Archive for November, 2014

Emperor Handrian

Posted: November 30, 2014 in D3200, digital, history, PHOTOGRAPHY

Emperor Handrian

Inspired from the photo of the Emperor Handrian,that i took in the ancient Agors of Athens near the Temple of Hephestus, I took the time to find some info on that person.
I would like to share it with you ,I think its Interesting.
Emperor Handrian,Agora Athena By Nikolaos Douralas

Publius Aelius Hadrianus
(AD 76 – AD 138)
Publius Aelius Hadrianus was born on 24 January AD 76, probably at Rome, though his family lived in Italica in Baetica. Having originally come from Picenum in north-eastern when this part of Spain was opened up to Roman settlement, Hadrian’s family had lived in Italica for some three centuries. With Trajan also coming from Italica, and Hadrian’s father, Publius Aelius Hadrianus Afer, being his cousin, Hadrian’s obscure provincial family now found itself possessing impressive connections.
In AD 86 Hadrian’s father died in AD 86 and he, at the age of 10, became joint ward of Acilius Attianus, a Roman equestrian, and of Trajan.
Trajan’s initial attempt to create a military career for the 15 year old Hadrian was frustrated by Hadrian’s liking the easy life. He preferred going hunting and enjoying other civilian luxuries.
And so Hadrian’s service as a military tribune stationed in Upper Germany ended with little distinction as Trajan angrily called him to Rome in order to keep a close eye on him.
Next the so far disappointing young Hadrian was set on a new career path. This time – though still very young – as a judge in an inheritance court in Rome.
And alas he shortly afterwards succeeded as a military officer in the Second Legion ‘Adiutrix’ and then in the Fifth Legion ‘Macedonia’ on the Danube.
In Ad 97 when Trajan, based in Upper Germany was adopted by Nerva, it was Hadrian who was sent form his base to carry the congratulations of his legion to the new imperial heir.
But in AD 98 Hadrian seized the great opportunity of Nerva’s to carry the news to Tajan. Uttely determined to be the first to carry this news to the new emepror he raced to Germany. With otehr also seeking to be the bearers of the good news to a no doubt grateful emperor it was quite a race, with many an obstacle being purposely placed in Hadrian’s way. But he succeeded, even travelling the last stages of his journey on foot. Trajan’s gratitude was assured and Hadrian indeed became a very close friend of the new emperor.
In AD 100 Hadrian married Vibia Sabina, the daughter of Trajan’s niece Matidia Augusta, after having accompied the new emperor to Rome.
Soon after followed the first Dacian war, during which time Hadrian served as quaestor and staff officer.
With the second Dacian war following soon after the first, Hadrian was given command of the First Legion ‘Minervia’, and once he returned to Rome he made praetor in AD 106. A year thereafter he was governor of Lower Pannonia and then consul in AD 108.
When Trajan embarked on his Parthian campaign in AD 114, Hadrian once more held a key position, this time as governor of the important military province of Syria.
There is no doubt that Hadrian was of high status during Trajan’s reign, and yet there were no immediate signs that he was intended as the imperial heir.
The details of Hadrian’s succession are indeed mysterious. Trajan might well have decided on his deathbed to make Hadrian his heir.
But the sequence of events does indeed seem suspicious. Trajan died the 8 August AD 117, on the 9th it was announced at Antioch that he had adopted Hadrian. But only by the 11th was it made public that Trajan was dead.
According to the historian Dio Cassius, Hadrian’s accession was solely due to the actions of empress Plotina, kept Trajan’s death a secret for several days. In this time she sent letters to the senate declaring Hadrian’s the new heir. These letter however carried her own signature, not that of emperor Trajan, porabalbly using the excuse that the emperor’s illness made him to feeble to write.

