Aegean Day 14

Rhodes

IMG_6428Note: The medieval walled city of Rhodes has been on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites since 1988.

IMG_6432We started the day with the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes. IMG_6437 The castle has a mishmash of ancient art. A couple of the guys have formed the AFM club, or maybe it’s the ABM (Another Bloody Museum) club.  They’re the tag-alongs.  A detail of one of the intricate mosaics. (Notice the stairs. We have climbed a lot of stairs.)

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This mosaic depicts the great scene of the creation of [the island of] Nisyros. [During the Battle of the Gods and Giants] Poseidon [God of the Sea] is chasing the giant Polyvotis [on the left] and in a few seconds will hit his trident on the island of Kos, will get a piece and throw it at the latter. Mother Earth (Gaia), goddess Athena [who leaped from the head of Zeus, already adult, dressed with her armor] and Nike [the Winged Goddess of Victory] are watching the scene. Polyvotis will be buried at the bottom of the sea below the newly created island and every time he breaths the Nisyros’ volcano reacts!!! (per our guide Maria)

The muses:

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IMG_6435You may recognize this sculpture:

Laocoön, in Greek legend, a seer and a priest of the god Apollo… Laocoön offended Apollo by breaking his oath of celibacy and …by having sexual intercourse with his wife in Apollo’s sanctuary. Thus, while preparing to sacrifice a bull on the altar of the god Poseidon (a task that had fallen to him by lot), Laocoön and his twin sons… were crushed to death by two great sea serpents… sent by Apollo.

A much better-known reason for his punishment was that he had warned the Trojans against accepting the wooden horse left by the Greeks. This legend found its most famous expressions in Virgil’s Aeneid and in the Laocoön statue (now in the Vatican Museum)… The statue was for a time in the palace of the Emperor Titus. After its rediscovery during the Renaissance, it regained its exalted reputation… https://www.britannica.com/topic/Laocoon-Greek-mythology

Next we walk along entirety of the enormous ramparts, show on this map in brown.

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IMG_6444There is a double wall with a huge moat.  You can see the whole city from the top.  On the left is the Old Town clock tower, in the center the tiled dome of St Georges Church, and on the right, a minaret of the Suleiman Mosque.

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IMG_6454After lunch we are on our own to take photos, shop, whatever.  Heinrich snaps my photo and takes me to a shop to buy a museum copy statue.  He didn’t think I ought to get this one, no doubt because, as sculpturean archeologist, he thought I ought to be accurate and get a museum replica of an item from the Dodecanese, since that’s we are, not the Cyclades, Modiglianianother group of islands off the coast of Greece.

It is the head of a canonical figurine from around 2800–2300 BC… Cycladic culture developed around 3000 BC and for over one thousand years produced sculptures that had a strong influence on modern artists such as Picasso, Modigliani, Brancusi and many more.1 And that’s why I liked it. Here is a sculpture by Modigliani, Head of a Woman, in our National Gallery.

That evening we have our farewell dinner on board, J gives a thank you and our tips to the crew members.

Summary of the trip: talks on archeology (an archeological museum on each island), mythology (which I had studied 50+ years ago), history (which I never knew), and architectural styles.  Tours of towns, archeological ruins and museums.  Lots of good food and wine, marvelous group of people, great conversation and lots of laughs.  An enjoyable time.

1http://www.thewestologist.com/arts/ancient-influence-on-modern-art

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