Sir Charles made various excursions from Athens with his antiquarian friends.  One was to the island of Aegina: he vividly describes their ‘camping out’ at the Temple of Aphaia (then called Jupiter Panhellenicus) and by the shoreside remains of the Temple of Apollo (Venus).  This was a few years before Charles Cockerell discovered, in 1811, the famous pediment sculptures of the Aphaia temple, now in the Munich Glyptothek. Monck's attention was more on the Doric architecture he so admired, and the way it was enhanced by plant-life and the natural setting.  Characteristically, Monck describes the beauty of the local partridges; the more pragmatic Cockerell, in his journal for 1811, lists them as a good food supply for the excavation party!

Click on the drawings of the artefacts to find out more




                       









“After drinking our tea under the cliffs
upon the beach, we set out upon two asses
to ascend Mount Panhellenicus...”
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“After drinking our tea under the cliffs upon the beach, we set out upon two asses to ascend Mount Panhellenicus – you come to a ravine or narrowing valley between mountains, in the midst of the island, and across this on another range the ruins of the temple of Jupiter Panhellenicus show themselves most beautifully. The mountains are all overgrown with wild mastic, berry bearing cedar, erica arborea and australis, Greek pine, several sorts of Citrus, wild [thyme] etc.. From amongst the bushes we spring some coveys of the [island] partridges, which are of a dove colour with red legs and beaks, their sides beautifully barred with purple brown stripes […] The temple of Jupiter Panhellenicus has some of the side columns and of the west end thrown down; the east stand with their architraves. It is Doric of the stone of the island and beautiful workmanship. Time has given the stone a most harmonious Grey tint. The ruins lie heaped up in the inside chiefly. Cedar and mastic grow up through them enriching the scene by contrasting their lively green with the sober grey of the stone temple. From the temple you see all around the island the sea, with the Attic and Peloponnesian coasts. […] After dinner we walked a short distance to take views. I caught here two [cicadas]: the same are described by Homer, “like cicadas sitting in a tree”. They bear not the smallest resemblance to a Grasshopper. They sing in the trees here, as in the plains of Athens incessantly, and are very plaguing, but they leave off about sunset and continue silent during the night.”


Click below to listen to this diary entry
of the 5th of July, 1805










                         
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Silver Coin
c. 455-431 B.C
[Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne
325/ID: SNGuk_1301_0325]

Aegina was one of the first city-states to mint coins. This coin from the fifth century BC depicts a tortoise, replacing the earlier turtle design; both were characteristic of coins from the island. Monck tried to bring two tortoises home from Greece, but these were washed overboard on the return journey (February 1806).
                                     









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Athenian Red-Figure Lekythos
450-425 BC
[Shefton Collection 209]

Monck visited the remains of two temples on Aegina and admired their Doric architecture. On this oil pot a musician, holding a lyre, appears to flee from a building, possibly a temple, signified by a Doric column.
                                       

“I was unable to sleep an hour all the night for the fleas though I laid in the open air in the balcony.”
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“I was unable to sleep an hour all the night for the fleas though I laid in the open air in the balcony. The moon shone beautifully bright all night and I could hear the fish leaping in the water underneath me. The landscape by moonlight was enchanting. At sunrise I walked out in my gown to draw the two columns which remain of the temple of Venus. I observed here a piece of real whinstone such as ours of Northumberland found in large nodules.”


Click below to listen to this diary entry
of the 8th of July, 1805