One of the key ancient-world settings in the Seals of Annach is Daphni, Greece. Since ancient times, a temple has stood on the site 11 kilometers northwest of Athens on the Sacred Way to Eleusis and the National Road to Corinth – Daphne Monastery, in massive disrepair, now resides there.
Whether pagan or Christian in its relation to the predominant spiritual beliefs of a given era, Daphni played what could be considered a very quiet role in the evolution of religion over the thousands of years there has been a temple/monastery.
In fact, according to historical documentation and the UNESCO World Heritage certification, it is noted only for its well-preserved Byzantine art. This was exactly what I was looking for in terms of a solid location where the lives of the candidates for the Sibyl were meant to evolve – in near anonymity.
The ancient order of the Sibylline worked in secret, and Daphni, as is revealed in the novel, is one of the most holy and cloistered working temples maintained by the Sorores in the name of the Sibyl.
I found the location – so close to Athens, Corinth and numerous ancient pagan as well as Christian holy sites – irresistible. The landscape, the laurel groves, the well-travelled road that made it easy for the Sorores to access, but even more easily overlooked by travelers who cared nothing for a pilgrimage to a second-rate temple, allowed Daphni and the mystery surrounding it to come to life in vibrant, personal ways. Despite the characters and day-to-day happenings at this location being pure fiction, I worked to weave much of Greek life from that region and era into the storytelling.
Back in the real world, nothing remains today of the original temple. So, I built a storyboard of photos from the modern era to help begin to recreate what life in Daphni may have been like 1600 years ago (although the remnants of the building date only as far back as the 11th century). It will also come in handy down the road when Kasey Mackenzie ends up in Greece looking for answers to haunting questions.