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A day in Santorini, a day in heaven July 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.
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A leisurely lunch, a spot of culture, charming shops and jaw-dropping views. This Cycladic island provides the perfect recipe for a relaxing day.

Breakfast with a view

07.30: Why go out to breakfast when there are such fabulous views from your own terrace? The cliff face overlooking Santorini’s caldera was once honeycombed with fishermen’s dwellings. These have been converted into luxury apartments with sun terraces and swimming pools. The Ikies apartments in Oia (22860 71311; www.ikies.com) are typical. Every morning breakfast is laid out for you on the terrace by friendly but discreet staff. A week’s rental costs from €1,400.

Stroll to the shops

09.00: Fira is the new capital of Santorini, built for its access to the sea and visiting cruise ships. The whole town clings dramatically to the cliff face and is well worth strolling around in the morning sun. Make for Agiou Mina, the main street running along the south edge of the caldera, which has several shops worth a browse. This leads to the 18th-century church of the same name, whose blue dome and white campanile have become the defining symbol of Santorini – and of the whole Cyclades. Grab a coffee nearby at Café Classico (22860 23112).

Pick up a bit of culture

11.00: Time for a spot of culture. The Megaro Gyzi Museum (22860 22244), located opposite the Roman Catholic cathedral, displays old photographs of the island before and after the big earthquake of 1956, and of the birth of the new volcano. There’s usually a display of island costume and local art too. It opens daily from 10.30am-1.30pm and 5pm-8pm. Admission €1.50.

Fancy lunch? Try mezze and wine

12.30: Lunch! If you’re staying in Fira go back to the main square to find Nikolas (22860 24750) which serves huge helpings of mezze plus wine from the barrel. If you fancy heading somewhere quieter try Skala (22860 71362) in Oia which is a good, open air taverna with great views down into the caldera and friendly service from Sophie, the multilingual waitress.

Take a cruise to a baby volcano

14.00: Set sail on the Jason for a three-hour cruise to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni – you can get down to the port of Skala, Fira by donkey, cable car (€3.50) or on foot. The Dakoutros brothers (22860 24286; dakoutros-boats@santorinihotel.gr) who operate the return trips will give you the chance to swim in the hot springs that are caused by a submarine vent from the volcano. It costs €15 per person but there’s an extra charge (negotiated on the ship) if you want to be taken ashore to explore the baby volcano.

Drinks on your own terrace

16.30: Enjoy a snooze on board ship as you head back across the caldera to Skala, Fira. Once you dock, head home to shower and change for the evening. Settle down to a drink and a few olives on your terrace while you decide how best to enjoy the sunset this evening.

Pick a seat at a nice taverna

19.30: Head for the tiny harbour of Amoudi and its two tavernas – the Sunset Restaurant (22860 71606) and Katina’s (22860 71280), which are the perfect place to eat and drink as the sun sets over the Cyclades. Alternatively, there’s 1800, an old sea captain’s house on the main street in Oia, (22860 71485; www.oia-1800.com), which has a deserved reputation for fine dining in one of the oldest houses on the island (but not such a great view).

Art, bars and a jewel or two

22.00: Make your way back through Oia. Shops and bars stay open late on summer’s evenings. The Aiolos Gallery (22860 71053) is one of the island’s best for jewellery. Visit the studio of Stavros Galanopoulos (22860 71448; www.galanopoulos.com) for traditional paintings of the island.

Santorini: A Heaven in the lap of the Gods July 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.
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Born of fire and brimstone, the vertiginous island of Santorini now envelopes its visitors in peace and tranquillity, a natural work of art.

If you could go anywhere in the world, right now, where would it be? For me the answer has always been the same: Santorini. To experience the island’s unforgettable serenity.

What makes Santorini so special is that most of its townships sit along a precipitous cliff edge that drops 1,000ft down to the deep blue Cycladic sea.

Getting out of bed, padding out on to your own white-painted terrace and looking down that vertiginous drop to the sea must be what living on Mount Olympus is like. Zeus-like, you gaze down on the world of mortals, watching little ocean-going cruise liners nose their way silently into port.

The silence of Santorini in the early morning, a silence broken by the tinny clang of the occasional church bell, is worth any number of hours bouncing across from Crete in a Flying Cat, or any number of delays in Athens airport.

