Small Arch of Galerius

Small Arch of Galerius, early 4th century AD, carved from a single block of marble, Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

“The Galerian Complex, the most important monumental group in Thessaloniki, was built at the turning-point of two worlds, the Roman and Byzantine. Its erection began in the late 3rd century-early 4th century AD when the Caesar Galerius Valerianus Maximianus (293-311 AD) chose Thessaloniki as the seat of the eastern part of the Roman Empire.”  The Small Arch of Galerius found in the Octagon area of the Complex, valued and cherished, is exhibited today in the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. http://galeriuspalace.culture.gr/en/

One of the most important buildings within the Galerian Complex, the Octagon is a significant and luxurious structure worth exploring. It was the first important building that visitors arriving at the Palace by sea would enter and be dazzled. Facing the glorious Thermaic Golf of Thessaloniki, the Octagon is massive and opulent. All Palace buildings were meant to impress the visitor and set the tone… the Octagon area did an excellent job!

Excavation of this amazing structure started in 1950 and continued up until 1981, bringing to light all that survives today.  A splendid conservation and restoration program continued and in 2008, the archaeological site of the Palace of Galerius in Thessaloniki was awarded a EUROPA NOSTRA medal by the European Union. Today, the Galerian Complex, right in the heart of the city, is one of the most popular archaeological sites in Thessaloniki.

The Galerian Complex and the Octagon Area

… Agathoniki was on an official visit to the Court of Emperor Galerius in Thessaloniki… powerful and rich, she was treated with respect for her age and the loyal services extended to the Emperor…  She was modestly dressed but her gifts to the Emperor were valuable and exotic, coming all the way from Seres, the mythical lands of the East. She was guided to enter the Palace Complex through the grand, South Peristyle Court, its Porticos adorned with magnificent floor mosaics and a beautiful garden in the center. It was her first visit to Thessaloniki and she enjoyed every single thing she saw… she was, however, on a mission, so she briskly walked through a triple arch, a Tribelon with two columns, to enter an impressive Vestibule with two semi-circular niches on its narrow ends. She stopped for a minute to compose herself, reflect on her mission, and confidently entered the grandest room of the Palace… the domed Octagon! The room was magnificent! Its walls were covered with multicoloured marble revetments and square panels intricately worked in the opus sectile technique. The floor, featuring marble geometric motifs, created simple yet elegant chromatic oppositions… and there were four different Emblemata, right where she was standing, worthy of a great master! What a wonderful Audience Hall this is, she thought, as the entrance of the Emperor brought her to her knees…

Agathoniki, the imaginary visitor of our story, saw many more wonderful rooms and artefacts in the Palace of Galerius… My favourite artefact, still surviving today, is a small, marble Arch. Discovered at the north end of the eastern portico of the South Peristyle Court, the Small Marble Arch crowned a horseshoe-shaped niche framed by pilasters. This Arch, known by the conventional name “The Small Arch of Galerius”, is on display in the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. Could this small, luxuriously adorned, niche be a Palace Temple?

This Arch, known today as “The Small Arch of Galerius”, is on display in the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. According to Thessaloniki Museum experts, “The arch, a work of high artistic quality, is the product of a local workshop in Thessaloniki. The rich relief decorations occupy three sides of the arch. The main side depicts two men from the East, possibly Persians, raising two circular medallions with their hands. The right medallion depicts Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, while the left one initially depicted his wife, Galeria Valeria. During a later intervention, after Galerius’ death, a mural crown was added to the female portrait. This alteration transformed the female bust into the depiction of a deity, most probably the “Tyche (fortune) of Thessaloniki”, who accompanied Galerius, the deified ruler of the city. Two winged Eros figures holding a garland fill the space between the medallions. Another medallion with a bust of Dionysos is located at the inner part of the arch, surrounded by vine branches. The right side of the arch depicts the hooved god Pan playing a pipe and holding a lagobolon (stick for hunting hares). The left side depicts a maenad.”    http://galeriuspalace.culture.gr/en/monuments/oktagono/    and    https://www.amth.gr/en/exhibitions/highlights

Along with my Grade 6 students, we study the history of Thessaloniki, visit the Archaeological Site of the Galerian Complex and prepare a RWAP (Research-Writing-Art-Project) that they thoroughly enjoy…

For a PowerPoint on the Galerian Complex Octagon Hall, please click HERE!

