Friday, October 24, 2008

Amphiareion, Thorikos, and Sounion

Yesterday we had a full day off classes to take a field trip with Michael to the sites of Amphiareion, Thorikos, and Sounion. The first stop, the Sanctuary of Amphiareion was located outside the city in a very remote forest. I loved the location, my fellow Washingtonian, Scott and I decided it felt like home to be surrounded by trees finally again. Michael showed us all around the sanctuary pointing out the Stoa, Reception area, Temple, Altar, Theatre, and the location of a giant water clock.

Colonnade, or Stoa of the Sanctuary, where the "healing process" took place. The most important parts of the healing process were sleeping and dreaming, and the solution to any problem was supposed to come through in the dream.

Theatre located behind the colonnade, with the 5 thrones all dedicated to the sanctuary by a priest 

Reception area, across the river from the Sanctuary. Every one who entered had to first go through a process of approval before being admitted in. This area included hostels and inns, taverns, and shops for purchasing things for offerings/sacrifices. The area surrounding was often occupied by tents, especially during major game festivals for those who came to support participants from their city states.

HUGE Water Clock

Hanging out in the Water Clock!
Carly and I at the Sanctuary 

Altar, used for sacrifices and offerings to the deities

Temple at Amphiareion

From Amphiareion we traveled to the Theatre of Thorikos, which was used for many things like drama performances but also for the political assembly of the people. The grounds surrounding the Theatre have their claim to fame as being known for mining of silver. The amount of silver thought to have been found at this location transfers to billions of dollars today. We also saw the layout of homes for the slaves that both worked and lived on the grounds.

The Theatre of Thorikos was used for many things like drama performances but also for the political assembly of the people.

The whole AHA gang at Thorikos

Katie and I soaking up some knowledge in the location of the slave houses. The slaves worked and lived on the same ground and were used to mine the silver found in the ground.

The final location of our trip was in Sounion. This site was probably my favorite so far this quarter. It is the local of the Temple of Poseidon, at top a cliff on the peninsula of Sounion. Almost completely surrounded by the water of the Aegean Sea, this was one of the most beautiful sites I have seen so far. We were so lucky the weather was cooperative too, despite how windy it was, the lighting from the sun made it even better. We had a great time playing around on the cliffs, trying not to fall into the sea from the powerful winds. The sight was amazing, I couldn’t even capture it in a picture.

Jenee and I in front of our future homes at Sounion. 

Temple of Poseidon

This column of the Tempe has the signature of Lord Byron on it. 

Katie and I playing around on the cliffs, maybe not the best idea? 

Incredible view from the top of the cliffs into the Aegean Sea

DID YOU KNOW….How the Aegean Sea got its name? According to Greek Mythology, Thiseas, son of King of Athens, Aigeas set out to end the conflict with Minoans and defeat the mythical Minotaur, a monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull. He made a deal with his father that upon returning he would sail white sails if he was successful, and black if he had failed. Though he did in fact beat Minotaur, he forgot to change the sails. Aigeas, saw his son's ship coming in from Sounion at the temple of Poseidon with black sails and threw himself into the sea with despair. Thus, why it is now called the Aegean Sea....thanks Jessi for playing the nerd card.

The field trip was amazing, especially after such a long and stressful week of class. We had a terribly hard Monuments test and a paper due this week, so I am more than ready for fall break. Katie, Kristina, Caitlin, Tori and I leave on Sunday for a week in Italy! I am so excited! 

The Island of Aegina

So last Friday we took our last ferry boat adventure with Michael to the island of Aegina, about an hour east of the port in Athens. The first location we went to was the Archeological site of Kolonna, including building of the prehistoric settlement, from the Hellenistic period, and the late Roman to Byzantine times. The most prominent feature of Kolonna would be the single pillar that is still in tact in the center of what used to be a sanctuary. Since Kolonna is located right along the waterside, the pillar was used as a navigational point. At the same location we spent some time inside the on site museum as well.

The site of Kolonna

Michael dropping knowledge 

Pillar in the center of Kolonna, used for navigation for ships on the water

Zach, Kristina and I loving the pillar

Wall of Propylon. The structure of this wall clearly demonstrates that this was built by the Byzantine or Roman Empire, never the Greeks.

The artwork on the pottery shows that the culture was very water based, this is an example of fighting rowers

Jessi, Jenee and I at the site of Kolonna

From Kolonna we traveled to the Temple of Athen-Aphaia. Aphaia was a local water nymph from Crete. This temple is considered to be a “Perfect little Jewel” to archeologists because its one of the best works of the Greeks. It is part of a small sanctuary with the altar outside the temple.

In front of the Temple of Athena-Aphia

From the Temple we got back on the bus and ended up at the ceramic shop of Mr. Nektarios. The story behind this man is that him and his brother are the last two traditional ceramic artist of their generation of the island of Aegina. They have no family to pass down their skills to because it is a dying art that doesn’t make as much money as could be made taking on a different profession. His shop was incredible, full of hundreds and hundreds of pieces of pottery, of all different styles. He even sat down and made a beautiful vase right in front of him, only took about two minutes, it was so great!

Mr. Nektarios ceramic shop!

This took him about 2 minutes

The floors of the shop were jam packed with all of his artwork

After our visit to the ceramic shop we were set loose in the small town area along the harbor for lunch. Jenee, Jessi, Tori and I went to grab drinks by the water in celebration of Carly’s 22nd birthday. After that we walked around the shopping area and then I wandered the harbor taking as many pictures as I could. The island was so gorgeous and it felt good to get out of the congested city for a day. I found the most adorable church right by the ferry dock, it was gorgeous inside. After exploring for a while we hopped back on the ferry and headed back to Athens.

Girls at lunch in celebration of Carly's 22nd birthday! 

Boats in the Harbor

Church I found by the Ferry Dock

Chandelier inside the church 

Inside of a tiny church I found by the ferry. It was gorgeous inside and now I know what those all mean. The center is always Jesus, to the left one is Mary, and two to the left is always the saint that the church belongs to.

That night the entire AHA group, yep all 26 of us, dressed up and went out for Carly’s birthday. Before hand, a bunch of us girls spent time pre-partying in Jessi and Jenee’s room and getting ready. It was so fun to see our entire group do something together outside of the required field trips. We went to a club in Plaka called “Yellow” where we had reserved a section all to ourselves ahead of time, so we pretty much took over with traveling dance party. It was a lot of fun and chaos, and I think we helped secure the ideas that Greeks have about Americans being crazy!
Some of my fav girlies in Jessi and Jenee's room for the pre-party!

This is how AHA takes a group photo...

Jackie and I having a great time at Yellow

Two of the Sarah's dancing like crazy!

Zach and I loving the birthday girl! 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Athens: Agora

Monuments class took yet another field trip, this time to the Greek Agora of Athens, which in modern day is similar to a marketplace.

Altar of the open air field at the Pnyx where The Assembly of the People, Ekklesia was held
View of the Acropolis from the Pnyx 
Walking along the Panathenaic Way

Temple of Hephaistos is the best-preserved temple of its type in the Greek world.

This is where Socrates died! Right here. No big deal.

Location of yet another water clock, again it is missing but they actually did exist I promise!

Hemlock shot glasses as Michael called them. The amount of hemlock root in just one of those was enough to kill a man, even Socrates.

WATER CLOCK! Finally, the search is over.