I've been reading my next Mythology 'assignment' this afternoon but thought it would be fun to take a little break and share a few images that came my way via Postcrossing. If I am really trying to immerse myself in a subject visuals are always welcome, so these couldn't have come at a better time. Imagine living in Athens and have this as your view. Stunning, don't you think? Of course perhaps to most Athenians this is all 'old hat' and they don't give it a second thought (or look) and mostly just resent all the camera toting tourists who must flood the city every summer?
To this end, wondering what life in contemporary Greece is like that is, I've expanded my reading project just a little bit. But more about that in a moment. That's the Acropolis you see on the far horizon overlooking the city. And the famous building is the Parthenon, or the Temple of Athena, who is the goddess of wisdom, war, divine intelligence as well as architecture and crafts. She's the city's patron and gave her name to it. Athens must just ooze history and culture.
To the Northwest of the Acropolis is the Ancient Agora, which is where this Temple of Hephaestos is located. The Agora would have been an important meeting place for the people of Athens both politically and socially. Hephaestus is the patron god of metal working and craftsmanship. This temple is apparently very well preserved and stands much as it did when it was built. There is something very awe inspiring to think of the history these stones have observed, particularly since it was built around 449 BC.
I wasn't sure what this building housed as there is no description on the card, but I believe it is the Old Royal Palace and is now the Hellenic Parliament. By the way--just a little piece of trivia--they have a unicameral legislature. I live in Nebraska, which is the only US state that has a unicameral legislature. Anyway, the building looks sort of small in the postcard, but if you click through the link and look at the Wikipedia photo (click to enlarge it) it is massive building!
And then we must have the requisite picturesque view of whitewashed buildings and perfectly calm, brilliant blue water. It's only missing a cat, don't you think?
As for my extracurricular reading . . . I've still got Karen Armstrong's A Short History of Myth by my bedside. I think I need to just buy it as it's the sort of book where everything I read is something I feel I should note down and turn the page corner over to remember. I've decided I need to just read it one one fell swoop as there is so much information to take in, it's not one to pick up and set down as it loses some continuity.
A little browsing of my own bookshelves netted me Katherine Kizilos The Olive Grove: Travels in Greece, which is a book in the Lonely Planet Journeys series. I'm very much enjoying it. Kizilos is Australian by birth but Greek by heritage. Her father fled the German Occupation during WWII, so Kizilos writes about the dislocation that is felt by immigrants and his sense of being an exile not truly part of a new culture. However she notes she has always felt like someone who lives within two cultures rather than between them (and not truly part of either). The book is split into three sections: The Sea, Borderlands and The Village and isn't exactly like so many other books I've read that are straightforward travel narratives. She writes about places off the beaten track and not what an ordinary tourist would expect to see, which is really sort of refreshing.
I've also got Anne Zouroudi's The Messenger of Athens waiting for me at the library, which I hope to pick up in the next couple of days. So I realize that reading a mystery is definitely verging off the path of mythology, but it's amazing what you can learn about a culture by reading a crime novel, and Zouroudi comes highly recommended, so I'm looking forward to it. I don't really know much about the series, other than the detective is Hermes Diaktoros, and I believe the setting is contemporary. I'm excited about reading this as well as it is a fresh place in the world for me to read about and an entirely new and different character. Also on hand, though I'm not sure when I'll get to these, are Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens by Sofka Zinovieff and Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese by the brilliant Patrick Leigh Fermor.
Now back to the Golden Fleece, which I'll write about tomorrow (but I promise to keep it brief--there is usually so much to write about!).