Ancient History – Athens


Archaeologists have found evidence that Athens has been inhabited from at least the fifth millennium BC. The site would have been attractive to early settlers for a number of reasons: its location in the midst of productive agricultural terrain; its closeness to the coast and the natural safe harbour of Piraeus; the existence of defensible high ground, the Acropolis (from akron and polis, or ‘city on the high ground’); and the proximity of a natural source of water on the north-west side of the Acropolis.

Traces of Mycenaean fortifications from the thirteenth century AC can still be seen on the Acropolis, including some foundations belonging to what must have been a palatial structure. The fortifications, known as the ‘Pelasgian’ walls (after the indigenous people believed to have built them before the arrival of the Greeks around 2000 BC), remained in use until the Persian Wars of 490-480 BC. One stretch behind the temple of Athena Nike appears to have been deliberately preserved in the Classical period.

There was a decline of Mycenaean society across the Greek world around the end of the twelfth century BC. Whether this was directly connected with the Trojan War (around 1184 BC), or the so-called Dorian Invasion thought to have taken place soon after this conflict, Athens does not appear to have succumbed to an attack. The Mycenaean royal family of Pylos is said to have taken refuge in Athens after their city’s fall to the Dorians. One of its members, Codros, became king of his adoptive city.

The collapse of Mycenaean civilization left Greece in political, economic and social decline, accompanied by loss of artistic skills, literacy and trade networks. The Mycenaean form of writing, known as Linear B, was completely forgotten, and the Greek alphabet did not emerge until the late eighth century BC as the new form of writing. At this time city states began to emerge throughout the Greek world, governed by oligarchies, or aristocratic councils. Thirteen kings ruled in Athens after Codros, until in 753 BC they were replaced by officials with a ten-year term, known as decennial archons, and in 683 BC by annually appointed eponymous archons.

Conflict between the oligarchs and the lower classes, many of whom had been reduced to slavery, led to a series of reforms that paved the way for the emergence of the world’s first true democracy. Around 620 BC the lawmaker Dracon set up wooden tablets on the Acropolis known as axones. These were inscribed with civil laws and punishments so harsh that the death penalty was prescribed even for minor crimes, giving rise to the term `draconian’ which is still used today. Dracon’s intervention did little to ensure order, prompting representatives of the nobles and lower classes in 594 BC to appoint the statesman and poet Solon as archon.

Solon terminated aristocratic rule, setting up a representational government where participation was determined not by lineage or bloodline, but wealth. He eliminated slavery based on debt, and restituted freedom and land to those who had been enslaved. Solon created a `Council of Four Hundred’ from equal numbers of representatives of the Ionian tribes to which the Athenians claimed to belong, and instituted four classes of citizenry.

Peisistratos, Solon’s younger cousin, became tyrant (tyrannos) of Athens in 545 BC. He ensured the Solonian constitution was respected and governed benevolently. After Peisistratos’ death, however, things took a negative turn and anti-Peisistratid sentiment grew. By 510 BC King Cleomenes of Sparta was asked to assist in deposing Peisistratos’ son Hippias. Hippias sought refuge in Persia at the court of King Darius.

Soon after, the aristocrat Cleisthenes promised to institute further reforms giving a more direct role to citizens in government. His reforms were passed in 508 BC, and democracy was established in Athens. A new `Council of Five Hundred’ (the Boule) replaced the ‘Council of Four Hundred’, with equal representation from the various tribes. Cleisthenes is also credited with instituting the system of ostracism, which ‘voted’ an individual considered dangerous to democracy into exile for ten years.

It is uncertain when the former Mycenaean citadel was transformed into a sacred precinct but by the late eighth century BC a modest temple (or perhaps more than one) stood on the plateau. The oldest and holiest cult image on the Acropolis was the statue of Athena Polias (Protectress of the City), a crude olive-wood figure, so old that Athenians of the Classical period believed it had either fallen from heaven or been made by Cecrops or Erichthonios. This sacred image of Athena was ritually ‘dressed’ every year in a peplos, a sacred robe, as part of the Panathenaic festival.

