Παρασκευή, 26 Απριλίου 2013

Delphi, site of the sanctuary to Phoebus Apollo, the Pythian Games and the legendary Oracle "Pythia".

Geographically, Delphi is situated 2,000 feet above sea level, set in a semicircular spur of Mount Parnassus which rises to 8069 feet, this natural barrier is known as the Phaedriades (shining ones), and overlooks the Pleistos Valley, 15km southwest from the site is the central Corinthian Gulf where the ancient harbor of Kirrha was situated, it was here the supplicants landed.Delphi, site of the sanctuary to Phoebus Apollo, the Pythian Games and the legendary Oracle "Pythia". The name of the site may commemorate Apollo's cult title which is "Delphinios" meaning dolphin or porpoise. As one legend says, Apollo first came to Delphi in the guise of a dolphin swimming into the Corinthian Gulf bringing with him priests from Crete, but in another version Apollo journeyed from the north pausing at Tempe, in Thessaly, and gathered laurel. Every fourth year laurel was taken from Tempe to Delphi, which became the prize in the form of a crown worn by the victors of the Pythian Games.

In ancient times Delphi was known as Pytho. Homer tells of a rocky place called Pytho in his Iliad. The mythology attached to Delphi dates back to prehistoric times. It is thought that there was a shrine to the earth-mother "Gaia" and was later shared with Poseidon, who originally was the god of earthquakes and water. The oracle at that period in time was translated from the lapping of the waters, and the rustling of the trees, (the oracle of Dodona, in Epirus, northwestern Greece, translated the rustling from a sacred beech tree). A mythical figure called Herophile, who was more commonly known as "Sibyl" sang the oracle in Gaia's shrine, and from that time on all prophetesses where known by that name. The "Sibylline Rock" can still be seen, and it was here the Sibyl sat and gave out her prophecies speaking in riddles. According to Pausanias, the Sibyl was the daughter of a mortal and a nymph "born between man and goddess, daughter of sea monsters and immortal nymph". Other versions believed she was sister to Apollo, and others his daughter. According to one legend, Gaia gave the oracle to her daughter, the goddess of justice Themis, who in turn passed it on to her sister the moon goddess Phoebe.

Apollo became the main deity when, according to Homer, "he killed the fearsome dragon Python, piercing it with his darts". This is how, in mythology Apollo was introduced to Delphi, by killing the serpent or dragon Python in its lair beside the Castalian Spring. Python was the protector of Gaia and the sanctuary of Pytho, the young god was given the name "Pythian Apollo"(part of Apollo's cult was a sacred serpent), but only after serving nine years to king Admetus as a cowherd, to make amends for his deadly deed. When Apollo returned to Delphi he took over as its ruler, and to celebrate his deeds they held a festival in his honor every nine years, some versions say eight. It was known as the "Septeria".

Delphi was also known as the center of the world, the Omphalos, a carved symbol of prophetic arts and also represented the "navel of the world". To find out exactly where the center of the world was located, Zeus released two eagles from opposite ends of the earth, one from the east and one from the west, and the precise spot where they met, was in Delphi. Apollo allowed Dionysus to stay in Delphi, but only for three winter months, while he visited the country of the Hyperboreans.The legend of Heracles is also present at Delphi, when the great hero stole the "Tripod of the Oracle". This legend is depicted in various art forms. In Delphi the east pediment of the Siphnian Treasure House, which is now in the Delphi Museum, shows the struggle between Heracles and Apollo, and Athena acting as go between. There are also fine examples of pottery showing this image.