Yet another rumour asserted that someone had been sneeked into Trajan’s chamber by the empress, in order to impersonate his voice.
Once Hadrian’s accession was secure, and only then, did empress Plotina announce Trajan’s death.
Hadrian, already in the east as governor of Syria at the time, was present at Trajan’s cremation at Seleucia (the ashes were therafter shipped back to Rome). Though now he was there as emperor.
Right from the start Hadrian made it clear that he was his own man. One of his very first decisions was the abandonment of the eastern territories which Trajan had just conquered during his last campaign. Had Augustus a century before spelled out that his successors should keep the empire within the natural boundaries of the rivers Rhine, Danube and Euphrates, then Trajan had broken that rule and had crossed the Euphrates. On Hadrian’s order once pulled back to behind the Euphrates again.
Such withdrawal, the surrender territory for which teh Roman army had just paid in blood, will hardly have been popular.
Hadrian did not travel directly back to Rome, but first set out for the Lower Danube to deal with trouble with the Sarmatians at the border. While he was there he also confirmed Trajan’s annexation of Dacia.
The memory of Trajan, the Dacian gold mines and the army’s misgivings about withdrawing from conquered lands clearly convinced Hadrian that it might not be wise always to withdraw behind the natural boundaries advised by Augustus.
If Hadrian set out to rule as honourably as his beloved predecessor, then he got off to a bad start. He had not arrived in Rome yet and four respected senators, all ex-consuls, were dead. Men of the highest standing in Roman society, all had been killed for plotting against Hadrian. Many however saw these executions as a way by which Hadrian was removing any possible pretenders to his throne. All four had been friends of Trajan. Lusius Quietus had been a military commander and Gaius Nigrinus ha dbeen a very wealthy and influential politician; in fact so influential he had been thought a possible successor to Trajan.
But what makes the ‘affair of the four consulars’ especially unsavoury is that Hadrian refused to take any responsibility for this matter. Might other emperors have gritted their teeth and announced that a ruler needed to act ruthlessly in order to grant the empire a stable, unshakable government, then Hadrian denied everything.
He even went as far as swearing a public oath that he was not responsible. More so he said that it had been the senate who had ordered the executions (which is technically true), before placing the blame firmly on Attianus, the praetorian prefect (and his former join-guardian with Trajan).
However, if Attianus had done anything wrong in the eyes of Hadrian, it is hard to understand why the emperor would have made him consul thereafter.
Despite such an odious start to his reign, Hadrian quickly proved to be a highly capable ruler. Army discipline was tightened and the border defences were strengthened.
Trajan’s wellfare programme for the poor, the alimenta, was further expanded.
most of all though, Hadrian should beome known for his efforts to visit the imperial territories personally, where he could inspect provincial government himself.
These far-ranging journeys would begin with a visit to Gaul in AD 121 and would end ten years later on his return to Rome in AD 133-134. No other emperor would ever see this much of his empire. From as far west as Spain to as far east as the province of Pontus in modern day Turkey, from as far north as Britain to as far south as the Sahara desert in Libya, Hadrian saw it all. Though this was not mere sight-seeing. Far more Hadrian sought to gather first-hand information about the various problem the provinces faced. His secretaries compiled entier books of such information.

