City of Light

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Dion
  • Delphi
  • Brauron
  • Delos

4/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 1050 km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

Packing List

Lodging

Rent A Ride

Service

Brochure (coming soon)

Dion

Religious Center of Macedonia

Religious Center of Macedonia

Wandering over Pineios, the brother river of Acheloous, we beheld Larissa, a prehistoric town, the founder of which, according to some myth, was Larissus, the son of Pelasgus. Its first king was Aleuas, the ancestor of the Aleuadae. In the Persian Wars they followed Xerxes, but in the Peloponnesian Wars they sided with the Athenians.
Alexander had with him 1.500 Thessalian horsemen, whose reputation as battle worthy was well established and rivaled the Macedonian cavalry; their leader was Calas, son of Harpalus.
Pelasgus from Peloponnese conquered Thessaly, which was at the time called Haemonia, together with his brothers Achaeus and Phthius, driving away its savage inhabitants. Thus Achaia, Phthiotis and Pelasgiotis were formed. This entire region of Thessaly, was in prehistoric times a lake, around which the Centaurs lived.

After a short while, I would be flying over the land of the Achaeans, which was formerly called Phthia and was the land of Achilles. His father Peleus was king in the city of Phthia of Thessaly and was descended from the lineage of Zeus, while his mother was the goddess Thetis, daughter of Oceanus. Thetis, out of respect for Hera who had raised her, had denied the advances of Zeus. So the god was pressuring her to marry Peleus. Thetis, in her attempt to escape, consecutively transformed into fire, water, wind, a tree, a bird, a tiger, a lion, a snake and finally into a squid, but Peleus following the advise of the Centaur Chiron, managed to make her his wife.
Achilles, this young lad of the Achaeans, fell dead, struck by the arrow of Paris of Troy, with the help of the god Apollo who guided the arrow to his vulnerable spot, his heel. Alexander had offered sacrifices at the tomb of the hero and took with him the shield of Achilles, who was his ancestor from his mother’s side Olympiad, before he embarked on his great campaign.

We passed swiftly over mount Orthys and after a while we could see the town of Lamia, named after Lamos, the son of Heracles and Omphale. It was the land of the malians, in the Malian gulf, where Ceyx the son of Eosphorus a friend and relative of Heracles was king, who also helped the hero drive away the Dryopes, who resided in mount Oeta and mount Parnassus, pillaging the neighbouring areas.

On the left we could see the land of the Locres, where the battle of Thermopylae took place in 490 B.C., in a narrow passage between the mountain and the sea near Anthele, where the representatives of the 12 tribes of the Delphic Amphictyony convened in the spring (here).
The Dryopes, whose name derives from the word “Drys” (Δρύς=Oak in Greek), were, as it seems, the first inhabitants of the Greek Peninsula. Dryops, their hero, was the son of the river god Spercheus, brother of Achelous and Peneus, who directed his waters into the Malian gulf. Spercheus was also the father of the Nymphs of mount Orthys. The father of Achilles, dedicated his son’s hair to this river, so that his son would return safe from Troy. The mother of Dryops, was the daughter of Danaus, Polydora. The land of the Dryopes was taken over by the Dorians and the Heracleidae, and thus it was renamed to Doris, after their hero Dorus, the son of Hellen, brother of Aeolus and grandson of Deucalion and Pyrrha.
Shortly we would be arriving in Parnassus. We would stop at Delphi, as guests of Dionysus, and then head to Delos, following the instructions of the Olympian Zeus.

Mythological Park

From Mythology to History

From Mythology to History

Roaming around at Delphi we observed this strange world of the Greeks, where one tribe dedicated votive offerings (oblation) for its victory against the other, without any problem; an offering of the Arcadians for the victory and plunder of Lacedaemon with Epaminondas in 369 B.C.; an oblation of the Lacedaemonians for their victory at Aegospotamoi in 404 B.C. and the destruction of the Athenian fleet; a bronze horse of the inhabitants of Argos for their successful invasion of Lacedaemon in 414 B.C.; opposite the Athenian Treasury for the battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., the treasury of Syracuse for their victory over the Athenians in 413 B.C.
One can go mad roaming the votive offerings of Delphi, because through them, each tribe saw its victory, but also its failure. Joy and sorrow at the same time. So I wandered if there is another people in modern day, or if there will ever be one in the future, which will accept its failures next to its successes, raising statues in both cases. The point is that this way one becomes wise through experience, so no tribe destroyed the oblations of the other tribes.

