Lady Hamilton: The 18th-Century Beauty who Revived Ancient Greek Fashion

Lady Hamilton Greek fashion
Lady Hamilton as Ariadne by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, 1790. Public Domain

Lady Hamilton, a woman who became famous in Europe for her astonishing beauty as well as her political influence, also spread Ancient Greek-inspired fashion across the continent for the first time.

Born into poverty and working as a scullery maid in her teenage years, she was scorned by her first two lovers who took advantage of her youthful beauty and then left her. Her third lover, however, was Sir William Hamilton, the English ambassador to Naples, who, against all social norms, then made her his wife.

Lady Hamilton soon became a fashion icon and started trends such as draping herself in simple garments which were inspired by classical times, and ancient Greece in particular. She called this Greek-inspired theme “Attitudes” and was known to have used her many shawls during her public performances based on Ancient Greek symposia.

Goethe famously wrote of Lady Hamilton “She wears a Greek garb, becoming to her to perfection. She then merely loosens her locks, takes a pair of shawls, and effects changes of postures, moods, gestures, mien, and appearance that make one really feel as if one were in some dream…

“Successively standing, kneeling, seated, reclining, grave, sad, sportive, teasing, abandoned, penitent, alluring, threatening, agonized… one follows the other, and grows out of it. She knows how to choose and shift the simple folds of her single kerchief for every expression, and to adjust it into a hundred kinds of headgear,” he wrote.

Hamilton makes ancient Greek fashion a must-have

Her “a la grec” clothing soon became a must-have item in those days. Her new wardrobe resembled that of a Greek goddess, with modern and simple robing, so different from the fashion of the time, which involved stacking countless layers of fabric upon each other.

Lady Hamilton chose loose-fitting gowns with waistlines set just below the bosom. Her hairstyle, soon to be copied by nearly all ladies of fashion of the day, was also inspired by Greek statues, and even the French tossed out their massive wigs to achieve Lady Hamilton’s new look.

In Naples, the young maid who had married money was adored by the Italian gentry who closely followed her every fashion move. They appreciated her beauty, cleverness, independence and high spirit at a time when she was scorned in her own country for being Sir William’s lover before marrying him.

Before long, dukes and princes were throwing banquets in her honor and even the king himself sought out her company.

Italian peasants saw her as one of their own who had made good. Kneeling at her feet, they asked Lady Hamilton for favors, and artists sought to draw her portrait.

Soon, her sphere of influence had spread across Europe. She had singlehandedly done so much for the revival of ancient Greek culture but unfortunately, her liberal-mindedness soon made her the victim of malicious gossip.

She quickly fell out of favor with the general public after she became the mistress of Admiral Nelson, the beloved British naval hero. Nelson was said to have entered into a menage-a-trois with Lady Hamilton and her husband.

After both her lover and her husband died, Lady Hamilton fell into destitution and became an object of ridicule and a byword for loose behavior. But during those first radiant years of her marriage to Lord Hamilton, she reigned over society and brought some of the eternal beauty of Greece to Western European life.

Exploring Nafpaktos’ Venetian Port and Fortress Transports You to Another Time

Ventian Port, Nafpaktos, Greece
Ventian Port, Nafpaktos, Greece. Wikimedia Commons

Nafpaktos is a picturesque town that is situated on a bay on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth in Western Greece.

This is not a well-known place for people to visit in on their vacations in Greece, but when they come, everyone is impressed by all that this ancient town has to offer. The combination of seaside beauty and fun with mountains makes it the perfect year-round get-a-way.

The charm of Nafpaktos

The ancient name Navpaktos (Ναύπακτος) means “boatyard”, and that is exactly what this settlement was known as throughout time. History recants two major battles that were fought on the shores of Nafpaktos.

While visiting during the month of October, you can even see a re-enactment of the famous battle of Lepanto (named after the town name at the time) that took place in there.

When you enter the town, you are immediately transported back to another time where fortresses dotted the land. The ancient Venetian port with its fortifications and the Castle of Nafpaktos are the main attractions, and you can even take a walk around the port to experience the well-kept ruins up close and personal.

Castle of Nafpaktos
Castle of Nafpaktos. Wikimedia Commons

You will also find charming little shops, cafes and bars throughout the quaint cobble-stoned roads. A real trip to another time and place!

Where to stay?

Check out Ammos Boutique Hotel. Here you will find all of the modern conveniences, as well as exceptional service, and beautiful grounds.

What better way to spend your time than at an exceptional hotel that is located in less than a minute’s walk from the beach of Nafpaktos? You can also relax in the garden, hot tub, lounge area, or bar.

