Sunday, December 21, 2014

A daywalk in Ancient Athens

The ruins of the temple of Olympian Zeus

The theater of Dionysus
The world's oldest western theater.

The Philopappos monument

Erechteion on Akropolis

The Caryatids in the front of the Erechtheion in Akropolis.
Erechtheus was according to the myths the first King of Athens.

The Caryatids from a different perspective.

Monastiraki square.

Part of the Emperor Hadrian's library

The temple of Hephaestus. Perhaps the best preserved ancient Greek temple in modern Greece.

The stoa of Attalus

The temple of Hepahestus in the Ancient Agora

The Lycabettus hill. Along with the Akropolis they are the two prominent hills of Athens.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Apostolos Mousouris

Apostolos Mousouris
Apostolos Mousouris participated in the battles of Grammos during the Greek civil war(1948,1949) as a photographer and took some photos of great historical value.Apostolos took many pictures and the majority of them is characterized as being human centered. He records moments from the daily lives of the fighters of the democratic army. The daily life of a Democratic army fighter consisted mainly of war training.
Mousouris was born in Syros in 1917. His father a teacher was a friend of Demetris Glenos who was a famous communist.Glenos hid in the family house in Syros as communits were considered criminals. It was there that Mousouris appreciated his personality and got inspired by his ideology.Mousouris bcame a member of the communist party when he was a law student in Athens. His degree was indifferent for him as his biggest passion was cinematography.
He started doing voluntary work at Finos film studios and there he learned the art of camera.In 1944 when the WW2 ended and Greece was liberated he opened a photography shop.During the battle of Athens(December 1944) he was a war correspondent. In 1948 he joined the Democratic army of Greece as a war correspondent. 
After the end of the civil war and the defeat of the communists, Mousouris went to Uzbekistan where he continued to work as a cinematographer. Later he moved into Moscow where he became a journalist.
Women fighters of DSE

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bin Landen and the U.S.A(What you sow is what you reap)

A newspaper article from the time when Bin Landen was the "good guy"
He was the scion of one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest families, a billionaire's boy who went to prep school and studied civil engineering.
But driven by fear that Islam was under siege, Osama Bin Laden rejected a career in his late father's construction empire to become an architect of terror.
In his 54 years, he proved to be a man of contradictions.
He welcomed America's help in the 1980s while he was a mujahedeen guerrilla battling Soviet troops in Afghanistan, only to declare war on the U.S. a decade later.
He spawned the deadliest attacks on U.S. soil, yet fancied himself an avenger of terrorism - a victim, not a perpetrator.
"The terrorism we practice is of the commendable kind, for it is directed at the tyrants and the aggressors and the enemies of Allah," he said in a 1998 interview with ABC reporter John Miller.
Born in 1957 in Riyadh, the 17th of Muhammed Bin Laden's 50 children, Osama was 11 years old when his father was killed in a plane crash.
He was raised by his mother, Alia Ghanem, and his stepfather in a strict Muslim family.
He attended the Al-Thager Model School, an elite boarding school in Jeddah, where he got a British-type secular education mixed with Islamic teachings.
Biographers have traced his violent activism in the name of Allah to his teachers at Al-Thager.
While studying civil engineering and economics at King Abdulaziz University, Bin Laden became a disciple of the Muslim Brotherhood and Abdullah Azzam, founder of the Hamas militant group.
From 1986 to 1988, he raised money for the mujahedeen and fought alongside guerrillas battling to expel the Soviets from Afghanistan with America's help.
His alliance with the U.S. was brief. In 1988, he founded Al Qaeda with a goal of stomping out Western influences in the Arab world.
When U.S. troops used bases in Saudi Arabia to quash Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Bin Laden bashed the Saudi government for being on the wrong side.
His politics got him branded as a threat in his home country and booted from the Saudi kingdom in 1991.
Within years, he would become an official enemy of the U.S., implicated in the 1993 truck bombing at the World Trade Center that killed six people.
"The call to wage war against America was made because America has spearheaded the crusade against the Islamic nation," Bin Laden said in the ABC interview.
Resigned to a life as a global fugitive, Bin Laden's Al Qaeda attacks became bigger and bloodier:
- The 1996 bombing of a U.S. military housing complex in Khobar in Saudi Arabia killed 19 Americans.
- The 1998 truck bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killed 224, including 12 Americans.
- The attack on the Navy destroyer Cole in 2000 in Yemen's Aden Harbor killed 17 sailors.
- And the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks killed nearly 3,000 people.
Hiding in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Bin Laden - who had at least four wives and 10 children - managed to elude capture.
On a series of videotapes and audiotapes, he taunted the U.S. about his diabolical acts, vowing never to be taken alive.
On Sunday, at the age of 54, he got his wish

