Φιλοξενούμε το άρθρο του blog DATELINE: ATLANTIS
Shocking evidence purporting to relate to a failed coup attempt has been uncovered in Athens in recent weeks. Less than 7km from the Acropolis, near the ancient port of Phaleron and in the shadow of the modern Olympic Tae Kwon Do arena, redevelopment work on the site of an old race track unearthed over 1,500 sets of human remains. The finds include two mass graves containing “deviant” burials with evidence of violence. The remains are almost three thousand years old, dating to the period immediately preceding the “Golden Age” of Classical Athens, but their significance resonates strongly in the present day.
We excavate the evidence to uncover the hidden political agendas – past and present, large and small – behind the reporting of this discovery, and restore its true significance. For extra points, we will attempt to do this without resorting to the familiar mythological clichés of Greek crisis reporting (“Acropolis now!” “Lost their marbles!” “Greek tragedy!”).
One particular find from this excavation has captured the popular imagination in Greece and abroad. The final phase of the excavations uncovered a mass grave containing 80 skeletons, many of which have their wrists bound in iron shackles. The skeletons studied so far belong to healthy young men who appear to have died an undignified death, evidently a mass execution. The excavator, presenting them for the first time recently, dated this group to the latter part of the 7th century BC, and went to suggest that they may be linked to a specific historical event, the so-called Kylonian Conspiracy.
An earlier excavation conducted in the early twentieth century during the first wave of modern development in the area had found a group of 17 skeletons that appeared to have been executed using a practice known as “apotympanismos” – an early form of crucifixion. The condition of some of the remains suggested to their excavator that they had also been subjected to violent lynching. The finds shocked early twentieth century Athenian society, and their excavator published a lengthy and detailed study of the practice that until then had only been hinted at in ancient texts. It is now suggested that the two groups may be connected.
The Kylonian Conspiracy is known as the earliest attested “historical” event in Athenian history, and several Classical historians recount versions of the story. In the early days of the Athenian city-state, Kylon was a successful athlete who, having won Olympic glory and consulted the Delphic Oracle, sought to use his father-in-law’s out-of-town muscle to install a tyranny in Athens (his father-in-law being himself the tyrant of the nearby city of Megara). Kylon and his followers were pursued by the Athenians and sought sanctuary in the temple of Athena on the Acropolis, where sacred law protected them from harm (the origin of the modern institution of “asylum”). They were besieged and starved, and were eventually cajoled into leaving the protection of the shrine, at which point they were attacked and most of them were slaughtered.
According to the ancient accounts, this act of sacrilege brought shame on the ruling family of Athens at the time, the Alkmeonidai, and also saddled them with a divine curse which followed them through the generations bringing epidemics and other disasters upon the city. The event brought a period of unrest, which eventually served as a catalyst for the first codification of Athenian law under Solon, which is considered the cornerstone of the political innovation that was ancient Athenian democracy.
The political symbolism of the Kylonian Conspiracy is not lost on the Greece of 2016, where the modern institution of democracy seems to be challenged and tested from many directions: from the perpetual election cycle as successive governments have failed to live up to the challenges of the financial crisis, to the traumatic experience of direct democracy in a controversial referendum and the hue and cry of #thisisacoupwhen the result was overturned, to the questioning of the democratic accountability of the supra-national lending institutions which supervise the Greek bailout, and the perceived threat from heavy-handed government interventions in the modern democratic institutions of the media and the judiciary. One humorist reacted by publishing a spoof story identifying the shackled skeletons with a group of journalists sanctioned by their union in connection with allegations of bias in their coverage of the July referendum. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »