Exploring Homer’s World: Bronze Age Greece

Part tour, part retreat, our trip is a unique opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the world of Homer by reading his epic Odyssey and visiting sites connected to his myths and stories. We set the context by exploring the architectural masterpieces of Athens, including the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Classical Pursuits leader Scott Shafer and our local guides will bring Homeric legends and ancient Greek drama to life on excursions to sites such as Thebes and Aulis. And we’ll see written in stone the multicultural heritage of Greece in towns such as Nafplion, with its Roman, Frankish, Venetian, and Turkish architecture.

For the second half of our journey, enjoy a relaxing yet stimulating week at the Kapsaliana resort in beautiful, mountainous Crete. The quiet setting among olive groves is the ideal place to dig deeper into the Odyssey. Homer’s epic poem tells the story of the journey of the Ithacan king Odysseus as he tries to return home after the Trojan War. A classics grad pursing a career in musuem studies, Scott will facilitate an engaging and memorable experience whether you are coming to the epic for the first time or have read it many times before.

The guiding principle of our trip is a concept sacred to ancient Greeks and still a fundamental value in Greece today: philoxenia, which can be translated as “friend to the stranger.” The Odyssey is a story of xenia (guest-friendship), whether it is practiced well or poorly, treated with reverence or parodied. Outside the pages of the book, enjoy Greece’s famous hospitality with a group of travellers who might start out as strangers but will end up as friends.

Image credits: The Acropolis as viewed from the Mouseion Hill, Christophe Meneboeuf/Wikipedia

Overview

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DESTINATION
Athens and Crete, Greece

DATES
April 22 to May 3, 2023

GROUP SIZE
14 to 16 participants

COST US$5695

READINGS
The Odyssey by Homer; selected Greek dramas and myths; optional pre-trip online reading of the Iliad

LEADERS
Scott Shafer is a recent college graduate and regular attendee of Toronto Pursuits based in the Bay Area, where he’s pursuing a career in museum studies. Trained in Greek and Roman history at Carleton College, he loves to share his passion for classical antiquity and always seeks to find common ground between past and present. The emotional and narrative themes found in Greek epics and theatre are as relevant and impactful today as they were in their own times, and he looks forward to exploring the richness of Homer’s Odyssey within its Greek context.

Gary Schoepfel’s familiarity with the ancient Greek world is due, in part, to the 16 Classical Pursuits adventures he has led around the world, including Turkey, Italy, and Greece. As a vice president of The Great Books Foundation, and as a faculty member of Harrison Middleton University, he has led seminars in classical Greek philosophy, history, and literature for 35 years. He has a passionate interest in tragedy, both as an idea and as a literary form—another of the wonder-filled gifts given to us by those ineffable ancient Greeks.

ACCOMMODATION
The Niche Hotel, Athens; Hotel Perivoli, Nafplion; Kapsaliana Village Hotel, Crete

GROUP SIZE
14 to 16 participants

COST US$5695



Cost includes guides, readings, accommodation in double occupancy, two meals a day, discussions, ground transportation, walking tours, talks, excursions, admissions, and taxes and gratuities.


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