Mythological Park

From Mythology to History

The route Delphi – Necromanteion – Olympus – Delhi is roughly 450 kilometers long. The surface of the Orphic circle centered around Metropolis (Ω) is roughly 25.500 square kilometers, namely 1/5 of the territorial span of Greece, which is roughly 132.000 square kilometers of land and island surface.
This entire surface is covered in myths of older civilizations, to which new ones are added. On the other hand the History of the previous civilizations become Mythology, with some sort of connection between them, for example Agamemnon of Mycenae became Zeus-Agamemnon. So then when Aeschylus (525-457 B.C.) presented in 458 B.C. his trilogy Oresteia, which includes the tragedies Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers and The Eumenides, the audience did not distinguish reality from fiction, neither were they interested in doing so, because their attention was focused on the meaning of the tragedy.

Clytaemnestra hesitates before striking Agamemnon

Clytaemnestra hesitates before striking Agamemnon

This way however, up until 1871 A.D., when H. Schliemann made the first announcement about the city of Priam, Troy, nobody knew anything about the Mycenean civilization. Schliemann then, expanded Greek History and the myth of Agamemnon became reality; the same goes also for the Minoan civilization, by which Greek prehistory was expanded. Namely, C. Cavafis (1863-1933) was not taught in his school about the history of the Myceneans and the Minoans, but rather their Mythology.
Modern day mythology, in science fiction films like Conan or The Matrix, uses the vocabulary and the logic of these myths, even though the story lines of the films are different and have been adapted to the modern era, to be more accessible to the public. For example in the film Conan the Barbarian, starring the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the scene of the death of the serpent which transformed into a man of power of the temple and the central scene of the march to the temple on top of the mountain, with thousands of believers extending throughout the valley, comes from the myth of Apollo who slays the Python (chthonic forces) in Delphi. This shows a mythological wealth, which we noticed in this route in the Greek region and which is used by its inhabitants to raise their cultural level.

Apollo killing Python

Apollo killing Python

The contribution of the Myceneans who spearheaded this new religious mythology was great, not so much in the ideological area of the religion (since it would be difficult for them as a former dominant people to change the habits that were established through time in their own civilization), but rather in the area of construction.
From 1100 to 800 B.C., namely for 300 years, several construction templates must have been proposed, to find the type that would fit the rectilinear architecture, since there were already the Mycenean projects like the Treasury of Atreus representing the curvilinear architecture. As far as the rectilinear architecture is concerned, it seems that they did not follow the solution of the large surfaces, with the arcs arches and domes, because it would not differentiate Up from Down of the religious template based on the ideological character of the religion; the believer would be subsequently confused, if the structural representation was the same for the celestial and chthonic gods. Moreover the differentiation between the celestial and chthonic gods was based on another important element, namely that the celestial gods were more beautiful, more powerful and immortal.
Thus, the chthonic gods (not however the ones who come from the celestial Pantheon and are in a transitional state, like for example Persephone) are malformed, less powerful, and in order for the system Up-Down to work, are kept by the celestial gods imprisoned in the earth.
Of course at this point a new construction orientation is created. The surface building should be aesthetically pleasing, show its power and be immortal. So the constant repetition of the sanctuaries, based on previous buildings, serve this purpose.
On the other hand, the obsession in the choice of materials, the colors, ratio and decoration, is solely a matter of aesthetics The symmetry, the geometrical shapes and the correction of optical errors are associated with the power stemming from the geometrical structure of the building. Now as far as immortality, this is symbolically and geodynamically expressed based on the orientations and symbolic axes which accurately define the position of the building. Subsequently the architecture of the Ancients is not just the result of aesthetics, only to give a pleasant visage to the building, but expresses some ideals, besides surface. Greek architecture metaphysically translates some deep religious meanings.

Religion, before it became Theology during the Byzantine period was the philosophy of shapes and numbers. Due to this geometrical structure, God was called “The Architect of the Universe”.
If the Orphics preexisted or not is less important than when the Orphic Poems emerged and influenced the Greek world, changing the psychological world of the Greeks. Because nobody can demand from the world of 1100 B.C., which practically tries to coexist, to simultaneously be inspired by an ideal standard.

Taking the route into the Orphic circle, we realize that we are in a mythological park of approximately 25.500 square kilometers. Inside a vast scenery, were the actors were the very inhabitants of the country.

Epidaurus

Hospital Center of Greece

Epidaurus is in proportion the most equipped Medical Center the world has ever seen; with sacred temples, areas for practicing medical science, a gymnasium for the transmission of medical scientific knowledge, but also a kind of physiotherapy facility, bathhouses, an auditorium, theater, wrestling ring, sports center, guesthouses, lodges possibly for walks, discussions on medical issues etc. in a free space with the dimensions of circa 2.000×1.000 m. south of mount Arachnaio, therefore protected from the north winds; with branches all over Greece, like that of the Amphiareion of Oropos, which tended to famous clients like Croesus of Lydia, Lysimachus of Thrace, Mardonius of Persia, the Roman Brutus and later on the cruel Sulla. But others beyond Boeotia in most cities, like those of the island Kos and Pergamon.

We can conclude whether the Asclepions offered good services or not to the population, from the fact that the worship of Asclepius adapted to the new worship of Christianity, without it being abolished, as far as the services provided to man are concerned. We can observe that the Asclepions were an important part of the Greek civilization in image XI, where the medical center of the island Kos is found on the basic axis Necromanteion – Delos. But also Epidaurus is located on the axis Samothrace – Amyclae.
The Asclepions generally covered a large variety of ailments, such as paralysis, blindness, bile sickness, dropsy, parasites, pediculosis, headaches, pyorrhea, sterility, as well as pregnancy problems, stomachic, but also psychological disturbances. Of course we should not rule out the possibility of surgical procedures. The patients came from the entire Greek world, both within and outside of Greece. Many of the doctors originating in the Asclepions, found themselves in the kingdoms of the world, like Democedes (6th – 5th century B.C.) in the court of the Persian king Darius I.

image XVII

The Theater of Epidaurus, where the various Festivals are held in the summer, is a branch of the Asclepion with the capacity of 15.000 viewers. 500 of them used to stay in the guesthouse as visitors. Given that the capacity of the theater built by Polykleitos followed the specifications of large festivals and based on the building function of the site, we can safely assume that the Asclepion could tend to at least 4.000 patients. We may then conclude that the service staff should have been at least 2,000 people. Observing, however, the building facilities in image XVII, we may say that the number of the staff was at least twice as large. Namely in a ratio of 2:2, given that in current care centers, of the same luxury, it is inversely, 2:1, but the medical facility is much smaller. All of these people to be hospitalized or part of them were going back and forth from Palea Epidaurus at a distance of 22 km., which would logically take a minimum of 5 hours on foot to travel. Those more severely ill would camp around the area in specially prepared wagons or tents.
The investment that had been made in the site of Epidaurus was huge; suffice it to mention that the gargantuan statue of the god was made out of gold and ivory. Its maintenance was costly, because in contrast to other religious centers, the visitor did not only admire its exterior; in this case the facilities were in everyday use and cleanliness was mandatory. Such expenses can not be covered solely by the contributions of the patients, if there is no volunteer work by the apprentice doctors and the clerical staff, who offered their work out of love for their fellow man. Each of us may not agree with the polytheistic worship, but we can not believe that these people, with all their philosophical infrastructure, were trying to harm others. If that was the case, the Asclepions would not exist, because people would simply not gather there. There were always volunteers in Greece, and the will not cease to exist. If the Asklepieion of Epidaurus had economic benefits the first to rush there would be the Athenians, as they did with Eleusis and Delos. As a matter of fact in Athens the cult of Asclepius was established in 420 BC, during the period of the plague. But again the Asklepion of Athens, west of theater of Dionysus, on the south slope of the Acropolis, was an insignificant unit compared to that of Epidaurus (image XVII), which was oriented towards Ephesus where the Medical Games were held.

