Anthony Nanson’s Words of Re-enchantment brings together his writings on myth, storytelling and the ecobardic arts, and we wanted a cover image that spoke of the discovery of enchantment out in the natural world. The image on cover the dates from a trip we took a few years ago to Turkey, and the walk to discover this place was, indeed, one of enchantment.
Anthony and I have spent a lot of time in Greece, and during that time we got into a rhythm of visiting the kind of sites we like best – mythological ones. We have a huge atlas of mythological sites in Greece, with differing categories of what you might see there, from huge sites like Delphi to places where it might just be an open hilltop where some god pursued some nymph! But although the land mass that makes up modern Turkey is intimately connected, historically and mythologically to the world of Ancient Greece, we didn’t know very much about it, and reeled around from tourist spot to tourist spot feeling slightly dazed.
Eventually, and still very much on the tourist trail, we came to Olympos. Now, Anthony has climbed all nine and a half thousand feet of Mount Olympus in Greece, so we were excited to be near another one. There are, apparently, over twenty Mount Olympuses in the Med, all, presumably the local highest mountain, where, logically, the gods lived. This one had an ancient city at its feet, also called Olympos, but it’s no longer a thriving port. Instead, it lurks, romantic, seemingly forgotten by time and smothered by nature, along the winding Ulupınar Stream along a path that takes you down to the sea.
The image on the cover comes from a necropolis, a city of the dead, part of the family complex belonging to Marcus Aurelius Archepolis, and, like everything else, it has been taken back by nature. Olympos is a managed and maintained archaeological site, but the archaeologists have allowed us the magic of discovery, of seeing an enchanted place. When we were in the heat of summer, it was lush and green, and thick with flowers; the waters rippled, birds sang, and the white stone rose up out of this jungle.
One of the other tombs, for Captain Eudemos, has this beautiful poem on it:
The ship sailed into the last harbour and anchored to leave more,
As there was no longer any hope from the wind or daylight,
After the light carried by the dawn had left Captain Eudemos,
There buried the ship with a life as short as a day, like a broken wave.
Mount Olympos is famous, too, for the fire in its head, making this image doubly fitting for a bardic book. That night Anthony was taken up see the fire that never dies on the mountain, at Yanartaş, the ancient Mount Chimaera, where flame leaps all day and night from the rock, much as we hope the fire leaps in the head of the ecobard!
Images and text copyright Kirsty Hartsiotis
Find out more about Words of Re-Enchantment here – http://www.awenpublications.co.uk/words_of_re-enchantment.html