text source:

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Vasili Arkhipov : The man who saved the world

Vasili Arkhipov

It isn’t everyone who manages to literally save the world. Vasili Arkhipov did just that, and he did it so quietly that nobody in the West knew a thing about it until he was dead.
In 1962, Vasili Arkhipov was serving as the executive officer aboard the Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine B-59. On October 27, the B-59 was cornered in international waters by eleven US destroyers, which began dropping depth charges on what they presumed was a blockade runner headed for Cuba.
Cornered and left to assume that World War III had begun, the B-59′s captain and political officer decided to launch the nuclear-armed torpedo they carried for just such an eventuality. It goes without saying that the US would respond badly to a nuclear assault at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Unfortunately for the senior staff of the B-59, and fortunately for literally every other living thing on Earth, a nuclear launch required the assent of a third officer—Vasili Arkhipov.
Using a combination of logic and shouting, Arkhipov—who held the same rank as the B-59′s captain—persuaded his fellow officers to surface and return home. Reading about the incident in declassified files many years later, Robert McNamara said “we came very close. Closer than we knew at the time.” The Soviet files were only released in 2002, four years after Arkhipov’s death.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Scottish tale of murder, incest and cannibalism.

The Legend
The tale of Sawney Bean, arguably Scotland's most shocking and gruesome legend, was said to have taken place on the usually idyllic coast of the south-west.
The most commonly told account of Sawney Bean begins in East Lothian where Alexander "Sawney" Bean, the son of a ditch-digger and hedger, came to realise that labouring in the family business, and indeed labour in general, was not to his taste leading to his departure for the south-west coast of Scotland. After leaving his home and travelling to South Ayrshire, Bean found companionship with a woman, sometimes named Black Agnes Douglas, who shared his disinterest in an honest living. A remote coastal cave, located between Girvan and Ballantrae, is said to be where the couple took up residence. The Beans survived undiscovered for 25 years in this setting and populated the cave with a 45-strong incestuous brood.
They carved a monstrous living ambushing travellers on the road, whether individuals or small groups, robbing them of their possessions, and murdering them before dragging their bodies back to the cave where they would be dismembered and eaten. As body parts began washing up on nearby beaches and the larger disappearances were noticed by nearby villagers, the secretive Beans managed to evade detection during the investigations and scapegoats were falsely accused and lynched to appease the mob.
An open human mouth with teeth bared angrily with a rocky background.Sawney Bean and his monstrous family enjoyed a 25 year reign of terror.
Despite the care the Beans took to remain undisturbed in their bloody work, their luck turned sour one evening when they set upon a young couple on their way home from a fair. The woman was quickly killed and butchered by the clan while her husband struggled and fought, proving to be highly skilled in combat. Driven by the sight of his wife’s brutal murder he bravely fought off his attackers until a crowd of returning fairgoers came across them forcing the Beans to flee.
With their existence reported, a search party consisting of over 400 men with bloodhounds and supposedly led by King James (James I of Scotland or James VI of Scotland depending on the tale) was dispatched to apprehend the clan. Eventually the bloodhounds led the party to the cave and the conviction grew that this was the place for which they were searching. Awaiting inside the cave lay a gruesome scene of gore and filth; body parts were both pickled in jars and hung from the walls, while possessions of the victims were unceremoniously left in piles.
A reconstruction of a lifeless human hand inside a jar full of pale yellow fluid.The cave was full of pickled limbs and other horrific treasures.
Finally captured, Alexander Bean and his family were taken alive and bound in chains to the Tolbooth in Edinburgh to await their execution. The women and children of the clan were burned at the stake while the men were themselves dismembered and allowed to bleed to death – a barbaric echo of the cruelty experienced by their victims.
Impact and Legacy
The story of Alexander Bean and his fiendish family is one that generates real passion and debate: while some believe it to be legitimate history, inconsistencies in the story and the lack of documented evidence of Bean’s existence or even his trial and execution means that most historians are in agreement that it is more likely to be a tale.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Statue of the Greek god Apollo was found in Gaza strip.

