Today was a busy busy busy day filled with some bucket list worthy activities.
From what I have discovered through my time here is that the city is heavily intertwined and proud of the birth of democracy. Democracy, in the Antiquity Period of Greece (5th century BC) thrived and became interconnected with six important concepts: theatre, science, philosophy, sports, and the classical arts.
Theatre: The Theatre Of Dionysos
This was the Greeks’ most prominent theatre in the 5th century BC. It held almost 17,000 people in its prime- that’s the same as the Hollywood Bowl.
In Athens, theatre was not used for entertainment. It was used as education; to educate the common citizen about the pitfalls of humanity because every male citizen in Athens was allowed to hold political office. This statue is the statue of Menander, one of the Athenians first playwrights. Basically, the great grandfather of William Shakespeare.
The theatre is dedicated to the Greek God Dionysos- the God of wine and theatre.
Science: The Temple of Askepios
Askepios was the Greek God of Medicine. He believed that diet, exercise, herbs, and art were the four remedies for an ill soul. He walked around from village to village carrying a large stick with a serpent wrapped around it- an image we commonly associate with medicine.
One of his priests was Hippocrates. The Hippocratic oath is one that every medical school student must take before receiving their white coats.
Sport: The Temple of Nike
In 490 BC, the Persian empire attacked Athens because they didn’t like the idea of a direct democracy over a monarchy or dictatorship. It was a battle that lasted an hour and a half, and the Athenians were far out numbered and out skilled.
But in the end it was the Athenians who were victorious because they were fighting for their freedom. Their freedom of speech, their freedom of political opinion, and their freedom to appreciate and form opinions on art, music, and theatre. The Persians on the other hand, were slaves, fighting for an empire forcing their ways upon them.
A boy ran from the battle ground, called Marathon, all the way to the Acropolis in Athens (26.2 miles) to spread the word of victory. He only said one word before he died from exhaustion. It was the word “Nike” which in Greek means Victory. Nike is the Greek goddess of victory.
All other temples in Athens face the east, except the temple of Nike. It faces towards the city of Marathon to honor those who died in the battle of Marathon. Those who sacrificed their lives to protect their freedom.
This temple is representative of the battle between Poseidon and Athena for the city of Athens. According to the Myth, Zeus demanded that the people of Athens decide who they wanted to be the patron / matron God or Goddess of their land. Athena won by presenting the Athenians with an olive tree- olive oil burned as light, and light was equivalent to enlightenment, which is why Athena is regarded as the Goddess of wisdom. I love the femininity of the Island. The way they revere a Goddess as beating a God. It’s quite empowering.
The Parthenon is the Temple at the very top of the Acropolis. It is dedicated to the Goddess Athena. It was breathtaking. There was something about the ruins that made you feel the power of the Goddess still protecting the Athenians even after all these years.
It may be in ruins now, but if you ever get a chance to travel, make this one of your destinations. It is something that photos could never do justice.
Athena was a female Olympian warrior. She was the goddess of strategy, war, and wisdom. As a female, she is a beacon of pride for the force of feminism.
Her temple faces east because that is where the sun rises, and she is the goddess of the sun.
Sorry for the long post! Will be posting Athens Day 2 Part 2.