Delphi

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

We would now continue our journey to Delos. We passed again from mount Helicon and entered Boeotia. The primeval and antediluvian land, where the Ectenes of Ogygia (Boeotia). Ogyges was a native king, the son of Poseidon and Alistra; the deluge which covered Boeotia happened during his reign. On the left, in a distance of a few kilometers from our route, I was amazed to see towns like Mideia (Livadeia), with the terrible oracle of Trophonios which was consulted even by Croesus, with the fountains of Oblivion and Remembrance, just like the Necromanteion. The oracle also cured psychological illnesses by using sudden psychological breakdowns. The Minyan Orchomenus with its eponymous hero, who had three daughters, Leucippe, Arsippe and Alcithoe, who were punished by Dionysus because they neglected to partake in his celebration. Leuctra (Battle of Leuctra) where the Thebeans defeated the undefeated Spartan army. Further to the back Chaeronea, where Philip II with his son Alexander defeated the allied Greek forces in 338 B.C.; the men of the Sacred Band of Thebes fell in this battle. Thebes of Cadmus, a town built since the bronze age, the scene of countless myths and tragedies of Aeschylus (“seven Against Thebes”), of Sophocles (“Oedipus the King”) and Euripides (“The Phoenician Women”), which out of hatred for the Athenians allied with the Persians and was defeated in the Battle of Plataea in 479 B.C.. Later it was destroyed by Alexander in 336 B.C., slaughtering 6.000 of its inhabitants.
Many memories are on this part of the route, some to be happy and some to be sad about. But there, on our right lies the city of Megara with the many colonies, Megara Hyblaea in 730 B.C. and Selinunte in Sicily in 628 B.C. Astacos in 722 B.C. Selymbria in 716 B.C. Chalcedon in 684 B.C. Byzantium in 660 B.C. and Heraclea of Bosphorus in 550 B.C.. The Megarians were forced to migrate because their territory was diminishing by the Athenians, who took Salamis and Eleusis from them, and the Corinthians who grabbed the area of Geraneia, cutting down their state by one third. A land in the narrows between Attica and Peloponnese, which became the theater of conflict between Sparta and Athens, between the Dorian and Ionian tribes, during the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 B.C.)
But there, we entered Attica, near the town of Eleutherae, where from the worship of Dionysus comes to Athens. From the smell of the sacrifices we understood that we were nearing Eleusis.

Acropolis of Athens

Route in Spacetime

Route in Spacetime

Seeing the Parthenon I remembered that Alexander had sent 300 armors there after Granicus with the inscription “Alexander of Philip and the Greeks, minus the Lacedaemonians, from Asia inhabited by barbarians”. The issue however still troubles me, who was his father Philip or Zeus? Leaving the Acropolis we pass by the Theater of Dionysus, The Auditorium of Pericles, the Olympion (Temple of Olympian Zeus, Athens) where the tomb of Deucalion was located, exiting from the gate of Aegeas, over the river Ilissos rich in water which had its springs in mount Hymettus. On its banks the shrine of the Muses was erected, the fountain Callirhoe, the shrine of Demeter where the minor Mysteries of Eleusis were held. There, the platanus of Socrates. At this place they worshiped Pan, Achelous, Heracles and the wind Boreas, who from this place abducted Orithyia, one of the daughters of Erechteus and took her to Thrace, where he resides.
Athens, what a city, which 9.000 years ago fought off the invading Atlanteans, as Plato would say, who was now in Hades since 347 B.C. A strange city with thousands of philosophers and many schools. All of them are there in the Agora; the Sophists, Cynics, Megarian philosophers, Pythagoreans and the Physiologists. It is very difficult to mention them all, with their many differences, seeking the Truth.
What are we” and “where do we go” was their unsolved problem, which only they thought of, while the “barbarians” led a life without much thought. Thus Zeus was laughing at their problems. He kept murmuring, “look at what man is capable of thinking” and kept saying again and again “this is not good, because I foresee that in some distant future, they might abolish me, like I did to my father Cronus, and he to his father Uranus“. Because he remembered the conspiracy of his wife Hera. I often heard him say “these Greeks are restless, even after the deluge they remain the same“.
What problems do the gods face, I was thinking. But there, we were riding over mount Hymettus, on the right of its peak of 1.025 meters, where there was the statue of Zeus Hymettus and the altar of Rain Zeus, together with his son Foreseeing Apollo, he who predicted the rain so much needed by the Basin of Attica. On the left, in a distance of 6 kilometers we could see the temple of Braubronia Artemis.

