Greek Architectural Orders

Architectural order describes the style of building. In Classical architecture, each order is identifiable by means of its proportions and profiles as well as by various aesthetic details. The style of column employed serves as a useful index of the style itself, so identifying the order of the column will then, in turn, situate the order employed in the structure as a whole.

The Parthenon of Athens

The Parthenon, 447-432 BC, Athens

There are three distinct orders in Ancient Greek architecture: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. These three were later adopted by the Romans, who modified their capitals. The Roman adoption of the Greek orders took place in the 1st century BC. The three Ancient Greek orders have since been consistently used in neo-classical European architecture.

Sometimes the Doric order is considered the earliest order, but there is no evidence to support this. Rather, the Doric and Ionic orders seem to have appeared at around the same time, the Ionic in eastern Greece and the Doric in the west and mainland. Both the Doric and the Ionic order appear to have originated in wood. The Temple of Hera in Olympia is the oldest well-preserved temple of Doric architecture. It was built just after 600 BC. The Doric order later spread across Greece and into Sicily where it was the chief order for monumental architecture for 800 years.

Anatomy of a Column

Doric order

The Doric order originated on the mainland and western Greece. It is the simplest of the orders, characterized by short, faceted, heavy columns with plain, round capitals and no base. With a height that is only four to eight times its diameter, the columns are the most squat of all orders. The shaft of the Doric order is channeled with 20 flutes. The capital consists of a necking which is of a simple form. The echinus is convex and the abacus is square.

Above the capital is a square abacus connecting the capital to the entablature. The entablature is divided into three horizontal registers, the lower part of which is either smooth or divided by horizontal lines. The upper half is distinctive for the Doric order. The frieze of the Doric entablature is divided into triglyphs and metopes. A triglyph is a unit consisting of three vertical bands which are separated by grooves. Metopes are the plain or carved reliefs between two triglyphs.

The Greek forms of the Doric order come without an individual base. They instead are placed directly on the stylobate. Later forms, however, came with the conventional base consisting of a plinth and a torus. The Roman versions of the Doric order have smaller proportions. As a result, they appear lighter than the Greek orders.

Ionic order

The Ionic order came from eastern Greece, where its origins are entwined with the similar but little known Aeolic order. It is distinguished by slender, fluted pillars with a large base and two opposed volutes (also called scrolls) in the echinus of the capital. The echinus itself is decorated with an egg-and-dart motif. The Ionic shaft comes with four more flutes than the Doric counterpart (totalling 24). The Ionic base has two convex moldings called tori which are separated by a scotia.

The Ionic order is also marked by an entasis, a curved tapering in the column shaft. A column of the ionic order is nine times its lower diameter. The shaft itself is eight diameters high. The architrave of the entablature commonly consists of three stepped bands (fasciae). The frieze comes without the Doric triglyph and metope. The frieze sometimes comes with a continuous ornament such as carved figures instead.

Corinthian order

The Corinthian order is the most ornate of the Greek orders, characterized by a slender fluted column having an ornate capital decorated with two rows of acanthus leaves and four scrolls. It is commonly regarded as the most elegant of the three orders. The shaft of the Corinthian order has 24 flutes. The column is commonly ten diameters high.

The Roman writer Vitruvius credited the invention of the Corinthian order to Callimachus, a Greek sculptor of the 5th century BC. The oldest known building built according to this order is the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, constructed from 335 to 334 BC. The Corinthian order was raised to rank by the writings of Vitruvius in the 1st century BC.

Choragic-Monument-of-Lysicrates

Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, Athens (335-334 BC)

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.

