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The History of Good Manners In Ancient Greece (Part E) Featured Destination: Samos
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Saint Namedays in January. Subscription Information.
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Stuffed Tomatoes

January Recipe:
Lamb With Pomegranate Glazed Onions

1 tlbsp. ground cumin
1 tlbsp. cumin seeds
1 tlbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried savory
1 tlbsp. ground coriander
1 tlbsp. coarsely crushed coriander seeds
1 boneless leg of lamb, about 2 1/2 lbs.
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup raspberry or fruit vinegar
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  1. Combine the ground cumin, cumin seeds, thyme, savory, ground coriander, and crushed coriander seeds in a small bowl. Press the spice mixture on all sides of the lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  2. Preheat the oven the 350F. Liberally season the spice-crusted lamb with salt and pepper. Place the lamb, fat side up, on a rack in a roasting pan on the middle shelf of the oven. Lower the heat to 325F and bake for 28 to 30 minutes per pound, or until a meat thermometer reads 150F for rare. Add the onions to the pan for the final 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the meat from the roasting pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. While the meat is resting, place the roasting pan with the onions on a stovetop burner over high heat. Sprinkle the onions with the brown sugar, the vinegar, and 3 tlbsp. of the pomegranate seeds. Cook until the vinegar is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Slice the lamb and arrange it on a serving platter surrounded by the glazed onions. Garnish with the remaining 5 tlbsp. pomegranate seeds.

Excerpts from: "The Philosopher's Kitchen - Recipes from Ancient Greece & Rome For the Modern Cook"

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Watch Your Manners In Greece
The History of Good Manners In Ancient Greece (Part E)

They were also most hospitable. Any stranger was welcome and was considered a holy person, under the protection of Zeus Xenios. Some examples can be found in the first book of the Odyssey, where Athena is Telemachu's guest, and in the fifth book, where the Faiakes are hosting Odysseus. There is also rather unpleasant example in the tenth book, when not only does the Cyclops not invite Odysseus as a guest, but he also devours his comrades! His blinding is an unavoidable punishment for his impiety.

Hospitality followed a certain ritual: when a guest reached the gates, the host welcomed him in person. He offered him a bath and a meal and allowed him to rest. Then, if the guest wished to, he answered questions concerning his identity, his descent, etc.

Ancient Greeks enjoyed inviting friends, and even their friends' friends, for dinner. This custom spawned a special category of guests called parasites (para+sitos =wheat, grain, food in general). This word later on acquired a negative meaning, due to making this privilege into a habit. Plutarch wrote a whole chapter on how to use this privilege without exceeding the limits of good manners.

In Plato's Symposium, Aristodemos narrates that he came across Socrates wearing a formal garment, and on discovering that the latter was on his way to Agathon's dinner party, decided to join him, even though he had no invitation. Socrates, preoccupied with a philosophical problem, was loitering on the way to the house, and Aristodemos (not noticing that the philosopher had stayed behind) entered Agathon's house on his own. Even in his potentially awkward situation, however, Aristodemos was made welcome. The doors were flung wide open and a slave immediately showed him through to the dining room, where Agathon delightfully welcomed him, explaining that he had wanted to invited him personally but had been unable to track him down.

Invitations were made by the dinner host writing on a wax board the guests' names, the date and time of the symposium. A slave would then visit all the guests' houses and show them the board. Dinner usually started at 9 o'clock.

As soon as the guest arrived, slaves removed the newcomers' shoes and washed their feet.

Ancient Greeks used to eat while lying on a sedan chair, leaning on one elbow and using their other hand to reach the food, which was placed before them on a small table.

to be continued...
Excerpt from "Watch Your Manners In Greece" by Christos K. Zampounis
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  Featured Destination: Samos

Photo of SamosSamos, one of the most easterly Aegean islands just a stone's throw from the coast of Asia Minor, is renowned for its wines, particularly for the white muscat wine found nowhere else.

The birthplace of many philosophers and mathematicians of antiquity, such as Epikouros, Aristarches, Pythagoras and others, Samos delights today's visitors with its lush greenery, varied landscapes and fascinating archaeological sites.

Among the island's first inhabitants were the Pelasgians, who established the worship of the goddess Hera on Samos.

Samos reached its greatest prosperity during the reign of the tyrant Polycrates, becoming one of the most powerful city-states of Ionia, dominating the seas with its famous samaines, boats with five tiers of oarsmen.

The capital, Samos Town or Vathi, is built on the verdant slopes that surround the island's deepest bay. It has retained its individual appearance, with its attractive neoclassical houses, old mansions with pastel facades.

The town boasts two major museums: the Archaeological Museum with displays of ancient sculptures. including the celebrated Kouros of Samos, vases and objects from the Geometric and Archaic eras, most of which were found at the Heraion (Sanctuary of Hera), the island's chief ancient site; and the Byzantine Museum with heirlooms from Samian monasteries.

From Vathi, if you take the road heading south, your first stop will be Pithagorio (familiarly known as Tigani, 14 km.), a small, picturesque port occupying the site of the ancient capital. The present-day jetty has been constructed on top of the ancient foundations.

The area abounds in important ruins: the Polycrates Wall (2nd half 6th century B.C.), the ancient theatre, and the famous Eupalinos Tunnel, a technical marvel dating to the 6th century B.C., which used to supply the town with water. The small archaeological museum houses local finds.

To the right of the port the castle of Lycourgos Logothetis can be seen atop a hillock. This 19th century edifice most probably rests on the ruins of the former acropolis. Within its walls are two Roman colonnades as well as the remains of Early Christian churches.

Not far from Pithagorio is the archaeological site of the Heraion, with its sanctuary to Hera of Samos, one of the biggest of antiquity. Within its precincts, where tradition maintained that the goddess was born and raised, are the ruins of a temple dedicated in her honour, Hellenistic and Roman buildings and even part of an Early Christian basilica.

Karlovassi, on the north coast of the island, is its second largest harbour, composed of three districts, Old, New and Middle Karlovassi. Here, too, you will find imposing neoclassical houses, reminders of earlier prosperous times, while 2 kilo metres away bathers will love the sandy beach of Potami, rimmed with luxuriant greenery.

The drive between Samos (Vathi) and Karlovassi runs along the magical coastline, cutting through riotous vegetation and picturesque villages. Six kilometres south of Karlovassi, set in marvelous surroundings, is the village of Marathokambos, which acts as a "balcony" over the island's southern beaches and has both old churches and caves to explore.

Still further south is the tiny harbour of Ormos, good for fishing and swimming, while beyond it lies a string of lovely beaches - Votsalakia, Hrissi Amos, Ai Gianis Eleimonas.

If you return to Samos by the inland road, you will come to the village of Mitilini, a market centre for the island. Here there is a very interesting paleontological museum filled with the fossilized remains of early horned beasts, mammoths and carnivores.

The island is well endowed with facilities of all kinds for tourists. Accommodation possibilities range from luxury hotels to family-style pensions and camping sites.


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 Saints' Namedays in January

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday


Agiou Basileiou
3 4 5 6
Synaksi Ioannou


Grigoriou Nussis
12 13


14 15 16
Athanasiou & Kurillou
Maximou / Neofytou / Agnis
Anastasiou / Timothetou
Grigoriou Theologou / Margaritas
27 28 29
Trion Ierarxon
Kyrou & Ioannou An/ron

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