Greek Goddesses

by Marion on

When Rob was a young boy, he once went on a holiday with his parents to Hellendoorn. They stayed a week at hotel “De Uitkijk”. This hotel still exists and this year Marissa, Richard, Rob and I will go there for a long weekend.

Anyway, when Rob stayed there with his family, he went often to a nearby amusement park, which also still exists. Mostly Rob, as he told me, went there to play arcade games. He mentioned an arcade game where you are in a submarine and have to destroy enemy ships.

On one of his trips to the amusement park, he bought at a souvenir shop a small replica of a statue of the Greek goddess Aphrodite.


This statue was the beginning of Rob’s interest in Greek mythology.

Over the following years he bought more statues of Greek Goddesses at all kind of places. He knew which Goddesses they were, their stories and where they original statues are.
He had and still has quite an extended knowledge of the Greek mythology. Of course, his love for Greece has come from somewhere!


Then, years later, Rob met his ex-girlfriend. I dare to say that his ex did quite some wrong to him.

Rob was during the time he went to school deeply in love with a girl. He wrote beautiful texts for this girl and made some kind of bundle of it.
His ex-girlfriend requested him to get rid of these texts and he did. These texts, expect some he got back through another resource, are gone forever. I would have loved to read those texts, even when they are about another woman. It is all long ago, it is Rob’s past. He has full right on his own past, after all, it is what made him what he is today.

More things like that happened.


And then there were Rob’s Greek Goddess statues. Some of those goddesses statues are naked, which is very common for Greek statues.

And also these statues were not to the liking to Rob’s ex. He can recall that words as unfriendly for women were used. With that the statues had to go to.

I really cannot understand this. Did she not realize that these statues were important for Rob? She should have known this.
And is a replica of an old Greek statue, nude or not, woman-unfriendly? I don’t think so. Calling nudity woman-unfriendly is bringing the rights of women back to the dark ages. These day women are allowed to be proud on their bodies and don’t have to hide it under all covering clothes. And is a woman’s body not beautiful? And apart from this all, the statues are not even very detailed.

I cannot get rid of the feeling that Rob his ex tried to control and manipulate him. Something that always will fail in the end, as it did.

So some years back on one of our holidays to Greece I saw in a shop a nice replica of a statue of Aphrodite. I remembered directly what Rob told me once about these kind of statues. Of course I bought it. A present that maybe will undo a little what was done in the past. Rob was really happy with the statue. So now I try to buy on every holiday to Greece such a statue for him

So Aphrodite, Leda, Sapho and others are back in Rob’s house. As they should…

Sapho Marion
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Wonderful insults

by Miranda on

CurseWhile browsing the internet I ran into an awesome list of wonderful insults that people used in the past. I have to admit that I really like them.
And I am serious when I say that I am planning to memorize them and use them whenever the situation is right for it.


Gobermouch: This is an old Irish term for someone who likes to meddle in other people’s business.

Gnashnab: An 18th century northern English word, meaning someone who just complains all the time. Contemporary synonyms include nitpicker, moaner and grumbler.

Snoutband: Someone who always interrupts a conversation to correct or contradict the person speaking. Every social group has a snoutband, who thinks they know everything.

Stampcrab: Someone that’s clumsy and heavy of foot would be considered a stampcrab.

Scobblelotcher: Mental Floss notes this word is “probably derived from ‘scopperloit,’ an old English dialect word for a vacation or a break from work.” A scobberlotcher is someone who avoids hard work like it’s their job.

Whiffle-Whaffle: This is someone who wastes a lot of time.

Zooterkins: A 17th century variant of ‘zounds’ which was an expression of surprise or indignation.” It’s less of an insult and more of something to yell after someone has insulted you..

Zounderkite: This is a Victorian word meaning idiot.

Bedswerver: Shakespeare coined this one to describe an adulterer.

Fopdoodle: A fopdoodle is someone of little significance.

Klazomaniac: This would be a person WHO CAN ONLY SPEAK BY SHOUTING.

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Ancient Greece and America

by Mel on

As we all know it is often said that Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer, discovered America, which is a bit weird to claim as there were already living humans, so it was already discovered. Anyway this must have happened somewhere around 1490.
It is also said that Leif Erikson, a explorer from Iceland, travelled to America in the 11th century.
This is all very interesting. But what would you say if I tell you that the Ancient Greek already knew about America?

