery takes place: yellow or green glazes are first employed. In the beginning of the 11th century the first examples of the incised decoration (sgraffito) appear and keep developing up to the 19th century. In the 13th century AD the incised painted pottery becomes very popular and this technique of decoration reaches high standards. In the 16th century many local workshops of glazed pottery are created and pottery becomes typified, as if mass-produced. The decoration, however, is further enriched and the painting on quite many vases imitates marble (this technique of decoration probably originates from China). In the 19th century the products of a workshop located in Tsanak Kale, Asia Minor, become very popular all over Greece. At the same time the Greek workshops succeeded to give to their pottery an exclusive, distinct character.
Special effort has been recently given to the research, archaeological finds and other relevant information that compose the history of the town-planning of ancient Chalkis on the island of Euboea. The drawing up of the archaeological map of the town and the work done in the Archaeological Museum of Chalkis will finally produce, we hope, a complete picture of the ancient town, which played a pioneering role in colonization in the 8th century BC, was famous for its workshops of metalwork and pottery and gloriously defended Hellenism during the Middle Ages. The destructions and devastations that occurred at a later time along with the modern irrational building activity have, unfortunately, extensively destroyed the ancient monuments and have distorted the physiognomy of the environment in which the ancient town was developed. An effort for the determination of the terminus post and ante quem of the history of Chalkis, that is, of its foundation and of its abandonment l transfer, has been undertaken in order to facilitate the work in process. After the early inhabitation of the Chalkis Peninsula in the Mycenaean age (15th- 13th century BC), an intense human activity develops there during the proto-geometric period (11th-9th centuries BC). All archaeological evidence , however, points to the fact that the proto-Geometric settlement consisted of four or five separate small villages, scattered on the hills of the peninsula (that of Agios Ioannis, Kallimani, Gyftika, Vrondou). The inhabitants used to bury their dead in tombs on the slopes of these hills and were a rural, reserved population without any trade activities or connections.
The article summarizes the views of Dr. Cabianca, Professor of Architecture at the University of Palermo who was asked by the Italian School of Archaeology (excavating in Crete since 1900) to draw up plans for the construction of a modern museum in Phaestos and for the organization of the environment. According to Dr. Cabianca's proposals apart from the Museum - which should include an "educational" centre hall - the site should be planted with trees so as to regain its previous aspect and help improve the condition of the monuments by supplying moisture during summer. This plan, proposed in 1976, was accepted by the Greek government. Unfortunately, nothing has materialized so far and for this reason "Archaiologia" journal introduces this excellent plan offered by the Italian School of Archaeology.
This article, the first of a series under the same title, which will examine the origin, techniques of and the restoration of mosaics, deals with the appearance of the mosaic in Greece, its development during the Roman period and its technical terms. By the term “mosaic” we usually mean an architectural surface (floor, walls, ceiling) covered by a decorative layer of tesserae fixed on a bed of a special mortar. The term “mosaic” first appears in Latin texts and its origin is probably related to a sacred cave dedicated to the muses and decorated with mosaics (muses – musaic – mosaic). The question of its origin has not as yet been answered but prevailing notions suggest that mosaics originated either in the East (Mesopotamia) or in Greece. Important mosaics have survived in Greece dating from the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The decorative themes in these mosaics are rendered with astonishing precision but the chromatic scale is limited since the tesserae used for them are pebbles in their natural colours. In the 3rd century BC not only rounded pebbles but also cubic tesserae are employed, a technique which probably came from Hellenistic Alexandria. The repertory used for the mosaics originally consisted of geometric motifs, later enriched with isolated figures and later still with complex compositions. Pliny and Vitruvius describe in detail the technique of mosaics. The tesserae are laid on a thick bed of mortar consisting of successive layers and constructed in various modes, depending on the time and place. The wall mosaics become especially popular in the art of Byzantium. Again, the constructions of the bed on which the tesserae lay varied depending on time, place, the workshops responsible for the mosaic work and also on the location of the mosaic in the building. The number of floor mosaics that has survived is larger than that of wall- mosaics, the latter being quite often destroyed by collapse to the ground due to the enormous weight of the mortar bed of the mosaic. Because of this problem the bed of the mosaic was sometimes practically nailed to the wall. Pergamum, the native city of the celebrated artist Sossos, was famous for its mosaics. Pliny describes the work of Sossos so precisely that we are able to recognize their copies in Italy. Although the art of the mosaic originates, in all probability, from Greece, it was the Romans who made it widely known from Britain to Asia and north Africa and applied it as a decorative element not only to public but also to private architecture. A wide variation of mosaic techniques is formed during the Roman period such as the opus tessellatum: a floor mosaic made of large tesserae (0,5 – 2,00 cm.), the opus alexandrium: a mosaic made of various, hard , stony tesserae, the opus vermiculatum: an especially rich in colours mosaic, the opus sectile; marble slabs arranged according to a certain plan, the opus musivum; a wall mosaic made of glass tesserae, the opus signinum; on a red background of mortar, tesserae are used to form the outline of the representation, and, finally, the emblem; a mosaic exhibiting a central representation framed by geometric motifs or by an opus tessellatum.
The Nativity is an icon of the Cretan School belonging to the first post-Byzantine period of painting. It is on show at the Byzantine museum. There seems to have been a great variety of pigments used in the painting which the authors of this article analysed. Infrared photographs were taken with refraction of the light source. The painting was also examined through a metallographic microscope and electronic microanalysis which confirmed the findings. The great variety of colours in the painting in due mainly to the mixing of different kinds of yellow ochre with lead white. Umbers and siennas which are normally used in icons have not been used here. Almost all pigments that were identified were widely in use during the 15th century without being exclusive to those times since they have been in use almost to our day.
There were two kinds of javelin throwing contest in antiquity. The far-shooting contest and the contest of aim. Runners ran in the stadium, they also ran the double course, they raced on horseback, there was the long course and the race where athletes ran wearing armour. Women also ran races. In the long jump athletes held weights, the alteres, the better to improve their balance. There were two kinds of wrestling match; upright wrestling and wrestling on the ground. Other main contests were the pentathlon, the pancration (a combination of wrestling and boxing),and chariot races. There was the four-horsed chariot race, the four-wheeled chariot race, the two-horsed, the chariot race with four colts and with two colts. There were contests held with athletes on horseback. Such races were the race of perfect racehorses, the racing of colts and the kalpi, a race on horseback where at some point the rider jumped off the horse and ran alongside the steed to the end of the course.
The establishment of the Olympic Games in 756 B.C. coincides with radical social changes that led to the creation of the city-state which gradually evolved from the kingdoms of Homer’s time. Ancient Greece, dates back to the Olympic Games in fact, rooted on older traditions going back to the Minoan, or even earlier ages. In the background of the Olympic Games lie a great number of religious beliefs and rituals, quite popular in the eastern Mediterranean during the Neolithic age, which are brought to Greece via the Creto-Mycenaean culture. The nucleus of this religion l theology is the cycle of renewal in nature – succession of life and death - of the world, the societies and their leaders. This theology brings along with it a feeling of security; it gives answers to man’s role in the universe, to his destiny, and places him under the protection of gods and heroes who secure biological renewal and social revival and continuity. Thus, the athletic competition becomes, for mortals, a medium for complete fulfillment. The Panhellenic games are the most impressive part of athletics that comprise nudist, equestrian, poetic and music competitions, found all over Greece during the time of the city-state. The Greek games can be analyzed as follows, on one hand they gave to the participants the chance to express their vital dynamism in a noble competition, which, however, cannot be regarded as an exclusive characteristic of the Greek civilization. J. Huizinga has proved that fundamentally emulation of heroes like Hercules and Theseus comes with all forms of contest, even with the deeds of heroes like Hercules and Thesaeus, who are often confronted with beasts and monsters. Athletic games involve athletes who compete according to rules and undergo a long training. On the other hand, they symbolise a complete range of the imaginary relations of humans with the universe. Finally, the games are a decisive element for the structure and function of the community, since through them, a positive approach to community elements is achieved. This role is particularly obvious in the Olympic Games, where athletes from all Greek cities - even those at waswar – are gathered to participate in a religious and peaceful competition. The Roman games originated in Etruscan and Italian tradition. Although they were influenced, in their evolution, by Greek ideas, they retained their own character and have developed their identity. It is interesting also to mention the lawn-tennis played in the pre-Colombian societies of Central America. In this game, with an old and clear religious meaning, only the aristocracy had the right to participate. The playground symbolized the universe, the ball and the players symbolized the sun and the stars respectively. The simple people, members of the community, were not allowed to play but only to watch. The game was the symbolic representation of the macrocosm and it guaranteed regeneration, renewal and “perpetual return”. As Mircea Eliade points out, the aim is one and the same: “the annulation of time past, the abolition of history through a continuous return in ill tempore, through the repetition of the act of creation”.
Athletic games like boxing, wrestling and bull-leaping seem to have been indispensable to every religious feast in Minoan Crete. These games are often shown on ritual objects – found in special locations that have been considered as sanctuaries – like the conic, sotone rhyton (c. 1500 BC) from Agia Triada. Being a very characteristic example, it is decorated with scenes of boxing, wrestling and bull-leaping in relief. The most popular and hazardous game was bull-leaping, which in all probability originates from bull-catching. Various phases of the game are represented on the two famous golden cups from Vapheio, Laconia, on show at the National Museum. The numerous representations of bull-leaping in Minoan wall-painting and minor arts give us a clear picture of the actual game: the athletes participating (men and women) seized the running bull firmly by its horns and while the animal tried to toss off its human burden, they were launched in the air risking a jump over and across the back of the bull. The best representation of bull-leaping is the so-called ‘toreador fresco” (c. 1500 BC) in Knossos. It is not certain, however, whether this game bears any relation to modern Spanish bullfights. Bull-leaping, wrestling and boxing passed from the Minoan over to the Mycenaean world. Mycenaeans introduced, most probably, the race and chariot races to athletic games and were the first who organized athletic competitions on funerary occasions, events that are represented on funerary Mycenaean monuments and are so brilliantly described in the Homeric Poems.
The reconstruction of the so-called “Priest – king” from Knossos is one of the most popular figures of Minoan art. It is made up of three ancient fragments of painted plaster (the crown, the torso, the left leg); the other parts are modern, painted by inference. When A. Evans uncovered the plaster fragments in 1901, he wrote that they belonged to different personages and “the torso may suggest a boxer”. This theory seems to make sense. Anatomical observation of this torso shows a contracted powerful musculature and the left arm that has ceased to exist is definitely in a lifted position as the pectoral muscle is raised. These observations allow us to conclude the torso was one of a boxer resembling the many athletic representations engraved on the Boxer Vase from Agia Triada. The lily crown belongs to another personage, perhaps a priestess (like the one on the Agia Triada sarcophagus). The painted reliefs of two athletes boxing in the Palace of Knossos were surely the model for the “boxing children” fresco in Akrotiri at Thera.
The Panhellenic festivals offered the ancient Greeks the opportunity to express their unity in origin, tradition and language. These feasts and games took place in four major sanctuaries, commemorating past achievements of heroes and of the illustrious dead. Thus, in Delphi the myth of Apollo who slew the dragon Python – symbol of a prehistoric earth deity, was the nucleus of the festivities, in Nemea the games honored the dead royal child Ophelites or, according to another version, Hercules. In Isthmia the hero honoured was Melikertes, while in Olympia the athletic games commemorated the victory of Pelops over the old King Oenomaos. Periods of peace were proclaimed throughout the country to facilitate the gathering of Greeks in these four sanctuaries. Each Panhellenic feast had a distinct character; in Delphi, for example, the peaceful noble spirit of Apollo, patron of the arts, presided while in Olympia the games were held under the auspices of Zeus, the potent father of gods, so that mind and body were trained and exercised in the use of weapons, a means of vital importance for ruling. The symbolism and ethics of the Greek ideal served later as a substitute for the funeral character of the games. Thus, the Olympic Games stood for the cult of physical and mental effort and of noble competition that led to virtue and perfection.
