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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Greece: In Memory of the Lost Alonia (All the Abandoned Threshing Floors) - and of Demeter and Digenis

For Demeter and Digenis

 To alonaki mou (in progress)

As you can see, I'm no stonemason or drystone-waller, but it gives me pleasure to do something with the stone-rubble scattered around the garden. No competition for Andy Goldsworthy. This little "threshing-floor" wall I'm trying to build is situated in the shade of a walnut tree, equidistant from plum, cherry and apple trees. At least Charon won't deign to come here to struggle in mortal combat with anyone, as he is said to have done with Digenis (Dighenes, Dhiyenis) on a marble threshing floor...

The threshing-floor (or the marble threshing-floor) is a powerful  and evocative poetic symbol in Greek literature and folklore. Some examples:

"I believe in Man's heart, that earthen threshing-floor where night and day the defenders of the borders fight with death" - Nikos Kazantzakis.

"All the footpaths lead to the High Threshing Floors.
The air is sharper there" -Yannis Ritsos.

"Below, on the daisy's small threshing floor
The young honeybees have struck up a crazy dance"- Odysseas Elytis.

“When Orion appears, Demeter’s gift has to be brought to the well-smoothed threshing floor” -  Hesiod.

"My eyes have never seen a more glorious spot than this small threshing-floor"- Dionysios Solomos

 "As hard as marble, copper, iron,
The threshing floor
Where Charon waits" - (JP)

Κι επήγαν κι επαλέψανε στα μαρμαρένια αλώνια,
Κι όθε χτυπάει ο Διγενής, το αίμα αυλάκι κάνει,
κι όθε χτυπάει ο χάροντας, το αίμα τράφο κάνει.

More from this blog

"On the daisy's small threshing floor"

I've added two old column stones to represent Digenis and Charon preparing for combat....and some wild daisies planted between them (see also The Cult of the daisy, Chaucer)

Alonia from Vitsa, Monodendri, Dilofo and Ano Pedina:

Charon, Alexander Litovchenko

 Charon and Psyche, J R S Stanhope

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