Husqvarna 701 Rally Replica

As most Adventure Riders out there, we are in the hunt for the perfect all-round and do-it-all Adventure Bike.

One of the key features is weight. A perfect adventure bike must be light enough to tackle some single-track use or hard obstacles. As we have mentioned in our article Adventure Bikes, always keep in mind that if you can not pick up your bike fully loaded in any situation, then it is not an adventure bike!

You will need to pick-up your bike many times in a day

Speaking of off-road use, another key feature is good suspension. A proper Adventure bike must have proper off-road suspension and everything that comes with it. If the bike can not handle dirt-road abuse, then your adventure will be rather sort.

One of the most important features in any adventure ride, is the absence of frequent gas stations, so our bikes must be able to carry a lot of fuel. The more we can carry, the best we are. With large tanks you always have the option to leave them half-empty in the event of a difficult single-track day.

Single-track is part of any Adventure Ride

Last required feature is good wind protection for those tarmac miles that you will need to travel. This protection will be also very useful while riding off-road, protecting your GPS and other devices from stones, branches and other things that keep coming your way.

Husqvarna 701 Rally Replica

A thought that instantly comes in our minds is that Rally bikes have almost all the required features of the perfect Adventure bike. We choose the 701 to begin this project for the same reason it’s progenitor, the KTM 690, has so many hardcore fans and so many companies are building hard parts for it, all around the world. The 701 took its place as the latest incarnation of an almost extinct breed, refined and perfected in all aspects and maybe this is the actual reason why KTM never fixed some of the serious problems of the 690.

Many (like us) are addicted to the look of Rally bikes and just recently we got acquainted with a native Greek company, AURORA Rally Equipment that specializes into doing exactly what we wanted. It produces a complete Rally Replica kit that converts a stock Husqvarna 701 to the ultimate Adventure and Rally weapon, with 3 tanks, 2 fuel pumps, a navigation tower and a big RR screen. it seamed obvious that this was the ultimate 701 and just the right bike for what we were looking for.

This 701RR is the absolute best Adventure bike ever built

The 701RR has the aggressive look and the light factor that today’s adventure bikes simply do not have any more, just because the companies are constantly adding street oriented features to their motorcycles making them heavier and with bigger boar engines, year after year.

The 701 as stock is ready to take you into some of the most wonderful back roads Greece has to offer, but it lacks is some areas especially fuel range. This kit doubles the range of the bike with two OEM rally tanks (total fuel carried is 28 liters).

As we started our first journey on this bike to test it’s capabilities, we found out it was a real pleasure to be able to choose which pump to use, front or rear tanks, in order to change the balance characteristics of the motorcycle at will. In Travel Enduro situations, the motorcycle has to constantly adapt to both the added weight-load from the equipment that is is caring and the ever-changing conditions of the road. In addition, having a dual fuel pump system gives you peace of mind since in the event of a malfunction, you still go the second pump to take you safely at your next base.

The actual added weight to the bike is not much. If you have an after-market can like we do and a Li-Po battery, then the added weight is 12.833kg. Adding the fuel (27lt) we are at 178kg total. Not bad at all !!

Another lacking characteristic of the 701 that gets addressed with the 701RR kit is rider comfort. Your butt now gets a royal ride with an ergonomically enhanced high-tech polymer seat that does not get in the way when standing on the pegs, but makes a comfy siting position for those tarmac-legs that you were dreading.

Night riding experience also gets a serious update with a dedicated high beam LED light, a 10.000 lumens Baja Squadron that literally turns they darkest night into a bright day. No more worries about those last off-road miles while getting dark.

AURORA Rally Equipment Roadbook and Nav-Tower are build as tanks

Another feature to get addressed is bash-plate protection. This kit features a full-carbon plate that integrates perfectly with the shape of the front tanks. Now this is a part that we were skeptical about, since Greece has a rocky soil, so close encounters with boulders is a very common thing. Added the fact that the bike is fully loaded with fuel and luggage, this seriously reduces ground clearance in deep ruts and small jumps, because the springs are working overtimes. In reality though, the carbon-fiber bash plate did not show any kind of stress marks or cracks. It stood perfect while tackling the harsh Greek mountain roads.

Last feature of the perfect Adventure bike is reliability. So, “plug & play” was the only option that we were looking for and this kit has it. The Aurora 701RR kit is the only one in the market today that uses OEM Rally Factory parts and does not modify the frame in any way. This way you do not loose the official Husqvarna warranty and this is something very important in our book.

