Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lost on Stadiou

            As I awoke from my sleep this morning I was overcome by an overwhelming feeling that I had overslept.  Thinking I was late for class I threw my blanket in a hurry and shuffled my pillows around in search of my phone.  I looked everywhere on my bed in search for it and it was nowhere to be found.  Reluctantly, as I was about to look under my bed I heard a buzzing noise, it was my alarm on my phone going off.  The time read 10:15 a.m. and I had 45 minutes to get from my apartment to the National Historical Museum on Stadiou Street.  Thinking that I had been on Stadiou a few times within the past few weeks I believed it would take no longer then 25 minutes.
            Leaving the house around 10:30, it gave me a perfect half an hour to get to the museum.  Vaguely remembering the previous times I had travelled to Stadiou, it took me a while to grasp a sense of direction after weaving up and down streets.  I asked for directions from multiple people, but not one could give me the right museum.  Some sent me to the other end of Stadiou down where Zach and I meet Benzicoco, the dog that followed us home on the first night, which was maybe 15 or so blocks away from the museum.  In being such a historical city Athens has a multitude of small museums that aren’t very well known by many of the citizens in the city.  I called Professor Roth and talked to Ioanna so I could try and find out where I had to go. After an hour of walking around trying to find the museum I had found my way to the glimmering marble steps of the museum. 
            Due to me being a bit late for class, we were running short on time, so Ioanna took us on an abbreviated tour.   It lasted about 45 minutes and the museum covered mainly the time during Greece’s War for Independence.  One of the pieces of work that I admired the most was the flag that Greeks of the city of Hydra would fly during the war.  The main part of the flag was a sky blue with a golden cross standing tall in the middle.  Then there was a crescent moon lying down, as to make a hill for the cross that stood tall upon it. This symbolized the conquering of Greek Orthodox of the Muslim faith, which then was inspirational for the Greeks.  Accompanying the cross atop the moon was an upside down anchor with a phoenix wrapped around it and a flag mast with a red flag flying.  The phoenix was a symbol of Greece raising from the ashes and the anchor a symbol of their naval strength, the main reason why they won the War.  Finally, an inscription inside the moon reads, “Η ταν η επι τας.”  This an old Spartan saying told by mothers to their sons before war to come back with your shield alive or on it.  The piece was very powerful with its bold statements and really showed an immense sense of nationalism throughout the Greek city states. 
            The next museum was we visited was at the Numismatic Museum of Athens, which was the old mansion to Heinrich Schliemann.  Schliemann was the archeologist who discovered the lost city of Troy and the great city of Mycenae; which we had visited two weeks prior.  The elegant marble floors and warm maroon colored wall made the museum bring a feeling of comfort to you.  Then, just like every other museum we have been visiting the elegance is lost through the screams and yells of middle school kids.  First thing I thought was this was karma coming back to get me.  If I were to say I have never talked too loud in a museum when I was in middle school then I would be telling a lie.  The museum was doing an exhibit about the evolution of coined money.  The shinning of coins in every room attracted my curious eyes to wonder around to all the enclosed displays.  It was quite amazing to think that some of these coins much like their counterparts, the ancient ruins of Mycenae and the Parthenon, have made it through centuries of looters and countless wars.  The tour lasted a little over an hour, which gave us time to grab some food before our three hour Greek class that was sure to be exhausting.

Patrick Malone
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Lost on Stadiou

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