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Ancient Greek vessel docks for Pompey refit

(THE INDEPENDENT, 18.01.09)  piece_of_shipThe most complete ancient Greek ship ever found has arrived at the Mary Rose Centre in Portsmouth Harbour.  The ship was discovered in 1988 about 800 metres from the coastline off the city of Gela in Sicily. It was found in several layers of silt at a depth of five metres (16 feet), but wasn’t excavated until summer 2004. The 700 sodden timbers of the vessel, which is believed to be around 2,500 years old, are now ready to be reassembled, after being submerged in water-soluble wax for four years and then freeze-dried in a huge vacuum chamber.  Archaeologists believe the vessel was sailing to the ancient Greek colony of Gela, got caught in a storm and sank with its cargo. Read more…    See also :   Ancient Greek vessel arrives in Portsmouth (Practical Boat Owner, 19.01.09)

Decoding the Heavens by the Antikythera mechanism

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    antikythera-mechanismJo Marchant, Decoding The Heavens, William Heinemann 2008. Humanity’s need for purpose seems universal.  Regardless of our belief system, perhaps the beginning of winter is the best time to contemplate meaning and purpose.  How affirming and humbling to realize we are still so similar to others from the past.  The Antikythera mechanism (www.antikythera-mechanism.gr), calculated the motions of the sun, moon and planets and predicted eclipses using intricate gear mechanisms created over 2000 years ago.  Now scientists are reconstructing the device and finding that ancient Greek technology was far more advanced than previously thought.  “Historians have often scoffed at the Greeks for wasting their technology on toys rather than doing anything useful with it. If they had the steam engine, why not use it to do work?” But these devices may have been “a way to get closer to the true meaning of things. To what better use could technology be put?” The size of a shoebox, the Antikythera mechanism – a mysterious bronze device scooped out of a Roman-era shipwreck at the dawn of the 20th century, off the island of Antikythera (www.antikythira.gr), has baffled scientists for years and proved to be a  calculator used by the Ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago. New Scientist (12.12.2008): Archimedes and the 2000-year-old computer; Ancient computer recreated; Nature science journal (31.7.2008): Streaming video: Antikythera

It’s All Greek to Me

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Charlotte Higgins, It’s All Greek to Me, Short Books, London 2008  “Consider the way we think: about right and wrong, about the nature of beauty, goodness, and truth. What, in the end, it is to be a human being amid the immensity of the universe. What it is to be mortal, to live for a brief while, and die. All this, and more, we have learned from the ancient Greeks. They moulded the basic disciplines and genres in which we still organise thought: from poetry to drama, from politics to philosophy, from history to medicine, and even ethnography.” Packed with useful cribs – history timelines; a who’s who; a guide to the Greek gods; a map for those who struggle to know their Lemnos from their Lesbos – “It’s All Greek to Me” is a bluffer’s guide in one sense, a primer that will give you a helping hand around Greek democracy, or the Persian Wars, or the Parthenon. But it is much more than that; it is a book of enthusiasms and pleasures, which aims to bring ancient Greece back into the mainstream of life – where it belongs”… Charlotte Higgins began her career in journalism on Vogue magazine. She has worked for the Guardian for 10 years and since 2004 she has been the paper’s chief arts writer. Media Reports: The Daily Telegraph & The Guardian & The Times & Daily Mail & xPatAthens Secretariat General of Information: Books – Classics & Byzantium 

Traces of an Ancient Greek Colony

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of excavations in Emporion, the Cervantes Institute in Athens, the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Catalonia and the Hellenic American Union (HAU) are organising a series of events and panel discussions with the participation of experts from both Spain and Greece. The events, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture, take place from November 25 to November 28, at the HAU. Emporion (market for Greek), the ancient Phocian colony along the Mediterranean coastline of Catalonia (Empúries), was the westernmost Greek settlement of ancient world and a gateway for Classical culture into the Iberian Peninsula. After centuries of abandonment and pillaging, the official excavations, which revealed amongst others the great statue of Asclepios (see picture), began in 1908. 

Greece: Daily Life in Antiquity

(GREEK NEWS AGENTA)antiquity  “Scenes from Daily Life in Antiquity” is the title of a new permanent exhibition which opened yesterday (20/11) at the Museum of Cycladic Art. The exhibition gathers 150 artefacts that offer visitors the opportunity to acquaint themselves with various aspects of public and private life in Classical Greece: political organization and administration, religion, burial customs as well as daily activities. Large panels and screens with interactive applications help create the impression that visitors are in an ancient city.

