The Golden Age of Greece



Hi, I have intermingled my commentary with info found on the web. Ahhh it’s not plagiarism or cheating…. it’s just being efficient. J




The Gang: This was a great trip. Made even more so because it was just 7 guys and the rest beautiful women…everybody is single. J  Which proves there are a lot of great single women still out there. So there is still hope for me.



The Classical period or Golden age of Greece, from around 500 to 300 BC, has given us the great monuments, art, philosophy, architecture and literature which are the building blocks of our own civilization. The two most well known city-states during this period were the rivals: Athens and Sparta. It was the strengths of these two societies that brought the ancient world to its heights in art, culture and with the defeat of the Persians, warfare. It was the same two Greek states whose thirst for more power and territory, and whose jealousy brought about the Peloponnesian wars which lasted 30 years and left both Athens and Sparta mere shadows of their former selves.


The seeds of the classical period were sown in the 8th century with the committing of Homer to writing which in a way created a code of conduct  and an ethnic identity for the Greeks. The heroic exploits of Odysseus, Achilles and the other Achaeans served as role models for the Greeks which told them how to behave, (and in some cases, how not to behave) in many situations, particularly on the field of battle and in competition. Just as important in the creating of a Greek identity was the emergence of the Olympic games and the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi both of which had their roots in the 8th century.




From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  Helmeted Athena, of the Velletri type. Roman copy (1st century CE) of a Greek original by Kresilas dating from 430 BC (Louvre Museum)[1]


Helmeted Athena, of the Velletri type. Roman copy (1st century CE) of a Greek original by Kresilas dating from 430 BC (Louvre Museum)


In Greek mythology, Athena (Greek: θην, Athēnâ, or θήνη, Athénē; Doric: σάνα, Asána) was the goddess of wisdom, weaving, crafts, and war. Athena's wisdom encompasses the technical knowledge employed in weaving, metal-working, and war, but also includes the cunning intelligence (metis) of such trickster figures as Odysseus.


She is attended by an owl, wears a goatskin breastplate called the Aegis given to her by her father, Zeus,[1] and is accompanied by the goddess of victory, Nike. She is often shown helmeted and with a shield bearing the Gorgon Medusa's head, a votive gift of Perseus. Athena is an armed warrior goddess, and appears in Greek mythology as a helper of many heroes, including Heracles, Jason, and Odysseus. She never had a consort or lover, and thus was often known as Athena Parthenos ("Athena the virgin"). In her role as a protector of the city, Athena was worshipped throughout the Greek world as Athena Polias ("Athena of the city"). She had a special relationship with Athens, as is shown by the etymological connection of the names of the goddess and the city.[2] The Parthenon, on the Acropolis of Athens, is her most famous temple


In Roman mythology, the goddess of wisdom was Minerva, who originated in the association of the Etruscan goddess Menerva with Hellenic iconography of Athena. Quite apart from Minerva, the Romans knew her as Athena as well.


Further Reading:


Stoa Restored. (view from Acropolis)


Stoa (plural, stoae or stoæ) in Ancient Greek architecture; covered walkways or porticos, commonly for public usage. Early stoae were open at the entrance with columns lining the side of the building, creating an enveloping, protective atmosphere and were usually of Doric order. Later examples consisted of mainly two storeys, with a roof supporting the inner colonnades where shops or sometimes offices were located and followed Ionic architecture. These buildings were open to the public; merchants could sell their goods, artists display their artwork, and religious gatherings could take place. Stoae usually surrounded the marketplaces of large cities

The stoa is identified as a gift (to the city of Athens) for the education that Pergamon received there. A dedicatory inscription on the architrave is engraved as built by Attalos II, ruler of Pergamon from 159 B.C. to 138 B.C.

The stoa was in frequent use until it was destroyed by the Herulians in 267. The ruins became part of a fortification wall, which made it easily seen in modern times. In the 1940s, the Stoa of Attalos was fully reconstructed and made into a museum, the Ancient Agora Museum in Athens. The building is particularly important in the study of ancient monuments because the reconstruction of 1952 - 1956 replicates the original building.

View from Stoa to Acropolis


My 1st day I went to the Museum on my own, I arrived a day early before the group. There was a ton of neat stuff but I really liked this piece because I knew a little something about it before I saw it. It’s not famous like many other pieces in the place but I love the goddess story behind it. She’s the goddess for the hunters. It’s Minoan, before the Greeks. Sadly though, it was to big to fit in my backpack.

Potnia Theron ("Mistress of the Animals") is an ancient title of the Minoan Goddess, an aspect of her power that was assumed by Artemis among others in the Olympian hierarchy that was later introduced in mainland Greece. "In particular, it seems as if an ancient Great Goddess, especially qua Mistress of the Animals, has been individualized in Greece in various ways, as Hera, Artemis, Aphrodite, Demeter, and Athena," Walter Burkert allows, but adds "The idea of a Master or Mistress of the Animals who must be won over to the side of the hunters is widespread and very possibly Paleolithic in origin; in the official religion of the Greeks this survives at little more than the level of folklore."

