Δευτέρα 11 Νοεμβρίου 2013

The quintessential British backdrop

Today's post is actually written by Marina Labrakis, a DPhil candidate in modern Greek at the University of Oxford. 

Marina spotted and sent over the new advert for the Marks & Spencer stores in the UK. 

I republish her comments with her permission and also many many thanks - there's no way I could have put it better myself. 

It's the most recent Marks & Spencer advertising campaign, entitled 'Britain's Leading Ladies', which features a variety of prominent British women and is shot by Annie Leibovitz. In the background of one of the photos used, for some reason there is a classical statue, for instance as seen here.

According to the M&S blurb, "A London artist’s studio sets the scene for the rebellious yet playful ’London Calling’ trend... [which] captures the creative spirit of individuality." 

So it seems the reference to the classical world is there in order to evoke this idea of creativity. But I guess, also, the statue alludes to ideals of beauty, grace, and the perfect form, which of course M&S are keen to flag up in the context of a fashion campaign. Moreover, I'm interested by the appropriation of a classical artefact within a very celebratory British context (the campaign is described as using "quintessentially British backdrops"), in the service of extolling what is inspirational about British heritage.

Τετάρτη 6 Νοεμβρίου 2013

But why in Lamia?

The following image is courtesy of fellow archaeologist Heinrich Hall, to whom many thanks are due for taking the photograph and sending it over for publication on the blog.
I can't really describe my enthusiasm when I saw it in my mail. 

This is a modern monument, a large marble stele, erected outside the Lamia castle in central Greece. 
It shows the legendary actress and once Minister of Culture Melina Merkouri standing in front of the Parthenon signing for victory. On the base lies an inscription in Greek, a Line from a poem written by the famous Greek poet Giannis Ritsos "Σε τούτα δω τα μάρμαρα κακιά σκουριά δεν πιάνει", which (translated rather freely) means "these marbles here can't be destroyed bad rust". 

This is an intriguing piece of modern art depicting a curious scene which seems/is out of place outside the Lamia castle. I couldn't find any more information regarding the artist or the reason why this monument was erected there. 

P.S. For Greek readers: Ο στίχος είναι από το "Εδώ το φως" από τα "Δεκαοκτώ λιανοτράγουδα της πικρής πατρίδας"

Σε τούτα δω τα μάρμαρα κακιά σκουριά δεν πιάνει
μηδέ αλυσίδα στου ρωμιού και στου αγεριού το πόδι. 

Εδώ το φως, εδώ ο γιαλός, - χρυσές, γαλάζιες γλώσσες,
στα βράχια ελάφια πελεκάν, τα σίδερα μασάνε

Τετάρτη 30 Οκτωβρίου 2013

WW II Greek Heroes

Today's image should have been published yesterday. The 28th of October is Greece's national holiday commemorating the beginning of the Greek-Italian war and Greece's entrance in World War II. 

Greek archaeologist Valia Papanastasopoulou-Kasri posted the following sketch on her Facebook profile saying it comes from an English newspaper, obviously published during the Greek-Italian war when the Greeks demonstrated remarkable courage and strength. 
In this picture the Greek Heroes, warriors depicted on a Greek pediment, invite a Greek soldier to join them. 

Σάββατο 26 Οκτωβρίου 2013

When in Leuven

My dear friend, eminent archaeologist Kostas Paschalidis, sent this just now from Leuven, Belgium. 

This is a restaurant that doesn't fail to attract attention, as it is appropriately decorated to signify ancient Greece in all possible ways: the temple façade  Caryatids in the showcase and a nice original idea of putting a black-figured vase scene on the pediment. You just can't loose any clients, wondering what your cuisine is. 

Παρασκευή 18 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Σκορπιοί εν Αθήναις

*Special thanks are due for this find to my good friend Marianna Tsigakou*

On September 2013 the legendary rock group The Scorpions did three concerts in Athens. 
The concerts were recorded and a CD will be released on November 29, 2013. It will be appropriately called "Scorpions MTV Unplugged". 

The Scorpions are particularly popular with Greek audiences and these Athenian concerts had a very interesting backdrop: scenes from red-figured vases decorated the back of the stage and one of them will also be on the cover of the CD. 

Τρίτη 24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

The Chios Twin Greek Bins

I just received this photograph from fellow archaeologist Marsia Bealby. 

Thank you Marsia for thinking of the blog when you saw this amazing find: 
two twin waste bins in Nagos beach on Chios island, Greece. 

I bet when you look at ancient Greek pots you never see them as serving as waste bins. Well, they most probably did at some point, so there you have it: Modern Greek creativity and consumption of Greek Antiquity does serve archaeological interpretation as well. 