Sanctuary of Cabeiri

Religious Center of Thrace

As we mentioned, the Mysteries of the Cabeiri are much older than the ones of the Orphics. The cult however was also widespread in mainland Greece, and one of its centers was the sanctuary of the Cabeiri near Thebes. This cult was associated with that of Demeter the so-called “of the Cabeiri” and used, as opposed to the Orphics, the curvilinear architecture above the ground. Despite this, the worship of the Cabeiri is incorporated into the Eleusinian Mysteries (read here). The cult of the Orphics is Heliocentric (Apollo), the cult of the Cabeiri on the other hand is Geocentric (Gaia). Another important difference was that in the Eleusinian Mysteries the initiates had to speak the Greek language, while in the Cabeiri Mysteries anyone could be initiated, Greek or foreign. The geocentric system was supported by Aristotle who with his prestige also influenced the opinion of the christian world against Aristarchus from Samos, who was accused in 286 B.C. and was forced to flee to Alexandria. While Plato covertly accepted the Heliocentric theory of the Orphics.
This cult is introduced to prehistoric Rome in 1300 B.C. through the Etruscans and, according to Herodotus, comes from a region of northwestern Turkey, Lydia. In Caria there was a town named Cabera. Of all religious centers of antiquity, most inscriptions of the Roman period were found in Samothrace, where the Roman pilgrims were numerous. Samothrace was considered by the Romans to be a National Sanctuary, because they believed that the gods of Rome came from there, where they had arrived from Troy. These gods were brought to Rome by Aeneas who, according to the legends of the Romans, founded Rome. This is the reason the Romans preferred the initiation of Samothrtace, into the Cabeiri Mysteries rather than the Eleusinian. Marcellus, Cicero, Ouarrchon and Hadrian are some of those who visited the island of Samothrace and were initiated to the Cabeiri Mysteries.
So then, based on the above, namely the intervention of the Romans, the Orphic logic of Delphi started to change, all of the curvilinear structures of the Underworld, the arc the arch and the dome began to be released and to rise to the surface.

pantheon-rome-dome

Pantheon of Rome is a great example of Curvilinear architecture ascending in the surface (reform of August)

All that we have mentioned in the article “Celestial and Chthonic – Sacred Architecture” is a time spanning process, so that the religious template is clearly defined and the entire Pantheon of the Greeks becomes accepted by the believers and encompasses upwards, but also downwards. Based on everything mentioned in the 1st Part of the book “Holy Sacramental Journey to Greece”, we observe that the above logic corresponds to the religious template we described with the chthonic and celestial gods and is about the Mythology of the Titanomachy and the Gigantomachy.
In this Mythology of Duality the concepts of “attraction” is incorporated, because it is about the relationship between opposing forces, where one is connected with the other, but also “repulsion“, which is the result of the clash of said forces. If however one of these forces is abolished, the logic of “universal attraction” is lost, resulting in the chthonic powers not cooperating with the celestial ones.

mr-image12-parta

In the above image, we observe the logic of the Orphic template, as forces positive (+) and negative (-), which were in balance. With the abolition of the negative force, the system will create an upwards tension, resulting in the Basilica becoming a Domed Basilica (Celestial Dome) during the Christian period. Through this logic we realize how complete the Orphic worship was.
When then in 17 B.C. the Emperor Augustus abolished the chthonic gods for political reasons and later on, during the christian period, it was forbidden for people to associate themselves with chthonic forces, two basic problems started to emerge:

On the one hand issues of occultism and witchcraft started to emerge because the christian cult did not include the chthonic forces like the Orphic one, which troubled and still troubles mankind, reaching to the extreme cases of the “Holy Inquisition”.

On the other hand the concept of “universal attraction” was lost and these consequences will become evident in science. There was a period of 1.659 years until the time of Newton (1642-1727 A.D.), for the law of universal attraction to be discovered.

Celestial and Chthonic

Rectilinear and Curvilinear architecture

Let us see the logic through which the clergy separated the rectilinear from the curvilinear shapes, to create the architectural systems we mention in the 1st part of the book “Holy Sacramental Journey to Greece” (by author G. Baltoyannis); a logic which had to do with the psychology of the individual. Even to this day we follow the same logic and express ourselves with designs and volumes in the same way. Today however it is difficult to say if our own perception of space is a spontaneous expression or if it comes from the processing of the past.
Nowadays when an artist wants to express “joy” or “sorrow”, he will use the same logic on the canvas, otherwise he will not be understood. Therefore through education we learn to distinguish the things, in order to understand the artist. Of course art nowadays is not bound by rules, based on which the art critic gave his opinion on the work of the artist and which started to be created during the Renaissance. These rules came from the interpretation of the works of art of antiquity. Therefore our opinion is very deeply rooted. Let us now observe the logic of the Ancients.
There was a clear distinction between a straight line and a curved part. When someone wants to express a powerful emotion, like passion, love or anger and has to choose between a straight line and a curved part, he will not choose the rectilinear but the curvilinear; on the contrary, if he wants to express thought, justice, conviction, he will use the rectilinear part.
The reason he would choose the curvilinear would not be because that was forced upon him, ergo it would have been a matter of habit, but because man lives and belongs to the natural environment, where everything is based on curvilinear shapes; he instinctively and spontaneously understands those, without being able to see the process within him, it is namely cthonic.

Necromanteion of Acheron is one of the first examples of Curvilinear architecture

The straight line occurred from cerebral activity, when man used tools and created structures, which are easier to solve in time. The outcome of said process is also visible outside of man, in the light of day, it is namely celestial.
Therefore, the rectilinear surface is a result of thought and is identified with reason, while the curvilinear always existed in the nature of man. The more a person evolves, the more the straight line dominates in his structures, because, it not only spares him time, it is also more economic.

Parthenon is the pinnacle of Rectilinear architecture

When then, in a given time, man, reaching some level of intellectual maturity, thinks of structurally expressing his religious needs, he chooses the curve for his passions and the straight line for his thoughts. But because man thought of his own origin, he came to the conclusion that he himself was also the creation of some rational thought, the same way he thinks and creates. Therefore he places this God, his Creator, based on the rectilinear logic, outside of man and above him, to watch and protect him. That is why the ancients sacrificed a white lamb, on a high altar, for the celestial gods.
On the contrary, as far as his passions are concerned, which make him clash with his fellow man, there is also some god responsible. And because it all starts within man, therefore the god of passion lies within man and bellow the earth, since he is not seen. They sacrificed then, to the chthonic gods, digging in the earth, the black lamb.

The STRAIGHT represents: above, thought, civilization, (and by a similar logic as the East) represents: light, truth, power.

The CURVE represents: bellow, the chthonic, the devious, the primitive, (and consequently) North which represents: darkness, lies, fear.

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

Brauron

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

In Brauron the shape of the sanctuary is roughly the same as that of the Acropolis, however it is facing south. At this point we should mention that Pausanias does not make the distinction between Tauropolos Artemis (Loutsa) and Brauronia Artemis (Brauron), even though the shrines are 7 kilometers from each other. The ritual of the sacrifice of Iphigenia was held at the first temple, while Iphigenia withdrew to the second temple, where she remained as a priestess until her death; namely the two temples completed each others logic.
According to the myth, Agamemnon caused the wrath of Artemis and the fleet could not sail from Aulis; so he had to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia. As soon as the seer Calchas was ready to sacrifice the girl, Artemis took pity on her and replaced her with a deer. So the goddess took Iphigenia and made her a priestess in the temple of Tauris (Crimea).

The procession of the major Brauronia started at the Shrine of the Acropolis and ended in Brauron, covering a distance of 35 kilometers. This course was slow (2km/h), because basically it was a woman holiday and many of the women were possibly pregnant. Consequently it would take at least two days to cover the distance, with a possible stop in Pallini; it is the location of Pallinida Athena, where the worship of the goddess began (Gerakas). On the second day arriving in the temple at dusk, they used to camp outside the site of the temple. It is very unlikely that they covered this distance by ascending mount Hymettus.
This site is essentially a boarding house, the dimensions of which were proportionate to those of a child, for little girls of 5-10 years old, whose parents had dedicated them to the goddess before or during childbirth. These girls, “bear cubs” as they were called (what a sweet name indeed; after all even to this day little children still sleep with their teddy bears), stayed in the sanctuary, in nine rooms of eleven people, with the dimensions of roughly 5X5, therefore 25 square meters, which is a large room of the modern average residence. So therefore the Sanctuary had the capacity to house 99 girls.