Panathenaic Amphorae, the Attic vases offered as a prize to the winners of athletic competitions held during the Great Panathenaea, form a distinct group, which, for almost ten centuries (6th century BC to 4th century AD), has been enriched with hundreds of samples. They are decorated with black painted figures on a light background while the details are rendered with incision and red and white paint. This technique remains in use until the mid 5th century BC, when its rival, the red-figured style, is definitely adopted. However, the black – figured decoration will exceptionally continue to be used on the Panathenaic amphorae, the “official vases”, a tradition that will prevail even in the Hellenistic period. The decoration themes are strictly prescribed and their arrangement on the vase becomes typical. The goddess Athena, in a warrior’s pose, is depicted on the front side, while on the back is represented the athletic game in which the athlete has won. While, however, the rendering of the goddess is dry and stylized, that of the athlete is free and natural and expresses the contemporary art of the times. In the evolution of iconography it can be observed that in early works (6th century B.C.) Athena is represented in a warrior’s pose turning to the left, while later, at the end of the 6th century, she is flanked by two Doric columns. The 5th century amphorae have been decorated by great artists of the red-figured style, who are distinguished by their personal style in design. The 4th century introduces a number of innovations, most important of which is the inscription of the name of the so-called “Eponymos Archon” on the front face of the vase, which serves as an indisputable chronological evidence. Along with the name of the archon also appear his symbols and attributes. From 360 BC to 50 BC, the figure of the goddess turns to the right. At the end of the century the attribute towards athletics and their content is changed – the result of the game counts more than the competition itself – and consequently the representation of the athletic games is altered: the ideal athlete image is gone, the old vigor and grace are lost. During the Hellenistic and roman period the overall appearance of Panathenaic amphorae degenerates reflecting the decay of the times they belong to.
The hippodrome was the centre of social and political life in Constantinople. It was there that the Emperor was proclaimed and dignitaries were welcomed in official ceremonies, there that revolutions broke out, executions, pillories and military triumphs took place. The hippodrome as architectural concept is a combination of the Greek stadium and the Roman arena.It owes to the latter both its structure and symbolism. The most popular show in the hippodrome was chariot-racing, taking place either regularly or on fixed dates or marking happy or disastrous occasions to sweeten the crowds. Beside chariot-racing, the hippodrome was the place for various athletic games like wrestling, boxing, hurling, also for shows and public spectacles in which actors, mimes and acrobats performed hunting and battle scenes etc. Moreover, the hippodrome had a rich cosmic symbolism; it symbolized the universe, while the chariot-races symbolized the circle of life and consequently the continuous renewal of the universe which culminated in the person of the emperor, the representative of God on earth, who ruled the universe-empire. All this symbolism resulted in reinforcing the power and authority of the emperor. Furthermore, the four municipalities representing the people of Constantinople and the symbolic colours for their distinction and identification – green, blue, white, red – reflected the social structure of the capital. Thus, the hippodrome can be defined as the symbolic representation of the social and political situation of its times.
In the name of Christianity, the Byzantine emperors ordered the destruction of ancient temples and sanctuaries and banned all activities that might promote the ancient spirit and culture. From the 18th to the early 19th century, however, Europeans seek to return to the ancient origins and archetypes of their civilization. Thus, in 1874, the German excavations under E. Curtius begin in Olympia, while in 1883 Pierre de Coumbertin, a young French ideologist, becomes conscious of the importance of athletics in the upbringing of youths. Since then, he commits himself to revive the Olympic Games. The first International Olympiad takes place in Athens in 1896 thanks to the persistent efforts of de Coumbertin. However, the approach to the Olympic Games and appreciation of them couldn’t be more different nowadays; in antiquity the glory of the winner in an Olympiad accompanied him for the rest of his days, today it lasts only as long as he holds a record.
Norbert Elias, in an article published in the “Actes en Sciences Sociales” no 6 Paris 1976, deals with violence in athletics, a characteristic that distinguishes modern from the ancient Olympic Games. For the overall appreciation of cultural phenomena in societies of the past, one has to carefully study relevant theoretical, ideological and methodological questions, since any “research on a social phenomenon remains incomplete if not related to other characteristics of the social structure to which it belongs”. The author concludes that violence is conditioned by” inner” factors, innate in a society as well as by “outer” ones, determined by the relationship between societies. Therefore, the notions of defence as combat, the notion of self-defence also the social status of an athlete relate to one another and can explain violence in athletic games, since violence is fundamental to the biological existence of human beings.
The first urban centre was created around 800 BC., when the inhabitants of small scattered villages gathered together and founded the first organized settlement. This new town of the late geometric period was located in Agios Stefanos Bay, which became the town harbour and a centre of navigation and commerce. Metalwork and pottery developed. At the same time an intense movement of colonization is observed to the North (Macedonia, Thrace) and the West (Italy, Sicily) is observed.Up to 600 A.D., that is, for fourteen centuries, Chalcis flourished and declined at the same location around Agios Stefanos Bay. The effort of the Department of Antiquities of Euboea undertaken at the moment is to determine the successive phases of the town planning development and organization of ancient Chalcis. The decade 610-620 A.D., when the ancient town is abandoned and transferred to a neighboring location on the hill dominating the Euripus strait, is considered a crucial historic landmark. The new, small town l fortress, the “Castle”, is fortified and thus a suitable harbour for the royal ships is secured. It is suggested that the transfer and the fortification of coastal towns such as Chalkis, Monemvasia, Corfu etc. belonged to a broader defense plan of the Byzantine Empire, attributed to the Emperor Herakleios (610-641 A.D.). This plan aimed at control of the sea, a goal to be achieved through the reorganization of the royal navy and the resistance against the Abars and the Slavs. Fortified harbours ensured the inhabitants’ safety and made possible the mooring and supplying of the fleetwith provisions The new choice of position proved successful and the new fortified town of Chalcis became in the Middle Ages known throughout the east Mediterranean Sea as the “Castle of Euripus”.
The Gennadius Library is named after the diplomat and bibliophile Ioannis Gennadius (1844-1932), who 60 years ago donated his distinguished book collection to the American School of Classical Studies on the condition that the School would hold these books in trust for the Greeks and operate a library, accessible to the international community of scholars. To house the collection, the School constructed in 1923- 1925 a building in the Neoclassical style with the aid of the Greek Government and the Carnegie Corporation. To assist the enrichment of the collection, which originally numbered 26.000 volumes and now comprises over 70.000, the association “The Friends of the Gennadius Library” was instituted in 1964. The Gennadius Library, which is also a research institute offers to scholarship, through its rare collection, a wide range of items and topics referring to Greece: classic authors in first editions, editions of works of the Church Fathers, travellers’ descriptions, a rich collection of archaeological editions of the 18th -20th century, Byzantine texts, an impressive number of volumes on the Greek Revolution (1821 – 1829) and on Turkish history (1470 – 1500), a unique collection of information (archives, works of art) on the philhellene Lord Byron, modern Greek Literature. However, the most important possession the Library holds is its archives, like that of Ali Pasha, of the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann and of the music conductor Dimitris Mitropoulos. Moreover, the Nobel-prize winning poet Odysseus Elytis has recently donated his papers to the Library in appreciation for its distinguished contribution to the study of Greek culture. The Gennadius Library is not only archives, books, catalogues and stacks but also an alive and active educational nucleus: the series of lectures and exhibitions held there verify this additional cultural character.
Pottery as an artistic medium not only survived the fall of the Byzantine Empire and Turkish rule but it has also achieved a rich and impressive production both in quantity and quality. Post-Byzantine potters have adopted the traditional Byzantine techniques in making and decorating their products. Two main types of decoration are employed: the painted and the incised one (sgraffito), while the colours prevailing are the green and ochre (yellow-brown). The decorated area is glazed with a colourless varnish. The ceramics, even when coming from the most remote Greek workshops, display common characteristics in form and decoration, since even in post-Byzantine times they closely follow tradition. This tradition was so strong that the foreign influence from east and west affected only few workshops. The examples illustrated here represent Athenian workshops of two periods, from around 1650 to1750 and from1750 to 1850.
The earliest acroteria known appear in Greece in the 6th century BC. They are decorated with floral motifs, representations of animals and mythological figures like Hermes, the goddess Athena etc. More popular, however, are the anthemia that are painted, in low relief in front . The acroteria remain in use until the end of the roman period, they then reappear as architectural decorative features in the 19th century, the age of Neoclassicism in Europe. In this new phase they decorate both aristocratic and humble houses in Athens and other urban centres. Their form and decoration seems closely related to the ancient acroteria, while they are arranged together more densely.
"Let Herakles be his name" proclaimed Apollo, the god of sun and music: this was the starting point for the creation of a popular mythology related to Herakles, a mythology that distinguished him as the most celebrated among Greek heroes. An unknown, so far, quality of the hero is presented here: Herakles patron of miners. In this role, he is represented lying comfortably in a mine and facing the miners. He looks as if he is saying: "Come on you, humans, what is all the fuss and difficulty about? I, alone, could have done more and better work". From the complete representations shown here, four were found in Thassos, one in Laconia and one in Iran.
Different types of mosaic appear in Roman times where at the same time artists specialize in a particular skill. So, we can see the pictor imaginarius, who paints the different subjects, the pictor parietarius, who transfers the painting from the cartoon to the surface which is to be decorated by the musivarius (for walls and ceilings) or the tesselarius (for floors) with the tesserae. We give here some names of artists who signed their work; some are Greek, others are Roman but their works spread worldwide; Amitaion, Amiteius Quintus, Antaios, Anthos, Apollinaris, Asklepiades, Blastos, Cecilianus, Dioskourides and others. The materials used for mosaics are: pebbles, natural rocks cut to cubic tesserae, enamel tesserae, gold-glass tesserae. As binding materials were used: lime, pumice, marble and ceramic dust (sometimes egg was added). At the end of the 19th c. portland cement is widely used.
The conservation of works of art includes their restoration and preservation. Control over environmental conditions in Museums is quite a new science which is not as yet included in the history of conservation. The basic reasons for the deterioration of works of art (in museums and galleries) are three: 1) strong light and UV radiations 2) pollution of the air and 3) humidity. The situation in Greece is not brilliant, for the moment, but we hope to see some improvement as countries reconsider their role in the preservation of historic monuments and of works of art.
Two years ago, in 1980, Peter Stein brought the Berlin Schaubuhne’s production of the Oresteia to the theatre of Epidauros. This production of Aescylus’s trilogy was very controversial as indeed was Peter Hall’s recent production. Peter Stein’s production lasted for nine and a half hours. Preparations for the production took seven years. The trilogy was translated into prose with the advice of specialists in ancient Greek literature. The play was put into words sounding like modern Greek. No reference was made to the modern world but the emphasis was more on the archaeological than on the theatrical aspects of the trilogy. Four posters were given out instead of a programme, one for each part of the trilogy, (Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides), and one for the Oresteia as a whole. The posters are visually very pleasing, and by their reference to the literary and archaeological side of the Oresteia, add greatly to the performance.
Around 2000 BC, along with the first great palaces in Crete a kind of writing appears, bearing a similarity to Egyptian hieroglyphics and deriving from ideograms. The form of hieroglyphics on the Phaestos disc (1700-1600 BC) is the main example of this writing and marks the transition towards linear writing. Linear A writing (1700-1400 BC) is pre-Hellenic and has yet to be deciphered. Linear B is the Mycenaean Greek language used by the Achaeans from 1450 BC onwards. It was deciphered by J. Chadwick and M. Ventris. The Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, to which however they added vowels.
The appearance of writing in the eastern Mediterranean (Mesopotamia and Egypt) was the result of a social-economic evolution. The "invention" of agriculture around 8.000 BC brought along with it a social-economic revolution on which society as we know it is based even today. It caused the creation of the first settlements and, later,that of cities, the appearance of craftsmen (potters and silversmiths) and of the class system in its first form . The fact that man, for the first time, was accumulating "capital" - in the form of food - which was administered by a political-religious centre, palace and priesthood, contributed to this evolution. In order that this administration might operate, an accounting system became necessary from which writing derived. Consequently, writing was not a natural but a cultural phenomenon. It appeared in Mesopotamia and Egypt in the 4th millenium BC in the form of ideograms and phonograms. The phonetic alphabet of the Phoenicians originated from phonograms and was solely based on consonants.The Greeks completed this alphabet by adding vowels and created, thus, the first "modern"alphabet from which the Latin and the Slavic alphabet is derived.
Pliny the Elder gives a blow-by-blow description, not always correct, of the processing of papyrus from the homonymous plant of Egypt. He also refers to the various qualities of papyrus available on the market. Other sources give information on the selling prices of this writing material from the Classic to the Roman age. The ancient papyri that havecome down to us are mainly from Egypt but also, in a smaller percentage, from Palestine and Mesopotamia. Only a few papyri have been discovered outside these countries. The most important papyri found in Europe are the cylinders from Herculaneum, Italy, discovered in a rural villa along with a collection of fine sculptures during an excavation in 1952. Greek papyri have also been discovered in the Persian Kurdistan, in Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan, in Doura- Europos, Mesopotamia, as well as in caves around the Dead Sea, Palestine. The Greek soil has supplied papyrology with few papyri. One, of the mid-4th century B.C., was found in Derveni, 10 km. north of Thessaloniki, in 1962; another, of the mid-5th century B.C., the oldest, so far, example of Greek writing on papyrus, was found in a tomb at Daphni, Attica, among other offerings (see Αρxαιολογiα 1, Nov. 1981, p. 85). The expedition of Napoleon the Great in Egypt stands as a landmark for the study of ancient texts and Egyptology. However, until the second half of the 19th century, the study of Greek papyri was considered a secondary discipline, subordinate to Egyptology. The great number and significance of papyri, discovered during the three last decades of the 19th century, thanks to the systematic excavations of European archaeologists gave every right to the famous Romanist Mommsen to state that if the 19th century is known as the age of inscriptions, the 20th would be known as the age of papyri. The numerous editions and studies of papyrus texts set the foundations for a new self-contained and self-sufficient science, that of papyrology.