Ancient Athens on 5 Drachmas a Day

New book: Philip Matyszak, a British non-fiction writer, with a doctorate in Roman history from St John’s College, Oxford has published an entertaining guidebook entitled “Athens on 5 drachmas a day”. The book takes us on a travel back in time, to 431 BC Athens, giving the reader a vibrant sense of what everyday life must have been like in the ancient city during the pinnacle of its glory.
Read more:
 Armchair Traveler (The New York Times, 28.09.2008)
 Ancient Athens on Five Drachmas a Day by Philip Matyszak: Review (Telegraph, 17.10.2008)
 Greek mystique (Guardian, 18.10.2008)

The Antikythera Mechanism Reveals its Secrets

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)      The Ionic Centre is hosting the first exhibition showcasing the renowned Antikythera Mechanism, a display which is jointly organised with the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project and the National Archaeological Museum. The exhibition which is placed under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, is taking place from October 22 to December 14. The Mechanism of Antikythera – an ancient mechanical object which has begun to be “decoded” scientifically only in the past few years – has attracted world-wide interest and re-writes the history of science and culture, not only for Greece but for the entire world. The history of this extraordinary object begins in the mid 1st century BC, when a ship loaded with artefacts and precious objects, possible heading towards Rome, sinks near Antikythera. About two thousands years later, in the spring of 1900, two fishing boats with sponge divers discover one of the most important treasures of antiquity. Filled with signs and cog wheels, it was characterized early as belonging to the family of astronomy instruments – sometimes as an astrolabe, a planetarium, an instrument used for sailing or a combination of instruments. When the first results of the Mechanism Research Project, comprising of top Greek and foreign specialists, were announced in Athens in the end of 2006, they brought about international interest – an interest which continues today. At the Ionic Centre, visitors will have the opportunity to see the mechanism as scientists see it, using the latest technology, to experiment with the calculation models that were developed and to use the software developed for making the erased engravings on its surface appear.  GoCulture.gr: The Antikythera Mechanism reveals its secrets; Nature science journal (31.7.2008): Streaming video: Antikythera

Σας Kαλούμε να Γνωρίσετε την Ελλάδα / We Invite you to Explore Greece

Η GREECE IN WORLD (www.GreeceInWorld.com) μετά από πολυετή συλλογή στοιχείων και ερευνών έχει πλέον ανοίξει τις πόρτες της στον παγκόσμιο ιστό. Έχει σκοπό την προβολή της Ελλάδας, να γνωρίσει στους υποψήφιους επισκέπτες, την ιστορία, τον πολιτισμό, τα ήθη και έθιμα, τα αξιοθέατα, τις φυσικές καλλονές της και την πανάρχαια φιλοξενία των Ελλήνων. Το έργο της απευθύνεται σε όλους που Αγαπούν την Ελλάδα :
Μέσω της ελληνικής γλώσσας, στους Έλληνες που κατοικούν στην Ελλάδα και στους ελληνόφωνους απόδημους Έλληνες.
Μέσω της αγγλικής γλώσσας, στο παγκόσμιο κοινό που κάνει χρήση του διαδικτύου, και στους απόδημους Έλληνες δεύτερης και τρίτης γενιάς, που έχουν σαν πρώτη γλώσσα την Αγγλική.
Μέσω της ρωσικής γλώσσας, στους κατοίκους της Ρωσίας και στους κατοίκους όλων των χωρών της πρώην Σοβιετικής ένωσης, που ομιλούν σαν δεύτερη γλώσσα την ρωσική.
Μέσω της κινέζικής γλώσσας, στους κατοίκους της Κίνας .
Η ιστοσελίδα της τώρα είναι πλοηγήσιμη σε 4 γλώσσες Ελληνικά, Αγγλικά, Ρωσικά και Κινέζικα, σύντομα θα είναι πλοηγήσιμη και σε άλλες 14 γλώσσες.
ENGLISH
http://www.GreeceinWorld.com after a long term research and data collection is now available in the World Wide Web.
Our goal is to promote Greece and to inform potential visitors about, history, culture, sightseeing, natural beauty, and the ancient hospitality of Greeks.
http://www.GreeceinWorld.com address anyone who loves Greece.
• Through Greek language, to native Greeks and Greeks abroad
• Through English language, to the international audience of the World Wide Web.
• Through Russian language to all the Russians and Russian speaking residents of the former USSR
• Through Chinese language to all China residents.
http://www.GreeceinWorld.com is currently available in those 4 languages and will soon be available in 14 more!