image XIII

So the sanctuary covered a surface of 4.000 square meters, which means that there was a ratio of 40-50 square meters per child, while today in the best case scenario this ratio is 16,5 square meters per child. These rooms had a south-eastern orientation and, for reasons of protection, faced a courtyard. So the harmful northern wind was blocked by a wall, so that the site could be accessed from the east and west. The use of double protection from the north wind for this place, together with the blind wall of the rooms, is a very clever architectural solution. So the children were protected by the building and stayed there until their first menstruation, where they logically learned about the female natural troubles. There were similar shrines throughout Attica with the same rituals as that of Brauron. Today of course there is no similar building in the world.
There are plenty of statuettes of girls exhibited in the museum of Brauron, like the one holding a rabbit, through which anyone can perceive the tender education and the supervision which must have been provided by the Athenian state.
Suffice it to see their smiling faces with the Attic smile, dressed in double layered warm clothes, in the measurements of a child, where the posture of good nutrition can be seen. When there is such attendance in the shrine, like that of Brauron, from Athenian mothers visiting their children, the artist has no other choice but to precisely depict the reality of the operation of the shrine, something that is evident in his statuettes.
Before we proceed in our research, we should consider through the worship the issue of gender equality in relation to Christianity. In Christianity, the Virgin Mary comes in third, after the Father and the Son and as the God-Mother is projected with “virginity” being her basic virtue. So there is a patriarchy and the worship seems to be male dominated. In the Olympian Pantheon the roles seem to be divided; six male and six female roles. Even the chthonic gods are divided based on the Sextet which, according to the Pythagoreans, indicates “Harmony“. Furthermore Hera, the protector of family, was not in an advantageous position in relation to Aphrodite, the goddess of Love, who was not inferior to the virgin Pallas Athena or the virgin Artemis. Furthermore, Hera was not inferior to Zeus and acted independently like all gods. Zeus simply tried to maintain some balance in various ways while he often had to face conspiracies.

The climate conditions of Greece, its geographical relief map, but also its position in the marine area of the Mediterranean Sea, do not favor the development of gods like, for example, those of Egypt or the Arabic Peninsula, where the climate conditions are inhospitable and there are vast expanses, deserts, large populations or vast states.

Brauron is located slightly below the 38th parallel and directly opposite Ephesus, where the famous temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world torched by Herostratus, was located. Alexander was willing to fund the completion of the new temple, as long as his name was inscribed on the building. The answer he received however, was that it is not fitting for a god to present gifts to other gods.
The temple of Ephesus turns towards the cradle of the Ionians, Tetrapolis which was founded by their primal ancestor Xanthus. The temple of Artemis in Brauron (image XIII) then turns to the east, towards the temple of Ephesus. And that is the typical example of the connection of sacred sites. Namely the direction of the temples was not arbitrary, because architecture is a science where everything is justified; even the aesthetic side. The Sanctuary of Iphigenia as it is natural faces the temple of Artemis. Furthermore, behind the Sanctuary of Iphigenia was her tomb. So the Sanctuary of Iphigenia as a chthonic goddess has a western orientation and that of Artemis as a celestial goddess, an eastern one. (The temples of the Ancients project their opening while the Christian temples project the Shrine.)
Artemis is basically a nature goddess, that is why the sanctuary was built near the river Erasinus, which always flooded after the rain and is an important wetland rich in vegetation. The floor of the temple of Artemis is in its natural state, with the rocks entering the site. This archaeological site is among those destroyed by the Persians. Moreover the idol of Artemis brought by Orestes from Tauris was taken by Xerxes to Susa. 180 years later it was found by Seleucus and sent to Laodicea of Syria, where it still existed during the days of Pausanias, in the 2nd century A.D.
Brauron was also one of the twelve prehistoric towns which united during the years of Cecrops with the City of Athens. Cecrops was one of the mythical kings of Attica, which was named Cecropia after him, while initially it was called Acte.