According then with what we mentioned above, a great philanthropist raised in an Asclepion, that of the island of Kos, was Hippocrates (460-377 BC) whose “Oath” confirms his ethos, but also the ethos of the Asclepions for the provision of services to the helpless man. Hippocrates came into conflict with the establishment of his time, regarding the theory of medical science. Namely, while the priesthood maintained that the nature of illnesses was god sent, he insisted that illnesses come from the human body and the environment. In fact he rejected the proposition of Pericles, who asked him to join the Asclepion of Athens.
As it is logical for an Asclepion like that of Epidaurus to function properly, there was a hierarchy which operated like that of modern hospitals, but based on religion and the structure of the priesthood. This hierarchy included women like the modern day nurses.
The afflicted, having bathed in the waters of the spring, would go to sleep in the “inaccessible” area of the sanctuary, waiting to see the god in their dream, who would indicate their treatment modalities. Through this process the Asklepiads would reach some conclusions and continue recommending diet and herbs. However medical tools were discovered, indicating that surgery was also performed. The remarkable thing is that 70 plates were discovered with narrations of patients who were cured, written in the form of miracles, which were misinterpreted in the Christian period as the way of expression of the patient, where the doctor was also a priest, was not taken into consideration. In addition, through the logic of the intervention of god, the patient psychologically participated in his therapy.

Asclepius is a mythical god, the son of Apollo and the daughter of the Thessalian king Phlegyas, Coronis. With his wife Epione he had the daughters Aceso, Iaso, Panacea, Aglaea, Hygieia and two sons, Podaleirios and Machaon. The worship of Asclepius started from the city Trikke of Thessaly. From there it spread to Epidaurus and to the whole of the Peloponnese.
The period of the celebration of Asclepius was combined with the Eleusinean Mysteries and started towards the end of the month Bohedromion (September-October). It was during the period when Apollo (Sun) transitioned to the sign of Libra. To the North, there was the constellation of Serpens which is linked to the constellation of Ophiuchus (image 5). Ophiuchus was Asclepius holding the sacred snake, namely the constellation of Serpens. The entire process is associated with the myth of Asclepius who raised the dead, a fact that caused trouble for Hades, because the people were not dying. Thus Hades complained to Zeus who struck Asclepius down with a lightning bolt. But because Asclepius was the son of Apollo, after the demand of the god, Zeus placed his body among the stars as the constellation of Ophiuchus.

image 5

God of Atlantis

TOUR INFORMATION

Attica Region, Greece (Athenian Riviera)

May – November

5/5 Cultural Shock

Historic Landmarks

  • Acropolis of Athens (UNESCO)
  • Acropolis Museum
  • The Prison of Socrates, The Pnyx
  • Ancient Agora of Athens
  • Temple Of Poseidon, Cape Sounio
  • Ancient Mining Laundries, Lavrio
  • Ancient Theater of Thoriko
  • Temple Of Artemis, Brauron

National Park of Sounion

Tour FAQs

Tour Packages*

Packing List

Enduro Training

Tour Starts/Ends in Glyfada, Athens

160 km Total Mileage (100 miles)

3 Days / 2 Riding Days

Intermediate Riding Skills

Gravel 0-10%

Min 2 Riders/Group | Max 8 Riders/Group

4×4 Support Vehicle Upon Request

Hotels only

Breakfast / Lunch en-route / Dinner

Spoken Greek / English / Italian

Athens Airport (ATH) Transfer*

GS Rentals

Photos from our Tours

From 240€/day* (6 Riders / F850GS Rental)

Brochure (coming soon)

On the southern edge of the Greek capital lies the alluring Apollo Coast, still defined as greater Athens. Its palm tree-lined esplanades and idyllic beaches dominate a unique slice of Mediterranean coastline with laid-back elegance, a history of jet-set glamour and the feeling of spending quality time on a Greek island.

This is the Athenian Riviera, starting from the port of Piraeus all the way to Cape Sounion along the coastal Poseidonos Ave, named after the god of the sea Poseidon.

One can enjoy a fully-fledged holiday in Greece, enjoy the Mediterranean sun and sea, visit some of the most important archeological sites, enjoy the iconic coastline ride, spend quality time in the most glamorous location of Greece and all without ever leaving the capital.

TOUR ITINERARY


This is a compact tour, with 2 riding days, full of beautiful images and rich in ancient Hellenic history and culture. The first and last days mentioned in the itinerary are the arrival and departure days; there is no riding on these days. The daily riding kilometers are approximate distances and may vary. Arrival time should be arranged before 3 pm on the arrival day and bear in mind the time difference between your country of origin and your travel destination. Please book your flights accordingly. Route and overnight places may change due to unforeseen events.

DAY 1: Arrival in Athens / Glyfada

We meet at the Athens (ATH) airport and head straight for motorcycle pickup. Early in the afternoon (depending on your flight) we arrive at Glyfada, Mythical Routes HQ. In ancient times, the area was a deme known as Aixone (Αἰξωνή) and was established as the heart of Athens’ southern suburbs, because of its prime waterfront location, rich commercial center, and modern business district. It has been described as the head-point of the ‘Athens Riviera’ and features some of Europe’s most opulent seafront residences, gardens, and extensive beachfront property, with a modern marina.

DAY 2: Ride to the center of Athens

We ride downtown to visit the most important archeological location in Greece and famous Unesco heritage, the Acropolis of Athens. We walk around the Pnyx and visit the Prison of Socrates. Our visit to the colorful center can’t be complete without visiting the Ancient Agora of Athens and a walk in the narrow alleys of Monastiraki where we can enjoy some typical Hellenic snacks.

The last visit of the day is a long visit to the Acropolis Museum and after a ride by the temple of Zeus in Athens we head back to Glyfada HQ for some typical Greek nightlife.

DAY 3: Ride to Cape Sounio and Brauron

We ride on the famous Apollo Coast, a palm tree-lined esplanades and idyllic beaches dominate a unique slice of Mediterranean coastline with laid-back elegance, a history of jet-set glamour and the feeling of spending quality time on a Greek island. We visit the iconic Temple Of Poseidon at Cape Sounio, the ancient Mining Laundries at Lavrio, the ancient Theater of Thoriko and our last stop is the Temple Of Artemis in Brauron.

This two riding-day tour is designed as a tarmac introduction into our adventures, but upon request can be upgraded into a 20% gravel tour, so that and you can ride through the Sounio National Park and practice your off-road skills in the Greek hard terrain. It is the perfect oportunity for some Enduro Training as well.

DAY 4: Departure from Athens Airport (ATH)

You can spend quality time in the most glamorous location of Greece and all without ever leaving the capital. Glyfada is packed with some of the capital’s best-known nightclubs, upscale restaurants, and shops. It could be argued to be one of the most “Americanized” of Athenian municipalities since an American airbase was located nearby until the early 1990s. The base’s population contributed in part to Glyfada’s character, leading to a unique blend of Greek and American atmosphere and cuisine. Although the base is now gone and the school relocated, Glyfada still retains part of its American flavor while continuing to offer distinctly Greek cuisine, entertainment, and nightlife. If you have opted for an all-inclusive package we will escort you back to the Athens (ATH) airport for you flight home.

Included Services

We can provide almost any motorcycle from the GS range, like the versatile F850GS, the mighty R1200GS or the R1200GSA beast. We are partners with the biggest BMW Motorrad dealers in Greece, so all rented motorcycles are carefully prepared and serviced with the highest standards and certifications available.

All of our Adventure Tours and Expeditions come with a leading Tour Guide rider and the possibility of a 4×4 Support Vehicle if required.

