“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.

Let’s leave Vienna and return to Athens.

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.

“Acropolis nightfall”

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.

“Acropolis now”

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,β€”glimmering through the dream of things that were:
First in the race that led to glory’s goal,
They won, and passed away,β€”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.

“Shadowplay”

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”

This is Part 5 of my Greece 2018 photo series.
This is Part 22 of my Europe 2018 photo series, including Czechia (The Czech Republic), The Netherlands, France, Italy, Austria, Greece and Germany.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

The Clash of the Titans

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74 thoughts on “The Clash of the Titans

  1. The Olympians were always a favorite subject for some students – I could have used your photos to enlighten them as well. The night shots with the sunset are my absolute favorites.

    • I learned and relearned a lot of history going to Athens and seeing all these monuments. It is awe inspiring stuff!
      Thank you so much, Sounion is a beautiful area. Standing on the other side of the Temple of Poseidon you see the sea and several small islands – beautiful!

      • I guess I will have to return some day – so many years since I went. I think I was 25. I went for a classical tour of Greece. In fact I don’t remember much of it – had about 40-45 degrees every day. I enjoy your tour now!

  2. The dragon must have felt right at home here. I can just hear someone shouting “Release the Kraken!” Interesting you mentioned Hadrian here. It pinged a memory that had me scrolling through my files. There are some flowers that grow in Scotland and England (along Hadrian’s Wall to be exact) that I have a photo of.

  3. Awesome shots, as always. Temple of Poseidon: what are those white things on the ground, below the temple? Are they fragments of the temple itself that crumbled away and rolled down the hillside?

    • Thank you. That area was fenced off but I’ve just magnified some of my daylight photos taken at the same area. Yes, they’re pieces of white material rather than rock, some geometric in shape. Almost certainly fragments of the ruined columns I suspect. You have a good eye for detail.

  4. Lovely ruins. The old Greek seemed to reserve the best of places for their temples. I like the time of the evening when buildings are just becoming brighter than the sky; you caught the temple of Poseidon at such a moment. It looks very good.

  5. sigh, you’re living my dream life. how about yu take housekeeping, the kids and the insanity, i’ll take the road and the camera? lol.
    I hadn’t known the olympians overthrew the titans. and i admit, there are a lot of names in there i’ve never heard.

  6. D & D Productions says:

    Wow…so many of the sites that featured in my studies of early Greek philosophers, when I was a young philosophy student! Great shots!

  7. Thanks LD for the wonderful history lesson and photos to accompany it. I’m useless when it comes to mythology, whether Greek, Roman or Norse. I can never remember who is the father or mother of whom. All my photos of Athens are well pre-digital and very sparse, so I have thoroughly enjoyed being back there again with you. And what a lovely photo to end the post with. Thanks πŸ™‚

  8. I probably told you already, but Greece is one of the very few European countries that I never got around to visiting. I tried on several occasions, but it just never fell into place. Your account and photos give me a bit of regret. I wanted to visit the Temple of Poseidon in particular, and that last photo is so intriguing.

  9. These shots… taking my breath away.
    It’s almost impossible to capture majesty of the place. You did, every single one of them. Wow!!!
    Thank you for sharing, Dragon. πŸ™‚

  10. Oh to walk among such architectural marvels. Thank you for taking me here. What a tour. Your compositions are magazine quality worthy and captions quite humorous. And of course, embracing all things nautical, I love the nod to Poseidon at the end the of the post

  11. Interesting to see The Tower Of The Winds. I wonder how reliable their forecasts were or whether they were of the white stuff on tower = snow; tower wet = rain; cannot see tower = foggy type.

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