Serifos today is a quiet island, very dry in summer, with one or two beaches. There are no must-see "Perseus" sites, but you can find the ancient Xora, & many other Bronze Age remains. Read all about it in "Serifos, The Unknown Isle", by Joannis G. Varlas, a terrific book, tho' hard to find except on the island. The waterfront at Livadi is as I told it: the white-painted tamarisks are there, and the Yacht Club. Other things I time-shifted, but did not make up: It's true that Serifos is "rotten" with the black metal, which is iron: it's not clear when exploitation began. It's true that Serifos was one of the first states ever to experiment with democracy, but it was in the 7th Century BCE, after "Papa Dicty's" time. The "Town Meeting" style of discussion was inspired by the Melian dialogue in Thucydides, also after Papa Dicty's time.


Thera, "Fira", or "Santorini", the original Atlantis*, was wrecked by a volcanic eruption around 1650 BCE, the biggest physical cataclysm in human history. The date is uncertain, carbon dating and archaeology don't agree: the record of what happened afterwards is blurred. Certainly, the disaster dealt the astonishing civilisation we call "Minoan" a blow from which it never recovered. Maybe it changed the water tables of the Aegean, so that peace and plenty could never return. Certainly there were child-sacrifices, in Knossos on Crete, in the aftermath. Probably the Mycaeneans took over, a generation or so later, and there was a renaissance for a while. At Akrotiri, on the southern cape of what remains of Fira, people had time to get out of the way (you can see the wrecking balls, left behind by the crews who were clearing up after a major tremor, about twenty years before). It's here that Marinatos's excavations of crushed high-rises uncovered the originals of the wall-paintings in Papa Dicty's taverna.
*Plato knew nothing about Minoan civilisation, there had been a Dark Ages in between. He put his city-island in the Atlantic because he got the story from the Eygptians, and they placed it "Far, far to the West". Of Eygpt, that is.


Myths are like folksongs, like treasured memories: they gather fantasy elements, they get mixed up with bigger pictures. Maybe there really was a Bronze Age Perseus, persecuted by his grandfather, brought up by a Cycladean fosterfather; who outwitted a tyrant, married a Phonecian princess called Andromeda (whose Greek name means thinker, or ruler of men), and eventually returned to the Mainland with her and his mother, to found Homer's "well built Mycenae, rich in gold". And from Mycenae, the baton was handed on to Athens, where Plato wrote about Atlantis.
Or maybe not. All I know for sure is that the constellations associated with this story take up a sizeable chunk of the night sky over the Med., and constellations were vital in ancient times. That's got to mean something. There are many internet sites (not to mention more ancient forms of data storage) featuring the story: here's a couple of my favourites.

In Athens Museum you can see the treasures from the Mycenae "princess" graves. They were buried covered in gold: this gave me the idea for Andromeda's sacrificial dress.


The first summer I spent bumming around the Aegean, looking for adventure, I was nineteen. I've been back several times since, same mission, never found the Golden Fleece yet, but had a lot of fun looking. When I decided to write the Perseus story it dawned on me that this rite of passage tradition, which now involves cocktails and beach raves, rather than slaughtering monsters, is thousands of years old. That's how Jason and the Argonauts came to make their special guest appearence. What do you mean, it doesn't make sense? Have another umbrella drink & lets' all go raid Lemnos


Reading between the lines, it's quite likely that Athini's Gorgon Shield came first, and the hero tale about Medusa getting her head chopped off was a later "rationalisation" for the female monster being associated with the Goddess of Wisdom. The Medusa story as a myth of consciousness just seems an obvious way to go: snakehead, human brain, the terror of being self-aware. (Freud thought it was all about castration. Ah, well. Different strokes.)


The Minoans used two main scripts, one of which (Linear B) has turned out to be a form of Greek; the other (Linear A) is still a mystery. So is the Phaistos disk, stamped with 45 hieroglyphic characters, found in the palace at Knossos in 1908. Alphabetic writing, came from Phoenicia, and before that from Canaan, first traced 1800 BCE, it reached the Aegean about the time of Snakehead. It doesn't quite fit, but you could imagine that what Andromeda invented was Linear A, the lost Missing Link between Phoenecian scripts, the Aegean evolutionary line, and ours...

The island of Skyros still has a small population of Skyrian wild horses, possibly the same breed as depicted on the Parthenon: very small, very strong. (Recalibrate: see Homeric warriors riding on Shetland Ponies) There may have been horses on Serifos once. Olive trees have been cultivated in the Mediterranean Basin for about 6,000 years. Venice conquered the Greek Islands in the thirteenth century CE, which explains all the pasta.
I made up the opotatos, and the Peruvian connection: although there are web-thusiasts who believe the Argo sailed to South America.
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