Soon after the invention of writing, man attributed to it a symbolic meaning by using its elements in order to define various actualities. Thus, ancient Greeks used the letters of the alphabet as distinctive signs for many objects; judicial and theatrical tablets, law chapters and chapters of books, offerings in temple inventories etc. Quite common was, in addition, the use of painted or incised letters or architectonic members for the correct matching of dressed stones. This tactic is significant to us; on the one hand it throws light on the various construction techniques and on the working scheme of the ancients, proving the logic and care involved in their architecture. On the other hand, this tactic reveals the way letters were used in the numbering systems known to Greeks. Apart from the alphabetic and the decimal, other empirical arrangements of numbers were used.
We owe the ancient texts we possess today to the persistent efforts of copyists of all ages, who supplied their intellectual clientele with exact copies of older manuscripts. The actual copying, a challenge in itself, became even more problematic and demanding, when the prototype was old with faded or destroyed writing. The transition from papyrus to parchment and from the majuscule to minuscule writing (9th century AD) were crucial moments for the survival of texts; the new medium and technique demanded special knowledge of older writings and a critical mind during copying. Copying normally took place in organized workshops, where the old manuscripts to be copied were gathered, necessary writing material was provided and the selling of production was guaranteed. Eventually, various technical problems would appear but the invention of new media soon rescued the situation. The writing material originally used was papyrus but its sensitive character and difficulties in provision of it led to the wide use of parchment from the 3rd century. Finally, the industrial production of paper made the use of both, papyrus and parchment impractical and disavantageous and put this new material exclusively into use from the 10th century down to our days. The invention of printing in the 15th century did not bring copying to an end. Te calligraphers continue to exercise their skill either because the provision of printed books was difficult in certain areas or because the request for certain texts had only a limited character. Every manuscript, beyond any other value it may possess, also stands as a unique work of art, sealed with the personality of the individual copyist, who devoted his time to an activity that perhaps was non-creative for him, but invaluable to us, the copying of old manuscripts.
The evolution of Byzantine writing from the beginning to the end of the Byzantine empire, that almost coincides with the invention of printing, is briefly surveyed in this article. First, the origin of Greek writing in capitals as in Attic inscriptions, is studied and the ways of thinking that led to the formation of two types of writing, official and regular, everyday writing, is examined. The majuscule writing in capitals developed from the static form of inscriptions to the biblical majuscule writing that remained in use until the 10th century. In the last phase of the evolution appeared the odinata et inclinata majuscule and the odinale diretta writing. The latter affected the liturgical rotondo majuscule writing of the Gospel. Minuscule writing appeared in the 8th to 9th century. The phases and types of its evolution can be classified chronologically in three periods from the 9th to the 11th, the 11th to the 13th and the 13th to the15th.
This article deals with the “abuse” of writing in juridical documents during the byzantine age, which by the West has been considered as “the age of forgery”. Through the forgery of official documents and juridical texts the author examines whether the content of this term also applies to the East. Justinian legislation classified the documents on the basis of their provenance into private, public and notarial. Needless to say private documents could more easily be forged. For this reason, when a case of dispute about the authenticity of a document arose, the law demanded full proof of its authenticity. In Byzantine legislation certain provisions on legal procedure and penal laws were comprised referring to forgery as a punishable offence. A forgery – falsum in the Roman law – did not, however, only mean an altogether forged or the copying of an authentic document as is the case today. The term also applied to a whole series of criminal acts that had as common characteristic the mere fact that they were punished by the same law and formed, in a way, a procedural unity. Beside forgery as such, placed under the same serious category of criminal actions were deceit, the appropriation of documents, bribery of a judge etc. Judging from the severity of the punishment – exile and confiscation for free citizens, the death penalty for slaves – these acts must have been considered as severely criminal. As far as the aetiology of the phenomenon is concerned the most satisfactory explanation so far is the one that reasons that the effort of a suitor to gain a trial by forgery a disguised act of violence, where a kind of special mental ability replaces physical force. In this context, an act of forgery appears as a form of self- redress in certain social groups. Such citizens having secured, especially from the 13th century on, a minimum of land property and having some sort of an education fought tooth and nail to keep these possessions even though endless trials from disputes might ensue.
Since the early years of their civilization, Greeks travelled and met people of the East, an important source of knowledge and inspiration. New knowledge and experience mainly affected pottery, a basic and essential art that is representative of the age it was made in. Thus, the 8th century B.C. is the "Geometric" and the 7th century the "Orientalizing" period. Also from the East, Greeks brought home the Phoenician alphabet which altered and most probably developed became indisputably Greek in character. Thus, from the mid-8th century B.C. Greeks have written in their own alphabet on the pottery they created: Vessels of everyday use that, according to the celebrated archaeologist Pierre Devampez, "played the role magazines play today". The content of the pottery inscriptions varied: it indicated the use of the individual piece, it identified the owner, it supplied titles and names, it simply recorded the name of the artist, potter and painter of the vase or the words spoken by the represented figures. Therefore, inscriptions on vases come down to us as a vast source of information on one of the most important ages of art and civilization in Greece.
Writing served ancient Greeks as a medium for the expression of thought, for the communication of important public texts and for the keeping of various archives. Greeks mainly wrote on wood, papyrus, linen material, parchment, wax etc. Inscriptions are generally classified as public and private ones. Due to the immense expansion of the classical world, ancient Greek inscriptions can be found in the entire Mediterranean, the Black Sea and even in the remote areas of Asia Minor. They range chronologically from the beginning of alphabetic writing to the end of the Hellenistic Age. Varieties of the written word in the Archaic period are incredibly rich. Local varieties of certain letters of the alphabet I are due to different versions of the phonetic alphabet. None of the Greek alphabets of the Archaic years retained the exact form and the phonetic value of any of the twenty-two letters of the Phoenician alphabet. Writing gradually evolved into three forms; verse, columns and "boustrophedon".
Stickers, the television screen, writing used over and over again as in seals or in graffiti, art produced by the body or on the human body, all these are new forms of scripts redefining the fine arts. In Postal Art artists and art lovers communicate directly by post without intermediaries, in an exchange of drawings, photographs, or ideas without the intervention of galleries or collectors. On one level this exchange could be a simple greeting saying “hello here I am, where are you?” On another level it is an artistic communication demanding creativity, self-confidence and the ability to communicate with an audience that one cannot actually see.
In 1974 a book called The Faith of Graffiti was published in the United States, written by Norman Mailer and illustrated by M. Kurlansky and J. Naar. Here we present six photographs with captions that bring to graffiti the attributes of an almost holy writ, compares the movement with that of rock and roll and places it in the avant-garde of the young street culture that took off in the 1950s.
Drawings of Greek monuments by French architects belonging to ENSBA the French school of fine arts in the years 1845-1937 were recently exhibited in Athens. The “First Grand Prize” (Prix de Rome), led the most qualified students of the French school to the Prix de Rome expeditions. Scholars who qualified for these expeditions stayed at the Medici villa for four years and studied one Italian monument each year drawing up plans and reconstructing the monuments on paper, making detailed blueprints of each monument. The only obstacle that stood in the way of the Greek expedition was the spirit of Romanticism leading the young men East as in the case of Delacroix. The expedition was finally approved on the 15th January of 1845.The young architects stayed at the French School of Archaeology in Athens which was founded on the 11th of September 1846.
Drawings which were brought to the public out of the Library of the Paris School of Fine Arts should be seen as characteristic of architects whose reconstruction of monuments is in the same spirit as any architectural design. Architectural drawings, whether these are reconstructions or plans for buildings are ruled by the same techniques and conventions. In both cases the available information defines the latitude the architect is allowed.The working process is also similar both to reconstructions or in blueprints for a new building.The drawing of plans is the final stage which is also the most important both to reproductions and in the designing of buildings.It is worth mentioning that all Prix de Rome winners who reconstructed a monument on paper identified with the architect who originally designed the building 20 centuries ago.Three tendencies can be seen as crucial to the work of the architects who took part in the Expeditions. a) a methodical research and gathering of exact and detailed evidence around their subject, b) the strikingly beautiful murals that resulted , which are more painterly than architectural, and c) the rationalism in the architects’ designs which seem to belong to a new architectural assignment rather than to the reconstruction of a monument.
This article records impressions from a very interesting exhibition of drawings made by French architects of the 19th and 20th centuries that was recently on show in Athens. These architects, as many others of their colleagues, students at the Ecole des Beaux- Arts in Paris, holders of scholarships of the French Academy,and then living in Rome for four years, started coming to Greece in 1845. The purpose of their stay was, in collaboration with the archaeologists, to submit to the Academy a complete study of a monument. The study comprised the full and detailed record of a monument in its "actual state", its reconstitution, (plan, view in perspective, sections), and certain significant details of the edifice in large scale drawings. The portfolio was also accompanied by an appendix that clarified its contents. Distinct, tendencies worth mentioning in the drawings of these young architects are: the care for a strict methodology, the excessive attention paid to "actual state" drawing and the research for "rational spaces".
150 years ago the overcrowded modern Greek capital, occupied by three million inhabitants was a modest town of 4.000 people. The rapid and irregular growth of population is primarily responsible for the problems Athens faces today, since the town-plan and mechanisms for organization and function proved inadequate to serve the needs created by such growth. In the 15th century BC, the mythic King Cecrops laid the foundations for the city of Athens – and consequently of Attic civilization – on the Acropolis hill where later, in the Mycenaean period, Thesaeus, another mythic king, subordinated all the settlements of Attica under a central power. As Athens developed, the main public functions were concentrated in the Agora, which became the nucleus of the city, while religious life was located on the Acropolis. Certain laws affecting the future of Athens in a positive way were made by Solon around 600 BC.The annexation of the opponent city of Eleusis played an important part , while an impressive work of architecture and town-planning, the New Agora, started to materialize. The tyranny of Peisistratus, in 560 BC, brought a boom commerce and shipping which lasted until 508-507, when Cleisthenes restored democracy. In the years of Pericles (460-429 BC) democracy continued to evolve in a perfect tripartite scheme; elected citizens as legislative assembly – the Parliament, the judicial power – the Hiliaia court. The increased power of Athens, that emerged triumphant from the Persian Wars and expanded its boundaries through colonization, seriously bothered rival towns, Sparta and Corinth. Thus, the Peloponnesian War (431-404) came as a natural result of Athenian expansion and ended with the destruction of Athenian supremacy and the complete victory of Sparta. Throughout the 4th century, Athens tried in vain to regain its diminished power which, of course, was unable to resist Philip of Macedonia. In 228 BC Athens was on good terms with the Romans, but in spite of this compromise, the celebrated city did not avoid destruction by Sulla in the 1st century BC. Although destroyed by the Romans, Athens continued to be an intellectual and educational Centre with famous schools attended by young people from all over the empire. The high esteem in which Roman emperors held classical civilization benefited Athens finally in the 2nd century A.D. The emperor Hadrian improved the living standards of the city with a series of public works, temples etc. The fall of the Roman empire had a bad effect on Athens that was once more destroyed by the Eruls in 267 AD. However, the final blow to the city of humanism was given by Christianity. In 529 BC. the Byzantine emperor Justinian banned every activity of the philosophical schools and either closed down or altered to Christian all the pagan temples. From 1205 until the Turkish occupation the city was successively ruled by various foreign invaders. The Turks occupied Athens peacefully and through the privileges assigned to the city, they contributed to its development. In 1687 the Venetians under Morozini destroyed Athens once more and the city was temporarily abandoned by its inhabitants. Better days came in the 18th century, when commerce and handicrafts came to Greek hands. In 1833, two years after its liberation, Athens was proclaimed capital of Greece and hence a new phase for its development commenced. The first town-plan of Athens was ready in 1833 but never fully materialized. However, the basic axes of the present town-plan were drawn up and the main squares were formed. The period between 1909 and 1950 were years of war and internal political upheaval and of change that in every way greatly affected the development of the city . Both Greek territory and the population became more than twice as large and new urban and commercial Centres were created.