Brauron

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

In the morning we start our journey for Delos. As soon as we are in open sea, on our right we see the island of Keos (Kea), named after the mythological hero Keos, where the Carians, Pelasgians and Leleges had first settled. The Carians are an antediluvian people of Attica of pelasgian descent, Car was the son of Phoroneus who decided in favor of Hera in her dispute with Poseidon over the Peloponnese. The Pelasgians are an antediluvian people of Arcadia; their primogenitor was Pelasgus, the father of Lycaon who succeeded his father while his mother was the Oceanide Meliboea. The Leleges were an antediluvian people of Laconia, with Lelex being their first king succeeded by his son Myles.

Kea in historic times was inhabited by Ionians who are a prehistoric people of Attica and Northern Peloponnese. Ion was the son of Xuthus and the daughter of Erechteus Creusa and descended from the line of Deucalion. The brother of Xuthus was Dorus. So they are populations emerging after the deluge.

After a while we was passing by a barren island (Gyaros), which as Hermes used to tell us, someday after many years, would be turned into a prison for political prisoners. We soon remembered that this did not exist in Athens, because they exiled politicians by “ostracism”, or forces them to die like Socrates. After Gyaros, on the left, we noticed the island of Andros or Andreus, son of Eurymachus, one of the suitors of Penelope who was killed by Odysseus, when he returned to the island disguised as a beggar. Others say that Andreus was the son of Anius, who himself was also a son of Apollo and ruled over Delos during the time of the Trojan War. The mother of Anius was Rhoeo (Pomegranate), who descended from Dionysus, through her father Staphylus. The Carians, whom we mentioned earlier were the first inhabitants of the island, followed by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Creatans, Pelasgians and the Ionians. In 480 B.C. it sided with the Persians, while in the Peloponnesian War it allied with Sparta.

Before we reached Delos, we found ourselves between two islands, Syros on the right, which was initially inhabited by the Phoenicians and later the Ionians and was part of the first Athenian League. While on the left was Ophiusa (Tinos), with the many snakes and the famous temple of Poseidon and his wife Amphitrete, who is the queen of the sea, a daughter of Doris, one of the daughters of Oceanus and Nereus, who had the ability of transformation. The Nereids (sea waves) come from him (Nereus). Ophiusa was also an ally of Athens.
As we were reaching Delos, we noticed on the left behind the island of Apollo, the island Mykonos, named after the son of Anius. Its last inhabitants were the Ionians, led there by Hippocles, the son of Neleus and father of Phorbius.

Delos

East Gate of the Gods (Life)

Land of the Dead

ROUTE INFORMATION – T.B.D. : Spring 2019

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Eleusis
  • Sanctuary of Cabeiri
  • Delphi
  • Necromanteion

5/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 1050 km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of Parnassus, Oiti

Middle May – Middle October

FAQ

Packing List

Lodging

Rent A Ride

Service

Brochure (coming soon)

Acropolis of Athens

Route in Spacetime

Route in Spacetime

As the rhetorician and satirist Lucian wrote  “… ascending to the Acropolis I flew over the cliff …” towards the land of Hades, the Necromanteion of Acheron, with the help of the psychopomp Hermes. On our right we saw the Agora of Athens and on our left the Pnyx, where the assembly of the citizens took place (Ecclesia). After a while we were passing over the temple of Artemis Aristovouli, that was discovered accidentally in June 1958 during the construction of a small private house at the junction of Nileos Street and Irakleidon Street at Thission. In front of the small Greek temple, an engraved column was discovered dedicating the temple to goddess Artemis Aristovouli, the foundation of which was personally insured by Themistocles. Exiting the walls of Athens, we pass over the Gate of Piraeus, leaving to our right the Double Gate and the Graveyard of the Kerameikos.

Further down we came across the Sacred Lake (Lake Koumoundourou), to the right of the Reidi (salty sacred lakes used for cleansing), where during the celebration of the Mysteries of Eleusis the honor guard of Athens awaited wearing black tunics. Leaving behind Mount Aigaleo, where Xerxes watched, to our left, the Battle of Salamis. And behold, Hermes showed me the vast ritual center of Eleusis bellow us.
It was during the month of Hekatombaion (July- August) of 415 B.C. and as we found out Alcibiades along with Nicias and Lamachus already were on board the Athenian ships alongside the troops on their way to Sicily. When the men boarded the ship, the usual prayers and toasts were performed with gold and silver cups, with the participation of the citizens. After the hymns were chanted, the ships reached the open sea. They descended along the eastern Peloponnese and bypassing the Cape of Maleas, just outside of Cythera, after having circled around Laconia and Messenia, ascended to the western Peloponnese, passing between Zakynthos and Cephalonia and Lefkada, heading to the north of Corfu, to reach across, Southern Italy.