The rooms are classy and comfy, equipped with air conditioning for the hot summer days. Also, when you are looking to chill out and stay in for the evening, you will have the option to cook yourself a meal, as there is a stove and refrigerator in each room. Many of the rooms also have a balcony.

All guest rooms include a private bathroom and a hair dryer — not to mention you get free Apivita beauty products, so you don’t have to worry about packing shower goods! Another added amenity is that a delicious buffet breakfast is served every morning at the hotel.

The rooms are designed in decor that is modern, chic, and luxe. A color palette that reflects the colors of nature and the sea is used throughout the hotel, bringing the beautiful serene atmosphere of the outdoors, inside.

Thought has been put into every detail to make your stay away from home feel like you are at home. Choose from executive suits and deluxe suites — whatever best fits your needs. An added bonus: You can bring your furry friends along for the trip to Nafpaktos, as the hotel is pet friendly!

20 Fascinating Facts about Greece

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece
The Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Credit: Christophe Meneboeuf/CC BY-SA 3.0

Everyone knows that Greece is the cradle of Western Civilization, the birthplace of democracy, that it has a stunningly beautiful coastline, and that our Independence Day is March 25th. However, there are some facts that very few people are aware of.

There may be some things about Greece and its history that even many Greeks don’t know. Why not take this opportunity to brush up on some interesting facts and factoids about this most fascinating country before you finally travel there for an idyllic vacation this Summer?

Facts about Greece you probably didn’t know

  1. There are about 2,000 islands and islets in Greece, but only 170 of them are inhabited. The largest, Crete, has an area of ​​8,260 square kilometers (3,189 square miles).
  2. Greece is the number one country in the world in the production of natural sponges.
  3. Athens had a population of about 7,000 only two centuries ago. Today the capital’s residents exceed five million, almost half of the country’s population.
  4. Surrounded by the sea, there is no place in Greece that is more than 137 km (85 miles) away from the sea. Greece has the tenth-longest coastline in the world.
  5. Greece’s merchant fleet accounts for 70 percent of all European ships. Domestic law requires 75 percent of a ship’s crew to have Greek citizenship.
  6. Approximately 7 percent of all the marble quarried on the planet Earth comes from Greece.
  7. In the 1950s, only 30 percent of Greeks knew how to read and write. Today, the illiteracy rate is just 5 percent.
  8. Greece ranks third in the world in olive oil production. The cultivation of olive trees in the country began in ancient times. Indeed, some olive trees which are known to have been planted in the thirteenth century still produce fruit.
  9. Even though Greece is surrounded by the sea, 80 percent of the country is mountainous. The country does not have even one navigable river because of its particular geomorphology.
  10. Over twelve million people in the world speak Greek. There are ten million Greek residents, about one million Cypriots, and another million Diaspora Greeks, mainly in the US, Australia and in the countries of the EU.
  11. The Greek language has been spoken for approximately 3,000 years, making it one of the oldest languages ​​in the world.
  12. Athens has been inhabited for 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe.
  13. On average, Greeks enjoy 250 days of sunshine a year. This corresponds to 6,000 hours of sun per year.
  14. Life expectancy in ancient Greece was only 36 years for women and 45 years for men. Of the children who were born in those times, only one half managed to survive infancy.
  15. Today, life expectancy has reached 77 years for men and 82 for Greek women. Greece ranks 26th in the world among countries with the highest life expectancy.
  16. Greece has more archaeological museums than any other country in the world — which is only natural considering the age of its civilization.
  17. About 100,000 birds from northern Europe and Asia spend the winter in Greece.
  18. Slaves in ancient Greece accounted for 40-80 percent of the population of city-states. They were mainly prisoners of war, abandoned children or the children of slaves.
  19. Wildlife in Greece includes 116 species of mammals, 18 amphibians, 59 species of reptiles, 240 species of birds and 107 species of fish. However, about half the mammalian species are now in danger of extinction.
  20. Eons ago in geological time, Greece was a rocky mass, covered completely by seawater.  Its mountainous area was formed after the collision of its tectonic plate with Europe, and even today the earthquakes in the Aegean are related to the movements of its particular plate within the lithosphere.

The 1821 Greek Revolution Comes to Life on Public Buildings

1821 Greek Revolution
Projection on the Missolonghi Minicipal Gallery. Credit: TUC TIE Lab/Facebook

The 1821 Greek Revolution came alive throughout the country on Saturday night through the projection mapping technique as part of the celebrations of 200 years since the Greek War of Independence.

