“Zeus was here”
Athens, Greece. June 2018 (15 photos)
This is Part 5 of my Greece 2018 photo series, and also Part 22 of my Europe 2018 photo series.
The Titans were deities in Greek mythology and were the children of the primordial deities Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth). The Titans included Oceanus, Tethys, Hyperion, Theia, Coeus, Phoebe, Cronus, Rhea, Mnemosyne, Themis, Crius and Iapetus. In Ancient Greek mythology, the Titan Cronus overthrew his father Uranus. In turn, the Titans were overthrown by Cronus’ children (Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Hera and Demeter), known as The Olympians. For my version of the Clash of the Titans we’ll start with Zeus and include some other Titans of Greek history (in the broadest sense of the word) that I encountered.
In the photo above you see the Temple of Olympian Zeus, dedicated to Zeus, the god of the sky and thunder and the head of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD. During the Roman period the temple was renowned as the largest temple in Greece.
Athens’ most famous historical site is the Acropolis. The Acropolis is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon.
The Parthenon is a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, daughter of Zeus. Construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was completed in 438 BC. It is the most important surviving building of Classical Greece, generally considered the zenith of the Doric order. Its decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art. The Parthenon is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and Western civilization, and one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.
“It’s all Greek to me”
The Greek Ministry of Culture is currently carrying out a programme of selective restoration and reconstruction to ensure the stability of the partially ruined structure.
“Once upon a time in Ancient Greece”
On the north side of the Acropolis sits The Erechtheion, an ancient Greek temple which was dedicated to both Athena (daughter of Zeus) and Poseidon (brother of Zeus).
In the foreground lay ruins which were the site of the Old Temple of Athena, built around 525-500 BC. Until its destruction by the Persians in 480 BC, it was the shrine of Athena, the patron deity of the city of Athens.
“Ancient of days! august Athena! where,
Where are thy men of might, thy grand in soul?
Gone,—glimmering through the dream of things that were:
First in the race that led to glory’s goal,
They won, and passed away,—is this the whole?” (Lord Byron)
In ancient Greek mythology, the Goddess Athena is the daughter of Zeus. She sprang full grown in armour from his forehead, and therefore has no mother.
“Ancient v. Modern Greece”
This is the view looking down from the Acropolis along its north side. Much of the greenery is on the site of the Ancient Agora of Athens. An Agora was a central public space in ancient Greek city-states. The literal meaning of the word is “gathering place” or “assembly”. The Agora was the centre of the athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city. The Ancient Agora of Athens was the best-known example.
The temple you can see with the columns is the Temple of Hephaestus, a relatively well-preserved temple.
Hephaestus is the Greek God of blacksmiths, metalworking, carpenters, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metallurgy, fire, and volcanoes. Hephaestus’ Roman equivalent is Vulcan. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was the son of Zeus and Hera, the king and queen of the gods.
“Death by Centaur”
The Metopes of the Parthenon are the surviving set of what were originally 92 square carved plaques of marble originally located above the columns of the Parthenon peristyle on the Acropolis of Athens. Some are on display in the Acropolis Museum. The one above depicts the battle between the Centaurs and the Lapiths, a legendary ancient tribe of Athens. The Centaurs and the Lapiths are both believed to be descended from the god Apollo, son of Zeus.
“Walls of knowledge”
The fall of the ancient Greek civilisation to the Roman Empire began in 146 BC. The Roman emperor Hadrian, in the 2nd century AD, constructed a library, a gymnasium, an aqueduct, several temples and sanctuaries, a bridge and financed the completion of the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Above is part of the surviving wall of the Library of Hadrian.
“All things must pass”
The Arch of Hadrian, supposedly built to celebrate the arrival of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and to honour him for his many benefactions to the city, on the occasion of the dedication of the nearby Temple of Olympian Zeus in 131 AD.
“Cloudy with a chance of rain”
On the site of the Roman Agora sits The Tower of the Winds or the Horologion of Andronikos Kyrrhestes, an octagonal Pentelic marble clocktower that functioned as a horologion or “timepiece”. Built around 50BC, it is considered the world’s first meteorological station.
“Moon over Poseidon”
Over an hour’s drive south out of Athens is Sounion. Cape Sounion is the promontory at the southernmost tip of the Attic peninsula. Here, surrounded by the sea on 3 sides sits the Temple of Poseidon. One of the Olympians, Poseidon was god of the sea, earthquakes, storms, and horses and is considered one of the most bad-tempered, moody and greedy Olympian gods.
“Poseidon in a good mood”
People come here to watch the sunset. Surprisingly, most do that while on the slopes below the Temple with the Temple behind them. I much preferred to watch the sunset against the temple itself, to get my photos.
“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight”