This summer is a singular one. By now the far reaching effects of the novel virus have reverberated across the oceans to every single community on earth, affecting everyone from heads of state to jungle tribes long insulated from the modern world. But life goes on, inexorably, to the beating drum of human endeavor and the quest for happiness. Or evaimonia as the ancient Greek scalled it. But happiness is but a fleeting moment and the Greeks knew that all too well. Fast forward some 2,500 years to the present and it would appear that modern Greeks may’ve caught on to the end of the thread. Greek culture and values are resurfacing (quite literally) this summer, in ways that are attuned to the constant changes of our times.
This summer sees the opening of Greece’s first underwater museum just off the coast of Alonissos’s Peristera islet. It consists of a substantially big Greek merchant ship carrying wine amphorae that was spotted in 1985 and is said to have sunk circa 500 B.C. At about 28 meters depth and in pristine waters that form part of Alonisso’s protected maritime park, this sunken fragment of history is an absolute wonder, in what is expected to be one of several of these initiatives. Considering the sea faring history of the Cycladic, Minoan and later Greek peoples one can reasonably conclude that there must be a treasure trove of artefacts under the Aegean waiting to be discovered and explored.
In contrast to the spatial restrictions of tangible Greek artefacts, the mythical plays of the ancient Greeks can now be accessed without the requirement of one’s presence in the sacred grounds of Epidaurus theater. For this summer’s Epidaurus festival will see Aeschylus’ play ‘The Persians’ live streamed online with English subtitles for the very first time. People from all over the world will be able to enjoy this masterpiece performed in its original setting for free. What better way to propagate the ancient ideals of democracy and freedom through the play that was born out of the struggle for the values that shaped western society. ‘The Persians’ today remains as relevant as ever, and one can only hope we get to see many more.
This summer, whether you’re in Greece or not, Greece will be with you, as it always has been since the beginning of time. Be safe and prosper!