6,000-year-old Wine Discovered in Kavala

Source: greekreporter


In the prehistoric settlement of Dikili Tash were discovered the oldest samples of wine that were ever recorded in Europe. The samples date back to 4200 BC and reverse existing data regarding the way of living during the Neolithic period.

The prehistoric site of Dikili Tash is located south east of Drama in Eastern Macedonia, Greece. It lies approximately 2 km from the ruins of the ancient city of Philippi and within the limits of the modern town of Krinides (Municipality of Kavala).

“It is an impressive and important discovery,” the archaeologist of the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and co-director of the excavations at Dikili Tash Dimitra Malamidou told dimokratianews.gr. She explained that, “During the excavations that took place in a house on the archaeological site, called House 1, quantities of carbonized grape berries that had been pressed were discovered in pots, a fact which proves the extraction of juice from grapes.”

“So far, we knew that people drank wine in the Bronze Age (from the 12th century B.C. henceforth), but now we learn that the wine-making process was known long before that Age, since 4200 BC,” Malamidou stated. Based on the new findings occur new data regarding the consumption of wine, as well as the social groups of the Neolithic period.

Greek man who stabbed rapper jailed

GREEK authorities say a man with ties to an extreme right party accused of fatally stabbing an anti-fascist rapper has been jailed after testifying to an examining magistrate and a prosecutor.

Court officials say the 45-year-old suspect, whose name hasn’t been officially released, has said he was being attacked by a group of people and acting in self-defence when he stabbed 34-year-old Pavlos Fyssas in the chest Wednesday.

Police officials said on Saturday the suspect has acknowledged “loose” ties with extreme right party Golden Dawn, saying he has only helped in distributing food to the poor.

Authorities are examining mobile phone records to find whether the attack on Fyssas was coordinated. The suspect denies having talked to any Golden Dawn officials before the attack.

Yota Krili’s new book, Origins, was launched last week to a strong Greek Australian crowd

Origins launched

A strong literary congregation at Yota Krili’s book launch.

Yota Krili was born in Kerastari of Arcadia, Greece in 1937 and migrated to Australia in 1959. Completed High School studies at East Sydney Evening College and graduated from the University of Sydney with an Arts Degree and a Diploma inEducation.

She taught ESL, Modern Greek and English in secondary schools and lectured part-time in Education at the University of Sydney. She has also been a tireless activist on political and educational issues and edited a series of books for Modern Greek students.

Yota Krili’s new book, Origins, was launched last week to a strong Greek Australian crowd. The historical novel follows the story of the 1821 revolution and the civil war, undergoing hardships and showing unimaginable bravery.

The book was introduced by Helen Nika and Dr Chris Fifi and was presented by the Greek Australian Writers Association.

Coming up for the Association are three events.

Mr John George will give a talk on the theatre of Nikos Kazantzakis on September 29 at 3.30 pm at the Hall of Pontian Community of Melbourne and Victoria , 345 Victoria Street, Brunswick. Admission is free.

Litsa Nikolopoulou-Goga will launch her new book, Some Truths that will be presented by Dimitra Ainisli on October 20, 3.00 pm, and in November, the book Stathis Raftopoulos MBE – Poet: A Ulysses at the Antipodes will be launched. The book is written by Kyriakos Amanatides and presented by Mr George Pagalis.

The ancient Greeks of the French Riviera are long gone, yet their legacy lives on, not only in the place names but also in scholars archaeological finds

Gallo Greeks

Gallo Greeks

Hellenic architechture at Glanum, France.