BMW R1200GS

BMW F850GS

Included Services (Full Package)


All our Full Package (all-inclusive) Tours include the following services:

  • Athens (ATH) Airport pickup
  • BMW R1200GS / R1200GSA / F850GS motorcycle rental (Requires €1000 refundable damage deposit)
  • Full Damage Coverage with €1000 exception (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • Third party liability cover by Allianz insurance (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • 24/7 Road Assistance (Not valid for off-road tracks)
  • Unlimited mileage
  • BMW Alarm (installed)
  • Lead motorcycle Tour-Guide for all riding days
  • Accommodation in double/twin rooms in the most highlighted locations of each region
  • All Meals (Breakfast / Lunch en-route / Group dinner)
  • Architectural Guided tour in 1-2 archeological sites per day
  • Archeological Site Entrance-Fee
  • All Fuel cost
  • All Road-Toll cost
  • Provided Klim 3lt water hydration system
  • Provided Enduristan 7lt Tank-bag
  • Provided Enduristan 51lt Pack-sack
  • Provided Adventure Medical Kit
  • 15% Discount on any Klim pre-ordered item
  • 10% Discount on any Enduristan pre-ordered item

Not Included Services


There are many additional options that we can provide on demand in any tour package. The following options are not included in any tour package:

  • Flight costs
  • Travel/medical insurance (mandatory)
  • Single bed occupancy: add €20/day
  • DOT-approved Off-road tires: add €40/day
  • Basic Off-road training (1 day): add €200
  • Advanced Off-road training (2 days): add €450
  • Rental of Klim waterproof Gore-Tex Jacket & Pant with D3O protection: add €30/day (Requires €650 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of Klim ECE Helmet: add €20/day (Requires €250 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of Enduristan 2×30lt saddlebags**: add €30/day (Requires €160 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of BMW Vario side panniers***: add €20/day (No damage deposit required)
  • Enduro/MX riding Boots. For any arrangements please contact us.
  • Land Cruiser 4×4 Support Vehicle (for luggage and non-riders): add €400/day

To read more about rental equipment refundable damage deposit, support vehicle pricing and how to get 10-15% off Klim and Enduristan Gear Discount, read Rent A Ride.


Acropolis of Athens

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.


Cape Sounio

Before we reach Brauron, I would like to narrate about some places that I see from the top of Mountain Hymettus, since I will be sitting here with my friend the Owl to gaze Attica, which we can see at a distance of 50 km from here because of the great clarity of the sky.

On my right side, I can see the Bay of Palaio Faliro where the port of Attica used to be, the only port of Athens in the Saronic Gulf. From this port, Theseus, the son of Aethra and Aegeus, was sent by the Athenians to Crete along with seven young men and seven young women as a human sacrifice to Minotaur. According to the myth, after Theseus killed Minotaur, he forgot to put the white sails to his ship while returning home and his father, waiting at Cape Sounio, saw the black sails instead and thinking that his son was killed, jumped into the sea and drowned.

Sounio, the place where king Aegeus died, is located in a straight line 38 km from the top of Mountain Hymettus, southeast of Attica. It is the exact place where an arrow from God Apollo killed the captain of Menelaus ship (the husband of Helen of Troy), on their way back to Sparta from the Trojan War. On the leveled top of Cape Sounio is located the Temple of Poseidon, constructed by Pericles in 444 BC, in the exact place of an older Peripteron temple destroyed by Persian king Xerxes in 490 BC.

The Temple of Poseidon is a Doric Peripteral style temple with (6) columns at the facades and (13) columns on the longer sides, so (6×13) that has a “code” based on the columns K(6)(1)(3)(4)(10), where (6) refers to HARMONY. It is said that the temple is aligned with the exact location of Atlantis where there was placed a bigger altar. Plato was often talking about this lost island and since then everybody was trying to find it. I know a lyric about Atlas, the son of Poseidon and Kleito.

“And the high columns on which the Earth
he is holding,
At the starry dome they end and the spheres they brace
And the spheres they brace”

On the smaller hill northeast of Temple of Poseidon, lay the ruins of the Temple of Athena Souniada that was worshiped since the very early years as protector of the City of Athens. In this exact place, Menelaus conducted a ceremony for the Captain of his ship, Fronti.

Further north from Cape Sounio is located the rocky mountain Merenta (614 m), mountain Olympus (487 m) and mountain Panio (648 m) and among them Lavrio with its rich soil that brought great prosperity to the city of Athens, through the extraction of silver and lead, and allowed Themistocles and the Athenians to create a powerful fleet.

Going back to the Bay of Palaio Faliro, we can see the place where Menestheus started with his fleet the voyage towards the Trojan War, and at this place, the Long Walls of Athens used to end. Further down from Faliro we can see the area of Ammos where Thucydides, the great historian from the 5th century BC. was coming from. Every year the women of that township were celebrating Thesmophoria, a mystical fest about Euphoria and Vegetation.

Continuing my visual journey from the western seaside of Attica to the south, I can see the area of Agios Kosmas, across the old airport of Athens, where were discovered the ruins of the Cycladic citadel from the Copper Age (around 2.300BC.). During the historical years, it is said that the wind brought here, from Salamina, the wrecks from Xerxe’s fleet. Further down the road, where it branches towards the region of Vari, excavations brought in the light the remains of the Ancient municipality of Aixoni.

On the way to Vouliagmeni, we cross Cape Zoster (or Laimos Vouliagmenis). There we find the Temple of Apollo Zoster, Artemis and Leto. According to the myth, in that area, Leto felt that the time of her childbirth was approaching and unbound her belt, despite the fact that that goddess Hera was hunting her and had forbidden any kind of help towards Leto. Hera convinced the dragon Python (the earth-dragon of Delphi) that the child to be born would deprive the Oracle of Delphi from him and for this reason he had to kill Leto. On our way to Varkiza, we pass through Vouliagmeni Lake with its sulfurous water that is suitable for skin diseases and rheumatic conditions. Further down, in Varkiza Bay, we can see the three little islands of Apollo, Artemis, and Leto on which exist corresponding Altars.

On the north side of Vari, just after the town’s cemetery, there is the Cave of Archedemos (Nympholyptos Cave). Nympholepsy was the belief of the ancient Greeks that individuals could be possessed by the Nymphs. Individuals who considered themselves nympholepts would display a great religious devotion to the nymphs. It is a unique landmark with carved statues from sculptor Archedemos of Thira, wherein the 5th century BC, he transformed the cave to a place of worship of the Nymphs, Apollo and Pan.

Further down the road south, we come across the region of Anavyssos where Kroisos Kouros, an interesting marble Kouros (Ancient Greek: κοῦρος) statue was found. He functioned as a grave marker for a fallen young warrior named Kroîsos (Κροῖσος). The free-standing sculpture strides forward with the “archaic smile” playing slightly on his face. The sculpture is dated to c. 540–515 BC and stands 1.95 meters high. The inscription on the base of the statue reads: “Stop and show pity beside the marker of Kroisos, dead, whom, when he was in the front ranks, raging Ares destroyed”. The statue is now situated in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

From Anavyssos we proceed to the National Park of Sounion, established in 1979. This is a very interesting historical area of 35.000 acres with Geological and Paleontological foundings. From there we reach Sounio and after that Lavrio as we have mentioned above.

North of Lavrio exists the ancient municipality of Thoricus, one of the 12 municipalities of Attica, that was the Industrial Centre of Lavrio mineral mines of and on this area there have been discovered two vaulted tombs of the Mycenaean Age. Continuing our way north, we cross the area of Keratea where, on the southwest side of Mount Panio is located the Cave of Pan, with stalactites and stalagmites and a beautiful lake about 950 square meters for a visitor to sightsee.


Brauron

The port of Prasia (Porto Rafti) is next to Keratea and it was of great importance for the city of Athens because it connected them with Cyclades islands. From this port begun all the celebration ceremonies of Apollo at Delos.

At that point, we are next to the Archeological area of Brauron.


