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Photo of the week: Pan’s epiphany

To the south of the temple of the Olympian Zeus, is a cluster of ancient sites, most of them unknown to the general public. Here was, for instance, the temple of Artemis, as well as many more smaller temples and shrines.

Here too was a sanctuary of Pan. I knew about it, had seen ground plans, sections, reconstructions of it, had read about its excavation, had walked through it countless times.

Yet, all this time, I had not once seen Pan.

Then suddenly, one spring afternoon when the sun was at just the right angle, I saw him.

I saw the image of the goat-legged prank-playing god standing out, on the bare rock where it was carved more than 25 centuries ago.

It was as if he was waiting for me there, winking at me for having won a game of hide-and-seek that lasted for too many years to count.

Well played, oh mighty Pan, well played indeed.

South of the temple of Olympic Zeus in Athens, Pan's relief hiding among acanthus and agave leaves in the foreground and blocks of flats in the bacground.

South of the temple of Olympic Zeus in Athens, Pan’s relief hiding among acanthus and agave leaves in the foreground and blocks of flats in the bacground.

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Can’t see him? Look a little closer …

God Pan's relief in Athens

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… much closer …

God Pan's relief in Athens - close up

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… there he is.

God Pan's relief in Athens - outline

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