Blog launched: August 10, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Colchicum cupanii

ECVP1492 [Colchicum cupanii]

803_9464 [Colchicum cupanii]

803_8043 [Colchicum cupanii]
Colchicum cupanii is a poisonous Mediterranean plant that grows mainly on rocky sites at altitudes of 700-1400 m          in West and South Greece, in Attica and on Greek islands. 
It flowers from September to early December.
All pictures were taken on Mt. Hymittos on November 3, 2021

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Pictorial bits of Greek History

The Marathon Race.
A few days ago (on Nov. 14, 2021) the 38th Marathon, the Authentic, took place in Athens Greece and many TV stations worldwide showed splendid images of the start, of the athletes and of the finish line in the Panathenaic Stadium. The event reminded me of a few photos that, to my knowledge, have never been broadcast on TV, so I am sharing some of them with you today with short references to the Battle of Marathon and to the marathon race in modern Olympic Games.
The battlefield
IMG_6963 [Schinias wetlands]
Somewhere between these wetlands, known since antiquity, and the foot of the mountains in the distance took place the Battle of Marathon in September 490 BC between the Greeks and the Persians. The latter had come all the way from Persia (It is called ‘Iran’ today.) to conquer Greece and export their civilization to the west. Instead, they killed 192 Athenians and went back leaving behind 6400 dead Persian soldiers. 
The Athenian Tumulus
803_3778 [Athenian Tumulus]

 The Athenian Tumulus, as it is called, is an artificial little hill, about 12 m tall and dominates the plain of Marathon where the battle took place. It was erected by the Greeks after the victory as a burial mound for the 192 Athenians who fell during the battle. Only a few meters behind the Tumulus is where Marathon, the Authentic, starts every year.
The picture was taken on February 19, 2019.

803_774 [Miltiades]

Miltiades was the victorious “commander in chief” of the Greek forces in the Battle of Marathon. His statue, a work of Antonis Ntagadakis and Vasilis Kaparos, stands in his honor a few meters away from the Tumulus. 
It is said that when the battle ended victoriously for the Greeks, a messenger named Pheidippides was sent to Athens to carry the good news to the Athenians who had remained back home. He ran all the way there covering a distance of about 42 km.
Spyros Louis
Photo source: Album of Olympic Games 1896, Benaki Museum

The route that was followed by Pheidippides after the Battle of Marathon is the same as the one that is followed by athletes today during the marathon in modern Olympic Games. Spyros Louis (his portrait in national costume above) was the marathon winner in the first modern Olympic Games that took place in 1896 in Athens. He was not an athlete but a daily water-carrier from Marousi to Athens with considerable innate athletic abilities.
The Trophy
803_9497 [Breal Cup]

Louis, the winner, in addition to the “first-place medal”, and an honorary diploma he was also donated the Bréal Cup (above) and a Skyphos (below).The Bréal Cup was designed by French philhellene Michel Bréal, who had the original idea to include a marathon race in the modern Olympic Games. It was made out of pure silver and was relatively small, having a height of 15 cm. An inscription at the top said in Greek: "Olympic Games 1896, Marathon Trophy Donated by Michael Bréal.
It was photographed in the Cultural Center “Stavros Niarchos” in Athens on November 08, 2021

803_5770 [Skyphos]

Along with Bréal’s silver cup Louis also received this ancient vase [called “Skyphos” in Greek] offered by professor Spyridon Lambros. On both sides of the vase two long distance runners are overseen by two figures, possibly judges. The vase dates back to 540-520 BC and was found in Thebes.
The picture was taken on January 22, 2020 within the National Archeological Museum in Athens where it was being temporarily displayed. Today, it is permanently exhibited in the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games, located near the archaeological site of ancient Olympia.

For a related older post please click HERE

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Cocus cancellatus subsp.mazziaricus

AXDC_8085 [Crocus mazziaricus]

IMG_9731 [Crocus mazziaricus]

Crocus cancellatus is endemic to Southern Greece and to Southwest Turkey.
On Mt. Hymittos we find the subspecies mazziaricus where it blooms in large numbers
and in a variety of shades of white and purple since mid-October. 
Both photos were taken on Mt. Hymittos on November 3, 2021

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Colchicum atticum

801_1402 [Colchicum atticum]
For many decades this Colchicum was considered endemic to Attica but it was eventually found in other locations in Greece, as well as in Southern Bulgaria and Asia Minor. It is interesting to note that it stands out from the other colchicums by the fact that its tepals are divided along their entire length. It loves stony areas and appears from November to December reaching 3 to 6 cm in height.
It is also known as Merendera attica.
It was photographed on Mt. Penteli in Attica, Greece in the month of November.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Spiranthes spiralis

803_9402 [Spiranthes spiralis]

803_9408 [Spiranthes spiralis]

803_9408 [Spiranthes spiralis]

A charming little orchid that is widespread across the Mediterranean in heights up to 1400m. It appears in August to November. Its tiny white flowers that are born in a spiral row up the stem provide the name to the flower.
All photographed on Mt. Hymittos on October 20, 2021

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Sternbergia lutea

803_9453 [Sternbergia lutea]

803_9444 [Sternbergia lutea]

A crocus-like flower usually found in stony slopes between late August and early November. Widespread in Greece and often cultivated as a decorative plant. 
Both photographed on Mt. Hymittos on October 20, 2021

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Cyclamen hederifolium

DSCN2950 [Cyclamen hederifolium]
This wild species of cyclamen is widespread in mainland Greece and the Aegean islands but it is also wildly cultivated for its beautiful and fragrant flowers that come in shades of pink to (rarely) white.
It blooms from September to October in shady areas on heights of 100-1400m.
Photographed on Mt. Parnitha on October 18, 2008

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Colchicum bivonae

802_6733 [Colchicum bivonae]

Photographed on Mt. Parnitha on September 05, 2016