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Olympia

Sports Center of Greece

As we observed when we mentioned Delphi, with the descend of the Dorians in the 12th century B.C. the reorganizing of the basic shrines within the Greek region begins, centered around Delphi, without however abolishing the secondary sites.
In image 13 of the 1st Part of the book Holy Sacramental Journey to Greece, aside from the connections of the shrines, we should also see how the basic sanctuaries are spread out, namely those the echo of which reaches us even to this day and age; which however are not city-states and serve a particular purpose. These are: Olympus, the Necromanteion, Delphi, Eleusis, Delos, Epidaurus and Olympia. Namely 7 shrines, which for the Pythagoreans is the perfect number. Sacred sites, each of which plays a particular role within the Greek region. They are geographically scattered, but axially connected to each other with a certain proportionate distance; and this is quite reasonable because each site is part of a whole.
So there is a mythological kinship between these sites. Namely Zeus occupies the sacred sites of Olympus (Dion) and Olympia. His sister Demeter with their daughter Persephone are found in Eleusis, while Persephone is also found in the Necromanteion with the brother of Zeus, Hades. The son of Zeus Apollo occupies Delos with his sister Artemis, and with his brother Dionysus he occupies Delphi, while the grandson of Zeus, Asclepius, the son of Apollo, is found in Epidaurus. These gods function as units, but also as duos, creating a system of balance.
From all of those gods Apollo comes second to Zeus, because he possesses Delphi, namely the administrative priestly center. When Zeus struck Asclepius, the son of Apollo, down with lightning, because he was raising the dead, Apollo took revenge by killing the Cyclopes who forged the divine lightning bolt. Thus Zeus punished Apollo and sent him to serve the king of Pherae of Thessaly, Admetus, who had him guard his herds, and that was the end of the quarrel. This means that Zeus remains above Apollo as the creator god.
Having a system where each god corresponds to his role, without the mythology being disproved or contradictory, is a quite difficult task; especially if we extend to the entire Mythological Pantheon, also including Astrology. So, besides fantasy, great planning by thousands of individuals is required, who possess exceptionally strong memory, since they did not have the technological aid of computers in order to be able to live up to their task, without disturbing the “world” of the believers of the city-states.

Olympia, like the Necromanteion, is located in the western part of Greece. As we noticed at a previous point, according to image XVIII, Delos (City of Light) and Epidaurus (113th Olympic Games) are located on the side of the gate of the gods, in the eastern part of Greece, where the souls ascend, like the Sun. In the western part of Greece, the souls descend like the Sun, to be reincarnated, according to the Platonic philosophers. So then, since this celebration was held in honor of dead heroes, like Pelops who organized the Olympic Games and Heracles thanks to whom the games started to be held again after they had fallen into decline, this also means the theoretical participation of the heroes in the games, as reincarnated athletes. This is also evident in the case of Alexander but also Pyrrhus, who imitated Heracles against Rome which had the form of the Lernaean Hydra. That is why they were held every four years, during the full moon, after the Summer Solstice, during the month Hekatombaion (July-August), when the Sun in its descending course, passes through the zodiac of Leo, which symbolized the Nemean Lion, namely the first labor of Heracles (image 5, photo I).
We observe then, how reasonably the Olympic games are defined, where the myth is accompanied by its corresponding zodiac sign which is also the beginning of the labors of Heracles, namely Heracles begins with his labors based on the “Unit”. Apollo according to the Pythagoreans was the Unit, namely the Sun which transitioned through the zodiac of Leo, but also Zeus because he was the beginning of everything, namely the guardian god of Olympia, but also the beginning of the yearly calendar. They used to call the unit Hearth or fire, namely the flame we get with mirrors from the rays of the Sun. They also called the Unit Chaos, darkness, chasm, Tartarus or Styx, which has to do with the chthonic character of the Olympic games.
In order for the athlete to enter the stadium he would go under the “crypt”, which indicates a hiding place or an underground unseen place. The crypt was an archway (consecutive arches) which started at the Lodge of Sound, a fact that points us to the logic of the Theater, where the sound originates in the chthonic space through the Chaeronian scale ( Theater of Dion). Consequently the Stadium is the chthonic space, where the victor, emerging again from the crypt, functions pretty much like Heracles (see Necromanteion in Land of the Dead), when he visited Hades and fought Cerberus, whom he brought back in chains to present to Eurystheus. This archway, but also the arch, will become in later times, the Arcs of Triumph. The victor then, emerging triumphant from the crypt, is like he is beating death. Thus he gains more prestige in the eyes of the people who see him pass through and he himself becomes a symbol and a demigod. The city of the victor then, has no need of walls, which it symbolically demolishes, in order fro their demigod, the new Heracles, to enter the city.
According to Hippias of Elis (400 B.C.), the first officially established Olympic Games, took place in 776 B.C., reorganized by the legislator of Sparta Lycurgus and Cleisthenes of Pisa, by order of the king of Elis, Iphitus. They were abolished by Theodosius I in 393 A.D.
The presence of Heracles in the space of Olympia reasonably brings about the presence of his father Zeus, who, through the games of his son recognizes the games of the Greeks in this space. The three month “Truce” then is the proposal of the Priesthood so that the tribal disputes end and the struggle to become an athletic event without casualties.
The three months of the truce was the time needed by the athlete of even the most remote colony, to reach Olympia to compete and leave without any problems. In the 5th century, the population of the 3.000 colonies reached at least 9 million inhabitants; including Greece, the population of the Greek world was roughly 15-20 millions, when Egypt had 8 millions. Namely we are dealing with a population that in today’s standards would be about 250-300 millions. Opening a map of the colonies, let us imagine all of these movements of the athletes. During this period there was a general excitement in all of the Mediterranean and the region of the Black Sea, directed to Olympia. Athletes, friends and relatives, alongside the representatives of the city-states, struggled with the waves for three months. They stopped in intermediary stations along the way, talked, laughed, traded views. The entire Greek world was set in motion, because viewers from everywhere flocked there. The rest of the world, the so-called “Barbarians”, saw, listened, but did not understand why someone would go there to receive an olive wreath.
The issue however is, that this way Olympia became a vast information center, through a language (like the Internet), connected to 3.000 service providing centers, where the actor was human memories. This way the Greek world achieved greatness. Whoever reached Olympia, would find his world there and with him he would bring samples of his achievements abroad, pretty much like the migrating Greek of America does nowadays. So then, Herodotus (484-420 B.C.) did not have to travel to gather information; it was enough to ask a colonist, on his way to Olympia. In any case, through this process the Greek knew everything. So then, Olympia was not just an athletic center, but also an information center, with a radius of at least 2.500 kilometers. Otherwise we would not be talking about Hellenism today, after the pressure of the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empires.
This information was spread by those attending the games in every direction within Greece. As far as the North, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace, where the athletes and visitors came from-most of them by sea, because we should consider that the journey by land from Athens took at least five days.
All of the city-states were interested in knowing what existed in these foreign lands, in order to organize trading missions. It was the source of information of the clergy which directed colonization, beyond scouting missions, like the Argonautic campaign. After that the processing of information and the exchange of views started, the conclusion of deals, the re-connection with the Metropolis and many more. So when all of these people left for the faraway colonies, took along with the soil of the homeland, new commercial ideas. This led the trading city-states to develop banking systems of loans, interests, checks and remittances. Athens as early as the 5th century B.C. had may bankers outside of the city, in the colonies, such as Alexandria where the Athenian currency was in large circulation. Otherwise the system of colonies developed by the Greek world would not be able to function. Thus, as P.Leveque mentions, the colonies managed to change the inland, like in Egypt of the Ptolemies, which was in the neolithic era. The Greeks brought about the agricultural and husbandry revolution, thanks to the import of iron tools and all kinds of new plants or animals, like fig trees, pomegranates, walnut trees, but also garlic, sheep and donkeys.
Therefore we should not view the site of Olympia through the narrow context of the athletic games. Because if that was the case, the Olympic games would be held nowadays permanently in Greece, while in fact there is a “battle” to determine who is going to undertake the organizing of the event. And of course we are referring to a people which based on its commercial spirit, spread out to all of the shores of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, primarily to trade.

