Alexander the Great Exhibit, Louvre Museum, Macedonian Kingdom, Paris, Phillip of Macedon

Alexander the Great of Macedon at “Le Louvre”

“I am not interested in the descendance of the citizens or their racial origins. I classify them using one criterion: their virtue. For me every virtuous foreigner is a Greek and every evil Greek worse than a Barbarian.”    Alexander the Great – King of Macedon (356 – 323 BC)

  

We all know the power of words. Alexander the Great used them.    Crossing the Hellespont with his army in 334 BC Alexander threw his spear from his ship to the coast and it stuck in the Asian ground. He stepped onto the shore, pulled his weapon from the soil and declared that the whole of Asia would be won by the spear.

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Alexander the Great, Macedonian Kingdom, Paris-France, Louvre Museum, are magical words in my bilingual dictionary — they light me up and elevate me to the highest state of euphoria — and they are all included in this announcement:  Alexander the Great, my favorite Greek God ( he is a Greek God as far as I am concerned , the God of eternal glory and immortality), is visiting Paris! Nothing will get me to Paris faster than that —  not even Chanel, Lanvin, Dior or any other names – not even Alaxander McQueen, another one of my favorite Alexanders – anyway, I saw him recently at the Met in New York city.

Yes! Alexander the Great goes to Paris next October for a unique exhibition! And not just any place in Paris but at “Le Louvre”, the country’s most famous museum and one of the best museums on the planet!

Image of the Louvre Museum – Paris, France

 A major exhibition entitled “In the Kingdom of Alexander the Great – Ancient Macedonia” will be hosted at the famous museum from October 2011 until January 2012.

Image  Map of Alexander the Great’s Kingdom of Macedonia

In 323 BC Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia, ruled a dominion that stretched from the Balkans to the Himalayas and from Egypt to the Caspian Sea. The most brilliant and most charismatic leader — I  don’t think in my humble Macedonian opinion anyone was able to surpass him since —  he had led a small Greek army on the campaign of over 20,000 miles to conquer the mighty Persian Empire. Originally from Iran, the Persians held sway over a domain which also included all of what are now Turkey, Israel and Egypt. It had taken him twelve years and he was only thirty-two. Alexander the Great  was at that time the undisputed master of the world. 

The curator of the department of Greek and Roman antiquities of the Louvre Mrs. Sophie Deschamp has travelled to all Macedonian cities in Northern Greece in order to select the 668 objects which are going to travel to Paris. “The French know that Alexander was Greek, but not Macedonian. Things are a little confused. They don’t know that Macedonia, the birthplace of Alexander the Great is part of Greece. The exhibition will be a great opportunity for all the visitors of the Louvre to learn about Alexander the Great, the origin and the timelessness of his myth” said Mrs. Deschamp.

The exhibits will include architectural portions of the Palace of Vergina, remnants from the grave of Phillip II, and other Macedonian graves, and significant findings from other regions. The French museum is considering this exhibit to be one of major importance. It will allocate its largest periodical exhibition halls measuring a total of 1,200 square meters.

Thanks to this exhibition I will be reunited with my beautiful ancestor and I will reconnect with Macedonia — my divine motherland! I love the French for giving me this opportunity. I am going back home! Home is where Ancient Macedonia and Alexander is, and this time home is Paris!

Alexander finally gets to go West. He is  conquering Paris and the hearts of the French. The glory of the Ancient Macedonian Kingdom continues 2,300 plus years later.

The City of lights will shine brighter than ever with Alexander’s visit. His intention was to visit earlier, back in the days when  he was conquering the world, but, his untimely death prevented it. Better late than  never Alexander!

 

Image of the Louvre with Alexander the Great — promoting the upcoming exhihition (top left)

For more information about the new charity I am in the process of creating please read post dated 9/19/2011: FROM ARISTOTELE TO ALEXANDER – A NEW CHARITY IS BORN.  If you would like to participate, please contact me here.

