Posts Tagged With: Santorini

AN ANGRY YOUNG MAN

 

“I wanted to change the world.
But I have found that the only thing
one can be sure of changing is oneself.”

 

~ Aldous Huxley ~

 

Digitally enhanced image created from an original photo taken in Santorini in October 1992.


© 2017 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Perspective, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

TETHYS

 

…the last woman on earth…

 

Originally Tethys was the Greek goddess of the sources of fresh water, which nourished the earth. As the wife of Okeanos, who was the fresh-water stream that encircled the Earth, she was also the mother of the Potamoi (Rivers), the Okeanides (Springs, Streams and Fountains) and the mother of the Nephelai (Clouds). It was thought that she nourished her children’s streams by drawing water from Okeanos through subterranean aquifers. Her name was derived from the Greek word têthê, which meant “the nurse” or “grandmother.”

 

t000 ethysModified image created from an original photo taken on the Aegean Sea between Thera (Santorini) and Crete in October 1992.


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© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: History, Perspective, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

ATLANTIS

 

 

…there is always the curse that when truth becomes legend, the legend is later mistaken for the truth…

 

 

000 atlantisPhoto of lava formations taken on the island of Thera (Santorini). Greece in October 1992.


More information on the eruption that destroyed Thera may be found here:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/08/060823-thera-volcano.html

http://www.livescience.com/4846-eruption-thera-changed-world.html


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© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Archaeology, History, Perspective, Photography, Poetry, Science | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

MARE NOSTRUM

 

When I was twenty-nine I island-hopped around the Aegean Sea, and returned again when I was forty-two. I was older, hopefully wiser and I had changed, but the Mediterranean’s magic had remained the same…

 

 

000 Mare NostrumPhoto taken near the island of Thera (Santorini) in 1992.


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© 2015 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Photography, Poetry | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

BEWARE ULYSSES, BEWARE

 

Is it the singer or the song…?

 

000 beware ulysees bewarePhoto taken in the Mediterranean between Crete and Santorini in October 1992.


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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved


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THE CATS OF CRETE

 

When I was in my early forties I was in a relationship with a lovely lady who was a doctor of internal medicine and who worked long hard shifts out in a hospital up in the mountains.  Because her work was stressful and demanding she really had high standards for the times when she could get away from her daily routine. To leave the long hours and the stress behind she liked her vacations to be well organized, interesting and enhanced with good local cuisine. Since my job was also stress-filled and these were exactly the same criteria that I deemed important for enjoying time off, we made a good traveling team. In our time together our vacations were always great excursions into history, nature, culture and above all good food and drink.

In October of 1992 we flew to Crete for a two week stay in Chania, a small town on Crete’s northern coast. We had a rental car for part of the time that we were there and undertook several excursions, driving along the coast to Heraklion, up into the White Mountains and across the island to the southern coast, and we also made a trip by ferry across the Sea of Crete to the island of Santorini. One of the things both of us were really looking forward to was a visit to the “Palace of Knossos,” which is located near Heraklion. This Bronze Age complex was the cultural and religious center of the Minoan Civilzation and was excavated and unfortunately atrociously restored by Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of the 20th century. The site, with its dubious restorations, is a basically a tourist trap, a Minoan Disneyland and, although a must visit on most people’s bucket lists, was a big letdown. The Archaeological Museum in Heraklion was a much better investment of our time, even considering that I don’t usually enjoy museums. If one has the time to explore there are many other more interesting archaeological sites on the island to visit. In an earlier post here on the blog (https://nitepoetry.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/an-archaeological-moment-the-mystery-of-thera/) I talked about Santorini (Thera) and its history. Taking the ferry out to the island was an incredible experience and exploring its history and culture was something I had longed to do for many years. I can highly recommend a visit there to everyone.

Chania, where we had booked an apartment, was touristy but not unbearably so. It had a nice beach and if you knew where to look, fairly good restaurants. Crete is a desolately beautiful island that, like the Greek mainland and the Aegean islands, transports you back through the eons. The only things that disappointed me were Knossos and the tzaziki, which was not as garlicky or strong tasting as I would have preferred. And as we wandered around Chania, Heraklion and Rethimnon I couldn’t help but enjoy the island’s cats, who seemed to have license to roam free wherever they pleased. And that is really the purpose of this post, to share three photos of the carefree cats of Crete. Like cats everywhere, they didn’t let anything get in the way of taking care of their cat’s business…

000 Cats Of Crete 3Hidden away in a small side alley in a beautiful shady garden, this noble cat surveys its realm. Photo taken with an analog Minolta camera in October 1992 in Crete.


000 Cats Of Crete 1Here, in a store, a cat catnaps, oblivious to the shoppers wandering by. Photo taken with an analog Minolta camera in October 1992 in Crete.


000 Cats Of Crete 2Keeping a watchful eye out for tidbits and proffered snacks, this cat was a fixture in one of the open air restaurants. Photo taken with an analog Minolta camera in October 1992 in Crete.


000 Erik SantoriniYours truly on the island of Santorini (Thera) in October 1992, when I was still relatively young, strong, tan and pursuing my dreams. Photo taken with an analog Minolta camera.


