QUEEN OF ATHENS
ATHINÁ, QUEEN OF ATHENS. This is a photograph of an extraordinary embroidery, approximately 34" x 24." The background material and thread are silk. The face of Athiná, as well as her arms and feet, are painted. The embroidery is very old and sustains considerable damage. It has been examined by a specialist who has determined that it is approximately 200 years old; the embroidery includes gold thread which, in this case, has turned black, indicating great age. The author was unable to take a good picture, as the silk shines back at the camera, so I did my best to "repair" the image using Photoshop. It is impossible to see in this photograph the incredible care that was taken in the creation of the needlework, no shortcuts whatsoever were taken in its construction; it is magnificent.
The Goddess Athiná (Athena, Ἀθηνᾶ) is the central figure of the embroidery. She is adorned with a magnificent multi-colored gown of blues, greens, yellows, and tans. About her neck is the Aiyís (Aegis, Αἰγίς), decorated with sequins. Her crown and waistband are bejeweled with rhinestones or perhaps real gems, as can be found elsewhere on her attire. Behind, to her right, is the olive tree, her gift to the city of Athínai (Athens, Ἀθῆναι), as is told in the collection of mythology written by Apollódohros (Apollodorus, Ἀπολλόδωρος), the Vivliothíki (Bibliotheca or Library, Βιβλιοθήκη, in book 3 at 14.1). To the left of Athiná is her most renowned temple, the Parthænóhn (Parthenon, Παρθενών), construction of which was initiated by the statesman Pæriklís (Pericles, Περικλῆς) in the most famous historical era of the city. In the foreground are beautifully embroidered flora of Ællás (Hellas or Greece, Ἑλλάς).
Somehow, this magnificent piece of art found its way to the United States of America where it eventually went to auction and was acquired by our community. It is now back where it belongs, at home in Greece. We feel greatly blessed and humbled to have rescued such an exquisite piece of art. In these very troubled times, it is our sincere hope that finding this embroidery is an auspicious sign of the continued protection of Athens, of Greece, and of our religious community, by Athiná, who, according to the Orphic Theogony (See The Fifth King; Orphic frag. 175), is Virtue itself.
Hymn to Liberty
written by Dionýsios Solomós in 1823, music by Nikolaos Mantzaros in 1965
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