I will be back soon…

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chocolate, culture, Hurricane Irene, johnny depp, Love, Mood elavating food, New York City, Spirituality

Elevate your moods…with chocolate!

It’s Sunday morning 11:30 AM in New York city the day of hurricane Irene’s anticipated mega catastrophe. The anticipation for the past 48 hours was a tornment paralyzing the entire city and our souls. Everything appeared (although on the surface we all were  very cool)  dark, depressing and very scary as this was described, according to the news and several warnings, to be “possibly the biggest  destructive force of nature of our times.”

The “destruction”  however, was not bad after all. Thank God. We survived the hurricane! Someone up there really likes us, or, as the ancient Greeks used to say, “the Gods are favoring us.” We are in New York city after all, and our elegant skyscrapers act as modern-day cathedrals, as magical connectors with the divine, forever pointing up towards the sky quietly inspiring us to reach towards our higher purpose. It’s a magical feeling!

While watching the constant bombarding of “warnings” all over the news, of “how bad things could possibly get,” and “the worst case senarios,” my usually upbeat, possitive mood plummeted — my energy level was  at the  lowest… what was I to do? Reach for the chocolate of course! Dark, rich, decadent chocolate. Instant gratification! It worked! I began feeling like my usual self again. This made me wonder: what other foods can produce the same effect? After a little research, here is what I discovered:

Hipocrates (460 BC – 370 BC) an ancient Greek physician who founded the Hyppocratic School of Medicine and who  is the father of Western medicine , was the first to suggest the healing power of food. But, it was not until the medieval ages that food was considered as a tool to modify temperament and mood.

As modern scientific methods in neuroscience emerged, investigators began to examine the role of diet to health, including mental well being. As science advanced we learned that the foundation of brain activity is food. What we eat creates brain chemicals, the basic units of brain action. From the array of nutrients in a meal, proteins in the brain called enzymes conduct chemicals in a balanced proportion. There is a relationship between food and the balance of brain chemicals. These chemicals are:

seratonin – enhances calmness and sleepiness and erases depression,

norepinephrine – makes you energetic and focused, and,

endorphine – causes “natural high” because it creates a sence of euphoria.

LIST OF MOOD ENHANSING FOOD:

Whole grains, bread and pasta, oatmel, shell fish,  seafood, pultry, salt, grean leafy vegetables (especially spinach), dairy products, leggumes, avocados, tomatoes, beets, peas, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, oranges, blueberries, bannanas, pineapples, plums, passion fruits, pomegranates, green tea, coffee, sun flower seeds, brazilian nuts, walnuts and dark chocolate (70% dark chocolate to ensure maximum benefits.)

A few people would frown after popping a square of decadent chocolate into their mouths, but it’s not just

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because it tastes good.  Chocolate causes the brain to release endorphins and it can  boost serotonin levels — also, it contains compounds like phenylethylamine that act as mind stimulants. A recent study from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) finds that eating chocolate may lead to 33% lower risk of heart disease (with its antioxidant and anti-inflamatory properties lowering blood pressure and improving insulin resistance.)

Growing up in Northern Greece, I remember that my mother always kept a beautifully decorated porcelain box full of fine chocolates “for the visitors” as our home was always open and welcoming. Well, that little box had plenty of visits…from me!

The euphoric effects of chocolate are beautifully depicted in one of my favorite films:Chocolate (2000), with Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp and Lena Olin.

It is an oscar-nominated film where Juliette and her daughter open up a chocolate shop in a small French village (1959) and she shakes up the rigid morality of the community with her cocoa remedies — that her pharmacist father had discovered in one of his adventures in Central America.  Unrefined cocoa with a pinch of chili was used in ancient Mayan sacred ceremonies. The people from the Maya civilization believed that cocoa had the power to unlock hidden desires and to reveal destinies. Chocolate is a recurring motif in the film — one that is used to draw secrets and stories out of people. Juliette’s character serves her magical spicy hot chocolate with a pinch of chili flakes causing everyone to feel love and to be delightfully  elevated and permanently transformed.

