Deb and I are anchored in Sounio Bay in the shadow of the 2,500+ year old “Temple of Poseidon” which looks out over the Aegean Sea from the hilltop just to our East.
This is a natural place for the early Greeks to honor Poseidon, as this is the last place on the mainland that relatives could watch their loved ones sail off into the Aegean Sea, and the first place that they could spot them returning.
As I read up on this temple, I suffered a flashback to one of my least favorite High School classes. (Second only to typing, which at least ended up being very useful!!)
When I was a sophomore, I somehow got stuck in an English Class that was supposed to cover an overview of Greek Mythology and several other topics.
Well, that class ended up being about nothing but Greek Mythology. It was taught by a crazy lady for whom the subject was her life, and she taught it like religion. It got pretty creepy at times.
We students would talk about it between us and sometimes bring it to the attention of our “advisors” but nobody seemed to pay any attention to us. That is until the day that the police came and took her away!!
It was all hushed up pretty well, but the word on the street was that she was reported by a male student to whom she was making some very sexual advances while claiming to be the reincarnated Goddess Aphrodite!! How great was that for the High School rumor mill!! After that, we never saw her again…
Anyway, there is not much from that class that stuck with me over the years, other than the story associated with this very temple. It’s a sad story and for whatever reason one that I’ve always remembered.
According to the myth, this is the site where Aegeus, king of Athens, leapt into the sea because of a misunderstanding.
Theseus, the son of Aegeus, had traveled to Crete to kill Minotaur, the legendary monster who lived in the palace of Knossos, and to release Athens from the obligation to send seven boys and seven girls every year to the king of Crete, only to be eaten by Minotaur.
Theseus thus had said to his father that if he killed Minotaur, he would hoist a white sail on the return home. Theseus indeed killed Minotaur and was returning to Athens safe and well.
Unfortunately, he forgot to hoist white sail and had a black sail on his mast. Aegeus saw the black sail from Cape Sounion and believed that his son was dead. His despair made him fall to his death into the sea and, later on, the Athenians gave the sea his name, the Aegean Sea.
I took these pictures last night after a long walk from the harbor.