Category: labyrinth

The labyrinth city

One of the main reasons I chose Newcastle for my MA was the two study trips with Greek and Roman Archaeology. In January, we went to Rome for four days. The planned trip to Greece was only Athens for two days, but since I have dreamed of visiting Greece since I was a six year old reading mythology picture books, I had to see more than just Athens.

And so, Chandra and I planned a ten day trip designed to see as much of Greece as possible - and still spend a bit of time in the sun.

The first place we went was Crete. We flew from Manchester to Heraklion, the modern city from which you can visit ancient Knossos.

Instead of staying in the city, we stayed outside at a nice little hotel with a pool and a short walk to the beach. After all, us Canadians (pale as we might be) are used to a warm summer that we’re fairly certain not to get in the Northeast of England this year, so we had to get some much needed Vitamin D while we could.

Our first discovery from Greece was the wonderful food:

Gemista and Greek salad, photo by Chandra

And a beer named Mythos, which is like, perfect!

Me and a Mythos, photo by Chandra

The next day we headed into Heraklion to find our way to Knossos, the ruins of the legendary Minoan city that dates back to about 1700 BCE. It’s the famous city of King Minos and the Minotaur, of the Labyrinth built by Daedalus. It was excavated by the infamous Sir Arthur Evans, starting in about 1900 CE.

Knossos, photo by me

And why is Evans infamous?

It has to do with both archaeological theory and the ethics of restoration. Evans restored and reconstructed a number of buildings on the site, something that no archaeologist would dare to do nowadays. It wasn’t long before his British colleagues were pronouncing the reconstructions as wrong. To this day, Evans is used as a bad example in archaeology textbooks.

A few of Evans' reconstructions, photo by me

But the people of Crete see Evans in a different light. Unlike many of the antiquarian archaeologists of the early 20th century, Evans didn’t expropriate the artefacts from Knossos to a fancy cabinet of curiosities in England. He left the site and all its finds to the people of Crete. So they kind of love him.

Part of me disagrees with Evans’ reconstructions, but the other part of me recognizes that it makes the site a hell of a lot more interesting to visit. And to take photos of. Like our tour guide said, it’s easy to imagine yourself back in ancient Knossos.

After an educational morning, we retired to spend our next day and a half on the beach and swimming in the Sea of Crete.

Beach! photo by me

Greece is officially my favourite holiday spot because you get archaeology and history and sun and sand.

you wonder if you missed your dream…

Can you measure the distance between past and future with the present? There is always so much distance, when I want to be close. There are miles between people standing side by side and people miles away are cheek to cheek.

“I don’t miss the past. I miss the future with you.” - Fae.

My life cannot be mapped, as I am always living in worlds that don’t exist. The past. The future. Imagination.

I am lost in the Minotaur’s labyrinth. Or maybe I am hiding.

for the thrill of it, for everything that mattered…

Well, predictably I did not wake up and go running this morning. But I DID get a job. Which is nice. Starting Apr. 30 I’m the Lead Heritage Leader at Pinhey’s Point historic site. Yay for money and cushy city jobs!

I also got some more freelance assignments for Carleton Now. A few more photographs and a story. I know, I said I would never write articles in my spare time because I hate it.. but they’re paying me $0.30 a word. And it’s pretty easy fluff articles anyway! I don’t need to FIND sources, they’re handed to me on a silver platter.

So it looks like, if I remain patient, money matters may finally resolve themselves.

I am NOT doing so well, however, on studying for my Greek and Roman Literary Genre exam on Friday. Must read some plays tonight. And remind myself that I have a text book and two pretty boring primary sources to read for my Greek History exam next week.

I went to see my sister’s latest show today. Her Master’s directing workshop class was performing scenes they had all directed/acted in. The text they had was two scenes from Ariadne, and they were each to present it differently, but all using a lot of movement. I found it really interesting. There was probably a lot that I didn’t understand in terms of the movement and the acting, but it had me thinking about the themes in the Ariadne myth. Most important, memory and the labyrinth. Is the labyrinth a construct of memory? Is Ariadne the labyrinth? Is Ariadne a God-like figure, using her “thread” to orchestrate Theseus and the Minotaur like puppets? Is Theseus the typical hero, or is Ariadne? Theseus would have never defeated the Minotaur if not for Ariadne. Is the labyrinth a real place or a symbol for consciousness? Is the labyrinth really the maze of each person’s mind, created and sustained by memory and vision? And if it is, is the Minotaur then conscience and Theseus the triumph of will?

It’s interesting, anyway. I took a lot from it, and enjoyed talking to Laura and her friend Sarah about it afterwards. It gave me ideas about how I would write the myth myself. About the non-literal interpretations of myth in general. If my goal is to write my book in a sort of post-modern, disjointed way… then I need to think of these myths in a much less literal way. In terms of sound and space and movement, maybe, like they did today.

I also love the symbol of the labyrinth. I remember doing Labyrinth walking last year, and I think I would really like to try it again. It’s a great way to meditate and see your life in terms of a path. I’m also thinking again that I might get a labyrinth tattoo. There’s so much meaning behind it, not only in terms of the myth and history, but in terms of life’s journey.

Good day, today, I think. The weather is definitely helping my mood. I want to be outside forever.