We were seated near the royal palace of Monaco, overlooking the azure waters of the harbour on a particularly intoxicating day. My friend turned to me and challenged: “Now come on. Don’t tell me that Monaco is also Greek.” The reason for this expostulation was owed to the fact that in our travels around western Europe, I was constantly pointing out the Greek foundations behind the veneer of culture and history of the place in question. In decadent, languid Monaco, my interlocutor smugly believed that I was finally stumped.
“Actually,” I responded, ” Monaco was founded by Greeks.” This is absolutely true by the way. It was the Phocaeans of Massalia who founded the colony of Monoikos, in the 6th century BC, in the area now known as Monaco. Monoikos was associated with Hercules, venerated in this location alone as Hercules Monoecus, meaning the lone-dweller. According to Diodorus Siculus and Strabo, both Greeks and native Ligurian people asserted that Hercules passed through the area. This tradition was also recorded by Roman authors. The poet Virgil called it “that castled cliff, Monoecus by the sea” in the Aeneid. The commentator Servius commented that the epithet was derived: dictus autem Monoecus vel quod pulsis omnibus illic solus habitavit (“either because Hercules drove off everyone else and lived there alone”), vel quod in eius templo numquam aliquis deorum simul colitur (“or because in his temple no other of the gods is worshipped at the same time”). Modern Monegasques honour this tradition, naming the modern port the ‘Port of Hercules’. After the Gallic Wars, Monoecus, which served as a stopping-point for Julius Caesar on his way to campaign in Greece, fell under Roman control as part of the Maritime Alps province.
Fascinatingly, Monaco was a Greek colony founded by another Greek colony, Massalia, which is better known these days as Marseilles, a major French port, which has lent its name to the stirring revolutionary anthem. So important was it to the Greek world that its foundation found its way into Greek mythology. Protis, while exploring for a new trading outpost or emporion for Phocaea, discovered the Mediterranean cove of the Lacydon, fed by a freshwater stream and protected by two rocky promontories. He was invited inland to a banquet held by the chief of the local Ligurian tribe for suitors seeking the hand of his daughter Gyptis in marriage. At the end of the banquet, Gyptis presented the ceremonial cup of wine to Protis, indicating her unequivocal choice. Following their marriage, they moved to the hill just to the north of the Lacydon; and from this settlement grew Massalia.
Facing an opposing alliance of the Etruscans, Carthage and the Celts, the Greek colony allied itself with the expanding Roman Republic for protection. This protectionist association brought aid in the event of future attacks, and perhaps equally important, it also brought the people of Massalia into the complex Roman market. The city thrived by acting as a link between inland Gaul, hungry for Roman goods and wine, which Massalia was steadily exporting by 500 BC, and Rome’s insatiable need for new products and slaves. Under this arrangement, the city maintained its independence until the rise of Julius Caesar, when it joined the losing side in civil war, and lost its independence in 49 BC. Massalia of course was the home port of the great ancient explorer Pytheas, who ventured as far north as the Arctic circle and may have discovered Iceland. Owning to the prevalence of the Greek language in the city, it soon become receptive to Christianity, and according to local tradition, Mary Magdalen preached there with her brother Lazarus.
Go further east, towards Nice, and one finds that its inhabitants are quite open in their acknowledgment of the Greek origins of their city, which is nice. The city was probably founded around 350 BC by the Greeks of Massalia and was given the name of Nikaia in honour of a victory over the neighbouring Ligurians. Also along the French Riviera, the ancient Greeks having a brilliant eye for real estate, lies Antibes, also founded as a 5th-century BC Greek colony by the Phocaeans from Massalia, who called their city Antipolis, literally meaning ‘the city across’. Paying homage to their Greek roots, the town’s inhabitants have named the technology park in their city ‘Sophia-Antipolis’.
Further west lies the commune of Agde, one of the oldest villages in France, founded in 525BC, also by the peripatetic Phocaeans of Massalia. The name of the village is said to be derived from the words ‘Agathe Tyche’ or ‘Good Luck’. The symbol of the city is also of Greek origin, being the bronze Ephebe of Agde, of the 4th century BCE, recovered from the fluvial sands of the Hérault.
Not all of the Phoceans colonies were so successful. Alalia, modern day Aleria in Corsica, was founded by Phocaeans from Asia minor fleeing the Persians. These Greek colonists were so troublesome to the Etruscans and to the Carthaginians of Sardinia that the two powers sent a combined fleet of 120 ships to root them out. This force was defeated by 60 Phocaean ships in the Battle of Alalia in the Sardinian Sea, which Herodotus describes as a Cadmeian victory (an early equivalent of a Pyrrhic victory) because the Greeks lost most of their ships. Now unable to defend themselves, the Phocaeans took to their remaining ships and sailed off to Rhegium, abandoning their colony to the Etruscans.