A temple is thought to have been built around 700 BC to the south of the later, Classical Erechtheion, to house the statue of Athena Polias. The first major building of which there are significant remains on the Acropolis was the so-called ‘Bluebeard Temple’, built in the Archaic period around 560 BC. The ‘Bluebeard Temple’ is thought by some to have stood to the south of the later Erechtheion. Ancient texts mention a mysterious building or precinct contemporary to the ‘Bluebeard Temple’, called the Hecatompedon, or ‘Hundred-footer’. Whatever this structure or place was, it gave its name to the principal room of the Classical Parthenon, perhaps because the later building occupies the same site.

With the expulsion of Hippias a new temple was built on the Acropolis, its foundations still visible to the south of the later Erechtheion. This building, the Archaios Naos, or ‘ancient temple’, is likely to have been deliberately commissioned around 506 BC as a replacement for the ‘Bluebeard Temple’.

The first Persian invasion of 490 BC saw the victory of the Athenians at the battle of Marathon against the forces of King Darius of Persia. The following year the elated Athenians leveled an area on the south side of the Acropolis and began construction of the Old Parthenon. A new gateway to the Acropolis was also commenced, known as the Old Propylaia.

This post-Marathonian building program on the Acropolis came to a violent end in 480 BC when Xerxes, son of King Darius, led a second Persian invasion of Greece. Athens had to be evacuated and Xerxes razed the city and buildings on the Acropolis. Under the command of Themistocles, the Athenians destroyed the Persian fleet in the battle of Salamis. Victory over the Persians was ensured after the battle of Plataea (479 BC), to the northwest of Athens, when a combined Greek army annihilated the Persians.

In the aftermath of the battle of Plataea, a vow was made by the victors never to rebuild the shrines that were destroyed in the war, preserving them instead as memorials for later generations.

Pericles, who was a general and statesman, came to power in Athens around 461 BC. He considered the oath of Plataea to have been fulfilled, as thirty years had elapsed from the Persian invasion, and proceeded to reconstruct the temples on the Acropolis. He gathered together the best architects and artists in the city and plans were drawn up to erect new buildings that would outshine those torn down by the Persians. The Periclean building programme enhanced the lower city with new monuments, such as the Temple of Hephaestus, also known as the Theseion, and the Painted Stoa or Poikile situated near the Agora (marketplace).


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Athens – The Destination


Athens was named after Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, which is certainly fitting for the birthplace itself. Evidence of its ancient heyday is everywhere, in the remnants of monuments, statuary and sacred sites that are still revered as survivors of one of history’s most important eras.

A Poseidon adventure in art

In Greek mythology, Poseidon is the god of sea, so it is only fitting that the astoundingly wrought bronze statue of him was raised from the bottom of the Aegean Sea, where it lay for centuries after a shipwreck off the Cape of Artemision. The two-meter tall figure stands with arms extended and leaning forward on its left leg. The right hand once held a trident, and the unknown sculptor clearly was a master in accurately duplicating the complicated balancing act that goes into the seemingly simple motion of throwing a spear.

This work of art is one of the many stunning bronzes at the National Archeological Museum in Athens. The museum’s collection – which includes pieces that date all the way back to the prehistoric period – offers the best collection of Greek art in the world. Renovations closed the museum for a year and half, but it was reopened just in time for the 2004 Olympic Games.

At 260 feet above the city, the Acropolis (“high city”) is not only the highest point in Athens, but for many people it is the high point of any visit to Greece. It is the oldest known settlement in Greece and was a sacred site for ancient Athenians.