Sounio

Southernmost Cape of Attica

Sounio is the southernmost headland of Attica, 38 km from Athens, where on the formed hill of 60 meters which was formed by the leveling of the area the Temple of Poseidon was placed with (6) six columns on its short sides and (13) on its long sides from which (15) Doric Columns remain that is why in later times it took the name “Cape of Columns” (Κάβο κολώνες ή Καβοκολώνες).

The best place to view a sunset in Greece!

Of course this was a geo-strategic area from where the Athenians supervised the movement of ships entering the Saronic Gulf and guarded the precious minerals of Lavrion and finally controlled the sea routes to Euboea which the Athenians of the 5th Century had conquered and had placed there 4,000 colonists from Attica and from which – because of the fertility of the island – took the plant and animal products of the earth, but also supervised the movement to the Cyclades which participated in the Athenian Alliance seated in Delos, where the alliance protected around 400 CITY- STATES against the Persian state.

Based on this logic Sounion became a powerful fortress of Attica at the time of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) where in 413 B.C. a strong 3.00 meters thick wall was built with (11) towers, a permanent garrison was stationed and civilian housing was built within the walls, while in the northwest corner of the cape a space was formed for the accommodation of ships in readiness.

Temple of Poseidon’s incredible landscape

Logically therefore, in the area the temple of the sea god Poseidon was built in 449 B.C. by Pericles on the site of an earlier one. That too was Doric and built two years before the Parthenon without relief decoration on the pediments but on the outer frieze were sculpted scenes from the Gigantomachy, the Centauromachy and the feats of Theseus.

The building was abandoned in the 1st AD century and gradually ruined. Roman sightseers since Roman times carved countless inscriptions on the north side of the temple, on can even read to this time the signature of the philhellene poet Lord Byron.

God of Atlantis

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

Central Greece

Historic Landmarks

  • Acropolis of Athens
  • Sounio
  • Brauron

4/5 Culture Shock

Total Length 150 km

1 Riding Days

Intermediate Skills Level

25% Offroad

Hotels and (1) Camping

National Forest of TBD

Middle May – Middle October

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Brochure (coming soon)

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 strait 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.

Sounio

Southernmost Cape of Attica

Southernmost Cape of Attica

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 are located the rocky mountain Merenta (614 m), mountain Olympus (487 m) and mountain Panio (648 m) and among them Lavrio with it’s 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 the Bay of Palaio Faliro, we can see 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 it’s 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, where in 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 it 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

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

Athena’s Children Boarding School for Girls

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.

Ancient Greek Architecture

One of the Architectural problems of the Ancient world, that concerned me as a student of Architecture in Rome, was the Arc. Namely this Architectural solution, that for my professors was a Roman invention, unknown in the Ancient Greek World.

Colosseum-of-Rome

Colosseum of Rome, completed in the 1st century CE

The same view prevails today, after 35 years. I noticed that in one of my last trip to southern Italy, where the tour guide of Taormina (Tavroménio) repeated just the same, namely that the Arc was a Roman invention. So I decided to get involved with it, to ascertain the fact, since, from the first moment, I felt that something should be happening in this ancient world, all of whose achievements we see with our own logic, without following it’s own mentality.

Turning, then, to the inquiry procedure with the eyes of the Ancients, I met unknown places and secret cults, playing a key role in shaping the architecture and formed a cosmic standard, with axes and shapes, through which the ancient satisfy their religious Needs. At the same time, they were trying to convert Theory into Action, with structures and symbols, placing the Sacred Temples in specific points, with axial relations between them. Here I met a world where Art was a component of a Global Logic, they should be working together as a whole. So insinuated that behind wars and conflicts, there was a Structured Authority, he had the wit to impose it’s will through advising, having Religion as instrument.

To solve the problem of the Ancient’s Logic only with the use of the findings and unilaterally, without putting your imagination to work and without entering into their shoes, it’s like using on a modern PC only as a calculator! This, however, increases the success of amateurs versus professionals, as is the Schliemann case.