Athens was unique among all other city-states of ancient Greece in its search for achievement of the perfect social and democratic system of administration. The rural character of production in Attica led the classes that were in possession of the means of production into a perpetual struggle with the slaves . Therefore, for the sake of peace among the classes, the establishment of a central state organization became necessary. Kingship was succeeded in government by an oligarchy formed of aristocrats while legislative and judicial bodies were formed to reinforce stability. The increasing powers held by citizens in politics contributed to the progressive decrease of the power of aristocracy in government. In timocratic government, a version of oligarchy, political privileges were assigned to citizens who wished to exercise public power on the basis of their income. The introduction of certain radical measures by Solon, like the annulment of debts, the consolidation of land, the ban on mortgages and the development of commerce changed the relation of citizens to private property and increased general welfare. However, the social division brought about by Solon based on economic criteria resulted in the creation of rival factions distinguished by their places of settlement. Finally, Peisistratus, the leader of the “mountainous” faction installed tyranny, a form of administration that endorsed one man with absolute power, including, nevertheless, certain democratic elements. However, Cleisthenes contributed greatly to the establishment of democracy by introducing the institution of local self-administration, which stands until today as one of the foundations of democracy. Thus, the fifty deputies elected from each of the ten municipalities of Attica and constituting the body of the “Boule” as well as the democracy-defending mechanism of ostracism extinguished the power of aristocracy and guaranteed the smooth functioning of Democracy.
The history of the theatre began in Greece with the cult of Dionysus. This cult came from northwest Asia Minor and despite reactions, it was finally accepted and introduced to Attica in the 6th century BC. The rural character of the cult was apparent in the ritual that displayed a cyclical dance performed by men disguised as satyrs,singing the dithyramb. The festival of the Great Dionysia was held in Athens annually in honor of Dionysus, where performances of drama narrating the life and cult of the god were included in whch the main role was played by the chorus. This was the situation until 534 BC when Thespis introduced tragedy and the first actors (hypocrites). By the 5th century, when tragedy achieves a social status, three actors performed on stage, while the chorus commented on their actions and sayings. The religious character of drama gradually diminished and the three great tragic poets, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides produced plays financed by the city. The roles were exclusively played by men wearing masks. The theatrical performances were initially staged in the orchestra of the Agora and later in the theatre of Dionysus at the foot of the Acropolis. The development of comedy also related to the cycle of the dionysiac cult running a parallel course to that of tragedy. Aristophanes, its main representative, drew the material for his plays from his contemporary everyday life and reality. Tragedy as theatrical form died out in the 4th century, while comedy continued to be performed and reached its peak in the Hellenistic period. The "new comedy" under Menander gave to theatre its final form, lasting until today.
The cemetery of Kerameikos on the west boundaries of Athens was in 479 -8 B.C. divided by the Themistoclean walls into two parts, the one included inside the city walls, the other lying outside. The Greek excavation of 1871 brought to light the landmark of Kerameikos, with the inscription ΟΡΟΣ ΚΕΡΑΜΕΙΚΟΥ. In 1913 the Greek government conceded to the German Archaeological Institute the right to excavate the site. The excavations that followed gave impressive results and brought to light finds like the “Pompeion”, the place where the vessels used in the Panathenaic Procession were kept, the Dipylon, the sacred gate, the tomb of the Spartans who were killed in the battle of Piraeus in 403 BC, and last but not least, the most important necropolis of Attica of the Geometric period (10th to 8th century BC). This first phase of excavation lasted until 1930, while a second one was resumed in 1956. Seven thousand shards inscribed with names of Athenians sent into exile, a building decorated with rich terracotta ornaments as well as other finds that echo the everyday life in ancient Athens belong, among others, to the second phase of excavation. The portable archaeological finds were exhibited in a small museum founded in 1936, and enlarged in 1963. Furthermore, the site of Kerameikos was properly arranged so as to regain, as fully as possible, the aspect held in antiquity. Trees and bushes were planted to mark the topography and the wild vegetation that destroys stone and especially limestone, was pruned. Needless to say, the major factor responsible for the deterioration of limestone is atmospheric pollution, especially high in the area, due to the neighboring gas factory that produces CO2. Inscriptions that survived for centuries have suffered severe destruction during the last thirty years. Only the small-scale monuments that have been kept in the museum will be rescued. Therefore, the German Archaeological Institute has undertaken a “rescue project” by safeguarding the small monuments in the museum and replacing them in the open air by exact replicas. Unfortunately, the museum is inadequate in size to accommodate the great number of valuable items and thus the need for its expansion has become more than urgent.
The Dipylos wine-jug (750-735 BC) has brought to us the most ancient example of alphabetical writing and it took its name from the workshop of the “Dipylos craftsman” belonging to the late geometric period. The workshop’s chief craftsman specialized in memorial,funeral urns which were put as markings on graves at the Kerameikos cemetery.The wine jug’s rounded surface is decorated with horizontal bands of script and on the jug’s neck there is a picture of a slender deer, grazing.On the dark zone of the jug’s shoulder the inscription starts to appear, incised and not written, and it reads from right to left. 47 letters taken from the north Semitic language form words that cannot be separated from each other.The letterX which does not exist in the Phoenician alphabet, here makes its first appearance.The first of the two sentences is easily read. “Whoever out of all the dancers now dances with more grace”.The main part of the sentence that follows is almost illegible.It seems to be a reasonable assumption that the vessel was a prize for the best dancer, later to be put on his grave as a funerary gift.The inscription echoes Homeric verse not only because of its epic vocabulary but also because of the verse it is in. The line in.the first sentence is in the dactylic exametre while the second sentence is in the adonian metre.The variation in verse is similar to that found in the second most ancient inscription in existence, carved on a cup belonging to the late geometric period coming from Pithei kouses (Ischia, Southern Italy) dating from around 720 BC.Freed of any sacred character writing spread like wildfire with the dawn of the 7th century BC.
Hadrian’s Gate, a characteristic monument of the city of Athens, could be easily incorporated and function in the life of the modern city. The necessary modifications for this accomplishment are simple; the neighboring street pavements could be properly marked so that people passing by could feel that they were accessing a distinct zone; certain axes to and from the Gate could be stressed by three alleys; furthermore, the entrance to the site of the temple of Olympian Zeus could be transferred to the axis of the Gate. These simple modifications are easily realized and would reassign to Hadrian’s Gate its original symbolism, that of the boundary between old (Acropolis) and new city (lower city).
This article attempts to discuss critically certain negative aspects of the refurbishing of the historic monuments of Athens. Change of usage of a historic building during restoration often destroys the building’s architectural potential, especially when the inner layout is thoroughly modified and when integral parts of the initial design are ignored. In Athens, where property is an investment, the issues of conservation of buildings, of their restoration and incorporation of traditional buildings into their surroundings must become the object of serious study. Where the current approach to the making-over of old buildings is concerned integration of a building or of a group of buildings into the town plan should be guaranteed for the more effective perpetuation of architecture as an element of self-knowledge for a nation.
The marbles of the Acropolis, the symbol of the city of Athens, apart from other causes of deterioration have heavily suffered recently from the onset of atmospheric pollution hanging over the Greek capital. The text that follows is based on the report of the Professor of the National Technical University Th. Skoulikidis made during the International Conference on Environmental Pollution, held in Thessaloniki between 21 and 25 September 1981. Emphasis has been given by the editor to the part concerning the effects of atmospheric pollution on limestone and especially on marble. There are six main kinds of limestone and marble deterioration caused by atmospheric pollution and its attack: 1. Water freezing and expanding in the fissures thus causing the stone to cracking. 2. Erosion caused by suspended particles. 3. Biodeterioration. 4. Marble cracking produced by the corrosion of steel clamps and junctions introduced either during construction or, mainly, restoration. 5. Attack by acids contained in the atmosphere that, combined with rain-water, result in dissolution of the stone. 6. Attack by SO2 that, in absence of rain water, creates a gypsum formation (sulfation) on the stone surface. The study of the latest case, that of sulfation, proved that the sulfated film on the marble surface contained 80-97% gypsum, while the thickness of gypsum film measured by a new method, the “pin probe method” – that of Prof. Skoulikidis’ group- was found 1-15 mm. The comparison of ancient statues in their present situation to old photographs or modules made ten to sixty years ago, led to the conclusion that the severe deterioration started twenty to twenty-five years ago, a period that coincides with the intense industrialization of the area of Athens and, consequently, with the increase of pollution. Moreover, it was observed for the first time that the sculpture details have been preserved, as if printed, on the thin gypsum film.
Museums in Athens of archaeological and other interest, are presented here.
Melina Mercouri answers questions put to her by Andreas Ioannides.Sartre’s saying that “socialism is a kind of humanism”, and the position taken that social change is something irreparably bound to the cultural development of a country,determine the ministry’s objective,namely that of restoring a national identity to Greek matters of culture, of promoting democratic procedures ,and of bringing a socialist administration to Greece, including the parts of the country that are outside of the centre.This policy reflects on all matters of culture,on museums,the theatre, the arts, the cinema, music, and literature.Museums are conceived as places that instruct as well as entertain, as for archaeology, “this”, the minister adds, “is something that brings a kind of self-knowledge”.
Greek inscriptions present a rich variety in content since they refer to many aspects of the public and private life of the ancient Greeks. The information they supply demonstrates, corroborates or establishes the relevant texts of ancient writers. The fact that an inscription is almost always an original document makes the information supplied exceptionally valuable and often unique.
The techniques that are in use nowadays for the restoration of mosaics vary,depending on whether the mosaics decorate a wall or floor. We are dealing here with the restoration of floor mosaics. Floor mosaics usually make their appearance in the course of an excavation and soon thereafter the restoration work commences; cleaning of the surface, drawing of its decoration, recording of its status in photographs. In the next phase, a strong fabric is pasted onto the mosaic surface to stabilize and hold together its tesserae. Thus, the mosaic is ready for the next step, to be taken if judged necessary; detachment from the ground. The cleaning of the bottom of the mosaic follows and then the mosaic either is placed on a specially prepared bed or is fixed in frames, in the case of its being transferred to a museum.
Koufonisi Island, covered today with sand and bushes, lies close to the southeast shore of Crete. From the Middle Ages until today there is no mention that the island was ever inhabited permanently. However, scattered ancient remains brought the island to the attention of the English admiral and traveler T.B. Spratt in the mid 19th century. His itinerary and visit was repeated by the English archaeologists Bosanquet and Curley in 1903 and by the American A. Leonard Jr. in 1970. The definite conclusion all the above travelers reached was that Koufonisi was identical to the island Lefki of antiquity for which the people of Itanos and Hierapytna were contending, as it is referred in the famous “Inscription of Magnetes” of 112-111 B.C. Excavations and archaeological research have since 1976 taken the responsibility to answer to the questions obviously leading to the above conclusion and the result is undoubtedly impressive: An entire theatre that could have housed a thousand spectators, a temple still containing fragments from the colossal cult statue; two private houses with 17 rooms decorated with mosaics and colourful walls, a system supplying water to the city through a series of vaulted cisterns and built pipes, a Minoan acropolis, cemeteries, and last but not least, the city of Lefki itself. Thus, slowly but steadily is unveiled the short but impressive presence of this small island near eastern Crete. Judging from the finds so far one can say that Lefki, being one of the major Centres of processing and trading in purple, a symbol of authority and economic power, soon became the object of rivalry among its neighbors. A series of diplomatic intrigues and fights had occurred over the dominance of this prolific island. Later, when its sources of prosperity were depleted, the people of Lefki were exterminated through arms and fire. An invasion in the 4th century A.D. burnt the historic island to the ground. On the basis of the existing ruins, the importance it had for its neighbors and the fact that it was never again inhabited after its destruction, we may describe Koufonisi quoting a western journalist as "the Delos of the Libyan Sea".
The Monastery of Hagios Nicolaos Dilios was built in the 13th century AD on the island of the Lake of Ioannina and was decorated with superb frescoes in 1543. The frescoes of the Catholikon are important not only for their artistic quality but primarily for their iconography. The 23 scenes of the narthex dedicated to the Life and Death of the Virgin as well as the iconographic relation of a number of scenes with the miniatures of the 12th century manuscript of Jacob Kokkinovaphos contribute to the unique character of this wall-painted humble church. The number of scenes places the monument among the three first of Orthodoxy exhibiting such a rich cycle of the Life of the Virgin. While the close iconographic relation between the frescoes and the manuscript, ranging from characteristic details - such as the youngest son of Joseph in the scene of the arrival of the Virgin at the House of the Elect - to entire scenes - such as the thanksgiving prayer of Anna - distinguishes the painting of the narthex as a "direct" successor of the tradition of the manuscript. The case is of exceptional importance since the two works were executed in areas distant from one another (northern Greece - Asia Minor), in different media, in the 16th and 12th century respectively. Moreover, we lack until now any intermediary work of painting that could serve as a link in time or space between the miniatures and the frescoes.
