Sunday, January 12, 2014

Adventures in Greece

Dear Friends and Family, (this is Randy writing)
I would like to tell you a little about our trip to Greece and Macedonia.  First Greece.  We flew in to Athens late in the evening of Friday, Dec. 27, 2013.  We rented a car and drove to the Park Hotel in Agia Paraskevi, a little way from where our Humanitarian couple lives. Great breakfasts.  Elder and Sister Carder are the first Humanitarian Couple in Greece and they are from Ireland.  The Lord knew what he was doing when he called them.  They have been able to open doors with religious charitable organizations that no previous members have been able to do.  The wife told me about one call she made to an orphanage where the nuns had refused their help.  She said, “I told them that they should be ashamed of themselves for denying help to those sweet little children.  Was their pride and stubbornness going to deny these children the help they needed?”  The nuns gave in to her Irish stubbornness and in the end appreciated what we were able to do for them. 

(This is Rebecca writing)  The Carders had some teaching appointments for a few hours on Saturday morning so we took the subway into town.  We headed straight for the National Archeological Museum, knowing we wouldn't get another chance to see it until Tuesday at the earliest.  Incredible collection of antiquities.  Each one is the finest of it's kind in the world.
Asclepius, god of healing with the serpent on his staff
Bronze statue of a god, probably Zeus, found on the sea floor; made about 460 BC.

Athena : smaller model of the massive statue that once stood in the Parthenon

Art of the ancient Cycladic civilization, which flourished in the islands of the Aegean Sea from 3300 - 2000 BC
Family group on cemetary monument
Poignant cemetary monument of a mother who died in childbirth bidding farewell to her baby.

Ritual handshakes show up in about half of the cemetary carvings
Amazing huge bronze of a boy on a horse

Famous Linear B script from 1400 BC in Mycenae

A Mycenaean funeral mask identified as the "Mask of Agamemnon" by Heinrich Schliemann.
Silver repoussé rhyton with gold horns, from Grave Circle A at Mycenae, 16th century BC 

"Heinrich Schliemann, a German is considered the father of Greek archeology. In 1873 he uncovered fortifications and the remains of a city of great antiquity, and he discovered a treasure of gold jewelry, which he smuggled out of Turkey. He believed the city he had found was Homeric Troy and identified the treasure as that of Priam. His discoveries and theories, first published in Trojanische Altertümer (1874; “Trojan Antiquity”). Next he began excavation at Mycenae,in Greece. In August 1876, he began work in the tholoi, digging by the Lion Gate and then inside the citadel walls, where he found a double ring of slabs and, within that ring, five shaft graves (a sixth was found immediately after his departure). Buried with 16 bodies in this circle of shaft graves was a large treasure of gold, silver, bronze, and ivory objects. Schliemann had hoped to find—and believed he had found—the tombs of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, and he published his finds in his Mykenä (1878; “Mycenae”). " Most of Schliemann’s Mycenaean treasure is at the National Archeological Museum in Athens.

The Museum also has a special exhibition about the Anticythera shipwreck, which Randy was really excited to see.
The left part of the head was buried in the mud and so was not exposed to damage by sea life.

"In 1900, a storm blew a boatload of sponge divers off course and forced them to take shelter by the tiny Mediterranean island of Antikythera. Diving the next day, they discovered a 2,000 year-old Greek shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera.. Among the ship's cargo they hauled up was an unimpressive green lump of corroded bronze. Rusted remnants of gear wheels could be seen on its surface, suggesting some kind of intricate mechanism."

Reconstruction of the Antikythera mechanism in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens (made by Robert J. Deroski, based on Derek J. de Solla Price model)

 "The first X-ray studies confirmed that idea, but how it worked and what it was for puzzled scientists for decades. Recently, hi-tech imaging has revealed the extraordinary truth: this unique clockwork machine was the world's first computer."

 "An array of 30 intricate bronze gear wheels, originally housed in a shoebox-size wooden case, was designed to predict the dates of lunar and solar eclipses, track the Moon's subtle motions through the sky, and calculate the dates of significant events such as the Olympic Games. No device of comparable technological sophistication is known from anywhere in the world for at least another 1,000 years." You can view videos about the shipwreck on YouTube.