The particular emblematic action of the “Greece 2021” Committee is entitled “Desire for Freedom”.

A visual narrative of the 1821 Greek Revolution through works of art will be projected on the facade of selected buildings in 18 cities, with the predominant building being the Greek Parliament.

Apart from the history of the Greek War of Independence, the screenings are also connected with elements of the recent history of each city. This is the largest projection mapping project ever done in Greece.

Production of the visual material of the 1821 Greek Revolution and its adaptation on the buildings was done by the Transformable Intelligent Environments Laboratory (TUC TIE Lab) of the School of Architecture of the Technical University of Crete.

The cities in which the action will take place are: Athens (Greek Parliament building), Alexandroupolis (Zarifios Pedagogical Academy), Heraklion (Crete Region building);

Thessaloniki (Royal Theater), Ioannina (Courthouse), Kalamata (Eikari Art Center), Corfu (Old Town Hall), Lamia (Municipal Theater), Larissa (Club of Guard Officers), Missolonghi (Municipal Gallery);

Naoussa (City Hall), Nafplio (City Hall), Piraeus (Piraeus Municipal Theater), Syros (Apollo Theater), Tripolis (Courthouse), Chania (Mikis Theodorakis Theater) and Chios (Castle Wall).

The screenings are 18 minutes long and are repeated continuously from 9.30 pm to 11.30 pm. In addition to the projection on the selected building, there will be a light show in the surrounding areas, which will be connected to the projection in the building.

Live streaming of the projections is available in the “Greece 2021” Committee website

Greece 2021 Committee

The objective of the Committee Greece2021, is to organize a comprehensive layout of projects and events which will aim at reintroducing Greece, from the beginning of its contemporary history to today, in this course of 200 years.

The committee highlights the achievements accomplished, emphasizes Greece’s potential, remembers the struggles and suffering that defined the country’s modern era.

Also, he purpose of the committee is to plan all the celebration events for the 200 years since the 1821 Greek Revolution.

The Greece 2021 Committee has created a catalog of all the projects and events planned by foundations, universities, local governing bodies, and other institutions for the year. Even in the cases where the committee has no immediate involvement.

The Transformable Intelligent Environments Laboratory

The impressive projection mapping of the 1821 Greek Revolution event entitled “Desire for Freedom” is the work of the Transformable Intelligent Environments Laboratory (TUC TIE Lab). It is a project commissioned by “Greece 2021”.

The TUC TIE Lab was founded in 2011 on the basis of researching and developing methodologies, software, mechanisms and know-how for designing and fabricating paradigms of transformable intelligent environments.

What the Ottoman Empire Teaches Us About Social Consequences of Climate Change

The Battle of Navarino, the end of the Ottoman Empire in Greece.
The Battle of Navarino, in October 1827, marked the effective end of the Ottoman Empire’s occupation of Greece. Public Domain.

At its peak, the Ottoman Empire spanned three continents, its power was such that it controlled a vast part of Southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

By Andrea Duffy

In the late 16th century, hundreds of bandits on horseback stormed through the countryside of Ottoman Anatolia raiding villages, inciting violence and destabilizing the sultan’s grip on power.

Four hundred years later and a few hundred miles away in the former Ottoman territory of Syria, widespread protests escalated into a bloody civil war in 2011 that persists to this day.

These dark episodes in Mediterranean history share key features that offer a warning for the future: Both forced waves of people from their homes. Both were rooted in politics and had dramatic political consequences. And both were fueled by extreme weather associated with climate change.

As an environmental historian, I have researched and written extensively about conflict and environmental pressures in the Eastern Mediterranean region. While severe droughts, hurricanes, rising oceans and climate migration can seem new and unique to our time, past crises like these and others carry important lessons about how changing climates can destabilize human societies. Let’s take a closer look.

Drought in the heartland of an empire

We live in an era of global warming largely due to unsustainable human practices. Generally known as the Anthropocene, this era is widely considered to have emerged in the 19th century on the heels of another period of major global climate change called the Little Ice Age.

The Little Ice Age brought cooler-than-average temperatures and extreme weather to many parts of the globe. Unlike current anthropogenic warming, it likely was triggered by natural factors such as volcanic activity, and it affected different regions at different times, to different degrees and in vastly different ways.

Its onset in the late 16th century was particularly noticeable in Anatolia, a largely rural region that once formed the heartland of the Ottoman Empire and is roughly coterminous with modern-day Turkey. Much of the land traditionally was used for cultivating grain or herding sheep and goats. It provided a critical food source for the rural population as well as residents of the bustling Ottoman capital, Istanbul (Constantinople).

