Monday, 10 September 2012

Temple of Dionysus, Teos

It is said to be the largest ancient Greek temple known to exist... So we shoulder a knapsack containing the essential water bottles, and set off along the dusty path, over a few small hills and past a shed where sheep and goats bleat plaintively, and lo! a vast open space spread before us, filled with scatterd grey chunks of broken Ionic columns. Earthqauke a couple of thousand years ago responsible for this devastation. Only two stumps of pillars remain standing.
I sat a long time and looked at these stones... the olive trees with their thick twisted trunks shaded me; the tumbled stones lay time-weathered and pale grey in the brilliant sunlight.

I tried to imagine this place thronged with people, all the columns erect, music instruments sounding into the windy air (was it always so windy?). Now the leaves of the olive trees rustle and some sleepy cicadas chirp. Otherwise the silence of hot noonday.
My name is Dionysus, god of dance and wine... this place really recalls those words: 'look on my works ye mighty and despair.'
Yet far from depressing. Many of the broken stones bear numbers in red paint, the work of  archaeologists (the French arrived in the 19th century, followed by other groups). Who knows, perhaps one day the columns may stand again in the sunlight, in the wind.

No comments:

Post a Comment