Guided Tour in Ancient Nas

An Ancient Nas, originally uploaded by angeloska.

Guided Tour in Ancient Nas

«Here in the crack of time

I am hIMG_0036iding to pull through

Here in the crack of time

I am hiding to ripen…»



Many years ago when there was only a small cafe with a grill in Nas, my father, who was a historian, gave us a tour round the archaeological site. «The penteconter sailed in from out there. They tied the ropes here. It was a temple up there. Priests came to bless the boat. The captain stepped out with gifts and a slaughtered animal for the sacrifice.
Today my daughter is at the age I was when in Nas there was only a small cafe with a grill. We went for a swim in the summer and she asked: «There is something about the place. Though there’s nothing much to see. There’s something about it. What?»
I am explaining to her. I am tour-guiding her -and you too.

The location and its use – the temple and the cult

In ancient times at the mouth of the river Chalares there was a long narrow bay, like a fjord, indented-in the steep and rough northwestern coast of Ikaria. Neolithic men and women who lived in the mountains, descended to hunt and catch fish there. Later in the Bronze Age, the Karians arrived from the East in their fast boats. They were proud warriors and seamen who shared the Aegean with the other Prohellenes -the Cycladians and the Cretans. The Karians were probably the first who used Nas as a port -to attack and loot ships- and also founded there a place of worship.
The Karians were displaced around 700 BC by Greeks who came from Miletus in Asia Minor. With them they bring goats and sheep, grapevines, olive trees, improved grain seeds and new gods. Apollo (or Asclepius) for Therma, Dionysus for Oenoe and Artemis for Nas. The virgin huntress Artemis, protectress of nature, mistress of the winds, to who sailors prayed in the gales of the Etesians. The Milesians could not have made a better choice.
The tiny port at the mouth of the Chalares was for the Ionian sailors the last stop for food and rest (and a last prayer) before sailing off in the dangerous Icarian Sea to reach Delos, the commercial and religious center of the ancient Aegean. The slopes of the gorge and the mountains provided game, gift from the goddess, the villagers brought food and wine, while the river and the sources supplied them with plenty of fresh water. However, despite the frequent passage of ships, Nas never developed into a «polis» but remained a small community structured around a holly site. The temple -rather small (9,70 x 3,75 m) and of unknown architectural style- was built in the late 6th century with marble shipped from Petrokopio in Fournoi isles. The site was swampy, so first they raised a strong platform and there upon they founded the temple. In front of the platform they built a wall to protect the foundations from the water, which also served as a pier and dock.
The statue of the goddess was a «xoanon», chiseled on a single log, painted, dressed and decorated like a «sacred doll”. In the late 19th century linguist Hatzidakis, while visiting western Ikaria to record the archaic idiom still spoken there, accidentally discovers a ceramic shard with the inscription «TAUROPOL”, providing thus evidence that the temple of the Ikarian Artemis was a «Tauropolion»-one of the many that existed in ancient Greece.
The Tauropolion was a ceremony during which the priest of the goddess was bathed in the blood of a sacrificial bull while the animal was slaughtered. Originating from the ritualistic purifications performed by the archaic hunters for the killing of their prey, Tauropolion (or Taurobolium) became a particularly popular ceremony in the Hellenistic and Roman era. The Temple of the Icarian Artemis, known since classical times, along with the idyllic scenery round it, became then an attraction for the people who lived in the over-crowded cities of that time. They would set up hunting trips from Samos and Ephesus. They would climb the wooded slopes of Chalares with local hunters as guides. They would attend ceremonies still performed there «like in the good old good times
Yet it wasn’t idyllic all the time. During the revolution of Aristonicus (133-130 BC) that shook Asia Minor and the eastern Aegean, rebellious slaves, persecuted by the Romans, seem to have taken refuge in Nas. Whether as result of battle or bombardment with catapults from ships, the temple suffered major damage. The Roman general, however, hastened to repair it, and the notables and priests proclaimed him a benefactor and honored him with a statue.

Nas September 2010 by Paul  Lewis

The end of the harbor

In the Byzantine period, the temple may have served as living quarters for the crews of light cruisers stationed in the harbor. The stone pier that now appears along the lagoon is from that time. In conjunction with the watchtowers on the hilltops, Nas may have had some importance in the wars against the Saracens of Crete who had also taken the Cyclades.
Until one day, probably after the 11th century, due partly to the silting of the river and partly to the gradual elevation of the sea floor, the «fjord» of Nas began to close. The pier became too high, while the harbor became too shallow, filling up with stones, silt and sand. However, it seems that in the so-called «Age of Aphaneia» (15th-16th century), the current beach hadn’t formed yet and Nas could still be used as an anchorage. Those were times of piracy, so the Ikarians, in order to prevent Nas from becoming a pirate den, dropped rocks and tree trunks and blocked the entrance of the port. Now, the port was also the outlet of the river to the sea, so as the little bay was closing, the river flooded the area during the winter. It was probably during a tremendous flash flood that the waters knocked down the southern (internal) corner of the pier. The river must have swept across the platform and shaken the temple from the foundations. Oral tradition preserved the memory of such violent floods which occurred after the people of Raches deforested the slopes of the gorge to make charcoal in the 19th century.