During the period of 448 to 420 B.C., the distinguished Athenian statesman Pericles commissioned the construction of four new monuments on the Acropolis at the site of former ruins. The Athenian sculptor Phidias presided over the construction and interior design. The Ionic Erechtheum includes the Porch of Caryatids, with its column in the shape of monumental female figures that identify remains a mystery. The Ionic Temples of Athena Nike, dedicated to the cult of Athena as the goddess of victory, was built during the Peloponnesian War, its frieze depicts the Greek victory over the Persians in the battle of Plataea. The Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis with rows of both Doric and Ionic columns, replaced an earlier version destroyed by the Persians. And of course, the Acropolis remains home to what’s left of the Parthenon.

The Parthenon, designed by architects Iktinos and Kallikrates, took 15 years to complete. It was the closest to Pericles’ heart: Among various friezes depicting life among gods, the large statue of Athena represented his homage to the goddess and to the greatness of Athens.

Even in A.D. 131, savvy developers like the Roman Emperor Hadrian recognized the importance of signage. “This is the city of Hadrian and not of Theseus,” reads the inscription on Hadrian’s arch, situated at the foot of the Acropolis and once the marker between Hadrianopolis and the Athens city limits. The side facing the Acropolis and ancient Athens reads, ” This is Athens, the city of Theseus.”

Like all the surrounding monuments and the Athens infrastructure itself, Hadrian’s Arch has undergone a major facelift. The 60-foot high archway, constructed of Pentelic marble, upheld by columns with Corthinian capitals and topped by a series of Corinthians columns, lost a bit of structural stability in the mid-18th century, when 8 of its columns were removed.

Restorers shored up the arch, cleaned away centuries of pollution and repaired its cracks, just in time for the 2004 Olympic Games.

The Evzones

The Evzones were once the elite soldiers of the Greek army. Today they are the presidential guards, a ceremonial unit that maintains watch over The Parliament, The Presidential Mansion and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The soldiers wear a traditional and highly photogenic uniform comprising a scarlet cap with a long black tassel, a cotton tunic, black knee tassels above white stockings, red clogs with black pompons and a woolen kilt called a fustanella. The fustanella has 400 pleats, one for each year that the Greeks were on the occupation of the Ottoman Empire. Bearing leather cartridge belts and rifles with a bayonet, the soldiers maintain strict physical discipline as they stand at attention and resist tourists’ attempts to distract them.

A changing of guard is performed daily before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but on Sundays, the complete ceremony – involving an army band and dozens of soldiers – is conducted.

Alice in Wonderland

Imagine Alice in Wonderland’s tumble into a magical world, and you will have an idea what this-off-beaten-path attraction in the Village of Paiania is like. Far larger than a rabbit hole, Koutouki Cave is a natural wonder that will awe you with its colors and formations. In 1926, a goat disappeared from its herd where it was grazing on the slope of Mount Ymittos. A search turned up a small crevice, and a brave soul descended by rope into the abyss below. The goat had not survived the fall, but its intended rescuer returned with a story of a beautiful underground chamber.

The vertical cave consists of a 38.5 meter shaft that opens onto a large cavern with a diameter of about 60 meters. Guided tours take visitors in through a man-made entrance and lead them on a path through stalactites and stalagmites formed by mineral deposits from water seeping through the limestone of the mountain. The tour ends with a light show accompanied by classical music. It’s just a short taxi ride from Athens to nearby Paiania.


