Friday, January 02, 2009

Olympia, mostly.

You might think me a bit frightened, seeing this menu--looking at it now, I just want to be back there. (This pic is from Nafplion--all others are from Olympia.)

The helmet of Miltiades. At the Olympia museum. I remember reading, last year, how the flames of the wildfires were surrounding this museum; seeing the charred stumps this past summer, I was, and remain, humbled by the dedication of the museum staff. These truly are priceless artifacts, and yet lives were in danger. Miltiades is known centuries after his death, but the people who saved the museum? Anonymous... at least to the vast majority of the world, including visitors to the museum.

The frieze from the Temple of Zeus... a stunning bit of work, and a grand example of the severe style. Note the serene, almost blank look on the face of the Lapith woman...

... while the faces of the Centaurs...

... are contorted with effort and pain. A sculptural morality lesson; the higher motives of mankind (rationality, logic, etc.) will always win over the bestial animal nature.

Beyond this arch is the ... erm... THE ... Stadium at Olympia. The original Olympic Stadium. Where the Olympic Games were originally held. Yes, I ran there. No, you don't get to see that photo.

Also at Olympia. Without words.

I have hundreds more pictures, of course. Thousands, really. Seriously. The temple of Zeus at Olympia was one of the wonders of the ancient world, and very deservedly so. Today, of course, the magnificent columns are strewn like so much cordwood, the result of an earthquake. Even what you see here is not "what remains" so much as "what has been restored." The gods have all died, and left the rocks to fend for themselves. Anonymous museum attendants save their memories from random wildfires.

No, no verse with these pictures. Nothing I could write would do justice.


Anonymous said...

Isn't Nafplion a wonderful city!? I loved staying there. Did you perchance get to visit Epidauros while you were there?

I too ran in the Olympic stadium when I was there, but unfortunately I was completely out of shape then, and there is a rather embarrassing video of me falling behind the rest of the students I was with. (I was a senior in college when I studied abroad there.)

Greece is a wonderful country. I would love to re-visit it some day.

Cuttlefish said...

Yes, I did!
Acoustically perfect! And the rest of the area, just so beautiful...

I would return in half a heartbeat.

Daimo said...

I've been reading a lot of Epicurus-related material lately in my spare time, and have a strong desire to visit the origin of that particularly philosophy. I visited some of the islands in the past, but I would dearly love to visit the mainland on a historical pilgrimage of sorts.

Good for you, "you lucky, lucky bastard"!

Dig the flashy new header, btw.

Cuttlefish said...

I am indeed among the luckiest of bastards. If you hit the lottery, I would be happy to serve as your guide to mainland Greece--I learned so much about it, and have some definite favorites...

... which makes it so difficult to watch the recent news and see protests and flames in areas I visited.