For many years it has commonly been accepted that the prehistoric settlement of Manika occupied the entire peninsula of the same name five kilometers north of Chalcis at Euboea. A part of the settlement’s cemetery was excavated in 1904, but, until recently, the location of the settlement itself had not been identified. The excavations of 1982 were carried out far from the peninsula in three distant spots (see map). These uncovered well-preserved Early Helladic buildings (at a depth of 0,20 m), private dwellings and a workshop (2). The surface prospection in the excavated areas also located buildings of the same period and thus the existence of an early Bronze Age town extending on at least 200-250 acres beyond the peninsula was proven. The expansion of the town was probably due to the maritime, commercial and technical activities of its inhabitants. Furthermore, 21 vaulted tombs have been recently excavated in the area. They were carved in the hard rock and they are similar to the tombs excavated in 1904. The cemetery of Manika covers a wide are and dates back to the early part of Early Helladic II and also to the last part of the Early Helladic III period. The tombs are water-tight and display human skeletons in cross-legged positions and a number of burial offerings, most of them originating from the Cyclades and the East. There are imported vessels, products of exchange in the Aegean area. The tombs of the rich are distinguished from those of the poor by their construction and the quality of offerings they contain. Most of the vessels found in the tombs are absent from the settlement. This can be either incidental or due to the burial customs dictating that only precious, imported vessels could serve as offerings. However, the tombs are monumental and prove, in a way, the prosperity of the inhabitants of the settlement, that flourished during the Early Helladic II period. The Helladic character of the settlement and the cemetery of Manika is clear although the relation held with the Aegean and the East are obvious. After the recent archaeological finds, the theory that Manika could have been a Cycladic colony no longer seems to be correct. Manika was an important settlement through which bronze and obsidian was imported to Euboea, Boeotia and probably to Thessaly. The Neolithic settlements of Euboea were communicating with the Aegean area from the 4th millennium BC. The civilization of Euboea in the Early Helladic II period can be considered as the successor of the culture of Attica – Euboea Kephala, a part of the wider Aegean civilization of the last Neolithic age.
The collection of the Historic Ethnologic Society of Greece comprises, among its other exhibits, a number of figurehead prow-statues from ships used during the Greek Revolution of 1821. The prow-statues, carved by specialist craftsmen who had their workshop close to shipyards, probably originated not from Greece but also from workshops located abroad, like Trieste, where a Greek colony prospered. Distinct among the prow-statues of the collection is the so-called “Themistocles” from the ship that went by the same name, belonging to the Hadji-Janni Mexi family from Spetses. Carved on a trunk of a coniferous tree, the statue consists of a central and three adjusted parts. We are dealing here with its restoration and aesthetic presentation. After a prow-statue was carved, it was painted with minium (to be better protected from sun and sea) and then with colours. However every time the ship was repaired, the prow-statue was also repainted and, as a result today, certain statues display seven to eight successive layers of painting. The damages of the “Themistocles” can be classified as follows: 1. Damages caused by prolonged exposure to sun and sea that destroys the painted surface. 2. Wood decay caused by wood-eating microorganisms, like termites and moths. 3. Damage caused by the mutability of environmental conditions. 4. Damage caused by rusty nails. During the course of restoration the successive layers of overpainting were removed and the original painted surface was uncovered. The metal nails were replaced by wooden ones, while for aesthetic reasons, the damaged, lost parts of the wood were replaced with polyurethane resin. Finally, the wood underwent a preventive insecticide treatment. An aesthetic presentation of the restored prow-statue followed; where it was judged absolutely necessary, the statue was painted with water-colours so as to regain more or less its original overall effect.
The oldest settlement is that of Stavroupolis and presents us with finds of the Neolithic period while other settlements are of the Bronze and of the Iron Age. The settlement of Mikro Karabournou mainly belongs to historic times. We can presume that the area occupied today by Thessaloniki and its suburbs, the present coast of Chalkidiki, was uninhabited in the prehistoric period. A systematic excavation in one of the locations that once formed, according to Romaios, ancient Thermi casts light on the “dark” interval of the city’s history, that is, between the iron age and the time of Kassandros. The settlements of Macedonia, in general, were in the past the object of study of the English and French Archaeological Schools.Recent excavations in the area of Thessaloniki are carried out by the German and English Archaeological School, respectively in Kastanas and Assiroi, prehistoric settlements of the Bronze Age. The settlements have the formation of a steep or smooth hill as noted also in the Balkans and in the Near and Far East. This formation comes from residues of permanent and continuous residence in combination with various geological factors throughout many centuries or even millenniums.
It is considered certain that the city founded by Kassandros in 316 BC was located on the site of the Thracian city Therme, mentioned in written sources since the 5th century BC. The only archaeological finds from Therme were discovered around 1930 during an excavation at the junction of Krystali and Antigonidon Streets and belong to the temple of Thermaios Dionysus. These are the only remnants of the Thracian predecessor of Thessaloniki, while a Macedonian tomb and parts of fortification embodied in the walls represent the Hellenistic city. During the Roman period, the city was expanded through the erection of many public buildings, thermae and temples, while the Agora, consisting of two continuous squares was founded in the mid-2nd century AD. The entrance to the lower square was decorated with sculpture reliefs, preserved today in the Louvre and known as “incantada”. During the years 1963 to 1971 the Odeion, the eastern stoa and a double cryptoporticus on which the south stoa is based were excavated in the area of the upper north square. Around 303 to 311 AD Thessaloniki became the capital of Galerius, one of the tetrarchs, who embellished the city with fine monumental edifices: the hippodrome, the palace, an octagonical public building, nymphaea, a triumpant arch and last but not least, the Rotonda, the official imperial church.
At the end of the 4th, or,as some believe, during the middle of the 5th century, Byzantine fortifications were built, serving the purpose of warding off successive raids by the Goths,the Ostrogoths, and later by the Huns.As the 4th century came to an end, it was marked by a bloody slaughter at the Hippodrome with thousands of victims.The Hippodrome was now closed, never to re-open.The affluence and radiance of Thessaloniki of the 5th century was due to the city becoming a centre of trade and commerce, also a centre of administration and a religious centre, a place the Pope staked his claim to.The city boasted a mint and an armoury, it was then that local workshops for sculpture and mosaics flourished.The Rotonda is an excellent example of mosaics.The Acheiropoiitos is the oldest and best preserved church in the East.It is a triple-aisled,royal way Basilica.The early Christian Basilica St.Demetrius, must have been either three-aisled or five-aisled, with a transept or cross-aisle.A famous mosaic of Christ can be seen at the chapel of Osios David. This chapel was formerly the church belonging to the Latomos monastery.
Constant raids turned the city into a haven for refugees.The earthquake of 620 AD was only one reason for the city decreasing in size and becoming partially farmland.It is indicative of this state of affairs that in the 7th century the church of Hagia Sophia was three times smaller than the basilica that had existed on the same spot before.By the 9th century the city had again become a force in finance and trade, it also became a centre of missionary activity.In the beginnings of the following century Thessaloniki was besieged by Saracens.This however did not stand in the way of the city becoming a military station and a place of transit for trade.
War was being waged on the Bulgarians in the Middle Byzantine city of Thessaloniki of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.Vassilios made the city his military headquarters,and in the great moments of military triumph that followed, the church of the Virgin of Halkis was built with the Ascension of Christ depicted on its central dome.During the first campaign against the Normans the city becomes Alexios Komninos th 1st’s headquarters.At this time, the city is already a melting pot of nations .Its inhabitants number over 100.000, while the central market is reminiscent of an eastern bazaar. This prosperity is cut short in 1185 by the incursion of the Normans.During the 13th century the city keeps a precarious political balance between the Bulgarians, the empire of Nicaia and the prelacy of Epirus.Painters from Thessaloniki,the greatest centre for the arts during Latin rule, work in Serbia, perhaps even in Bulgaria.Contact with the west, trade and the development of small businesses encourage the growth of a middle class.It seems that the “Nymph of the bay of Thermaikos” (the name that Thessaloniki goes by), thrives as it sways between the Western and the Eastern worlds.
The creative literary output and renowned monuments of the “Paleologan regeneration”, are the product of political turbulence in times when the class of the “powerful” (the dynatoi),staked their claim to a share of imperial authority.In times of political instability and civil wars, before surrendering to the Turks in 1430, the city of Thessaloniki would change hands more than once.The people revolted against the dynatoi,the zealots won in this confrontation, and the city for about one decade (in the years 1342-1350) would be self-administrated.In the same years an open debate would be carried on between Gregory Palamas on the side of the Hesychasts and the western scholar monk Barlaam, in the quieting controversy.In 1303 the chapel of St.Euthymios in the church of Saint Demetrius was decorated, and the murals, comparable to those painted by Manouel Panselinos on Mount Athos are considered a definitive example of the Macedonian school.Shortly after, an exceptional example of architecture was built, what today is known as the church of the Apostles.Once the Zealot movement had been put down,the Monastery of Vlatades came to be built, the small church of the Metamorphosis of the Saviour was also built near Καmara ( the Arch of Galerius ) in Thessaloniki.
The earthquake of 1978 had a terrible effect on the monuments of Thessaloniki and their already bad condition further deteriorated. Poor preservation, a result of natural decay and of previous earthquakes had not been properly faced up tountil then for two main reasons, the high cost of such such an operation and the lack of an adequate number of specialized staff in the Archaeological Service. Both factors made the settlement of the accumulated problems especially difficult and proved the weakness of the Greek Archaeological Service as regards the undertaking of efficient restoration on the monuments of Thessaloniki. Finally, the responsibility for restoration works was reassigned in 1980 to the Ephoreia of Byzantine Antiquities in collaboration with the Service for Restoration of Monuments. For a better performance the Ephoreia was generously financed and manned with scientific and technical staff. A number of studies on restoring certain monuments was worked out between 1978 and 1980 while thereafter the whole operation was carried out on both theoretical (studies) and practical (restoration work) levels.Hard-gained experience of restoring the monuments of Thessaloniki imposed the need to consider the problem on a panhelladic scale. Most monuments in Greece bear more or less serious damages and present restoration presents problems to which the financing and the organization of the Archaeological Service are not able to respond efficiently. Therefore, effective measures must be taken, such as planning the restoration of monuments on a panhelladic scale, manning the Archaeological Service with all necessary specializations, considering the preservable monuments on a new legal base depending on their status (private, ecclesiastical, public buildings etc, creating in Greece post-graduate studies on restoration of monuments, finally, the serious issue on the preservation of monuments to be included as a first priority governmental program.
Man has always adjusted his surroundings to his needs and aesthetic values. The connection however between man and environment, existing monuments and the space around them used to be more balanced. The features of the modern city, however, have deteriorated due to the urgent needs and the rapid changes of contemporary life. If monuments are to be preserved and regain their multiple functions we are obliged to choose between two alternatives, either to exclude them from the life of the modern city, treating them as respectable works of art or to revive their original social function so they can again contribute to the city's life and improve, in their way, the standard of living. If one is to choose the second alternative , then the respect for the unique character of the monument must prevail, that is, the preservation of the entire atmosphere from which the individuality and the distinct character of each monument depends.
This article refers briefly to the relation Thessaloniki has with Bulgarian, Serbian and Russian civilisation. Emphasis is given to the spread of the cult of St. Demetrius to the Slavic people and to the effect it has on their lives. In Russia, along with the cult of St. Demetrius, the worship of St. Alexander of Thessaloniki is widespread. Thessaloniki as an artistic Centre plays an important role in the civilization of Serbia during the Middle-Ages, while its relations with Bulgaria and Russia are periodic and casual.
After 1430, when Thessaloniki was conquered by the Turks, the city follows the destiny of the rest of enslaved Hellenism. The settlement of Spanish-Jews in the city in the 15th century creates a heterogenous and mixed population, also consisting of Moslems and Christian Greeks, that becomes a determining factor in the city's development. The post-byzantine churches, representing the art created under Turkish rule, served as nuclei for the religious and communal life of Christians. Thus, churches form a group of monuments of the same historical period and belong to the type of three-aisled basilica with a timber roof. This style prevails throughout Greek territory in the 18th and 19th centuries. Church interiors are decorated with wood-carvings, indispensable to every post-Byzantine church.
