Ancient Greek Pioneers of Happiness

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In a fiercely competitive world dominated by the pursuit of profit and power, interest in the pursuit of happiness is suddenly booming. Can we achieve greater happiness? What is happiness, anyway? And how can we live meaningful lives?
The first thinkers to pose these questions, and provide answers that literally changed the course of history, were the Greek thinkers Socrates, Aristotle and Epicurus.
Mark Setton (D.Phil, Oxon, Intellectual History), founder of Pursuit-of-Happiness.org is our guide on a unique tour of Greece to explore the birthplaces and remarkable insights of the “Ancient Greek Pioneers of Happiness” and visit the locations where they taught.

Day to day itinenary

Day One – Welcome to Greece

..Welcome to Athens, the fabled and vibrant metropolis of Greece….Upon your arrival you will be greeted at the airport and transferred by our private chauffeur service to your hotel which is located in Glyfada, one of the most prestigious and charming seaside suburbs of the Athenian Riviera, stretching out from the foot of Hymettus Mountain all the way to the Saronic Gulf.

You will be welcome with a glass of marvelous wine and you can spend some time in leisure to wash away your journey. In the evening everyone gets together for our welcome dinner.

Day Two – Walking tour in the archaeological site of the Ancient and Roman Agora of Athens

Enjoy your breakfast in the elegant restaurant or in the privacy of your balcony. Following this, we will have our first walking tour in the historical center of Athens.

We will visit the archaeological site of the Ancient Agora of the Classical Athens, a place where Socrates and Plato used to hang out, located to the northwest of the Acropolis. The Agora (market place) was the meeting point of the ancient Greeks and the heart of ancient Athens, the focus of political, administrative, social and commercial activity, the religious and cultural center and the seat of justice.

We will wander through the ruins of the most significant buildings and structures such as:

Monument of the Eponymous Heroes – a marble podium that bore the bronze statues of the ten heroes representing the tribes of Athens

Bouleuterion – a meeting-place of the 500-member Boule (Senate), made up of fifty citizens, from each of the ten Athenian tribes, chosen by lot each year.

Tholos – the headquarters of the 50 prytaneis who served as the executive committee of the Boule (Council) for an interval of 35 or 36 days.

Altar of the Twelve Gods – an altar and sanctuary dedicated to the twelve Olympian Gods.

– Temple of Apollo Patroos – (patroos means “from the fathers”) – a small ruined temple dedicated to the god Apollo who was considered to be the founder of the Ionian race and protector of families.

– Stoa of Zeus – a two-aisled stoa built for religious purposes in dedication to Zeus

– Temple of Aphrodite Urania – a temple dedicated to goddess Aphrodite under the epithet Urania (heavenly)

In the northwest area, inscribed marble posts were found , which were used to mark the entrances to the Agora.  One of them with the inscription “I am the boundary stone of the Agora” (500 BC) was found by the house of Simon the cobbler, where Socrates used to meet his pupils.

We will continue our tour towards the Academy Of Plato and on the way, we will visit the approximate location of the Garden of Epicurus, which Cicero wrote was on the road from Athens’ Dipylon Gate to the Academy. The site of the Academy, located just outside central Athens, was continuously inhabited from the prehistoric times. Around 387 BC, Plato founded his philosophical school and taught there for about four decades.  The Academy became famous due to the Neoplatonists and remained in use until 526 AD when it was finally closed down by emperor Justinian. Today the site is a park and visitors can wander through the ancient ruins and paths where Plato used to walk and teach his students.

Later we return to our hotel where you can spend some time in leisure. Early in the afternoon we join our lecturer for our first Symposium. Today’s theme:

– Talking with Socrates : Platonic ideas about ethics and politics

Ancient Greek Symposium was a convivial meeting for drinking, eating, music, poetry and intellectual discussion. We aim to do just that and share it with you in an entertaining and enjoyable way.

 

Day Three – Delphi: the oracle worked its magic up here on Mount Parnassus

At the foot of the Mount Parnassus lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, which contained the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles, sent out by Zeus from the opposite ends of the universe to find the navel of the world, met.

The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious center and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world. The temple of Apollo, the treasuries of Athenians and Siphnians, the ancient theatre, the Tholos of Athena Pronaia, the Sacred Way and the Castalian Fountain are some of the most important and priceless monuments the visitor can enjoy while walking through the  impressive ruins of this great archaeological site. We will have a full guided tour in the archaeological site and the museum.

In Delphi we will savor traditional local food, grilled meat and delicious homemade pies. Late in the afternoon we return to our hotel in Athens.

 

Day Four – The Acropolis of Athens – a place that inspires enlightenment

After breakfast we visit the sacred hill of the Acropolis. During this focused walk we will look closely at the Acropolis and its essential role in the city.

Our visit will cover the main buildings of the Acropolis, including:

The Propylaea – the monumental entrance to the Acropolis

The Erechtheion – an ancient Greek temple which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon

The temple of Athena Nike – Nike means victory in Greece and Athena was worshipped as goddess of wisdom and of victory in war.

