Following breakfast we will depart at 8:00 a.m. and travel to Thessalonica, the second largest city in Greece and capital of Macedonia. We will stop en route at Thermopylae, where the Greeks lost a heroic battle to the Persians in 480 B.C. The ancient city of Thessaloniki was named after the sister of Alexander the Great and later became the site of the first Christian church in Europe during the time of the apostles. The Apostle Paul wrote two epistles to the Thessalonians. In Thessalonica we will see numerous Byzantine churches and the old city walls. We will visit the Arch of Galerius, Rotunda, Panagia Akheiropoietos, Agios Georgios, and Agia Sofia. We will enjoy an evening lecture and then spend the night at the Electra Palace in Thessalonica.
Click on the small picture to see a larger one.
|This is Michael and a friend, David Cramer, who are enjoying the ride in the back of the bus.|
|This is the statue of King Leonidas, who led the small Spartan army against the invading Persians. This small band of 300 sacrificed their lives in a narrow canyon, holding off the half a million Persians for several days, giving Greece additional time to prepare for the major victory that occurred later.|
|Here is a group photo. Yes, we're really a small group, which makes it nice for discussing things with the professors (Dr. John Welch and Dr. John F. Hall) and spreading out comfortably on the bus.|
|This is Mount Olympus, whose top is covered with clouds. Linda grew up in Salt Lake City, in the shadow of their Mount Olympus. She says theirs is much more impressive.|
|Sara, at the Thessalonica museum, standing near a very fancy sarcophagus (sp.).|
|This is a "milestone" - it was used to mark distances in the Roman empire.|
|This is some tilework that shows the many colors used to express shades and give a 3D pattern.|
|There was a strong Isis cult that grew in Macedonia around the same time as Christianity. This is Isis, who they have borrowed from the Egyptian figure of the same name.|
|Downtown Thessalonica - you can see the excavation work, which digs into the layers below the modern city. Archeologists can only imagine what sits below the high-rise buildings that surround these digs.|
|In the basement of this ancient Christian church are the remains of the earliest Christian foundations, including this baptismal font. The Eastern Orthodox church continues to practice this rite via immersion.|
Regarding Greek courage at the battle of Thermopylae (source):
The Spartans showed their courage when three hundred of their men, along with a few other allied Greek contingents, held off Xerxes' huge army for several days at the narrow pass called Thermopylae (Warm Gates) in central Greece. The characteristic Spartan refusal to be intimidated was summed up in the reputed comment of a Spartan hoplite. A companion remarked that the Persian archers were so numerous that their arrows darkened the sky in battle. That's good news, said the Spartan, we will get to fight in the shade. The pass was so narrow that the Persians could not employ their superior numbers to overwhelm the Greek defenders, who were better warriors one-on-one. Only when a local Greek, hoping for a reward from the Persian king, showed the Persian troops a secret route around the pass were they able to massacre its Greek defenders by attacking them from the front and the rear simultaneously.
Here's some good information about Thessalonica.