Under Turkish rule, Thessaloniki was one of the most crowded and important cities of the empire. Almost until the end of the 19th century, when the city entered the phase of development and modernization, Thessaloniki did not expand outside its walls. Thus, building activities were limited. Consequently the changes in the city 's form covered only the emergencies created by successive fires. The three communities forming the population of the city, each with its specific character,resided in their own quarters in different areas and had their own educational, charitable and commercial institutions. The Turks inhabited the upper city, the most beautiful and spacious area. The Greeks the Southeast segment, the Jews the densely populated neighborhoods of the central and lower west side of the city. The Turkish administration had the intention,although not the ability, to impress on the distribution of land and on the form of the buildings a strictly arranged social system by controlling even the height or the colouring of the houses or the restoration and embellishment of the churches. The commercial centre was located in the southwestern area, where each guild had its own quarters, while the administrative Centre was located in the upper city, occupying almost the same place as the Byzantine town centre around the “Konaki” which was the seat of the Vali in Thessaloniki. During all these centuries of building anarchy, the ancient “layout” of the streets did not disappear and thus many modern avenues were opened in the old traces. The walls underwent many restorations and their gates were modified, but their outline and form, that of the Byzantine period, were preserved almost until 1870 when certain parts were demolished. The city included numerous Turkish buildings of religious and charitable character, while after the mid-19thcentury, monumental edifices were erected reflecting the influence of the European architecture. A number of djamis have been preserved, such as the Hamza Bey Camii of 1467 – 68, the Alaca Imaret Camii of 1484, the Yeni Camii of the early 20th century, as well as other public buildings, such as the Bay Hamam, an impressive double bath of the mid 15th century, an inn and some fountains in the upper city; there also stands the characteristic Turkish house of the 19th century where the great leader Kemal Atatürk was born, and finally the Bedesten, a large, rectangular, vaulted stone-built edifice, once the very Centre of the marketplace, where even today certain shops are housed. Most of the buildings mentioned so far were built during the first two centuries following the Turkish occupation, in the period of early Ottoman architecture or in its classical phase. Of course, they cannot compete in size, quality and decoration with the buildings of Constantinople and the other important Centres, especially since in the case of Thessaloniki, the most important djamis were but altered old Christian churches (Rotonda, Acheropoietos, Hagios Demetrios, Hagia Sophia). Nevertheless, they serve as notable examples of provincial architecture and they eloquently speak of the historic part of the city.
After Constantinople,Thessaloniki was the second most important economic and political centre of the Byzantine Empire. Located on a curious crossroads, the city was connected on the one hand with Constantinople and the East “via Egnatia” and with the European West through Dyrrachium; and on the other with the Northern provinces of the Balkans through main and secondary roads that formed an important transportation network. This privileged position contributed to the promotion of the city to one of primary economic importance, not only in the Balkans, but also in the whole empire from the 9th century on. Since the 4th century AD, Thessaloniki has functioned as the storehouse and distribution centre of Balkan products. Even later in the 13th century, when the territory and the power of the empire decreases, Thessaloniki keeps a dual economic character, agricultural and urban. After the Turkish conquest, however her economic significance diminishes and her population shrinks. The thriving, crowded city that in the 12th century numbered 100.000 people, was in the 16th century inhabited by only 20.000 people, a heterogeneous mixture of Greeks, Turks and Jews. This phase of decline did not, however, last long and Thessaloniki, slowly but steadily, regained her old pace and rhythm and became again, in the late 18th century, a prosperous city of 60.000 people and the economic capital of the Balkans. This fact in itself has largely contributed to the creation of the Greek middle class and consequently to its Balkan counterpart. It can also be held responsible for the first serious diversification in the social structure and led to the cultural and national awakening of the Balkan people.
The continual daily destruction of traditional settlements, of the old, historic nucleus of the towns and of preservable monuments is to a certain degree due to the lack of a modern legislative framework that would potentially protect and exploit the cultural heritage.Immediate measures to be taken include modernization of legislation, motivation for owners of protected buildings, the full manning of the relevant service of the Ministry of Culture and Science and, last, but not least, the proper education of the population on the vital subject of the preservation of the architectural tradition of their city. The Upper City This used to be the Turkish quarter of Thessaloniki, presently spoiled form through irrational alterations that altogether neglected the distinct features of the area. However, some examples of representative buildings that belong to various architectural styles and range, chronologically, from the years of Turkish rule down to our days, have been preserved. The Lower City The increase in population, the very location of the commercial Centre and the fires of 1870 and 1917 have had their effect on the development of the form of the Lower City. The remarkable town-planning of Thessaloniki, that was worked out by an international committee was never fully realized and, until 1919, underwent a series of alterations. The area exhibits a wide variety of buildings that express the international trends and tendencies of architecture: commercial passages shops, offices, etc. are affected by the neoclassicism the eclecticism, the Art Nouveaux etc. The Eastern Area The destruction of the eastern walls and the economic boom resulted in the expansion of Thessaloniki towards the eastern districts, those of the “Countryside”. Villas and middle-class houses, among which prevail the “towers” that led their name to the area, are built. Also the buildings here do not belong to a certain architectural type but present a combination of neoclassical style with elements of eclecticism and often with Ottoman baroque decorations. Well-known architects create remarkable and impressive private dwellings, while at the same time hospitals and public buildings are erected in the area.
The "Gardens of the Pasha" are located outside the eastern walls of Thessaloniki, behind the hospital "Agios Demetrios". Of what has been preserved until today from this inventive garden there remains a spring in the middle of the gardens and around it a tunnel, a cistern, a low gate giving access to an underground area and to a raised seating area. The whole group dates back to 1904 and serves as an example of creative architecture closely resembling Antoni Gaudi's Güell park (1900- -1914). Such inventive architecture shows creativity and original thought and lacks any historical or social characteristics. It makes a change from traditional architecture as well as from the eclecticism of its time because it does not belong either to known architectural codes or any commonly accepted forms.
The mayor, Mr Th .Manavis answers Andreas Ioannides’ questions.What effect does decentralization of government have on the local, decentralized culture? How does the local administration affect the arts in the city and how does it relate to the archaeological services? In a city that is known for its many important monuments what role would you like these monuments to play? The second most important city of Byzantion has no Byzantine museum.Would you comment on this?And what about the cultural life of Thessaloniki. How would you like it to evolve?
During the second half of the 19th century the architectural style in Europe shows a pluralism known as eclecticism or historicism. What gives eclecticism its distinct character is that for each type of building, a certain historic form, a style, is selected so that the function of the building can be easily recognized from its exterior. Often, however, motifs and elements of various styles are combined on the same edifice.In Greece the period 1880 to 1922 is characterized by a tendency towards eclecticism and Thessaloniki is at the very centre of this movement. The commercial character of the city and the financial prosperity of its merchants find expression in architecture via the eclecticism prevailing in Europe during this period. European eclecticism originates from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, where most architects went for further studies. Needless to say the spirit and mentality of the Ecole des Beaux Arts is also brought to Thessaloniki by the Jewish Minority which is educated along French lines. Thessaloniki, a city of multinational character has a prevailing Jewish, Muslim and Christian population. The city of the 19th century is divided into areas distinguished by the nationalities living in them, while architecture functions as a vehicle expressing each nationality and its ideology. Thus, after 1880, the preference of the Greek community is for public buildings in the neoclassical style, dominating official Greek architecture after 1830. As regards private dwellings, the neoclassical style is applied only to the facades, the rest being typical of the Balkan folk house. Distinct in the Turkish neighborhoods are the houses of the “donmedes”, the Islamized Jews. Thus, the eclectic decoration of the exterior of the traditional houses of the upper city can be considered the result of the mixed European, Jewish and Islamic culture of the “donmedes”. Since 1890, however, a small number of public Ottoman buildings are built in the Neoclassical style. After 1880 when the city expands outside the walls, an area of villas or “towers” is created between the White Tower and the Depo District. This quarter becomes the ethnologically mixed sector of Thessaloniki, since Jews, “donmedes”, Turks, Greeks French and Italians move there as soon as they become wealthy. The architecture of each “tower” reflects the personal taste of the owner and expresses his ideology.Turks choose an architecture characterized by impressive baroque elements, a style quite close to the so-called baroque of Constantinople, “donmedes” employ, mainly, the neogothic style enriched with Art Nouveaux elements. The Greeks, on the contrary, prefer a late Neoclassical style combined with high Renaissance elements. After the fire of 1917, the area where the commercial centre was located is rebuilt. A number of commercial stoas (arcades) are worth mentioning from this phase, since they exhibit a Renaissance or Neobaroque style on the exterior and influences from the “industrial revolution” and rococo decorations in the interior. The banks are distinguished by a severe Neoclassical style, while Aristotelous Street and Square as well as the Vlali – Modiano Markets are notable for their NeoByzantine layout.
The 18th and 19th centuries are periods evidencing very important devemopments in the Balkans. In the 18th century the long intervals of peace bring as an immediate effect the investment of European capitals in the East. By the end of the 18th century Thessaloniki becomes a large commercial storehouse of central Europe and an important industrial Centre. However, the old industrial buildings are demolished in the last years, victims of technical progress, just as in the rest of Europe. The consideration of the possibilities for the conservation and utilization of old constructions - e.g.steam-engines of past times- could become part of the recording and evaluation of the industrial monuments of Thessaloniki. The transformation of old factories into Centres for creative occupations,museums, technical and other and into libraries (mainly buildings adjacent to densly populated areas), along with the reopening of some of them in the form of handicraft workshops could save important works of the industrial history of Thessaloniki and endow the western part of the city with a new quality of life.
1. The Ancient period (315 BC to 4th Century AD): At the beginning of the Hellenistic period, Cassandros created Thessaloniki by uniting 26 small settlements. Thanks to its significant geographic location Thessaloniki soon became the centre of commerce in the area. During the Roman period, Thessaloniki becomes even more important as it enters the phase of commercial and industrial development. In the first century A.D. Thessaloniki also becomes a Roman military Centre and, therefore, its significance is increased. Around 300 AD, the final form of the “walled city” is created, a form to be preserved until the end of the 19th century. The entire layout of the city is determined by two Centres: the administrative-religious Centre, along with the sector of popular entertainment; and the economic and cultural Centre located exactly in the middle of town. 2.The Dark Ages and Byzantine Period (4th century AD. up to 1430). The serious demographic decrease in populations in the countryside leads to the creation of small rural settlements that function like communes. In important urban Centres, like Thessaloniki, there exists on the one hand a strong state monopoly of certain articles controlled by the economic elite and on the other a system of commercial production organized in guilds and directed by the middle class. The layout of the city in the 14th century exhibits three distinct sub-Centres. To the the west lies the harbour the administrative, the commercial and the economic centre of the city while the eastern part of the city remains a dwelling quarter organized like a parish around the nucleus of a church. 3.The Ottoman period (1430 to 1912): The settlement in Thessaloniki of a great number of Jews, from the 15th century on, as well as the intense presence of the Turkish population do not enhance the Greek appearance of the city, at least for the three first centuries of the Turkish occupation. Thessaloniki is economically subordinate to and functions according to the Ottoman feudal system as a "market town” . The organization of the city, still unknown in detail, is determined by the settlement around the harbor of Jews, Greeks and Europeans who hold the commercial reins in their hands. The upper city is inhabited by Turks who administer and exploit the primary sector. International and local ,social, economic and demographic rearrangements that mainly occur after the 17th and 18th centuries transform the function of the city so that it becomes a “city-agency” and connect it to European capitalist Centres. Thus, by the end of the 19th century the organization and development of the city instead of being homocentric becomes sectional . 4. Modern period (1912 until today). Liberated Thessaloniki (1912) is annexed to the Greek state which goes through the economic phase of liberal capitalism (1907 to 1913, 1950 to 1953). After the fire of 1917 the rebuilt sections of the “burnt zone” are made according to Hebrard’s plan (1921). Then, the central urban area of the city is commercialized, while at the same time the peripheral area is irrationally overloaded. In 1928 Thessaloniki almost takes on its present form expanding to cover an area five times larger than the original “walled city”. During the decade of 1961 to 1971 the city specializes in wholesale trade, in industry and handicrafts and directly influences the whole area of Macedonia and Thrace .
