Echo Weblog

a blog about my daily life, passions and happenings

Archive for the month “May, 2011”

Heracles to Alexander the Great!

As a Greek who was born in Northern Greece , I was pleased to see the exhibition of “Heracles to Alexander the Great: Treasures from the Royal Capital of Macedon at Oxford University, Ashmolean Museum ( which run from April 7th until August 29th, 2011). It is good to be reminded that we must keep the past alive…..especially at present times!!! This magnificent archaeological exhibition features over five hundred treasures made of gold, silver and bronze, gold wreaths and jewellery which they have been found in the royal burial tombs and the palace of Aegae, the ancient capital of Macedon.

The royal city of Aegae, in modern–day named Vergina in northern Greece, was the first capital of Macedon, the seat of the Temenid kings who claimed descent from Heracles. They ruled from the mid–7th to the 4th century BC, and gave to Greece two of its most renowned heroes – King Philip II (382–336 BC) and his son, Alexander the Great (356–323 BC). Until 30 years ago, when excavations uncovered the untouched tombs of Philip II and his grandson Alexander IV, Aegae remained relatively unknown. Recent discoveries brought to life a wealth of objects and treasures– from beautifully gold jewellery, silverware and pottery, sculpture, mosaic floors and architectural remains.

The exhibition took us through the world of Macedonian men Temenides dynasty, hunting and war; Princesses, Queens and High Priestesses, the role of women – in fashion and rituals, the Symposium, a central event in the life of Macedonians; Aegae, the building plan of Philip II and the Palace – with fragments of its architecture and objects of the banquet. According to archaeologist Angeliki Kotaridis who worked on the digs at the palace in Aegaei, it contains a: “series of finds which prove that Alexander the Great did not just spring out of nowhere to take over the whole world. He was a scion of the Temenides dynasty that ruled the Macedonian kingdom for three and half centuries and who were ‘descendants’ of Hercules and Zeus.” ‘Heracles to Alexander’ was a thrilling tour and gave us sense of the time and the wealth of a very important civilisation around the royal capital of the kingdom of Macedon, in the period which gave birth to some of the ancient world’s most famous names.

Alexander, my son has enjoyed the trail and was very proud to relate himself with the great hero’s roots but also to get his certificate too!

New Acropolis Museum!

In my recent visit to Athens I had the chance to pay my respects to the New Museum of Acropolis. I was impressed by lot of things. First from all I liked the architecture of the building the simplicity, the modern design and the spectacular view at the Acropolis. Then I liked walking on transparent
glass floor where I saw the open-air dig and the whole excavation under it. I was lucky to join a group in a tour and hear all about it!

The museum holds the friezes from the Parthenon and it shows the placement of them on the Parthenon. The first floor features exhibits from the Archaic to the Roman era, offerings for a wedding ceremony, while the second features sculptures from the old Acropolis Museum, from the pediments of temple with a lot of depictions (the lions that kill a bull, Iraklis fight with
Tritona and Nirea, with the three forms (in a snake body).  Afterwards, I wandered in the room that is called “Garden with the statues” in which exists scattered statues kouroi and also girls from various time periods. In the same room I saw the war of giants in which distinguishes the view Athena attacking against the giant Egkelados. Then I saw the Caryatids. Each one is a separate,
unique and beautiful statue. And each one has her own way of attitude and her particular style and characteristics.

Finally the last floor, it is the representation of temple in real dimensions which is placed exactly parallel to the Parthenon itself. The most important exhibits of the museum, the Parthenon sculptures (ζωοφορος), the metopes and the parts of the frieze that survive are on display there. This room is precisely as the Parthenon, after it follows the proportions and the orientation of initial temple. You can look at them, then turn around and look at the Parthenon itself, and imagine them in their original context. It is really impressive. You can look at them, then turn around and look at the Parthenon itself, and imagine them in their original context.

Unfortunately however a lot of sculptures were absent but it is expected that one day the missing parts will be returned to their natural home from the British Museum. There is a short documentary that demonstrates the construction of the museum and the moving into place the vast and heavy friezes from the Parthenon.

The museum is very impressive externally and internally and hopefully one day I will be able to visit again with my son and husband in the near future.

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