And yet it wasn’t always so. Recent research has shown that where I’m perched this morning, drinking my freshly-squeezed juice, was once a mere foothill on the side of a vast volcano that blew apart aeons ago, leaving this 1,000ft crater rim.

It’s believed that Santorini is the remains of ancient Thira, a volcanic island whose demise was so spectacular that the resultant tsunami smashed into Crete 60 miles away and destroyed Minoan civilisation.

But it was only in April this year that scientists uncovered the petrified remains of an olive tree buried on Santorini the day of that catastrophic eruption. Carbon-dating now means that they can tell us not only the exact moment when the Minoans were wiped out, but also confirm that layers of ash found in Egypt, the Black Sea, Greenland and even California were laid down during a Bronze Age “nuclear winter” that followed the cataclysmic destruction of Thira.

The date of the eruption is now known to be around 1600BC. Most of the island was vaporised. With it went what appears to have been a very sophisticated society, according to wall paintings remarkably preserved around the olive tree. What remained when all the ash had settled were two stumpy islands that had been the outer edges of the old volcano. These became known as Thirasia and Santorini. The 10-mile wide crater lake between them, where the heart of the volcano had been ripped out, filled up with sea water.

That’s what I’m looking down into now, a sight so serene it is impossible to believe it was once a cauldron of exploding rock. However, there are small reminders. The grey, flat surface of the caldera is disturbed by three islands that have thrust up from the seabed in recent centuries. The largest, Nea Kameni, is in fact a small active volcano. Close up, it is a pile of ugly, rubble-strewn rock, thrown up as if some giant were down below digging into the seabed and flinging up the debris behind him. It stinks of sulphur, and the sea all around bubbles with hot springs.

But, sitting up here, you’d know none of this. Those of us who holiday in the towns of Fira, Oia and Imerovigli are removed from everything apart from cafés, bars, restaurants and art galleries. Santorini is nature’s work of art, a lofty vantage point from which to enjoy the vast bright blue and white seascape that surrounds this island. Not surprisingly, it has inspired painters, potters and jewellers to set up studios and shops here. Spend a day walking between your favourite cafés and restaurants and you’ll be unlikely to come back without something beautiful – and a hole in your pocket.

Though you can live cheaply on Santorini by lugging back wine and olives to your terrace every day, it has recently become a place to take your money on holiday.

These days the island is awash with young American lawyers and corporate types, an affluent and discriminating clientele. These guys get very little annual holiday so wherever they go has to carry a guarantee of perfection. Not surprisingly, companies such as ITC Classics and Small Luxury Hotels of the World have moved in, marketing Santorini’s apartments with their infinity swimming pools, al fresco massage tables and terrace dining. Your suite may be a whitewashed skafta (cave house) dug into the cliff face, but the DVD player will be state-of-the-art, the kitchen chrome and the toiletries covetable.

Myself, I’ve always stayed at the same place – Ikies, a honeycomb of old cave houses just south of the village of Oia. There are several small terraces, each with its own pool, a staff whose only desire in life is to fix you drinks, and a power point on the deck so I can sit out with my laptop and try to write. Inevitably I’m distracted by the comings and goings of the cruise ships below. Just watching their bows carve long, perfect Vs out of the still waters of the caldera can absorb me for hours and, before I know it, lunch and a bottle of Boutari are calling.

In the afternoons people take siestas, rising tousle-haired for a few lengths of those minuscule swimming pools before setting off for the sunset in Amoudi. This is an unmissable event. Folk drive from the south and east ends of Santorini to watch the sun go down from this small fishing village. Fortunately you can walk from Oia, which is what I have always done and what I now do with my friends or alone.

We’ll probably eat on the quayside at one of Amoudi’s two tavernas, overlooking the tranquil sea. It’s such a silly, romantic thing to do – who can avoid falling in love all over again?

Then we’ll wind our slow way all the way up again and wander home through Oia, where the village shops and bars have suddenly sprung to life. People do rash things on the way back from Amoudi after the sun has set. I have been known to buy jewellery and I don’t imagine I’m the only one to have done so.

Next, it’s the cliff-top path home, lights twinkling below us, swimming pools glowing aquamarine and the sea in darkness. And another day to look forward to, another day rising on your own personal little white cloud and watching the world go by below. Mount Olympus might seem a bit tame after Santorini.

Of course, in a few thousand years’ time, the whole place may blow up again. Volcanic activity tends to go in cycles and fissures in the seabed have a habit of building vast igneous islands only to blast them apart when you’re least expecting it.

They say Nea Kameni gets bigger every year. But until it destroys itself, and Santorini with it, we have our own heaven on earth.

Patras: Europe’s lively Capital of Culture July 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Mainland, Patras Caltural Capital 2006.
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Europe’s lively new Capital of Culture has an unpretenious charm that is hard to resist.

For most tourists, Patras is just a big noisy port on the northern coast of the Peloponnese – a hop-off point for ferry trips to the islands and Italy. Few linger. Not even Byron; he first set foot in Greece here, then promptly left.

But there is a reason to stay. Patras, Greece’s third largest city, is European Capital of Culture for 2006. And as Christos Roilos, co-ordinator of a year-long programme of music, exhibitions and street theatre, explained: “We have 1.5 million visitors passing through each year, so our strategy is to use this event to help us become somewhere people will want to remain.”

It has to be said that although nearly €135 million have been earmarked for regeneration, the work is significantly behind schedule. My walks during a visit earlier last year were punctuated by the sound of pneumatic drills and the sight of potholes and cordoned-off pavements. Yet this noisy mayhem didn’t entirely mask what is an authentic and vigorous city, and one with some surprises.

First stop: an exhibition of old film clips. Shots of local houses devastated during the Second World War and streets swamped by the floods of 1997 painted a moving portrait of a city accustomed to reinvention. And there are echoes of this renewal wherever you go.

Escaping the noisy port area, I climbed the hundred steps from pedestrianised Aghios Nikolaos up to the old town. Here, the Byzantine ruins of the old Kastro preside over a delightful district of calm, narrow lanes. Traffic noise gives way to bird-filled orange groves, and office blocks to country-style villas. A neighbouring odeon, built in AD 150 and seating 2,300 spectators, still stages classical plays and rock concerts. The mountains to the north are a backdrop to the blue expanse of the Gulf of Corinth, with distant silhouettes of Cephalonia and Ithaca.

At St Andrew’s church, you can see remnants of the diagonal crucifix on which this apostle of Greece and Asia Minor was martyred. His skull is preserved in an ornate reliquary.

Nearby is a café-studded square, Plateia Psila Alonia. Shady umbrella pines, cool bars and tremendous views have made it the trendiest spot in Patras. Yet even here the past is present. There’s a sizeable chunk of old Roman wall beneath its southern end, and in the 19th century, when the currant industry brought prosperity, fruit were dried and sorted here.

The homes of the European currant merchants can be seen throughout Patras – grand, pastel-painted neo-classical villas with ornate balconies, many of which are being renovated as part of this year’s cultural programme. But one merchant’s involvement with currant affairs led to something more lasting than dried fruit.

Spotting the potential in the rolling hills of Achaia, Gustav Clauss, a Bavarian, set up Greece’s first commercial bottling plant. His winery, Achaia Clauss, is now famed for Demestica, and Mavrodaphne, the second oldest sweet wine after port.

The winery’s mementoes include handwritten orders from Bismarck and Liszt, and a note from Alistair MacLean thanking the producers for naming one of their wines “Navarone”.

Back in the city, Patras’s huge student population flocks to innumerable bars, from the sugar-pink retro-chic of Si Doux on Patreos Street to the stylish cafes flanking Aghios Nikolaos. There is not a Starbucks in sight. From the terrace of Palaion bar, I watched a tipsy parade of pre-carnival revellers decked out in tricorn hats, velvet cloaks and fancy ball-gowns, swaying in time to the strains of a bouzouki, before stopping at a nearby bar to refuel.

In contrast, Ichthyoskala, a no-frills fish shack located by the port, had me settling into the real Greece. Gnarled fishermen eyed me with curiosity. The waitress looked baffled. Not a tourist in sight. Yet I soon felt perfectly at home. Having chosen my fish from a wooden crate, I enjoyed a delicious supper of grilled sole, halva smeared with honey and a complimentary carafe of Mavrodaphne.

If you like Greece to be gritty rather than pretty, Patras takes some beating.

