June 13 (FRIDAY THE 13th AAHHHHH)
After a short workout in the morning with Katy (Mom and Dad, it was some Tabata stuff), I showered and ate the wonderful breakfast at this shfancy hotel. I think a few more people checked in so that’s less creepy. I hope they come to dinner so we aren’t the only ones there again.
First thing was the Archaeological Museum of Ioannina. We switched up our plan of action at the museum, so that Aristotle just briefly described each different room and we spent about 30 minutes exploring, and then reconvened to ask questions about certain objects. My questions were about the helmets of the people of Epirus (whom the museum was about). I asked about a hole in one of the helmets, which according to Aristotle could have been caused by anything from a slingshot to just falling into the tomb where it was buried.
Epirus, I learned, was divided into 3 regions–one coastline and two more inland. The coastline one was more sophisticated, more developed than the other two. All were influenced by the city-states in southern Greece.
My favorite exhibits in the museum were the lead tablets on which people wrote their questions for the Oracle of Zeus. We actually got to see the one that says, “Did Pistos steal the wool from my bed timber?” (!!!) which was suuuuuuper cool. It makes it easier to actually visualize the people from which these questions came. Their problems, their worries, their differences and similarities to us. Seeing their real concerns in writing was really helpful to me. Also, they dealt with mythology, which attracts me greatly.
As we waited to reconvene, Aristotle told me one of his dreams would be to find the roof tile that fell on King Pyrrhus. [Side note: Aristotle + his roof tile passion = interesting and adorable.]
Later Aristotle described parts of a torsion catapult that was thought to be found at the Oracle of the Dead, or Nekromanteion. The person that found it believed it was part of a system used with a crane to convince visitors of the Oracle that their dead relatives were trying to reach them. An expert studied the catapult parts (there turned out to be 7 catapults total in the area) and said that no, actually, it was a heavily armed Hellenistic fort. It may have been build atop the Oracle of the Dead, though. We don’t know.
We saw a really cool sarcophagus that had scenes from the Iliad on it, where Achilles is dragging Hector behind him (same as in the Achilleion). We discussed these scenes, and I was proud of myself for knowing and remembering a lot about them! I absolutely loved reading the Iliad. It was my favorite book from Ancient World class.
After the museum, we road a small boat to an island in the middle of a lake in Ioannina. The island was very cool. We ate some frog legs at a restaurant and walked around the island a bit to stop outside a monastery and eat a dessert called bougatsa–phyllo dough with cream in the middle and cinnamon and sugar on the top. It was AWESOME.
Afterwards, we hit up a second museum I was unaware we were going to visit, a museum of Ali Pasha, an Ottoman Ruler of 32 years who reshaped the histories of Greece and Albania. He was going to be punished by the Sultan for taking ruling into his own hands, so in exchange for a pardon he left his fortress and citadel for a monastery, where this museum now is. He, legend has it, was shot through the floor from the ground below, and I stood where those bullet marks were, which is pretty damn cool.
We then took the boat back from the small island to Ioannina, where we were allowed some free time to explore. After that, we headed to the fortress/citadel I mentioned before where Ali Pasha had lived and most administrative and political work of his ruling took place. We saw a “treasury” (Aristotle believed it was otherwise, maybe quarters for visitors), a mosque, and even Ali Pasha’s tomb.
MANY MORE FUN FACTS TODAY (SORRY ABOUT YESTERDAY)
1. In graves during the Bronze Age, many times as people were added to the grave, the past bones and objects would simply be brushed to the side to make room for the new body and its funerary objects. In other graves, the people would be layered one on top of another.
2. I saw a stone tool, probably the oldest object in the Archaeological Museum of Ioannina, from 300,000 BC. Three hundred thousand. Years. BC. *insert “whaaaaaaaaaaat” here because that’s badass*
3. Coins in antiquity were used as political propaganda–someone wound mint a coin after a victory so the news and knowledge of this person would spread around to everyone.
4. The mosque built my Ali Pasha is one of the very few mosques in Greece on which the minaret is still attached because it was built after the period of destroying all memory of the Ottomans, including tearing down minarets.
5. Epirus is kind of an out-of-the-way destination for a tour like ours. It was not really the center of anything commercially or politically until King Pyrrhus and then Ali Pasha. Other Greeks called the people of Epirus barbarians.
Allllllll the Feeeeeeelz
It’s been a bit confusing here because the time period is a bit different from what we’re used to. I have to adjust to centuries in AD instead of BC. Also, the elaborate decorations of Ali Pasha’s museum are a refreshing change from the stagnancy and plainness we’ve seen a bit of so far. I enjoyed learning about a time period different than normal, seeing some things from the period of Ottoman rule which we’ve been hearing about a lot these past 2 and a half weeks.
Tomorrow we leave Ioannina and move towards Delphi, heading to the end of the main trip and into the island extension…I AM SO SAD BECAUSE I HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE TO PEOPLE. I’M NOT READY. Once again, I’m gonna stick my fingers in my ears and pretend like it’s not ending.
Peace ‘n’ Blessin’s ❤