By virtue of their proximity to the native Celtic tribes of the region, the Gallo-Greeks engaged in constant trade with them. During the late 6th and 5th centuries BC, Greek artefacts penetrated northwards along the Rhône and Saône valleys as well as the Isère. Massalian grey monochrome pottery has been discovered in the Hautes Alpes and as far north as Lons-le-Saunier, as well as three-winged bronze arrowheads as far as northern France, and amphorae from Marseille and Attic pottery at Mont Lassois.
From Massalia, Greek traders founded colonies along the coast of Spain and a trade in tin, indispensable for the manufacture of bronze, seems to have been established at that time between Cornwall in modern England, through the Channel, and along the Seine valley, Burgundy and the Rhône-Saône valleys, remarkably to Massalia.
The ancient Greeks of the French Riviera are long gone, yet their legacy lives on, not only in the place names but also in scholars’ archaeological finds. The La Tène style of art, based on floral ornamentation, in contrast to the geometric styles of Early Iron Age Europe, can be traced to an imaginative re-interpretation of motifs on imported objects of Greek origin. Further, during his conquest of Gaul, Caesar reported that the Helvetii were in possession of documents in the Greek script, and all Gaulish coins used the Greek script until about 50 BC. Indeed, the field of numismatics does much to attest to Greek cultural penetration of the Gallic hinterland. Celtic coinage, as it emerged in the 4th century BC, initially copied Greek designs. Greek letters can be found on various Celtic coins, especially those of Southern France, while coins in northern France, like those of the Parisii tribe, were influenced by the coinage of Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great. Many of these Celtic coins retained Greek subjects, such as the head of Apollo on the obverse, but developed their own style from that basis, thus establishing a Graeco-Celtic synthesis.
By the 1st century BC, the coinage of the Greeks of Massalia even began to influence coinage as far afield as Great Britain. The coins of the Sunbury hoard, thought to have been manufactured in Kent, show designs derived from Greek coins from Massalia with the stylised head of Apollo and a bull.
The ties between Greeks and Gauls therefore run deeper than one would first suspect, and Aristotle Onassis’ rumoured attempts to purchase Monaco from its cash strapped prince would have restored a historical Greek presence to the playground of the rich and famous. Today, that presence is attested by names and the odd unearthing of a coin, vase or statue, proving not only that all things pass, that all is vanity, but that also, it is almost impossible not to find a Greek connection to almost every part of the Mediterranean basin and even further afield. That this extends to the culinary is amply attested to by the fact that the signature dish of Marseille, Bouillabaisse, is actually an adaptation of the ancient Greek kakavia. Haute cuisine? Bring on the psarotaverna. C’est bon!

Jim Claven walks the windy streets of the Lemnian village Kontias – exploring its history and its resurrection

The stones of Kontias

The stones  of Kontias


The stone houses of Kontias.

They return to Kontias because it is the home that they were born in or where their fathers or mothers were born.

The villages of Lemnos remain largely unknown and undiscovered beyond those regular visitors to the island. Like many of Greece’s villages, they remain beautiful secrets to be discovered.

Kontias is lies to the west of the Mudros Bay, standing astride one of the main routes overland to the capital at Myrina and to the thermal baths at Therma. Its heart lies along the road from Portianou and on to the great beach at Evgatia. Kontias is an old village on Lemnos.
In July I was fortunate to have stayed here as a guest, learning of its local history and traditions – and its connection to Australia’s Anzac story.

Like all Greek villages, it has its churches, village square and welcoming and well patronised tavernas, servicing its winter population of around 600. But one of the things that strikes you immediately as you walk around the winding lanes of the town is its architecture. And magnificent it is.

Yes, like many Greek villages there are many abandoned or long forgotten houses and buildings. Telling of wealthier times and large families, these deserted homes are like ghosts of a lost past.

These are proud reminders of Kontias’ prosperous agricultural and fishing past. The first to produce cotton on Lemnos, Kontias was the home of one Mr Papagiannis, the owner of a fleet of sixty boats.

But one of the things that strikes you about Kontias is its architecture, its beautiful solid stone houses and buildings. For this village has retained its traditional architecture. I walk the lanes taking photographs of these amazing structures.