The two decades surrounding the year 1600 were especially tough. Anatolia experienced some of its coldest and driest years in history, tree rings and other paleoclimatological data suggest. This period also had frequent droughts, frosts and floods. At the same time, the region’s inhabitants reeled under an animal plague and oppressive state policies, including the requisitioning of grain and meat for a costly war in Hungary.

Prolonged poor harvests, war and hardship exposed major shortcomings in the Ottoman provisioning system. While inclement weather stalled state efforts to distribute limited food supplies, famine spread across the countryside to Istanbul, accompanied by a deadly epidemic.

By 1596, a series of uprisings collectively known as the Celali Rebellion had erupted, becoming the longest-lasting internal challenge to state power in the Ottoman Empire’s six centuries of existence.

Peasants, semi-nomadic groups and provincial leaders alike contributed to this movement through a rash of violence, banditry and instability that lasted well into the 17th century. As drought, disease and bloodshed persisted, people abandoned farms and villages, fleeing Anatolia in search of more stable areas, while famine killed many who lacked the resources to leave.

Weakening of the Ottoman Empire

Before this point, the Ottoman Empire had been one of the most powerful regimes in the early modern world. It included large swaths of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and controlled the holiest sites of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Over the previous century, Ottoman troops had pushed into Central Asia, annexed most of Hungary, and advanced across the Hapsburg Empire to threaten Vienna in 1529.

The Celali Rebellion had major political consequences.

The Ottoman government succeeded in reestablishing relative calm in rural Anatolia by 1611, but at a cost. The sultan’s control over the provinces was irreversibly weakened, and this internal check on Ottoman authority helped curb the trend of Ottoman expansion.

The Celali Rebellion closed the door on the Ottoman “Golden Age,” sending this monumental empire into a spiral of decentralization, military setbacks and administrative weakness that would trouble the Ottoman state for its remaining three centuries of existence.

Climate change as a threat multiplier

Four hundred years later, environmental stress coincided with social unrest to launch Syria into an enduring and devastating civil war.

This conflict emerged in the context of political oppression and the Arab Spring movement, and on the tail end of one of Syria’s worst droughts in modern history.

The magnitude of the environment’s role in the Syrian civil war is difficult to gauge because, as in the Celali Rebellion, its impact was indelibly linked to social and political pressures. But the brutal combination of these forces can’t be ignored. It’s why military experts today talk about climate change as a “threat multiplier.”

Now entering its second decade, the Syrian war has driven over 13 million Syrians from their homes. About half are internally displaced, while the rest have sought refuge in surrounding states, Europe and beyond, greatly intensifying the global refugee crisis.

Lessons for today and the future

The Mediterranean region may be particularly prone to the negative effects of global warming, but these two stories are far from isolated cases.

As Earth’s temperatures rise, the climate will increasingly hamper human affairs, exacerbating conflict and driving migration. In recent years, low-lying countries such as Bangladesh have been devastated by flooding, while drought has upended lives in the Horn of Africa and Central America, sending large numbers of migrants into other countries.

Mediterranean history offers three important lessons for addressing current global environmental issues:

  • First, negative effects of climate change fall disproportionately on poor and marginalized individuals, those least able to respond and adapt.
  • Second, environmental challenges tend to hit hardest when combined with social forces, and the two are often indistinguishably connected.
  • Third, climate change has the potential to prompt migration and resettlement, spur violence, unseat regimes and dramatically transform human societies throughout the world.

Climate change ultimately will affect everyone – in dramatic, distressing and unforeseen ways. As we contemplate this future, there is much we can learn from our past.

*Andrea Duffy is the Director of International Studies, Colorado State University. The article was published at The Conversation and is republished under a  Creative Commons License.

Related Video, Greek Revolution Against the Ottoman Empire:

Tsitsipas Loses Roland Garros Final to Tennis Master Djokovic

Tsitsipas Djokovic
Tsitsip and Djokovic. Credit: Roland Garros

Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the first Grand Slam final of his career, but failed just short to the World Number One Novak Djokovic.

After a dramatic game lasting more than four hours, Djokovic won 3-2, coming from behind at 0-2 down. Djokovic is the first man to win all four majors at least twice in the open era.

Tsitsipas won the first two sets 7-6, 62. But the Serb master came back. He won the third and fourth 6-3, 6-2. In the decider Djokovic broke early Tsitsipas serve, and won 6-4. The 34-year-old Serb found his form and held every service game in the final three sets

At just 22, tennis pandits agree that the Greek champion will be back on this stage plenty more times. The day will come and not long from now, but he didn’t quite have the staying power to get it done today.

