The Goddess Athena and her Sacred Temple, The Parthenon – With Special Guest, Effrosyni Moschoudi

Today we have a very special guest on Writing the Past.

Effrosyni Moschoudi is a fellow author whose books have been making a big splash on the Amazon charts and on book review sites around the web.

I’ve read her book, The Necklace of the Goddess Athena, and it is a wonderful book that is full of mystery, wonder, and goodness. Click HERE to read my review of it.

For a while I’ve wanted to have Effrosyni, a native of Athens, guest post here to talk about the ancient city and the bright-eyed goddess for whom it is named.

So, over to Effrosyni for a magical post…

Statue of Athena - Nashville Parthenon

Statue of Athena – Nashville Parthenon

 

GODDESS ATHENA AND HER SACRED TEMPLE, THE PARTHENON

A Guest post by Effrosyni Moschoudi

Goddess Athena was greatly revered by the ancient Greeks. One of her many epithets, Pallada (or Pallas), was owed to the peculiarity of her birth. According to legend, she sprang forth from the forehead of her father Zeus, fully armed and shaking her spear fiercely, making a fearsome sound. The word Pallada is derived from the Greek word ‘pallein’ which means ‘to shake’.

This divine young virgin was among other things, the goddess of wisdom and justice. Her sacred symbols include the owl and the olive tree. According to legend, she challenged Poseidon on the Athens Acropolis aiming to win the patronship of the city. The two Gods agreed to each offer a gift before king Cecrops and the witnessing Athenians; the better gift would grant the deity the greatly desired patronship status.

Poseidon went first, striking the Acropolis Rock with his trident to produce the Sea of Erechtheus; a salt spring. As the myth goes, the Athenians weren’t particularly impressed with this gift, as the water wasn’t fit to drink. Poseidon then offered a second gift, a horse, to be used for war. When Athena’s turn came, she struck the ground with her spear and an olive tree sprouted from it swiftly; a magnificent gift to be used for nourishment, beauty and light in the dark. King Cecrops and the people of Athens favored the gift of the olive tree and declared Athena the patron deity of the city that inevitably took on her name.

According to myth, Poseidon was enraged by this and stormed to western Attica, where he flooded the Thriasian Plain. His rivalry with Athena, even though she is his niece, is legendary in Greek mythology. Homer’s Odyssey illustrates it heavily, telling the world of this fearsome uncle and his cunning niece who fight over the fate of Odysseus. The cunning Greek king and his loyal crew roamed the sea for years, going through infamous trials and tribulations as they made their way back home to Ithaca after the Trojan War. Although Poseidon tried to lead Odysseus to his demise, furious with him for blinding his beloved son, The Cyclops Polyphemus, Athena kept going against his will assisting Odysseus out of difficult situations, until he made it safely home back to his palace and faithful wife, Penelope.

The Contest for Athens

The Contest for Athens

The Athenians loved their patron Goddess like no other deity. During the Golden Age of Athens (460-430 BC), under the leadership of Pericles, they built the Parthenon atop the Acropolis hill, along with other glorious edifices; all of them famous through history in their own right as well: The Propylaea, The Erechtheion and The Temple of Athena Nike.

Famous architects Iktinos and Kallikrates took over the construction and the legendary sculptor Phidias was commissioned to create the colossal chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statue of Athena for the interior of the Parthenon, which was named Athena Parthenos (Athena The Virgin). Phidias also sculpted the gigantic bronze statue Athena Promachos (Athena standing in the front line in battle). This statue was placed between The Parthenon and The Propylaea.

The word Parthenon is also derived from the word ‘parthenos’ which means ‘virgin’ as per the epithet ‘Virgin’ for Athena. Once in four years, the Panathinaia Festival took place in honor of the Goddess. Although it also involved athletic events similar to the Olympic Games, the main event was the religious procession that made its way from The Parthenon to the town of Elefsis via Iera Odos (The Sacred Way); today, Iera Odos survives as a busy motorway between Athens and the historical town of Elefsis (also spelled Eleusis in English). This historic town is also the very site of the infamous Eleusinian Mysteries of antiquity that to this day, historians know very little about.

The Parthenon today

The Parthenon today

Over the millennia, The Parthenon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, has suffered devastation repeatedly and on a large scale. Other than being occupied by the Turks and turned into a mosque in the 1460s, it was also bombed by the Venetians in 1687, cruelly looted by Lord Elgin in 1806 and has even suffered substantial damage by overzealous Christian priests who destroyed the depictions on the friezes that seemed indecent in their eyes.