The restoration of these lovely stone houses is an impressive example of how modern living can be married with heritage. Yes, double glazed windows and solar panels have been installed, as well as indoor bathrooms and satellite television. But the stone walls and plaster, the rich tan roofing tiles with their Hellenistic cornices, the beautiful door frames – all reflect the traditional character of this old Lemnian village.

A Melbourne friend told me that much of the woodwork – window and door-frames – was completed by her grandfather – including the impressive church doors and panelling. There is much that remains of the hardy carpentry of her grandfather – some awaiting loving restoration.

The historic nature of the village is not restricted to the houses. The lanes and alleys reflect their history as donkey or mule cart tracks of old.

Above the village stands its row of well-restored windmills. Once the centre of the village economy, essential to the grinding of grains, these towering structures lie largely abandoned and ruined across the island. While these wrecks of a bygone era are evocative, it is great to see those in Kontias given new life as boutique accommodation for visitors.

As if to remind everyone of the connection to the past, Kontias looks up to the lovely little church of Agios Ioannis. Unlike most of the hills and mountains on Lemnos, this one has been spared the ravages of the herds of goats that devour all in their path. Perched above its treed surrounds, the church stands above the village below. It is a great experience to walk to its summit at daybreak, giving views across to Diapori and Portianou, Mudros and Kontias Bays, as well as to Evgatia to the west.

In 1915 the Anzacs came to Kontias, and they recorded their time here in photographs and their writings. One shows them walking through the village, across one of its many lanes and alleys, on their way for a coffee or maybe to the baths at Therma or a swim at Evgatia. Another shows the broad expanse of Kontias’ nearby bay, a harbour for Allied ships. And there is another taken at the time of a funeral procession through the village.

Sister Olive Haynes, a nurse at one of the nearby Australian hospitals, wrote home telling of her visit to Kontias on the 9th January 1915.

“… We’ve had such nice weather lately – we have been awfully lucky. The other afternoon Sister Daw and I walked to Kondria [sic], such a pretty little port over the other side. We bought mandarins and nuts and ate them in a shop. The Greek kids gathered round saying ‘Australia very good, very nice. Turco finish’.

When Australian Signaller AH Edmonds described walking through the steep and narrow lanes of Kontias, describing some of the laneways as “merely flights of steps”, he could be talking about today. And one of the features he also noted was the tavernas, or “smoking clubs”, writing:

“These villages boast smoking clubs, where members bring their own mouthpieces for attachment to a “narghile” – a Turkish apparatus for smoking tobacco, in which the smoke is drawn through water by means of a long flexible tube.

The Australian 21st Battalion’s Corporal Ivor Alexander Williams wrote of the village’s windmills and the fertility of the land surrounding the village, both features of Kontias that remain to this day:

“On the other side of town is a row of their windmills. These are round stone structures of two storeys. The windmill is a series of sticks (6) all strapped together like a wheel and each is attached to a sail. This connects with a pinion wheel which turns an immense stone on top of another thus crushing the grain. Beside this is the village drinking well. The water of which is periodically blessed. All this is surrounded by very fertile fields.”

When the Anzacs arrived, Kontias would have thronged with people. It had around 1,200 residents then, making it the third largest village in Lemnos. Yet the years ahead would see its population decline, especially after the Second World War. Many of these villagers made their way to a new life in Melbourne.

Many of these now return in summer, trebling the population of the village. Sitting in the tavern or on nearby Evgatia beach, the sounds of Australia ring in the ears. “Where are you from?” someone asks, “Caulfield”, they reply. “Did Collingwood beat Carlton on Saturday?” asks another. There are so many people from Melbourne, you could for a minute forget where you are. But not for long.
They return to Kontias because it is the home that they were born in or where their fathers or mothers were born. Many of the restorations have been carried out by these returning Lemnians, renewing their traditional family homes. It’s obvious that these returnees are very much proud of being Australian, but returning to Kontias connects them with their roots in the old world.

But a village is not merely stones and mortar. Kontias has a lively population that indulges in all the pleasures of community. They share the rich and tasty home grown produce from their gardens and the fields surrounding the village. The rich volcanic soil of Lemnos delivers an abundance of produce – from walnuts and figs, watermelons, pomegranates and berries. I can still taste the sweet watermelons that Anastasia and Panayiotis shared with me for breakfast one sunny morning.