It is a beautiful  modern-day fairytale with a beautiful message, ‘We can’t go around measuring our goodness with what we don’t do, with what we deny ourselves,  what we resist, and whom do we exclude. We have got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include.” This film will definitely elevate your spirit and it will absolutely make you fall in love with Johnny Depp…if you are not in love with him already…

HURRICANE HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPE  (try it it will give you a lift!)

2 cups of organic milk (whole, or 2% fat)

3 oz. bar of dark, organic chocolate (grated)

honey (to taste)

2 tb spoons  cocoa powder

1 vanilla bean

crushed red chili pepper flakes (to taste)

a pinch of salt

Heat all ingredients until chocolate melts, stir, strain and serve. Add a bit of whipped cream and “delicious” is something you can expect!

Well, no one was anticipating the drama and the interruption of our routines  in New York City that hurricane Irene caused. I must say, this event was productive — inspiring me to make all these chocolate discoveries and sharing  them with you, and, further verifying my belief that nothing ever happens by accident. I was really anticipating that this time my post will be about Aristotle and his influence on Alexander the Great…but, I like this element of surprise.

I am leaving you with a sweet scene from Chocolate…a chocolate kiss…

    Until next time…stay well…

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Alexander the Great, Ancient Greek history, Macedonian Kingdom, Phillip of Macedon

Phillip II of Macedon – Alexander the Great (continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Oh, how a small portion of earth will hold us when we are dead, who ambitiously seek after the whole world while we are living!”

PHILLIP  II OF MACEDON  – Macedonian king, father of Alexander the Great (382 BC – 336 BC)

Phillip II  (359 BC), father of Alexander the Great, was a charismatic ruler, whose strategic genius and diplomatic ability transformed Macedonia from an insignificant and marginal country into the most important power in the Aegean and paved the way for the pan-Hellenic expedition of his son Alexander III to the Orient. He was an expansive leader who had the breath of vision to usher the ancient world into the epoch of the Hellenism of three continents.

During the course of his tempestuous life, he firmly established the power of the central authority in the  Macedonian kingdom, reorganized the army into a flexible and amazing efficient unit and  made Macedonia incontestably superior to the institution of the city-state which, at this precise period, was declining.

He was a major inspiration to Alexander who eventually surpassed him in his accomplishments and his achievement of eternal glory.

Phillip’s unexpected death at the hands of an assassin in 336 BC in the theater at Aigai (on the very day of the marriage of his daughter Cleopatra to her uncle Alexander King of the Molossians and Olympia’s brother) , brought  to an end a brilliant career, the final aim of which was to unify the Greeks in order to extract vengeance on Persia for the invasion of 481-480 BC; Macedonia, in complete control of the Balkan peninsula, was ready with Alexander III as its new king, to assume its new role.

 …more about Alexander the Great’s legend …                                              

                                                                                 

                                                                                                            

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Alexander the Great, Ancient Greek history, Classical Education, culture, Macedonia, Uncategorized

Ancient Macedonia – Alexander the Great (continued )

 

 

 

 

” Macedonia my divine motherland” SG

Occupying the bigger part of Northern Greece, Macedonia  first appears on the historical scene as a geographical-political superpower in the 7th century BC,  (around 810 BC) when it

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extended from the upper waters of the Haliakmon river and mount Olympus to the river Strymon. At this time the Greek tribe of the Macedones called the Argeads (of Dorian decent) who have migrated from the south  (Argos) and whose home was in Orestis, began to expand, driving out the Thracians and contending with the Illyrians, and gradually settling in the region called “Lower Macedonia or, Macedonia by the Sea”.

This time is the official begining of the Argead or Macedonian Empire — more about the origins of the Argeads to be posted very soom..

Image. Map of Ancient Macedonia.