Patras basics

Stay in Patras at the boutique Primarolia Art Hotel, 2610-624900, www.arthotel.gr/primarolia

For details of the Capital of Culture programme see www.patras2006.gr.

Forget ancient Greece and move into the future July 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece.
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Architect Mark Potiriadis tells about the modern resorts he believes will transform his country.

From the yet-to-be-installed rooftop jacuzzi of his house near Kilada on the Peloponnese, architect Mark Potiriadis reckons he will be able to see eight or nine snow-capped peaks across the clear blue waters of the Argolic Gulf.

What he won’t be able to see, he assures me, are the ten other luxury houses on the hillside below, each of which has been carefully positioned to maximise their sea views, but avoid overlooking each other, with trees and landscaping finishing the job. Potiriadis and his wife, Isabella Gilmartin, are the first residents of Kilada Hills, a development of 11 striking contemporary houses he has masterminded in one of mainland Greece’s most chic locations. Next-door neighbours include a couple of shipping tycoons, while the Heineken family own a villa nearby.

Potiriadis was inspired by the site itself, he says, to build a collection of houses that draw inspiration from the Greek cube. ‘They are a man-made thing that enhances the landscape,’ he says, conceding that his creations in concrete and glass have met some initial resistance from his compatriots. ‘Greek architecture is dominated by respect for neo-Classicism and folk architecture,’ says Potiriadis. ‘There are few modern houses and Greeks haven’t been exposed to them. A lot of people are against these houses at first, but then they warm to them.’

Potiriadis spent 34 years practising in the UK – specialising in leisure resorts and free-form swimming pools – before returning to Greece in 2000 to help the country prepare for the Olympics. Now he’s trying to shake up his compatriots’ design sense with a collection of houses unlike anything else in Greece.

Kilada is just around the corner from Porto Heli, a two-hour jaunt by Flying Dolphin from Athens, making it a favourite spot for weekenders from the capital. The islands of Spetses, Hydra and Poros are a sea-taxi ride away. The houses themselves are aimed at the top of the market, from 240 square metres of living space upwards, each including at least four bedrooms and bathrooms as well as home cinema, extensive terracing and an infinity pool.

Everything is suitably high-spec, from the Pilkington K glass used in the floor-to-ceiling glazing and balustrades, to the fittings and furnishings from the likes of Phillipe Starck, B&B Italia and Duravit. There’s underfloor heating and cooling, state-of-the-art security and technology and outside landscaping that will include a huge sum spent on mature cypresses and other trees. For a fully finished house including everything but the furniture buyers will pay around €3,500 a square metre.

The showhome, with all its fittings and furnishings, is on the market for a cool €3 million. What is unusual is that only two of the houses are completed; the rest will remain as shells, allowing the buyer to decide exactly how they want each of the floors to be configured, where they want the pool, and to choose their own fittings. Buyers will also have the final say on what colour their house is painted: the two finished so far are a burnished orange and an acrylic blue.

Just who will buy these properties remains to be seen; early interest has come from Germany, the Lebanon and the US – as well as Brits and Greeks. This is, in any case, all something of a precursor to a much larger development that Potiriardis has planned a little further down the line. On the hills behind, above the nearby fishing village of Kilada, his company, Ergotex, has secured a 240-acre plot among olive groves that he is planning to turn into Greece’s first Championship golf course. Greece currently has only around five or six golf courses and the Government recently began to recognise the potential of mixing high-quality courses with upmarket holiday homes, as has happened in Spain and Portugal.

Potiriadis has secured four sites around the country for this purpose, and at Kilada he plans to develop around 70 high-end villas and 245 serviced apartments with full resort facilities for the non-golf playing members of the family. ‘We are going to do it in a Greek style, keeping the maximum number of olive trees, and making the least impact on the landscape,’ says Gilmartin, who is Ergotex’s marketing director.

Water will be pumped from below the ground and Ergotex has also agreed to clean up sewage from Kilada itself, to provide further irrigation. It’s hard to envisage such a large-scale development in what has been a sleepy part of the country. But Greece does seem to be waking up to the potential of the overseas property market to bring in investment to the local economy. ‘The aim of the local authorities is not to lose the character of this as an agricultural community,’ says Potiriadis. ‘But they see it as a chance for Kilada not to have to rely on seasonal jobs. We want to create a development that is sustainable and will create full-time jobs, and that will mean that local children don’t have to leave and go to Athens.’