Seeing, then, the fantastic effort of the volume “History of the Greek Nation” I felt – in the past – much more Confident. But today, after all my researches, I found that there are some key differences in the results and come to the conclusion that something is amiss. This I realized when I noticed that sixteen volumes, about 10,000 pages, are based on 159 collaborators archaeologists, historians, philologists, etc. and only report an architect and a mathematical, and none of the other professionals, for a period of 101.941 years.
But we know at least 754 Ancient Scientists (G. Georgakopoulos “Ancient Greek Scientists”), of whom 117 were architects and for a period of 1.200 years they were basically structurally implementing the theories of the Ancient Greeks. Furthermore, we must bear in mind that the architect of the time was a painter, sculptor, engineer, etc. But we know also that the architect of today has the most comprehensive training and profound knowledge of the Past through the History of Art, the Present constructing Buildings and the Future by processing future proposals. And all this implies: Building Design, Static Knowledge, Functional Needs Design, Interior Design, in deapth knowledge of the materials, Topography, Mathematics, Prospectively, Construction Details, social Structures knowledge a thousand of other things, resulting in a Global Knowledge.
So when this Professional is Absent, all individual analysis of Archaeological findings, of Historical facts, or of Philosophical thinking may be possible, but the system does not work Spherically (as a whole) – especially when other professions are missing in the process of analysis.

The result of all the above is that the prevailing opinion around the world is that the architecture of the Greeks is only the Linear Surface with Rhythms: Doric – Ionic – Corinthian and Formulas: Prostyle Amphiprostyle – Pavilion – Dipteral etc. I felt, therefore, the professional curiosity to study the subject of Construction Knowledge of the Ancient Greeks, and based on ideology tireless researchers, covering the Gaps which exist in the area of Greek knowledge, while I took into account tall the views of colleagues and professionals in other scientific areas.

The_Odeon_of_Herodes_Atticus

Odeon of Herodes Atticcus, Athens

As, however, i went on in my investigations, construction-wise, I kept falling on puzzles and riddles, that opened access to other spaces; thus, I walked into a Labyrinth of Knowledge, whose road was not closed in front of me and that I followed; and without much effort, when I looked into the problems with eye of the Ancient entering in their mentality, I saw solutions. As one good God is in front of me that opened me the way; perhaps it was Apollo, maybe it was Dionysus, who knows? Using Pythagoras as a Key to open latched doors and understand the symbolism on the Sacred Temples until the Labyrinth lead me to a circular space; there, on one hand, as Petal Inclined I see seated people dressed as Greeks, watching in agony there in front of me, the Goathorned.
I bit my lips, because I realized that the Goathorned actor was playing Dionysus Revelation.

The researcher – G. Baltoyannis

Diktaio Andro

The Manger of God

It is the place where the predatory Harpies withdrawn, which are winged spirits daughters of Thaumantas and an Oceanid Electra and belong to Pre-Olympian divine generation. They mean “Storm”, “Quick Flight” and “Dark” and are depicted as birds with female heads with razor sharp talons to carry the souls of the dead.
In this cave the Dactyls (Curetes) together with the goat Amalthea took over the care of the newborn “Zeus” from Rhea and while Amalthea engaged in his upbringing, the Dactyls bang their shields with power so that the infant is not discovered and devoured by his father Cronus by its crying.

Curetes dance around the infant Zeus

In the Minoan era Zeus was worshiped in Diktaio Andro (Psychron Cave) as a god with the double axe and has a chthonic character because he is a god of nature’s rebirth which dies in the winter and is reborn in the spring, only to be transferred north in Dodoni where the worship of Zeus is expressed as a “Tree Worship” and is joined with the chthonic Goddess of vegetation “Dione“, who preexisted in this area since the Bronze Age. The priesthood of the Divine Couple were the “Selloi” who slept on the ground and never washed their feet to be in touch with Gaea to draw from her this oracular power.