“What is a hipster?” The question has been posed and answered time and time again, but as an N+1 symposium on the topic averred, “All descriptions of hipsters are doomed to disappoint.” Even so, everyone has the image of a hipster in their head: large sunglasses, stylized haircuts, old-timey barbs, skinny jeans, pastel shirts. Sure, that’s reductive and it doesn’t necessarily encompass the entire demographic, but you know you know someone (or several people) who fit the bill.
So does photographer Léo Caillard. He photographed hip Parisians in trendy garb, and mapped their clothes onto nude Hellenic sculptures taken from the Louvre. The result? “Hipsters in stone.”
The series of doctored photographs imagines the ancient Greeks as they might appear in an Urban Outfitters catalog. Caillard drapes the marble persons in fitted flannel shirts, slim slacks, and denim. He frames their finely wrought mugs with pairs of Ray-Bans that accentuate their apathetic gaze. The full beards and wispy mustaches complete the look.
Caillard, whose portfolio consists of digitized portraits, says he thought of the idea during his bimonthly walks through the Louvre. “I was looking at all the Greek sculptures and thinking it would be quite fun and interesting to dress them,” he tells Co.Design. He wondered what clothing would add to the figures, and how contemporary fashion could alter their dispositions.
The sculptures were shot in-situ at the museum, before Caillard set out on a casting call around Paris looking for models who matched the proportions and physique of the artworks. The live models were then photographed in Caillard’s studio wearing typical hipster costumes. Using Photoshop, he transposed the clothes onto the statues, adjusting for lighting and shadow. The digital wizardry makes the sculptures pop like they never have before.
As for his own definition of what the hipster is or “means,” Caillard is vague. He says that the concept of the hipster is “the complete opposite of an iconic Greek statue from the past,” but stops short of explaining how. (Admittedly, the differences should be apparent.) For him, “it’s the mix of the two concepts, very far from each other, that I find pretty interesting.”
A cup believed to have been used by Classical Greek statesman Pericles has been found in a pauper’s grave in north Athens, according to local reports Wednesday.
The ceramic wine cup, smashed in 12 pieces, was found during building construction in the northern Athens suburb of Kifissia, Ta Nea daily said.
After piecing it together, archaeologists were astounded to find the name “Pericles” scratched under one of its handles, alongside the names of five other men, in apparent order of seniority.
Experts are “99 per cent” sure that the cup was used by the Athenian statesman, as one of the other names listed, Ariphron, is that of Pericles’ elder brother.
“The name Ariphron is extremely rare,” Angelos Matthaiou, secretary of the Greek Epigraphic Society, told the newspaper.
“Having it listed above that of Pericles makes us 99 per cent sure that these are the two brothers,” he said.
The cup was likely used in a wine symposium when Pericles was in his twenties, and the six men who drank from it scrawled their names as a memento, Matthaiou said.
“They were definitely woozy, as whoever wrote Pericles’ name made a mistake and had to correct it,” he said.
The cup was then apparently gifted to another man named Drapetis (“escapee” in Greek) who was possibly a slave servant or the owner of the tavern, said archaeologist Galini Daskalaki.
“This is a rare find, a genuine glimpse into a private moment,” she said.
Ironically, the cup was found on Sparta street, Athens’ great rival and nemesis in the Peloponnesian War that tore apart the Greek city-states for nearly 30 years.
General of Athens during the city’s Golden Age, Pericles died of the plague in 429 BC during a Spartan siege.
The cup will be displayed in the autumn at the Epigraphical Museum in Athens.
The Ancient Agora, located north of the Acropolis in Athens is often overshadowed by the Acropolis but for eight centuries was the primary meeting place of the city. It was at one time the heart of Athens and was the focal point of administrative, commercial, political and social activity.
The ancient marketplace was founded in the 6th century BC. It was the center for civic activities including philosophy, religion, arts, and athletics. St. Paul preached here and Socrates addressed his public here as democracy was born. Socrates was later indicted and executed in the state prison here in 399 BC.
The Ancient Agora was devastated by the Persians in 480 BC. A new one was built in its place almost immediately but was then again destroyed in AD 267 when it was destroyed by the Herulians, a Gothic tribe from Scandinavia. The American School of Classical Studies began excavations of the Ancient Agora in the 1930’s and the vast remains of public buildings have been revealed.
Today the Ancient Agora is one of the top tourist attractions in Greece. Unlike the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora is a grassy area and a nice escape from the congested city streets. Admission to the Ancient Agora is included with the purchase of a ticket to the Acropolis.
Some of the top Ancient Agora sights to see include:
Stoa of Attalos
The Stoa of Attalos was built by King Attalos II of Pergamum (159 BC-138 BC). It’s an impressive two-storey stoa. People gathered here every four years to watch the Panathenaic Procession. It was reconstructed in 1956 by the American School of Archaeology and now houses the Agora Museum that displays finds from the Agora.
