Greece in All Her Glory; Under the Mystical Full Moon of August
|Full moon over The Acropolis|
Greece is positively enchanting, but, when beheld under the full moon of August, it is transformed into something truly magical.
Why the August full moon?
This full moon, known as the sturgeon moon, owing to the large number of fish found around this time, in the lakes of North America, is the brightest, most beautiful moon of the year.
August full moon
Viewed in the Northern hemisphere, the full moon of August, is low on the horizon, which gives the illusion that it is so close to earth, you could reach out and touch it!
|Touch the moon|
The dazzling light causes the moon to seem almost as radiant as the sun, turning night into a never-ending twilight.
A Greek proverb describes the light of the August moon perfectly:
“Του Αυγούστου το φεγγάρι, ήλιος της ημέρας μοιάζει”
“Tou Avgoustou to feggari, ilios tis imeras moiazei”
Loosely translated as:
“The August moon, looks like the sun of the day”
|August full moon|
In ancient times, the month of August, named Metageition, in the ancient Athenian, or, Attic calendar was a month of festivals and celebrations
|Ancient Greek Athenian, or, Attic Calander|
The word Metageition, meta- among, and geition-neighbour, was a time for partying, mixing with the neighbours!
The ancient Olympic Games, held in honour of Zeus and staged in Ancient Olympia from 776 BC-393 began on the day (The day, in ancient Greece, began at sunset, not at midnight, as today) of the August full moon, and were held every four years.
|Ancient Greek Olympic wrestlers,|
a relief from a funerary kouros base.
National Archeological Museum Athens.
Detail of statue
Palace of Versailles
The tradition still holds today, the modern Olympic Games are held in August, it is a matter of luck though, if the opening ceremony falls on the day of the full moon.
|Ancient Olympia, Greece|
Home of the Olympic Games
Ancient Greece has invariably been connected with the mystical moon, from the ancient lunar calendar, to incredible stories from Greek mythology.
The most well-know Greek “Moon Myth” is Selene (Also one of the Greek words for moon), Titan Goddess of the moon, who traversed the night sky, in her silver chariot, the moon, drawn by two, snow-white, winged horses.
Titan Moon Goddess
Jules Louis Machard 1874
|The Parthenon Sculptures. The head of a horse of Selene; Moon Goddess,|
from the East pediment.
Now in The British Museum
The love of Selene’s life was Endymion, the shepherd Prince, the most handsome boy Selene had ever set eyes on, and who was granted eternal youth and immortality, and put into a never-ending state of sleep by Zeus.
|Selene visiting Endymion|
Selene paid nightly visits to Endymion, in his cave on Mount Latmos, and eventually bore him fifty daughters, who represented the fifty lunar months of the Olympiad, or period of four years, marking the beginning of the Olympic Games.
Today, on the day of the August full moon, archaeological sites throughout Greece, stay open well after midnight, entrance is free.
To see the brilliant white marble of the Acropolis, glowing in the moonlight, or the moon, hanging low over the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, is a sight never to be forgotten!
|Acropolis under the light of the full moon of August|
Many festivities, including singing, dancing, musical performances and poetry reading, food abundant and wine flowing, are held under the light of the moon at about a hundred archaeological sites and museums all over Greece.
|Full moon over the Temple of Poseidon|
|Full moon over The White Tower|
|Full mooon at The Temple of Apollo|
Here are a couple of pictures of Loutraki, Peloponnese, where we live in Greece.
A beautiful photo' of the full moon over the bay of Loutraki, taken by talented photographer, living in Loutraki, Melissa Birley
The full moon over my garden, taken by not-so-talented photographer; me!
|Super moon over Loutraki, Greece|
10 August 2014
|August moon over my garden|
Years ago, the Acropolis remained open all night, not only for the full moon of August, but for all twelve full moons of the year.
Athenians would prepare picnics, to be eaten in the glow of the magnificent marble columns of the Parthenon, and spend the night there, dreaming of magical nights in faraway ancient Greece.
A wonderful book:
|"Six Nights on the Acropolis"|
“Six Nights on the Acropolis”
by Greece’s Noble prize winner (Literature) George Seferis, tells the tale of seven friends, four boys and three girls, in 1928, meeting on the Acropolis, once a month, for six months, on the night of the full moon.
The book is actually a Roman à clef, the protagonist, Stratis Thalassinos, being George Seferis himself, experiencing his first months back in Athens, after studying law in France.
Visit Greece in August, around the time of the full moon and see one of her many other faces!
“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”