Later, standing upon a Mountain, flanked by lions in just the same position they occupy in the Lion Gate at Mycenae.



Later, when the group arrived to join me in Athens we went to Acropolis, saw a temple of Zeus and went to dinner at this awesome place that serves Greek food but only prepared from ancient Greek Recipes…nothing modern. You could only order water or wine to drink. We truly ate as the Greeks did and I drank like one too. But no Greek wild party afterward.




These are pics from our walk to and from the bar at the base of the Acropolis:




Not sure what this was?


Hadrian’s Arch


Zeus Temple



The next day we loaded up the bus and went to some Gorge and then to Ancient Epidaurus.


Epidaurus was known for its sanctuary situated about five miles from the town, as well as its theater, which is once again in use today. The cult of Asklepios at Epidaurus is attested in the 6th century BC when the older hill-top sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas was no longer spacious enough.


The asclepieion at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, the place where ill people went in the hope of being cured. To find out the right cure for their ailments, they spent a night in the enkoimitiria, a big sleeping hall. In their dreams, the god himself would advise them what they had to do to regain their health. There are also mineral springs in the vicinity which may have been used in healing.


Asklepios, the most important healer god of antiquity, brought prosperity to the sanctuary, which in the 4th and 3rd BC embarked on an ambitious building program for enlarging and reconstruction of monumental buildings. Fame and prosperity continued throughout the Hellenistic period. In 87 BC the sanctuary was looted by the Roman general Sulla and in 67 BC it was plundered by pirates. In the 2nd century AD the sanctuary enjoyed a new upsurge under the Romans, but in AD 395 the Goths raided the sanctuary.


Even after the introduction of Christianity and the silencing of the oracles, the sanctuary at Epidauros was still known as late as the mid 5th century, though as a Christian healing center.



The next stop after Lunch (“are those real”, inside joke) was The Treasury of Atreus (Beehive Tomb)

The entrance of the so-called "Tomb of Clytemnestra" out side the Citadel at Mycenae, a good example of the architectural type known as the tholos


and Mycenae to see the Palace and the Lions Gate.


Lions Gate and view from Palace Ruins: Built a thousand years before Classical Greece. That’s Old. J



The people of Mycenae had received an oracle that they should choose a new king from among the Pelopids. The two contenders were Atreus and his brother, Thyestes. The latter was chosen at first. At this moment nature intervened. The sun appeared to reverse direction and set in the east. Because the sun had reversed direction, he argued, the election of Thyestes should be reversed. Atreus became king. His first move was to pursue Thyestes and all his family, but Thyestes managed to escape Mycenae.


In legend, Atreus had two sons, Agamemnon and Menelaus, the Atreids. Aegisthus, the son of Thyestes, killed Atreus and restored Thyestes to the throne. With the help of King Tyndareus of Sparta, the Atreids drove Thyestes again into exile. Tyndareus had two ill-starred daughters, Helen and Clytemnestra, whom Menelaus and Agamemnon married, respectively. Agamemnon inherited Mycenae and Menelaus was regent in Sparta.


Helen eloped with Paris of Troy. Agamemnon conducted a 10-year war against Troy to get her back for his brother. Because of lack of wind, the warships could not sail to Troy. In order to please the gods so that they might make the winds start to blow, Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia. Hunting goddess Artemis replaced her at the very last moment with a deer on the altar, and took Iphigenia to Tauris (See Iphigenia en Tauris by Euripides). The gods having been satisfied by such a sacrifice, the winds started blowing and the warfaring fleet departed.


Legend tells us that the long and arduous Trojan War, although nominally a Greek victory, brought anarchy, piracy and ruin. After the war, returning Agamemnon was greeted royally with a red carpet rolled out for him and then slain in his bathtub by Clytemnestra, who hated him bitterly for having sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia. Clytemnestra was aided in her crime by Aegistheus, who reigned subsequently, but Orestes, son of Agamemnon, was smuggled out to Phocis. He returned as a man to slay Clytemnestra and Aegistheus. He then fled to Sparta to evade justice, and, a matricide, became insane for a time. Meanwhile, the throne of Mycenae went to Aletes, son of Aegistheus, but not for long. Recovering, Orestes returned to Mycenae to kill him and take the throne.


Orestes then built a larger state in the Peloponnesus, but he died in Arcadia from a snake bite. His son, Tisamenus, the last of the Atreid dynasty, was killed by the Heracleidae on their return to the Peloponnesus. They claimed the right of the Perseids to inherit the various kingdoms of the Peloponnesus and cast lots for the dominion of them.


Lions Gate:


'Mask of Agamemnon'. Discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876 at Mycenae. Whether it represents an individual, and who, remain unknown.

The so-called 'Mask of Agamemnon'. Discovered by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876 at Mycenae. Whether it represents an individual, and who, remain unknown.