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Learn Everything There Is To Know About Environmental Compliance It is said that environmental compliance is known for being one of the fast becoming well known term in many industries, on the side of construction as well as with the public sector and the said term also have an increasing impact on how large businesses out there are doing their business. For the information of many, especially those who are not familiar with the term or those who have not come across this word yet, it is actually a term that pertains to the conforming to the legislation, the rules and regulations, the standards as well as other requirements that can be associated with the environment. These days, the profile pertaining to the environmental compliance has been raised and that is due to the fact that there is also a rise and tightening on the side of the environmental laws and standards. Right now, virtually speaking, each and every large companies and organizations out there need to take into consideration that impact they will have on the environment and make necessary changes that is in accordance to the betterment of the everything. In the near future, the laws and standards concerning environmental compliance will be filtered down up to the medium and smaller business which will possibly result from having the rules and regulations governing it to become even stricter than ever before. Basically speaking, compliance pertaining to environmental issues usually involves addressing the amount of energy being used and reducing it by means of making use a much greener sources of energy such as the renewable energy and reducing the emissions, most especially carbon emissions. Whenever a company or an organization was able to achieve a particular saving or energy level or whatnot, there is a high chance of them getting awarded for the commendable thing that they do with an energy certification like the IPPC and the EPD/DEC or they can also choose to adopt the EN 16001 standard.
Companies – Getting Started & Next Steps
Speaking of energy saving, this kind of thing does not only talk about compliance by means of gaining or receiving certificated and standards, it also has something to do with your customers and patrons We all know for a certain that your patrons and your consumers are the ones that more and more aware about environmental issues that are present nowadays hence, they also expect you to be active in terms of reducing the emissions like carbon and making the most use of renewable and sustainable energy sources. And even thought the company has not gotten certified or standardized just yet, they just need to show a positive commitment towards the welfare of the environment and make sure that the goals they have set to save energy is commendable in order for their customers to recognize their effort.The Beginners Guide To Businesses (From Step 1)

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Why Environmental Compliance is Important All the manufacturing, construction, and private sector companies are familiarizing themselves with the term environmental compliance. When companies are conducting their businesses they are putting the environmental compliance into consideration. Enviromental compliance is a way of confirming the environmental legislations, regulations, and all the useful standards that are related to the environment. Due to the raised environmental standards companies are raising the profile of the environmental compliances. Wheather a company is big or small it is supposed to put into consideration all the environmental impacts and change the negative ones immediately. As the year passes by this regulations will be passed even to the smallest industries because they will become tighter and more strict. Environmental compliance takes care of issues such as the amount of energy used in an environment, reduction of harmful emissions, and reusing products. If a company or organization has successfully complied with the environmental compliances they are awarded an energy compliance certificate or they are given the EN 16001 standards. The energy and environmental compliance should not be about getting the certificate but it should take care of the customers. Most of the customers have a lot of knowledge about the environmental compliance rules and regulations and expect companies to reduce the emissions of carbon and use the required energy. Even if the company has not received the compliance certificate the customers will be observing if the environmental compliance laws are being followed. As a company you can involve your customers by encouraging them to go green where you can encourage them to reuse their bags. If a company or an organization is committed to meeting all the environmental compliances they will find themselves saving money. The only thing a company is required to change so that they can save a lot of money by the end of the month is check on how they conduct their operations and how they use their energy. Companies and organizations should look for ways they can reuse the products and materials that they are not using and convert then to energy. For any company or organization that tries to embark on energy saving and putting effort towards complying with the environment is worthwhile the task. A company or an organization can hire a company that has knowledge on the environmental compliances to help their company in noting on the places where they can save the energy, how to lower harmful emissions and saving money. It is important to check if the company you are hiring is certified and if it can help you attain the environmental standards and if it has an environmental compliance certificate.A Simple Plan: Services

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Organising a Social Celebration by Using These Straightforward Suggestions

When you’re asked to arrange a cultural celebration, you may really feel overcome. As you are concentrating on a particular way of life, you will find you need to establish exactly who your target market is going to be, create a budget and also publicize the event to make certain guests show up. With so many points to deal with at once, there is lots of room for mistakes. These kinds of mistakes can easily be warded off by paying attention to particular facets of the function, as opposed to trying to micromanage every piece of information. For instance, a spending budget needs to be created and adhered to. It’s very humiliating to host a special event only to find the monies are not accessible to pay one of these providers or there’s no cash remaining for marketing the function. With the spending budget, collecting the required monies for the project will become much less complicated. There isn’t any guesswork concerning how much money is going to be necessary to put the celebration on as planned. Sponsors could be of help in this, and crowdsourcing is another solution. When the budget has been established and also the required monies collected, the target audience must be identified, because many gatherings cater to a certain ethnic set, while others really exist for the purpose of getting different communities together. The goal would be to draw a variety of people together to take pleasure from the activities, and this definitely won’t be very hard to do with the proper organizing. Once the target audience has been identified, it’s time to advertise this event. This step should not be undertaken before the audience is established, because this really helps to figure out where advertising money will probably be best allocated. For many functions, social media articles will probably attract the best group, whilst others need to be promoted by way of the local mass media, posters as well as word of mouth marketing. Guests should have the capacity to buy Indigenous items during the affair, or they could be given away as door prizes as well as souvenirs. The things need to be pertaining to the function in one or maybe more ways, such as supplying Naidoc gifts whenever holding a function dedicated to the Naidoc Australia group. A few sponsors could be willing to supply the Naidoc gifts or perhaps the planner might have to purchase them. Either way, always attempt to send guests home with a gift, because this could have them eager to take part in related functions down the road. It’s a way of advertising that should not be overlooked.

