Passipoularidou’s Weblog

Οκτώβριος 28, 2012

Ancient Messini

Filed under: ΑΡΧΑΙΑ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ — passipoularidou @ 6:44 μμ

Ancient Messini

By Gia Recco

Ancient Messini was established in 371 B.C., after the Theban general Epaminondas defeated Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra. This war freed the Messinians from almost 350 years of the rule of Sparta. This Messinian capital was built on the site of an earlier stronghold, and was one of the defensive positions made to keep Sparta safe. After the Grecian rule the Romans took over and then the Goths.

The Arcadian Gates.

The Arcadian Gate stands in this site and guarded the ancient route to Megalopoli.

Most of the ruins are spread out across a small valley that is right under the village of Mavromati. Excavations of these ruins have shown that a theater, asklepion which was a temple of the god of health, a stadium, and gymnasium. There is also a number of Roman ruins. Messini was excavated under the lead of professor Petros Themelos, and excavations are still happening now.

Columns from a temple at Messini.

Messini is recognized by a place that the great traveler Pausanias described.

At Messini we started climbing over the ruins and looking at everything. I saw what I think was some sort of fountain. It was a shallow tub made out of stone, but it wasn’t very big. It was all really nice. It wasn’t as organized as Olympia, but you still got the feeling of oldness. There were just lots of stone ruins all around, and some of it was still halfway out of the ground.

I think my favorite part was the stadium. We walked a little ways down and saw the stadium. It was really amazing. It was shaped like a horseshow with white marble seats all around the edges that went in steps. Earlier on it had been used as a real stadium where discus throwing and racing had happened. Later on it had been used as a roman stadium where gladiators fought and there were animal fights. It was a lot better than the stadium at Sparta. A row of columns surrounded the gymnasium, and half of them are upright and half of them are fallen. Also half of the steps were straight like benches, so they looked like they would have a long time ago, but the other half was still not straight.

Some seats of the stadium.

There is a spring that runs from Mt. Ithomi and goes though the village of Mavromati. It also goes into the sight and it runs though where everyone can see it. People used to bathe in this river because they thought they would be healthy if they did. The stream water was clear and cool and it was really nice to see.

The stream.

We also noticed all the mountains around Messini. I think part of the reason the ancient Greeks built it here was because of the location. Everything was just so peaceful and gorgeous. There were dozens of different kinds of wildflowers, trees, lush grass and it when you were there you felt in touch with nature. I think that’s why the ancient Greeks went there and built temples, because they though all the wonders of nature were there, so if you were in touch with nature, you were in touch with the gods.

View from Mount Ithomi at Ancient Messini.


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