Perhaps the most famous result of Hadrian’s conlusions when seeing for himself the problems faced by the territories, was his order to construct the great barrier which still today runs across northern England, Hadrian’s Wall, which once shielded the British Roman province from the wild northern barbarians of the isle. Since a very young age Hadrian had held a fascination for Greek learning and sophistication. So much so, he was dubbed the ‘Greekling’ by his contemporaries. Once he became emperor his tastes for all things Greek should became a trademark of his. He visited Athens, still the great centre of learning, no fewer than three times during his reign. And his grand building programmes did not limit itself to Rome with a few grand buildings in other cities, but also Athens benefitted extensively from its great imperial patron.
Yet even this great love of art should become sullied by Hadrian’s darker side. Had he invited Trajan’s architect Apollodorus of Damascus (the designer of Trajan’s Forum) to comment on his own design for a temple, he then turned on him, once the architect showed himself little impressed. Apollodorus was first banished and later executed. Had great emperors shown themselves able to handle criticism and listen to advice, then Hadrian who at times patently was unable, or unwilling, to do so.
Hadrian appears to have been a man of mixed sexual interests. The Historia Augusta criticizes both his liking of goodlooking young men as well as his adulteries with married women.
If his relations with his wife was anything but close, then the rumour that he tried to poson her might suggest that it was even much worse than that.
When it comes to Hadrian’s apaprent homosexuality, then the accounts remain vague and unclear. Most of the attention centres on the young Antinous, whom Hadrian grew very fond of. Statues of Antinous have survived, showing that imperial patronage of this youth extended to having sculptures made of him. In AD 130 Antinous accompanied Hadrian to Egypt. It was on a trip on the Nile when Antinous met with an early and somewhat mysterious death. Officially, he fell from the boat and drowned. But a perisistent rumour spoke of Antinous having been a sacrifice in some bizarre eastern ritual.
The reasons for the young man’s death might not be clear, but was is known is that Hadrian grieved deeply for Antinous. He even founded a city along the banks of the Nile where Antinous had drowned, Antinoopolis. Touching as this might have seemed to some, it was an act deemed unbefitting an emperor and drew much ridicule.
If the founding of Antinoopolis had caused some eyebrows to be raised then Hadrian’s attempts to re-found Jerusalem were little more than disastrous.
Had Jerusalem been destroyed by Titus in AD 71 then it had never been rebuilt since. At least not officially. And so, Hadrian, seeking to make a great historical gesture, sought to build a new city there, to be called Aelia Capitolina. Hadrian planning a grand imperial Roman city, it was to boast a grand temple to Juliter Capitolinus on the temple mount. The Jews, however, were hardly to stand by and watch in silence while the emperor desecrated their holiest place, the ancient site of the Temple of Salomon. And so, with Simeon Bar-Kochba as its leader, an embittered Jewish revolt arose in AD 132. Only by the end of AD 135 was the situation back under control, with over half a million Jews having lost their lives in the the fighting.
This might have been Hadrian’s only war, and yet it was a war for which only really one man could be blamed – emperor Hadrian.
Though it must be added that the troubles surrounding the Jewish insurrection and its brutal crushing were unusual in Hadrian’s reign. His government was, but for this occasion, moderate and careful.
Hadrian showed a great interest in law and appointed a famous African jurist, Lucius Salvius Julianus, to create a definitive revision of the edicts which had been pronounced every year by the Roman praetors for centuries.
This collection of laws was a milestone in Roman law and provided the poor with at least a chance of gaining some limited knowledge of the legal safeguards to which they were entitled.
In AD 136 Hadrian, whose health began to fail, sought an heir before he would die, leaving the empire without a leader. He was 60 years old now. Perhaps he feared that, being without an heir might make him vulnerable to a challenge to the throne as he grew more frail. Or he simply sought to secure a peaceful transition for the empire. Whichever version is true, Hadrian adopted Lucius Ceionius Commodus as his successor.
Once more the more menacing side of Hadrian showed as he order the suicide of those he suspected opposed to Commodus’ accession, most notably the distinguished senator and Hadrian’s brother-in-law Lucius Julius Ursus Servianus.
Though the chosen heir, though only in his thirties, suffered from bad health and so Commodus was already dead by 1 January AD 138.
A month after Commodus’ death, Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius, a highly respected senator, on the condition that the childless Antoninus in turn would adopt Hadrian’s promising young nephew Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus (the son of Commodus) as heirs.
Hadrian’s final days were a grim affair. He became eve more ill and spent extended periods in severe distress. As he sought to end his life with either a blade or poison, his servants grew ever more vigilant to keep such items from his grasp. At one point he even convinced a barbarian servant by name of Mastor to kill him. But at the last moment Mastor failed to obey.
Despairing, Hadrian left government in the hands of Antoninus Pius, and retired, dying soon afterwards at the pleasure resort of Baiae on 10 July AD 138.
Had Hadrian been a brilliant administrator and had he provided the empire with a period of stability and relative peace for 20 years, he died a very unpopular man.
He had been a cultured man, devoted to religion, law, the arts – devoted to civilization. And yet, he also bore that dark side in him which could reveal him similar to a Nero or a Domitian at times. And so he was feared. And feared men are hardly ever popular.
His body was buried twice in different places before finally his ashes should be laid to rest in the mausoleum he had built for himself at Rome.
It was only with reluctance that the senate accepted Antoninus Pius’ request to deify Hadrian. 
Source 