Hiking in Chalares Canyon

The end of the temple

The same oral tradition, however, said that despite the floods, the temple was in good condition (“with columns, statues and walls over a man’s height”) until the 1840s. German archaeologist Ludwig Ross who was investigating antiquities in the Aegean, visited Ikaria in 1842. He had read the ancient authors and he was hoping to find a temple. There was none on the southern side, so he decided to travel to the northern part. But a meltemi gale prevented him from making the round of the island by boat. He was advised to cross the mountain Atheras on foot, but again he could not find pack animals. What bad luck!
If Ross had been to Mesariá or Raches, he would surely have learned about the temple of Nas. He would have visited the site and given us a full and accurate description. Ross’s presence would perhaps have even managed to prevent the damage done to the temple only a few years after his visit. The villagers of Raches, while building the church of Christ, facing a lack of lime and probably encouraged by ignorant, fanatic clergymen, demolished the temple. They got what marble parts they needed for the church and melted the rest in a limekiln. The worst loss was the statues. Later settlers from Asia Minor were shocked to hear about the incident. They asked the locals why they hadn’t at least spared the statues. The locals replied that the leaders of the destruction were saying: «You do not see how they look at you? On whichever side you go, they look at you. They are demons!«
The details of the crime were unveiled to Leon Politis a century later. In 1938 in Nas this famous Greek archaeologist found no temple, not even ruins, except the limekiln and piles of burnt chips of marble. Despite his disappointment, however, Politis conducted an exemplary excavation. In a few days he digs, he identifies, he dates and collects findings. And finally confirms that Nas was the site of the temple of the Icarian Artemis mentioned by ancient sources. He was planning to return, so he left the findings of the excavation in Raches. This never happened because of the war that broke out few years later. Some of the findings were stolen by the Italians during the occupation, however, the most important ones were saved and are now exhibited in the museum of Kampos. This beautiful small museum, built with little money from America and lots of personal work by the residents, washed perhaps part of the shame for demolishing the temple of Nas.

Are there still antiquities?

If there is anything, it will be in the sea. But what shape will it be in? I was a kid in Armenistis in the summer of 1967 when, after a big storm, word spread from nearby Nas that a statue was seen in the bottom of the small bay. An American archaeologist who was on holiday in Raches, was told about the discovery. He was excited and he took up to organize the haul. Eventually the divers hoisted into the boat the headless statue of an Ionian Kore in the typical robe with the beautiful folds. The Kore can be seen now in the Museum of Campos, more or less looking the same as on the day of the haul: hopelessly eroded by the sea and the friction with gravel and sand. Based on this, my father believed that if anything else was found in the bottom of Nas, would be in a similar condition, that is, almost shapeless.

Ikaria 054

The archaeological importance of Nas

Tourists wonder. An archaeological site without antiquities? Not even a fragment, a column or a column capital? Seen from above the pier of the old harbor is no different from the dry stone walls of the terraces, and the blocks of brown stone on which the temple once stood, look like steps to nowhere –without meaning. There is nothing to see, yet the tourists climb down to the site and most of them return quite satisfied. Why?
It is the landscape. Which, thanks to the timely proclamation of the archaeological zone, remained almost intact, with no buildings, no roads, looking much like it was in ancient times. It is the canyon, wild and precipitous, and the bay, wild too, yet one feels something of the warm welcome the Karians felt thousands of years ago and they chose to settle. The landscape that inspired the Ionians to dedicate to a great goddess who they honored with a temple. The archaeological importance of Nas lies in the morphological characteristics, the very ones the ancients, with their unmistakable judgment, detected and utilized in the best of ways. The magic and the sanctity of the site wasn’t due to the temple. On the contrary, the temple was a subsequence of the magic and the sanctity of the site. Thereat, even though the temple vanished, even though the statues melted, the magic and the sanctity remained. Nas is an «ancient landscape» surviving in our day.

(The image of the hypothetical reconstruction of Nas in the 5th cent. BC as well as most historical information comes from Professor A. Papalas’s book «Ancient Icaria», Greek edition, Ikaria 2002. The Guided Tour in Ancient Nas was written by Angelos Kalokairinos, resident historian. It was translated by me E.I. humble servant of the goddess from the Greek original appearing in Dec 01 2010)

Ancient Tower (TUGTII #6)

ancient tower, originally uploaded by egotoagrimi.


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egotoagrimi says:

Posted 13 months ago. ( permalink )

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simonsterg Pro User says:

Hello DT – there you are.
Posted 13 months ago. ( permalink )

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simonsterg Pro User says:

I have wondered about this tower.
What I wonder is, is it the same stonework, from the same time as this wall on the hill above Pythagorion in Samos:


or this tower nearby:


(I like the round shape better.)
Posted 13 months ago. ( permalink )

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angeloska Pro  User says:

I am leaving you to play tower to tower fights with Simon. I will be back later. For now…



This beautiful photo was seen in The Ikaria pool! Thanks for adding!
Posted 13 months ago. ( permalink )

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egotoagrimi says:

The round is a bit later style. Harder to make (more slaves!) but it’s stronger and towers higher.

