By traveling in Greece and Turkey, I’ve learned a lot more about Classical art and architecture. I find myself describing the ancient sites I’ve seen and usually slip something in about how “bright and colorful” it must have been. That usually stops the conversation. No one believes that ancient Greek and Roman statues were painted! I myself am still trying to wrap my head around what that would have looked like. But it’s true, and now I have my own photographic evidence that statues were colorful:
Posts from the ‘Greece’ Category
While this practice seems unthinkable today, across the Mediterranean, ancient Greek and Roman structures were salvaged for building materials in subsequent centuries. Given the prevalence of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, pagan buildings were at best a curiosity. The Parthenon in Rome is said to have only survived because it was converted into a church.
The Pentelic marble used to construct ancient Athens proved to be too alluring for Byzantine builders. You can see blatant example of stone theft in the piece-meal construction of the 13th century Panagia Gorgoepikoos Church in Athens. While the materials were stolen, the care with which pieces were selected and incorporated suggests some appreciation for classical art.
Don’t go to Mycenae if you want classical Greek architecture. It does not have elegant ionic columns or passionate friezes of Gods battling. It is not sophisticated artistically but still worth the trip. You visit Mycenae because it is a fortress so impressive and old that is was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (And #6 in my series.)
Living in the US, I take for granted that everyone accepts debit and credit cards as payment. We pulled up to a gas station in the southwest of mainland Greece and filled up. The gas station attendant handed us the bill and then waved off our credit card when we tried too pay. Clearly flustered because we didn’t have enough Euros for it, I tried to ask “where is the ATM?” The attendant pointed down the road and so I hopped out of the car while my husband when in search of cash.