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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 14 November 2015
GREECE 20 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 14 NOVEMBER 2015 It was Paradise: Jewish Rhodes The University of Hartford explores a once-thriving community in Greece In July sun in 1944, the Nazis forced 1,800 men, women and children of Rhodes onto waiting ferryboats for a harrowing three-week journey to obliteration. A civilisation which had stood for more than 2,000 years at the intersection of east and west would be forever lost at the AuschwitzBirkenau Nazi camp. Dr Richard Freund, director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, is making sure that doesn't happen. An exhibition entitled ‘It was Paradise: Jewish Rhodes’ is set to explore the island's oldest and more recent Jewish community, displaying personal items and books in Ladino on loan from the Rhodes Jewish Museum. Many of the objects on display were packed into the suitcases of the Greek Jews who left Rhodes before 1939. The exhibit was born of Freund's 2014 archeological excavation of the island's Kahal Shalom synagogue. Founded in 1557, the synagogue was destroyed during the Allied bombing of Rhodes but has since been restored; it is the oldest synagogue in Greece today. Freund and his team, which includes students and faculty from five institutions, DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Selinunte, a Greek Pompeii in Sicily A lost Hellenic city that survived the slaughter of its inhabitants Archaeologists are gradually unearthing an ancient Greek city in Sicily - whose inhabitants were slaughtered or enslaved by North African invaders in the late fifth century BC. The ancient metropolis of Selinunte remained at least partially intact for more than 2,500 years, as its houses and other buildings were gradually buried by hundreds of thousands of tons of earth and windblown sand. Buried under a collapsed roof in a building burnt by the invaders lie the half-eaten remains of meals abandoned by the inhabitants. Scientists are now analysing visible food residues inside half a dozen bowls uncovered during the excavation in an attempt to figure out the date of the catastrophe. Dr Richard Freund, author of Digging through History: Religion and Archaeology from Atlantis to the Holocaust. have been excavating in and around the synagogue, using ground-penetrating radar to detect any artefacts with historical value. Their work has highlighted the many layers of Jewish life on the island, dating back to the Hellenistic period when Jerusalem and Rhodes traded. "I've worked on ancient sites in Israel, I've worked in Sobibor in Poland and I was struck by how sad it was for this small island Jewish culture to be wiped out in the space of an afternoon. It's cataclysmic," Dr Richard said. "The exhibit does more than tell the story of Rhodes; it's a vehicle for educating people about the robust Jewish community that once called the island home. "Jews were not just a people in Europe. They were part of the Muslim world, the Greek world," he said, stressing "it is good for people to hear about a culture that was so rich and so different." Source: The Times of Israel Dozens of unfired ceramic products - pots and tiles - have been discovered over the past 15 years by the archaeologists. Using predominantly geophysical techniques, so far 2,500 of the long-abandoned city's houses, streets, harbour and industrial zone have been mapped. It is in fact the first time a classical Greek city and its functions have been identified in a detailed and fully comprehensive plan. The mystery of Selinunte has been unveiled, helping The potters even had their own religious chapel - equipped with altars dedicated to a special working class deity, Athena Ergane, as well as to Artemis, Demeter and Zeus. scientists and historians understand the complex relationship between a city's key demographic and its economy. "Selinunte is the only classical Greek city where the entire metropolis is still preserved, mainly buried under sand and earth. It therefore gives us a unique opportunity to discover how an ancient Greek city functioned," said Professor Martin Bentz of the University of Bonn, director of the major current excavation at Selinunte. "The archaeology of Selinunte is unique, mainly because the entire city simply ceased to exist as a major population centre in less than a day - as Carthaginian troops punctured the defences and butchered 16,000 of the Greek inhabitants and soldiers who had been trying to defend it." Of the tens of thousands of ordinary people who lived there during the 219 years of its existence, only a dozen names have been recovered by the archaeologists - names scratched on the bottoms of drinking cups and jugs found in houses facing the city's great market place. Some 5,000 more men were taken as slaves, as were many thousands of women and children; thus a bustling city, with an important ancient man-made harbour attracting ships and goods from all over the classical world, was turned into a ghost town. Excavating the city's industrial zone, historians aspire to discover where Selinunte's pottery exports went. In some of the city's temples and richer houses, archaeologists have found imported pottery, glass and bronzes from as far away as Egypt, Turkey, southern France and northern Italy. Source: The Independent Cypriot motorcyle stuntman to feature at Egyptian festival 70-year-old Costas ‘The Greek’ won’t let age deny him as he attempts Wall of Death A 70-year-old Cypriot will perform a 'Wall of Death' motorcycle stunt at a festival in Tanta, Egypt (approximately 127 kilometres south-east of Alexandria). Mikveh shoes, known as takos. Costas 'The Greek', as he is known, has lived in Egypt for just over 28 years, since arriv- ing from Cyprus - where he first learnt to ride motorcycles in the mountainous ranges of the Mediterranean island at age 13 - where he now performs death- (and gravity) defying stunts at Islamic festivals year-round. "I came to Egypt 28 years and one month ago," he said. "I arrived in Alexandria; from there my first job was at an Islamic festival in Menouf, and then I came to Tanta, now I have been all over the country." 'The Greek' is particularly fond of Egypt, having refused invitations to perform his tricks in other Middle Eastern nations. "People have asked me to go to Kuwait and other countries, but I said no, Egypt is the best of the Arab countries. After Egypt, there is nothing better," he said. The Wall of Death is a stunt whereby riders ride at speed around a vertical track, elevating themselves until they are parallel with the ground.
7 November 2015