Posted 13 months ago. ( permalink )

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simonsterg Pro User says:

You’re not going up higher there I hope!

It’s all very intriguing. I read here: .asp?id=1&am…

«Drakanon is an ancient city that is considered to be Dionysus birthplace, built in the 4th century B.C. It is near Fanari (Faros) location on the eastern side of the Island. Relics of the city are found on the homonymous mountain which is also mentioned in Homer’s hymns. The cape of the city is, according to Strabo, W shaped. There can be found remains of the ancient port,

The citadel is on the cape and on the southern side there is a defending tower. On the northern side of the citadel there is a round tower either of the 4th century B.C. or of the Hellenistic times. It has 3 floors and two arched gates. It was used for a system of telecommunication of that time.

The people of the island called it a lighthouse (faros) and this is what gave the area that particular name. To the west of the citadel there is the ancient quarry and a tomb of 5 meters diameter.»

I wonder how people know this?

Posted 12 months ago. ( permalink )

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simonsterg Pro User says:

The hymn could be this one

O Insewn God — born from Zeus’ thigh —
some folk say in Drakanon,
some in windy Ikaros,
others say in Naxos,
or by the deep-eddying river Alpheos,
pregnant Semele bore you to thunder-loving Zeus.
Others say you were born in Thebes, Lord,
but all of them lie:
the father of men and gods gave birth to you
far from people, hidden from white-armed Hera.

(Hymn to Dionysos by Anonymous, trnsl. Diane Rayor)

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simonsterg Pro User says:

… and does it really take more slaves to make a round tower than a square one?? They say that a circle is the shortest way of enclosing the biggest space. (Furniture might not fit so well though.)

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egotoagrimi says:

omg, 2 many questions!
i’ll just answer the last:

try to cut a cardboard to look like a horse-shoe. Then fold it to make a truncated cone like f.e. an old fashioned lampshade.

Posted 12 months ago. ( permalink )

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egotoagrimi says:

p.s. thyme all over around that tower…

It was a delight to trek through

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isl_gr Pro User says:

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simonsterg Pro User says:

Google translate : «It smells nice and you have the beginners trails here. Εγώ χώνομαι πιο μέσα, αλλά μην μου δίνετε σημασία. I snuggle more, but I do not pay attention.»
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angeloska Pro  User says:

You are driving me crazy!!!
Posted 12 months ago. ( permalink )

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egotoagrimi says:

You mean, we are not letting you fall back. We are reducating you.
Posted 12 months ago. ( permalink )

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egotoagrimi says:

and the story goes on…

Ikaria August 2007033 by raposa7

Posted 10 months ago. ( permalink )

Αρχαία Ικαρία

.Το 'Αρχαία Ικαρία' του Α. Παπαλά στο ikariastore: 'Αν και η Ικαρία δεν είναι μικρό νησί, ο ρόλος της στην ιστορία του Αιγαίου ποτέ δεν ήταν ανάλογος του μεγέθους της. Η ορεινή μορφολογία του εδάφους, η έλλειψη φυσικών λιμένων και το συχνά τρικυμιώδες Ικάριο πέλαγος ήσαν οι τρεις βασικοί παράγοντες που συνετέλεσαν στην απομόνωση του νησιού από τον γεωγραφικό περίγυρό του. Παρ' όλα αυτά δεν έλειψαν περίοδοι που βρέθηκε στην περιφέρεια ή ακόμα και στο κέντρο σημαντικών ιστορικών εξελίξεων. Ο Αντώνης Ι. Παπαλάς είναι καθηγητής της Αρχαίας Ελληνικής και Ρωμαϊκής Ιστορίας και Διευθυντής του Τμήματος Κλασικών Σπουδών στο East Carolina University των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών. Το βιβλίο αυτό αποτελεί μια...'
«Αν και η Ικαρία δεν είναι μικρό νησί, ο ρόλος της στην ιστορία του Αιγαίου ποτέ δεν ήταν ανάλογος του μεγέθους της. Η ορεινή μορφολογία του εδάφους, η έλλειψη φυσικών λιμένων και το συχνά τρικυμισμένο Ικάριο πέλαγος ήταν οι τρεις βασικοί παράγοντες που συντέλεσαν στην απομόνωση του νησιού από τον γεωγραφικό περίγυρό του. Παρόλα αυτά δεν έλειψαν περίοδοι που βρέθηκε στην περιφέρεια ή ακόμα και στο κέντρο σημαντικών ιστορικών εξελίξεων.»

