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Over 2000 hours of sunshine in every bottle July 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Wine And Spirits.
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Over 2000 hours of sunshine in every bottle >

Get all the facts and figures about Metaxa



Stoic principles July 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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The Greeks built “stoa” colonnaded porches around temples and large public buildings.

The Greek philosopher Zeno developed a philosophy called Stoicism – a policy of just accepting life – from his years of sitting on the stoa (or front porch) in the third century B.C.


Does ancient theatre defines us? July 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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Theatre is one of the surest signs of democracy.

Its roots are to be found not in despotism but rather in ancient democratic Greece, which created the debating forum in order to engender lively thought among a free people. But why theatre? Because the Greeks knew that role-playing was the easiest way to create understanding and empathy.

For those of us who could never quite leave play-acting behind, we grew up to practise an art that balances entertainment and instruction. We share the task, along with judges, clerics and lawmakers, of raising the role-defining, life-altering questions about justice, wisdom and truth.

Outside the theatre, life is imitating art.

All too often, we think of theatre as mere entertainment: bread and circuses. This is a view of the arts that political leaders have encouraged since the time of the Roman emperors, for it tends to operate in favour of the status quo. Given enough entertainment, the theory goes, people can be distracted from doing anything dangerous, such as thinking.

But theatre in the form we know it came from the Greeks, who took a more civic-minded view of its function. In ancient Greece, audiences were encouraged and exhorted to show up at the theatre as a civic duty. In fact, when you showed up at a Greek theatre, you’d get a coin to offset the loss of income you’d incurred by attending. Call it the first arts subsidy.

Those early Greek plays weren’t mindless distractions. They were tough. They examined issues of power and morality, and human beings’ conduct in society.

I’ll never forget seeing a production of The Persians in New York City a few years ago. Written in the fifth century BC by the Greek dramatist Aeschylus, it’s the oldest surviving play in history.

It’s about the humiliating defeat of the mighty Persian army, led by King Xerxes, at the hands of the Greeks. Greece at that time was a minor power, and Persia was like the United States, so right away you can see the modern parallel.

Now, this is a play written by a Greek, about a stunning Greek victory. You’d expect it to be a self-congratulatory celebration of that victory. But in fact, it’s written empathetically from the point of view of the Persians. It shows the Persians, as worse and worse news comes in, being forced to examine their own arrogance and their own mistakes as a superpower. It also, of course, contains a warning to Aeschylus’s fellow Greeks not to fall into the same trap.

People who saw this play in New York couldn’t help seeing the parallels between what had happened to the Persians 2,500 years ago, and what had just happened to the U.S.

That’s what intelligent, thoughtful theatre does: It provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to examine our own conduct and how we work together, and to ask ourselves some hard questions.

Viewed in this light, the arts and theatre are not a pretty addition to the important business of the day. The arts, and the thoughts, and discussion they alone can engender, define a free society. As our modern world grows, feeling all the tensions that arise from so much distance and such rapid change, we must remember to nurture the empathetic expression of free thought.

Burgess vaults back into form in Greece July 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athletics.
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Paul Burgess, the only man in the world to vault six metres in the past two years, has finished third in the pole vault at the Tskilitiria Grand Prix meeting in the Athens Olympic Stadium.

Injury has cruelled Burgess’ chances in his past two major championships. After clearing six metres early last year in Perth, he missed the 2005 world championships in Helsinki with a torn calf muscle. He competed in the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games despite a milder calf injury in the other leg, but failed to clear a height in the final.

On Monday, Burgess cleared 5.75 metres, just five centimetres below German vaulter Tim Lobinger’s winning height of 5.80. Lobinger won on a countback from Giuseppe Gibilisco of Italy. Another Australian, Dmitri Markov, cleared 5.40 for 10th place.

The only other Australian to compete at the meeting was Victoria Mitchell, who ran a personal-best nine minutes 30.84 seconds in finishing fourth in the 3000 metres steeplechase. The event was won by Wioletta Janowska of Poland in 9:17.15, the fastest in the world this year.

In the men’s steeple, Saif Saaeed Shaheen of Qatar missed his world-record attempt but still ran the year’s fastest, winning by almost the length of the straight in 7:56.32.

Fani Halkia of Greece had her biggest competition since winning the gold medal in the 400 metres hurdles at the Athens 2004 Olympics. She ran 53.71 seconds but was beaten over the last 80 metres by Lashinda Demus of the US, who clocked 53.02.

Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia was more fortunate in his return to the stadium where he won Olympic gold. Borzakovskiy beat Wilfred Bungei of Kenya in the 800 metres in 1:43.42, again the fastest in the world this year.

Another Russian middle-distance runner, Yelena Soboleva, won the women’s 1500 in 3:56.74, fastest time in the world since 2003.

Agia Sophia: Eternal Symbol of Orthodoxy July 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Asia.
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The Greek Orthodox Byzantine Church of Agia Sophia, in present day converted to a mosque/museum in Istanbul, is considered to be a unique and invaluable part of the world’s cultural heritage. It is also the most important religious monument of the Byzantine Empire.

Some 15 centuries ago Emperor Justinian disposed all of his resources and a great deal of Byzantine wealth to create a temple dedicated to God’s Wisdom, the Greek word “Agia Sophia” means “divine wisdom.”

At its inauguration in AD 548, after more than 16 years of work, the structure was considered truly worthy to represent the grandeur of the Byzantine imperial power at its greatest.

Agia Sophia’s huge dome had been constructed with especially large bricks that were transported from the island of Rhodes to its site in Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine world (renamed Istanbul by the Ottoman Empire). The church consists of 107 pillars, a number with symbolism, and the magnificent building took more than 16 years to complete.

The church’s inauguration was accompanied by ceremonies and prayers to God that lasted for two weeks.

Greek artist Katerina Kondovraki intends to offer the original of this displayed handmade embroidery artwork as a gift to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, His Holiness Vartholomeos.


Wreck of 16th-century warship found off Cyprus July 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Cyprus.
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The remains of a Turkish ship believed to have taken part in the 1570 to 1571 Ottoman siege of Famagusta (Ammochostos) have been located off the Cyprus coast, it was reported on Sunday.

Three cannons, 25.4 centimeters (10 inches) in diameter, and an anchor were found by amateur divers 40 meters down in the Mediterranean off the city on the island’s southeast coast, local Politis newspaper said. The find is believed to be the first of its kind.

Local daily Politis said that the ship had probably been part of the fleet of general Lala Mustafa, who lost 80,000 men before the walled city finally fell in July 1571 after a 10-month siege. Some 200,000 soldiers laid siege to Famagusta that was defended by around 10,000 men led by Venetian Marc Antony Bragodino.

The two Greek Cypriot divers reportedly found the wreck by chance. Photos and video footage of their discovery were posted on the Politis website on Sunday. The Cypriot authorities have been alerted to the find in the hope that parts of the ship can be raised and housed in a Museum.

The fall of Famagusta signaled the end of Venetian rule in Cyprus and the start of more than 300 years of Ottoman dominance. When the Ottomans invaded Cyprus in 1570 most towns were easily captured, but Famagusta held out until its food supplies were exhausted, earning itself a special place in Cypriot history.

Editor’s Note > Greek Cypriot city Famagusta, in Greek Ammochostos or Varosha (one of the largest neighborhoods of the city) is currently under Turkish military control and occupation since July 1974 when Turkey invaded The Republic of Cyprus. It is, according to reports, a “Ghost-town”.

Close to Famagusta is the ancient kingdom-city of Salamis with the famous Othello Tower and the Lions Gate. One of the most well known William Shakespeare’s writings is based on this story. For more information see >  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Othello

Ballet students perform at the Athens Concert Hall July 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Ballet Dance Opera.
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This year’s production of the National Ballet School is titled “Acts of Light Acts of Darkness” and will be staged at the Athens Concert Hall from tomorrow to Friday.

The program will include the first and third parts of Martha Graham’s choreography “Acts of Light” (“Conversations of Lovers” and “Helios” respectively), as well as “Wien,” choreographed by France’s Pascal Rioult, with music by Maurice Ravel. Rioult worked with the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1989 and started his career as a choreographer three years later, while holding the position of the company’s lead dancer. The Pascal Rioult dance theater has performed in New York and various parts of North America and has also taken part in many festivals in France, including in Cannes.

The upcoming performance by the Hellenic Dance Company (the National Ballet School Company) will feature the participation of choreographers Linda Kapetanea and Josef Frucek in the work “The Thunder Comes from Earth”; both are collaborators of Wim Vandekeybys. The program will also include choreographies by Britain’s Richard Alston, as well as Antonis Foniadakis and Nana Vachla, Greek artists who are prominent abroad.

Tickets are available at the Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali Street and Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens, tel 210 7282333.