Combine that with the confidence that this kit will survive everything you throw at it, with brackets that come with a limited life warranty, you got really nice deal here.

Luggage System

On our off-road / adventure motorcycles we are using exclusively Soft Luggage for a variety of reasons. You can give yourself a read about that in our Hard or Soft Luggage blog post.

We like to ride as compact as possible

In our Mythical 701 Rally Replica bikes we are using Enduristan Sandstorm 4H tankbag to safe keep our cameras and other electronics from water, dust or whatever we encounter. For all of our tools, spear air tubes and clothes we are using Enduristan Blizzard L Saddle Bags to keep everything safe and maintain a low center of gravity. For our saddle bags we are not using any kind of frame, so we can keep the added weight to a minimal. Last storage item used is the Enduristan Tail Pack, a fast-accessibly bag with a zipper design to safe keep some items that we would need to use frequently, like a second dry-fit shirt, a Gore Tex soft shell, or a power-bar.

AURORA 701 Rally Replica Highlights

Speaking with Dimitris, head-developer of the 701RR, is always cool since you always learn many things about the fascinating Rally world. This is his analysis of the 701RR kit:

Fuel System

A fully loaded Aurora 701RR will hold approximately 28 liters of fuel. We chose to use the KTM factory parts. The fuel pump is located on the right tank, while the left is waiting to be upgraded with a third pump should you travel to the ends of Earth! Tripe layered racing heat reflector is installed to protect the tanks from the heat generated.
The fuel piping uses billet non-return valves and OEM quick release couplings, but also adds two extra fuel filters in the system. A secondary fuel piping can be installed as a spare system on the bike, ready to be connected in case the primary one is damaged. Thermal protection is installed in all the critical areas of the fuelling lines to prevent over-heating.
Aurora 701RR comes with two fuel pumps manually selectable. We added the OEM Keihin, rally pump and its fuel warning light to ensure that the rider will get to the next resting point whatever the circumstances. It is known that the KTM690 fuel pumps were failing sooner or later, so the extra fuel pump is necessary. Due to the laws of hydraulics and the geometry of the bike, the tanks cannot be interconnected (and they are not, even on the rally bike) so the two fuel pumps are necessary for optimal performance.

Tank Brackets

This is the only kit in worldwide today that uses the OEM KTM factory tanks and does not modify the frame in any way. While other ‘garage’ built kits will force the builders to modify the frame of the bike, invalidating the warranty in most of the countries that the bike is sold, the Aurora 701 leaves the frame unharmed.
Pioneering in materials use and design, these tank brackets are the strongest in the market to date.  While sheet metal is cheap to make. It does not have neither the integrity nor the strength of billet parts. We, at Aurora Rally Equipment, made no compromise in designing and building something that will last the lifetime of the vehicle. Installation is a breeze, no need to remove the internals of the rear tank or other major parts of the bike to install them.
The CNC brackets, made from Aluminium or ST37, allow some flexibility in case of a crash, yet they are warrantied for the life of the vehicle.

Head Clamp

One of the most important parts on the bike. Holding the navigation tower and electrics. When collaborating with winning teams, we know that failure is not an option. Aurora Rally Equipment is active in the Rally scene since 2013 and our equipment has won multiple times in the mighty Africa Eco Race and Dakar. We have used data logging equipment to understand the forces involved during riding and crashing. Using temperature loggers and three axis accelerometers on Rally bikes, we designed a pioneering head clamp like no other. Machined out of a solid block of aluminium, using the stock mounting points on the bike, our innovative design uses a third anchor point to increase strength and stability. Once again, this clamp is warrantied for the life of the vehicle.

Navigation Tower

The navigation tower on the 701RR is like no other. Easy cable access, strong yet flexible to protect your valuable gear, this tower can be transformed either to a digital setup using HighwayDirtbikes unique ipad and iphone cases, or to a rally cockpit using the winning Aurora Rally Equipment products. This tower comes with special rivet nuts so there is no need to put nuts and washers in the critical, no easy to access places.

Lights

If you decide to take it the long way and wonder in the dark, you have the perfect combination of lights. OEM Hella light with a Baja Squadron Sport keep you both legal and safe. The option to replace the Sport with the Pro model, as well as add another two Squadrons can lit up the road with almost 10.000 lumens! The RGB position light allows you to create a unique setup according to your mood and the soon to be released thin sheet lights will give the bike an appearance like no other bike on the road.