– And, of course, the Parthenon.

We will continue towards the amazing New Acropolis Museum which is located at the foot of the Acropolis’ southern slope and showcases its surving treasures: The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis – The Archaic Gallery and – The Parthenon Gallery

We will end our tour with a visit to the Lyceum of Aristotle. This place of learning was one of ancient Athens’ most significant sites.  Founded by Aristotle in 335 BC in a grove sacred to Apollo Lyceius, and because of Aristotle’s habit of walking about the grove while lecturing his students, the Lyceum was known as the “Peripatetic School” (from the word “peripatos” which in Greek means stroll). Here Aristotle and others taught philosophy, mathematics and rhetoric.     

From this tour we will have gained a deeper comprehension of ancient Athenian society and a basic answer to: why Athens is widely considered the touchstone of western civilization, and the birthplace of philosophy, democracy, sciences and classical art.

This special day will be completed with our second Symposium. Today’s theme:

Aristotle, our Contemporary Philosopher: “Practical” and “Physical” Philosophy

 

Day Five – Cape Sounio: a great Greek landmark

Enjoy your leisure all morning. At noon we are ready for our half day, afternoon tour to Sounio. Taking a wonderful drive along the scenic coastal road, we will arrive to the southernmost tip of Attica,Cape Sounio, which is located 70 kilometers southeast of Athens.

The Cape Sounio is noted as the site of ruins of the ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, the god of sea in classical Greek mythology. The temple stands proudly on a rocky hilltop and the view across the Aegean Sea is magnificent. We will have a full guided tour to the archaeological site with our expert guide, and we will visit the Sanctuary and the Temple of Poseidon, the Fortress and the Sanctuary of Athena. We will complete our visit enjoying the spectacular sunset over the Aegean Sea (weather permitting).

Later we return to our hotel for our last Symposium. Today’s theme:

At last, Can we talk about Happiness? The Epicurean way of Life

 

Day Six – Epidaurus

 – Asclepieion: The birthplace of medicine

Finishing our breakfast we join our chauffer for our trip to the Peloponnese. We leave Athens and taking a scenic coastal drive we pass the Corinth Canal which connects the two Greek Seas -the Aegean and the Ionian Sea– and we arrive at Epidaurus.

In a valley surrounded by mountains, healing springs, green scenery, and with deep blue waters nearby, is one of the oldest alternative medicine healing centers of the world – together with the best preserved theater of ancient Greece and Unesco’s world heritage sites – the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus.

The Asklepieion – considered to be the birthplace of medicine – was one of the most extensive sacred sanctuaries and celebrated healing centers of the Classical world. It was an impressive complex of buildings – temples, athletic facilities, the theater, baths, a guest house for 160 guests, stoas, gymnasia, a stadium, a tholos (a 14-Corinthian-columned cella and a mysterious underground labyrinth), a ceremonial Hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), etc.

The Theater: An ancient Greek acoustic miracle

Architectural perfection, complete harmonization with the natural environment and perfect acoustics – which allow excellent intelligibility of unamplified spoken words from the skênê to all 15,000 spectators – are the unique characteristics of the Epidaurus Theater, the best preserved ancient theater in Greece.

Led by our expert guide, we will have a full tour of the archaeological site and the museum.  After having our meal at Epidaurus village we return to our hotel in Athens. Relax by the pool bar enjoying  fresh cocktails.

 

Day Seven – Departure

This is the departure day. We say our last “Good-bye” and our chauffeur service will take you at the airport. Have a nice trip back in home and keep your memories.

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Ancient Greek Pioneers of happiness. Book now!

Dates: May 13 – May 19, 2017

Tour Price:

1.250,00 Euro per person sharing a twin room

 Full Package includes:

  • Six (6) night accommodation in a 3-star hotel in Glyfada, Athens (beach resort with outdoor seasonable swimming pool in a popular location which is part of what is known as the Athens Riviera)
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Six (6) meals with drinks (wine, beer, water) in specially chosen restaurants as described in the itinerary. Special wine orders are not included. Special diets are provided.
  • Private transfers from and to the airport.
  • Private transfers to Athens, Delphi, Sounio, Epidaurus.
  • Entrance fees to all the archaeological sites and the museums stated above
  • English speaking host 24/7
  • The services of our expert tourist guides
  • All admissions, all tips for drivers, guides and waiters

Price does not include:

  • Travel expenses to and from Greece
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of personal nature
  • Any other excursions or activities which are not included in the tour.

– To book the tour, an advance payment of 15% of the tour price is requested. Once you pay the requested amount you will receive a confirmation pro forma invoice.

– Final payment is due 30 days before the start date of the tour. A final invoice will be sent to you as soon as we confirm the final payment.

Contact us for full terms, conditions and any further information.

For more info, do not hesitate to contact us.

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