The Delphic Oracle, known as the "Pythia". This priestess would be seated on a tripod (Apollo's symbol of prophecy) in a state of trance, the position of the tripod was situated above a fissure in the floor of the temple, from which arose strange hallucinating vapors. She would also be chewing laurel leaves, while in this trance she only mumbled her answer, which a high priest would translate into Apollo's prophecy. Before this took place the supplicants (male only), which were known as Theopropes, had to be purified in a ritual washing ceremony which took place in the Castalian Spring. The Pythia also had to purify herself in the same manner before she performed her duties. The consultation would begin with a ritual sacrifice of an animal, but if the offering was not in a favorable condition and if cold water sprinkled onto the animal made it tremble the supplicant and the animal were turned away. From here the petitioners would enter the sanctum of the temple. Here the question, which had been previously written, was handed to the priest, who in turn asked the Pythia for Apollo's answer. From her sometimes garbled muttering, the priest would translate into hexameter verse. The Pythia never gave a straight answer, Heraclitus the philosopher (circa 500 BCE) said. The oracle neither conceals nor reveals the truth, but only hints at it. The historian Herodotus gave an account of this when he reported of king Croesus of Lydia (circa 546 BCE) who asked if he should invade Persian territory. His reply from the oracle was, if he did invade a mighty empire would be destroyed. Croesus thinking he would be victorious invaded, but it was his own empire that fell and subsequently destroyed.

Every four years Delphi held the Pythian Games, originally they were held every eight but in 582 BCE. The games were reorganized, which took place in the third year of each Olympiad. This festival comprised of musical and athletic events. The music events were in honor of Apollo and Dionysus and took place in the theatre which held 5,000 spectators. The highest place on the slopes of the sanctuary is the stadium, here 7,000 spectators could watch the games. All types of event took place from running to chariot racing, the museum houses the famous statue found in Delphi called the "Charioteer".

The archaeological finds from Delphi has given archaeologists and historians much information, especially from the inscriptions found in abundance around the site. There are hymns to Apollo, lists of officials and even statements regarding temple money written either on walls or stone slabs. The ancient site of Delphi has a lot to offer in regard to giving an insight of ancient Greece but also the mythology attached to it.

Πέμπτη, 25 Απριλίου 2013

Ο Εφιάλτης του Ευρυδήμου

Ο Εφιάλτης ήταν ο γιος του Ευρυδήμου και οπως αναφέρει ο Ηρόδοτος παρουσιάστηκε στον Ξέρξη και του υπέδειξε τη στενή διάβαση που έφερνε από το όρος Καλλίδρομο στις Θερμοπύλες.Απο εκεί ανέλαβε να οδηγήσει τους Πέρσες για να χτυπήσουν τους Σπαρτιάτες που βρίσκονταν υπο την αρχηγία του Βασιλιά Λεωνίδα το 480 π.Χ..Το πέρασμα ήταν ένα στενό μονοπάτι (περίπου 12 μέτρα πλάτος) κάτω από το λόφο, το οποίο επιχείρησαν να εκμεταλλευτούν στρατηγικά οι Έλληνες στρατιώτες για να εμποδίσουν τον υπεράριθμο περσικό στρατό.

Για την κυκλωτική κίνηση των Περσών επιλέχθηκαν οι 10.000 επίλεκτοι φρουροί του βασιλιά, γνωστοί και ως "Αθάνατοι", με αρχηγό τους τον Υδάρνη. Οι Πέρσες ακολούθησαν τον Εφιάλτη με τη δύση του ηλίου. Όλο το βράδυ ακολούθησαν το μονοπάτι που τους οδηγούσε ο Έλληνας προδότης. Το όνομα αυτού του στενού περάσματος ήταν Ανοπαία Ατραπός και, επειδή και οι ελληνικές δυνάμεις του βασιλιά Λεωνίδα γνώριζαν την ύπαρξη του, είχαν θέσει ως φρουρούς του περάσματος 1.000 Φωκείς.Οι Πέρσες απώθησαν τους Φωκείς και κύκλωσαν τους Έλληνες. Ο Εφιάλτης είχε εκπληρώσει το ρόλο του. Για τη πράξη του αυτή ο Πέρσης αυτοκράτορας του έδωσε μια μεγάλη χρηματική ανταμοιβή. Η Δελφική Αμφικτυονία, όταν οι Πέρσες νικήθηκαν και έφυγαν από την Ελλάδα, τον επικήρυξε έναντι χρηματικής αμοιβής και γι' αυτό ο Εφιάλτης είχε καταφύγει στη Θεσσαλία. Όταν έπειτα από χρόνια γύρισε στην πατρίδα του στην Αντίκυρα Φθιώτιδας δολοφονήθηκε. Ο άντρας που τον σκότωσε ήταν ένας Τραχίνιος, ο Αθηνάδης, ο οποίος σύμφωνα με τον Ηρόδοτο, τον αναγνώρισε και τον σκότωσε.