 

* More information about the AURORA 701 RR kit can be found here

KTM 950 Super Enduro R

The KTM 950 Super Enduro R .. how can you describe that beast? The Super Enduro concept was prototyped in 2004-2005 and took it’s final form in 2006. The project was fueled by the ongoing war between KTM and BMW for the construction of the most extreme large cc enduro motorcycle ever created. In 2006 it dominated it’s main adversary, the mighty BMW HP2, and the rest of the competing motorcycles in the Prologue Race of the Erzberg Rodeo 2006. With only 3000 units ever produced and a 100hp twin cylinder engine, it was the Beast Supreme!

Having the KTM 950 Super Enduro R in the garage, you find it difficult to classify it as an “adventure motorcycle” as it looks like most KTM enduro bikes do. Only when you park it next to one, you realize the sky-hi saddle height, the extra long wheelbase and that LC8 beast V2 hiding, not particularly well, under the tank.

The only way it likes to be ridden ..

Having all the positives of it’s 950/990 Adventure brother (minus the wind protection) and with 40kg less weight, it has phenomenal off-road performance. The WP USD Ø 48mm forks and WP monoshock PDS, even in stock form, work much better than the Adventure – even though they are perfect for solo rides. You can not easily adjust the rear spring pre-load for pillion (the shock has to be removed), but it’s not something it is built for. With 265mm of suspension travel it will swallow any obstacle found in it’s way and it is perfect for high speed dirt riding with very quick handling.

The V2 engine is a real dynamite, capable of destroying a rear tire in just a ride and the aggressive riding position instantly puts you in race mode. At every opportunity you want to fully open the throttle and hold on for dear life. You instantly realize that KTM has created the toughest, baddest naked adventure bike of its generation.

It will literally take you anywhere

As we have said many times (Adventure Bikes | What’s Best for you?), “if you can not pick up your bike fully loaded, in any situation, then it is not an adventure bike“. With 180kg dry weight it can reach the 200-220kg territory loaded with everything you need. So, if you have been doing your dead-lifts, you can pick it up with relative ease. It is not featherweight, but it’s nowhere near as heavy as any twin adventure motorcycle out there. The single cylinder 690/701 are lighter, but they will never have THAT engine ..

Adventurizing the Super Enduro

Having a solid off-road platform, I only had to focus into fixing it’s mechanical issues and adjusting it to our travel-enduro needs. With a 950cc twin engine, road sections are covered with ease. I did not want to add a rally screen, since it would transform it into a 950 Adventure with almost the same weight. It would also loose it’s off-road strong point, the ability to enter single-track gnarly trails without having a visor blocking the view in front of you. The KTM 690 screen does the job perfectly. You have a buffet-free ride, without too much air in your chest and with no added weight. Stick to road limits and you can cover distances without much fatigue. It’s not a GS, but it doesn’t weight 350kg either.

Ergonomics are dealt with a set of Rox 2” Pivoting Bar Risers and Pivot Pegz WIDE MK3 Foot Pegs. These make a big difference in comfort. The Rox Risers can be adjusted to position you perfectly over the bars and the Pivot Pegz give you a much wider area to stand on. Another option was the KTM Rally pegs, but having used the pivot pegs in previous builds, I just loved the ease of the pivoting action they provide.

The center stand is a must for any Adventure motorcycle. It is way easier to use it than to search for a rock or a log in the event of a flat tire. It doen’t add too much weight (relative to the bike’s weight) and the KTM 990 S/R center stand fits without any modifications. A true bolt-on upgrade.

Free-riding is fun on the Super Enduro

The only actual poor design of the Super Enduro is the position of the oil tank under the radiator. It is tough and will survive a small hit, partially protected the oem bash plate, but a big crush will move it. Once it moves, it will break your radiator and that’s it, you are stuck! I really did not want to go the oil tank relocation mods way, so I opted for the next best thing: The Adv-Spec Bashplate is super sexy, built like a tank with a 5mm aircraft grade aluminum construction, it will keep weight down while providing plenty of protection. It ads a third fixing point just before the center stand (total 6 fixing bolts instead of the stock 4 bolts) that will prevent any movement from the oil tank. Another usual LC8 issue is the leaking secondary clutch cylinder. A great solution is the Oberon Clutch Slave Cylinder. Once added you forget that LC8s even had that problem.