In order to graphically illustrate the Parthenon back in its glory days as well as its demise through the millennia, I’m including below a remarkable video by the Greek Ministry of Culture. I hope you’ll also enjoy therein, a classic poem by the legendary philhellene, Lord Byron. The great romantic poet’s imagination has captured the wrath of Athena (Minerva, in Roman) further to the merciless destruction of her sacred temple. For the benefit of poetry lovers, I’m also including a link to the whole poem, written in Athens in 1811 by the great British poet.

CLICK HERE to read The Curse of Minerva by Lord Byron

 

Effrosyni Moschoudi

Effrosyni Moschoudi

Effrosyni Moschoudi was born and raised in Athens, Greece. As a child, she often sat alone in her granny’s garden scribbling rhymes about flowers, butterflies and ants. Through adolescence, she wrote dark poetry that suited her melancholic, romantic nature. She’s passionate about books and movies and simply couldn’t live without them. She lives in a quaint seaside town near Athens with her husband Andy and a naughty cat called Felix.

Her debut novel, The Necklace of Goddess Athena, is a #1 Amazon bestseller in Greek & Roman literature. This urban fantasy of Greek myths and time travel is suitable for all ages. In 2014, it made the shortlist for the “50 Best Self-Published Books Worth Reading” from Indie Author Land.

Her second novel, The Lady of the Pier – The Ebb, is an ABNA Quarter-Finalist. Set in England in the 1930’s and in Greece in the 1980’s, it follows the lives and loves of two young girls who’ve never met but are connected in a mysterious way.

Effrosyni’s books are available in kindle and print format.

The Necklace of Goddess Athena

The Necklace of Goddess Athena

CONNECT WITH EFFROSYNI

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 The Necklace of Goddess Athena in paperback and Kindle e-book.

I’d like to thank Effrosyni for taking the time to write this fascinating piece for Writing the Past.

In reading it I felt nostalgia gripping me as it has been several years since I last walked Athens’ ancient streets and gazed up at the Parthenon atop the Acropolis.

I definitely recommend The Necklace of the Goddess Athena, not only for the beautiful story, but also for the feeling of living in Athens today alongside the Gods themselves.

As ever, thank you for reading, and remember to leave your comments below!

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21 thoughts on “The Goddess Athena and her Sacred Temple, The Parthenon – With Special Guest, Effrosyni Moschoudi

  1. Thank you so much Adam, for the wonderful hospitality on your awesome site, and also for the compliments re my work. I look forward to return the favor and have you over on my blog soon (once I resolve the technical problems I am currently having on there, you’ll be among the first to hear!)

  2. This is a stunning piece! Frossie explained the Greek history and myths much better than my history books and academics. She made it come alive. Love it. The video is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I read the Necklace and was enthralled. Frossie layers her words on page like music.

    Jackie Weger

  3. This article made me swell with pride and shrink with embarrassment. I am Greek, so seeing a chunk of Greek history unfold expertly through the words of a wonderful writer makes me proud. Learning stuff I should have known brings on the embarrassment.

    As for Effrosyni’s work, I’m very familiar with both books, and I can only offer praise.

    • Makes my Greek side proud as well, Maria! (and my British side a little embarrassed – not a fan of Lord Elgin). Learning stuff anew is a good thing and bring more excitement 🙂

  4. This article really stirs the imagination. Exceptionally well done, Fros. Brings back my fascination with Greek history when I was in high school. It is said that the art of storytelling was born in Greece. I guess that makes you a true daughter of Greece.

    • Thanks for your comment, Bob. Effrosyni does weave a spell! And rekindling people’s fascination with history is one of the reasons I love historical fiction and related genres!

  5. I am overwhelmed by the amount of comments, thank you so much Nicholas, Maria and Bob for contributing with such lovely words. I am so pleased you enjoyed the post. Once again, Adam, thank you so much for this opportunity and your warm hospitality 🙂

    • Happy to have you on the site, Effrosyni! I think all the comments speaks to the beauty of your words and the passion you have for the subject. Great stuff! And thanks to everyone for commenting 🙂

  6. Anna: I have been to Greece 4 times. The first time I was there was in 1984. I was in Athens and went to the Parthenon and the mmuuess. In the mmuuess, there are statues from many years ago, many missing their noses. When Greece was fighting with Turkey, the Turks defaced the statues by whacking off their noses. It is a beautiful country, especially the islands, and lots of fun! I hope you get a chance to visit Athens and some of the islands! Mrs. Burch

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