Lost for centuries, a bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo mysteriously resurfaced in the Gaza Strip, only to be seized by police and vanish almost immediately from view, Reuters reported on Monday.
A local fisherman says he dragged the 500kg statue from the seabed last August, and carried it home on a donkey cart, unaware of its significance.
After the statue briefly appeared on eBay last year, with a $300,000 price tag - well below its true value, Hamas police seized it and say they are investigating the affair.
Archeologists have not been able to examine the statue first hand, but from what they can tell from released photographs it was cast sometime between the 5th and the 1st century BC, making it at least 2,000 years old.
“It’s unique. In some ways I would say it is priceless. It’s like people asking what is the [value] of the painting La Gioconda [the Mona Lisa] in the Louvre museum,” said Jean-Michel de Tarragon, a historian with the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem.
“It’s very, very rare to find a statue which is not in marble or in stone, but in metal,” he told Reuters television.
The archeologist speculated that the true location of where the statue was unearthed was not revealed to avoid arguments over ownership, saying its apparently pristine condition implied it was not found at sea.
“This wasn’t found on the seashore or in the sea … it is very clean. No, it was [found] inland and dry,” he said.
However, Palestinian fisherman Joudat Ghrab tells a different tale.
The 26-year-old told Reuters that he saw a human-like shape lying in shallow waters some 100 meters off the coast, just north of the Egyptian-Gaza border.
He says it took him and his relatives four hours to drag the find ashore.
“I felt it was something gifted to me by God,” Ghrab told Reuters. “My financial situation is very difficult and I am waiting for my reward.”
The discolored greenish-brown figure depicts the youthful, athletic god standing upright on two, muscular legs with one arm outstretched.
Officials at Gaza’s tourism ministry told Reuters the statue would not be shown to the public until a criminal investigation into who tried to sell it on eBay was completed.
However, the ministry’s director of archaeology, Ahmed al-Bursh, said he had seen the statue promised that Ghrab would receive a reward.
“It is a precious treasure, an important archaeological discovery,” said Bursh.
“International institutions have also contacted us and have offered to help with the repair process,” he said, adding that the Louvre in Paris wanted to exhibit it on loan.
Some 5,000 years of history can be found beneath the sands of the area, which was ruled by ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and crusaders at various times.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Massalia. When Marseille was a Greek city(part 2)

Antibes  during  the  Renaissance,  the  ancient  Greek  Antipolis,  the  third  largest  Massaliot  colony.  The  ancient  Greek  city  covered  about  the  same  area.

