The Acropolis of ancient Athens, a complex of monuments on a rocky hill roughly in the center of the Attica basin, reflects the vicissitudes of ancient Greece. It symbolizes the faith of the Athenians from antiquity to today, and records the myths of the twelve gods of Olympus as well as representing the unique temperament of this ancient civilization.
Today, two treasures from the Acropolis Museum travelled thousands of miles to come to us, full of grace and beauty. The statue of the Kore, a dedication to the sanctuary of Athena on the Acropolis depicts a young girl with a tender smile and beautiful clothes. Her appearance contains elements of movement and immobility, and shows the elegance of the women of ancient Athens.
The Lekanis’ lid depicts the god Dionysus in intoxicated celebration accompanied by Eros (cupids), a Satyr and Maenads. We can imagine the ecstatic sounds as they temptingly emerge from the scene on the lid as well as feeling the furious rhythms and hearing the piercing cries.
Through these masterpieces we have an opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the place of origin of the gods of Olympus and the manner in which the ancient Greeks worshipped their gods. The sensitivity they showed in their offerings to the Goddess Athena was a logical result of a self containment, while the uncontrolled revel in honor of Dionysus expresses a subconscious mania. The essence of Dionysian worship is intense ecstasy as well as intense pain. Nietzsche, in his work The Birth of Tragedy refers to this curious mix of emotions of the worshipper of Dionysus: “Pain which is inflicted is experienced as joy while a sense of supreme triumph elicits cries of anguish from the depths of the heart.”
Let us all take part in this ceremony. Here, the ritual and the celebration are not in antithesis. They are interdependent and offer a unique emotional experience of the ancient Greek civilization.