THE CRANES OF THE ACROPOLIS
On the cornice of the first Parthenon (570 BC), cranes (geranos, in Greek) were depicted in horizontal flight, rendered in soft colours and in dense formation. For the ancient Greeks, the crane symbolised intelligence, alertness and good fortune. Each autumn, these birds would migrate over the Aegean to their wintering grounds in Egypt, and return in spring. They flew at great heights in V formation or in a straight line, guided by the shrieks of the flock leader. Equally impressive was the cranes’ dance, with their spectacular leaps, jubilant whirls and trumpet-like cries.
Such was the geranos (crane dance) performed on the island of Delos by Theseus with the Athenian youths and maidens whom he had rescued from the jaws of the Minotaur.
Coin card blister
G. StamatopoulosOther coins of the artist