Έτσι αρχίζει η «Αρχαία Ικαρία», ένα θαυμάσιο βιβλίο για την ιστορία της Ικαρίας από τους προϊστορικούς έως τους μεσαιωνικούς χρόνους που έπεσε πρόσφατα στα χέρια μου. Συγγραφέας είναι ο Ικαριακής καταγωγής Αντώνης Παπαλάς, καθηγητής της Αρχαίας Ρωμαϊκής και Ελληνικής Ιστορίας στο East Carolina University των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών. Το έργο γράφτηκε στην αγγλική γλώσσα και κυκλοφόρησε στην Αμερική το 1992. Δέκα χρόνια αργότερα μεταφράστηκε και κυκλοφόρησε στην Ελλάδα από τις Εκδόσεις Α.Κ.Καλοκαιρινός. Πρόκειται για μια εξαιρετικά επιμελημένη έκδοση 288 σελίδων με άφθονες κατατοπιστικές φωτογραφίες και παραρτήματα.
Εμπλουτισμένη με πληθώρα ιστορικών πηγών και συσχετισμών η «Αρχαία Ικαρία» είναι πάρα ταύτα γραμμένη σε γλώσσα που διαβάζεται εύκολα και ευχάριστα από το μέσο αναγνώστη. Για τους Σαμιώτες αναγνώστες ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον έχει η περιγραφή των άρρηκτων, διαχρονικών σχέσεων της Ικαρίας με τη Σάμο. Ακόμη, στη σύγχρονη εποχή μας, που κυριαρχεί η ανάγκη για αειφόρο ανάπτυξη και βιωσιμότητα παγκοσμίως αλλά και στο Αιγιακό χώρο ειδικότερα, τα συμπεράσματα που μπορεί να αντλήσει κάνεις μέσα από αυτή τη συγκροτημένη ιστορική διαδρομή της Ικαρίας είναι ιδιαίτερα χρήσιμα και επίκαιρα – θα έλεγα μάλλον πως αποτελούν ένα απροσδόκητα διαφωτιστικό στοιχείο αυτού του βιβλίου.
In my blog, about Rebels and Radicals Το 2005 εκδόθηκε στην Αμερική «η συνέχεια» της Αρχαίας Ικαρίας. Το νέο βιβλίο του Α. Παπαλά που φέρει τον εντυπωσιακό τίτλο “Rebels and Radicals”, πραγματεύεται την ιστορία του νησιού από τη μεταβυζαντινή έως τη σύγχρονη εποχή με ιδιαίτερη έμφαση στα γεγονότα του 1912 (Ικαριακή Επανάσταση), στο «έπος» των Ικαριωτών μεταναστών στην Αμερική και τις περιπέτειες της δραματικής δεκαετίας του 1940 (Αντίσταση, Εμφύλιος, Εξόριστοι).
Όπως και το «Αρχαία Ικαρία», έτσι και το “Rebels and Radicals” σύντομα ελπίζουμε θα μεταφραστεί και θα κυκλοφορήσει και στην Ελλάδα. Οι πρωτότυπες Αγγλικές εκδόσεις τόσο του “Ancient Icaria” όσο και του “Rebels and Radicals” διατίθενται από τον εκδοτικό οίκο Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Wauconda Illinois και παραγγελίες μπορούν να γίνουν από τις σχετικές ιστοσελίδες. Το «Αρχαία Ικαρία» διατίθεται από τις Εκδόσεις Α.Κ.Καλοκαιρινός, Ράχες Ικαρίας, τηλ. 2275-0-41371 και την ηλεκτρονική διεύθυνση, καθώς και από το ηλεκτρονικό βιβλιοπωλείο του περιοδικού ikariamag.

Αντιγραφη απο το μπλογκ των Ενεργων Πολιτων Σάμου : ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΙΚΑΡΙΑ

Ιkaria rock side « Φως στη μαύρη τρύπα »

«Καλύπτει ένα κενό στη βιβλιογραφία». Συχνά χρησιμοποιούμε καταχρηστικά αυτή την έκφραση. Όμως για την «Αρχαία Ικαρία» των Εκδόσεων Α.Κ. Καλοκαιρινός – μια ιστορία της από την Εποχή του Χαλκού ώς τα τέλη του 16ου αιώνα – τα λόγια αυτά ηχούν τσιγγούνικα. Αρκεί να συνειδητοποιήσει κανείς ότι γι’ αυτό το άγριο και ιδιότυπο νησί, που μέχρι να αποκτήσει λιμάνια το ‘80, ήταν φοβερά απομονωμένο, σχεδόν δεν υπάρχουν επιστημονικές μελέτες, ούτε έχουν γίνει ποτέ συστηματικές αρχαιολογικές ανασκαφές, παρά μόνο το 1938, ούτε έχει ποτέ προβληθεί η χαρακτηριστική αρχιτεκτονική του. Όλοι τη γνώριζαν ως τόπο εξορίας και ιαματικών λουτρών, όλοι πια ξέρουν για τα εμπορικά καταστήματά της που ανοίγουν τα μεσάνυχτα, αλλά όποτε έψαχνε κανείς για κάτι περισσότερο έπεφτε σε μαύρη τρύπα. Ε! λοιπόν με αυτό το βιβλίο, η τρύπα του… Αιγαίου φωτίζεται. Συγγραφέας του είναι ο Ελληνοαμερικανός καθηγητής Αρχαιοελληνικής Ιστορίας στο Πανεπιστήμιο της Α. Καρολίνας, ο ικαριακής καταγωγής Αντώνης Παπαλάς, ο οποίος δούλεψε με αυστηρή επιστημονική μέθοδο και συνέθεσε το υλικό έτσι ώστε να διαβάζεται άνετα τόσο από τον επιστήμονα όσο και από το ευρύ κοινό. Απολαυστική η περιγραφή της Ικαρίας του 17ου αιώνα από τον τότε Επίσκοπο Ιωσήφ Γεωργειρήνη, που την παρουσιάζει ως το πιο φτωχό αλλά και το πιο ευτυχισμένο νησί του Αιγαίου»