I cannot proof anything, but there are some very interesting references in some ancient writings. I admit right away that there are many who claim that this is not correct (and I leave out those who cannot stand the idea that it was not Italy/Spain or Iceland/Norway who made it first to America).

Lets have a look at what we know.

Plutarch, a Greek biographer and essayist, who lived 46 AD to 120 AD, describes in his book Moraliaa a great continent located 5,000 stadia (about 800 kilometres) away from an island called Ogygia, which is 5 days travel westward from Britain.


Some claimed that Ogygia was Atlantis, but lets not go that way. The Maltese have long claimed that Ogygia is actually Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago. Some say Ogygia was in the Ionian Sea. People as Strabo of Alexandria said that Ogygia was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. And then Roderic O’Flaherty, an Irish historian, claimed that Ogygia was Ireland.

Euripides makes a reference in his tragedy Hippolytus of a land on the far edges of the Atlantic ocean.
Hippolytus: “Alas! What do you mean to do? Will you not even wait for the passage of Time for my case, but banish me immediately from the land?”
Theseus: “Yes, beyond the Black Sea and the edges of the Atlantic, if I could, such is my hatred of you.”

Travel to America

Dr. Minas Tsikritsis, a Greek-Canadian scientist who studied Aegean Scripts, says that it is possible that the Ancient Greek visited America. He points out that there are too many references in the ancient texts are correct. The mentioned distances to travel are correct, as is the route that is described.

And there more references as the ones that are mentioned.

If the Ancient Greek really visited America I can not proof. That they were aware of the “Great continent” to the west is quite sure in my opinion.
Anyway, seeing what my ancestors all have done, I would not be surprised at all!

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Heretic Christmas

by Rob on

Although “tradition” seems to proclaim that you should not decorate your house for Christmas while “Sinterklaas” (which is celebrated in The Netherlands among other countries) is still in the country, we will start with the Christmas decoration this weekend.

I know that I have talked before about Christmas and its origin, but it is something that keeps my interest and every year I learn something new.

Kerst marktplaats/Christmas market

The origin of Christmas

That Christmas is not an Christian celebration by origin is generally accepted I think. The origin of Christmas goes way more back then Christianity.

Celebration the birth of Jesus on 25 December is based on pagan traditions or better said, by celebrating it on that day the Christian Church tried to get rid of these pagan traditions. According the bible Jesus was born in fall somewhere between 4 and 7 before AD…. that is, if Jesus has ever existed at all (but that is another discussion).

It all started with the midwinter celebrations. Ancient Germanic tribes celebrated on December 21 that the days became longer. Yule or winter solstice was celebrated throughout Northern Europe. Often with all sorts of cults and rituals. Of some celebrations is known that the oak tree was central.

In the Scandinavian languages Christmas is still called Jul.

Although the dating as December 25 predates pagan influence, the later development of Christmas as a festival includes elements of the Roman feast of the Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithra.


Customs of Christmas

Christmas, and all the customs around it, is one big collection of influences of all different cultures.

The Christmas tree itself find it origin in pagan believes. Way before Christianity in Europe people already decorated there homes around Saturnalia (in December). They decorated living trees with small pieces of metal to honour their god Bacchus.
Decorating a home with evergreen boughs was strictly forbidden by the Christian Church in the 3rd century. And the decorated Christmas tree, as we know it now, is only since mid 19th century around.
There have been quite some disputes around the Christmas tree. In America William Bardford, a Calvinist, tried to “stamp out these pagan traditions of Christmas”.

The Christian custom of “kissing under mistletoe” is related to what used to be a sexual agreement of the Druidic sacrificial cult. Also nice to know is that the berries of the mistletoe are poisonous and were used during Druid rituals to poison their human sacrificial victim.