Also Some Details about his interest Restoring Athens as the Cultural Capital Of the Roman Empire.

 Greece
 

Temple of Zeus in Athens.
 

The Pantheon was rebuilt by Hadrian.The climax of this tour was the destination that the hellenophile Hadrian must all along have had in mind, Greece. He arrived in the autumn of 124 in time to participate in the Eleusinian Mysteries. By tradition, at one stage in the ceremony the initiates were supposed to carry arms; but, this was waived to avoid any risk to the emperor. At the Athenians’ request, he conducted a revision of their constitution — among other things, a new phyle (tribe) was added bearing his name.

During the winter he toured the Peloponnese. His exact route is uncertain; however, Pausanias reports of tell-tale signs, such as temples built by Hadrian and the statue of the emperor built by the grateful citizens of Epidaurus in thanks to their “restorer”. He was especially generous to Mantinea; this supports the theory that Antinous was in fact already Hadrian’s lover because of the strong link between Mantinea and Antinous’s home in Bithynia.

By March 125, Hadrian had reached Athens, presiding over the festival of Dionysia. The building program that Hadrian initiated was substantial. Various rulers had done work on building the Temple of Olympian Zeus over a timespan of more than five centuries — it was Hadrian and the vast resources he could command that ensured that the job would be finished. He also initiated the construction of several public buildings on his own whim and even organized the building of an aqueduct.

Greece, Asia, and Egypt (128–130)
Hadrian and Antinous – busts in the British Museum

In September 128, Hadrian again attended the Eleusinian mysteries. This time his visit to Greece seems to have concentrated on Athens and Sparta — the two ancient rivals for dominance of Greece. Hadrian had played with the idea of focusing his Greek revival round Amphictyonic League based in Delphi, but he by now had decided on something far grander. His new Panhellenion was going to be a council that would bring Greek cities together wherever they might be found. The meeting place was to be the new temple to Zeus in Athens. Having set in motion the preparations — deciding whose claim to be a Greek city was genuine would in itself take time — Hadrian set off for Ephesus.

In October 130, while Hadrian and his entourage were sailing on the Nile, Antinous drowned for unknown reasons; accident, suicide, murder or religious sacrifice have all been postulated. The emperor was grief-stricken. He ordered Antinous deified, and cities were named after the boy, medals struck with his effigy, and statues erected to him in all parts of the empire. Temples were built for his worship in Bithynia, Mantineia in Arcadia. In Athens, festivals were celebrated in his honour and oracles delivered in his name. The city of Antinopolis or Antinoe was founded on the ruins of Besa, where he died.

Greece and Illyricum

Hadrian’s movements subsequent to the founding of Antinopolis on 30 October 130 are obscure. Whether or not he returned to Rome, he spent the winter of 131–32 in Athens and probably remained in Greece or further East because of the Jewish rebellion which broke out in Judaea in 132 (see below). Inscriptions make it clear that he took the field in person against the rebels with his army in 133; he then returned to Rome, probably in that year and almost certainly (judging again from inscriptions) via Illyricum.

Source

Thision Flea market

Posted: November 30, 2014 in D3200, digital, PHOTOGRAPHY, travel

Thision Flea market

 

Thisio Station
Just outside of the Thissio train station, 5 minutes walk from Acropolis a colorful fleamarket takes place every weekend. 

Before you visit the beautiful cafes or restaurants or the multiple archeological sites,try not to miss it.

Just outside the Station

Also dont hesitate to ask for better prices, negotiating a better deal is part of the fun.

Here are some photos from yesterday.
Thiseas Statue

A Small Part Of the Market

Take it Slow

Relax and enjoy it.
Happy Shooting

Athena: Thision,Ancient Agora & Acropolis.

Today I visited the historic triangle of Athens ,Thission the  Ancient Agora and Acropolis. The weather was quite good and a lot of people was visiting the sites. Mainly Asians I met some Chinese and some Koreans. When you visit this sites you get a rush thats inexplicable. Maybe its the energy that flows in these marbles. Also it is very difficult not to score some nice photos even if you are completely ignorant on photography.

Thiseio (Greek: Θησείο, pronounced [θiˈsio]) is the name of a neighborhood in downtown Athens, Greece, northwest of the Acropolis, 1.5 km southwest of downtown; its name derives from the Temple of Hephaestus, also known as Τhiseio, as it was, in earlier times, considered a temple of Theseus. 

Temple of Hephestus


Detail From Inside Hephestus Temple
Hephaestus was the patron god of metal working and craftsmanship. There were numerous potters’ workshops and metal-working shops in the vicinity of the temple, as befits the temple’s honoree. Archaeological evidence suggests that there was no earlier building on the site except for a small sanctuary that was burned when the Persians occupied Athens in 480 BCE. The name Theseion or Temple of Theseus was attributed to the monument under the assumption it housed the remains of the Athenian hero Theseus, brought back to the city from the island of Skyros by Kimon in 475 BCE, but refuted after inscriptions from within the temple associated it firmly with Hephaestus.

Emperor Andrianos
Ancient Agora, In distance Temple Agion Asomaton and Acropolis
The Agora, the marketplace and civic center, was one of the most important parts of an ancient city of Athens. In addition to being a place where people gathered to buy and sell all kinds of commodities, it was also a place where people assembled to discuss all kinds of topics: business, politics, current events, or the nature of the universe and the divine.  The Agora of Athens, where ancient Greek democracy first came to life, provides a wonderful opportunity to examine the commercial, political, religious, and cultural life of one of the great cities of the ancient world.

The earliest archaeological excavations in the Athenian Agora were conducted by the Greek Archaeological Society in the 19th century. Since 1931 and continuing to the present day, the excavations have been conducted by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.


Temple Agion Asomaton
A short distance from the temple of Hephaestus in Thission, the church of Saints Asomatoi is a simple, cross-in-square church with a narthex and Athenian-style dome, supported by four columns. Dating from the mid-11th century, the church sits approximately two metres lower than the current street level.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the church underwent extensive renovations, which left only the original Athenian dome unaltered. However, around 1960, the church was fully restored to its original form, revealing its Byzantine masonry. Some late-Byzantine frescoes were also discovered at this time along with a valuable silver case containing sacred relics. To date, the contents of the case have not been identified.

Today the area has cafes and meeting points, which are most crowded during summer. Thiseio is served by the nearby ISAP Thiseio metro station.
Odeon Herodes Atticus

On your way to Parthenon you see  The Odeon of Herodes Atticus which is a stone theatre structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens.

It was built in 161 AD by the Athenian magnate Herodes Atticus in memory of his wife, Aspasia Annia Regilla. It was originally a steep-sloped amphitheater with a three-story stone front wall and a wooden roof made of expensive, cedar of Lebanon timber. It was used as a venue for music concerts with a capacity of 5,000. It lasted intact until it was destroyed and turned into a ruin by the Heruli in 267 AD.

