GREEK ISLANDS

Knossos Palace, Crete

Land of Theseus and the Minotaur, Greek poets and philosophers.

The islands in the Aegean sea, between modern Turkey and Greece are home to Cycladic Bronze Age civilisation, contemporary with the Mycenaens and Minoans in the Aegean sea.

The island of Santorini was the site of an early volcanic erruption, changing the course of history, setting off a chain of natural disasters causing the end of the Bronze Age and fall of the great Mycenaean empire. Crete is the legendary location of the labyrinth of the feared Monoataur, slayed by Theseus with the help of Ariadne who was abandoned on island of Naxos on the way back to Athens after helping Theseus slay the Minotaur. Delos, birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, is among the islands boasting some of the most fascinating archaeological sites and examples of archaic, classical and Hellenistic art in the world.

Literature & History:

The Roman poet Catullus tells the story of Theseus’ exploits in his famed poem 64, a mini-epic tale of Theseus’ betrayal of Ariadne after promising to marry her after she helped him slay the Minotaur.

Sophocles’ play, the Philoctetes, is set on the island of Lemnos and recounts the story of Odysseus’ abandonment of the great archer on the island on the way to Troy.

Lesbos is the home of the love poet Sappho and the city of Myletine on the island of Lesbos rebelled against Athens in the war against Sparta as recounted by Thucydides, also the hidden subject of Euripides’ tragedy, Trojan Women.

Famous bull-leaping scene, from the Knossos Palace, Crete

Fresco at the Knossos Palace, Crete

Attractions:

Archaeological sites on the islands of Crete, Delos, Paros, Naxos, Samos, Lesbos , Santorini, and Rhodes.

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