Music > Sounds of Greece July 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek.
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A plate of moussaka, a bottle of retsina and the relentless strumming of Zorba the Greek on the taverna tape…Greece suffers from a clichéd image that obscures some of the most distinctive music in the Mediterranean.

Rebetika, the “urban blues” that was sung and played in the cafés and hashish joints of Piraeus, had its heyday when thousands of Greeks expelled from Turkey arrived at the end of the Greco-Turkish war in 1922. This heartfelt, powerful music was banned by the Metaxas dictatorship in 1936 and, despite periodic revivals, it has never been matched since.

That said, several of today’s most popular singers, such as Yiorgos (George) Dalaras, Eleftheria Arvanitaki and Melina Kana, come from rebetika backgrounds. The country also retains some strong folk traditions in the more remote parts of the mainland and less visited islands.

Greek labels have been good at documenting this music and reissuing archival rebetika, but many of the best albums of contemporary performers are on German labels, they don’t just get to the beach first.

Essential listening

Greece Is. Popular and Folk Dances
(EMI Greece 05570007)
Top-quality, taverna plate-smashing music, including the infamous Zorba syrtaki dance by Mikis Theodorakis.

Greek-Oriental Rebetika
(Arhoolie CD 7005)
Excellent compilation of tracks from 1911 to 1937 featuring all the essential names and good notes.

Loudovikos ton Anoyíon: The Colours of Love
(Network 34 209)
Haunting songs from a Cretan soft-voiced singer. This CD is available from Amazon.co.uk. 

Lesbos Aiolis – Tunes and Songs of Lesbos
(Crete University Press CUP 9-10)
Rich recordings from the Aegean island of Lesbos made between 1974 and 1996. One of the best collections of traditional music from anywhere, this comprises two CDs and a comprehensive book.

Songs of Greece’s Gypsies
(FM Records FM 322)
A compelling reminder that, as elsewhere in the Balkans, the gipsies have been a significant force in Greece’s music.

Eleftheria Arvanitaki: The Very Best of 1989-1998
(Emarcy/Universal Greece 558 636-2)
One of the great voices of the Mediterranean. Currently Greece’s biggest name on the World Music scene. Click to order a copy from Amazon.co.uk.

Petro-Loukas Chalkias and Kompania
(Network 32 376)
Fine clarinettist from Epirus in the north-west with a trad band of violin, lute and frame drum.

George Dalaras: A Portrait
(EMI Hemisphere)
A sampler spanning the career of the country’s best balladeer and pop musician in live and studio recordings. Click to order a copy from Amazon.co.uk.

Ross Daly: Selected Works
(Oriente RIENCD01)
An English-born Irishman who has become a leading player of the Cretan lyra (bowed fiddle) and one of the best exponents of the island’s music. Click to order a copy from Amazon.co.uk

Melina Kana: Portrait
(Network 35 404)
A strong, seductive voice from Thessaloniki. One of Greece’s younger vocal stars. Click  to order a copy from Amazon.co.uk.

Ancient Greek ‘computer’ back online July 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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A reconstructed version of the world’s oldest computer has been unveiled in Greece.

The 2,000-year-old device was found by chance on the ocean floor more than a century ago.

Michael Wright, a former senior curator at London’s Science Museum, unveiled the complex collection of gears and dials at a conference on ancient Greek inventions.

Experts attending the symposium praised the model as the best yet of a device that is believed to have calculated the motions of the sun, moon and planets.

Mr Wright said the shoe-sized box object not only illustrated the ancient Greeks’ love for gadgets but how advanced they were technologically.

Greek gods and those who doubted them July 3, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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It was a bad day in the year 406 B.C.

Euripides, an elderly playwright, was wandering around the palace, skulking in his gloom. For decades he had dedicated himself to the theater and written and directed more than 90 plays, performed before thousands of people. Yet for all his pains, he had won prizes for only three of his dramas, a minuscule number compared to his rivals Sophocles and Aeschylus.

More than once, he had been held up to public ridicule by the tart-tongued comedian Aristophanes. In sadness and anger, Euripides left his home in Athens and accepted an offer to live in distant Macedon, where he would write his last plays in self-imposed exile.