Last issue is the heat. All you can do is remove the SAS crap and the catalytic converter of the stock mufflers. I fitted the delicious FMF Q4 Slip-On Exhaust, fixed the fueling and that’s it. Except for the sound upgrade, the only reason you install a slip-on exhaust is the weight and heat benefits. The Super Enduro does not lack power .. trust me on that.

Mileage is a bit low. The beast is thirsty and the stock 13 liters of fuel capacity (3.43 gal) don’t help. The first solution that comes in mind is to add a 30lt Safari Tank. If we were located in Africa or Australia this would be my first upgrade, even though the added weight upfront does not help the dynamic characteristics of the bike. If you can reach 230+km of fuel range, you can just make it in Greece. You will always be a bit worried about mileage, but you will eventually reach the next gas station. A great solution is Nenduro’s KTM 950SE Rally Fuel Tank that adds 2+ extra gallons, but requires that you convert to 2 into 1 exhaust to make room for the tank. I actually bought it, but didn’t ever use it, since I am in love with the look of the twin pipes. So, my only solution is the use of the RotopaX Gasoline Packs. They help the SE reach the 230+km of fuel range and look awesome! The Super Enduro does not feature a rack, but that was easy to fix. I installed the 6mm aluminum MWW Luggage Rack (fabricated by Most Wanted Warehouse in Greece).

Luggage System

On our off-road adventure tours we are using exclusively Soft Luggage for a variety of reasons. You can give yourself a read about that in our Hard or Soft Luggage  article.

Maximum volume, minimum weight and 100% weatherproof

With the Mythical 950 Super Enduro we are using Enduristan Sandstorm 4H tankbag to keep our cameras and other electronics safe from water & dust. All of our tools, tubes and heavy items we are using Enduristan Blizzard L Saddle Bags to keep everything safe and maintain a low center of gravity, very important wiyh any tall motorcycle. The saddlebags help much as a bumper when the bike falls and keep it higher, so easier to lift. For the saddle bags we are not using any kind of frame, in order to keep the added weight to a minimum. The LC8’s twin pipes tail is just perfect for this application. The pipes support all the weight and the only modification you will ever need to do is to ad the Enduristan Universal Exhaust Heat Shields.

Last storage item used with the Super Enduro is the Enduristan Tornado 2M Pack Sack, above the RotopaX, straped to the MWW Luggage Rack. We keep very light items here like camp shoes and layers, a Gore Tex soft shell, or a power-bar.

 

* More information about almost all items used to upgrade the KTM can be found here

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.

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

TOUR INFORMATION

Attica Region, Greece (Athenian Riviera)

Best Riding Period: 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

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Tour Starts / Ends in Glyfada, Athens

Total Mileage: 160 km (100 miles)

2 Riding Days / 1 Night

Riding Skills: Novice / Intermediate

Off-road Percentage: 0% to 10%

Maximum Participants: 8 Riders/Group

4×4 Support Vehicle: Upon Request

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2 Breakfasts & 1 Dinner

Spoken languages: Greek, English, Italian

Athens Airport (ATH) Transfer Included

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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. This two-day adventure is designed as a 100% tarmac introduction into our routes and historical/architectural approach. There is always an option to include 10% off-road riding through the Sounio National Park and practice your skills in the Greek hard terrain.

The Sounio National park was established in 1974 and with just 5.250 acres is the smallest national park of Greece. Even though the countryside of the park is beautiful the main treasures lie underneath. Under the green hills covered by pine forests lies a land rich in minerals, such as lead, iron or silver.

The beginnings of the mining industry in the area of Lavreotiki date back to the 3rd century BC. However, the golden years of Lavrio come at around 6th and 5th century with the advancement in technology. The silver of Lavrio brought great wealth to Athens and contributed to the victory of the Greeks against the Persians at the battle of Salamina. The mining continued on and off through the ages until finally coming to the end at the 20th centuries leaving behind an area riddled with tunnels, caves, and galleries. There are several archaeological sites of the ancient workshops scattered over the hills and uncountable ruined dwellings and plants from later times. One of the most impressive highlights of the area is the gulch of Chaos, a circular sinkhole with walls up to 50m that was probably created by collapsing ceiling of an unexplored cave.

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.


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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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.

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.