       The  Gauls  (Celts)  gradually  extended  their  territory  in  modern  South  France  at  the  expense  of    the  Ligurians,  the  Iberians  and  the  Wasconians  (ancestors  of  the  Basques),  either  by  conquest  or  by  the  direct  adoption  of  the  La  Tene  culture  by  the  aforementioned  natives  and  thence  their  upcoming  Celtisization.  At  first,  the  Massaliots  did  not  clash  with  the  newcomers.  As  we  have  seen,  the  two  peoples  were  familiar  to  each  other  due  to  their  trade  and  the  beneficial  effect  of  Massalia.  Now  they  had  territorial  contact  also.  Besides  their  common  commercial  interests,  they  had  common  geopolitical  as  well,  since  they  both  ruled  Ligurian subjects.  In  the  early  4th  century,  the  entire  Gaul  had  become  a  Massaliot  zone  of  commercial  and  cultural  influence.  For  this  reason,  the  Massalialiots  had  very  little  or  no  regard  for  the  control  of  the  Iberian  Peninsula  and  the  Columns  of  Hercules  (modern  Gibraltar)  which  they  had  left  to  the  Carthaginians.  After  all,  the  Carthaginian  power  prevented  them  from  this  aim.  The  only  interesting  for  both  peoples  beyond  the  Pillars  of  Hercules,  was  the  tin  of  the  Cassiteridae  islands  (probably  the  Isles  of  Scilly  in  Cornwall),  which  however  the  Massaliots  acquired  without  problems  via  the  commercial  roads  of  Gaul.  In  contrast,  the  Carthaginians  had  to  undertake  the  long  and  dangerous  sea  voyage  from  the  Mediterranean  to  Britain  via  the  Atlantic,  because  the  roads  of  Gaul  remained  forever  closed  to  them  due  to  the  Massaliot  influence  in  the  land.  Because  of  this  situation,  there  was  an  unofficial  agreement  between  Massalia  and  Carthage,  whereby  Gaul  was  a  Massaliot  zone  and  the  Iberian  Peninsula  was  a  Punic  zone.  Later  the  agreement  became  official,  when  the  two  sides  fixed  the  boundary  between  the  two  zones  in  the  River  Iber  (modern  Ebro  in  Aragon,  Spain).

A  Greek  penteconter,  the  warship  used  by  the  Phocaeans  who  founded  Massalia  and  many  more  colonies  in  the  Western  Mediterranean. The  Massaliots  used  extensively  the penteconter  till  the  adoption  of  the  Corinthian  trireme.  Afterwards, the  penteconter  was  used  mostly  as  a  coastguard  vessel.
Only  some  decades  after  her  foundation,  Massalia  has  sent  her  navigators  to  explore  the  Atlantic  coast.  In  the  6th  century  BC,  Euthemenes  the Massaliot  and  his  seafarers  crossed  the  Strait  of  Gibraltar  and  sailed  along  the  coast  of  Africa  ending  his  journey  in  the  estuary  of  the  Senegal  River,  according  to  the  most  probable  modern  estimate.  But  Pytheas  the  Massaliot  is  more  famous  –  an  unfair  situation  for  the  forgotten  Euthemenes.  Pytheas  followed  the  opposite  direction  in  the  Atlantic,  sailing  towards  the  frozen  seas  of  the  North  (ca.  335-330 BC).  Some  modern  historians  have  theorized  that  Pytheas’  mission  was  funded  by  Alexander  the  Great,  who  at  the  same  time  was  crushing  the  Persians  in  Asia.  It  is  well  known  that  the  great  conqueror  intended  in  the  future  to  lead  his  armies  to  the  West,  so  he  needed  first-hand  information  about  the  peoples  and  the  countries  of  Western  Europe.  Modern  European  researchers  believe  that  Pytheas  used  for  his  renowned  voyage  a  Gallic  vessel,  e.g.  a  ship  of  the  Armorican  Veneti  seafarers.  However,  he  had  no  need  for  them  despite  their  high  sailing  quality,  because  his  ship  was  most  probably  an  ‘olkas  (ολκάς),  a  Greek  merchant  vessel  which  because  of  its  hemispherical  shape  could  withstand  without  problems  the  high  waves  of  the  Atlantic  (as  opposed  to  the  trireme  or  the  penteconter  whose  sailing  in  the  Ocean  was  very  risky,  being  vessels  made  for  the  waves  of  the  Mediterranean).
The  ancient  quotation  which  states  that  the  Carthaginians  were  guarding  the  Strait  of  Gibraltar  and  did  not  let  anyone  to  sail  in  the  Atlantic  without  their  permission,  has  no  historical  value.  The  Phoenicians  could  not  prevent  the  Massaliots  or  any  other  Greeks  or  even  the  Etruscans  to  sail  in  the  ocean,  when  they  wanted  it.  The  Massaliots  had  won  several  victories  against  the  Punic  war  fleet,  as  it  is  indicated  by  the  trophies  of  naval  victories  that  they  sent  as  tributes  to  the  Panhellenic  Sanctuary  of  Delphi  (Thucydides,  Justin,  Strabo  and  Pausanias).  Moreover  Pytheas  mentions  in  his  writings,  the  Iberian  rivers  which  flow  into  the  Atlantic,  a  reference  which  means  that  he  circumnavigated  the  Iberian  Peninsula.  The  view  that  if  the  Massaliots  really  wanted  to  sail  in  the  Atlantic,  they  would  be  prevented  by  the  Carthaginians,  is  rather  improbable.  Instead,  a  modern  British  historian  specialized  in  the  history  of  Massalia,  provides  indications  for  the  possibility  that  the  Massaliots  and  the  Carthaginians  have  cooperated  in  the  exploration  of  the  Atlantic.
Gyptis ,french 1875
A  French  romantic  depiction  of  the  founding  legend  of  Massalia  (1875):  the  princess  Gyptis  passes  indifferent  by  the  frustrated  indigenous  suitors  and  selects  the  Greek  Protes.