Kariatides
Kariatides

 

Erectheum

Erechtheum,  Ionic temple of Athena, built during 421–405 bc on the Acropolis at Athens, famous largely for its complexity and for the exquisite perfection of its details. The temple’s Ionic capitals are the most beautiful that Greece produced, and its distinctive porch, supported by caryatid figures, is unequaled in classical architecture.

The name, of popular origin, is derived from a shrine dedicated to the Greek hero Erichthonius. It is believed by some that the temple was erected in honour of the legendary king Erechtheus. The architect was probably Mnesicles. In the early 19th century, Lord Elgin took several sections of the temple to London. Later, in the early 20th century, it was somewhat restored.

Parthenon

The Parthenon was a temple to Athena built on top of the highest hill in Athens, the Acropolis (Acropolis means High City). In the Late Bronze Age, about 1300 BC, the Acropolis had been where the kings of Athens lived (like Theseus in the myth), and where everybody went to defend themselves when there was a war. But after the Dark Ages, the Athenians had no more kings to rule them. Instead they had an oligarchy, and so there was no king to live on the Acropolis. Instead, the Acropolis became sacred to the goddess Athena, and the Athenians built her a temple there.

There was at least one Parthenon temple on that spot before the one that is there now. The earlier temple was built in the Archaic period out of limestone. The Persians destroyed this first temple when they sacked Athens in the Persian Wars, just before the battle of Salamis in 480 BC. We have only scraps of that temple that were buried on the Acropolis after the war.


  
 For a long time after the Persian Wars, the Athenians left the Acropolis in ruins, as a sort of war memorial. But by the 440s BC, a generation later, the Athenians wanted to rebuild their Parthenon bigger and better than before.

To get the money for this new, big, beautiful temple, the Athenians used the tribute money from their allies, that was supposed to be spent defending the Greeks from Persian invasions.


The Athenians hired two great architects, Callicrates and Ictinus, and a great sculptor, Pheidias, to rebuild the Parthenon. This time the whole building would be made of marble, and in the very latest style, and big, too.

Erectheum Door Detail

Kionokranon detail
Tourist Photographing Propylea

Bottom line, this place is magical you have to visit it at least once in your life. You understand that we have lost many magnificent artifacts in the last 2500 years and we need to cherish what we have left. Also most importantly we have to try to achieve harmony and balance in our selves, Harmony and balance such as these monuments achieve.


Happy Shooting

365 Project Day 5

Posted: November 29, 2014 in 365 project, D3200, PHOTOGRAPHY

A Throne for the Cat. 

(365 Project Day 5)

 

Today we visited Thision and the Ancient Agora and we ended up over Acropolis. On our way down in the narrow streets of old Athena,there was it . Behind iron cast fences, that protected a small garden of an old villa, I saw the remnants of a dead palm tree. A cat was seating on the top and instantly I took the shot. The cat seemed relaxed and didn’t even blink. Logical After all a king on his throne is used to this kind of publicity.
“A Throne For A Cat”

365 Project Day 4

Day 4 Today of the 365 Project. Last week was Tough, time was very limited if terms of opportunities to take quality photos.But that is the meening of the 365 Project you have to make the best out out of every single opportunity you have.
Today I received another OM lens The Super Danubia Multicoated 28mm f2.8. Price 13euro Including Postage…..nice!

I had it with me the whole day, and on my way from office i popped it on my E420 and here is my Day 4 Photo.
Of course this weekend i am gonna test it extensively. So Stay Tuned… 
DAY 4 “Oil Refinery, Scaramangas” E420 & Super Danubia 28mm MV f2.8
Plus Mystery item photo,received today again (4Euros Incl Postage)
“Stay tuned” E420&SUPER DANUBIA

365 Project Day 3

Day 3
Christmas Tree is Ready, 
Olympus E420
OM to 4/3 Adapter
Auto Optomax 28mm f2.8
“The Elf Is Back, Merry Christmas!”  

365 Project , Day 2

Olympus E420
OM to 4/3 Adapter
Auto Optomax 28mm f2.8
“Join the Club, Canadian Club”