Jeff's Blog - Saturday, October 8, 2016 - Athens

National Archaeological Museum day! Wow it was just spectacular, but you'd probably be glad you weren't there with me because I was there for 8 hours, very slowly absorbing what I could as a first-time visitor to this treasure trove. I went through the normal rooms of the museum which were organized chronologically as a beautifully-executed history lesson expressed through the changes in art, from about 2500 BC when it all began with the Minoans through about 300 AD, when everything here fell apart from northern barbarian invasions. I saw artifacts from Thira (modern day Santorini, which I'll be visiting in a few days), finds from the 1200-800 BC sites of Mycenae and Tyrins that I've visited, things from Olympia from a week ago, and plenty of classical Greek sculpture (my favorite). Every object except a very few had clear descriptions in English (and Greek). Then at the end of this incredible journey through time, which satisfied me completely, I reached the current "special exhibit", which for now consists of many of the very best items from the museum, in a super compact 3- or 4-room exhibit. Like a museum highlight reel of 5000 years of the history of this corner of the world. What a fantastic 8 hours! After supper I walked a bit with my camera and tripod; being as I am, a sucker for a floodlit ancient ruin. Click the photos to see their captions.

Female marble figure from the islands near Greece, 2800-2300 BC
Wall painting from Akrotira, on Thira (Santorini), 1600 BC, showing two boys boxing
Death mask of a Mycenaean king, whimsically Agamemnon, 1500 BC
A Kore (female kouros), from 550 BC
Paris, about to award the apple to the woman he has judged most beautiful, Aphrodite, from 340 BC. He picked her because her bribe to him was the best - she offered him Helen as a prize. Unfortunately, Helen was already married to the king of Sparta, and when Helen went to Troy with Paris, the Spartans invaded, triggering the Trojan War. Behind Paris is a statue of the goddess Thema, from 300 BC, and behind her is Poseidon, from 100 BC.
The Artemision Jockey, bronze, from 140 BC, retrieved from a shipwreck
Aphrodite, naked, threatens to clobber Pan with her sandal, and Eros mediates, from 100 BC. Jeez, I wonder why Paris picked Aphrodite?
Library of Hadrian, 125 AD
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