The underwater location of a cultural artifact defines the sort of legislation that protects it. Thus, according to international law, the territorial sea falls under the legislation of the coastal nation and therefore the protection can be absolute. Greek archaeological legislation does not keep up with contemporary needs and therefore its reformation has become urgent. There are, however, recent strong amendments referring to submarine status. Their efficiency depends on the degree of inspection and protection exercised by the public service. Regarding the continental shelf or the deep of the exclusively economic zone, no verbal let alone written amendments have been made so far. The found cultural artifact could come into the possession of the first finder. However, according to Greek legislation (and that of other nations too) the companies that undertake the research and mining of natural hydrocarbons from the continental shelf have to abide by the regulations on the protection of antiquities. The new convention on the Law of the Sea of the United Nations (1982) contains two innovations: 1) it defines a veritable "archaeological zone" of 24 nautical miles which, under certain conditions is subject to the legislation of the coastal nation (article 303) and 2) iwhen the area belongs to an international sea-bed, the International Authority undertakes the protection of this zone and creates the right of preference for the nation claiming to be its "cultural source" (article 149).
The objective of underwater archaeology is to research, preserve, restore, study, evaluate and present the submerged archaeological wealth. This wealth consists of every kind of edifice, harbour works, cities, fortifications etc. - that due to geological alterations sank into the sea - as is also the case with commercial craft, warships or even mere fishing vessels that happened to sink along with their cargo. The cargo of the wrecked ship may consist of objects of everyday use - belonging to the passengers or the crew - tools, merchandise, (oil or wine amphorae, big jars with salted fish, architectural elements, sarcophagoi etc.) or even works of art transported from one place to another, a case common to the Roman period. This explains, to a certain degree, the great number of works of art found in wrecks that embellish Greek and foreign museums (the Ephoebos from Antikythera Island, the Poseidon from Cape Artemision, the Jockey, the bronzes of Riace, Italy, the Ephoebos of the Getty Museum, USA etc.). Underwater archaeology is an especially difficult field, since the scientists and specialists engaged have to operate not under common, normal conditions but deep down in the sea, which is quite a dangerous task. Athough the first international legislation protecting the submarine activities was introduced in Greece in 1834, it was never fully enforced.
The Institute of Underwater Archaeological Research is the first Greek institution engaged in underwater archaeology. It is staffed with a wide range of specialists who voluntarily offer their experience and knowledge; architects, archaeologists, geologists, photographers and others who are also qualified divers. The Institute has to its credit many underwater research projects while it also runs a variety of other programs, the organization of educational seminars, congresses, the editing of the periodical "Enalia", a library, scientific archives and an educational film library. Among the research projects undertaken by the Institute is that of the shipwreck "Mendor", loaded with seventeen boxes of Elgin marbles, mainly from the Parthenon and the Temple of Niki Apteros on the Acropolis. On September 16 1802, the ship departed from Piraeus with a crew of twelve and its first scheduled stop was the Island of Malta. The next day and while the "Mendor" was sailing close to Cape Maleas, it sank due to stormy weather. Immediately after the accident, Lord Elgin employed Greek divers and the raising of the precious cargo from a depth of 22- 24 metres began. In 1980, the Institute examined the wreck of the "Mendor" with the purpose of studying the conditions that caused the wreck, location and finding a part of the lost cargo. The findings were rather poor but more extended research may prove more successful
In the article the author refers to the factors that cause a shipwreck and to the manner in which a sunken ship is destroyed. Bad weather conditions, fire, war, piracy or accident can mainly be held responsible for a shipwreck. From the moment the wreckage reaches the bottom of the sea, an oddly different and usually fatal phase of its life commences, that of of gradual decay. Microorganisms disintegrate the wood, while the relative heat oxidizes the iron parts. The geographical position and the depth in which the wreck lies also affect the ship's preservation. A ship may sink on a hard rocky sea bed. If it happens to be sandy or muddy, then the wreck will slowly be covered by this moveable bottom material and will be preserved indefinitely. Soon after a sunken ship reaches the bottom, sails and shrouds come apart, the wood disintegration commences and finally in a period of ten to twenty years the ship splits in two under its own weight. The part remaining on the bottom being better protected will be preserved while the rest perishes. The best preserved wrecks, found so far, are those transporting merchandise, mainly amphorae, since the weight of the cargo stabilizes the wooden parts on the sea bed that are thereafter easily covered by sand and mud, which are natural preservation materials.
Sharp-bottomed amphorae were used to transfer liquids such as water, wine and oil. Each jar contained 18 to 22 litres. The average amphora is characterized by its narrow mouth, two vertical handles facing one another and a narrow, pointed bottom or base which serves as a third handle to the jar. Often, the shoulder of the handle is stamped with a seal marking the origin and date of produce of the goods and customs control. The Greeks already by the 7th century BC transferred their goods in amphorae stacking them on their ships in hundreds. Depending on the cargo found on shipwrecks one learns of the trade and finances of the places they came from.
Wood that has remained in water for a long time,usually lying at the bottom of the sea,at the bottom of a lake, a river or well, is called infused wood. The water affects the cells of the wood so if it dries out it withers and crumbles.In order to avoid this hazard, two methods of stabilizing the saturated wood with chemicals are used. On Greek territory the ships that have been the object of study are exclusively ships of antiquity and Byzantine craft, while wrecks of the Greek revolution of 1821 remain unexplored. A fascinating example of the salvaging and restoration of a shipwreck is that of the ship Wasa.It went down in the port of Stockholm in 1628 and was brought up in 1960.
The island of Thassos was renowned in antiquity for its good wines and the white marble that was mined there. In the southeastern part of the island, in the district of Alyki, there are many quarries from which marble used to be extracted.Those mines which were by the shore date back to early Christian times and today are under water.The sunken floor of the marble mines was in use as a jetty for bringing craft aground, while holes and stone mooring rings indicate that lifting machinery was used for loading ships with their cargo.
In Ermioni, near the town of Porto Heli lies the half sunken settlement of Alieis (meaning fishermen).The settlement was named after the settlement’s Tirynthian fisherman inhabitants who amongst others fished for shellfish producing purple dye. In 565 after the Tirynthians had been driven from their city by the Argeians the inhabitants of Ermione granted them the village.Vestiges of the Paleolithic age (8000 BC) were found in Ermioni, but the first settlement in Porto Heli belongs to the Early Helladic period.In 1962 the American School of Archaeology began excavations.Alieis seems to have been a walled town with barracks, the port of Alieis was fortified , there may have been a dockyard for building ships.There are sunken houses, baths, and graves of the geometric period.
For centuries, oceangoing ships sailed along the Mediterranean coast. Mediterranean countries were the breeding ground of many great civilisations, starting with the Minoan and Phoenician prehistoric civilisations which were succeeded by the Greeks who, starting from 800 BC, founded colonies there. In Hellenistic times great value was attached to the fleet. The Romans attributed great importance to trade and in Roman times the Mediterranean sea was called “the Roman lake”. The Byzantine naval force was launched in the 6th century under Justinian’s rule, and with the decline of the Byzantine empire,naval supremacy in the Mediterranean passed over to the West. The Greek navy once again rallied its forces together in the 19th century with the war of liberation against the Turks.
In this article information is given about diving, the necessary diving equipment is also described. Refraction of light in the water makes it necessary for divers to wear goggles. Other diver’s apparatus are mask and flippers, a belt with weights,snorkel,knife, watch, life-jacket,and underwater camera. Dangerous encounters in the deep are mentioned. One is told how to deal with creatures of the deep ranging from sea anemones,jellyfish and sea scorpions, to encounters with sting-rays and sharks. One is also given detailed instructions of how to give the kiss of life for resuscitation.
Τhe river Herault flows past the French town of Agde. Wreckage was dredged from the river bed mainly belonging to the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The volume of the cargo that was brought up from the shipwrecks, also the different provenance of cargos point to Good Fortune, the trading centre which lay at a short distance from the sea being a wealthy port of call. Sludge from the river both covered and preserved the shipwrecks thus guarding the secrets behind the building of the shipcraft of the times. One important marine find was the bronze statue of an ephebe or youth. The statue’s appearance and features point to his being royalty, probably the monarch, founder of the Good Fortune trading centre. As for the sculptor who made the statue,it is attributed to Lysippos.
Underwater exploration has brought a great number of anchors to light. Until the 1st millennium BC anchors were crudely constructed. They were stones with a hole bored through them. In Homer anchors are called “ευνή”and the term will become “άγκυρα” in the 5th century BC. Anchors of the past had a simpler shape than today’s. In Roman times the beak or tooth and mooring ring were made of cast lead. The strongest anchor was called “ιερά” and its mooring ring would often be decorated with images averting evil. On two anchors found in French waters the emblems of a dolphin and knuckles on one and of the carved word ΣΩΤΕΙΡΑ on the other serve this same purpose of averting evil.
Since 1909, the year of its foundation, the “Kerameikos S.A.”, located in Neo Phaliro, was determined to produce not only industrial items but also handmade artistic ceramics. The conditions for such a project were favorable during the third decade of the century due to the number of available, capable ceramists and potters who fled from Asia Minor as refugees. The ‘Kerameikos S.A.” employed the Paris educator Panos Valsamakis who was responsible for the creation and artistic direction of the department in the years 1930 to 1942. Thus, the group of ‘Kerameikos” artists created a series of ceramics belonging mainly to three styles which were undoubtedly inspired by the inhibitions of the generation of the ΄30s. These styles are the neo-archaic, the Byzantine-Eastern and the folk (with preference for motifs from the Island of Skyros and Crete and those of the Aegean Sea). Consequently, through these ceramics, the tradition of Ancient, Byzantine and Folk art is continued and expressed. The majority of items of the neo-archaic style were ceramics of everyday use as well as decorative objects embellished with representations from the Minoan, Rhodian, Cycladic and Classical repertoire. Responsible for the copying of Ancient Greek prototypes is the artist Ioannis Simonakis. Thus, what we define as the neo-archaic style in ceramics was created through these artistic products of “Kerameikos”, which “revived” decorative scenes and motifs of ancient Greek pottery. Soon after the end of the war, that is in 1946, the “Kerameikos” factory reopened and continued its production at full speed, especially in the ‘50s. From 1948 to 1953, quite many, then unknown though today famous, artists were occasionally engaged in the artistic workshop of “Kerameikos”, such as the Professor of the School of Fine Arts Kokkinidis, the painters Vakalis and Phertis, the sculptor Moustakas, Panourgias, Kassis and others.
During the early years of modern Greek history, the small town of Tyrnavos in Thessaly was one of the Centres of creative handicrafts. A booming trade flourished there. The references to Tyrnavos, in the Middle Ages, are few and consist of a written Byzantine document of the 10th century that deals with the "Martyrdom of St. Nicolas the Younger from Vouniani" and of archaeological evidence, mainly ceramics dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries. This archaeological data proves that Medieval Tyrnavos was located on the same site occupied by the early Byzantine town and overthrows K. Kouma's theory according to which Tyrnavos was founded by Tourachan Bey, the conquer of Thessaly (1423). At best we can accept that Tourachan Bey simply transferred a scattered population, collected from all over Thessaly and installed it at Tyrnavos.
During the Middle Ages the island of Kythera- also known as Tsirigo from the post-Byzantine period until today - was a part of the Byzantine Empire. Living memories and eloquent traces from the Byzantine years and Venetian rule (1204 - 1797) can still be found everywhere on the island. The ruins of the Byzantine settlement at Paleochora stand on a small, rocky area on the northeast side of the island. The settlement, naturally fortified by a deep and steep ravine, was probably established soon before the 12th century and was named Agios Demetrius. It prospered until 1537, when it was destroyed by a piratic invasion led by Barbarossa. The area was completely abandoned thereafter and it was named Palaeochora. The strong, tall building walls still stand today and testify to the impressive edifices that once adorned the ruined Byzantine city.
The author of this article holds forth against the ugliness,indecency and fraudulence that support the souvenirs industry. The maker of souvenirs ruthlessly proceeds to distort images by upgrading Cycladic idols into mermaids by adding a fishtail onto them. In the plaster figure of the minotaur,cannibalism and the ever present phallus are brought together. Figures belonging to different periods of time are joined together on touristic vase paintings. It is hard for an archaeologist to bear the sight of The Prince of the Lillies (16th century BC), on a 5th century BC cup, painted in the black-figure style of the 6th century BC. To make matters worse, the cup in question is peddled as an “authentic” item. The Tourist Board (EOT) and the Greek ministry for culture ought to take matters into their hands.
In 1970, during excavations at the Athens Agora, a wall was uncovered, belonging approximately to the middle of the 5th century AD. Built into this wall were fragments and vertebrae originating from the inner colonnade of the Parthenon. During excavations that took place in 1970 and 1972, 35 architectural members belonging to the Parthenon were discovered most of them built into the foundations of a 5th century BC arcade. The prevailing theory about the reason for the destruction is damages brought about by earthquakes witnessed at the end of the 4th century AD. The Parthenon seems to have been renovated in the rule of Heracleius praetor in Illyricum in the first decade of the 5th century AD.