(Μικέλα Χαρτουλάρη, εφημ. ΤΑ ΝΕΑ , 06-07-2002)

Αν θελετε, διαβασετε και το «Ξεναγηση στο Να» στο μπλογκ της Νανας,
που ειναι μια ιστορια που βασιζεται σε αυτο το βιβλιο.

Στο μπλογκ της Νανάς, ΞΕΝΑΓΗΣΗ ΣΤΟ ΝΑ: 'Τι ήταν ο Νας της Ικαρίας τα αρχαία, τα ρωμαϊκά και τα βυζαντινά χρόνια, η θρησκεία, το τοπίο και η ιστορία, η ιστορία του τοπίου.'





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Θεωρώ πολύ επιτυχημένο τον τίτλο. Απ’ ότι έχω καταλάβει, θεωρώ ότι η Ικαρία ήταν «αρχαία» ως τον 20ο αιώνα! 🙂

Sunday August 18, 2009 – 08:46am (EEST)

Το Αγγλικό πρωτότυπο είναι κάπως ξερό αλλά η μετάφραση και η επιμέλεια έχει βελτιώσει πάρα πολύ το ύφος, ενώ οι φωτογραφίες προσθέτουν γλαφυρότητα και επιπλέον στοιχεία. Πολλή ουσία επίσης βρίσκεται και στις παραπομπές και υποσημειώσεις. Η Ικαρία άργησε όμως έβγαλε τελικά ένα πολύ καλό ιστορικό βιβλίο!

Sunday August 24, 2009 – 04:55pm (EST)

Το ίδιο σκεφτόμουν κι εγώ Νανα!
Ευχαριστούμε πολύ, Μαρία!

Monday August 26, 2006 – 10:56pm (EET)

Ξέχασα να πω ότι μου άρεσε πολύ και η μετάφραση της Περιγραφής της Νήσου από τον επίσκοπο Γεωργειρήνη που βρίσκεται στο Παράρτημα. Εξαιρετική δουλειά, καθώς και ο σχολιασμός του μεταφραστή!

Tuesday August 28, 2006 – 12:18pm (EST)

Καποια στιγμη θα γραφω ενα αρθρο στο μπλογκ μου για το συντομο περασμα του Charles Perry απο την Ικαρια το 1738 με αφρρμή την παραγραφο που διαβασα στην εισαγωγη του βιβλιου.

Wednesday September 3, 2009 – 01:09pm (PST)


Thursday September 25, 2009 – 12:18pm (EST)

The Names of the Goddess



Synthesizing Artemis of Ephesus: an 18th-century engraving of a Roman marble copy of a Greek replica of a lost Geometric period xoanon.




(top left) Synthesizing Artemis of Ephesus: an 18th-century engraving of a Roman marble copy of a Greek replica of a lost Geometric period xoanon. Read more about the Syncretic and Enigmatic Lady of Ephesus in The Wikipedia
(top right) «Plank figure» of chalk, Early Cypriot III to Middle Cypriot I, 1900-1800 BCE (Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens)
(bottom left) Reconstruction of a Painted Archaic period Kore (Glyptotek, Munich)

(bottom right) «Bell Idol« : Late Geometric pottery item from Thebes, Boetia, rare example of figurative sculpture from the period (750-690 BC) probably representing a Nature goddess – a descendant of the Minoan tradition, which some commentators have identified with Artemis. (LE LOUVRE) .

And last, goddess Artemis Orthia in the usual stance of Potnia Theron





Is this a do-it-yourself blog? You give us the title and we provide the body?

Gaia – Cybele – Hecate – Selene – Demeter – Aphrodite.

I don’t consider them to be names of the goddess but masks of the eternal mother of all things, masks that reflect the time and the place of the mask maker.

If you close your eyes and slowly recite these names, it will briefly transport you into Her dark cthonian chamber.
Gaia – Cybele – Hecate – Selene – Demeter – Aphrodite…

Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 12:22am (PDT)

Στο 7ο Θαύμα του Αρχαίου Κόσμου γινόταν της πουτάνας!
Και πρέπει να παίζανε και τρελά λεφτά!Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 02:34pm (EEST)


This Ephesian Aphrodite doesn’t look like much of a hunter. I wonder if the Nas one was a bit more athletic?

