Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Being Anthropo (Ανθρωπο) Use to Mean

One way or another we all heard about anthropology, anthropology or other similarly complicated words that have one thing in common, the root "anthropo". 
It's not hard to guess that the origin of that name is Greek. Today, in contemporary Greek, "anthropos" means "person" in general. 

What is interesting about it though is what is use to mean in Ancient Greece.
The current Greek word "anthropos" (ανθρωπος) is formed out of two other ancient words "ano" (άνω) and  "throsko" (θρώσκω). The literal translation would be "the one who looks up and moves up or forward". Meaning the open minded one, the one who is capable and willing to go higher. 

It's funny and disturbing in the same time to look around us and realize whom are we calling "anthropi" these days.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Waiting for the Barbarians - Constantine Cavafy

The more I read Cavafy, the more I like his poem and his approach on the world. I generally don't read that much poetry but every once in a while there is something that really catches my eye. The first Cavafy poem I read was Ithaka. It is probably the most known poem by Cavafy being translated in all major languages.

The one that I'm writing today though is called "Waiting for the Barbarians". If you didn't know it before I hope you will enjoy the swift criticism with perfume of irony that this poem, written at the beginning of the 20th century brings, being just as current now as it was then.


Constantine Cavafy - Waiting For The Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

            The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

            Because the barbarians are coming today.
            What laws can the senators make now?
            Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
            He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
            replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

            Because the barbarians are coming today
            and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

            Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
            And some who have just returned from the border say
            there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How the Europeans see Each Other

This is the work of Bulgarian artist Yanko Tsvetkov and it shows how Europeans see each other, now that the subject of European unity is a current topic. 
So, let's start with how the Greeks see all the other countries in Europe and we'll work our way up from there.

Europeans according to the Greeks  

Europeans according to the Romanians 
 Europeans according to the Germans

Europeans according to the Bulgarians

Europeans according to the Italians
Europeans according to the French
  Europeans according to the English

  Europeans according to the Spanish
  Europeans according to the Turkish

Europeans according to the Swiss
Europeans according to the Polish

Europeans according to the U.S.
 Other interesting maps from the same artist:

Cristal Ball View of Europe

Europeans according to their Hight


PS Visit the Contest Here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

17th of November 1973

A date that is celebrated to this day by protests, 17th of November 1973 is the "beginning of the end" for the dictatorship in Greece. The military dictatorship, "the junta", lead by Georgios Papadopoulos was instated in Greece in 1967 and lasted until 1974.

The demonstration against the regime started in February 1973 but the most important stand took place on the 17th of November when students, but not only, barricaded themselves in the Polytechnic University singing the national anthem and reciting their vow:
“We students of the Higher Education Institutions swear to the name of freedom and we must fight to the end to ensure our:  a) academic freedoms, b) university asylum, c) the withdrawal of all repressive laws and ordinances.”

That evening, police and military forces went inside the university followed by three tanks and using live ammunition. To this day nobody knows the actual number of deaths. According to different sources it varies from 16 t0 83.

The demonstration have been diapered but persecution of the participants continued.
Their stand inspired a whole country to stand against and fight the dictatorship. Less then a year later, they were to be successful. 

The university asylum right exists in Greece and it is respected to this day. As the name says, the authorities are not allowed inside the university and the university campus under any pretext.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ancient Olympia

This is a movie I made for my Greek class this week. I hope you like it.

In the order of apparition: 
Hera's Temple
Work Shop of Pheidias
The Temple of Zeus
Hermes of Praxiteles
Nike of Paeonios
Barble Bull -  Nymphaion
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
Reconstruction of the Statue of Zeus
The Chariot Race of Pelops and Oinomaos

Monday, November 12, 2012

Trip to Elatochori

Yesterday we really wanted to go for a hike somewhere close and easy. Olympus is close but not that easy so we decided to go in an area called Elatochori, pretty close to Olympus also.

We read nice articles about it, we saw a lot of beautiful pictures... We didn't find any relevant hiking maps but then again when did that stop us? We were hoping we are going to find an info center or a willing local to give us some details. 

Up to there the road was generally uneventful, a lot of highway with little view. The more we were approaching Elatochiri the more vivid the colors of the forest got and the more spectacular the view. 

The village is almost deserted at this time. Most of the "action" happens in winter because there is a sky slope close by. So, there goes our hope for a touristic information center. We did find though some very willing to help locals that recommended us to go to a beautiful waterfall called Sotiris which was supposed to be close by. They also suggested we should not go walking around since there are no actual hiking maps that include the area.

But, since we came for a hike there was no way we were going back without it just because a nice local advised us not to. We left the car behind near a spring thinking that that would help us find it easier when we come back, we took the backpack, our boots and started walking on the first path we saw, looking for the waterfall, going..well...going straight for a while... and then up.. and then...we found our selves at a dead end. 

How often does that happen on the mountain? Paths that lead to dead ends? Since we decided there is no turning back we manage to eventually find a path... the only trick about  it was that it wasn't a human one... it was a goat path. Well, as good as any when you need it. 

If we are to make abstraction of the fact the we had no idea where we were or where we were going for that matter I must say I really enjoyed the view, the autumn colors and the chilly air. 

Three hours and a half later we were still looking for the waterfall but this time far more tired and starting to worry that we won't be able to find the car by night fall. But just when hope started to fade out we stumbled, literally, on an indicator to the Sotiris waterfall. We ran to have a look since we didn't really have a lot of time to spare. We've been searching for it the whole afternoon and now that we found it we just had time to take a short look. I believe that was the most "chased" "waterfall in history. 

As an old Romanian proverb says, "At the blind stork God makes its nest" we managed to find the car just in time.
Passing through the village again we decided to have a warm chocolate at the only pub we could find open and this is how it looked.

Yummy, ha?

PS Don't forget about the ongoing contest of this month: Give Greece a Hero

Monday, November 5, 2012

Give Greece a Hero!

From the Ancient times to the modern days, from mythology to reality Greek heroes found their honorable place in history.

It’s time for Greece to give the world another hero to fight the beast that has been plundering and terrorizing our world for the last 5 years.Insinuating at first, she caught a hold on our lives so strong that we can barely breathe.

Her name is Krissia and everybody knows her true face for we see her everyday amongst us causing pain and anguish while harvesting people’s bitter tears. 

Krissia is a daemon as old as time itself but don’t be fooled by her elderly appearance for her powers grow along with the age. Defeated in the old times by knights in shining armor or by cunning witches she retreated in her underground lair plotting against humanity, planning her return and waiting for the best time strike again in a moment of weakness.

Before our time, her moment came in 1929 along with Wall Street Crush. Then, she plunged upon the un expecting world sinking her sharp teeth into unsuspecting victims to feed her insatiable blood thirst. She kept the world in her iron fist grasp for four agonizing years.

Now, she crawled again out from her creepy deep lair to do her worst. 

Stop her reign of terror! Give Greece a Hero! 

"Give Greece a Hero"
5.11.2012 - 20.12.2012
Create your own hero:
1. Click on the picture to change it
2. Click on the weapon to change it
3. Clink on the power to change it
4. Click on the name to change it
5. Click on the supra-name to change it 

6. Write the hero's objective - use your imagination
When you found the right combination register your hero by writing your name and email address at the bottom of the game in the specified areas. 
7. Click "Submit"
8. If you're proud with your work, print screen the page and share it on Facebook for your friends to see and give them a change to build their own hero.(this is not mandatory) 

What do you win? 
You get an official "It's All Greek To Me" T-shirt that you can see here:
and half a kilo of siropiasta (Σιροπιαστά) - syrup sweets from Terkenlis. Here is the link, you can start drooling from now.  
If the winner is from outside the European Union, unfortunately we won't be able to send the sweets. 

How do you win?
The hero with the most imaginative mission wins. 
Missions that are outside the purpose of the game or are vulgar will be disqualified. 

 I own no rights over the pictures used in the game.I thank the creators/designers for them. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The "No" Day

This weekend has been very eventful in Thessaloniki. Except from the celebration of 100 years of Independence from the Turks, yesterday, on the 28th of October, the whole of Greece celebrated the "NO" Day(Η Μέρα του Οχι").

As a foreigner you might ask yourself why would a whole nation celebrate a negation but it might make a bit more sense once you know where it comes from.

In the early morning of October 28t 1940, the Greek Prime Minister, Ioannis Metaxas received an ultimatum from of the Italian Ambassador in Greece, Emanuele Grazzi. The ultimatum demanded Greece to allow Axis forces free passage and the occupation of certain unspecified strategic locations or else, face immediate military repercussions.

Allegedly, the answer of the Greek Prime mister was a laconic "Oxi"("no") in reality his answer was "Alors, c'est la guerre" ("Then it's war"). A couple of hours later, the Italian troops stationed at the Albanian border entered Greece and launched a full scale attack. 

No one expected Greece to resist not to mention fight back and yet by mid December 1940 Greek army pushed the Axis forces back to the border and even recovered some Albanian territories.
This was the first Allied victory in the Second World War and the first ray of hope.