A trip to the Archeological Museum in Athens. 9/27/21

The weather continues to be beautiful with temperatures in the morning in the upper 70s. I feel like we picked a really good time to take this trip.

Picture from our balcony of the harbor at Piraeus. Piraeus is the port for Athens and has three natural harbors which they use for pleasure crafts, cruise ships, and cargo

We go down to The Restaurant for breakfast today since our tour does not leave until 9:30.  We order bagels and lox with capers and red onions. It is like Christmas breakfast without the beer! We sit next to a couple from Alaska. Apropos of nothing they start talking to us. John insists to me that he is not wearing his “talk to me” sign. I think he must be since random people talk to us twice today. Oh, and in my flurry of eating excitement I forget to take a picture of breakfast.

Today we are fortunate to have a very knowledgeable guide in the Archeological Museum. She starts out by explaining the three phases of early Greek civilization, the Cycladic, Minoan, and Mycenaean. This covers about 2000 years from 3200 BC to 1100 BC.

Much of the remains from this era were found by Heinrich Schliemann, a wealthy German businessman, who decided that Homer’s depiction of the Trojan War was fact and set off to find Troy and other sites mentioned in the Iliad and the Odyssey. He found many artifacts and ascribed death masks to Agamemnon and the other heroes of the story. Our guide says that the spectacular things he found were probably from someone very important but not Agamemnon.

Art pieces from the early Cycladic Age
Schliemann found 5 death masks which are at the museum
He ascribed the central death mask to Agamemnon

It is amazing to see these exhibits and we marvel at the workmanship of these very early Greek civilizations. There is gold galore made into hilts for bronze swords, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

Gold jewlery
Bronze swords with gold hilts
Funerary gold coverings for infants

Fragment of a fresco depicting a woman wearing some of the jewelry
Artifacts from the 15th to the 12th century BC include things we can recognize like safety pins. Women’s clothing was held together with pins.

Next we are introduced to the next eras of Greek civilization: The Archaic Period (750 – 500 BC), the Classical Period (500 – 336 BC), and the Hellenistic Period (336 – 146 BC). Decorative pots are mostly geometric during the Archaic period.

Funerary jar with static figures around the dead figure and mostly geometric designs

During the classical period monumental sculpture arises heavily influenced by Egyptian sculptures.

A stiffly styled Kouros, a young Greek naked  man in a traditional pose, hairstyle, and smile

While the males were always naked the females were always clothed.

The female figure is always clothed and is called a kore
A bas-relief of boys playing field hockey

The statues evolved over time into free-standing dynamic pieces.

Bronze javelin thrower ~ 460 BC
The jockey of Artemsion ~ 140 BC

We were given some free time to wander around on our own and saw many other astonishing pieces. While at the Palace of Nestor we were told about the tablets found in the palace which contained an early Greek written language. This syllabic writing from around 1450 BC was deciphered in the early 1950s and is called Linear B. The tablets are in the Archeological Museum in Athens. It was like seeing a small Rosetta Stone!

Linear B tablets

Finally we see frescoes from a house that was buried under volcanic ash when the volcano that left the huge caldera on Santorini erupted in the 16th century BC.  Amazing!

Boxing boys
Room with floral decoration

After our time at the museum we ride around Athens for a bit seeing much of the same stuff as we saw the day before. We get back to the ship for a late lunch. (The fish curry was really good!)

We take a walk around the ship and play mini-golf again where I avenge my loss of the other day by winning over John by two holes. Yay!

Triumphant!

Although John takes a nap, I try to power through the rest of the afternoon in hopes that I will sleep better. We go to the Explorer Lounge for what has become our new tradition of listening to the guitarist and having Negroni sbagliatos. The bar team does  a pretty good job with them tonight.

We have dinner at The Restaurant for the first time and have a pretty tasty meal starting with foie gras then perfectly cooked pork tenderloin wrapped in pancetta on top of lentils and butternut squash. We finish up with a fruit plate. (I have not been good about taking food pictures today!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “A trip to the Archeological Museum in Athens. 9/27/21”

  1. Oh, this museum sounds wonderful!! Could have spent many hours there! Glad there are such interesting things to explore. And now that you can do some things on your own, you’ll find even more interesting stuff!!

    Congratulations on the golf win! I beat Al at regular golf on Monday.Women rule!

    Keep enjoying!

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