The country was self-sufficient in products to meet basic needs (timber, cereals, game, fish, livestock, minerals) and soon became the exclusive supplier of other Greek states less blessed by nature, though at the same time it came to be the target of expansionist schemes dictated largely by economic interests.  A particularly “introspective” land, with conservative customs (still existing today, if I can say based on my personal experience of my upbringing by my Macedonian parents) and way of life and social structure and political organization of markedly archaic character, speaking a distinctive form of the Doric dialect, Macedonia took over the reigns of the Greek spirit in the 4th century BC when the city-state was entering on its decline, revealing admirable adaptability in the face of the demands of the present and the achievements of the past, and ingenuity and boldness when confronted with the problems of the future. The country was quickly transformed into a performer of new roles, opening up new roads towards the epoch of the Hellenism of the three continents.

This is about when  Alexanders’ father, King Philip II of Macedon   (359 BC) succeeded as the ruler of the Macedonian Empire.

…more about Phillip and Alexander coming up…

Note: Please see future post dated 10-09-11: From Hercules to Alexander  – for more information about the Argead Dynasty and the legent of Ancient Macedonia.

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Alexander the Great, Ancient Greek history, Classical Education, Macedonia, Persian Empire, Susanna Galanis Jewelry, Temple Artemis of Ephesus

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus – Alexander the Great (continued)

 

 

Ephesus was an Ancient Greek city located on the west coast  of Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey. Its history stretches back to 1,000 BC.

Being one of the largest cities in antiquity, it was the center of travel and commerce. Stretched on the Aegean Sea the city of Ephesus  was one of the  greatest seaports of the ancient world and it was famed for its cult for the Goddess Artemis in a Temple whose magnificence permit it to be classified among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks to the Temple of Artemis the bustling port of the city grew large and wealthy. Beautiful stone buildings lined its streets and a huge amphitheater/stadium for gladiatorial games kept the populus entertained. At its height, some 250 thousand lived in Ephesus making it one of the largest cities of the ancient world.

Following his conquest of the Greek city of Ephesus and several other Greek cities on the Asian coast, King Croesus [King of Lydia, an ancient kingdom in Asia Minor] build the temple to honor its Goddess Artemis. Completed around 550 BC, the temple was designed by the Greek architect, Chersiphron and it was  revolutionary in design – was said to have rivaled the Parthenon in size and fame.  This ancient wonder made of marble with a cedar roof, and ornamented inside and outside with gold, was overflowing with treasures.

Image (suggestion) of  The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

The temple of Artemis had 127 columns (each around 66 feet tall)  with the front rows decorated with intricate sculpture. A statue of the Goddess Artemis — an  Anatolian Mother Goddess, with its enormous power and influence associated with, stood in the middle.

Image Map of Asia Minor (Modern-day Turkey)

Artemis was the Hellenic goddess of the hunt, wild animals, wilderness, childbirth,  virginity, and young girls and twin of Apollo. At Ephesus, a goddess whom the Greeks associated with Artemis was passionately venerated in an archaic icon. She was worshiped primarily as the “Mother Goddess. This was the Artemis of Ephesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image of Greek Goddess Artemis-Left

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image of Ephesian Goddess Artemis – Left

 

 

Artemis of Ephesus was carved of wood, with many breast-like  protuberances apparently emphasizing fertility over the virginity traditionally associated with the Greek Artemis. The statute of the many-breasted Artemis was the symbol of the temple as well the symbol of abundance, hunting and wild life. The temple became an important attraction visited by merchants, kings,and sightseers, many of whom paid homage to the goddess in form of jewelry and various other treasures. It also offered sanctuary to those fleeing persecution or punishment, a tradition linked to the myth of the Amazons who twice fled these seeking the goddesses’ protection from punishment firstly by Dionysus and later by Heracles (more about the Amazons on a later post).

The wealth and splendour of the temple and the city of Ephesus were taken as evidence of Artemis Ephesian’s power, and were the basis of her local and international prestige – a gift and honor to the goddess brought prosperity. The splendor and beauty of the temple at the time is  described by a visitor, Antipater of Sidon who commented:  …But when I saw the sacred house of Artemis that towers to the clouds, the [other of the seven wonders of the ancient world] were places in the shade, for the Sun himself has never looked upon its equal outside Olympus.

