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Classical Greece OverviewA comprehensive survey of the principal Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic sites in mainland Greece. Highlights include Mycenae, Olympia, Delphi. In Athens, a full day on the Acropolis and in the ancient Agora.
The Ancient Greeks had far greater influence on western civilisation than any other people or nation. For two and a half millennia, philosophy and ethics, the fundamentals of science and mathematics, prevailing notions of government and citizenship, literature and the visual arts have derived their seeds, and a large amount of their substance, from the Greeks. In the words of H.D.F. Kitto ‘there gradually emerged a people not very numerous, not very powerful, not very well organized, who had a totally new conception of what human life was for, and showed for the first time what the human mind was for.’
Whatever the depth of our Classical education, there is a deep-seated sense in all of us that the places visited on this tour are of the greatest significance for our identity and way of life. A journey to Greece is like a journey to our homeland, a voyage in which a search for our roots is fulfilled.
In no field is the Greek contribution to the modern world more immediately evident than in architecture. The grip upon the imagination that the Greek temple has exerted is astonishing, and in one way or another – ranging from straightforward imitation of the whole to decorative use of distorted details – has dominated nearly all monumental or aspirational building ever since. A striking and salutary conclusion, however, which inevitably emerges from participation on this tour, is that the originals are unquestionably superior. This is also true of sculpture.
This tour includes nearly all of the most important archaeological sites, architectural remains and museums of antiquities on mainland Greece. It presents a complete picture of ancient Greek civilisation beginning with the Mycenaeans, the Greek Bronze Age, and continuing through Archaic, Classical and, to a lesser extent, Hellenistic and Roman Greece. It also provides a glimpse of the spiritual splendour of Byzantine art and architecture.
It is a full itinerary, but the pace is manageable. Plenty of time is available on the sites and in the museums, allowing opportunity both for adequate exposition by the lecturer and time for further exploration on your own.