Politismos eMagazine | Antonios Achoulias

Author: Antonios Achoulias

The Nike of Samothrace

18.12.2018 in History

The Nike of Samothrace The Nike of Samothrace is one of the most recognizable statues in the History of Art and has been displayed at the Louvre Museum since 1884.   The Nike (Winged Victory) of Samothrace is a marble complex of the ancient deity Victory standing on a ship prow (overall, the work measures 18 feet). The mutilated female deity with her open wings is eight (8) feet high and was constructed some time between 220-190 BCE. Nike is one of the three almost identical marble complexes found on the island by the archaeologists. This statue is the most…

Samothrace: Where the Great Gods dwell

18.12.2018 in History

Samothrace: Where the Great Gods dwell     The northern Aegean Sea is beyond any doubt a more isolated and wild place compared with the cosmopolitan Cycladic complex. It is there where the island of Aeolus, or Samothrace, lies… some 24 miles away from the Thracian coast.   No white houses, no golden beaches nor bare hills can be found here; the scenery consisted of rocky slopes, wuthering peaks and dense forests. The architecture is simple, the wild goats leap all around the rugged landscape and the food is just an explosion of senses. Let’s get closer to the history…

The Corinth Canal: an ancient dream fulfilled

31.10.2018 in History

The Corinth Canal: an ancient dream fulfilled     After two millennia and thousands of nautical miles, a miracle of engineering was accomplished when the Corinthian Canal opened to the world.   A 2500-year-old dream came true in the late 19th century; a waterway straight through the Corinthian Gulf to the Aegean Sea was no longer wishful thinking. After two millennia and thousands of nautical miles, a miracle of engineering was accomplished and ships would no longer need to circle the Peloponnese in order to reach the Adriatic Sea. The most well known tyrant of Corinth, Periander (circa 600 BCE),…

Theodoros Kolokotronis

04.10.2018 in History

Theodoros Kolokotronis   Born in Messenia and raised in Arcadia, Theodoros Kolokotronis (1770-1843) is undoubtedly the symbol of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830), the man who embodied totally the battle cry “Liberty or Death”. Αt the age of ten, Theodoros lost his father in a conflict with Ottoman soldiers an incident that marked his soul forever.   Kolokotronis acquired a high military experience by servicing as a warrior-bandit (klepht) against the Turks on the mountains of Morea (Peloponnese), and later as an officer in the British army of Zakynthos. The Greek Revolution found Kolokotronis in Morea organizing the irregular…

Arcadia, The Land of Myths

25.09.2018 in History

Arcadia, The Land of Myths Is it the geography of the region or the random events that would render Arcadia the Utopian Land for the Renaissance artists? There is no certain response, but it does not matter at all; Arcadia will always be the land of the Myths. The soil of Arcadia always hosted a great number of historical events, monuments and personalities who played a major role in the ancient and Modern Greek history. We explore three of its great landmarks in this article.            Ancient Mantineia was one of the capital cities of Arcadia, together with Tegea, a…

Tegea: the soul of Arcadia

12.07.2018 in History

Tegea: the soul of Arcadia   Ancient legend tells us a story about a small city in Arcadia that inflicted a tremendous damage on the Spartan prestige. The mighty Spartans lost the battle and the underestimated enemy used those very chains to carry Spartan soldiers back to Tegea…   Let us go back to 790 BCE… The Spartan city-state had decided to extend the borders of its territory. That always meant another invasion deep inside adjacent lands. Tegea was the perfect victim; a few miles from Sparta and most importantly an “easy” enemy to deal with. The Spartan leaders were…

Taygetus: a giant made of stone

19.06.2018 in Travel

Taygetus: a giant made of stone   The majestic mount of Laconia in southern Peloponnese stands almost 8000 feet tall, surrounded almost permanently by a thick veil made by clouds. For the ancient peoples of Laconia, Taygetus was an intimate yet mythical place; for foreigners, it was always the obstacle between them and the rough Lacedemonians.   Archaeological excavations revealed a continuous human presence from the Bronze Age (circa 3,000 BCE) till the 20th c. Τhe ancient Spartans chiseled their tough way of living around the steep foothills of Taygetus and beside the banks of the river Eurotas. And it…

Mystras: the dwelling of the last Emperors

26.04.2018 in History

Mystras: the dwelling of the last Emperors     The fortified city of Mystras sprawled on the northern slopes of Mt. Taygetos in the vicinity of the modern city of Sparta. The early settlement was founded by the Frankish prince William II in 1249, forty-five years after the occupation of Constantinople by the Franks. The solid castle walls effectively made the Mystras town impregnable by land. However, the Byzantines captured Mystras in 1262 and in the 14th c. became the capital of the independent Despotate of the Morea (Peloponnese).   Under the Ottoman threat throughout the 15th c., the Byzantines…

Leonidas: the sacrifice of a king

18.04.2018 in History

Leonidas: the sacrifice of a king   Leonidas is a widely known hero king, an example of self-immolation and defiance of despotism. He and a force of 300 Spartan troops sacrificed themselves after a fierce battle against the Persians in 480 BCE. The narrow pass of Thermopylae is a sacred grave, a symbol of the highest of the human values: freedom.   The Greek historian Herodotus describes the lineage of Leonidas going back to the mythical hero Hercules. His father, the Spartan king Anaxandrides, had four sons and therefore, it seemed unlikely for Leonidas to represent the Royal House of…

Jewish Museum of Greece: A monument of memory

15.03.2018 in Museums

Jewish Museum of Greece: A monument of memory     What springs first to mind upon hearing the word “Holocaust”? The March 15-16, 2018, the Jewish Museum of Athens hosts “Teaching Process and the Holocaust in Education”   When this question of “what first comes to mind” is asked, people frequently have flashes of horror and war atrocities… Recent Jewish history represents a more familiar narrative than that of the Jewish people before the Second World War. There is a place, though in Athens, where visitors will find themselves in touch with a more “tangible” history – personalities, icons and…