For a student RWAP on the Small Arch of Galerius, please click HERE!

For examples of Student RWAP Work, please click HERE!

Grade 6 student RWAP
RWAP stands for Research – Writing – Art – Project

Celebrating the Greek War of Independence

K. G. Papagiannaki,
The Greek Boy, 1837, oil on canvas, 0,28×0,21 cm, Benaki Museum, Athens

It was for these children that we fought… Celebrating the Greek War of Independence …paraphrasing the words of Yanni Makrigianni, 1794-1864, Greek Revolutionary Fighter of 1821!

If you wish to learn more about the Greek War of Independence and the preparation for the Bicentennial Celebration in 2021, please VISIT the official Greece 1821-2021 Bicentennial site: https://www.greece2021.gr/en/ and/or https://www.greece2021.gr/

For our Youngsters…

For celebratory mood and quality time with your youngster, you can VISIT the National Historical Museum site http://www.nhmuseum.gr/en and then go to http://www.nhmuseum.gr/el/ekpaideysi/ekpaideytiko-yliko/.

This a Colouring Page Activity (in Greek BUT easy to understand and DO) on famous figures of the Greek War of Independence. It was inspired by the Exhibition The 1821 Greek War of Independence Retold in… Playmobil! Activity is very EASY! http://www.nhmuseum.gr/el/ekpaideysi/ekpaideytiko-yliko/

To do the Colouring Activity Press on each picture you wish your child to colour – download it – print it – DONE! You can choose between heroes and heroines of the Greek War of Independence and celebrate an important moment in Greek History.

From top to bottom the Colouring Page Figures are: Theodoros Kolokotronis, Odysseas Androutsos, Laskarina Bouboulina, Konstantinos Kanaris, Manto Mavrogenous, Germanos, Metropolitan Paleon Patron, Andreas Lontos, Asimo Goura, Ioannis Makrigiannis, Domna Visvizi, Christos Kapsalis, Andreas Pipinos, Dimitrios Papanikolis

Colouring 1821-Greek War of Independence

For an easy to print Celebrating the Greek War of Independence Worksheet, please… check HERE!

Panagia Kosmosotira in Feres

The imposing, the 12th century Panagia Kosmosotira in Feres

A church of the utmost quality, unpretentious, beautiful and imposing, the 12th century Panagia Kosmosotira in Feres, is the Katholikon of a grand Monastery, in the Byzantine type of the cross-in-square church with two columns and five domes. The Monastery is built in a magnificent location, the Byzantine city of Bera, modern-day Feres, next to the Delta of Evros River.

Panagia Kosmosotira, the Monastery, and its Katholikon were founded by Sevastokrator Isaakios Komnenos, the third son of Alexios I Komnenos (c. 1048 – 15 August 1118), founder of the Komnenian dynasty. Isaakios was a Porphyrogennetos (born in the purple) prince, a title he was granted as he was born during the reign of his parents. Although the origin of the title Prorphyrogennetos is not clear, it is widely accepted that a special Chamber known as “Porphyra” in the Great Palace of Constantinople was used for the delivery of the imperial newborns. Anna Komnene, a Porphyrogennete herself, describes this special room as “set apart long ago for an Empress’s confinement” located “where the stone oxen and the lions stand” (the Boukoleon Palace), and was in the form of a perfect square from floor to ceiling, with the latter ending in a pyramid. Its walls, floor and ceiling were completely veneered with imperial porphyry, which was “generally of a purple colour throughout, but with white spots like sand sprinkled over it.” https://www.doaks.org/resources/online-exhibits/gods-regents-on-earth-a-thousand-years-of-byzantine-imperial-seals/imperial-titulature/porphyrogennitos and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_in_the_purple

Isaakios Komnenos had the title of Sevestokrator as well, granted to him by his brother, Emperor Ioannis II Komnenos (1087 – 1143) with whom he was in constant dispute and rivalry over the Byzantine Throne. He is also known as the author of several treatises and poems, a cultured man of learning and a great patron of the arts. Isaakios is responsible for rebuilding the Chora Church in Constantinople, where on the lower right side of the grand Deesis mosaic, his donor portrait survives to this day.