Seeing the Sights of Athens Through Taxi Tours


There is no denying how Athens is one of the most important sites in the world for political, economic and aesthetic advancement and enhancement. For many people, it IS the most significant place in the world, period. And this birthplace of western philosophy seems to have fanned its mysticism throughout the ages. Today, Athens is still one of the most visited sites in the world. Many people want to retrace the footsteps of famous philosophers, writers and artists. Not to mention that Athens has a rugged beauty that merits separate praise.

This busy city is made up of twelve hills, seven of which play a historical role in Athens’ rise. Acropolis and Lycavittos are the two most prominent as it is where most of the important historical landmarks such as the Parthenon, Temple of Athena, Theatre of Dionysius and Temple of Olympian Zeus is found. Being made up of seven hills though, Athens is a difficult place to tour if you’re planning to do it via foot. Unless you plan to isolate yourself to a particular section throughout your trip, let’s say in Acropolis, for example, then conquering it via foot would be fine. But if you want an overall tour of the area, trekking it just won’t do especially when there’s a time element involved. You can rely on their Metro train system which is quite effective and cheap to boot. One can take you to the city center for €6. For those traveling in groups, there are packages for three or more which can be purchased in the different stations. Buses and a suburban railway system will also do.

However if comfort and convenience is a priority, then taking an Athens taxi is the best mode of transportation whilst in the area. You can get one in advance prior to arriving so an itinerary can be planned for you. Getting a package in advance will also garner you discounts. Should you decide to get one from the airport though, you will be paying €30-35 for the single ride and you can negotiate for a taxi tour from there. Taxi tours in Athens is one of the easiest ways to go around in the area. Overall price will depend on what you and your driver will agree to. Be careful when flagging taxis. Some of them may take advantage that you’re a tourist and will not flag down their meters in hopes for getting a bulk price. There are also tariffs involved. Make sure that the Tariff is Tariff 1. Tariff 2 doubles the rate and is applicable after midnight. Make sure to read the driver well. If you think the rate is abnormally high, then check with an English-speaking local to confirm the price.

Make sure also that you’re getting taxis from a reliable company. Although canary yellow taxis are very common in Athens, you will have no hold if the driver tries to fraud you whereas a taxi that hails under a company will be more careful. As common practice, taxis follow two rates, one that applies inside the city limits including the airport and one that applies outside of it. The minimum fare of Rate 1 is €1 while the minimum fare of Rate 2 is €2.65. If you’re from the airport, the fare will start at €3.20 and if there’s heavy luggage involved then a minimum rate will be added to that too.

Taxi tours can be quite tricky but many attest that it’s all worth it considering you get to see the sights of Athens at your own time and pace.


Holiday & Travel Guide For Athens, Greece



The incredible city of Athens, home to the ancient Gods and what a city to explore. The history and myths of this land are truly amazing, but be warned, the heat can sour to well into the 30’s during the hottest months of June to August so make sure you carry plenty of water and cover yourself from the scorching heat whilst touring the magnificent ancient ruins of Athens.