In pre-Christian Rome, the emperors compelled their most despised citizens to bring offerings and gifts during the Saturnalia (in December) and Kalends (in January). Later, this ritual expanded to include gift-giving among the general populace. The Catholic Church gave this custom a Christian flavor by re-rooting it in the supposed gift-giving of Saint Nicholas


And then Santa Claus

Nicholas was born in Parara, Turkey in 270 and later became Bishop of Myra. He passed way on 6 December 345. It was not before the 19th century that he was named to be a saint.
He was one of the bishops who worked on the new testament in 325 (Council of Nicaea) and there they described the Jews as “the children of the devil” who sentenced Jesus to death.
The Nicholas cult spread North through Italy and people started to give each presents on 6 December, the day that Nicholas passed away (We here in The Netherlands, and other countries, we still celebrate “Sinterklaas” on that date).
In Northern Europe the celebrations around Nicolas were adopted by German and Geltic pagans. As they merged Nicolas into their own culture Nicolas lost his Mediterranean appearance. He got a beard, was dressed in cold protecting clothes and mounted a horse that could fly.
To please the pagan people in Northern Europe, the Catholic Church Nicholas cult adopted Christmas and taught that they should give gifts on December 25th instead of December 6th.
Early 1800’s Washington Irving wrote a satiric novel about the Dutch culture called “Knickerbocker History”. In that novel a white bearded man riding a flying horse called “Santa Claus” (“Sinter Klaas”) was more then once mentioned.
Some years later Clement Moore wrote. after reading “Knickerbocker History”, a poem about Santa Claus. And with this poem the 8 reindeers and the delivering of the presents through the chimney were introduced.
From 1862 through 1886 Thomas Nast made many cartoon images of Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly. He almost completed the image of the modern Santa Claus. Nast placed the home of Santa Claus on the North Pole, give him his elven helpers and the book with good and bad deeds of all children of the world.
In 1932 Coca Cola hired Haddon Sundblom to make an advertisement with Santa. Here Santa got his cheerful and chubby face. Coca Cola insisted on a bright and red suit.
And there is was… Santa Claus, a mixture of a Christian crusader, a pagan god and an commercial idol.

Happy holidays everyone



Credit photo’s: Rob)

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by Rob on

This week I found the “Heemskring” in my postbox. The “Heemskring” is the magazine of the “Historische Kring Heemskerk” (Historical Circle Heemskerk).

I am getting this magazine because I am member of this society (obviously!). Now one can wonder why someone, who is just living for a few years in Heemskerk, is member of such a society. Well, that is simple. I am always interested in the history of the place where I am living. I think I know my share of the history of the towns where I have lived (Amsterdam, Haaksbergen, Borne Ov. and Heemskerk).

The stories in the magazine are great to read. Like in the last issue there is an article about a “hofje” (a small court) that sadly is not there any more, just as the windmill that used to be near to it. Or the interesting article about Gerrit van Assendelft.
I think that understanding the history of the area where you are living is important, it makes you feel more related to the area. And isn’t that important for the place that you want to call home?

But there is also another thing to it. Through the magazine and the website of the “Historische Kring Heemskerk I found quite some spots to make photo’s. I really like to make photo’s of historical locations, so the magazine and website are for this great resources.

Now I hope that I can make the time to join one of their meetings.



(Credit photo: Historische Kring Heemskerk)

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“De Scepelenberg”

by Rob on

Just outside the town of Heemskerk, in the western direction, there is an old monument. If you don’t know it is there, you may never notice it. I passed by there and never was aware it was there. And now I know it is there, I really wonder how I ever could have missed it.

On this articial land raise of about 2 meters in the past the Counts of Holland inaugurated as the Lords of Kennemerland, such as Albrecht van Beieren (1361) and Jan IV van Brabant (1418). For that reason this place is also known as “Huldtoneel” (which roughly translates as “Honor Stage”). By this inaugurated the people of Kennemerland accepted the new count as their lord.

It is also said that in the past on this location a jugde spoke his judgement about issues involving the citizen of Kennemerland.

Excavations alsp showed that in the far past this place was used for sacrificing. Many items where found, but sadly all are lost over time. At least there seems to be a very accurate list of what has been found there.

The Huldtoneel is completely surrounded by trees and hedges. The special thing here is that all the trees and shrubs are of native origin. We can see an ash, summer oak, elder, hawthorn, rowan, beech, holly, willow and blackthorn. The hedge to the street side is of hornbeam.

The monument has three sides and on these sides texts are displayed:

(Gifted by v. Engegeest and his wife MJ Deutz, Assendelft, established 1863)

(According history the Counts of Holland were established here als the Lords of Kennemerland)

(Wanderer, please respect this monument)

I have to admit that I really like to learn this kind of historical places and stories. It is one of the reasons why I became member of de “Historische Kring Heemskerk” (“Historical Circle Heemskerk”). And apart from all the wonder historical stories and facts I learn this way, I also get nice places to make photo’s. And it has to be said: Heemskerk has a very rich history!!!

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