I’ve seen the Hippolytus / Phaedra story on stage a few times.

Aphrodite complains about Hippolitus:

«Love he scorns, and, as for marriage, will none of it; but Artemis, daughter of Zeus, sister of Phoebus, he doth honour, counting her the chief of goddesses, and ever through the greenwood, attendant on his virgin goddess, he clears the earth of wild beasts with his fleet hounds, enjoying the comradeship of one too high for mortal ken.»

(Euripides )

Of course he comes to a bad end; you have to be careful with goddesses.

Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 04:16pm (CEST)

Perhaps ‘Apollonios’ is right in his first comment. I am usually patient and do what you ask me to do but this time please get to the point -to one of the points at least. You are a master in iconography, so what do you think? Do you think that the statue of Artemis in Nas, Ikaria, was a wooden xoanon, an early version of something that looked like the Goddess of the Wikipedia?
I am trying to imagine it made of a single log of wood, painted with many colors and loaded with silver and gold.

‘egotoagrimi’ -> lol

Wednesday October 22, 2008 – 09:04pm (EEST)

You know so many artists. Why not have one of them carve an imaginary replica of this statue (including the animals!) on a piece of tree and paint it? I bet it would look like an American Indian Totemic pillar -ugh!

or maybe better…

«…and last, goddess Artemis Orthia in the usual stance of Potnia Theron »


Thursday October 23, 2008 – 02:39pm (EEST)

Spooky revelation #1
In ancient times, Ephesus was a huge cosmopolitan port with a population in the hundreds of thousands and it was the center of Artemis-Cybele the mother goddess cult.
Island of Delos was the sacred city of Artemis the huntress cult, destination of many pilgrims from all over the mediterranean world.
Ikaria’s Nas bay is e-x-a-c-t-l-y the midpoint between Ephesus and Delos.

I have always suspected this but now thanks to the Google-Earth measuring tool I verified it.
Ephesus Nas is 73.5 Miles, Nas to Dilos is 73.5 Km. Ephesus – Nas – Dilos is in a straight line and therefore Nas was a possible stop-over for the pilgrims from and to Dilos.

I don’t attach any metaphysical significance to this but it is no accident either. It is very likely that Nas was built by Ephesian settlers as a naval re-supply point for food and water and also as a safety and praying stop when the Ikarian archipelagos was in turmoil (and most of us who travel to Ikaria by boat have gotten a taste of that)
If this is true then the Artemis Xoanon at Nas temple was fashioned like the one in Ephesus. (The Nas Artemis bull sacrifice connection, also points in the same direction – coins depicting Artemis sitting on a bull were found near Nas)

Thursday October 23, 2008 – 11:34am (PDT)

Nana is right, Ephesus was a modern day Las Vegas, Delos was like Switzerland, besides being a sacred city was also the central treasure bank for the Delian league, you know money and religion always stick together.
And Ikaria was, well, like modern Ikaria, a port stop on the way to Samos or to Mykonos.

Thursday October 23, 2008 – 11:41am (PDT)

I measured the distances on the actual map -the very accurate Greek Hydrographic Service Map. YOU ARE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Friday October 24, 2008 – 01:05pm (EEST)

but wait, there is more…
Why would Ephesians or Greeks care about the mid-point anyway, the divine proportion in ancient times and even today is the golden ratio (χρυσή τομή )
“In math two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio between the sum of those quantities and the larger one is the same as the ratio between the larger one and the smaller. The golden ratio is a mathematical constant approximately 1.618. Phi = (a+b)/a = a/b = 1.618 (Pay attention we will have a pop-quiz at the end of this blog)
See for details about the fascinating history of the golden ratio.

Artists, mathematicians, architects, astronomers, philosopher and yes magic cults were captivated by this ratio.

So what we really have here is the distance between Ephesus to Nas = 118.5 Km and distance from Nas To Delos = 73.5 Km and their ratio is about 1.612, a golden ratio match. To me this is much more significant than Nas being the mid-point between Ephesus and Delos.

Friday October 24, 2008 – 03:56pm (PDT)

I counted milimeters «as a bird flies» on a 1/25000 map. Have you been a sailor and a paddle rower? I have. The golden ratio is approxiamtely 1/3. One day of rowing (24 hours and hopefully not against the wind!), then 2 to 3 days for resting, praying and occasional sacrifice, good food, hunting and girl chasing.
Then back to the row bench to cross the Ikarian Sea. Today the wind is north, force 6-7 and I tell you the sea is not inviting!Saturday October 25, 2008 – 02:09pm (EEST)

I know an artist. I assume none of the ladies here would like to pose as a model for the Goddess’ «xoanon»?Saturday October 25, 2008 – 02:13pm (EEST)

Discoveries! Isn’t geometry a great thing?
However, there is a limit. No matter how good your artist is, no way for me to pose as a geometric period xoanon! Too stiff and loaded with stuff! If I do, I will faint in less than an hour. Do it but use a dummie instead.

