Sounion/Byron

by wjw on March 1, 2023

Here’s the temple to Poseidon at Cape Sounion, perched on a cliff at the very tip of the Attic peninsula, viewed on our trip to Greece last year.

You’re not allowed to walk on the monument nowadays, but it was very different when I first saw the temple forty-odd years ago. I not only walked all over the temple, but I snuck onto the grounds at night along with a sleeping bag and slept there, getting up at first light and capering all over the site, snapping photos of the spectacular Aegean scenery as it was stroked by Dawn’s rosy fingers.

One sight I’d been told about was Byron’s name, which is carved into one of the graffiti-scarred pillars where the rising sun would strike it every day. I looked for it but failed to see it amid the hundreds of names marring the marble.

This last time, however, someone kindly pointed it out to me.

It’s very near the base of the square pillar on the right. (I apologize for the wretchedness of my freehand drawing in Photoshop, which has surrounded Byron’s name with what looks like an outline of the state of Nebraska.)

I was also told that Byron might not have carved his name there, but rather an imitator. Apparently Byron was so freaking famous that he had imitators wandering around pretending to be him. Who knew?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pete Tillman March 6, 2023 at 2:48 pm

Cute story: sleeping out in the ruins! Byron’s (alleged) graffito!
The past was a different country . . .


“Eternity is very long, especially near the end.” — Woody Allen

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