When any night of the year, in the clear sky, we observe the multitude of constellations with the naked eye, all that we shall see, except for some for which we need the aid of a telescope, are about the Greek Mythology, with the shape and the actions of it’s gods and heroes. So, for 365 days a year the population of Greece sees in its sky the astral contribution of their ancestors to all of the peoples of the earth. In a circular correspondence of the Pan-Hellenic sanctuaries. And naturally it is unthinkable whether man will ever be able to reach these constellations. The sacred centers may be destroyed, but all this celestial dome remains eternally there.
So then when the summer of the Olympics arrives, we shall also see the constellation of Heracles (image 5) fighting the Lernaean Hydra (Draco constellation), according to Eudoxus, which is about his second labor.

image 5 – Constellation of Hydra (Draco constellation)

All of the celebrations mentioned, started with the full moon, which appeared in each zodiac through which it completed its phases (Moon phases), following the attic lunar calendar or the lunar-solar calendar of the Macedonians. That is why Greece did not have a unified calendar. And all of this without the aid of computers.
There are two important characteristics of the sacred site: The one was that the games were not limited only to men, but there were also women games, where only virgins were are allowed to compete in. They competed in a 160 meter race, that is why the temple of Hera of 600 B.C. exists. As far as the men were concerned, after they swore an Oath to Zeus Horkios on the first day, on the second day there was a children race, wrestling, boxing and pankration. On the third day there were chariot races and the pentathlon (jumping, discus throw, stadium, javelin throw and wrestling). On the fourth day there were the men sporting events of racing, wrestling, boxing, pankration and shield racing. The last day was reserved for awarding the winners and for the sacrifices to the gods.
The other characteristic was the Zanes, namely bronze statues of Zeus which were placed before the entrance of the stadium, funded by the fines of those who broke the Games rules.

image XIX

The temples of Hera and Zeus axially face Delos (image XIX), recreating the myth of the birth of Apollo. But aside from the temples, offerings, altars, statues and treasuries (small buildings where precious offerings to the sacred sites were kept), Olympia also possessed a well organized athletic infrastructure, with a gymnasium for the training of the athletes, a wrestling ring, guesthouse, the so called Leonidaion, the prytaneion for housing foreign important visitors, a bouleuterion for the political and social operation of the site and the Hellanodikaion for the Hellanodikai who judged the result of the games.

In the 2nd century B.C., the Olympics decline under the poor management of the civilization by the Diadochi of the Hellenistic period, who promoted the Games held in their own newly founded states. During this period, frugality is replaced by luxury and the political promotion of the king. So they were turned from games of worship to games of spectacle, that is why new athletic events were added and the athletes gradually became professionals. During the first period of the Roman conquest (146 B.C.), there were serious damage and pillaging like that of Sulla, but later on during the Imperial era, Olympia regained its former prestige, with many building projects, without however the athletic ideal of the pre-Hellenistic era returning. The celebrations continue until 393 B.C. when Theodosius I forbids them and in 426 B.C. Theodosius II orders the destruction of the temples.

113th Olympic Games

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

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Delos
  • Epidaurus
  • Olympia

4/5 Culture Shock

Total Length TBD km

7 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

45% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

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Brochure (coming soon)

We were learning about the news of Alexander from the Olympian Zeus, without Hera knowing. 2.000 Indians had been killed, the two sons of Porus among them. Porus riding his richly decorated elephant continued to issue commands and Alexander was admiring him, trying to save his life, but his old horse Bucephalus collapses in fatigue. Afterward Alexander treated Porus like royalty and gave him his kingdom back to rule and while he was ready to march to the depths of India, his army was unwilling to follow him.
Father Zeus himself had faced similar circumstances when Hera, Athena and Poseidon tried to chain him. Thankfully the goddess Thetis sent Aegaeon (Aegaeon and his brothers Gyges and Cottus are described as huge monsters with a hundred arms, also named Hecatoncheires) to rescue him. Of course Zeus does not intervene in the case of Alexander, pretty much like in the case of Heracles, because he has to solve his problem on his own, otherwise what kind of demigod would he be?
All this is fine, but look we was seeing Syros again and then Kea, on our right side this time around, while on our left we could see the island of Thermia or Ophiussa Thiramnia (Kythnos), known for its healing springs. It was the prehistoric home of the Dryopes. When their land, Dryopis, which was a region of Oeta and Parnassus, was taken over by the Dorians, they fled to Euboea, Argolis, Thermia and Asia Minor. This island too was an ally of Athens.

There the temple of Poseidon emerges on our right; that is why there were so many dolphins in the area. They say that this temple is turned in such a way that it faces towards Atlantis, where the god had a great altar. Plato used to talk about this lost island and then everybody tried to find it. I know a verse about the son of Poseidon, Atlas, whom he had with Cleito.

And the tall pillars on which the earth
he lifts
reach the starry dome and support the spheres
and support the spheres.

But there we are finally in Argolis, which was named after the son of Zeus and Niobe, Argos. It was the prehistoric residence of the Dryopes. Nearby, a mere seven kilometers from the Saronic Gulf, is the Sanctuary of Asclepius.

Epidaurus

Hospital Center of Greece

So we entered the temple of Asclepius, a work by Theodotus, in 380-375 B.C. The god, made out of gold and ivory, was sitting on a throne, with his trusted dog on his right and the snake on the left. Leaving the richly decorated temple, a work by Thrasymedes, Hectorides and Timotheus, we arrived to the Tholos or Thymele, which had three circular zones at its base under the floor. A white stone in the center covered the entrance to the crypt. This was a work by Polykleitos, the nephew of the sculptor Polykleitos and it took him 30 years to complete it (360-330 B.C.). A very beautiful project! We stood there and admired it for a while. In the meanwhile we went in the crypt of the labyrinth, where the tomb of Asclepius was.
We departed leaving behind us (on the right) mount Arachnaio, through the Phryctoria of which the Myceneans were informed about the fall of Troy. This route to Olympia was a totally different route because we was passing over cities lying between Myth and History.
We were passing over Tiryns, the most ancient acropolis of Myceneans which Homer calls it “Walled”, with its cyclopean walls, built from boulders of ten tons or more; like lifting an elephant and placing it on top of another one. Placed on the top of the acropolis was the palace of the anax, who held worldly and priestly offices, with the typical throne room where the hearth was in the middle of four pillars representing the elements of matter.
Further to the right there was Midea, which was built by Perseus and was the homeland of Alcmene, the mother of Heracles. We were passing over Argos on our left, the Homeland of Perseus who was its hero and the son of Zeus and Danae, the daughter of the king of Argos Acrisius. Danae was impregnated by the god, who had transformed into golden rain. What an imagination this god has, we thought. Argos, which means “plain”, was the most ancient city in Greece, and was inhabited by the Pelasgians, with its acropolis being Larissa. This city had lost its prestige when Tiryns and Mycenae were built, which were located 14 kilometers to my right.
Mycenae was the most famous city of prehistoric Greece. Homer calls it “rich” and it was a pioneer in the financial and cultural life of Greece, mainly in the 13th century B.C. Their king was the well-known Agamemnon, the leader of the campaign against Troy, whose daughter had to be sacrificed in Aulis, but was rescued by Artemis who made her a priestess in Tauris.
From the left we had passed Lerna, where Heracles performed his second labor, killing the Lernaean Hydra, a spawn of Typhoon and Echidna. Just a few kilometers away from Lerna, lies Nauplia (Nafplio), which was founded by the son of Amymone and Poseidon, Nauplius. Passing by mount Artemision, where there was a temple of Artemis, we were now entering Arcadia, the inhabitants of which, whom we meet constantly, were called Pelasgians.
I had been through Oenoe, the city of Oeneus, who met his doom there by his brother Agrius, and we were passing by Mantineia which was founded by Mantineus, the son of the king of the Arcadians, Lycaon. Lycaon was the son of Pelasgus and the Oceanid Meliboea or the Nymph Cyllene according to others, who succeeded his father on the throne. In a distance of about 10 kilometers to the right there was another city founded by another son of Lycaon, Orchomenus, while on our left, in a distance of 15 km we could see Tegea , a rival of Mantineia, which was founded by Aleus, son of Apheidas, who established in the area the worship of Alea Athena, thus uniting the inhabitants of his region.
After we left the sacred mountain of Pan, Hermes, Dionysus, the Maenads, Artemis, Atalanta and the Dryads, and mount Mainalo, we entered among the cities; Methydrio, a bit further Orchomenos and to the left the town of Schinus, where Atalanta used to put anyone who wanted to marry her, through a race as a test, Hippomenes won with the aid of Aphrodite. After passing from the ancient locations of Theisoa, Teuthis, Melenai,Heraia and Frixa, crossing the rivers of Ladon and Eurymathus, we reached Pisa.
Pisa is located east of Olympia and was in the forefront of the performance of the Olympic games. Its inhabitants founded Pisa (Pisa) of Italy. It is the place where Pelops and Hippodamea, the daughter of the king of Pisa Oenomaus, who was the son of Ares and one of the daughters of Asopus, Harpina, ruled. Oenomaus who was negotiating about his daughter’s wedding, would compete with the aspiring grooms in chariot racing. But he always won and took the life of the suitors, until the time when his daughter fell in love with Pelops. With the help of Hippodamea and malicious intent the axis of her fathers chariot broke and he died. So Pelops married Hippodamea.
Pelops was the son of Tantalus who ruled over Phrygia. Tantalus was the son of Zeus and the daughter of Cronus, Plouto. He killed his son Pelops, cut him in small pieces, cooked him and offered his meat to the gods. The gods realized it and restored him to life, Tantalus on the other hand was sent to Hades by Zeus and was sentenced to suffer from eternal hunger and thirst. Pelops was the one who organized the Olympic games. When he died, his remains were transported from Pisa to Troy, during the Trojan War. Later when the games were in decline, Heracles came along, delimited the precinct of “Altis” (Grove) and dedicated it to his father Zeus: he even built 6 altars for the twelve gods of Olympus and a shrine for Pelops. I learned about all this before I sat on the roof of the temple of Zeus.

