When a Homotouristicus visits incredibly beautiful places, he/she always finds much time to make a stop and admire their beauty as well as to get acquainted with their history through the related myths and legends. There is nothing nicer than being on the road and returning to ancient and divine times. Agree? Your answer will be Yes, if you are of my “touristic” blood and love to hear stories about the sites you visit. Of course, most of them are mere fiction but they are the cox that brings us back to ancient times and makes a certain place so amazing and interesting.
Sooooo ….. Are you ready to take this trip during which you will meet gods and kings, heroes and swordsmen, beauties and the three graces? If you dare, off we gooooo …. to the splendid Hellenic islands in the Aegean Sea. 🙂
The Hellenic Republic is, for sure, the land of Gods and myths. Every stone and mountain, every place and sea has a surpassing legend. You don’t believe me, a? 🙂 Okay then, let’s get started with the Mount Olympus (between Thessaly and Macedonia in Hellas) that was the home of the 12 Olympian Gods. When you are there you will “become one of them” and visit the caves and peaks where you will “make” friends with Zeus and Aphrodite, Hades and Apollo, or Poseidon, etc.. No, actually, most probably you will meet Poseidon when you sail off to one of the seas that Hellas is blessed to have and to be bordered with.
If you sail to the oldest European city – Knossos, on the Island of Crete, surely, you will be told the legend of the King of Athens – Aigeas (Aegeas) whom the Aegean Sea was named after. Of course, this myth will be connected to another one related to Ariadne and god Dionysus as well as King Minos (Minoas) of Crete. But let us start from the very beginning.
Many, many thousand years ago Androgeo (son of King Minos) was killed by the Athenians. The King wanted revenge and declared war on Athens. And guess who won it … Definitely … Unfortunately, King Minos didn’t stop himself after having won the war but he forced Athens to sacrifice 7 Athenian maidens and 7 Athenian lads every nine years. They were to be sent to the mythical Minotaur of Crete that swallowed them up. That strange creature was half-man, half-bull and lived in a Labyrinth. Thiseas, the son of Aigeas was determined to set sail to Crete and slaughter that mythical creature. Before his departure the father asked his son upon return to hoist black sails as a sign of mourning, and white sails if he had managed to kill the Minotaur. The young man promised and sailed off to Crete as one of the 7 sacrificed lads.
When he stepped on the island, he was aware of the fact that he would not kill the Minotaur by himself. As we all know behind every man there stands a woman. So, he made a plan to delude beautiful Ariadne who was the Minotaur’s sister and knew the clue that would help him kill the monster. He charmed her with sweet words and promises of love and of a bright future with him. But his aim was only to get Ariadne’s Clue and kill the beast. He succeeded easily. The maiden gave him a ball of string that he would use in the Labyrinth to slay the Minotaur. After completing his deed Thiseas and Ariadne left the Island of Crete and left for Athens. But the lad’s plan wasn’t to bring her to Athens and introduce her to his parents as his future wife. Just on the opposite. On their way, they made a stop on the Island of Naxos. Ariadne was surprised of that sudden and unexpected stop but she was skillfully lied to that they would only spend one night there and in the morning they would re-set sail to Athens.
The sun rose and Thiseas abandoned beautiful Ariadne while she was sleeping. He started his journey to Athens but forgot to hoist the white sails. Aigias expected eagerly his son’s arrival on the Akrotiri of Sounio every day and every night. When the King of Athens saw the ship on the horizon, he was desperate because the sails were black. His grief was so enormous that he couldn’t bear it. That’s why he made a suicide by jumping off the cliffs into the sea from the temple of Poseidon. Since then, the Aegean Sea has been bearing the King’s name.
You will ask me what happened with Ariadne, won’t you? Well, she had the most wonderful dreams during the night. She dreamt of Thiseas and children she would have from him. Unfortunately, when she woke up in the morning and she couldn’t find him. Immediately, she realized the brutal truth that she had been used and then abandoned. She had also betrayed her brother and his family as well as King Minoas. The maiden didn’t want to live anymore and asked Persephone to take her to the Queen’s Underworld. Her wish didn’t come true. That’s why the young girl wandered here and there on the island. The previous princess of Crete turned into a desperate creature in shabby clothes and with thatch. One night Ariadne fell asleep in a forest. She was visited by the three graces that recognized her immediately. They whispered to her that her heart was broken but still innocent, and that she would find the true love soon. When she woke up in the morning she remembered her night dream. Or was it a dream? 🙂 Noooo … because when Ariadne looked up at the sky, she saw a golden chariot decorated with vine leaves and bunches of grapes. God Dionysus himself was sitting in it. He stretched his hand to the beautiful girl and asked her to follow him. He promised her his love and a happy live with him. Hesitatingly, she got into the chariot and he brought her to the Mount Olympus. He married her and she became a Goddess. 🙂
In the end, I would add only one thing. The Aegean region is magical and amazing. If you happen to be there one day, don’t miss the chance to dive into the divine world world of Gods and legends. Who knows? You might be blessed to become a God/Goddess and become one of the Olympians. 😉