The Cyclades: Discovering the Greek Islands of the Aegean by John Freely

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By John Freely

The Cyclades are the imperative Greek isles, well known for the great thing about their seascapes, their ancient monuments, and a different lifestyle deeply rooted within the distant earlier of the Aegean. Over the process greater than 7,000 years the Cyclades have noticeable a succession of civilizations, the earliest of them perpetuated in legends akin to that of Atlantis, which has been pointed out with volcanic Santorini. The islands are arrayed round their sacred centre on Delos, the place Leto used to be acknowledged to have given delivery to the divine twins Apollo and Artemis, little ones of Zeus. Dionysus was once born on olive-embowered Naxos, the place he fell in love with Ariadne, and myths relate that Poseidon was once the protector of Tinos, whose mid-summer competition of the Virgin is well known with the folk-dances and songs for which the Cyclades are recognized. during this finished consultant to the Cyclades, John Freely describes the immemorial earlier and undying current of those mesmerizing islands, which nonetheless look forward to discovery.

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There are three other old churches in the village, those of Agios Athanasios, Agios Fanourios, and Agios Sozon, all of which are noted for their wall paintings and their finely carved wooden iconostases. The Museum of Popular Arts and Folklore and the house of the poet and satirist Kleanthis Triandaphillou-Rhangabi (1846–1899) are also interesting places to visit. Less than two kilometres to the north is the large village of Artemonas, as well as its satellite villages of Ano (Upper) and Kato (Lower) Petali and Agios Loukas.

In one of these narrow streets on the Tuesday after Easter the maidens of Seriphos play their favourite game of the swing (kounia). They hang a rope from one wall to the other, put some clothes on it, and swing, singing and swinging, one after the other. Aware of this the young men try to pass by, and are called upon for a toll of one penny each, a song, and a swing. ’ Then, having paid his penny, he is permitted to pass, and another comes on and does likewise. The game that Bent describes is a survival of the ancient Greek Aiora, or Swinging Festival, celebrated at the season when the vines were pruned.

Other notable churches in and around the village are Agios Yiorgios tou Efendi, a seventeenth-century structure with a number of fine icons of that era; the Panagia tis Ammou (Our Lady of the Sand), which has an icon with a rare depiction of the Virgin without the ChristChild; the Panagia tou Vali, founded by a local who during the Turkokrateia served as the Vali, or Governor; Agios Spyridon, patron saint of Artemonas, whose paneyeri is celebrated on 12 December; and the Panagia tou Barou (Our Lady of the Baron), founded by one of the Latin rulers of Siphnos.

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