Greece is perhaps cursed with too much history. Judging from the scattered remnants of the sanctuary in Crestonia, the weight of history sits heavy on the public purse. The byzantine emperors used the riches of history to their advantage: they often gained allegiances with gifts of sacred provenance, remains of saints, alleged fragments of the True Cross, ancient books and other items that foreign magnates admired. Ancient monuments in the world´s museums have been among Greece´s best loved ambassadors. Perhaps the Bild journalist who suggested that Greece sells ancient monuments had the basic idea. The Greeks seem not always Greece´s best custodians.
The ancient words and symbols have been desecrated,
The guardians of the altars are gone, rubble only remains.
Where Hyperion reigned, a darkness has fallen
Denser than the dark of the land of the Cimmerians.”
From Artemis-Euthymis´ Odysseu, a fitting soundtrack to the youtube videoclip made by Visaltis.
A Dionysus-like god was a popular cult deity among the Thracians and Paeonians, who called him Dryalus. The cult of Dionysus was also popular among the Macedonians. One of the best known, almost emblematic, mosaics from Pella shows Dionysus riding a leopard. Alexander the Great offered sacrifices to Dionysus in temples he dedicated to the god in the cities he founded during his campaign. Indeed, Alexander is alleged by a Roman historian to have sacrificed to Dionysus at the Oracle of Dionysus of the Satrians in Thrace before undertaking his campaign to conquer Persia.
Sadly, while Greece is engaged in a 200 year long war of arguments and consciences over the return of the fragments of the Parthenon from the British Museum and other museums, the few remains of the temple in Crestonia lie scattered and forlorn. Echedoros recently published online a video made by Visaltis about the ruined and dismembered sanctuary (http://echedoros-a.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post_848.html).
“On the approach to the temple we encounter carcinogenic materials” he exasperates. There are sheets of asbestos lying on the ground, next to the wire fence enclosing the temple precinct. Inside a few pillars lie scattered, while rusted sheets of asbestos cover the remaining ruins of what may have been a small chapel built at the site of the ancient sanctuary. The scant remains of the ruined chapel seem to have been transformed into an impromptu place of worship replete with an icon, an altar and an oil lamp. The corrugated roof is ´melting´ under the pull of gravity like a Daliesque allegory on the passage of time. The temple´s glory days are long gone.