The Katholikon of Panagia Kosmosotira was Isaakios’s final resting place. A bit after 1150 he was forced to retire to his estate in Thrace, where in 1151/52, he founded the cenobitic monastery of Kosmosoteira (“Theotokos the World-Saviour”) in Bera (modern Feres). “The construction of the monastery, which was meant as his residence and final resting place, was of great emotional importance to Isaac, who invested considerable time and effort in it: although heavily ill at the time, he still went and supervised the monastery’s construction almost daily, and personally authored its typikon (charter) in 1152, making meticulous provisions about its governance and assigning extensive grants to it, including his own estates at Ainos. Possibly in imitation of his brother’s foundation of the Pantokrator Monastery, he also ordered the erection of a hospital outside the monastery walls.”

When visiting Panagia Kosmosotira, please note 1. The “monumental simplicity” of its architecture 2. The curved “contour” lines that characterize the structure of the church 3. The interplay of stone and brick in the construction 4. The interior fresco decoration dates back to the 12th century, an exquisite example of the Constantinopolitan style 5. The four painted military saints depicted between the arched windows of the northern and southern aisles (portraits of members of the Komnenos family?), and 6. the walled-in ceramic depiction of the single-headed eagle, a symbol of the dynasty of the Komnenos family in Trebizond.

For a WAC (stands for Writing Across the Curriculum) Student Activity, please… check HERE!

Hegeso, daughter of Proxenos

Attributed to Kallimachos architect and sculptor working in the second half of the 5th century BC, Funerary Grave Stelae of Hegeso, c. 410-400 BC, found in Kerameikos, Pentelic Marble, 1,56  x 0,97 m, National Archaeological Museum of Athens

“Sometimes, staring at Hegeso. I am thinking that through tears the best smiles grow up.” The smile and the tears of Hegeso, daughter of Proxenos by Katerina Samara

Kerameikos Cemetery of ancient Athens

The amazing Funerary Stelae of Hegeso, daughter of Proxenos, is one of the many masterpieces exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Found during the 1870 archaeological excavation period at the ancient Athenian Cemetery of Kerameikos, Hegeso’s Stelae was made of Pentelic marble and has been attributed to the sculptor and architect Kallimachos. She was a cherished member of a prominent Athenian family, as the magnificence of the relief sculptural Stelae and the family grave plot to which the Stelae was paced, indicate. https://www.namuseum.gr/en/collection/klasiki-periodos-2/

Hegeso’s Stelae is an exquisite example of the so-called “Rich” style that dates to the end of the 5th century and its main characteristics are the artists’ interest in the human body, on garments with elaborate pleats and on airy figures that move gracefully in space. Hegeso is depicted seated on a smart seat (klismos), her feet resting on a footstall. She wears a chiton, a himation, and a transparent veil on her head. With her right hand, she takes a jewel (originally painted) from a pyxis (jewel box) handed to her by a young servant girl, who solemnly stands before her. The servant wears a “barbarian” (not Greek) garment, with long sleeves, and a net on her hair. What a simple, and unpretentious composition the artist achieved! At the same time elegance, grace, class, and sophistication prevail.

The relief sculpture of Hegeso, daughter of Proxenos, according to the epigram on the top of the stele which kept alive the Lady’s name for 25 centuries, is probably the work of a skillful artist called Kallimachos. Little is known about the artist, not even if he was Athenian or Corinthian. He is, however, reputed to have worked in the building of the Athenian Acropolis, and for designing the first Corinthian Capital at the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, after observing acanthus leaves growing out of a basket placed on top of a young girl’s tomb. Kallimachos, according to Pausanias, is described as clever, innovative, and “catatexitechnus,” meaning he was an extreme perfectionist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callimachus_(sculptor)

