At this point, Greece was so long ago that blogging about it seems to require a bit of a ‘throwback Thursday’ theme. But today isn’t even Thursday… GAH! this Phd business is being so exhausting right now!
We’d seen the ruins of the Athens Agora peeking out at us through the trees, and boy did it look lovely. So, early* on the 27th we set out to gambol in its glory.
*Disclaimer: not that early. Andy and I slept in, and headed out about 1 hour after the rest of the family.
For those of you who didn’t spend their childhood playing ‘Zeus’ or ‘Ceasar’ or one of those old-worldy city-building games (turns out I’m pretty sure I would make an excellent Ceasar ), and agora is a public outdoorsy gathering place (as in, agoraphobic), which tended to act as both an important place for politics, religion, art and sports, and also acted as the precursor to the mall.
When you enter, you’re immediately struck by the giant Stoa of Attalos, a giant, reconstructed ‘patio’, originally built around 160 BC.
It’s now the locale of the agora museum, which is great for a quick walk-through.
Being a mature adult, I provide for your veiwing pleasure, a potty…
(I rather like the way the kid’s basically stuck in there, seems like it would be prone to toppling with just a small amount of struggle).
… and, creepy children-head vases.
Plus this little.. stoat?
My favourite part was about 7 cabinets, which I will entitle ‘scenes from a well’. As you probably guessed, all of the cabinets contain only items that someone pulled out of a single well.
Andy prefered this fellow, which was a method used for deciding who had to do jury duty. The system seemed pretty random, which in turn seems like there’s probably one guy, let’s call him Agammemnon, who always gets the short straw (stone).
Anyway, as nice as the museum is, the outside world is much more exciting.
^looking smug, and below, showing of my ‘Roman nose’, courtesy of the Lethlean side of the family.
^for those of you playing at home, this is the skirt version of my ‘dress‘.
By far the most impressive thing in the agora arena, is the Temple of Hephaestus.
I’ve personally never been that into Hephaestus as a God- he represents blacksmiths and craftsmen, and metallurgy- and seems one of those specifically ‘XY’ kind of Gods. Ok, so he’s also got Volcanoes (thus his Roman counterpart is Vulcan), which- not only vulvic, but also pretty downright cool.. but I just can’t really get behind him when there’s so many other cool characters prancing around Mt Olympus.
Maybe he’s just not choleric enough for me?
Anyway, despite Hephaestus’ shortcomings of character, the Ancient Greeks obviously liked him enough to make him a pretty kicky temple.
And, maybe that whole ‘craftmanship’ thing worked for him, because it’s one of the most in tact ancient temples that exist in the modern world. Built in 450 BC, so that’s 2500 years of storm weathering here!
Andy and I came to the consensus, that while the Parthenon is undoubtedly one of the most amazing scenes in Athens, Hephaestus’ temple is one of the most intricately breathtaking things we saw on our travels. Probably better than the Parthenon on a hot day, and much easier to get up close and personal with.
Make sure you spend a day at the Agora if you ever visit Athens!