Ancient Greek cities were sprinkled across fertile places in the Mediterranean, each with different politics. Check some of their fuzzing and fighting on the map above. Still, all these different Ancient Greek dreamt of going to the holy places of Olympia (Olympics), Delphi and Dodona (the oracle) and the island of Delos (Apollo).
Now there are also the internationally celebrated climbing sanctuaries of Leonidio, Kyparissi, Manikia, Meteora, Kalymnos and Datça! (They're indicated in red letters.)
The island of Kalymnos (red pin on both maps above) brings different people out at sea. The island's mix of gentle and hard climbing is a siren song for British retirees, Scandinavians, Swiss, Americans, Australians, Italians,... And me.
"May to october" they all tell you. "Stable predictable weather". I missed it but whatever, I finish my job. It's friday evening, dark already, and I stride to the central station while Athens emerges as my phantasy of Berlin in the 1970's. In this waking circus people shoot by from all sides.
My train takes me a long way out of the metropolis, to the airport that will fly me to the island of Kos, where I make it to the portcity of Mastichari to take the daily ferry to portcity Pothia on the island of Kalymnos. Then I fix a scooter and drive up the Pothia valley, over a ridge, to suddenly arrive to the larger hidden Kalymnos, driving into the coastal villages Myrties and Masouri which stretch out between the coast and the rocky mountains.
South of Kos, the Agios Nikolaos church (internet pic).
What is (Ancient) Greek?
Ancient Greek cities were sprinkled all over the Mediterranean. Some were led independently by a leader of 'their own', some were led by a tyrant installed by a power elsewhere, and some had obligations to their mother city.
- The Greek never formed a political unity.
- Neither did they form a discrete territory.
- Greek was a culture with its own script, language-group, myths and sanctuaries. You had the Greek world like today you have the Arab world and the Latin-writing Ancient-Greek-admiring world.
- The Ancient Greek had nothing to do with the contemporary country of Greece (which nonetheless unsolicitedly borrowed legitimacy from the ancient peoples).
- The country Greece was invented in 1821.
- Later a British warship delivered Greece' first king, chosen from the European elite: Otto von Wittelsbach from Bamberg, Kingdom of Bavaria.
- The new country was part of the emergence of the 19th-century nation-states:
- Identity was created, propagated and resized to a large territory that had to become a monoculture. E.g. Greece' territory in reality was not monocultural: Atatürk (first leader of the Turkish nation) grew up there.
- Monoculture identity, political-entity and the accompanying territory became all linked.
- Legitimacy was sought in nationalist-colored history. National education primarily confirmed the nation-state.
- In school, historical conflicts were retold as cultural conflicts. National identity was placed centrally in the narrative on conflicts and war.
- In reality, historical conflicts were mostly fought between political entitities with mixed culture and religion, even if we're told not. How often did Catholics join Protestants to fight a rivalling power that was either Catholic or Protestant? How often did Sparta side with the Persians to screw over Athens? How did French- and Dutch-speaking fight on both sides in the Battle of the Golden Spurs, when today it is told as a war of cultures? How did the French help the Ottoman Muslims to fight Vienna in 1529?
- Colonists brought this giga-tribal thinking also to their victim regions to divide and conquer.
- The nation was a new way for the elite to keep authority and unity over an extended nation-state, in their ambition to be powerful like the Romans or Napoleon.
If it's true that I'm going to see so many ruins from Ancient Greek, then I better read some basics on the Aegean and the Ancient Greek ().