Pytheas  and  his  men  sailed  by  the  Atlantic  coasts  of  Europe  and  crossed  the  Strait  of  the  Irish  Sea  which  separates  Ireland  from  Great  Britain.  They  arrived  in  Iceland  or  according  to  other  theories,  in  the  islands  of  Shetland  or  in  Norway.  In  the  same  or  in  another  mission,  they  sailed  by  the  coast  of  the  North  Sea  and  most  important,  they  discovered  the  Baltic  Sea  which  was  unknown  until  then  in  the  Mediterranean  world.  Pytheas  watched  carefully  the  tribes  that  he  met  and  he  recorded  a  lot  of  information  about  their  culture  and  everyday  life,  in  his  work.  Most  of  these  tribes  were  Celtic  and  Germanic.  Although  his  work  has  not  survived,  fragments  of  it  survived  in  the  works  of  other  ancient  writers,  being  an  important  source  on  the  Celtic  and  Germanic  World  of  the  4th  cent  BC.
        The  Massaliot  influence  on  the  Galatians  is  more  evident  in  the  Greco-Gallic  city  of  Glanum  in  Provence.  Ptolemy  mentions  Glanum  as  a  city  of  the  Salyes  Gauls  but  it  is  clear  that  during  the  Hellenistic  period,  a  part  of  her  population  were  Massaliot  Greeks.  The  city  acquired  then  many  Greek  elements,  which  are  more  obvious  in  her  architecture.  Her  residents  had  a  Greek  state  name,  calling  themselves  ‘Glanikoi’  (Γλανικοί).    But  the  original  Gallic  elements  were  not  lost.  Apart  from  the  Gallic  inscriptions,  during  the  excavations  a  place  in  the  city  was  found,  where  cut-off  heads  of  defeated  enemies  were  nailed  in  piles,  a  typical  Celtic  habit.  The  Greek  influence  was  not  limited  in  Glanum.  During  the  Hellenistic  period,  the  capital  of  the  Salyes  in  the  modern  site  Entremont,  was  rebuilt  on  a  Greek  urban  plan.  In  the  place  of  the  old  Gallic  fortress,  a  great  city  was  founded  following  the  urban  plan  and  the  architecture  of  the  neighboring  prototype:  Massalia.  In  Entremont  as  well,  the  Greek  elements  coexisted  with  the  cut-off  skulls  of  the  enemies  nailed  in  the  walls  of  the  city.
Massalia  coin
                                                             Coin  of  Massalia.


