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New 28 Apr, 2024

The Tears of Aphrodite Euploia

NeighbourhoodNarratives feature 2

Shortlisted in the Neighbourhood Narratives writing competition

At the central port of Piraeus, near the church of St.Nicholas with the majestic blue domes there is a street named Euploias. The street is named so by the glorious goddess of the sea, Aphrodite Euploia, the deity of navigation. Euploia was the patroness of seamen, ensuring a peaceful sea and safe travels. No wonder why, the citizens of the ancient city had chosen to found a shrine near the harbour in order to venerate the fair goddess and ask for her divine protection.

Today at number 1 of this street lie the remains of one of the oldest state buildings of the modern city, the depots of the Custom House. The depots were lodged in a two-storied building of the romantic neoclassical style, built circa 1850 by the architect Stamatis Kleanthis. In the 1960s, during the dictatorship, a part of the building was demolished in order to give its place to a modern block of flats. That marked the inglorious end for the depots.

Today the building is nothing but a shell, mutilated and vandalized, abandoned like a ship wreck in the dust of time. Just a few signs remind something of its past beauty and glory, like the pediment that crowns what was once the central gate. Under the pediment there is a carved epigraph with the famous saying of Hesiod “It is Idleness which Is A Disgrace”, praising this way the value of labour on which the prosperity of the city was established. The epigraph is flanked by two celebrated symbols: the caduceus, the attribute of the god of Commerce, Hermis is depicted on the left, while on the right there is a dolphin entwined around a trident, the emblem of the sea god, Poseidon. The architect foresaw to honour the ancient gods who ministered the city to flourish. But today memory has proved to be nothing but an empty word…

When it rains a small pond is formed just before the pavement, reflecting the oblivion all around: must be the tears of Aphrodite Euploia.

Euploias 1, Piraeus, Greece

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APA style reference

Mavroudi, G. (2024). The Tears of Aphrodite Euploia. walk · listen · create.

Neighbourhood Narratives Shortlist

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People who jog, run, and sprint have their share of problems that slow-moving people can barely comprehend. One is oversupination. As the OED defines it, to oversupinate is “To run or walk so that the weight falls upon the outer sides of the feet to a greater extent than is necessary, desirable, etc.” A 1990 Runner’s World article gets to the crux of the problem: “It’s hard to ascertain exactly what percentage of the running population oversupinates, but it’s a fraction of the people who think they do.” Credits to Mark Peters.

Added by Geert Vermeire

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