1 1/2 Hours
Dr Anthi Dipla
Classical archaeologist/art historian who has graduated from Oxford University (MA, PhD). She has participated in excavations, scientific projects and conferences in Greece, Cyprus and abroad. Her research has been focused on Greek vase painting, iconography, and mythology, with further interests in women studies, social history, ancient Greek theatre, and cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean world, and has been published extensively in international peer-reviewed periodicals and books. As an adjunct professor she has affiliated herself to various universities in Greece and abroad, including the UK and the USA, and she currently teaches at the Hellenic Open University and the Open University of Cyprus. As a tour guide, she has joined various Greek and foreign tour operators, specializing in VIP clients.
About the tour
The serene and idyllic site of Kerameikos, namely the potters’ quarter, now situated in the bustling heart of modern Athens, once lay on the fringe of the ancient urban center, marked by the city wall.
Here a large section of the wall has survived the abuse of assaults and the decay of time and one can capture a clear picture of it, complete with a ring street, a moat, and an outwork. The fortification wall ,built hastily after the Persian retreat in 478 to defend Athens against its eternal enemy, Sparta, traversed and divided Kerameikos into two parts, a residential one within the wall and one outside the wall. Outer Kerameikos was occupied by potters’ and vase painters’ workshops, drawn here from early on by the clay deposits of the small river Eridanos. These workshops provided the main bulk of the renowned Athenian vases, many of which were used as grave gifts or markers in the nearby cemetery, the city’s most extensive and important.
The Kerameikos cemetery included both private, family graves with imposing sculptural decoration, and the Demosion sema, the state burial ground, with funerary monuments reserved for war heroes and Athenian notables. Lining the streets in this much frequented and neuralgic place, the cemetery provided the perfect excuse to flaunt prosperity and supremacy. Women could be seen here all year round, paying frequent visits to their relatives’ graves, to clean and adorn them, to perform rituals and to connect with the souls of the dead.
The most prominent and official gates of the ancient city still stand proud and mark the surviving section of the ancient wall: the Dipylon Gate and the Sacred Gate through which passed two mains streets leading to Plato’s Academy and to Eleusis respectively. These gates were moreover the starting point of two main festive processions, one heading inwards to the Acropolis to honor Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, during the Great Panathenaia festival, the other outwards to Eleusis and the sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone, which housed the most famous Mysteries of antiquity. A large building with a colonnaded courtyard and dining rooms was built in between the two gates; all necessary preparations for the great procession were made here, where also the Panathenaic ship was kept which carried on its mast like a sail the famous peplos for the cult statue of Athena, while officials and the people of Athens feasted on the meat from the great sacrifice to Athena.
Outside and inside the Dipylon Gate, baths and a fountain house offered the weary travelers the opportunity to cool down and refresh themselves, while a brothel, tucked behind the Sacred Gate, welcomed them with wine and women. Designed like a huge private house, the brothel yielded copious finds of both textile manufacture and drinking and dining ware; apparently it strived to emulate the sympotic atmosphere of an andron (men’s banquet room) in the houses of the time, while fulfilling the fantasy of having liberal sex with a modest, productive housewife.
How it Works
This tour has been designed for virtual presentation. This is a group that accommodates up to 100 participants at a time.Once you book this experience, we will send you a confirmation email with a link to join the session. You can access the tour via the link provided.
What you need
In order to stream the session, you need a stable internet connection and a desktop, laptop or mobile device.