Tsitsipas beats Zverev in semi final

Stefanos Tsitsipas earned a place in his first Grand Slam final after a dramatic win over Alexander Zverev on Friday by 3 sets to 2.

Tsitsipas won the first two sets 6-3, 6-3. His German opponent fought back and won the third and fourth sets 6-4. In the deciding set, Tsitsipas was dominant. He twice broke Zverev’s serve to win by 6-3 and 3-2 sets overall.

“All I can think of is my roots, where I came from,” Tsitsipas said after the game.

“My dream was to play here, to play on the big stage of the French Open some day. I would have never thought that I would.

Tsitsipas youngest player ranked in the top 10

Tsitsipas is the youngest player ranked in the top 10 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and has a career-high ranking of No. 5 in the world, making him the highest-ranked Greek player in history.

Tsitsipas was the champion at the 2019 ATP Finals, becoming the youngest winner of the year-end championships in eighteen years. He has won seven ATP singles titles.

Although he has proved in the past that he can indeed play on the clay, Tsitsipas has not favored that surface for the most part — until this year.  So far in 2021, the Greek star has lost only to the masterful Rafael Nadal in Barcelona, Novak Djokovic in Rome and clay specialist Casper Ruud in Madrid.

Tsitsipas won his first ATP match in late 2017 and quickly ascended up the ATP rankings the following year. He reached three tour-level finals in 2018 and won his first title at the Stockholm Open. With his runner-up finish at the Canadian Open, he became the youngest player to defeat four top ten opponents in a single tournament.

Since culminating his season with an exhibition title at the Next Gen ATP Finals, Tsitsipas has become a fixture in the top 10 of the ATP rankings and reached four Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open (2019, 2021) and the French Open (2020, 2021).


Alexander the Great Campaigns Influenced Egyptian, World Cuisine

Eratosthenes Egypt Map
Nineteenth-century map according to information from Eratosthenes of the conquests of Alexander and subsequent military campaigns. From “A History of Ancient Geography among the Greeks and Romans from the Earliest Ages till the Fall of the Roman Empire,” page 667. London: John Murray, 1883. Credit: Public Domain

Alexander the Great had an enormous influence on the ancient world, as we all know, as a result of the Greek conqueror’s military campaigns across the Near East, including Egypt, and reaching as far East as India.

By Giorgio Pintzas Monzani

The evolution of customs, flavors and rituals linking food to the sacred and divine had an enormous upheaval during and after the conquests of Alexander the Great.

In this second article in a series of three, we continue to retrace the march and the journey that built the foundations of a new common cultural identity and, indeed, introduced new flavors and gastronomic influences to and from the Near East.

The second stop of this cultural journey brings us to the most ancient civilization that Alexander encountered, the Egyptian: which, despite having been annexed to the Persian empire for decades, never completely absorbed the Achaemenid culture, keeping its own ancient identity intact.

In 332 BC Alexander, just twenty-four years old, and his army decided to slow their expansion into Asia and march to Memphis, then the capital of Egypt.

Alexander the Great Welcomed in Egypt as Savior and Liberator

Without any battles or negotiations, the young Macedonian king was immediately welcomed as a savior, the liberator from long years of Persian oppression.

Egyptian culture and spirituality had a strong impact on Alexander, who tried to integrate himself into the customs and traditions of Egypt rather than subjugating the people of which he was the new king — and pharaoh.

In this period we have a real transformation of his character; in fact, during his visit to the oracle of the god Amon, Alexander revealed his true identity: he was no longer Alexander, the son of Philip, but Alexander, the son of Ammon (Zeus).

This fact profoundly changed the young warrior king and his future ambitions.

Although he remained there for only one year, the influence he had on the future history of Egypt was very powerful, to the extent that he is remembered even today as one of the most important pharaohs.

However, the aspect we are going to analyze and discuss is the one of gastronomic culture and of everything that revolves around the table.

Egyptian culinary culture had already come in contact with the Hellenic world through maritime exchanges; however, with the arrival of the Macedonian empire, the collision between the two worlds created a revolution, laying the foundations of some of the alimentary habits and customs which are still current.

Unlike the Persian world, in terms of conviviality and the act of dining, the land of pharaohs shared a great deal with Greece: food had to be a means of sustenance, and was simply the basis of nutrition.

Even royal banquets, despite the luxury and superb quality of the ingredients, were moderate in nature, both in quantity and in the way people sat around the table.

So what were the innovations brought by two countries, which were already so similar in this way?

