How can one penetrate to the future and discern what is the right thing to do, i.e. to earn higher or better life or to avoid pain, enemies, death. The quest for answers has been there since time immemorial. And that is the reason that seers had been sought after. And what are seers? What is that gift (endowment) that gives them the power to “swim” into time and give answers (that must be correct). In the Greek tradition seers have foretold kings and queens what they wanted to look into, respecting solidity of kingdoms and fame. They accompanied kings to expeditions and tradition has it that most of them were blind. Why? What does this connote? May be the deprivement of the fluctuating pictures and scenes of the present world, one can see – with the eyes of a clean soul – the events that formulate. And to that, one should be free of burdens and should have a clean inner world. Continue reading →
Long ago there were Amazons, daughters of Ares, who lived along the Thermodon river. They alone of the peoples around them were armed with iron, and they were the first to ride horses. With them, because of the inexperience of their enemies, the Amazons slew those who fled and outran those who pursued. For their courage Amazons used to be considered men rather than women for their physical nature. They seemed to surpass men in their spirit instead of falling short of them in appearance. They ruled many lands and enslaved their neighbors. Then, hearing of the great renown of this land, they gathered their most warlike nations and marched against the city. A glorious reputation and high ambitions were their motives. But here they met brave men and came to possess spirits alike to their nature. Gaining a reputation that was the opposite of the one they had, they appeared women because of the dangers rather than from their bodies. For them alone it was impossible to learn from their mistakes and form better plans about the future. Since they did not go home, they could not announce their misfortunes nor the bravery of our ancestors, for they died here and paid the penalty for their folly. They made the memory of the city imperishable because of its bravery and rendered their own country nameless because of their disaster here. Those women who unjustly lusted after another’s land justly lost their own (Lysias, Epitaphios 4-6), found in this book.Continue reading →
The Evzones, or Evzoni, is the name of several historical elite light infantry and mountain units of the Greek Army. Today, it refers to the members of the Presidential Guard, an elite ceremonial unit that guards the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Presidential Mansion and the gate of Evzones camp in Athens. The Evzones are also known, colloquially, as Tsoliades . Though the Presidential Guard is a predominantly ceremonial unit, all Evzones are volunteers drawn from the Hellenic Army’s Infantry, Artillery and Armoured Corps. Prospective Evzones are usually identified at the Army Recruit Training Centres during Basic Training; there is a minimum height requirement of 1.86 m (6′ 1.2″) to join. The unit is famous around the world for its unique traditional uniform, which has evolved from the clothes worn by the klephts who fought the Ottoman occupation of Greece. The most visible item of this uniform is the fustanella, a kilt-like garment. Their proven valour and peculiar dress turned them into a popular image for the Greek soldier, especially among foreigners.
Scholars face a taxonomic dilemma in discussing the female figures of Greek mythology and cult. If the female upon discussion is not a well-recognized goddess, one must decide (in the absence of convenient labeling by the ancient sources) whether to refer to her as a mortal woman (that is, a heroine), as a nymph, or as a member of some other group. Did the Greeks make a significant conceptual distinction between heroines and nymphs, and if so, what factors were used to distinguish them? No detailed discussion of these questions exists, and the matter of nomenclature has so far been idiosyncratic.
In the Greek imagination, nymphs are inseparable from the landscape. To a greater degree than most other Greek deities, they are closely associated with certain topographical features. The most basic of these is spring, for nymphs are above all deities of water. From Homer to the late epigrams in the Greek Anthology, nymphs are consistently the inhabitants of water sources and providers of fresh water. Their cultural significance thus stretches far beyond the spring itself to all the symbolic and practical uses of water. (taken from the book “Greek Nymphs – Myth, Cult, Lore” by Jennifer Larson). Continue reading →
She was the goddess of agriculture, daughter of Cronus and Rhea, sister of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hera and Hestia. Demeter was a very important divinity since she represented the time of the harvest. Herodotus alleges that in reality she is the Egyptian goddess Isis whose worship was carried on to the Peloponnese by the Pelasgians who were ancient Greek tribes that lived by the 2nd millennium B.C. Her worship was regarded as mystic since it comprised matters of private evolution, death and resurrection. Eleusis, a small town at the outskirts of Athens, was the place for her worship, which took place each year either in September or October and is called the Eleusinian mysteries. Continue reading →
The picture which now emerges of Greek myth is hard to summarise. Plainly it is not enough to allege that myth does some one thing or another. Greek myth is a complicated organism, with a history of its own, in both ancient and modern times. At one extreme, Greek myth reaches back to an Indo-European past which we can scarsely conceive; at the opposite extreme stand modern ideas and interpretation of myth, which irrespective of any value they may have for a correct understanding of Greek myth (and is there such a thing?), are part of the intellectual fabric of our times. In between lies the entire culture and history of the Greeks, with which myth is continually in dialogue and in which it is continually redeployed. (from the book ‘The uses of Greek mythology’ by Ken Dowden). Continue reading →
‘Once upon a time there lived in Attica a young girl called Murmix. Athena was very fond of her both because she was a virgin and also because she was clever with her hands. One day her benevolence was changed to hatred. This is why: Athena had seen Demeter invent corn and she wanted to show the inhabitants of Attica how they could obtain this fruit of the earth more rapidly. So she invented the plough. But Murmix, who knew about Athena’s invention, made so bold as to steal the ploughshare and went to the men, declaring to all and sundry that the gift of Demeter would only bear fruit if men used her invention which alone was able to turn over the earth and make it easy for the corn to grow’. We may pass over the anger of Athena and the punishment meted out to Murmix who was changed into an ant and condemned to have to steal a few grains of corn in order to survive. (from the book “Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society” by Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant). Continue reading →
Zeibekiko (Greek: Ζεϊμπέκικο) is a Greek folk dance with a rhythmic pattern of 9/4 or else 9/8 (broken down as 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/16 + 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/16 + 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8).
The name is derived from Zeibek warriors of Anatolia, but old folklore said that the name of the dance comes from the words Zei, as a derivative of Greek God Zeus, and the phrygian word bekos, which means bread according to Herodotus. According to this folk etymology, it symbolizes the union of the spirit with the body and it is believed that it was danced in honor of Greek gods.
The dance is of free choreographic structure. Although in older times the dance was danced by a pair of either the same or opposite sex, some consider it a solo dance and find it offensive to be interrupted by another dancer. Occasionally dancers perform feats such as standing on a glass of wine or a chair or fireplace, or picking up a table, adding a sense of a little braggadocio and humor.
In reality though, zeibekiko reflects the somatic expression of personal defeat and deep pain! One has to be a tough guy to be able to dance it properly and with true passion.
My brother always calls me the queen of the fridge. The reason behind this imperial title is the fact that from an almost empty fridge, several times and in short order, I have prepared for him dishes that were satisfying and fulfilling, and from what he claims, fair of an expensive restaurant. Fact is, when the fridge happens to be empty, my imagination is immensely activated and makes the odds and ends of the fridge meet in a frenzied rhythm in my loved ones plate. Anyway, I suppose that this happens to almost everybody with a daring palate and forgiving guests.
The creative use of leftovers is another favorite occupation of mine. I consider it my task to use any leftovers and to not throw a single bite in the garbage can. The following recipe has ingredients that we don’t necessarily have in our fridge, every day, but uses cooked, leftover chicken. Small bits of cheese remaining unwanted in the fridge may be used in place of the ones asked for in the recipe. Continue reading →
mainly about cooking as well as sharing with the world glorious Greece