The Theban poet Pindar wrote that “We are things of a day… When brightness comes, and the gods give it, there is shining light on man, and his life is sweet.” Let me quote Gabriela Chartier and her comments on how “People should not strive only to be remembered after death, but instead to enjoy the sweetness of life…” and how “Hegeso’s stele seems to coincide with Pindar’s idea. Hegeso is not doing anything heroic; the image does not refer to myths or to the epic past. Instead, she is shown in an event of everyday life: a moment in democratic Athens when the light was shining on her. The fact that this image is on a grave stele reinforces Pindar’s message. Placing such scenes along the main road in the Kerameikos would have offered a constant reminder: human life is passing. We are things of a day.” https://archaeologystudentsspeak.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/gabriela-chartier-on-the-grave-stele-of-hegeso/

Hegeso, daughter of Proxenos RWAP (stands for Research-Writing-Art-Project) is… HERE!

Examples of student RWAP (stands for Research-Writing-Art-Project) Sketchbooks… HERE!

Inspired by the François Vase

Bulletin Board Presentation – Grade 7

Inspired by the François Vase is a Grade 7 Activity my students enjoy doing!

François Vase is exhibited at the National Museum of Archaeology in Florence. It is “a large black-figure krater, a large vase in Ancient Greece believed to be used for watering down wine, from c. 570 BC. The design is fascinating and, if one looks carefully, you will find both the signature of the potter, Ergotimos and the painter, Kleitias. This krater is named the “François Vase” after the archaeologist who found it in 1844. ” https://www.visitflorence.com/florence-museums/maf-archeological-museum.html

François Vase, large Attic volute krater decorated in the black-figure style, by Kleitias(painter) and Ergotimos(potter), c. 570-565 BC, Florence National Archaeological Museum

The François Vase Activity

Instructions on what to do: During class, students are introduced to ancient Greek pottery, and more specifically the importance and characteristics of the François Vase. This Activity is based on the classroom lectures, student research on the subject, and ultimately student creativity and imagination. So, ……

  1. Students are asked to READ the attached sites and WATCH the provided Videos: https://www.florenceinferno.com/the-francois-vase/ and https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft1f59n77b&chunk.id=d0e2374&toc.depth=1&toc.id=&brand=ucpress and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh1oONbq2ik
  2. Students will be provided with a Template of a Volute Krater. This template will be their work canvas! to create a “new” version of the François Vase.
  3. For the Volute Krater Template, a big thank you to IMGBIN and go to https://imgbin.com/png/ZZBrSTGn/krater-volute-line-art-vase-drawing-png
  4. Students are asked to design a “new version” of the François Vase inspired by their favorite novel, poem, myth, comic story or their own life!
  5. They may consider the following poem by Archilochos of Paros, 8th century BC lyric poet (Willis Barnstone, trans., Greek Lyric Poetry [New York: Schocken Books) as a source of inspiration:

The PowerPoint, teachercurator has prepared, can be seen if you… Click HERE!

For more examples of student work… Click HERE!

Jamestown Settlement

Student RWAP Artwork

The New World is an interesting Movie to start our American Art Journey in an entertaining, yet educational, way! “This cinematic masterpiece illustrates the adventures of explorer John Smith as he establishes the Jamestown Settlement in 1607. Smith and Native American princess Pocahontas discover their worlds are different yet their hearts beat the same for each other, while English settlers and Native Americans come to blows.” https://www.owlteacher.com/teach-with-movies-page-6.html

Jamestown Settlement Activity

We followed 3 steps for this Project: 1. We first saw the movie, The New World, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_World_(2005_film). 2. Then, students were asked to do some research, find and write down 10 Facts of Jamestown Settlement. 3. Finally, RWAP time! (RWAP stands for Research-Writing-Art-Project)

This Project covers at least 2 pages of the student RWAP Sketchbook or an A3 size Poster.

