My Messinia

Knossos-Pylos…from palace to palace…on a trail of a peacock tail

Sitting at home under quarantine made me go back to photos and stories I have gathered but not written about….and here is one of them…

The beginning of 2020 was marked by my visit to Heraklion, Crete for the purpose of my concert and as usual I made sure to linger on for a few more days to see my dear friends and some places of interest.DSCF1523psMy visit to Knossos, the Europe’s oldest city, its palace and the remaining rooms of the amazing labyrinth-like structure of 1200 spaces, was enhanced greatly by three colourful creatures which became my guides: one peacock and two cats. Indeed they were the most adequate companions as peacock in symbolic sense stands for royalty, awakening and guidance with its tail of the “eyes” of the stars…DSCF1623and cat represents, only too well,  independence, spirit of adventure and curiosity. DSCF1499DSCF1660DSCF1505And yes it is curiosity which brought me here in the first place and my foremost inquiry in Knossos had to do with its frescoes which happen to depict animals. Fauna and flora motifs are those most painted on the chamber walls interacting with the human presence within, while the frescoes of rituals bring men, creatures of many kinds, real and mythical, together into common frames. The frescoes as they were restored by the British archeologist Arthur Evans, who excavated the ruins of the ancient city of Knossos in 1900 and uncovered evidence of a sophisticated Bronze Age civilisation which he named Minoan, are quite far from what the originals looked like (as they were considerably altered during their restoration), yet in their present form they have influenced greatly our perception of that period of history and art.

My peacock guide led me to the north side of the palace and the “Charging bull and olive tree” fresco. It is a relief of a bull in crimson red rage probably charging or being captured under an olive tree…the blessed olive trees being definitely the main source of wealth of the area back then.DSCF1641pssDSCF1659DSCF1644-RecoveredAfter the familiar scene with the bull (growing in Spain filled me with such images)…. I followed with owe the regal peacock fan-like tail through cobbled paths and stone passages…DSCF1633DSCF1475DSCF1632cDSCF1661…and trough a “gate of thalassocracy”…an entrance with a sky-sea with flying dolphins into I proceeded to the royal chambers …

image33212[1048]DSCF2237….and finally to the ceremonial throne room (dating 15th century BC) with proud mythical griffins (creatures with avian/eagle heads and lion’s body …almost half cats half peacocks!!!) reposing yet guarding the royal chamber. I cannot escape the parallel with our Messinian griffins discovered at the Throne room at the Nestor Palace near Pylos; not only in the theme but also in the execution of the design and use of colours. It is worth to mention that these two palaces have many things in common: the most prominent being the existence of  clay tablets with Linear B scripts but also the hill position of the palace at and the olive groves around them.Throne-room-0283-768x576…soon enough I made my own inventory around the pithy, or storage jars for wine, grain and olive oil…DSCF1527DSCF1528At the end of my “wondrous wondering” I reached a fantasy prince striding among the fields of lollies ….yes…only some parts of his appearance are real, the rest is imagined by those who dreamt him…but still under the few pieces of surface left by the past… there are so many facts which keep us intrigued, keep on our toes…as to say: the undeciphered pictographs, the symbols, and the  myths of the Daedalus’ labyrinth and Minotaur, the dancing floor of the princess Ariadne and the king Minos, stories which gained a universal states quo.DSCF1552 copyDSCF1567DSCF1555-2DSCF1563DSCF1576…At the end of my visit I happily offered my hand to the “Prince of Lillies”…




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