Egyptian beer became a fixture at tables

Most likely just the peace and prosperity which characterized the two nations at the time allowed an exchange of ideas and a much faster comparison, as we have many examples of how the union between the two cultures influenced the contemporary table.

The culture of beer making and drinking, both in the Egyptian territory and in the rest of the Persian empire, is well known to everyone; however in the Greek world, despite it being consumed, it never had a leading role on tables since it has always been considered a “barbaric,” or low-class, beverage.

The dramatist Aeschylus even pronounced the following sentence when talking about Egyptians: “they are not real men, but men who drink barley wine.”

However, with the arrival of Alexander in Egypt the consumption of beer by Greek people was increased greatly; but even more important was the Greek economic expansion, which created a global market that had never existed before.

Moreover, new methods of flavoring beer were invented: why? Because the scarce Greek knowledge about the production of the famous blonde drink brought to the ears of Egyptians new ideas and new aromas to be discovered.

Humble Lettuce Considered an Aphrodisiac by Egyptians

For example the addition of cheese during fermentation, which was not necessary and had never been used by Egyptians until that time.

Another very important food that we consume today, but whose origins we most likely do not know its real origin, is botargo: a food obtained by salting and drying the eggs of mullet, a type of fish which were plenteous in the Nile.

Alexander’s army was amazed by the knowledge of the Egyptians about the preservation of these eggs and above all by their taste, so much so as to make a good stock of them, being a perfect food for the long journey to Asia.

Lettuce, which for Greeks and Romans was a food of little importance, in the Egyptian world was considered to be an aphrodisiac. It was mainly eaten raw and lightly seasoned.

Therefore, the Greek food habit of eating raw and cooked vegetables with the addition of spices and cheese, together with the large-scale use of lettuce in Egypt, could have brought to light the ancestor of a kind of food we all consume today — salads.

Tzatziki May be of Egyptian Origin

Regarding the arrival of new vegetables after the conquest of Egypt by the Macedonians, we should probably give credit for the birth of tzatziki, the famous Hellenic sauce, to this cultural collision between Greece and Egypt.

As a matter of fact, a sauce with yogurt and garlic was already consumed by Greeks before Alexander, but considering the huge consumption and importance of cucumber in the Egyptian diet, the sauce now famous all over the world could have been born right there.

The most extraordinary food found by Alexander in Egypt was what we know today as foie gras, that is the fatty liver of breeding ducks.

The staple of traditional French cuisine has its origins on the banks of the Nile, where the breeding of birds was the basis of the Egyptians’ diet and especially of grand pharaonic banquets.

So how did a food so rooted in Egyptian culture arrive in Europe — especially without a military conquest by the army of Egypt?

It was thanks to the importation of these recipes by Macedonians, later adopted by Romans: in fact, the custom of feeding ducks and geese with dried figs in order to enlarge their liver was later attributed to Roman gastronome Marco Gavio Apicio.

Last but not least, we must give honor to the greatest cultural revolution of the encounter between the two worlds: Alexander, captured by those lands until then considered barbarian, wanted at all costs to build on the Egyptian coast the city that most of all represents the Macedonian splendor: Alexandria.

It was founded by Alexander himself in 331 B.C. with the help of the architect Dinocrates of Rhodes. It was a modern city and incredibly advanced for its time.

It was the first city founded with the aim of unifying all the cultures known and conquered by the Greeks; although the capital of the empire was Babylon, Alexander recognized in Alexandria the true fulcrum of the spirit of union and glory that he wanted to pass on.

It was there that the greatest repository of knowledge in the ancient world was born, the famous Library of Alexandria, a place that not only housed the largest collection of manuscripts of every category, but was also born as a center for scientific research, and also included the first-ever museum of human history.

Ancient Recipes Survive — Perhaps Because of Library of Alexandria

But how does this relate to the realm of gastronomy?

Although the material in the ancient library was burned and lost, it was there that the concept of a culinary archive was born. Although all the scrolls that once were housed in this treasure trove were lost, some of them were copied and the information contained in them lives on elsewhere.

It is certain that even before the birth of Alexandria, it was recorded that there were books about gastronomy; such a collection and a gathering of manuscripts from various cultures is the basis of culinary knowledge passed down in a systematic, careful manner.

It has long been noted by historians that Alexander, after the encounter with the Egyptian world, would never be the same, increasing his spirituality and reaching for personal growth on a much more esoteric level.

But it is probably also thanks to his new consciousness and beliefs that he met an absolutely legendary, but inevitably destructive destiny, as he set out to conquer the rest of the known world.