Olympia

Sports Center of Greece

We would have stayed longer in Olympia, if I hadn’t received a new order from Zeus, a pretty sad one this time around. It said that Alexander would die in the 13th of June of 323 B.C., and that we should receive him from the Psychron Cave (Diktaio Andro), where his soul would be delivered by the primordial eagle of Zeus. Zeus knew everything before it happened, but he loved Alexander very much and wanted him by his side in Olympus, to gaze from above his beloved Macedonians. The life of Alexander grew even shorter, as time moved on, in the age of 33 years old.
So we drove south, by the Bouleuterion. In a while we would leave Alfeios behind us and found ourselves at mount Aphrodision, where Demeter had her sanctuary. We were descending towards the mountain range of Alivaina (Minthi) and suddenly we was on mount Lykaion, after we reached the temple of Apollo in Bassae.

Delos

East Gate of the Gods

Delos is located in the middle of an island complex whose colonists are basically Ionian, who at least since 700 B.C. organized common celebrations in Delos.
When it became famous as a religious center, it was claimed by many cities like Naxos and Paros, but it was the Athenians who took it under their protection circa in 540 B.C. removing all of the graves from the island.
In 426 B.C. it was forbidden to the Delians to die on the island.

images XIV-XV-XVI

In the 6th century B.C., with the final conquest of Eleusis, what was a religious theory started to be materialized with the removal of the graves from the island to the nearby island Rineia (image XIV); namely the creation of Life (Delos) in the east and Death (Necromanteion) in the west. Moreover during the Delian celebrations, the executions in Athens were postponed, as in the case of Socrates.
Births on the island were also forbidden; so the Delians lost their citizenship with the consent of the Spartans, who replied to the Delians, when they asked for their help, that Delos was not their homeland, since they could not die or be born there. Namely the island had to remain pure like Apollo (Sun).

If there was no reason for the alignment of the three sacred sites (Delos, Delphi and Necromanteion), they would logically have to be placed in different positions within Greece. Namely Delos does not correspond with a god of Rebirth like Apollo, who should have been born in a cave and in an area with rich vegetation, like the Minoan Zeus. Delos is a barren, water-less island, without any natural ports.

In fact the only cave in mount Kynthos (112,6 meters) is linked to a sanctuary of Heracles of the 3rd century B.C. (image XV). If it was not about a religious issue, the Delians would have been able to live on their island and practice religion like the residents of Eleusis. Finally there would be some kind of reaction from the other tribes, so there also must have existed a decision by the priesthood of Delphi, for the Athenians to undertake such an expensive project, but also of great strategical importance.
In 1100 B.C. when the Priesthood of Apollo took over the shrine of the chthonic gods in Delphi, the myth about the birth of the god naturally did not exist, which was to be desperately sought after by the clergy on the axis Necromateion – Delphi. However at a certain point in time the myth of the birth of Apollo was completed and Delos appeared as the birthplace of the god. On the other hand, the Odyssey and the Homeric hymn to Apollo, mention in circa 700 B.C. Delos as an Ionian center, where the Naxians had placed an Apollo of huge size. Therefore during this period there was great pressure by the clergy for the completion of the cult in accordance with the myth.
So in 540 B.C., the clergy of Delphi authorized Peisistartus to begin purging the island, removing the graves which were moved to the nearby island of Rineia. However what followed was the fall of tyranny and the Persian Wars, where the Persians respected Apollo and his island. In 478 B.C. Delos became a religious center under the supervision of Athens. So in 426 B.C. the second and more complete purging of the island from the graves took place and the religious Orphic template of worship was completed.
So then when we recall the chapters on Delphi and the Necromanteion and link them to the events of Delos, we will observe a uniform religious logic, according to the Orphic standard, where, despite the political disputes of the city-states, the religious program of Delphi continues to exist and to be structured with the Clergy serving as the connective tissue.

The barren island of Delos on its long side has an orientation from north to south. It is 5 km long and 1,3 km wide. Its highest point is Kynthos (112 m.) which was also the sacred mountain of the Delians in earlier times (image XV).
We already mentioned about Delos that Zeus, for the sake of the mother of Apollo, Leto, who found sanctuary there, fixed it forever on four pillars, and renamed it from Ortygia to Delos. The main sacred site of the god is found on the western side of the island, because it is from the west that its connection with Delphi and the Necromanteion can be achieved. Athens organized the “Delia” there every four years, during the month Mounichion (April-May), when the zodiac of Taurus appeared in the sky (image 5), which was associated with the constellation of Auriga, which was associated with the mythological Erichthonius or Erechtheus, the son of Polias Athena and Hephaestus. But also Taurus (Bull) symbolized Theseus who captured the bull of Marathon and sacrificed it in the temple of Apollo in Athens.

It was the time when Leto started having childbirth pains, which lasted for nine days and nine nights. All of the goddesses came to her aid, except for Hera and Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth, who was prevented from doing so by the jealous Hera. Finally Iris convinced her by giving her some gift and thus Leto gave birth near the sacred lake (image XVI). Alongside Apollo she also brought Artemis into the world. In the end these two gods started having the advantage in the Greek Pantheon. They are a combination of Nature (Artemis) and its Rebirth (Apollo). That is why this festival was held during the time when even this barren land is changed by nature with wild flowers and low vegetation. For this reason Leto gives birth to her children near a circular lake, which is fueled by the gully Inopus, which springs from mount Kynthos, which became the mountain of Zeus, and after it flows fro 1.200 meters and fills the sacred lake, it spills to the bay of Scardana nearby.

She hugged the palm tree (Leto)
and supported the knees
on the tender meadow and the earth
bellow smiled
and as He (Apollo) came into the light, all
as one the goddesses cheered.

