By Mariah Abshire & Christina Mashishi
After a free day full of relaxation and shopping, our group is back together and taking Athens by storm… Hollins style. We began our morning at the foot of a living relic dating to antiquity. This olive tree is 1500 years old!
Today was round two at the National Archeological Museum. Instead of focusing on artistic skills and practices of Ancient Greece, we discussed ancient art’s ability to express narratives.
The first stop was at the female kore statue. What is so important about her is that she is one of only four kore that are funerary markers and not votive. Many male scholars love to claim that this kore is simply a product of overly grieved parents. However, Professor Salowey expanded this argument to the class, suggesting the kore might have instead stood as symbol of the bravery and sacrifice of young women who protected and fought for Attica.
Another striking statue was the bronze horse and young jockey. This statue was retrieved in pieces from a ship wreck in Euboea. Here was a great example of strong emotional expression and dynamic movement of the Hellenistic period.
Before breaking off to wonder on our own, we moved through the extensive vase collection. What’s interesting about Attica vases is that, the clay is more iron-based and so the pottery comes out more red than pottery from other Greek regions. The museum even displayed a mock burial, so that viewers could imagine how vases were kept with the dead.
Vases were not only used for funerary purposes, though. They depicted various events from antiquity, some even show dancing and marital ceremonies.
Our next stop was the ancient site of Kerameikos. Kerameikos was apart of the ancient city of Athens and contains a fountain house, the city gates, the Eridanos river and the famous cemetery.
Near the fountain house of Kerameikos, we listened to Julianna’s ongoing research of sacred spaces. She shared with us her observations on how spirituality plays a big factor in visiting these sites and looking at artifacts. We look forward to Julianna’s research furthering into a senior thesis.
Athenians were not the only people buried at this cemetery, foreign diplomats and traders are found here. We also visited the museum on site that contains the original grave markers that would’ve been found in the cemetery.
We ended our day immersing ourselves in our cultural crossroads theme. We had a lovely lunch inspired by Mediterranean Jewish cuisine.
Tomorrow marks our final full day in Greece. Stay tuned to see what final adventure awaits!