Saturday October 25, 2008 – 08:42pm (EEST)

Angelos, before we pick a model to pose as the goddess, your task is to «harvest» two dozen bull testes for the goddess’s necklace, is this already done?
By the way why we think this xoanon was from the geometric period? Nothing geo about it, looks like late Greek Archaic period with oriental influnces.Saturday October 25, 2008 – 01:30pm (PDT)

Who needs sponcors when there are friends?!
I am breaking in this creative thinking thread to say that I have edited my entry and added a picture of the nearest to a xoanon. I think the «venerated image» (*) Artemis of Nas looked like something between the picture on the left and the picture on the right.

(*) «image» in this case is something more than 2D and less than 3D, very much the christian cross -no iconic value if looked at from the side!

Anyway, I have a full frontal picture of myself from when I was pregnant. Minus the extra breasts (or whatever they were), I was well… very geometric, like a «Magna Mater» oversized figurine.

I could lend the photo to the artist use as a model.
To respect the 7th century Ionian tradition (as well flatter my female vanity…) the artist must add a clear touch of the looks of a Kore (bottom picture) -and please… A Nice Archaic Dress!

Monday October 27, 2008 – 05:32am (PDT)

You didn’t look at all like a «Plank Figure», I’d say…Tuesday October 28, 2008 – 03:02pm (EET)

So Eleni, you think the Nas Artemis was more of a functional and symbolic, lightly curved, painted wooden totem icon rather than an elaborate, impressive statue?
Something like an oversized colorful babushka doll?
Your instinct is probably right, the early Icarians were a small horticultural community of small scale hunters, living around rivers on an island with resources no other than wood and rocks and therefore very limited in what they could create. (but I bet you a lot of love and artistic vigor went creating the Nas xoanon)
I like the nested babushka doll metaphor, the outer doll is like an Ephesian Artemis, you peel it off and inside it you find a more primitive near-east fertility goddess, inside it you find an even more primitive doll in the geometric Cycladic style and inside that doll you find a large egg…

Tuesday October 28, 2008 – 07:06am (PDT)

I hope that you can see the editing of the entry. I have added the famous «Bell Idol» from the famous New Louvre new website which ‘Simon G’ spotted and wrote to tell me about (x x x ♥♥♥).
Les savants say it was an Artemis!
Les savants also seem to imply that it was a development of the rigorous «vase form» beloved by the 8 cent. potters.

♥@♥ Apollonios: the vase, the doll, the egg, the babushka ♀♀♀???

how and when did the bow/arrow and the virginity thing
came in the picture?

With your ♥ help ♥ we will find this out in a next episode on
 Eleni’s Channel!

Wednesday October 29, 2008 – 05:38am (PDT)


Thursday October 30, 2008 – 02:13pm (EET)

The Ephesian Artemis and the hunting Artemis of mainland Greece were two different goddesses who happened to share the same name and a common interest for nature and wild animals.

The evolution of the Ephesian Artemis is a classic case of religious syncretism, that is the morphing of a religion to something new by adding elements from other religions. Gods evolve over time as the people who worship them come into contact through wars or peaceful migration.
(For example our Greek orthodox church here in California has catholic-style stained glass windows, harpsichord music is played during the liturgy and the priest has no beard. These things may be considered taboo in mainland Greece but they are quite natural to Greeks here because other christian chrches have them)

It is obvious that the Ephesian Artemis was a prehistoric Great Mother figure that the Ionian settlers tried to Hellenize, but the locals resisted because they had such a great love for her cult and the only thing they accepted to change was the name. Maybe her cult was so old that she had no name, maybe she was an ancient fetish, an It and therefore giving her a proper name was long overdue. I just wish they had called her more appropriately, Gaia, mother Earth.

Saturday November 1, 2008 – 07:30am (PDT)

By the way, about the bottom left reconstruction of the painted Kore:
While it is true that most ancient Greek statues were painted, the Greek artists did not smear flashy colors everywhere as the reconstructed «gaudy plumage» suggests. Only the eyes, lips and hair were painted to humanize the head and give it a haunting intimidating appearance. (These statues also served and as guards in a temple to scare potential looters)

Saturday November 1, 2008 – 07:42am (PDT)

I talked with the artist. I gave him the link and placed an order for a ‘xoanon’. He has an idea but he made no promises. We will have to wait…Sunday November 2, 2008 – 07:46pm (EET)


«The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must» :o


«Right, as the world goes, is only a question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must


cat and mouse


Oh no. I’ve changed my mind. I don’t feel like and I am not going to write the story of sweet boy Glaucos, Cretan King Minos’ son, who drowned in honey.