Δευτέρα 23 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

Being the bee's knees

This is a very inventive way of using the famous Minoan golden bee pendant from the Chrysolakkos cemetery near Mallia in Crete.

The poster above publicises a very good cause, so the co-operative bees image seemed an appropriate choice: the 2nd Alternative Festival of Solidarity & Cooperative Economics, will be taking place in Athens, on 11-13 October 2013 at the Cultural Center of Elliniko.


Τρίτη 17 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

Jeremy Scott's Winged Shoes

Fashion designer Jeremy Scott has been collaborating with Adidas since 2008 producing a new version of the well-known high top Adidas shoe: the winged shoes.

Inspiration by Hermes' sandals is obvious and here are some examples



Κυριακή 15 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

Our poetry is life

This is a truly beautiful and rare picture - I'm very happy I stumbled upon it and want to share it with all of you. 

This is Matsi Hatzilazarou, a Greek poet, standing in front of the Apollo temple at Ancient Corinth. 
The photograph was taken by her husband, the Greek poet Andreas Embirikos, in June 1940, during their honeymoon in Corinthia and the Argolid.  

*The post's title is by a poem written by Matsi Hatzilazarou 

Τα λουλούδια των δέντρων είναι τα πουλιά.
Το σιγανό κελάηδισμα της θάλασσας είναι η πτώση
της βροχής στο τελευταίο τεμπέλικο κύμα τού ακρογιαλιού.
Τη μυρουδιά τού ήλιου τη χύνει το σφαγμένο πεπόνι.
Η ποίησή μας είναι η ζωή.

Τρίτη 10 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

Τρίτη 3 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

The Metaxa scarf

This is a rather rare find: a scarf designed by the well-known Greek designer Yannis Tseklenis, for the Greek brandy Metaxa. 


Many thanks to archaeologist Alexandros Andreou who was quick to provide the inspiration for this image. Tseklenis, rather unsuccessfully, copies a scene from the so-called Eurytios krater, a Corinthian column crater found in Cerveteri dating ca. 600 BC. 

Παρασκευή 23 Αυγούστου 2013

The De-lightful Caryatid

This post is courtesy of fellow archaeologist Vasko Demou. Many thanks Vasko!

This year's poster for the 19th Athens International Film Festival, made by Jonathan Burton, features a... de-lightful Caryatid. 

Here's the link to the Festival's site 

Κυριακή 4 Αυγούστου 2013

The Lebanese Poseidon

This photograph is courtesy of my dear friend Kostas Paschalidis to whom I extend my deepest thanks. 
He informs me that this is the sign of the Beirut Yachting Club featuring none other than Poseidon with trident in hand. 

Τετάρτη 10 Ιουλίου 2013

Minoan fresco in Andros.

It is with great pride and joy that I present through this blog an amazing discovery done by my dear friend and avid researcher, Mania Kostopoulou

Mania recently discovered this extraordinary Minoan fresco on the island of Andros. It is as yet the first of its kind, but in fact no surprise to all students of Minoan culture, who would expect Minoan influence to have reached the island at least by the Neopalatial period. 

Not only is this a unique occurrence on Andros but a unique Minoan fresco as well regarding its subject. As you may see part of a standing male musician to the left survives playing a double flute. He is wearing the characteristic Minoan kilt with phallus-sheath and double belt, his wavy long strands of hair flowing in the back. Facing the musician was another human of which only the hands survive, stretched towards the male musician, belonging seemingly to a female figure, with three beaded bracelets on the right wrist. This human appears to be positioned higher and portrayed in a larger scale, so perhaps a divine figure is depicted enjoying the musician's performance. 

Hopefully more frescoes like this one will come to light after the systematic research of the bar, now lying in ruins, the walls of which they decorated. 

This is a humorous piece referring to a modern fresco decorating the walls of a modern bar on the island of Andros. 


More photographs from the interior of the bar provided by Mania Kostopoulou and Paris Stefanidis (many many thanks guys!) 

Πέμπτη 13 Ιουνίου 2013

Juvenalia in Poland

Sophia Katseli, reporting from Poland, informed me (via our good mutual friend Marianna Tsigakou) of the customary celebration of student spring break week in Poland involving dress-up and drinking activities. 

They appropriately call the whole celebration juvenalia or piastonalia and, as you can see from the photographs kindly provided by Sophia, some dress up (or undress, depends on how you see things) inspired by Roman and Greek antiquity. 
Though this seems more Roman than Greek, I have to say I was really smitten by the way a

young student uses his nice black-figured amphora. 