Greece: An Ancient Calculator

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The size of a shoebox, a mysterious bronze device scooped out of a Roman-era shipwreck at the dawn of the 20th century, off the island of Antikythera (www.antikythira.gr), has baffled scientists for years and proved to be a  a calculator used by the Ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago. Researchers yesterday announced that the Antikythera Mechanism (www.antikythera-mechanism.gr), as it is now known, could predict eclipses decades in advance and was also used to record the four-yearly cycle of the original Olympic Games.  World Media Reports – Google: Scientists unlock new secrets of Antikythera mechanism; Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Highlights

Ancient Precious Graves Unveiled in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     In a rich, ancient cemetery in northern Greece near Pella, archaeologists have unearthed 43 new graves unveiling the bodies of 20 warriors with copper helmets and iron swords, daggers and spearheads. Ornaments of gold foil covered their mouths, eyes and chests as part of the burial offerings found inside the graves.   According to the Culture Ministry’s press release following the first excavation “the settlement (to which the cemetery belonged) flourished in wealth and population mainly during the archaic period”, while “the funerary use of (the gold ornaments) and the other grave goods points to a strong belief in life after death, and rebirth.”  Associated Press: Rich finds from ancient cemetery in Greece

Wines of the Times: Crisp, Refreshing and Greek

Eric Asimov, in this winetasting report on Greek wines (New York Times, 06.08.2008 ), notes that much has changed and improved during the last four years: “Greece offers a subtly different take on familiar Mediterranian-style wines, with unfamiliar, indigenous grapes grown nowhere else. From the windswept volcanic island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea comes the assyrtiko grape (pictured right), from the Peloponnesus comes the pink-skinned moschofilero grape, which produces highly floral wines that can often have a rosy tinge to them. And there are so many others, like the ancient athiri, the light, citrus-imbued roditis and the textured savatiano.” FOR MORE LOOK AT: http://events.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/dining/reviews/06wine.html?scp=3&sq=greece&st=cse

Magic Greek Small Islands

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Koufonisia is a cluster of two islands, Kato (Lower) and Pano (Upper) Koufonisi that belongs to the complex of Small Cyclades. Geographically, it is located on the southeast side of Naxos and on the west side of Amorgos. Koufonisia also include the tiny, uninhabited island of Keros, which is a protected archaeological site from which a good number of ancient Cycladic art has been excavated in the 20th century.  The main occupation of the locals is fishing, so Koufonisi is a true fish village where visitors may eat fish and seafood in abundance. It has one of the biggest fishing fleets in Greece. Its heavenly beaches – mostly sandy – are part of the magic of this picturesque island.

Greek Mythology Revived

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)     A replica of the legendary ship “Argo” which, in ancient mythology carried Jason and his Argonauts to recover the Golden Fleece from Colchis, (now city of Poti, on Georgia’s Black Sea coast) received a joyful send-off in the port of Volos (contemporary name of Iolkos, the original departure point) on June 14. With the help of its 50 oarsmen, it set sail for its journey to Venice where, after travelling some 10-15 nautical miles per day, it was expected to arrive on August 12. The modern ‘Argo’ is a reconstruction of an ancient Greek ‘penteconter’ with a ram, a single tier of oarsmen, and a single sail made of half-cured wood cut from forest timber. It belongs to the same family of Homer’s long ships and later ram-equipped warships of antiquity. The modern ‘Argo’ took over six years to complete, with the use of Bronze Age tools only. On its way to Venice, the ‘Argo’ will stop at 37 ports. During many of these stops, its arrival will be marked by various cultural events. The ‘Argo’ flies the flags of the countries it will visit: Greece, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. World Media Reports – Google: Ancient Greek ship ‘Argo’ sets sail once again 

Olympic Link to a 2,100 Years Old Calkulator

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   More than a hundred years ago an extraordinary mechanism was found by sponge divers at the bottom of the sea near the island of Antikythera. It astonished the whole international community of experts on the ancient world. Was it an astrolabe? Was it an orrery or an astronomical clock? Or something else? For decades, scientific investigation failed to yield much light and relied more on imagination than the facts. However research over the last half century has begun to reveal its secrets. The Antikythira mechanim dates from approximately the 1st century B.C. and is the most sophisticated mechanism known in the ancient world. Nothing as complex had been manufactured for the next thousand years. A new paper from the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project (www.antikythera-mechanism.gr) is published in the prestige science journal Nature on July 31st 2008. It reveals surprising results on the back dials of the Antikythera Mechanism – including a dial dedicated to the four-year Olympiad Cycle of athletic games in ancient Greece. Antikythera Mechanism: Frequently Asked Questions; World Media Reports – Google: Scientists unlock new secrets of Antikythera mechanism Secretariat General of Information: World Media on Greece – Highlights