Instead, I will tell you about the terrible fate of the Melians, the inhabitants of the island of Melos, who dared claim neutrality in a civil war. It was not because they were cowards; on the contrary they were the only islanders who didn’t surrender and opposed the Persians. The reason they didn’t want to fight with their allies, the Athenians, against the Spartans, was that unlike the Athenians and most other islanders who were Ionians, the Melians were Dorians like the Spartans. Greek can kill Greek and brother can kill brother; but in this case the Melians were asked to fight against themselves, against their own identity. So they pleaded to remain neutral.


Mandrakia village / Milos island by Zdenek Senkyrik | Flickr

Read the story and then read THE MELIAN DIALOGUE, the debate between the Melians and the Athenians on the matter. It’s good drama. What the Athenians actually say is :

«We are going to destroy you and we will spare noone; but before we kill you, you will have to understand perfectly well the reason why we will kill you.» And the Melians seem to say : «We know that we are as good as dead; but why not for a change instead of proving you are strong by killing everybody of us, why not for a change prove you are strong by letting us live in the way we want.»

(If you have time to read the whole original Dialogue, search for the quote in the title of this entry. Look how and where exactly it drops in the text. What effect it’d create to your ears if you were a Melian?)

I hope one day Thucydides’ Melian Dialogue will be adapted and set on the scene succesfully. But my ambitions are greater. They say that the constitution of the European Union will contain Pericles’ «Funeral Oration» on the benefits of democracy; I strongly believe that it should also contain the arguments of the Melians. My arguments? My arguments are he arguments of so many weak people I know.

filakia Elle Image


(8 total)

«Might makes right!» «Wait a second.. no it doesn’t!»

If there were any justice in the world, all imperial leaders would be forced to sleep with a copy of this dialogue under their pillows.

This was one of the first pieces of classical literature I ever read. It brought home the one reason I’m still studying the ancients, and in fact plan to teach this stuff for my career: Nothing Ever Changes. That’s not to say I’m a pessimist, but rather that there are universal elements of the human experience, and sometimes they were expressed best 2500 years ago. These elements, from Achilles’ rage to Dido’s tragic love, are what have kept me stuck in school for all these years.

Saturday September 30, 2006 – 09:24am (EDT)

My old teacher Vidal-Naquet died recently. I was lucky to meet him again after many years in Ikaria. He had been invited to a conference on history and myths. I was told that he expressed the wish to visit again and spend a lot of time in Ikaria. Anyway what he always said was that the study of the classics helps a person committed to a cause become more relative and more profound in his/her ideas. I want to add that Thucydides was FOR the Melians. Unfortunaltely we weren’t taught that at school. I was told that Thucydides is taught as a course in the Mlitary Academies of the U.S. I assume it’s about strategics and that they leave this passage out.

(psst… El, what’s on your mind? a script?)

Saturday September 30, 2006 – 10:43pm (EEST)

The cat got his paws on a cockerel. «At last I’ve got you. You… you… wake up everyone far too early in the morning. Now I’m going to stop all your crowing once and for all.» Although the claws of cat were round his neck, the cock managed to answer, «But actually a recent poll has shown the majority of people are grateful for a wake up call.» «Well… don’t think you can reason your way out of this. I’m hungry, and the main thing is… I want a meal.» And with that the debate was over.

I’ve just had a look at the Melian dialogue – it is sort of surreal – it must be the greeks and debate – why, before the age of mass media and spin – why when there will be no audience apart from the vanquished – why bother to reason?? The performance should have a comic edge I think.

Saturday September 30, 2006 – 11:24pm (CEST)

Typical situation «Shoot me but spare me the lecture». Fortunately (for us) none of them was short of words and Thucydides was a top «journalist». So a typical everyday situation became an *all-times-classic*. When someone to who a company is grateful*, refuses to do some dirty job which is against his/her principles, and so he/she gets fired, the attitudes that you see and the arguments that you hear are from the Melian Dialogue.

*** I all agree with Simon G. This is Black Comedy. Though no expert, I think this genre is the most difficult to put on stage.

Sunday October 1, 2006 – 07:10pm (EEST)

OH YES IT IS ! As ‘Simon G’ insinuates, the somebody has to be vanquished and that will be the audience for such a play. If I’m not mistaken, during the war Thucydides was busy being a general; he wrote his history later in his self-exile in Thrace after his home town, Athens was defeated. Aristophanes on the contrary wrote and directed his comedies between battles and campaigns of that war. Lycistrata, The Birds, Acharneis – my favourites!…

Sunday October 1, 2006 – 12:27pm (PDT)

Tragic that we as humans have not learned a Goddamned thing in 2,500 years.

Write it Elle!

Monday October 2, 2006 – 07:35am (PDT)

Oh no greg! We have learned one thing : that we have not learned a Goddamned thing in 2,500 years. ha ha ha Somebody else said this -not me. Maybe a comedian, maybe a historian, I can’t remember.

I think I’ll try and do it. I’ll need to put on 3 hats : a lawyer’s, a comedian’s, a historian’s, plus some Aristophanic spirit «shoot us but spare us the lectures» (thank you Nana!) Let’s change the subject because I don’t want to think about it now. It will be for after… you know.

Monday October 2, 2006 – 01:04pm (PDT)