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Theatre – the Social and Culture Cradle of Ancient Greece

12.01.2020 in History

Theatre – the Social and Culture Cradle of Ancient Greece     Used for everything from religious rituals, arts competitions, performances and even city council meetings, theaters were an integral part of the social life of Ancient Greece. The quality of acoustics of the ancient theatres is well known and admired. Today, more than 2,500 years later, these theaters continue to leave people in awe. Amphitheaters are built all over the world – and in this modern age of technology and excellence, architects and designers continue to replicate the Ancient Greek model.   Epidaurus Theater Epidaurus Theater, one of the…

The ancient theatrical masks

20.12.2019 in History

The ancient theatrical masks   The Ancient Greek world was far different than our modern society. Theatrical masks were an essential accessory. Masks were the reflection of the story told.   The ancient theatre was a man’s game. Women had the right to watch a theatrical performance but it was impossible for them to participate. The Ancient Greek world was far different than our modern society. Therefore, the male actors were capable to incarnate male and female roles and behaviors. The theatrical masks were an essential accessory. Most of them were made of plaster and painted linen and consequently none…

Ancient Greek Theatre

20.12.2019 in History

Ancient Greek Theatre   According to the ancient sources the birthplace of theatre was ancient Athens. Τhe word θέατρο (theatro) in greek derives from the ancient verb θεάομαι (theaomai) that means “observe with much interest”.   How can we define theatre? Is it just an interaction between two actors or something more complicated? In the modern world theatre is a field of experimentation that includes various artistic activities. However, was it like that in Ancient Greece and above all, can we locate the roots of the ancient theatre in the mist of time? According to the ancient sources the birthplace…

The Holy Places of Kythera

10.11.2019 in History

The Holy Places of Kythera     The island of Kythera, no matter how many times you visit, will always give you “one more” reason to return. The holy places of the island are soulful, magical and will call you back again and again.   Our first visit was our summer vacation a few years ago. Sun, sea, baths, rest, and good food were our goals, and we received surprisingly more than we expected. Unfortunately, we simply did not have enough days to take in all the “treasures” that the island has and we wanted to discover. But on a…

Kythera: the island of Aphrodite

10.11.2019 in History

Kythera: the island of Aphrodite     Some miles south of Peloponnese lays an island of insurmountable beauty. Kythera is its name – it is the birthplace of the almighty Aphrodite, the land of a hundred chapels and mysterious caves.   According to myth, the goddess Aphrodite was born off the coast of Kythera… from the foam of the waves where the village Kapsali lies today (the two natural ports took the name “the breasts of Aphrodite”). Many ancient writers used to give her the epithet Kytheria (the Mistress of Kythera) although another myth puts her birthplace in Cyprus. Nevertheless,…

Saint Patapios: A monument of Orthodoxy in Loutraki

05.05.2019 in History

Saint Patapios: A monument of Orthodoxy in Loutraki     In the Geraniai Mountains, above Loutraki, and perched at an altitude of almost 2300 feet, the Holy Monastery of Saint Patapios awaits you. Here you may venerate not only the miraculous relic of the Saint but also wonder at the most amazing panoramic view of the city below.   The monastery is considered a “monument of Orthodoxy”, attracting hundreds of visitors everyday from Greece and all over the world. After the capture of Constantinople by the Ottomans in 1453, Angelos Notaras, a relative of the then emperor, wished to protect…

Isthmia and the Temple of Poseidon

05.05.2019 in History

Isthmia and the Temple of Poseidon   The sanctuary of Poseidon was a Panhellenic center of athletic games and rituals dedicated to the god Poseidon as well as to Palaimon, a local sea hero/minor god. The winner of each game would be crowned with a pine tree wreath, the symbol and standard for ship timber.   The tiny city of Isthmia (east of the Corinth Canal) was well-known from ancient times as a place of worship. The sanctuary of Poseidon played a significant role among the Greeks as a Panhellenic center of athletic games (every two years) and rituals dedicated…

The Byzantine Churches of Athens

07.03.2019 in History

The Byzantine Churches of Athens     Scattered all over the city center, with much of their history yet untold, the Byzantine temples in downtown Athens are invaluable epicenters of grandiose architecture and Christian art.   Panagia Kapnikarea Dedicated to the Virgin Mary and sitting in one of the busiest commercial streets of downtown Athens, Ermou Street, the cruciform domed church actually belongs to the University of Athens and has supported the needs of the Theological School’s students since 1931. The name of the church allegedly comes from its first owner, either an individual or institution in Byzantine times, who…

The Golden Age of Byzantine Athens

07.03.2019 in History

The Golden Age of Byzantine Athens     The first centuries of the Byzantine Empire found Athens totally neglected and almost forgotten. Apart from sporadic construction of fortifications due to the threat of imminent enemy assaults, Athens was a humble provincial city in the Empire.   During this early period of Byzantium, most of the Classical Era monuments in the city of Athens had been transformed into Christian churches while others were destroyed by Christian zealotry or catastrophic raids by barbarians. After 500 years of oblivion, Byzantine Athens began to show signs of recovery. At the beginning of the 11th…

Empress Irene of Athens

07.03.2019 in History

Empress Irene of Athens   Was it common for the Byzantine Empire to have a female ruler? Certainly not. And Irene of Athens was anything but a common woman.   Born into an aristocratic Athenian family in 755 CE, the young Irene was well known for her exceptional beauty, which is likely the reason Constantine V chose her as a bride for his son Leo IV. Irene produced a male heir Constantine VI, but after her husband Leo’s death, Irene succeeded him as ruler of the Empire by neutralizing her opponents. This included killing her son by her own hands….