Eleusis

Ritual Center of Greece

Ritual Center of Greece

A lot of people started gathering from the surrounding area for the great celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries in the month Boedromion (September-October), when the sign of Virgo appeared which symbolized Persephone. The celebration would end when the sign of Libra appeared, which symbolized the decision of Zeus for Persephone to return to the palace of Hades; thus nature deadened.

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

The mystics arrived in a ritual procession and no uninitiated were allowed to cross the courtyard. In Athens Alcibiades and nine more were denounced , for the amputation of the Hermai and for the parody of the Eleusinian mysteries and were called to be tried. Thus Alcibiades , abandoning Nicias and Lamachus in Italy, fled to Sparta of King Agis II. The Athenian court, as I was informed later, sentenced Alcibiades and his accomplices in absentia to death.

After this short tour in the Shrine of Eleusis, I was forced to resume the journey to the Necromanteion under the obtrusive pressure of Hermes. The Messenger of Zeus also had other orders from the father of the gods and men and was in a hurry to take my soul to Hades to be tried.

So, following the course, we passed over Erenia where the grave of Autonoe, the daughter of Cadmus, was located, who had come here from Thebes as soon as she found out about the death of her son Actaeon by the hand of Artemis, because he beheld her naked bathing in a spring. Further along the way we came across Aigosthena, where there is the shrine of the seer Melampus,the son of Amythaon  and Eidomene. Melampus was called this way because when he was born, his mother forgot out of oversight to put his feet in the shade.

Further along the way we flew over the mountain of Cithaeron, which took its name from the king of Plataeae and we saw it on our right. They used to say that Cithaeron advised Zeus , when Hera did not give into his embrace, to construct a female statue and wrap it in an overcoat. Then Cithaeron dispersed that Zeus had kidnapped Plataea, the daughter of Asopus, to make her his wife. The jealous Hera rushed and grabbed the overcoat and saw the statue. Then she laughed and reconciled with the god. So every year in Plataeae they celebrated the marriage of Hera to Zeus.

After a short  while, we found ourselves in mount Helicon, the mountain of medicinal herbs, which was the home of the Muses (Valley of the Muses). Here there was a shrine of Zeus and the spring Hippocrene, which was struck open in the rock of the mountain by the hoof of the winged steed Pegasus. Between Cithaeron and Helicon, to the right in a distance of 17 kilometers from our course and to the northwest of Thebes, in a distance of roughly 6 kilometers, there was the town of Cabeiri. They say that from the army of Xerxes, those who remained with Mardonius and enter the sanctuary of the Cabeiri, out of disrespect and to loot, were driven mad and were killed in the sea and precipices. The wrath of the Cabeiri was unmerciful for the uninitiated and the irreverent.

Sanctuary of Cabeiri

Religious Center of Thrace

Religious Center of Thrace

We have already arrived on the mountain Parnassus, which took its name from the hero of the area, the son of the nymph Kleodora and Kleopompus, through the intervention of the god Poseidon. Parnassus had founded there the Oracle of Pythos, which was later taken over by Apollo.

We found ourselves here during the period when the god Apollo was preparing for his journey to the Hyperboreans, mythical people who lived “beyond the North Wind“. During his absence, his place would be occupied by Dionysus, the celebrations of whom start with the harvest of the vine in the month Metageitnion (August-September); namely during the period, when the constellation of Crater appeared in the sky, which was used for the mixing of wine with water (Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater).