The union between these two great civilizations under the same empire changed the history and culture of the world in every aspect, laying a solid foundation for a common Mediterranean identity.

Greece Coronavirus Cases Hit Record Low for Months

COVID-19 Coronavirus cases in Greece
Athenians enjoy a walk as Greece Coronavirus cases reach new low. Credit: Greek Reporter

Greece Coronavirus cases reached a record low of the past few months, with 297 new COVID-19 cases, 17 deaths and 358 patients in ICUs.

The number of new cases is the lowest recorded. Despite the fact that the number of tests is limited on Sundays, however the diagnoses are estimated at more than 20,000 in the last 24 hours.

Restrictions lifted due to low Greece Coronavirus cases

The low COVID-19 figures have brought the lifting of restrictions for Greek citizens.

It is indicative that with a similar number of coronavirus tests a month ago, Sunday, May 16, the number of new cases amounted to 1,263 in 24 hours.

The number of intubated patients is slowly but steadily declining, with 358 patients in ICU, while the number of new deaths is 17, a number lower than the average daily average of  last week.

According to the National Public Health Organization (EODY), two of the 297 cases in the past 24 hours were identified after checks at the country’s gates.

The total number of cases is 414,933 (daily change + 0.1 percent), of which 51.2 percent are men. Based on the confirmed cases of the last seven days, 35 are considered to be related to travel from abroad and 1,370 are related to an already known case.

The total number of dead from COVID-19 has reached 12,422, of which 95.2 percent had an underlying disease and / or were over 70 years old.

The number of patients treated by intubation is 358 (64.4 percent men). Their median age is 67 years; 88.0 percent have an underlying disease and / or are over 70 years old.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 2,562 patients have been discharged from ICU.

About one half of Sunday’s cases (140) were detected in Attica, with Thessaloniki recording only 22 in the last 24 hours. Seven of the cases were imported.

Privileges for vaccinated Greeks against Coronavirus

The Greek government is considering a series of privileges for Greeks who are fully inoculated against COVID-19, a SKAI television report said on Saturday.

Even though vaccination is not obligatory, there are considerations for those who have been vaccinated.

The “privileges” for inoculated Greeks on the table include unrestricted admission to concerts, theatres, stadiums, leading gradually to pre-COVID-19 normality.

Specifically, those vaccinated will be able to attend mass entertainment events such as theatrical performances, concerts, movie screenings, stadiums and nightclubs.

Discussions for the formalization of the above is in full swing. However, the date of application will depend on when vaccination will be available and accessible to all ages, ie in mid-July.

According to the same report, the lifting of restrictions for vaccinated people will mean that wearing a mask will not be obligatory.

Vaccination for 12-15 year olds

Greece is prepared to extend the vaccination program and begin vaccinating children aged 12-15 against COVID-19, Greek Secretary General for Primary Health Care, Marios Themistokleous assured the public during a press conference earlier in the month.

The European Union’s medicines regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), approved the use of the Pfizer jab for the particular age group after extensive testing proved it was safe and effective among children aged 12-15.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. approved the use of the shot in children belonging to that age group in early May.

Themistokleous noted that while the country has all the mechanisms in place to begin vaccinating children aged 12-15, Greece’s National Vaccination Committee has yet to provide specific instructions or guidelines regarding distribution.

Greek Coast Guard Boat Harassed by Turkish Vessel

Greek Turkish
Hellenic Coast Guard vessel. Credit: Hellenic Coast Guard

A Greek Coast Guard patrol boat was harassed by a Turkish counterpart on Sunday, suffering minor damages but no crew member injuries.

According to the Mytilene Port Authority, the Greek boat was patrolling the sea area east of Lesvos island when the Turkish boat approached very closely, resulting in minor material damage to the Greek boat.

According to a statement by the Hellenic Coast Guard headquarters, no crew member injuries were reported.

Such incidents are common in the East Aegean, as Greek Coast Guard boats patrol the waters to curb boats coming from Turkey carrying undocumented migrants to Greece.

Greece-Turkey to hold talks on Monday

The incident between the two boats took place just one day before the meeting of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the sidelines of a NATO summit Brussels.

The harassing of the Greek Coast Guard boat is the latest in a long line of Turkish provocations in the East Aegean.

Mitsotakis said on Friday that good bilateral relations will depend on de-escalation efforts and asked of Turkey to respect international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Turkey has been instrumental in the continuous flow of migrants to Greece. In most cases, Turkish Coast Guard vessels escort and aid boatfuls of migrants to reach the Greek islands near the Turkish shores.