RWAP Instructions: A. Research – Coloured or B/W Photocopies of Artworks related to or inspired by Jamestown Settlement. Go to Google – Jamestown Colony – Pictures. Do not forget that correct identification for each picture is needed. B. Research – Writing – 6 Facts about Jamestown Settlement. Students already have 10 Facts from Step 2 of the Project. Review Facts, choose 6 of them, the BEST! and use them in their RWAP Sketchbook. Students are asked to not COPY/PASTE!!! and to write down BIBLIOGRAPHY! C. Art Activity and Project Title – There is so much on the Internet to get students inspired!!! BE CREATIVE! Do not forget a nice, artistic TITLE for the Project!!!

For examples of student RWAP… Click HERE!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402399/

Prehistoric Pottery of Thessaloniki

Student Work in the RWAP Sketchbook

My Grade 6 Host Country Studies Class is on the History, Art and Culture of the city we live in, Thessaloniki, and our first RWAP (Research-Writing-Art-Project) is on the Prehistoric Pottery of Thessaloniki.

Archaeologists and Art Historians love Pottery! Even the smallest broken pieces, or sherds as they are called, indestructible as they have been for thousands of years, carry valuable information. They tell us how people lived, cooked, or stored their food, they show us ways of decoration and artistic expression. Pottery helps specialists date a site or relate an archaeological site to specific communities and groups of people. In other words, Pottery, humble as it might be, is of great value!

For information on the Stone Age and Greece in particular, go to http://www.thehistoryofancientgreece.com/2016/04/003-stone-age-greece.html

Prehistoric Pottery of Thessaloniki is a Topic and a Project that can be adapted for any Pottery period you explore in your class!

The Project should cover at least 2 pages in the student RWAP Sketchbook. RWAP stands for RESEARCH-WRITING-ART-PROJECT. I usually ask my students to buy an A4 Sketchbook and all RWAP Projects are done there. An alternative option is to use an A3 sized poster paper.

Each RWAP should include 4 parts: a. Title, b. Coloured or B/W copies of at least 2 artworks related to the topic of the Project, correctly identified, c. Writing, d. Art

For the Prehistoric Pottery of Thessaloniki Project, students are asked to:

a. Title: Think and then apply a representative Title for their Project

b. Research: Find photos of at least 2 Greek Prehistoric Potteries, photocopy them, and use them in their RWAP Sketchbook, correctly identified.

c. Writing: Answer the following questions: 1. Which is more important, the shape of the vase or the decoration? Why do you think so? 2. How were the details of the vases created: with paint or by some other means? Look closely and try to identify patterns in the decoration.

d. Art: Become a prehistoric pottery maker! There is so much to get you inspired!!! BE CREATIVE!

The Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki site is quite informative https://www.amth.gr/en/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/prehistoric-macedonia

For student RWAP Sketchbooks… Click HERE!

Augustus of Primaporta VS Aulus Matellus

Grade 6, Social Studies Unit Project on Roman Government

How two great Roman statues can be used to discuss the Roman Government.  Augustus of Primaporta VS Aulus Matellus” is a Project my spirited Grade 6 students enjoy doing for their Social Studies Roman Unit.

Aulus Metellus, 1st century BC, bronze, National Archaeological Museum, Florence
Augustus of Primaporta, 1st century AD, marble, Vatican Museums

A lot of my Projects, I call them RWAP (Research Writing Art Project), ask students to focus on 4 parts: 1. Title 2. Provide colored copies of at least 2 artworks related to their Project, correctly identified. For the correct identification, I expect them to write the name of the artist (if known), the title of the work, date, medium, and current location, 3. Writing Assignment as required, 4. Art Assignment is open to student imagination and creativity.

For the Augustus vs Matellus Project students are asked to study their Social Studies Textbook Unit on Roman Government, and the following Khan Academy articles:

https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ancient-art-civilizations/etruscan/a/larringatore

https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ancient-art-civilizations/roman/early-empire/a/augustus-of-primaporta

Their Writing Assignment is to 1. Create a Ven Diagram comparing Matellus to Augustus. They are asked to use their RWAP Book and write in Bullet Points their Comments. 2. Write a paragraph presenting which of the two statues they prefer, explaining why by giving at least 3 reasons.

Their Art Assignment is to “study” the two statues and…  Be imaginative! Be creative! Be original!

For a PP on student Work… Click HERE!

For Student Project Worksheet… Click HERE!