Delphi

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Leaving Delphi behind us, we entered the lands of the Locres Ozales and passed over Amfissa, which took its name from the daughter of Macareas, son of Aeolus, who incestuously joined his sister Canace. Then Aeolus threw their child to the dogs and ordered his daughter to commit suicide. But also Macareas killed himself when his passion became known. The first inhabitants of Amfissa were the Cyclopes. During the Peloponnesian War it joined the coalition of Sparta. Its inhabitants perform some mysteries which are said to be about the Cabeiri.
Bellow us was the river Daphnos (Mornus), which took its name from Daphne, a demigod of Sicily, who was son of Hermes and had died at the prime of his youth; that is why the god was quite moved. The cause of his demise was his love for the Nymph Nomea, who never forgave his relationship with the daughter of the king, who deceitfully seduced him, after intoxicating him. Nomea enraged blinded him and the now blind Daphne sang mournful songs, until he fell from a rock and was killed. His father then took him with him to the Heavens.
On our left, bellow Amfissa, lies Mounea, the inhabitants of which offer sacrifices to the meek gods after sunset and eat meat before the sunrise. Moreover on our left, towards the sea, lies Nafpactos which takes its name from some Nymph. There is a shrine of Aphrodite there, where the widows ask the goddess for a second husband. Near the sea the shrine of Poseidon was located and a little further that of Asclepius.
There is the river Evinos which was previously called Lykormas and took the name of the son of Ares, who fell in war trying to capture Idas, who had kidnapped his daughter. That is where Heracles killed the ferryman centaur Nessus who attempted to rape his wife Deianira. Heracles ended his life at the springs of Evinos, on the mountain Oeta near the peak, falling into the fire which Philoctetes had lit for the hero (Pyra of Herakles). The reason was because Heracles, after his victory against Eurytus, asked his wife for a new tunic, to establish a celebration for Zeus. However the tunic worn by the hero was drenched in the blood of Nessus and it afflicted his skin without him being able to take it off. Thus his wife, who had been tricked by Nessus, when she realized what she had done, killed herself and Heracles decided to throw himself into the fire. But a thunder was heard and the hero ascended to the Heavens on a cloud.
Aetolia, up to the river Achelous, is an isolated region, mountainous and with poor roads. Its antediluvian inhabitants were the Pelasgians and the Courites, who were identified as the Dactyl of Crete and the Korybantes, who were the first men born from Gaia. It took its name from the son of Endymion, Aetolus, who fled here from the Peloponnese because he had killed king Apis. The Athenians claimed that this tribe of the Aetolians was barbarous, spoke an incomprehensible language and ate raw meat, but was the largest in population. Despite this, they would create in Thermo the Aetolian Leauge and seize control of Delphi. Thermo is on our left in a distance of 15 kilometers, near lake Trichonida; the location of the temple of Apollo and Artemis. The town was filled with artistic treasures; most of which was a product of looting by the Aetolians, who had reached as far as Dion and Dodoni.
In front of us we can see the raging Acheloous, whom Heracles fought for the sake of Deianira. This river god is an untamed beast, son of chthonic gods, Oceanus and Tethys. Once, enraged because some Nymphs forgot him in their sacrifice near the banks, he suddenly flooded and drove them into the sea, creating the islands of the Echinades.
Further down we entered the land of the Amphilochians, who founded their city near the Gulf of Ambracia. Its name is taken from Amphilochus, the son of Amphiaraus, who was one of the suitors of Helen of Troy, that is why he participated in the campaign. After a while to the right we come across the great Corinthian colony of Ambracia (Arta), which was founded in 625 B.C. by Gorgus, an illegitimate son of the tyrant of Corinth, Cypselus. It takes its name from Ambracia, a daughter of Melaneus, who was a son of Apollo. The town was near the river Aracthus – who was a brother of the firstborn Achelous – whose springs were in Pindos, the great mountain range which includes the Athamanic mountains (Tzoumerka), on the peaks of which the ark of Deucalion landed, in the period of the deluge (the flood of Deucalion ended the First Bronze Age). It laid there on an altitude of 2.429 meters, 40 km to our right.
In a while we would reach the Necromanteion, in a sudden rainstorm which made us shiver even more than the course towards the unknown we were about to embark on. Hermes noticed this and, before we entered the entrance to Hades, he tried to encourage us. He is a good god, sweet tempered and we listened with devotion.

What is life, he told us, but a dream that you will relive in another body. If you were good, you will ascend and might even be reborn as a king. So do not shiver and try to understand the cycle of life. Down there you will see many good and evil people, but before all this you will meet your own, whom you loved and departed before you did, waiting for you.

However I have to deliver you to Charon and leave to bring more souls, this is my job. So here, take a drachma and give it to the ferryman to take you across, to the land of the dead.

Necromanteion

West Gate of the Mortal

West Gate of the Mortal

Among many others we also passed to the Palace under the gaze of Cerberus, feeling the invisible hand of Hades pushing us. Before we entered the dark tunnel, we took with us the sweet smile of Persephone which gave us courage. It was impossible to forget this slender lady with the long black dress, which fluttered like a wraith, without any air.

Leaving the palace of Persephone in the Necromanteion, we headed for Olympus, greeting the good lady. Persephone had great renown in the space of the chthonic gods, but the celestial gods respected her as well because she was a daughter of Demeter, as an intermediate union of the celestial and chthonic space. Hermes on the other hand, tirelessly made the trip Olympus (Dion), Delphi and Necromanteion, carrying the orders of Zeus.