In all of the archaeological sites we visited the scenes exceed the human imagination. The Ancients had the ability to transform even barren wastelands like Delos, into an unsurpassed theatrical show.
The character of Delos, pretty much like that of Dion, is cosmopolitan, because alongside the sanctuaries of the Greeks, foreign religions started entering the island, by Egyptians, Phoenicians, Arabs, Jews, and even Samaritans. After all the Greeks as a commercial people could combine worship with trade without any problems. So, pretty much like in the case of Dion, as early as 166 B.C., districts of diverse racial origin started to form, without an urban design, contrary to Dion, due to the sudden commercial upgrade of the island, which in circa 90 B.C. had 30.000 inhabitants.

According then to everything we mentioned, Delos was the commercial, but also the religious gate of Greece. Further along the same axis (image XVIII), in Rhodes, there was the famous temple of the Sun, where Apollo started his route from on a quadriga. The gate of the gods was on this side, since the souls ascended after the death of the body, following the upwards path of the Sun, in correlation with the gate of mortals we mentioned in the Necromanteion, where the souls descend to be reincarnated, following the downward path of the Sun. So Delos was a “component” of an entire religious and commercial logic; it was through this gate that the export and import of new gods was carried out headed for the philosophical Athens, where the new ideas were being processed. The Church Fathers, like Basil of Caesarea (330-379 A.D.) will study in these schools to enrich their knowledge which will be used in the new worship of Christ.

Dion

Religious Center of Macedonia

This shrine was destroyed by the Aetolian army in 219 B.C., but was rebuilt by the Macedonians, because it is their eminent holy site. It was here that Phillip II celebrated the fall of Alynth and Alexander started his conquest of the east. 25 statues of the partners who fell in the Battle of Granicus were erected in this site, the statues were works of Lysippos.
The sacred site of Dion differs from all of the previous ones, because in its current state it is shaped as a town, in fact one of the Roman Imperial period. Namely, it has a cosmopolitan vibe, which corresponds to the form that Hellenism assumed after the invasion of the east by the Macedonians, led by Alexander. So then Dion is a town of each empire and not a city-state.
Dion, even though it preserves some characteristics, like the Macedonian tomb to the northwest of the town, does not seem interested in developing connective axes like the city-state of Athens, that we noticed in the 1st part of the book “Holy Sacramental Journey to Greece”. Its gods are also imported from the provinces, like Isis, Serapis or the Egyptian Anubis, and are worshiped along with the local gods like Demeter, Asclepius or Aphrodite in the same place as Isis.
After the roman conquest, the Orphic logic of Delphi starts to change, and the curvilinear structures start to rise to the surface. That is why alcoves appear in Dion, in which idols are placed, pretty much like in the temple of Isis.
We are at a period of search, during which construction is difficult to represent worship, when the gods – chthonic and celestial – try to find their own spot in a new pantheon which would also represent the Empire of the Roman state. This transitional period can be clearly seen in the worshiping site of Dion.
However, no matter the evolution of the site of Zeus, the initial worship was of the Olymian Zeus and the Muses, that is why the sanctuary is located east of Olympus on the eastern side of Greece. The Necropolis of the Dion is located to the northwest of the site, bellow the village Karitsa, where a burial column of the 5th century B.C. was discovered.

mr-imagevii

After our wandering, let us see what kind of relationship may be forming between the shrines we visited (above image VII), investigating more thoroughly the Orphic logic.
Based on the Pythagorean Philosophy, the equilateral triangle between Necromateion – Delphi – Delos, is about the number 3, which for the Pythagoreans is time. They considered time to be that which includes the Past the Present and the Future.
Thus a vast equilateral triangle is formed, with a side of roughly 192,50 kilometers. If we observe it, it looks like the triangular base of a solid, with a side of roughly 1,040 stadiums (1 stadium=184,92 meters), namely roughly 35 poles. The axis of said solid passes through the point defined by the bisetrixes of the triangle and moves upwards (like the pyramids and ziggurats), towards the celestial gods. Because, however, there is also the Necromanteion, the axis also extends downwards, towards the chthonic gods, resulting in the formation of a double triangular pyramid of five edges, namely a six sided polyhedron.

The number 6 is associated with the sides of the polyhedron, and according to the Pythagoreans the only number which perfectly fits the Soul. They call it “Plenum”, like Orpheus, and it “Harmonically Exists”. It symbolizes the 6 kinds of living beings (Gods, Daemons, Heroes, Men, Animals, Plants); namely, what we observed in our mythological route, Delphi – Necromanteion – Olympus (Dion).

As far as the Past is concerned, the death of a person is the past for the living, just as were the chthonic gods, since they were pushed aside by the celestial ones through struggles, but also by Apollo in Delphi. Therefore this is the role of the Necromanteion. The Present is associated with Zeus who existed since the Minoan civilization and still exists in the new mythology formed in Delphi. Therefore it is about Olympus (Dion). Finally, the Future, is about Delphi, with the Inextinguishable Light which illuminated the Greeks and the Barbarians. Here the main character is Apollo, who as the Sun, is reborn creating the evolution of civilization.

If then, centered around Ω we draw the circumferences with a radius Ω-Delphi = Ω-Dion = Ω-Necromanteion, we will create a sphere, which will include the six sided polyhedron.
Keeping in mind the theory of the Orphics, the created sphere is indeed the Cosmic Egg, because it at least fits the general rules of the Orphic Thoughts, concerning everything that has to do with the Universe and the Celestial Sphere (image XVIII). For the Orphics the Sky is the celestial and chthonic spaces combined. Its shape is spherical.
Furthermore, the equilateral triangle, shows a deviation from the north by 23,5 degrees, compared to Olympus (image XI), a fact which suggests the axial movement of the earth, which is completed every 26,000 years. Therefore the triangular pyramid, which is surrounded by the forming sphere (Cosmic Egg), is a depiction of the earth (image VII).
For the Orphics, however, the Sky is considered the begetter of Cronus-Time the pyramid may not have a square base like that of the Egyptians, because it depicts time and not orientation. The orientation is assumed based on the relation of the north to Olympus from the point Ω.
Subsequently, the world of the Greeks had its own pyramid-sphere, which is not evidently shown by them who feel superior in comparison to other civilizations, because this shape carries wisdom within it.
At point Ω, there is the ancient city Metropolis (near Karditsa), which we have already mentioned. This is a composite word Mitra (womb) + Polis (city) and is in accordance with Phanes of the Orphics; it is a center of civilization, a birthing force and mother of cities.

mount-olympus

Mount Olympus, Greece – Mountain of the Gods

Over Dion, in Olympus, lies Zeus who is the father of Persephone (Zeus-Demeter) and Apollo (Zeus-Leto). Therefore we have two half siblings, Persephone who is located in the Necromanteion and is about the Underworld and Apollo who is found in Delphi and is about the World Above. These deities, besides their relation, they are also connected through the oracles that Pythia receives directly from Hades. Namely, we observe the mythological relation between the shrines, which is confirmed by their geometrical alignment on which the myth making scientists and priests worked within the geographical area of Greece.
Apollo as the Sun moves, while Persephone remains still. Therefore the axis performs circular movements with its lower part fixed, thus we have the movement of 23,5 degrees of the axis on the northern part of the earth. This is the reason for the purification of Apollo at the Hyperborean peoples. It is then characteristic that Apollo does not go to the northern peoples but beyond them, to the North Pole, namely Northernmost (Hyperborea). This way, Persephone is at the South Pole. It is now proven that the triangular moving rhombus is in fact the Earth; its axis, performs a procession of 23,5 degrees every 26.000 years. (Rhombus was the name of the ancients for the spinning top, a child’s toy. It spins just like the Earth. This is the logic of the Orphics as we have mentioned before.) We can see this movement of the Earth in image VII.
Zeus naturally comes to take over point Ω and becomes Phanes of the Orphics, the creator of everything. Zeus is also presented in mythology in the same way. Thus the axis of the rhombus is formed, namely Apollo-Zeus-Persephone, therefore also the axis of the Earth.
The triangle then, Necromanteion – Zeus – Persephone, is a fixed one and the positions of the shrines are not chosen randomly. The triangular rhombus is as stable and immutable, with the formation of the axis Apollo-Zeus-Persephone, therefore the sphere surrounding the triangular rhombus is also stable and immutable and, in extension, the Cosmic Egg which symbolizes the Earth is also stable and immutable (image VII).

