An Ancient Greek eye on Meteorology

To everyone’s delight, the Αlkyonides days have come again this year!

We can see you wondering: the what???

The alkyonides days, the days of spring in the heart of winter. These days usually last from 15 December to 15 February and they visit Greece every year, with few exceptions,  ie. 1947.

Do you know the myth about them? Alkyoni was  daughter of Aiolos, God of the winds,  and was married to Kiykos. They were so happily married and so much in love that they called each other Zeus and Hera. The real Zeus and Hera felt deeply offended by the sacrilege and decided to punish them severely. So they transformed Kiykos into a bird, a vulcher. Alkyoni searched for her beloved husband everywhere, but couldn’t find him anywhere. She cried and cried until the Gods decided to transform her into a bird as well,  alkyoni. The problem was that alkyoni is the only sea-bird that lays and hatches its eggs in mid-winter. As a result of that, the waves carried them away and she was left in despair. The gods then, touched by her misfortune and misery, decided to cease the bad weather for two weeks to give alkyoni time to reproduce.  So,  as we can all see, there are some days of spring in the heart of winter which give us the opportunity to … hatch our eggs, take them out in the sunshine, admire them as they are riding their bikes while we are enjoying the heightened temperatures for the season.

(this is one of quite a few versions)

Has Persephone come to earth yet ?

Myths tell the stories of ancestors and the origin of humans and the world, the gods, supernatural beings (satyrs, nymphs, mermaids) and heroes with super-human, usually god-given, powers (as in the case of Heracles or Perseus of the Greeks). Myths also describe origins or nuances of long-held customs or explain natural events such as the sunrise and sunset, the full moon or thunder and lightning storms.


Persephone, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete


One of the most famous myths of ancient Greece is of Demeter, goddess of the grain, and her daughter Persephone. Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and brought down to the underworld. Demeter searched desperately everywhere for the maiden but could not find her. During this time of Demeter’s sorrow the crops failed and people starved and the gods were not given their due. Zeus, king of the gods, ordered Hades to restore Persephone to her mother and Hades obliged but, because Persephone had eaten a certain number of pomegranate seeds while in the underworld, she had to spend half the year below the earth and could enjoy the other half with her mother.

This story explained the change of the seasons in Greece. When it is warm and the fields are bountiful, Persephone is with her mother and Demeter is happy and causes the world to bloom; in the cold and rainy season, when Persephone is below the earth with Hades, Demeter mourns and the land lies barren.


Mythology in English

Dearest friends,

Our Mythology group this year will deal with the adventures of Ulysses (Odysseus) and our aim is to take our little friends to the theatre to watch one of the best plays for children that we have ever seen with the same theme, the Odyssey. Last year we took our Mythology Group to a theater play about the part of the Mythology that we had dealt with, and the children loved it because, even though it was in Greek, they could follow and they also loved Savopoulos’ music.

If you are interested, contact us to discuss the details. Our group usually meets on Sundays at 5.00, but we are flexible.

Pandora’s Box

Dearest friends and colleagues,

Let us tell you a myth from the Greek Mythology and let you make your analogies:

When Pandora opened her box, a box that Zeus had given her with the advice not to open it because that would lead to trouble for all the people, we know what happened: misfortune, pain, misery, trouble, tears, all streamed out of the box and went to live with the people.
Zeus had taken his revenge from humans, since they had discovered the fire and had managed to become as strong as he was.


However, Zeus had  included something positive in the box:


That’s why people, no matter how tough the times are, always keep their hopes for better days and that gives them courage to overcome the difficulties


Greek Mythology for Children in French

We have always liked telling stories.

We used to tell our children stories when they were little, but at the age of 16 and 19 they are the ones that tell us stories (usually HORROR ones).To cover our need for story- telling, we have chosen our foreign friends who seem to appreciate them greatly. Except for adults, children seem to be keen on Greek Mythology and the Greek culture in general; therefore we have decided to organize a group for children at a similar age. The children should have an interest in Greek culture because, when we meet, we will tell stories, learn Greek traditional songs, and draw.

Daidalos and Ikaros

Knowledge of Greek is not a must, since the languages spoken will be French or English.

Dear friends,
We suggest the first group to have 10 little ones aged 6-11. We think that the number guarantees their full participation without creating chaos.The program will be adapted to the interests of each age group.We have very ambitious plans for the contents of the groups that stretch from story- telling to dancing, singing, outings, drawing,Greek cooking, etc. Let’s all work to make our dream come true! More groups will follow of different ages.

Please feel free to ask for details on:


Katerina Tsitsipi

Aristotelis Makris

Nea Erythrea, Athens – Greece

tel./fax: +30-210-8077073

cell: 693-7073699


The first group this year will be in French. The next one will be in English


To your surprise, today we are going to talk to you about a word in English that comes from Latin that comes from Greek!!!