 The  alliance  of  Massalia  with  Rome  dated  back  to  600  BC.  In  132  BC,  Massalia  saved  her  mother city  Phocaea  from  the  destruction  by  the  Roman  army,  when  she  interceded  in  the  Roman  Senate.  Massalia  helped  Rome  in  the  great  ‘Double’  Punic  War  (264-201  BC)  with  her  army,  navy  and  diplomacy.  Moreover  Carthage  was  the  greatest  enemy  of  both  cities.  After  the  final  defeat  of  Hannibal,  the  Romans  extended  their  military  presence  in  the  country  surrounding  Massalia  in  order  to  ensure  a  safe  land  route  from  Italy  to  their  Spanish  provinces.  The  Salyes  (also  known  as  Saluvii)  were  furious  because  of  the  Roman  advance  and  thereby  they  attacked  Massalia  (154  BC).  The  Massaliots  and  the  Romans  repulsed  them,  but  in  125  BC  the  Salyes  returned  reinforced  with  the Allobriges,  a  neighboring  Galatian  people.  Rome  sent  to  Massalia  a  consular  army  which  defeated  the  Gauls.  This  victory  although  saved  Massalia  from  the  Gauls,  basically  turned  the  city  into  one  of  the  subject  allies  (socii)  of  Rome  (122  BC).  In  return,  the  Romans  extended  the  territory  of  Massalia  turning  over  to  her  Gallic  lands.
A  little  later,  the  Roman  armies  subjugated  permanently  the  Salyes  and  the  Allobriges  while  the  Roman  conquest  proceeded  west  to  the  Pyrenees,  subduing  the  Volcae  Gauls  (118  BC).  The  Romans  unified  the  conquered  territories  into  a  new  province,  which  extended  to  the  North  as  far  as  the  modern  Lake  Geneva.  They  ceded  approximately  one  third  of  the  conquered  areas  to  Massalia.  Thereby  the  city  prospered  more  because  of  the  income  from  these  extensive  lands.  The  remaining  territory  became  the  Roman  province  of  Galatia  Narbonensis,  which  the  Romans  often  called  simply  as  the  ‘Province’  (Provincia)  as  opposed  to  the  rest  of  Gaul  which  was  free  yet.  The  current  French  name  ‘Provence’  originates  from  the  Roman  name  for  the  region.
Marseille. Ancient Massilia. London, 1840. Original outline colou
City  plan  of  ancient  Massalia,  1840.  In  the  center  left:  the  ancient  harbor  (Lakydon).

During  the  Roman  civil  wars,  Massalia  supported  Marius  against  Sulla  and  in  the  quarrel  between  Pompey  and  Caesar,  she  supported  Pompey.  The  army  of  Caesar  besieged  and  occupied  it  despite  the  brave  effort  of  the  Massaliot  navy  against  the  Roman  warships (49  BC).  Caesar  did  not  destroy  the  city  but   took  away  all  her  treasures  of  art  and  annexed  to  the  Roman  province  all  of  her  colonies  except  Nicaea  and  a  great  part  of  her  territory.  Massalia  was  virtually  annexed  to  the  Roman  State.  Despite  her  savage  looting  by  the  Caesarian  army  and  the  commercial  competition  of  the  neighboring  Roman  colony  Narbon,  Massalia  remained  a  rich  commercial  city  with  famous  Greek  schools  of  medicine,  philosophy  and  other  sciences  with  many  Roman  and  Gallo-Roman  students.  Her  Ionic  dialect  was  lost  in  favor  of  Latin  until  the  third  century  AD.  Today,  in  the  entrance  of  the  port  of  Marseille, in  a  heavy  metal  plate  mounted  by  the  Municipality  of  Marseille,  is  written  that  in  600  BC  Greek  colonists  landed  at  this  site  and  founded  the  city

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