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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved


Categories: Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL MOMENT – THE MYSTERY OF THERA

Thera, once home to a prosperous and thriving ancient Minoan civilization and known today as Santorini, is a volcanic island situated in the in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland and about 110 km (68 mi) from the northern coast of Crete. With a long history of repeated volcanic activity, things finally came to an intense and devastating conclusion around 1628 BCE when the island erupted and literally blew up, sending tons of material in an ash plume into the atmosphere an estimated 30 to 35 km (19 to 22 mi) high which extended into the stratosphere. The magma underlying the volcano also came into contact with the waters of the shallow marine embayment, and resulted in a violent eruption of steam. And if that wasn’t enough, the eruption also generated a 35 to 150 m (115 to 492 ft) high tsunami that devastated the north coast of Crete and wreaked havoc on the coastlines of other Aegean islands. The exact date of the eruption has proved difficult to determine. Archaeologists have traditionally dated the event at approximately 1500 BCE, but radiocarbon dates, including analysis of an olive tree buried beneath a lava flow from the volcano, which gave a date between 1627 BCE and 1600 BCE, suggest a date over a century earlier than the one accepted by the archaeologists. Other evidence comes into play too. Just about the time of the radiocarbon-indicated date of the eruption, there is some evidence for a significant climatic event that took place in the Northern Hemisphere. The evidence for this includes the failure of crops in China, documented in Chinese records of the collapse of the Xia dynasty. There is also dendrochronological evidence from tree rings, specifically from bristlecone pines of California, bog oaks of Ireland, England, and Germany; and other kinds of trees in Sweden. The tree rings precisely date the event to 1628 BCE. But as always there is much disagreement, and it is important to remember that “One man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens.”

There  is less controversy about the archaeological evidence. Excavations on Thera at Akrotiri have revealed a finely developed Minoan culture. The settlement was destroyed in the eruption and buried in volcanic ash, which preserved the remains of numerous objects and artworks, including a number of frescoes. Only the southern end of what must have been a very large town has been uncovered, yet just this excavated part has revealed complexes of multi-level buildings, streets, and squares with remains of walls standing as high as eight meters, all entombed in the solidified ash of the eruption. To date no human remains have been found in any of the excavations, indicating that the population must have had enough advance warning of the eruption to escape. Quite a number of the houses in Akrotiri are large structures, some of them up to three stories high. In many of the houses there are still intact stone staircases and they contain huge ceramic storage jars, mills, and numerous pieces of pottery. The well preserved frescoes have kept their original colour as well. There was a highly developed drainage system and the people used pipes with running water. These water pipes and water closets found at Akrotiri are the oldest such utilities discovered so far. The pipes, running in twin systems, indicate that the Therans used both hot and cold water supplies. Most likely they obtained the hot water from geothermic sources, given the volcano’s proximity. Remember, we are talking about a civilization that existed around 1600 BCE. The people who lived here were clearly sophisticated and relatively wealthy people. They were no doubt a very successful maritime power involved in trading throughout the Aegean. The dual pipe system, their advanced architecture, and the apparent layout of the Akrotiri site bear a striking resemblance to Plato’s description of the legendary lost city of Atlantis, giving some credibility to the idea of the Minoans as the culture which primarily inspired the Atlantis legend. 

Legend it was and legend it remains. Now it’s quite obvious that some sort of historical event and perhaps place gave rise to that legend, but all the New Age mysticism and stories about a civilization much more advanced than ours is pure poppycock and has absolutely no basis in fact, truth or archaeological evidence. The Atlantis of Edgar Cayce and others, with its great golden city, crystal lasers and advanced civilization shining in the middle of the ocean that supposedly gave birth to all races of men and all subsequent civilizations is as much a myth as Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. 90% of the material one can research about Atlantis is a pile of unsubstantiated garbage and wishful thinking. A civilization so advanced as that fantasized by Atlantis believers would have left some sort of archaeological traces. Somewhere. But there are absolutely none. Archaeology offers us only the evidence of the Minoan culture. One thing is 100% certain. There was never an island, as some people steadfastly believe, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The geological structure of the sea bed makes it impossible for such an island ever to have existed and furthermore no archaeological evidence for such an island or civilization has ever been found on the ocean floor. Nor will it ever be found.

I visited Thera in October of 1992. The approach to the island on the ferry was breathtaking, as was the view from up upon the volcanic cliffs. And, although very oriented towards the tourist trade and the day cruses from Heraklion (Iraklio) on Crete, the island has many other interesting things to offer if one has the time and the desire to do a bit exploring. But like spending a day wandering around the crater on Mount Vesuvius, just hope your visit to Thera doesn’t coincide with the next major eruption. That would be experiencing history just a little too up close and personal…

THE MYSTERY OF THERA

Photo of the massive volcanic cliffs inside the caldera of Santorini taken in October 1992

000 Santorini 2

Photo of the ferry port taken from high up on the cliffs in October 1992.

000 Santorini 3

Photo of the town of Fira, perched upon the volcanic cliffs of Santorini taken in October 1992.

000 Santorini 4

Photo of the still active volcanic islands in the center of the caldera of Santorini, the larger Nea Kameni in the foreground and the smaller Palea Kameni behind it, taken in October 1992.

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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved

Categories: Archaeology, Perspective, Photography | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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