Πέμπτη, 18 Απριλίου 2013

Greek Shield Patterns



Greek Shield Patterns: pre-630 BC






Swan Aryballos, Proto-Corinthian Whirlygig Aryballos, Proto-Corinthian Flying Bird Corinthian (Horseman)
Bull's Head Corinthian (Horseman) Smaller Shield Ivory Fibula-Plaque, Spartan (Horseman) Geometric Early Aryballos, Corinthian
Gorgon's Face Corinthian Whirlygig Cypriot, silver bowl Star Cypriot, silver bowl
6 petals Ivory relief, Spartan 12 discs Ivory relief, Spartan 8 Rays Ivory relief, Spartan
Bird Corinthian Plain Shield Protoattic Whirlygig Protoattic
10 Rays Ivory relief, Spartan Dots Protoattic Whirlygig Protocorinthian
Flying Bird Corinthian Chimera Protocorinthian Whirlygig Corinthian
Lion's Head Corinthian




Greek Shield Patterns: ca. 630 BC- 590 BC





Whorl device Corinthian Four Large Spots Amphora, Attic Black Figure Flying Bird Plate, Rhodian
Plain Shield Corinthian Gorgon Corinthian






Greek Shield Patterns: ca. 590 BC- 540 BC





Dark Shield with  thin rings Amphora, Attic Black Figure Dark Shield with  thin ring Attic Black Figure Sun rays Attic Black Figure
Six Petals Amphora, Attic Black Figure 4 Legs conjoined Black Figure 6-armed spiral Corinthian
Rooster Black Figure Half Boar Amphora, Attic Black Figure Split Whirlygig Sarcophagus painting, Clazomenae
Dark Rim Attic Black Figure Pelta with Face Black Figure Boeotian Design Attic Black Figure
Pelta with Face Attic Black Figure Dolphin Attic Black Figure Pelta
Plain Shield Attic Black Figure Leaf Attic Black Figure Bronze shield Chalcidian Black Figure
Bird Chalcidian Black Figure






Greek Shield Patterns: ca. 540 BC- 500 BC





White Bird Flying Hydria, Attic Black Figure Two-handled cup Krater Pelta with Phallus Attic Red Figure
Winged Boar Athenian Red Figure Conjoined Chimeras Athenian Red Figure Cup with handles Athenian Red Figure
Lion pawing ground Krater Light Centre Spot Attic Black Figure White Leg Attic Black Figure
Dark Sun Attic Black Figure Pelta with Eye Attic Red Figure White Snake Attic Black Figure
Plain Shield, Dark Rim Attic Black Figure Three Balls Attic Black Figure Rooster Krater
Centre Spot plus 5 small spots Attic Black Figure Three Legs Attic Black Figure Plain Dark Shield Amphora, Attic Black Figure
Pegasus Attic Red Figure Centaur Attic Red Figure ThreeSpots Amphora, Attic Black Figure
Pegasus Amphora, Attic Black Figure Pegasus Amphora, Attic Black Figure Pegasus Kylix, Athenian Red Figure
Pelta with Eye Kylix, Attic Red Figure (Barbarian horseman) Plain Shield Attic Black Figure Spokes Band-Cup, Attic Black Figure
Vase Athenian Red Figure Crow Athenian Red Figure Bull's head Athenian Red Figure
Lion's Forequarters Band-Cup, Attic Black Figure White Bull's head Attic Black Figure Winged Dolphin Drinking Cup, Red Figure
Plain Dark Shield Hydria, Attic Black Figure Branch-ring Attic Red Figure White bull Head Attic Black Figure
Tripod Band-Cup, Attic Black Figure Cat's Head Band-Cup, Attic Black Figure Rays Band-Cup, Attic Black Figure
Crow Athenian Red Figure Dog Athenian Red Figure Crab Athenian Red Figure
Octopus Athenian Red Figure Plain Shield Athenian Red Figure Pelta, cup, reclining man Athenian Red Figure
Small Wheel Attic Red Figure 4 Spots Attic Black Figure 4 Spots Attic Black Figure







