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In the footsteps of legends on the islands of Greece

The islands of Greece have played host to legendary figures throughout history. For thousands of years they have been the locations of fierce wars, love stories, political strife and great tragedies. Following in the footsteps of the greats can be a thrill for any and all history lovers of the world.

The Battle of Actium

The battle of Actium was a closing to a great and historic conflict, one that would change the course of many nations forever. The battle was fought out in Ionian Sea, a patch of ocean between the Greek islands and the mainland. From the decks of their warships, Queen of Egypt Cleopatra and Mark Antony of the Roman Republic went to war with Octavian, ruler of the Roman Republic. Antony’s loyalty to Cleopatra rather than his rightful leader, Octavia, had lead to a terrible and bloody war between the two sides. In this final battle, all three leaders headed out to claim victory in the Ionian Sea. The winner would decide the fate of Roman. Outnumbered and outmatched, Cleopatra and Antony were swiftly defeated. The two leaders retreated, leaving their men to die at the hands of Octavian. The defeat led not only to the suicides of both Cleopatra and Mark Antony, but the conquering of Egypt by Octavian who went on to become the first Emperor of Rome, known afterwards as Augustus.

It is indeed hard to identify where this battle was fought, not because we cannot pinpoint its location, but because there is nothing to show for it. The watery battleground on which it was fought swallowed every shred of evidence, boats, weapons and man. However, you can still tour the coasts, the campgrounds and visit the exact location where this grisly and legendary battle took place.

Laureys a Castro (f 1664-1700) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Laureys a Castro (f 1664-1700) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The City of Delos:

Delos is a site of powerful ancient greek beliefs. Thought to have first been inhabited around 3000 BC, it has had many inhabitants over the years, including Carians, Greeks and Romans. While it may have shared its shore with people of many different backgrounds and creeds, it is definitely the ancient greeks that made this island their own. For over a millennia, after being colonized by the greeks, Delos was known as a holy sanctuary and sacred land with one of its mountains, mount Kynthos, adorned with a sanctuary of Zeus. A bustling city, Delos eventually become known as the birthplace of Greek gods Apollo and Artemis. A play thing of gods, kings and emperors, the city has been reduced to ruins, but you can still wander the streets of this amazing greek wonder, admiring the surviving statues and architecture, such as the temples and theatres, while being thrown back into an era gone, but not forgotten.

The Cave of The Apocalypse:

St John is one of the most famous religious figures throughout history. A Roman, he lived and died under the rule of the empire, but is more famous for devoting his life to Christianity and more notably, Jesus Christ. One of the 12 disciples of Christ, John is best known for writing one of the most controversial and inspiring sections of the bible, the book of revelation. This legendary part of the bible – a prediction of the end of times that has led to incredible works of fiction, and tragic real event – was formed under the watchful eye of the Greek Islands.

On the small island of Patmos, St John was said to have heard the voice of God resonate from between the cracks in a cliff wall and thus the book of Revelations was born. Far from being a place of myth, however, the Cave of the Apocalypse, as it known, is easy to find and explore. Set in the heart of a monastery built to surround this sacred site, visitors are able to stand where St John stood nearly 2000 years ago, when he heard the voice of God. This is one of the few sights of the ancient world truly believed to be a site of great importance to the bible. While others may be disputed, there is great faith that this is where some of the bibles pages were first transcribed.

Pic: Eva Freude/Flickr

Pic: Eva Freude/Flickr

Cave of Zeus

From the voice of god, to a birthplace of a god. While it might be impossible to prove, this destination has the religious history that claims to surround it, the result its supposed pedigree has led to an historical location worth its a visit; with or without the existence of a deity. On the island of Crete, visitors will find the beautiful mountain Ida; its pinnacle being the tallest on the island. Near the base of the mount sits a series of caves, although one is better known than the rest.

The Cave of Zeus is a deep running network with only one entrance, filled with beautiful rock formations and blue pools, it was said to be here that Zeus was brought here by his mother Rhea when he was just an infant, to hide him from his filicidal father, Cronus, who was intent on devouring all of his children. The myths say the plan worked, and Cronus was not to find Zeus until he reached adulthood, by which time he was too powerful to stop. Although his home is said to be a top the tower of Olympia, his beginnings are in the Cave of Zeus. As a result, over the years, it has been home to many sessions of worship. Whether walking walking the halls of this cave mean you are standing where Zeus once stood is unlikely, but you’ll still be standing in one of the most influential spots in all of Greek mythology.

Pic: simonjenkins/flickr

Pic: simonjenkins/flickr

If you want to walk to the path of gods, kings and soldiers, then tour the islands of Greece with Deep Blue Yachting.

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