Friday, November 30, 2012

A Christmas Bazaar for a Good Cause

With December upon us even here in grim Athens we are starting to think of the holiday season. With the forecast for next week to include colder, wetter weather with snow in the mountainous regions to the north, maybe winter is in sight too for this city?

The Historical Archive of the Archaeological Service
One way a resident of Athens can get ready for the season is to go on the evening of December 7th or all day December 8th to the Historical Archive of the Archaeological Service on Psaromylingou 22 on the edge of the Kerameikos and Psyrri districts of the city near Odos Piraeos. The Theseion Piraeus-Kifissia train station is nearby.

Here you will discover a small but friendly Christmas Bazaar organized by the Association of Friends of the Historical Archive of the Archaeological Service (Syllogos Filon tou Istorikou Archeiou tis Archaiolgikis Iperisias). The Bazaar will feature a wide selection of books (literature in Greek, English and French, archaeological volumes, coffee table books and my Scandinavian thrillers/murder mysteries and spy novels), small gift items (many of them handmade) and a bake sale (my cookies are to die for!). The lottery will have many gifts and prizes (including various personal guided tours in the city by archaeologists such as me!). The special feature of this year’s Bazaar is a photographic exhibition entitled, “The Archive of the Road” which features photographs by our members and friends of the ubiquitous graffiti that cover the walls of Athens (including our house) with images and texts. These framed photographs will be for sale (€10 - €25) and orders can be placed for larger images.

The Poster for the Christmas Bazaar
The Bazaar on Friday evening the 7th will run from 19:00 to 22:00. There will be live rembetika played by the Athens archaeological community’s own rembetis, Martti Leiwo, the Director of the Finnish Institute at Athens, to add a party touch to activities. On Saturday, the 8th the hours are 10:00-17:00.

The proceeds from the Bazaar will go to support the educational outreach programs of the Historical Archive in the public schools. These programs emphasize the importance of the past in constructing our daily lives and how archaeologists and historians use archives to create a historical narrative.

You can learn more about our Syllogos Filon by going to the facebook group at:!/groups/213856465352751/ Why not join the group and follow their activities???

If you wish to volunteer your time to help out at the Bazaar and/or wish to contribute books, gift items, baked goods or prizes for the lottery please call me: 694 72.72.153, or send me an email at: The more the merrier!!!

We look forward to seeing you at the Bazaar!

David Rupp

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Fred Winter Collection

"Delos, House of the Hermes, from directly above and obliquely from above" (Professor Fred Winter 1966)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Athens’ Complicated, Inconvenient Hellenistic Past and Save the Dates

From the later 4th through the 2nd centuries B.C. Athens had a tempestuous relationship with the kings of Macedon. Add the geopolitical ambitions of the Ptolemaic kings in Egypt and control of Athens is a seductive trophy to gain.

Kallias of Sphettos inscription
The political intrigues and motivations on both sides behind the known political events and battles of this period are difficult to ascertain. One important source for gleaning information and inferring intent are the public decrees of Athens during this period. These documents, especially honorific ones, approved by the Demos, not only state the current “facts” but also allude to or avoid reference to past “facts”. As all of these decrees were set up in the Agora past “history” could be checked on or forgotten.

Dr. Julia L. Shear, Senior Research Associate at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, will share with us on Wednesday, November 28th at 7:30 PM a case study from her research into how Athens as a community and as individuals remembered and forgot the past. Her lecture is entitled, “An Inconvenient Past in Hellenistic Athens: The Case of Phaidros of Sphettos”.

Phaidros of Sphettos inscription
Phaidros of Sphettos was a well-known politician, statesman and general in the 290s and early 280s B.C. with probable pro-Macedonian leanings. Athens revolted from the Macedonian yoke in 287/6 B.C. with the help of Ptolemaic troops led by his brother Kallias of Sphettos. He was honored for his efforts to assist Athens in 270/69 B.C. After 262 B.C. Athens was once again under Macedonian control. In honoring Phaidros in 255/4 B.C how could the Demos forget its glorious revolution against Demetrios Poliorketes thirty years before?

Save the Date for a Christmas Bazaar
The second annual Christmas Bazaar of the Association of Friends of the Historical Archive of the Hellenic Archaeological Service, of which I am the President of its Board of Directors, will be held on Friday, evening December 7th (19:00-22:00) and all day Saturday the 8th (10:00-17:00). You should save these dates to come to the Historical Archive at Psaromilingou 22 in Kerameikos/Psyrri.

There will be books, gift items, baked goods and other treats. There will be a lottery too, and a special exhibition of photographs, “The Archive of the Road”, featuring images of the colorful and insightful graffiti that cover the walls on the streets of Athens. These limited edition framed images taken by members of the Association will be for sale. The proceeds from the Bazaar will go to help the educational outreach program of the Historical Archive in the public schools.

If you want to help out and/or contribute items please call me: 6947272153.

David Rupp

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Liberation of Lesbos and Other MytilenianTales

Liberty at Mylilene by Theophilus
Just one hundred years ago, on November 8, 1912, the island of Lesbos was liberated from Ottoman occupation by the Admiral Pavlos Koundouriotis who came to Mytilene with a squadron of the Greek fleet led by the Armored Cruiser Georgios Averoff. This event, on the Feast Day of Archangel Michael, and the circumstances that brought it about will be the subject of the lecture entitled, “November 8, 1912 and Other Events in the Harbours of Mytilene.” Professor Emeritus Hugh J. Mason (Department of Classics, University of Toronto) will give the lecture on Wednesday, November 14th at 7:30 PM.

Averoff at sea
We will be treated not only to this but also how the Averoff came to be purchased in 1908 and how it and other new naval vessels allowed the Greek fleet to dominate the Aegean during the First Balkan War from October, 1912 through May, 1913.

As the harbors of Mytilene are the central focus of this wide-ranging presentation, Professor Mason will relate the roles they played in receiving refugees from Asia Minor in 1914 and in the fall of 1922. Not stopping there he will discuss how the Greek Resistance told the Royal Navy not to enter during the Dekembriana at the end of 1944. Excavations around these very harbours have been carried out by a team from the University of British Columbia under the aegis of the Canadian Institute.

The harbours of Mytilene and excavations in the locality
In June, 48 B.C. the forces of the Roman Republic led by Pompey the Great were defeated at Pharsala in Thessaly by the smaller army of Julius Caesar. The Roman poet Lucan in his epic poem Pharsalia recounts how Pompey then fled to Mytilene, on his way to his eventual death in Egypt in early September at the hands of Ptolemy XIII. From this historical visit Professor Mason next will turn to a fictional one in the ancient novella Apollonius of Tyre where the eponymous hero while searching for his kidnapped daughter finds her held captive in a brothel in Mytilene.

With such an exciting historical and literary background, the city of Mytilene and its harbors could be the setting for a modern, long-running, heart-rending serial. Greece surely needs this now rather than all of the Turkish melodramas and American crime fighters that clog the TV channels here.

David Rupp

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Fred Winter Collection

"Peiraieus, a fairly complete record of the Akte walls and towers" (Professor Fred Winter 1966)