The word is CORNUCOPIA, which in English means “HORN OF PLENTY». The roots of the word are CORNU (horn) and COPIA (plenty), but the amusing part is the myth behind it!

Well, dear friends, you may know Zeus, who was God of all Gods. When Zeus was born, his mother Rea hid him in a cave in Crete (Ideon Andron, you can visit it today) to save him from his father Kronus , who had the habit of eating his children as soon as they were born in order to protect his throne (hmmmm!). His mother had enough already, so she hid little Zeus there, asked a goat, Amalthea, to feed him with her milk and appointed a group of warriors, the Kourites, to bang their spears on their shields every time little Zeus cried, so that Kronus wouldn’t hear. Surrounded by all that crowd little Zeus grew and grew, until one day, while playing with Amalthea, he broke one of her horns – you get really strong if you drink goat’s milk, you know! Poor Amalthea was very distressed, so Zeus promised her that the broken horn would always be full of all the goods she desired.

Later on, in Roman mythology, the horn became the symbol of goddess Copia, the personification of plenty and nowadays it is used to refer to an abundance of something!

The moral (-s) of this story are: drink goat’s milk, it’s good for you.

Don’t eat your children; it’s bad for you and nature.

The (true) story of EUROPE !!

Today we’ll tell you a story that will interest you greatly, since it deals with the continent we live on, Europe. Do you happen to know who Europe was??? Europe, dear friends, was a pretty Phoenician princess, daughter of Agenor and Telephasa. She was playing with her friends one day and Zeus saw her. He was so struck by her beauty that he decided to take her for himself, given the fact that he was a god who loved women. He turned himself into a beautiful white bull and swam to the shore of Asia where Europe and her friends were. When the girls saw him they all fell for him, but he bent in front of Europe and she climbed on his back. He then started swimming very fast and he took her from Phoenicia to Crete, to the same cave where he was born. This is where he disclosed his real identity to her.

Zeus’s love for Europe was so big that he gave her three presents: Talos (the bronze giant), Laelaps – a hunting dog, and the magic javelin that always hit the focused target. However, Zeus lost interest after a while and he married Europe to Asterion, the king of stars. (Men!!!!)

The story of Zeus and Europe has inspired many artists {*painting by: Tiziano (1477-1576)} through time.

Even the 2 euro coin now has an image of Europe’s abduction from Zeus as a bull.

One more thing about the etymology of the word Europe: one theory suggests that it comes from the word “Ευρυ” in Greek which means “broad” and “οπ”/οπτ” meaning “eye”, therefore Europe means “wide gazing”, someone who sees things in perspective.

Now you know!

“Ariadne’s clue”

small_Θησέας σκοτώνει το Μινώταυρο 2.jpg

Did you know the expression “Ariadne’s clue” ?

Well, Ariadne was King Minos`of  Crete daughter  who fell in love with   Theseus the son of the 623px-Cretan-labyrinth-round2.svgking of Athens,  Aegeas. Prince Theseus went to Crete to kill the Minotaur who had killed lots of Athens’ finest young men and women. This happened as a penalty from Crete to Athens after the Athenians had lost a war. According to this penalty, Athenians had to send every nine years 14 of their finest young people (seven boys and seven girls) to Crete to be eaten by the Minotaur. Many had tried to kill the monster, but in vain because he was hiding in the Labyrinth and there was no way out of  it. Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of string, he tied one end at the entrance and took it with him. So, after killing the Minotaur he was able to find his way out and  save himself  and the other young people. He left the expression “Ariadne’s clue” for us to use when…we have no clue!!

Who was the first robot in human history ?

talosSome years ago, while playing “Trivial Pursuit” with friends, we came across a question: Who was the first robot in human history? We missed that question because we didn’t think of Talos! So, our story today is about him.

TALOS was a man of brass made by Hephaestus. He was given to King Minos and his duty was to patrol   the island of Crete three times a day. Whenever strangers approached, he made himself red-hot in fire and killed them when they landed. He had only one vein, which ran from the head to the ankles and was closed with a nail. When the Argonauts tried to approach Crete he threw stones at them but Medea, by her magic powers took the nail out of his vein and caused him to bleed to death.

Like all myths, the myth of Talos symbolizes a real event, which is the development of metallurgy in the pre-historic-Minoan years. People then had reached such a high level that they had created in their minds a metal hero who protected them.

Don’t we do the same these days?

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology



where the greeting “ghia sou” comes from? Well, it comes from the name of the Greek goddess HYGEIA {ΥΓΕΙΑ}, which means “health”. Hygeia was the daughter and attendant of the medicine-god ASKLEPIOS. She had two sisters, Panakeia (all-cure) and Iaso (remedy). Her opposites were the Nosoi (Diseases). In classical sculpture she was represented holding a large serpent in her arms.

Now you see what we really mean when we say ‘ghia sou” and “ghia mas”and “me ghia” when someone is wearing something new? We are wishing “good health”