On the night of July 21, 356 BC a man named Herostratus set fire to the temple in an attempt to immortalize his name. According to historian Plutarch, the burning of the temple coincided with the birth of Alexander – Artemis was too preoccupied with Alexander’s delivery to save her temple from its fiery destruction. This destruction was considered a very bad omen by the Persian magi who interpreted this as the destruction of the Persian empire. 

 Alexander the Grea –  King of Macedonia statue

When Alexander the Great defeated the Persian forces [who at that point had conquered the Lydians], in the battle of Granicus in 334 BC, the Greek cities of Asia Minor were liberated – Alexander was greeted warmly when he entered Ephesus in triumph. Legend has it that Alexander offered to rebuild  the destroyed temple, after all the Goddess Artemis was overseeing the safe delivery of his birth and was not able to save her temple. He was told however, that it was not fit for a God such as himself [as he was considered by many] to build a temple honoring another God. Alexander gave the city of Ephesus special privileges. A different version of the story is, that the Temple was restored with the help of Alexander.

In 262 AD the temple was destroyed again, it was restored but this great monument eventually began to lose its importance as many began switching to Christianity and the town of Ephesus was eventually deserted. In recent years, archeologists have discovered and excavated the town. The British Museum in London counts some of the temples sculptures among its treasures.

…more about Alexander the Great and the cult of Artemis of Ephesus [which I find incredibly fascinating] coming up soon…

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Alexander the Great, Ancient Greek history, Macedonian Kingdom, Persian Empire, Phillip of Macedon

Alexander the Great

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”
Alexander the Great King of Macedon  356 – 323 BC

Alexandros III of Macedon (an ancient Hellenic kingdom  in Northern Greece, and my birth place)  was born in July 356 BC  in Pella,  was one of the greatest military genius in history. He conquered much of what was then the civilized world driven by his divine ambition of the world conquest and the creation of a universal world monarchy. He was the first great conqueror who reached Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor,  Persia and Asia up to the western India. He is famous for having created the ethnic fusion of the Macedonians and the Persians. From victory to victory, from triumph to triumph, Alexander created an Empire which brought him eternal glory. He brought Greek ideas, culture and life style to the countries which he conquered, and assured expansion and domination of Hellenistic Culture which, together with the Roman Civilization and Christianity, constitutes the foundation of what is now called Western Civilization.

His parents were  Olympias and King Philip II of Macedon and according to some legends and oracles Alexander has divine origins: Zeus and Achilles. According to tradition, Olympias’ ancestor was the mythical hero of Iliad – Achilles, while his father Philip II of Macedon, was said to descent from the Zeus’ son – Heracles. Alexander was born on the same day the famous Temple of goddess Artemis at Ephesus  (more about  the story of Artemis – Ephesus on the next post) was destroyed by

 

 

 

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fire. This was a horrible omen for the Persian magi who foretold a great disaster for the Persian Empire. The legend however, begins even before he was born. His parents were in their dreams warned about his birth. They were initiated in the mysterious cults of Kabrina of Samothrace , and they had believed in the messages in dreams, so that they invited the most renowned prophet of that time Arixstandros Telmisy to interpret them. Olympias had a dream of a loud burst of thunder and lightning that had hit her womb, while in Philip’s dream, he was sealing her womb with the seal of a lion. Arixstandros determined that Olympias was pregnant, and that the child would have the character of a lion. The oracle of Delphi advised Philip to worship Zeus more than any other god.

Even as a young boy Alexander was fearless and strong. At the age of twelve, he tamed the beautiful and spirited Buchephalus, a horse that no one else could ride. Philip was so proud of Alexander’s horsemanship that he said:

“oh my son, seek out a kingdom worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee.”

Note: Alexander the Great’s story will continue with future gradual posts…

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