"Thessaloniki was a reprovisioning station, a hospital and a place of rest where all who had suffered came for a few hours in search of distraction". These are the words of a traveller. And indeed he was right, as Thessaloniki was the most cosmopolitan town of the period.
Nea Artaki, a seaside village on the Island of Euboea, Greece, has brought to us sufficient evidence of the existence of a sequence of different cultures of Stone-Age Greece. The favourable climate along with the suitable Biotic and Abiotic components of nature forced the then populations to adopt a ceratin kind of technological know-how to acquire mastery over the stone-flints, available in the area. They manufactured a great many types of which hand-axes mainly covered the middle Pleistocene period. The twenty-four hand-axes recovered to date show different types of typotechnological attributes with varying shapes and sizes. But, mostly on a technological and and statistical basis they are classified into three categories; Early lower Paleolithic, Late-Lower Palaeolithic and Early-Middle Palaeoplithic.
“…he who can’t observe properly is a bad observer of things. The gardener takes a more careful look at apple trees than the mere onlooker.” K.Hempel, K.Popper, L.Binford, I. Lacatos, Fayerabend, are theoretical archaeologists and staunch upholders of American and Anglo-Saxon positivism who never stopped denouncing the Marxist theory of knowledge. Ιn bringing together the science of archaeology with that of anthropology, Althusser and M.Goddelier mix Marxism and structuralism together in brilliant readings where the “emic” comes together with the “etic” and two systems of thought are used, the “cognitive” and the “functional”. In this article, technology before the age of capitalism is seen through the Marxist approach where the development of technology is seen as one more evolution of human activity. Technology is defined by Marxist epistemology as “the sum total of those means, material or other, by which man effectively promotes his productivity”. Marx thinks of technology in context of all human activity and as one more result of the same. The only theories that remain unfounded are those that consider technological achievement to be outside of civilization. The distinction made between technique and technology is particularly problematic, tending as it does to separate form (the technique) from content (technology). In studying the technology of antiquity one should regard inhabitants of the ancient world comparatively and within the historic process by applying three axioms.
Prehistoric stone tools provide us with the most representative example of prehistoric technology. Various methods of research try to determine the techniques that were in use for their production and to evaluate them as regards the technoeconomic system of prehistoric societies. The technological approach and the use-wear analysis elucidate the technomorphology and t functions of the stone-tools.
That this person of antiquity had the ability to observe and put to use information given out by his natural surroundings in such a manner as to facilitate his daily activities. A series of such modifications of natural resource are thought of as a sort of “proto-technology”. Human relationships at this stage of evolution are called bio-social.
Architecture is the art par excellence that combines aesthetic values and practicality. Bearing this in mind, R. Martin is justified in writing that “the objective is for one to make something useful in the best possible way, but is not this also the best way for one to achieve beauty?” Architecture, an art that creates prototypes, is indispensably connected with geometry and stereometry; it “invents” new spaces. Novelties in the field of architecture are affected by the technology of each era. The only theoretical work that has survived is that by Vitruvius of the 1st century BC. Along with archaeological evidence this is the source of information that comes down to us on building in the remote past. The main building material was supplied by the quarries, where slaves, convicts and free workers were employed. The technique used for the extraction of stones has changed considerably due to the employment of gun powder and the electric drill, although in certain remote locations the traditional methods have continued to be in use for centuries. When the quarry was close to the sea, the transportation of the building material was easily accomplished by boats, but when it was located high up on a mountain, a more complicated procedure was required. In the loading areas of the quarries and in the buildings under construction cranes and hoists were operated in skillful and interesting ways for loads to be attached. Soon after the building material had reached its destination, the actual building would begin.The foundation of the edifice, the connections of the stones and certain building systems. The Romans have greatly contributed to the progress of technology by inventing “Roman concrete” which allows the subordination of environment to architecture.
Earth, the most basic material , has been turned by man into pottery through an inspired procedure. Vessels, utensils, figurines, architectural elements and so on, make up a multiform world that tells the tale of the evolution of civilization. Earthenware vessels appear in Greece during the Neolithic period, in 6.000 B.C. and they have remained in use since then. The basic rough materials for the making of earthenware vessels are earth, water and the combustible material. The earth proper is first washed and sifted, and then kneaded into clay. In the next stage the pottery gives to the amorphous mass of clay the desired form with the help of the wheel. The fresh vessel is put aside to get dry and later is fired in special kilns that have a rectangular, cyclical or horseshoe shape and are divided horizontally in two parts. In the lower part the combustible material is placed and the fire is lit. In the upper part with the pierced bottom for the perfect circulation of heat the vessels are arranged in successive rows. This part of the kiln is made of clay and tree-branches and it is torn down soon after the firing of the earthenware vessels is accomplished.
Pottery, born of the union between earth and water has been gifted by fire with almost eternal life. The need for pottery products arose since the dawn of the neolithic age, when man started to build permanent settlements, cultivating the earth and storing food. It remains unknown exactly where and how man, motivated by the same basic needs, experimented with pottery for the first time. The solutions to everyday problems found by the inhabitants of a certain area remained unchanged down to the days of industrialization and even later. A typical example is furnished by the male inhabitants of Thrapsano, a mountainous village 30 km. from Herakleion, Crete, who are famous for the making of pithoi. This activity is not only limited to the vicinity, since every summer they practice their skill all over the island and exercise their handicraft in temporary workshops. The technique they use is traditional and closely related to that of their Minoan fellow potters.
The Greeks should be given credit for the calculation of time and geographical breadth on the basis of the sun' s orbit, since they invented the clock. A look at a modern clock or wrist watch gives us not only the exact time but also tells us the day of the week and the date. The clocks that supply us with all this information are descendants of the solar clocks that the ancient Greeks used to set up in public areas. These clocks did not only indicate the time but also, approximately, the position of the day in the year. We are reminded here that the Greek word "'ώρα", means not only "season" but also "hour" in the modern sense of the word. However, the hour as a part of the day was calculated in a different manner by the ancient Greeks and coincides in duration with the 1l24 of the day only during the winter and the summer solstice.
Science and technology may have caused the disappearance of religious man and of myths as a reference point for the organization of the world.However, mankind's tendency for creating myths is a quality innate in human nature. It has been proved that the human mentality can be either mythical or philosophical-scientific. The first revolves around sentiment and the second around knowledge in the Aristoteleian context of identity, contradiction and the process of elimination. Thus, while at the beginning it was accepted that human thought had progressed from myth to science, it is finally believed that both ways of thinking coexist in the human mind and that the occasional superiority of one over the other is conditioned by the given social-economic data. Generally speaking it can be claimed that the civilizations of mythical thought belong to the pre-industrial phase, with the exception of ancient Greece and the Renaissance, where western rationalism is rooted, whereas those civilizations that are based on scientific thought are those belonging to our industrial – technological age. But what does the term “mythical thought” really mean? It is difficult to define all its characteristics here and thus we will only refer to one of its basic functions relevant to our topic; mythical thought invents correlations where they do not really exist between ideal and material objects and represents the invisible elements of nature, similar to human beings, but superior in potential so that they control whatever humans cannot. From the 18th century onwards, however,this approach and process changes. In the age of Enlightenment the individual realizes the unique character of his existence and his natural rights and becomes independent from the group, a development caused by the demographic increase, the rise of the middle-class and capitalism.
The determination of the provenance of a modern Greek piece of jewelry is a difficult task, as silversmiths never signed their work. But, the kiusteki ( a piece of jewelry worn on the chest), of the Gouti collection, gathers all the elements that permit us to attribute it to a workshop of Lamia and more precisely to the artisan K. CHRISTO. It dates back to 1900. The jewel is handicrafted in savati (niello) technique, which substitutes the expensive technique of enamel.
Technology presents us with a challenge. We don’ t know exactly what use to make of it, unlike obsidian tools in the distant past or even recent engineering innovations. Having located urgent problems and having outlined nebulous concepts, it could be an exercise in meeting simple requirements. But there is a lot of reaction to this, partly because many concepts are new but mainly those with opportunity to use technology react against those who have none. If technology gets a bad name, it is only because we are not making good and wise use of it, in the direction of the desired social change. An example is the one-way system of TV as we know it, which is often a state monopoly, and with low-caliber content. Although we are in possession of two-way technology capable of providing citizens with access and also of accommodating local productions, interactive capability specifies a new man-machine relationship. Communications technology by its very nature expands and imposes itself, presenting a real danger both to national underprivileged minorities and underdeveloped nations. Development, on the other hand, implies connectivity. What is of importance now is to go ahead with planning, laying out and operating electronic interconnections so as to obtain feedback on the engineering alternatives, local needs, transborder and other legal aspects, funding possibilities and coordination with international bodies. The proposed Museum of the Mediterranean for Archaeology, Contemporary Arts and Adult Education is such a project
Prehistoric stone tools provide us with the most representative example of prehistoric technology. Various methods of research try to determine the techniques that were in use for their production and to evaluate them as regards the technoeconomic system of prehistoric societies. The technological approach and the use-wear analysis elucidate the technomorphology and the functions of the stone-tools.
The Mines of Lavrion are our main source of information on metallurgic technology in ancient Attica. The exploitation of argentiferous lead for the production of silver had already begun in the 14th century BC in the area of Thorikos, as is evidenced by archaeological data. The full development of the mines, however, does not start before the 6th century BC and reaches its peak in the 5th century BC. The mineshafts reach up to 120 m. depth and are interrupted by pits meant to ventilate the shafts and for the transfer of the extracted metal to the ground level. The tools in use are almost identical with contemporary ones. The extracted metal wasd pounded on large marble or schist slabs or in stone mortars and then it was washed in astonishing even by today's standards, washing devices. Later, the metal was put in kilns for the precious silver to be separated from the lead. Since a great number of the workers in the mines were slaves, their frequent revolts and other rather unhappy coincidences resulted in the closing down of the mines in the 2nd century BC for almost 2.000 years.
In the Corinthian Gulf and in the area of Aegeion, the diver Alexis Papadopoulos has discovered a sunken town. It lies at a depth of 25 - 45 m. and exhibits walls, fallen roofs, discarded roof tiles, streets etc. Whether or not this town can be identified with Eliki, is a question to be answered by extensive uinderwater research. In any case, the discovery of this town can be regarded as an extremely interesting find.
Soon after the industrial revolution, technology became independent in content and function of the societies that produced it. Technological production is organically part of the logic of capitalism and one of the prerequisites on which capitalistic development and its inquiries are founded. The autonomy of technology has affected not only the position of the working classes within the framework of the productive procedure, but also the content of their work. On the other hand, the obstacles and objective difficulties in applying technology has worsened the position of underdeveloped countries regarding international productive activity. Under these circumstances the challenge for new orientations is always open.
One of the most notable objects in the field of underwater archaeology is the location and excavation of Eliki, the ancient Achaean town. Located east of Aegeion, it sunk along with its inhabitants into the Corinthian gulf after the terrible earthquake of 373 l 372 BC. The discovery of a town along with its edifices, temples and sculpture will be an extremely significant event since the destruction occured during the classical period. Thus its finding would contribute a great deal to our knowledge of classical architecture, town-planning, art etc. Many efforts have been made to locate the ancient town, however its exact position has not yet been determined and the opinions of scientists differ as to whether or not Eliki presently lies on the sea bottom or on the shore. Finds from ancient Eliki are limited to two copper coins housed in the Staatliche Museum, Berlin. On the obverse Poseidon's head is represented and a trident decorates the reverse. On the basis of these decorative themes Marinatos dated the coins as belonging to the fifth century BC.
“…he who can’t observe properly is a bad observer of things. The gardener takes a more careful look at apple trees than the mere onlooker.”K.Hempel, K.Popper, L.Binford, I. Lacatos, Fayerabend, are theoretical archaeologists and staunch upholders of American and Anglo-Saxon positivism who never stopped denouncing the Marxist theory of knowledge. Ιn bringing together the science of archaeology with that of anthropology,Althusser and M.Goddelier mix Marxism and structuralism together in brilliant readings where the “emic” comes together with the “etic” and two systems of thought are used, the “cognitive” and the “functional”. In this article, technology before the age of capitalism is seen through the Marxist approach where the development of technology is seen as one more evolution of human activity.Technology is defined by Marxist epistemology as “the sum total of those means, material or other, by which man effectively promotes his productivity”. Marx thinks of technology in context of all human activity and as one more result of the same. The only theories that remain unfounded are those that consider technological achievement to be outside of civilization .The distinction made between technique and technology is particularly problematic, tending as it does to separate form (the technique) from content (technology).In studying the technology of antiquity one should regard inhabitants of the ancient world comparatively and within the historic process by applying three axioms.