One day I take the walk to nearby Profiti Ilias. It’s one of the tallest mountains on the volcanic island and takes about 2 hours to walk. My walk is in the footsteps of the Anzacs, for it was here that the Australian, George Renwick, climbed to survey the great Allied armada of 200 ships in Mudros Bay in 1915. And he left behind a spectacular photograph.

The walk is full of the nature and history of the area – from the amazing smelling wild Rigani, the roaming donkeys, an Ottoman-era fountain to the great church on the top of the mountain. And here is the amazing view – from Kontias and Mudros Bay below, to Evgatia and Myrina, and to Agios Dimitrious and Therma.
Standing at the summit, thinking of George Renwick and 1915, it’s easy to feel the strong connection between Lemnos and Australia.

Other villages on Lemnos have their advantages too. Portianou, its links to the Anzacs clear in its cemetery. Tsimandria has its taverned platea with its restored historic bridge, commemorating Lemnos’ liberation in 1912-13. Platy has its wonderful beach and houses clinging to the mountainside. Kotsinas boasts its fish restaurants and great views of Samothraki. Mudros, with its great cathedral and war cemetery, looks out over Mudros Bay and begs one to imagine the Anzac fleet of 1915. But these are other stories.

But this year, I spent some time in Kontias and learned to appreciate its own special treasures. If you are ever on Lemnos, take the time to visit Kontias and admire its stone reminders of the past.

* Jim Claven, MA, is a historian, published author and tour leader, who is completing research into the Anzac presence in Greece during WW1 and WW2, especially the role of Lemnos in the Gallipoli campaign. He thanks his local Lemnian friends, especially Joe, for their sharing of their village and its life.

Christos Tsiolkas to launches his new novel Barracuda

Christos Tsiolkas has long been one of Australia’s most glittering literary treasures – and thanks to the success of his bestselling barbecue-stopper The Slap

Tsiolkas to launch Barracuda

Christos Tsiolkas has long been one of Australia’s most glittering literary treasures – and thanks to the success of his bestselling barbecue-stopper The Slap, he’s now a household name.

In his sixth novel, Barracuda, Tsiolkas once again holds up a mirror to the deepest insecurities and most dearly held dreams of middle class Australia.

Tsiolkas delivers a searing exploration of failure, and how to come back from it − on the back of his greatest literary success.

Join our foremost chronicler of contemporary Melbourne at the centuries-old Athenaeum for a typically tender and coruscating look at how we live now, in conversation with Michael Williams.

Co-presented by the Wheeler Centre and Readings at The Capitol Theatre, 7.30 pm – 8.30 pm, Wednesday 23 October. For info and bookings visit http://wheelercentre.com/

Artist expressions of interest for the 32nd Greek Festival of Sydney

Sydney’s Greek Fest wants you

Sydney's Greek Fest wants you

The Greek Festival of Sydney has opened registrations to interested artists to take part in the event. The festival – which will take place on the weekend of the 22-23 February 2014 – is inviting anyone interested in taking part in the festival to submit an application to the 2014 Greek Festival of Sydney cultural events program.

Organised by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW and the Organising Committee of the 32nd Greek Festival of Sydney, the festival will also be followed by numerous cultural events at various venues throughout Sydney through March and ending in early April.

The Greek Festival of Sydney is seeking applications and expressions of interest from all areas of the Australian, Greek and Greek Australian arts and cultural community with links to ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary Greek culture.

Event proposals are requested from all artists and groups who are involved in the areas of sport, theatre, music, dance, literature, film, comedy, visual arts, design, crafts, food and wine, history and education and any other area that falls under the arts or cultural ‘umbrella’.

The Greek Festival of Sydney encourages applications from all other cultural groups who have proposals that could enrich its program and provide a fresh perspective on any mutual cultural links.

All applications must be received at the Festival Offices by 5.00 pm, Friday 8 November, 2013.

Application forms are available online at website www.greekfestivalofsydney.com.au or by contacting the Greek Festival of Sydney office on (02) 9750 0440 or e-mail greekfestival@goc.com.au

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