When I was a child I loved curling up small on my mum’s lap on a calm Sunday morning and listen to her soft voice reading to me fairy-tales. Kings and dragons, princesses and strange creatures, magic rings, and enchanted forests, entangled in all sorts of adventures would fire up my imagination. Until today I love recognizing this feeling of genuine excitement in children, their eyes sparkling and glowing with emotion, you can just tell when they enjoy a good story!
Yet, stories aren’t only a kids thing. Don’t we all get a strange sense of thrill when we listen to the “once upon a time….” opening? I guess it’s because we humans are and have always been story-telling animals. Our history is a succession of myths and fables, allegories and narratives, truths and lies. In fact, we’re inhabiting a world of stories. Of course, there are good stories and bad stories, pleasant ones and others heart-rending, stories we tell about ourselves and those we choose not to… And this is how I realize that stories are actually vessels containing something more than their plot, narrative, and characters. Eventually, all stories are about us, how we relate to them, what we extract, the interpretations we choose to make.
Since today we celebrate International Story-telling day, I decided to ask Andreas, CEO of Clio Muse and dedicated story enthusiast, to share his favorite stories from the tours offered by the app and these are the ones he picked ! Which one do you like best?
Mycenae tour: in the bath with Clytemnestra
The Lions’ Gate
The opposing felines above the main gateway were built in 1250 BCE. They are carved on a thin slab of limestone set in the relieving triangle above the lintel. The heads of the lions were probably made from steatite and became part of someone’s “collection” in the late Roman period. The column between them supports the roof of a building and may represent the palace of Mycenae (the four discs represent the end of rafters). The relieving triangle is a typical feature of Mycenaean architecture aimed at reducing the weight over the lintel. The entranceway is composed of four massive blocks of conglomerate stone that weigh almost 20 tonnes each. The grooves on the threshold allow the drainage of water from the gate’s interior. Pivot holes indicate the presence of a double-leafed gate.
Delphi tour: the Google of the ancient world
Lannisters at Delphi
Most treasuries were built by states to commemorate victories, display wealth and piety, or to obey the god’s command. The Treasury of Siphnos was as rich as any in Delphi. It was constructed entirely of marble from the Cyclades and the cost of transporting it to Parnassus must have been mind-boggling. The decor was without parallel: Caryatides instead of columns, an elaborately carved frieze depicting mythical scenes, and interior decorations of colored stone or precious wood that was costly enough to have been robbed (no trace remains). The people of Siphnos paid for all this with gold from the island’s mines but when they gave up sending a tithe to Delphi, the sea flooded the mines as a divine punishment.
Acropolis Classic tour
The Propylaea were full of statues and dedicatory inscriptions. The most notable one was a statue of Hermes which was claimed to be the work of Socrates, the famous philosopher who had been trained as a sculptor next to his father. The most famous decorative feature of the Propylaea, though, was the ceiling. The marble coffers (the sunken panels in the ceiling) were decorated with gold or gilded stars against a blue background. The primary purpose of the coffers was to reduce the overall weight of the ceiling, but the sculptors who worked on them created a spectacular visual decoration that remained unsurpassed in its beauty for centuries.