Week 6

Week 6

Saturday May 2nd

Sites Visited: Eleusis (Attic sanctuary), Osios Loukas (Byzantine monastery)

Where did we stay tonight?: Delphi

Leaders: Joe Indvik and Alex Assaf

Today, we braved the depths of Hades and returned unscathed to the mortal world.  We ventured where the uninitiated were prohibited, on pain of death, for centuries.  We scoured the ancient ruins of Eleusis, the site of a mystery cult whose secrets have remained shrouded in darkness since its foundation in 725 B.C.  We entered the Telesterion, a large convention hall where the high-priest performed the rites of initiation in front of 3000 spectators.  We quickly shuffled past the Ploutonion, a dark and damp cave where the God of the Underworld was said to have come forth to abduct Persephone.  Out of grief, her mother, the goddess Demeter, stopped all living things on Earth from growing.  It was only after Zeus persuaded Hades to return the maiden that Demeter taught mankind the art of agriculture.  That first wheat crop must have been quite a surprise (see simulated reaction of villagers below).  Finally, we emerged changed men and women:  initiated and wise.  As Cicero wrote, “We learn in [the Mysteries] the principles of life, and from them acquire not only a way of living in happiness, but also a way of dying with greater hope.”

We then ventured west to Osios Loukas, a Byzantine monastery established in 946 A.D.  After a lucid introductory lecture about Byzantine architecture—you would be surprised how much debate can ensue over the difference between a “squinch” and “pendentive”—we embarked on a project.  The task:  compare and contrast a Byzantine painting on the roof of the church with the Classical aesthetic, then discuss which artistic tradition we prefer.  It was a wonderful opportunity to release the snobby art critic within us all.

We sit now near the famous site of Delphi, itching to see what is in store for us tomorrow.  Oh yeah, that’s right.  We’re all giving presentations.  All-nighters on an FSP?  There’s a first time for everything.

Lunch RUSH at Osios Loukas:

Day 42 Photo Gallery:

Kathryn, Jerry, Alex M., and Ben take notes at Eleusis.

Kathryn, Jerry, Alex M., and Ben take notes at Eleusis.

Chris asks a question while Ally and Alex A take notes in front of the Eleusinian acropolis.

Chris asks a question while Ally and Alex A take notes in front of the Eleusinian acropolis.

Ben and KT check out the outer court at Eleusis.

Ben and KT check out the outer court at Eleusis.

Jerry gives us his best "I love archaeology" smile at Eleusis.

Jerry gives us his best "I love archaeology" smile at Eleusis.

Marcus Aurelius reaches out from the past.  KT, Kait, and Alex M. are awed.

Marcus Aurelius reaches out from the past. KT, Kait, and Alex M. are awed.

Oh how tradition changes through the ages - why, Romans, oh why did you mess with the Triglyphs!?

Oh how tradition changes through the ages - why, Romans, oh why did you mess with the Triglyphs!?

Charlie documents the architectural remains of the inner propylon.

Charlie documents the architectural remains of the inner propylon.

The unitiated invade the Telesterion at Eleusis.

The unitiated invade the Telesterion at Eleusis.

Walking the walls of Eleusis.

Walking the walls of Eleusis.

Gazing down into the archaeological palimpsest of earlier Telesteria.

Gazing down into the archaeological palimpsest of earlier Telesteria.

Kait makes one of her patented "selfies" in the Telesterion.

Kait makes one of her patented "selfies" in the Telesterion.

Jason contemplates the sacred basket.

Jason contemplates the sacred basket.

Still life with group and piglet in the Eleusis museum.

Still life with group and piglet in the Eleusis museum.

Kait and Dallis discuss the secret rites of the Eleusinian mysteries.

Kait and Dallis discuss the secret rites of the Eleusinian mysteries.

Simulated reaction of villagers to Demeter's gift of grain.

Simulated reaction of villagers to Demeter's gift of grain.

Oh Eleusis amphora - look how "Nobody" blinds Polyphemus!

Oh Eleusis amphora - look how "Nobody" blinds Polyphemus!

...and this is why the back of the amphora is never seen in textbooks - thanks for pointing that one out, Charlie.

...and this is why the back of the amphora is never seen in textbooks - thanks for pointing that one out, Charlie.

Ben, Jerry, and KT think about how Eleusis compares to other Greek sanctuaries.

Ben, Jerry, and KT think about how Eleusis compares to other Greek sanctuaries.

Chris, Dallis, and Alex M. work on their assignment in the Telesterion.

Chris, Dallis, and Ally work on their assignment in the Telesterion.

Kathryn, Kait, and Alex M. follow suit.

Kathryn, Kait, and Alex M. follow suit.

Joe and Alex A. personify the grace and wit characteristic of all great leaders as they work to complete their Eleusis assignment.

Joe and Alex A. personify the grace and wit characteristic of all great leaders as they work to complete their Eleusis assignment.

Prof. Christesen lectures on Byantine art at Osios Loukas.

Prof. Christesen lectures on Byantine art at Osios Loukas.

The mosaics of Osios Loukas capture the students' collective gaze in the Katholikon.

The mosaics of Osios Loukas capture the students' collective gaze in the Katholikon.

Mosaic in the Katholikon at Osios Loukas.

Mosaic in the Katholikon at Osios Loukas.

Be-squinched dome in the Theotokos.

Be-squinched dome in the Theotokos.

Charlie and Ally work on their assignment in the cloisters outside of the Katholikon.

Charlie and Ally work on their assignment in the cloisters outside of the Katholikon.

Alex M. and Chris work industriously by the Katholikon.

Alex M. and Chris work industriously by the Katholikon.

The bell tower of Osios Loukas with the valley spreading out beyond.

The bell tower of Osios Loukas with the valley spreading out beyond.

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