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Ancient theatre on Crete re-opens with Homer’s Odyssey

The recently restored Ancient Theatre of Aptera in Chania on the island of Crete will re-open after 17 centuries with a free, dramatised performance of a passage from Homer’s Odyssey.

The event on the evening of June 29 will see actors Sofia Hill and Antonis Myriagos perform alongside musicians Giorgos Kaloudis on lyre and Ruth Hill on the qanun (kanonaki in Greek).

Event organisers have described the performance of the narration of a rhapsody from the Odyssey as seeing “the heroes crushed not by the blind and uncontrolled vengefulness of the gods but by their own disobedience and overstepping of the limits, something that constitutes defiance in the classical ethical norm ‘hubris, nemesis, tisis’ (atonement), which characterises the ancient Greeks’ world view”.

The site belies its proud history when Aptera was once the most powerful city of western Crete during the Minoan times. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed details about the settlement’s composition, the city’s architecture and the habits of Apterean residents.


“Although the earliest mention of the Aptera is found as a-pa-ta-wa on the Linear script B tablets of Knossos, which dated to the 14th-13th century BC, the currently rich findings of the excavations indicate that the hill was inhabited the 8th century BC until the 7th century AD, when abandoned due to a strong earthquake and because of the attacks by the Saracen Arab pirates,” organisers say.

The performance is free to attend with a free coupon distributed from Monday, June 18 until Monday, June 25 at the offices of the Chania Antiquities Ephorate.