Archive for March 1, 2015

Another church of Pireaus, Saint Dionysios.

St Dionysios Church Pireaus

St Dionysios Church Pireaus

St Dionysios Church Pireaus

Nikon D3200 and 18-55mm f3.5 VR

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Statue of Themistocles at the junction of Akti Pseidonos with Vasileos Georgiou street and Akti Miaouli opposite the Agia Trias church in Piraeus.

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A Synopsis of Themistocles life from WIKI.

Themistocles (/θəˈmɪstəˌklz/; Greek: Θεμιστοκλῆς [tʰemistoklɛ̂ːs] Themistokles; “Glory of the Law”;[1] c. 524–459 BC) was an Athenian politician and general. He was one of a new breed of non-aristocratic politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy. As a politician, Themistocles was a populist, having the support of lower class Athenians, and generally being at odds with the Athenian nobility. Elected archon in 493 BC, he convinced the polis to increase the naval power of Athens, a recurring theme in his political career. During the first Persian invasion of Greece, he fought at the Battle of Marathon,[2] and was possibly one of the 10 Athenian strategoi (generals) in that battle.

In the years after Marathon, and in the run up to the second Persian invasion he became the most prominent politician in Athens. He continued to advocate a strong Athenian navy, and in 483 BC he persuaded the Athenians to build a fleet of 200 triremes; these would prove crucial in the forthcoming conflict with Persia. During the second invasion, he was in effective command of the Greek allied navy at the battles of Artemisium and Salamis. Due to subterfuge on the part of Themistocles, the Allies lured the Persian fleet into the Straits of Salamis, and the decisive Greek victory there was the turning point in the invasion, which ended the following year by the defeat of the Persians at the land Battle of Plataea.

After the conflict ended, Themistocles continued to be pre-eminent among Athenian politicians. However, he aroused the hostility of Sparta by ordering Athens to be re-fortified, and his perceived arrogance began to alienate him from the Athenians. In 472 or 471 BC, he was ostracised, and went into exile in Argos. The Spartans now saw an opportunity to destroy Themistocles, and implicated him in the treasonous plot of their own general Pausanias. Themistocles thus fled from Greece, and travelled to Asia Minor, where he entered the service of the Persian king Artaxerxes I. He was made governor of Magnesia, and lived there for the rest of his life.

Themistocles died in 459 BC, probably of natural causes. Themistocles’s reputation was posthumously rehabilitated, and he was re-established as a hero of the Athenian (and indeed Greek) cause. Themistocles can still reasonably be thought of as “the man most instrumental in achieving the salvation of Greece” from the Persian threat, as Plutarch describes him. His naval policies would have a lasting impact on Athens as well, since maritime power became the cornerstone of the Athenian Empire and golden age. It was Thucydides‘s judgement that Themistocles was “a man who exhibited the most indubitable signs of genius; indeed, in this particular he has a claim on our admiration quite extraordinary and unparalleled”.

 

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The church of Saint Spiridon  was built between 1868-1875 on the spot where the old monastery of Saint Spyridon was, a rich monastery that was founded in 1735 over the ruins of the ancient temple of Venus. The monastery was fortified to be protected from the pirates with robust walls, impregnable ramparts and several loopholes. Monks could throw boiling oil to those who tried to enter by force! There was no town at that time and the entire Piraeus peninsula belonged to the monastery. During the Greek revolution against the Ottomans (1821-29) greeks captured the hill of Castella while Turks entrenched inside the monastery but the Greek forces besieged it with relentless bombardment for 2 months in 1827.

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The monastery was dissolved in 1833, the property nationalized and King Otto built a new church in the spot of the ruined temple in 1836 and proclaimed Saint Spyridon patron Saint and Protector of Piraeus. In our days when the church celebrates it gets packed with believers but also the ships whistle throughout the procession. Today morning I visited the church and took some photos  and then got out where I saw 2 monuments. The first one was erected in 2007 when the holy hand of St Spyridon that is house in Corfu was transferred here for pilgrimage.

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The other monument is a bust of Andreas Miaoulis (1769-1835), an admiral who commanded the Greek naval forces against the Ottomans during the Greek war of Independence (1821-1829). When Athens became the capital of Greece in 1834 Miaoulis wanted to build a house hear the sea and the only area without swamps was the area around the monastery.The legends say that contractors refused to build the house because of some dream they had where they saw a monk asking them “why did you close my house?”. Miaoulis did it on his own but never managed to complete it as he died on June 11, 1835.

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All the photos are taken with Nikon D3200 and 18-55 f3.5 VR lens.