One Thousand Leagues Above the Sea

June 6

Today held one of my favorite sites so far. Before that one, though, we climbed over one thousand stairs to get to the Fortress of Palamidi. It was absolutely breathtaking! The views were fantastic and we learned about how the fortress was guarded and how it didn’t even make any difference because it was taken–twice. Aristotle showed us the “murder hole” and lined up five volunteers (I was one) to imitate a line of shooters. There was also a hole in the ceiling above the gate form which grenades were dropped. All in all, pretty freakin cool place. We got a while to walk around and take it all in, which was nice. There was so much to see.

After Palamidi, we picked up our laundry from a laundromat named Bubbles and got some water. Then we headed to one the places I’ve most looked forward to–Epidaurus.

Epidaurus is a site in the Peloponnese at which one of the most well-preserved theatres sits, as well as the most important and famous Asclepion in Greece. The Asclepion was a site to which people with sicknesses or injuries would travel to be healed by the god of medicine and healing, Asclepius. For those who don’t know (Barnes, you can skip this part), this is how it worked:

Sick person (SP) wants healing. SP goes to Epidaurus. SP pays a fee that is calculated depending on the severity of his/her sickness. SP conducts sacrifices to Asclepius and his family. SP undergoes preparation processes conducted by doctors (which may have been what healed them). SP spends a night in the Asclepion. Asclepius comes in a dream and heals SP.

We got to see all the medical tools found at the Asclepion, which was one of my favorite parts of the day. The tools were ragged and old but probably much better in their day. I like the stories of the medical practices of that time. It’s quite interesting. I might ask Barnes about the texts he mentioned today.

At the temple of Asclepius, Aristotle read a comedy by Aristophanes. That was awesome. I love when Aristotle reads ancient texts at sites. It makes it so much more interesting. And you can tell how much Aristotle loves these sites and archaeology and it makes you that much more excited to learn about it.

After that, we went to the theatre in Epidaurus. The Theatre of Asclepius is incredible. It was an amphitheater, with a semicircle of rows going back and perfect acoustics. Aristotle could stand in the center of the orchestral space and talk quietly, and it could be heard all the way at the top of the theatre. I really do love theatres here. They’re so impressive and it’s cool to think about how famous Grecian plays I’ve read were probably performed there. Very cool.

After the theatre a group of us got gyros and went to the beach. We walked on a path along a rocky cliff down to a beach that had rocks instead of sand. The view was wonderful, as usual, and the water was cool and we got to lay and let the waves loft us around. It was quite relaxing. Then, I came home and showered, and here I am!

THE FUNNEST OF THE FACTZ

1. Patients at the Asclepion would participate in sacrifices because they believed the god would be rejuvenated and full of food, and more able to heal them.

2. Doctors at the Asclepion were pretty skilled. Unless your heart or lung was pierced in battle, you had a pretty good chance of living. 

3. The Asclepion wouldn’t let you in if you were almost dead or pregnant, as Asclepius is not to deal with the taking or giving of life. 

4. The cases at the Asclepion were recorded, but failures weren’t as much, so we don’t know how they rationalized Asclepius not coming to heal someone.

5. The Theatre of Asclepius held 12,000-13,000 people, and was most likely built in one fell swoop in the 3rd century BC.

All the Feels:

Another good day today. The weather really helps lift my mood. The hike up those 1000+ stairs was a challenge but it helped me feel exercised. I was grateful for the workout. Also, totally worth it for that view. Also, Epidaurus was amazing! I found that stuff so interesting. It’s a combination of myth and reality, of gods and real medical practices. I’d like to learn more.

I wish I had time to work out here. I don’t like all the weight I’ve gained and I had a bit of a breakdown last night about disliking my body right now, and I know Barnes and a couple other people noticed, since I was just sitting in a bar being sad. Oh well.

Sorry about that interlude, but this is ALL THE FEELS so I’ma tell you about all of my feelings. Sorry!

Peace and Blessin’s ❤

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