Let’s start with the Acropolis site, as this is what most tourists visit Athens for. These magnificent buildings are said to date back to the 4th century BC. The Parthenon building was originally constructed as a Temple, it has since then been a church and then a mosque. This building is easy recognised by anyone around the world, its vast size is jaw dropping and no amount of pictures that you have seen will prepare you for the true enormity of this site. Also, there are the ruins of a great theatre, that had once been used in the Roman times for gladiator fighting, nowadays the theatre is still used but for the more gentile performances of Ballet and other concerts. After you have spent most of the day exploring the wonders of this ancient site and listening to the myths that surround it from the guides, you will probably need a good rest before you prepare yourself for more wonders, along with the many museums full of ancient relics. Children as well as adults will love the Children’s Museum and for those that love music, there is also a Music Museum, then a Greek Folk museum. Actually, there are quite a few museums and all of them are worth of a visit along with the art galleries. You can’t miss the day tour to Delphi, to marvel at the ancient sanctuary of Apollo or the magnificent monuments and bronzes in the museum. For those who want another cultural trip, visit Cape Sounion where the 5th century temple of Poseidon stands, then the famous theatre of Epidaurus in Argolis. There is so much to see you may be better off hiring a car so you can do the tours at your own leisure and cut down excursion costs.

Shopping and eating

You will have a great time shopping in Athens modern town, with a multitude of shops to choose from, but the best place to visit has to be the old town “La Plaka” with its narrow pedestrian streets and quaint shops. You can spend hours searching for your ideal gift or souvenir in any one of the shops, as they are crammed full of delightful items, like jewellery, paintings and copies of ancient relics and buildings. There is something for everyone; you won’t leave the old town without purchasing something. If your feet are tired then there are plenty of cafes for you rest up in and have a well earned drink, and more than enough restaurants in the old town that serve a variety of meals from moussaka and stuffed tomatoes to filled baguettes, snacks and delicious pastries. For those looking for more international foods then the modern city centre would be the place to find it, as well as most of the glitzy nightlife of the city.

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A Guide to CNC Machine Shops The surface applications when milling and machining precision parts is concerned is the last process that receives less than the largest portion of attention. This is because it is used to impart additional functionality, protection, a polished look and more. It is a crucial prerequisite before the final delivery is made to the customer. Small and medium sized precision manufacturing facilities usually outsource these value added secondary services. These secondary services which are outsourced include electroplating, powder coating, anodizing, buff polishing, metal brushing, and more. To the ordinary individual, when he thinks of metalworking processes, he thinks that when the precision part comes out of a CNC mill or any high speed machining tools, that the process ends there, that it already comprised metal forming. But the truth is that despite the close precision of any given machine, be in CNC or other high speed machines, they still have undesirable irregularities found on their surfaces. This is just really how it works. Although one cannot detect these irregularities with the naked eye, it is can affect the long term functioning of the part and aesthetically, it can also be un pleasing in the long run.
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So, on the machine shop floor, CNC machines are also employed in a variety of surface finishing methods to produce the most accurate and best looking parts. The reason why CNC machines are use is because it runs continuously, the only time that you put it off is for maintenance purpose. Comparing this machine to the manually operated ones, you can tell the difference in their speeds.
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Another advantage of CNC machines over manually operated ones is that the CNC machines can be programmed with designs which can be manufactured over and over again. It is important to the industry that parts are exactly the same and this is what CNC machines can produce. Operators only need basic training and skills and then they can start supervising several machines. By improving the software used to drive the machines, your CNC machine can be updated. This is very beneficial because machines are able to take any form of toxin that is generated in the final stage of metal forming. The reasons for this is because in order to finish the parts various types of coating and high grade chemicals are used. There are costs involved in supporting non-CNC machining operations and some regulatory safety and environmental concerns, and because of these, many machine shops including advanced CNC precision machine shops have chosen to outsource the final stages of their finishing so that they can avoid the costly and difficult regulations imposed by some states. And this is especially true when it comes to anodized finishes since this involves chromic and sulfuric acids.