17 August 2016

Greece in All Her Glory; Under the Mystical Full Moon of August


Full moon over The Acropolis Athens, Greece
Full moon over The Acropolis
Athens, Greece


Greece is positively enchanting, but, when beheld under the full moon of August, it is transformed into something truly magical.

Why the August full moon?

This full moon, known as the sturgeon moon, owing to the large number of fish found around this time, in the lakes of North America, is the brightest, most beautiful moon of the year.


Sturgeon Moon August full moon
Sturgeon Moon
August full moon


Viewed in the Northern hemisphere, the full moon of August, is low on the horizon, which gives the illusion that it is so close to earth, you could reach out and touch it!



Touch the moon
Touch the moon


The dazzling light causes the moon to seem almost as radiant as the sun, turning night into a never-ending twilight.

A Greek proverb describes the light of the August moon perfectly:

“Του Αυγούστου το φεγγάρι, ήλιος της ημέρας μοιάζει”

“Tou Avgoustou to feggari, ilios tis imeras moiazei”

Loosely translated as:
“The August moon, looks like the sun of the day”



August full moon Greece
August full moon
Greece



In ancient times, the month of August, named Metageition, in the ancient Athenian, or, Attic calendar was a month of festivals and celebrations



Ancient Greek Athenian, or, Attic Calander
Ancient Greek Athenian, or, Attic Calander



The word Metageition, meta- among, and geition-neighbour, was a time for partying, mixing with the neighbours!

The ancient Olympic Games, held in honour of Zeus and staged in Ancient Olympia from 776 BC-393 began on the day (The day, in ancient Greece, began at sunset, not at midnight, as today) of the August full moon, and were held every four years.








Ancient Greek Olympic wrestlers, a relief from a funerary kouros base. National Archeological Museum Athens.
Ancient Greek Olympic wrestlers,
a relief from a funerary kouros base.
National Archeological Museum Athens.



Zeus Detail of statue Palace of Versailles
Zeus
Detail of statue
Palace of Versailles


The tradition still holds today, the modern Olympic Games are held in August, it is a matter of luck though, if the opening ceremony falls on the day of the full moon.




Ancient Olympia, Greece Home of the Olympi Games
Ancient Olympia, Greece
Home of the Olympic Games





The Krypte, official entrance to the stadium of ancient Olympia. Photo Mark Cartwright
The Krypte, official entrance to the stadium of ancient Olympia.
Photo Mark Cartwright



Ancient Greece has invariably been connected with the mystical moon, from the ancient lunar calendar, to incredible stories from Greek mythology.

The most well-know Greek “Moon Myth” is Selene (Also one of the Greek words for moon), Titan Goddess of the moon, who traversed the night sky, in her silver chariot, the moon, drawn by two, snow-white, winged horses.




Selene Titan Moon Goddess Jules Louis Machard 1874
Selene
Titan Moon Goddess
Jules Louis Machard 1874






The Parthenon Sculptures. The head of a horse of Selene,.Moon Goddess, from the East pediment.
The Parthenon Sculptures. The head of a horse of Selene; Moon Goddess,
from the East pediment.
Now in The British Museum



The love of Selene’s life was Endymion, the shepherd Prince, the most handsome boy Selene had ever set eyes on, and who was granted eternal youth and immortality, and put into a never-ending state of sleep by Zeus.




Selene visiting Endymion Ubaldo Gandolfi
Selene visiting Endymion
Ubaldo Gandolfi



Selene paid nightly visits to Endymion, in his cave on Mount Latmos, and eventually bore him fifty daughters, who represented the fifty lunar months of the Olympiad, or period of four years, marking the beginning of the Olympic Games.


Today, on the day of the August full moon, archaeological sites throughout Greece, stay open well after midnight, entrance is free.

To see the brilliant white marble of the Acropolis, glowing in the moonlight, or the moon, hanging low over the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, is a sight never to be forgotten!



  Acropolis under the light of the full moon of August
Acropolis under the light of the full moon of August


Many festivities, including singing, dancing, musical performances and poetry reading, food abundant and wine flowing, are held under the light of the moon at about a hundred archaeological sites and museums all over Greece.



Full moon over the Temple of Apollo Sounion Greece
Full moon over the Temple of Poseidon
Sounion
Greece



Full moon over The White Tower Thessaloniki Greece
Full moon over The White Tower
Thessaloniki
Greece



Full moon illuminating the statue of Alexander The Great.  Thessaloniki, Greece.
Full moon illuminating the statue of Alexander The Great.
 Thessaloniki, Greece.




Full mooon at The Temple of Apollo Ancient Corinth Greece
Full mooon at The Temple of Apollo
Ancient Corinth
Greece



Here are a couple of pictures of Loutraki, Peloponnese, where we live in Greece.

beautiful photo' of the full moon over the bay of Loutraki, taken by talented photographer, living in Loutraki, Melissa Birley

The full moon over my garden, taken by not-so-talented photographer; me!





Super moon over Loutraki, Greece 10 August 2014 Melissa Briley
Super moon over Loutraki, Greece
10 August 2014
Melissa Briley



August moon over my garden Loutraki, Greece
August moon over my garden
Loutraki, Greece



Years ago, the Acropolis remained open all night, not only for the full moon of August, but for all twelve full moons of the year.

Athenians would prepare picnics, to be eaten in the glow of the magnificent marble columns of the Parthenon, and spend the night there, dreaming of magical nights in faraway ancient Greece.


A wonderful book:


"Six Nights on the Acropolis" George Seferis
"Six Nights on the Acropolis"
George Seferis


“Six Nights on the Acropolis”

 by Greece’s Noble prize winner (Literature) George Seferis, tells the tale of seven friends, four boys and three girls, in 1928, meeting on the Acropolis, once a month, for six months, on the night of the  full moon.

The book is actually a Roman à clef, the protagonist, Stratis Thalassinos, being George Seferis himself, experiencing his first months back in Athens, after studying law in France.



Visit Greece in August, around the time of the full moon and see one of her many other faces!


“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
Mark Twain



2 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post! (Of course the subjects, full moon and Greece, are at the top of my LOVE list, so you had me with the first photo and opening line. I've forgotten much of what I learned in high school, but while there our drama group performed, "Teahouse of the August Moon" and one of the characters explains, that 'The August moon is the oldest and wisest moon." and I've so loved that image, that never has an August full moon appeared that I don't recall it and think how perfect a description it is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful post Susan! You, native English tell us Greeks,the most beautiful stories and legends accompanying them with some stunning photos.

    ReplyDelete

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