Athens has asked of Ankara to take back asylum seekers that come from Turkey and are not eligible for refugee protection.

Erdogan has called the Aegean “Sea of Islands”

Among the Turkish provocative rhetoric at sea, is a recent remark by the Turkish president, when he neglected to call the Aegean Sea by its name and called it “Sea of Islands”.

Speaking to a congress of his AKP party in Istanbul, Erdogan said that there should be no “concerns about Turkey’s presence from the eastern Mediterranean to the Black Sea, as well as in the Aegean, which old-timers called the Sea of Islands.”

He was referring to remarks by retired admiral, Cihat Yayci, one of the main architects of the “Blue Homeland” theory which envisions Turkish influence over vast swaths of the eastern Mediterranean.

Yaci has asked for the name of the Aegean to be changed, as it is Greek (the Turks call it “Ege”), and referred to it as the “Sea ​​of Islands.”

Hostile Turkish rhetoric

Ankara’s continuously aggressive rhetoric keeps adding fuel to the fire of the Greek-Turkish relations.

In a previous escalation of such rhetoric by Ankara, in August 20120, Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay spoke about “tearing pup the map of the Aegean” and drawing a new one.

Fuat Oktay said that his compatriots cry their hearts out every morning when they wake up to the sight of Greek islands, such as Oinouses, Kastellorizo and Chios.

Holding a map of the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean, Oktay told viewers: “Think about Sakiz [Chios]. Just one kilometer away from the Turkish coast. Where is Athens? [too far from the island]”

“Look where is Meis [Kastellorizo],” he continued. It’s just two kilometers from the [Turkish city of] Kas. Don’t my citizens in Kas see this? Every morning when they wake up they cry their hearts out.”

The Turkish Vice-President warned that Turkey will not allow this to continue: “We will tear up this map and we will tear up those who think of this map. We will crush them when necessary,” he added.

He also threatened Greece with war if it expands it’s territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Aegean. “If Athens’ attempts to expand its territorial waters isn’t a cause of war, then what is?”

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the Turkish official’s delirium:

“Turkey’s unprecedented belief that it can threaten neighboring countries with the use of force when they exercise their legal rights is contrary to contemporary political culture and also the fundamental provisions of international law.”


Four Afghans Jailed for Moria Camp Blaze in Greece

Moria camp fire
Moria camp was mostly destroyed by the fire. Credit: @th_voulgarakis/Twitter

A Greek court sentenced four Afghan asylum seekers to 10 years in prison for taking part in a fire that destroyed the Moria migrant camp on Lesvos last September.

The four men were among a group of six Afghans detained by police following the fire. The other two were sentenced in March to five years in prison.

Defence lawyers said the men had been framed by a witness and that the court’s decision was “an inconceivable conviction without evidence”.

The fire destroyed the camp completely, leaving more than 12,000 people without shelter. The Moria camp was considered the biggest of its kind in Europe, albeit offering poor living conditions.The fire was set only days after continuous protest riots by camp residents complaining about the overcrowded facility.

Greek authorities believe the fire was deliberately set by camp occupants, as COVID-19 quarantine measures limited the movements of the asylum seekers. The occupants were mostly Syrian, Afghan, Iraqis and some from African countries.

The Afghan men, charged with arson, were found guilty after the court rejected a request by lawyers for three of them to be tried by a juvenile court because they were under 18 at the time.

A temporary camp was set up on the site of an old army firing range to house the old Moria occupants. Greek authorities have launched tenders for new closed centers on Lesbos and the nearby island of Chios.Meanwhile, new regulations about the economic assistance to asylum seekers have been put into effect by the Greek State.

The fire that destroyed the Moria camp

The fire that was deliberately set late at night on September 8 left the Moria camp destroyed completely, with the Greek government blaming the occupants for the disaster.

Greek authorities believe that camp residents started the fire angered by the lockdown measures and isolation orders imposed after 35 people tested positive for COVID-19.

There was one fire in the camp’s “Section 9” and another on the right side of an olive grove, according to a representative from Doctors Without Borders, or MSF, who posted a video to Twitter showing himself with the flames from the two fires in the background.

Some residents had apparently returned to the camp, trying to salvage what they could of what remained after the initial fire.

The fire had burned scores of tents, personal belongings and the containers in which migrants and refugees had made their homes while awaiting to be processed.

“What is certain is that the fire was started, because of the quarantine, by asylum-seekers in the facility,” said Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis.

“Such behavior is not acceptable, and also respect for law and order is a necessary precondition for the asylum process,” Mitarakis had said at the time.