pantheon-rome-dome

The dome of the Pantheon at Rome, Italy

The Pantheon of Rome, rebuilt by Apollodorus of Damascus in 113-123 A.D., during the reign of emperor Hadrian, who was initiated in Eleusis in 125 A.D., constitutes a practical application of this Orphic logic. The dome of the Pantheon, with a diameter of 43,30 meters, outgrew after 1.350 years the dome of the Treasury of Atreus of Mycenae, with a diameter of 14,60 meters. On the dome of the Pantheon there is a circular opening “lamp”, as it is shown in the picture, through which a beam of sunlight enters, cyclically illuminating the interior walls of the temple, following the circular movement of the Earth; therefore, in accordance to the logic we described above about the movement of the earth’s axis. In this case the movement is daily, while in the case we described above the movement is completed every 26.000 years (Axial Precession). Anyway Hadrian was involved with Astronomy and Astrology, performing various experiments, like his estate in Tivoli (Villa Adriana) which was a representation of the “Elysian Fields”.

villa-adriana

Hadrian’s Villa (Villa Adriana in Italian) at Tivoli, Italy

Delphi

Administrative and Religious Center of Greece

Delphi, the “Navel of the Earth“, the “Common Hearth of all the Greeks“, was the most sacred site of Ancient Greece. The Antiquities curator B. Pentzatos and the Supervisor M. Sarla describe the site of Delphi using these words.
Apollo came to Delphi together with the Doric tribes and as a patriarchal god he pushed aside the matriarchal deities worshiped there.
From the archaeological digs we conclude that the Myceneans had settled in this very place and that the Oracle of Gaia flourished up until 1100B.C. It is from there that the “Descend of the Dorians” begins which shakes Greece, and finalizes the conquest of Delphi by Apollo.
The myth which concerns Apollo and is in accordance with the archaeological findings is in summary as follows: Apollo, who is the son of Zeus and Leto, a celestial god, kills Python, who, as a child of Gaia is a chthonic god. But, because of the blood relation of Apollo with Zeus and of Zeus with Gaia, Apollo does not celebrate his victory, but in order to be purified, he leaves the Oracle, going to Thessaly as a slave for 7 years and he returns to Delphi as a dominant god. But yet again, every year for three months he goes to the Hyperborean countries for purification, leaving Dionysus in his place.

Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

image 05 – Constellation of Hydra, Corvus and Crater

The constellation of Crater (Dionysus) was linked to the constellation of the Corvus (Apollo), through the constellation of Hydra (image 05); all three constellations are visible from Greece. Part of Hydra is visible in the picture and it extends behind the Parthenon, towards the zodiac of Cancer. This way Hydra has a length, and starts from the zodiac of Cancer, crosses through the zodiac of Leo and reaches the zodiac of Virgo. Namely it remains in the sky during the months July – August – September, therefore during the whole summer.

The Corvus (crow), which was a bird dedicated to the worship of Apollo, was sent by the god to spy on the nymph Aegle, who, because of her beauty, was called Koronida (crow) and was unfaithful, because she was afraid that Apollo, with whom she had given birth to Asclepius, would abandon her. Therefore the clergy at some point created the relationship of the constellations of Hydra and Raven. Later on with the emergence of Dionysus they created the relation of the constellations of the Hydra, Corvus and Crater, and Aegle became one of the Nymphs of Dionysus.
All that we have described, proves the connection of the celestial dome with the archaeological site of Delphi through astrological and astronomical processes, which also indicate the intellectual level of the clergy.
Dionysus was the link who connected the chthonic gods with Apollo, who was the interpreter of the orders sent by the celestial gods using Hermes as a messenger. This relationship of Apollo and Dionysus essentially represents “man” as thought (Apollo) and as passion (Dionysus), which converge or diverge depending on the social choice of men. Thus, the form of Dionysus will change respectively from good looking to repulsive.

Temple of Apollo

mr-history-03-delphi

The relationship between Dionysus and Apollo is reflected on the pediments of the 4th century B.C. temple, which was completed in 330 B.C. and is the sixth consecutive one that replaced the previous archaic one which was destroyed by earthquakes (373 B.C.). Pausanias mentions that in the eastern pediment the arrival (“Epiphany”) of Apollo in Delphi was depicted, as it was also the case in the previous one which was destroyed. On the western pediment Dionysus was depicted together with the Maenads. Architects of the temple were Spintharus of Corinth and later on Xenodorus (restorations). The sculptures were created by Praxias and Androsthenes.

The temple possesses a technically illogical deviation to the North, which however can be explained by the eastern pediment of the temple, which shows the region of the Hyperborean people where Apollo comes from to the temple, namely the Cimmerian people (Ukraine). The deviation from the original positioning of the temple was assumed between 545 and 500 B.C. when the fifth consecutive temple of the Alcmaeonidae (above image III) was built with the archaic dimensions, identical to the previous one (6×15), with the code K. (6) (1) (5) (6) (3), namely according to the Pythagorean interpretation:

(6) = HARMONIOUS TEMPLE
(1) = GOD – APOLLO – AXIS – SUN
(5) = LIGHT
(6) = TRIODITIS – HECATEBELETES
(3) = LOXEAS

In the same site of Delphi there is also the temple of another apocalyptic god, Asclepius, a short distance down from the temple of Apollo (exact location here). This god restores man to a healthy condition and has the ability to raise the dead. Therefore, only the apocalyptic gods were gathered in Delphi (Apollo, Dionysus and Asclepius), who replaced the chthonic matriarchal deities; besides, Delphi is mentioned in the Iliad as the oracle of Peitho. These three gods will also constitute the logical basis for the christian worship, because Jesus covers their basic properties; namely he is born, dies and is reborn, like Apollo (Sun) and Dionysus, he has connections to the celestial space like Apollo and with the chthonic space like Dionysus, he even resurrects the dead like Asclepius.
These new gods upgraded logically since 1100 B.C. the Greek worship, extending human life with the concept of future rebirth through reincarnation. This also indicates the logic of the prevalence of the new worship, without religious wars. Thus the deceased, while in older times had his head turned to the north and his face to the west (Necromanteion), now the face turns to the east (Delos) waiting for rebirth like the Sun with the help of Apollo, Dionysus and Asclepius.

The Celestial Sphere

Route of the Soul

On the upper part of the above picture (Route of the Soul), we observe the relationship between Apollo and Dionysus, where the commands of the celestial gods are transmitted to Apollo, who in turn transmits them to Dionysus and he passes them to the chthonic gods. The soul, with the aid of Hermes is headed west to the Necromanteion in order to be judged.
This logic of man, namely the desire to extend his life or to be reborn, is valid even to this day. Modern day society tries with the technological means at its disposal to defeat old age and death. This logic however has its infrastructure deeply rooted in the Ancient civilization. So from reincarnation it transitioned to resurrection during the christian period. Otherwise it is very doubtful if modern day society would experiment for the extension (Rebirth) of human life. So then, issues that for us nowadays are self explanatory, have undergone a time spanning process.
With the upgrade of the cult, although Delphi replaces the chthonic gods with the apocalyptic ones, it does not abolish them; thus the oracle becomes a Geo-Solar center. Later on during the reign of emperor Augustus and his Apollonian religious policy, the oracle of Delphi will become a Solar center.
We observe then, that the religious reforms are localized in Delphi, the other religious centers are either funded or abolished. Therefore it is Delphi and the clergy that process the worship. Moreover it is from this oracle that everyone both within and outside of Greece seeks guidance for social and political issues. It is the source of information for the city-states concerning colonization, with an “Ambiguous Oracle” when the interests of the city-states were clashing.