Greece @ China’s Cultural Year

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece relishes international attention by being the honoured country for this year’s Cultural Year in China (www.greece-china.com). Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Sunday inaugurated the International Olympic Truce Centre exhibition at Beijing’s Hellenic House (“From ancient Olympia to Beijing 2008 – forty Greek and forty Chinese artists discuss the Olympic Truce” ) in the presence of former International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch. The “Agon” exhibition by the National Archaeological Museum, initially held in Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games, presents themes from the athletic events of the ancient Olympic Games, along with the whole context of poetry, theatre and artistic competitions held from time to time at the major temples throughout the Greek world (Beijing’s Capital Museum). Dimitris Papaioannou, director of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games opening ceremony, brought his adapted version of ancient Greek tragedy Medea to Beijing (Grand National Theatre in Beijing on August 1 and 2). Greece will be the country of honour at the 15th International Beijing Book Fair to be held early September 2008. Greece is the fourth country after France, Russia and Germany to be receiving such an honourary invitation. Within the same framework, China will be the country of honour at the Thessaloniki International Book Fair in 2010.

Greece: Ancient Meets Contemporary

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Work on excavating ancient Pellina in Thessaly has begun and is continuing at a rapid pace, local authorities said on July 28, in a project that ultimately aims to create an archaeological park with various educational, recreational and sports facilities around the ancient site. The immediate goal is to clean and display the ancient wall, and to calculate its course. Ancient Pellina or Pellinaion was situated on the left bank of the Peneus River in western Thessaly, between Trikki and Farkadona. The first ancient reference to the city that survives was in Pindar, who cited it as the home of the athlete Ippocles, who won a race in the Pythia Games held in 498 B.C. Ancient accounts and architectural remains yield information about the city mostly during and after the 4th century B.C. Athens News Agency: Ancient Pellina archaeological park; Region of Thessalia: www.thessalia-region.com  (Photo: Peneus River )

An Hippodrome Discovered in Olympia after 1600 Years

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The site of an ancient hippodrome course in Olympia, where the emperor Nero competed for Olympian laurels, has been discovered. The hippodrome was discovered in Olympia by a research team that included Professor Norbert Müller, Dr Christian Wacker and Dr Reinhard Senff. “This discovery is an archaeological sensation,” commented Norbert Müller of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The research project extended over several weeks before its completion in mid-May 2008. Prior to this, the hippodrome had only been known from written sources. Archaeologists had failed to locate its actual site, which is surprising, as German archaeologists have been continuously excavating the site of where the ancient Olympiad was held since 1875.      Science Daily: Horse Racecourse In Ancient Olympia Discovered After 1600 Years (21.07.2008); Ministry of Culture: Olympia-The Hippodrome

Greek Islands: Samos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Samos – an island with something for everyone: crystal clear waters, steep cliffs, wild canyons, waterfalls, gentle slopes with pastures, vineyards and wild orchids, villages with marvellous traditional houses, a rich fauna and flora, a unique atmosphere on one of the few islands that can lay claim to the hearts of those who love mountains as much as the beach. When on the island, one must visit Pythagorio, and archaeological hotspot: built on the ruins of the ancient city of Samos during the time of Polycrates, it condenses more than twenty-six centuries of history. Another place to visit is the Archaeological Museum, where exhibits are housed in two buildings.

Irene Papas Honoured in Rome

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Veteran Greek actress Irene Papas was honoured with the “Rome Prize” on July 14 at the Ostia Antica ancient theatre outside the Italian capital.  Excerpts of the actress’ well-known films were shown before the presentation ceremony. “I do not know whether I should laugh or cry, I can only say that Athens will always be my mother, but Rome is at the same time my second mother, by my own choice,” Papas said. Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis, who paid an official visit to to Rome, attended the ceremony. 

Greek Wine: Ancient & Modern

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    Ancient Greeks were making wine nearly 6,500 years ago, according to a new study that describes what could be the world’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes. According to findings published in “Antiquity” journal, charred 2,460 grape seeds and 300 empty grape skins were used to make wine, discovered at the “Dikili Tash” Neolithic site, Northern Greece. Discovery Channel: Ancient Mashed Grapes Found in Greece  Antiquity Journal of Archaeology: Grape-pressings from northern Greece: the earliest wine in the Aegean?  Many journalists and oenophiles comment favourably on modern Greek wines: World Media Articles on Greek Wines