On November 30th, the Greek Reporter released an interesting news article out of Athens regarding the Pnyx Hill. For those of you who don't know, the Pnyx Hill was an ancient site of Athenian assemblies near the Acropolis. Now a protected archaeological site, this stage stands as a monument to the world's first democracy. The man who stands guard over the area found himself and his station under attack by masked vandals throwing rocks, causing damage to the station and threatening the man with further violence if he "turned people away again." The Greek Ministry of Culture has now requested increased security at the site as a result. Fortunately, no damage to the actual site was reported. The only structure that suffered was the guard station, and the guard himself was also unharmed.
One guess is as good as the other, until the vandals are captured and interrogated as to what their motive was. On the surface, one would think from their statements that they were angry tourists or locals who had been banned from the site. Interestingly, ancient Athenian history is no stranger to attacks against its culture, or being confronted by angry exiles or outcasts, even if those few people were Athenian themselves. It was a crime to vandalize and destroy back then as it is now, the only difference is that an ancient punishment for attacking a holy or State site would have probably been exile or execution. At best, a heavy fine. Physically attacking the State culture was one of things that allegedly got Alcibiades in so much trouble. He ended up suffering a horrific death while in exile at the hands of unknown assassins in Asia Minor. His tragic life was mainly a result of his refusal to be loyal to his State and stop upsetting the balance of things. In many ways, he was a loose cannon, and even the people he betrayed Athens for, may have been involved in his assassination.
Since the Christian take over of Greece, it's always been a constant struggle to preserve ancient Hellas and all of her sites and structures, let alone her culture and teachings. So it's always distressing to hear about an ancient area coming under any kind of attack, even if the assault was not directed toward the area itself. The fact that a country and culture that has been through so much persecution and destruction would even have to bear witness to further violence, is beyond sad. On the other hand, I am glad that the Ministry is responding with increased security at the Pnyx. It shows that there is still a sacred honor to guard the ancient Greek spirit.
In the Goodness of the Gods,