Greek Shield Patterns: ca. 500 BC - 475 BC





Crouching Lion Stamnos, Attic Red Figure Lion with tail waving Hydria Dog
Lion's Head Attic Red Figure Plain Missile Suspender Attic Red Figure Cup and vines Attic Red Figure
Small Gorgon Amphora, Attic Black Figure Dark, Light Rim Hydria Bull pawing ground Attic Red Figure
Cobra in profile Hydria Lion crouching Attic Red Figure Bull's head Volute-Krater, Attic Red Figure
Cup Attic Red Figure Scorpion Attic Red Figure Pegasus Attic Red Figure
Flying Bird White ground Lekythos, Attic Black Figure Horse and Rider Calyx Krater, Athenian Red Figure Tripod Amphora, Athenian Red Figure
Oil lamp Athenian Red Figure Chariot Wheel Athenian Red Figure Tripod Kylix, Athenian Red Figure






Greek Shield Patterns: ca. 475 BC- 430 BC





Missile Suspender with Eye Kylix, Attic Red Figure Flying Bird Column Krater, Attic Red Figure Eye Attic Red Figure
Rings and Rays Column Krater, Athenian Red Figure Snake Loutrophoros, Athenian Red Figure Simple Pelta Volute Krater, Athenian Red Figure
Club Attic Red Figure Lion Attic Red Figure Club Attic Red Figure
Eye Kylix, Attic Red Figure Lion Pawing Ground Attic Red Figure Missile Suspender with Eye Attic Red Figure
Club Attic Red Figure Bounding Hare Attic Red Figure Eye Attic Red Figure
Wolf's Head Attic Red Figure Small Wreath Attic Red Figure Eye in profile Lekythos, Attic White Ground
Snake Stamnos, Athenian Red Figure Ring of Spots Lekythos, Athenian Red Figure Ring Volute Krater, Athenian Red Figure
Persian Pelta Attic Red Figure (Persian with bow and spear) Draped Woman Attic Red Figure Missile Suspender with Eye Attic Red Figure
Pegasus Attic Red Figure Small 16-rayed star Column Krater, Attic Red Figure Dark Plain Shield Column Krater, Attic Red Figure






Greek Shield Patterns: ca. 430 BC- 400 BC





Irregular Rays Cup, Attic Red Figure Dioscouri Amphora, Attic Black Figure Wreath Lekythos, Athenian Red Figure
White Rim Lekythos, Athenian Red Figure Plain Shield Lekythos, Athenian Red Figure Plain Shield Volute Krater, Athenian Red Figure






Greek Shield Patterns: ca. 400 BC- 350 BC





Plain dark Shield Attic Black Figure Small central spot Apulian Column Krater, Red Figure Waves, wreath and star
Plain Light Shield Apulian Kalyx Krater, Red Figure Ring in center Apulian Kalyx Krater, Red Figure Ring and rays Apulian Oinoche, Red Figure
Pelta with Snake Athenian Red Figure Wreath Amphora, Athenian Red Figure Wavy-Rimmed shield Krater, Attic Red Figure
16-Rayed Star Amphora, Attic Black Figure Pelta with Star Athenian Red Figure Wreath Athenian Red Figure







Greek Shield Patterns: post 350 BC





Rayed Star Pelike, Attic Red Figure Rayed Ring Apulian Column Krater, Red Figure (Cavalryman) Plain Ring Apulian Volute Krater, Red Figure
Plain light shield Apulian Volute Krater, Red Figure Rings Apulian Volute Krater, Red Figure Plain shield Campanian Hydria, Red Figure
Plain shield Campanian Lebes Gamikos, Red Figure Lion Paestan Bell Krater, Red Figure