Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Our family spent the long weekend in Paestum . . . visiting the beach, a winery, and the awe-inspiring Greek ruins from 6th century B.C.  We spent a whole morning exploring the extensive site which holds the remains of a town and three amazing temples, all three are now thought to be dedicated to female divines (always love that), specifically Athena and Hera.  We were early enough to have the site almost to ourselves . . . such a treat.

Just like the ruins of the Mayan, these amazing structures were abandoned and left untouched for centuries in marshland, until they were rediscovered and the site became an archeological attraction in the 1600s.  It is believed the city had waned and eventually was abandoned because of the encroachment of marshland and malaria as well as attacks by Saracen pirates during the 12th century A.D.

We spent a long time walking around the ruins that showed the further development of the Greek settlement as a Roman town,  with such features as an amphitheater, a bouleuterion, and public baths.
In the museum, we saw that some parts of one of the temples friezes included the exploits of Hercules . . .
so Quinn gave a little of the hero flavor to the site.
Of course, these notable features were easier to imagine because we had seen the well preserved examples at Pompeii and Herculaneum.  In Paestum, other than the temples, most of the remains exist only as stone outlines.
Felicity, a well-travelled American Girl Doll, joined us that morning.
But the temples are astonishing, unbelievably majestic survivors.  Inevitably, we spent much time just circling these massive testimonies to the divine industry of the Greeks -- Athena and Hera were well heralded here!

There is also a museum that houses many artifacts from the temples and the nearby necropoli, including the frescoed interior of a tomb with a diver, supposedly symbolizing the plunge from this world to the afterlife.  The metaphor was evocatively rendered.

1 comment:

Reva said...

looks great!! lucky you....