Euripides might have been more successful if he had not made a point of pointing out the flaws of the pagan gods who presided over Athens’ destiny.

Like his personal friend Socrates, Euripides thought the stories of the old gods depicted the immortals as powerful beings with the morals of spoiled children.

Raised in democratic Athens, Euripides felt no qualms about walking freely around the royal palace of the Macedonian kings. Unfortunately, he did not realize that in a monarchy, certain parts of the palace are off limits to visitors, and he meandered into the king’s apartments and into a pack of the king’s guard dogs. The hungry dogs were not informed that the guest was possibly the greatest Greek dramatic writer of all time, and that was the end of Euripides.

Euripides’ greatest play was perhaps the Bacchae, which he wrote in his last hours. This was the story of the introduction of the cult of the god Dionysios to Greece. The story went that the god Dionysios has been conceived by a union between Zeus, king of the gods, and the beautiful Semele, daughter of Cadmus, King of Thebes. When her sister, Agave, challenged Semele, saying that her lover could not be a god, she planted a seed of doubt in the heart of the princess.

Pining for proof of her lover’s divine nature, she demanded and got an oath by the river Styx, the river of the dead whose name no god could violate, that he would show himself in divine glory. After many protests, Zeus reluctantly manifested himself to his doubting lover, but alas, the power of his majesty incinerated the mortal girl, doubts and all.

But at Semele’s doom, Zeus discovered that she was pregnant with his child, the god Dionysios, and an immortal god, even unborn, he could not be destroyed. Stitching the young god into his thigh, Zeus brought his unborn child to birth, and eventually he was received into the pantheon of the gods as the patron of wine and ecstasy. For causing his mother to doubt her divine partner, the gods condemned Agave to perpetual madness, and she wandered the hills in a religious trance.

Euripides goes on to describe the unfolding of the drama. The throne of Cadmus was passed to Cadmus’ grandson, Pentheus, his heir by the doubting Agave. Pentheus ruled Thebes with a rigid hand, until his kingdom was visited by the god Dionysios. Upon the god’s arrival in the land, hundreds of maidens rushed to the fields and forests to dance and sing in honor of the newly arrived god. But Pentheus, full of rage at a rival to his earthly glory, declared the new god to be an impostor and forbade his worship.

The god Dionysios came to earth in mortal form to visit the fuming Pentheus, who condemned the god and ordered his arrest. Dionysios was taken into bondage, but the prison which held him was shaken by an earthquake and he escaped. Arrested again, Pentheus confronted the god, who replied that the earthly king did not know what he was doing.

In a final and terrible confrontation with the veiled god, Dionysios offered the prudish king the opportunity to see the young maidens dancing in their skimpy clothes upon the mountains. Seduced by voyeurism, Pentheus agreed to the viewing, which leads to his doom.

When the prurient king dared to gaze on the dancing maidens in their wild abandon, they turned on him like crazed animals, and he was torn limb from limb, his own mother Agave ripping off his head with her bare hands in a moment of demented triumph. But this bloodbath hardly seemed like a moral judgment of an immortal god who was presumably endowed with heavenly wisdom.

In the last scene, the arrogant wine god reveals to the survivors the horror of what they have done, and explains to them how divine justice has been accomplished, for those who denied the power of the god have been destroyed by their own impious acts. The aged Cadmus and bloody Agave pointed out that this was a very harsh sentence for a few religious doubts, but the god ignores them. Neither Pentheus nor Dionysios comes out of the story looking well. Nonetheless, Euripides’ image of a veiled god in human form, condemned before a earthly magistrate, vindicated by a manifestation of divine power, was a literary theme which would be taken up by later religions.

It is a tragic irony, worthy of Greek tragedy, that King Pentheus in the play, and Euripides in real life, both came to the same nasty end, mauled to bloody bits by wild things.

The irony was not lost on Euripides’ son, who after the funeral rites, took his father’s last play back to Athens and had it performed at the annual festival of the god Dionysios in 406. There it won both critical acclaim and first prize in the annual contest. One can imagine the ghost of the cantankerous Euripides smiling at the performance, as the selfish god was shown in his arrogance at the very dramatic festival given in his honor.