*Many thanks Sophia and Marianna!*

Σάββατο 4 Μαΐου 2013

Happy Greek Easter

Tomorrow Orthodox Greeks celebrate Easter all over the world and wish each other 
Καλό Πάσχα, Happy Easter!

You would think a Christian holiday would have nothing to do with ancient Greece, but I found three images that perfectly fit the Easter context and help me wish Happy Easter to all the readers of the blog

Artwork by Steph Laberis reproduced from this page (many thanks to Louise Hitchcock and Marsia Bealby who brought this to my attention)

Δευτέρα 15 Απριλίου 2013

Dizzie in Greece

I am immensely grateful to fellow archaeologist Vasko (Vassilis) Demou for bringing this to my attention and also leading me to an excellent entry in a blog providing more information (see below). 
Thanks Vasko!

This is the cover of an album by Dizzie Gillespie which came out in 1956. 

In March of 1956, bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and his band embarked for Southern Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia on the first U.S. State Department Jazz tour. The urgency to strengthen the image of America in the Mediterranean led him to Athens for a series of concerts. And Dizzy, with his spell-binding virtuosity, arresting solos, and egalitarian sensibilities buoyed by playful humor, won over a wide variety of audiences.

Greeks had been rioting in Athens in May 1956, protesting America's resolve to support the British in the struggle for Cyprus. Newspapers were asking why America was sending Jazz bands to Greece instead of guns. Dizzy's opening concert was staged for the same students who had just thrown rocks at the windows of the U.S. Information Service. Tension was high as the band started to play and students jeered. Quickly, an ominous silence fell. And then... as the band roared and swung, the jeers turned to cheers and the riot had turned to roaring approval with hats, jackets and other apparel thrown to the ceiling. The crowd was so taken that they carried Dizzy out on their shoulders stalling traffic in the center of Athens.

Dizzy and Quincy Jones also met with legendary composer Manos Hadjidakis and the infamous bouzouki player Vassilis Tsitsanis. Gilespie with his trumpet, Tsitsanis on the bouzouki and Quincy Jones on the piano jammed together for hours and it has been told that it was some sight to behold!

Information via this excellent blog HERE

Τρίτη 2 Απριλίου 2013

Athens Pride 2013

Many thanks to archaeologist Despoina Koutsoumba who pointed out this great poster to me yesterday! 

This is the poster used for the Athens Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade for 2013. 

If you don't read Greek, the message on the shield says "Athens is ours" which can be read both as "we 'conquer' Athens" or as "Athena is one of us"

Αθήνα is Athens and Αθηνά is Athena (the goddess) which is why they chose capital letters. 

Σάββατο 30 Μαρτίου 2013


Special thanks for this discovery go to fellow archaeologist, prof. Despina Katapoti. 

This is the logo from the International Animation Festival and Forum which is held annually in the Greek island of Syros. 

This is the festival's webpage

The logo is evidently inspired by a Cycladic marble figurine, very cleverly and tastefully used.  

Watch this great video advertising this year's festival. 

Σάββατο 2 Μαρτίου 2013

The Mycenaean pictorial pottery shower curtain

This could very well be the last post on this blog (fear not, it's not). I honestly don't think I'll ever get to see a strangest find than this -though I know life is full of surprises... 

I have studied long and hard many aspects of Mycenaean pictorial vase-painting, but I never thought I'd ever see this shower curtain decorated with a Mycenaean pictorial pottery motif of a hedgehog. 

The curtain is inspired by the fragment of a deep bowl found in Mycenae, decorated with a hedgehog under the handle. 

The item is for sale HERE

Τετάρτη 20 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

The Greek element in the Bowie-Iman wedding

Special thanks for this discovery are due to my close friend, antiquities conservator, Mania Kostopoulou

While reading an article on Iman and David Bowie, Mania noticed a beautiful photograph of the lovely couple behind a wedding cake. And what a wedding-cake that was! Four-storied, each story supported by well-made white doric fluted columns. The whole thing rather recalls a multi-storied tholos -minus the roof of course. 
On top of the cake is a rather strange couple performing acrobatics -hmm can't think of why. 

There's actually no way, a normal person could have ever noticed this detail, which is probably why I couldn't find anything on the web regarding this cake -Iman and Bowie are so radiant-, so Mania, thanks again for this! 

Δευτέρα 11 Φεβρουαρίου 2013

Demeter Fertiliser

Fellow archaeologist and great photographer Fotis Yfantidis shared a very interesting photograph on CGA's Facebook page: the emblem of the Greek Phosphoric Fertiliser Industry showing Demeter holding a torch and shallow bowl. 

I'm reproducing it here along with some more photographs found on the net.