Temple of Hephaestus
The Temple of Hephaestus is the best-preserved Classical temple in Greece. It was dedicated to Hephaestus, god of the forge.
Church of the Holy Apostles
The Church of the Holy Apostles was built in the early 10th century to commemorate St. Paul’s teaching in the Agora. It was returned to original form between 1954-1957.
Stoa Basileios was built in 500 BC. It housed the office of legal affairs concerning ancient cults. Most of it was destroyed when the Goths invaded Athens in AD 267.
Odeon of Agrippa
Odeon of Agrippa is a theater built in AD 15. It featured statues of serpent-tailed Giants and Tritons on huge plinths. Two Tritons and a Giant still remain today.
This is a circular building where the 50-member executive committee of the first parliament lived and worked. The name translates to “beehive”.
The still functioning Great Drain collects runoff from the Acropolis, Areopagos and Agora when it rains and sends it to the Eridanos River.
A few weeks ago a business trip took me to the large, modern and mechanised packing barn of a commercial plant nursery near Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Inside the barn, six-metre-high trees and voluminous shrubs were being manoeuvred by forklift, their root balls machine-wrapped in hessian and top growth neatly bound with twine before being lifted to the backs of waiting trucks. Amid the automated ballet of high-tech machines, a gnarled, contorted olive tree sat in one corner of the barn, its root system encased in a hefty timber box at least a metre tall and four-metres square. “That,” declared the nursery manager, “is 1,000 years old – probably more.”
The use of mature trees and shrubs in garden and landscape design is nothing new. Capability Brown shifted mature trees on the estates he worked on, while John Jacob Astor built an extension to the local railway line to his estate at Hever Castle in Kent, southeast England, to bring in mature trees transplanted from Ashdown Forest. In general, though, commercially grown mature trees are rarely more than 50 years old; above that age the logistics of shipping large, heavy plants make it financially unviable. Yet the idea of 1,000 years or more of history, boxed up in a modern warehouse, is a very different proposition to a commercially grown nursery tree that has always been destined to be shifted and planted.
The wild olive (Olea europaea) has been around for at least 50,000 years, and there are groves of wild trees from Anatolia through the Aegean and Mediterranean. The Roman agricultural writer and theorist Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella (AD4-c.AD70) described the olive tree as “Olea prima omnium arborum est” (the olive is the first of all trees) in his agricultural treatise De Re Rustica. By the time of his observation, the olive had been in commercial cultivation for several thousand years. Archaeologists have excavated olive pits at sites that are 8,000 years old. The first evidence of olive oil production was found at a 6,000-year-old site at Carmel in Israel.
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The Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion is one of the most stunning sights in all of Greece. Cape Sounion is surrounded by the Aegean Sea and according to legend, the spot where Aegeus, king of Athens leapt to his death off of a cliff when he thought that his son, Theseus, had been killed in his contest with the Minotaur monster.
Cape Sounion is an ideal location for the worship of Poseidon, the powerful god of the sea according to classical Greek mythology. Poseidon ranked second in power after Zeus. The temple is a marble shrine that was built in the 5th century BC at the same time as the Parthenon. It is uniquely designed to combat the effects of sea-spray erosion. The columns were cut with only 16 flutings instead of the usual 20, thus reducing the surface area exposed to the elements. The temple is located 70km south of Athens and stands on a craggy spur that plunges 65m down to the sea. It is thought to be built by Iktinos, the architect of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens’ Ancient Agora. Local marble, taken from quarries at nearby Agrileza was used for the temple’s 34 slender Doric columns. 16 remain today. The present temple stands on the site of older ruins.
The views both of and from The Temple of Poseidon are equally impressive. The gleaming white of the temple can be viewed from long distances and out at sea. It comforted sailors in ancient times, telling them that they were close to home when they saw that first glimpse of white. Visitors to the temple can see Kea, Kythnos, and Serifos to the southeast and Aegina and the Peloponnese to the west on a clear day. The site is a popular day-excursion for tourists from Athens. Visitors are urged to visit the ruins early in the morning to avoid crowds or at sunset, just before it closes, to enjoy spectacular and unforgettable views over the Aegean Sea.
British poet Lord Byron, fell under the spell of The Temple of Poseidon in 1810. He composed poetry in its honor and carved his name on one of the columns. In doing so he set an unfortunate precedent of vandalism, as many not-so famous people that have come since have also left their signature on the columns.
The site also contains remains of a propylaeum, a fortified tower, and to the northeast, a 6th century temple to Athena. An Ionic frieze, made from 13 slabs of Parian marble is located on the east side of the temple’s main approach path.
Cape Sounion is one of the most expensive areas in Greece and has become an upscale summer home location for Athenians. Construction thrived between the 1960’s and 1970’s. Many choose to visit just for the day and take the bus from Athens. Buses run both inland and scenic coastal routes out to Cape Sounion from Athens. There are plenty of tavernas to enjoy just below the site of the temple.