In the footsteps of The Greats
One day philosophy tour in Athens.
Plato’s Academy and Museum, Lyceum of Aristotle
“I think of Plato…They say he was the first philosopher to have regularly held discussions here. Those little gardens just nearby not only bring Plato to mind but actually seem to make him appear before my eyes. Such is the evocative power that locations possess…”
Cicero, On Moral Ends 5.2.7 – 18 (transl R. Woolf)
A unique one day tour following the steps of the great Ancient Greek Philosophers.
We present you with a new,exciting and one-of-a-kind day tour under the guidance of our expert lecturer Prof. Effimia Karakantza. Read on, through her own words, as she presents you with this unique tour:
“… In my opinion, …, the final thing to be perceived in the intelligible region, and perceived only with difficulty, is the form of the good; once seen, it is inferred to be responsible for whatever is right and valuable in anything, producing in the visible region light and the source of light, and being in the intelligible region itself controlling source of truth and intelligence. And anyone who is going to act rationally either in public or private life must have sight of it.”
[From the Allegory of the Cave, Plato’s Republic (517c), trans. by Desmond Lee, Penguin 1987]
To attain the sight of the platonic ‘form of the good’ still haunts modern philosophy. If you have just one day in Athens, and you are interested in one of the major moments of western philosophy, you can walk on the steps of Plato in his Academy, in the tranquil and serene archaeological park where the ruins of his Educational Institution still remain; you will be able to see the foundation of the first University (so to speak) of the West.
The Academy of Plato
The ruins are rudimentary, but the newly founded Museum of Plato in the vicinity of the park will recompense you with a beautiful and interactive reconstruction of the Academy. This Museum (opened in 2017) is entirely different; it is digital, interactive, and multimedia, fully dedicated to Plato and his work. In my last visit I thoroughly enjoyed the genius reconstruction of the Allegory of the Cave where the visitor can actually take the place of a prisoner in the cave, restricted in his / her movements and vision; the visitor can understand how the prisoner in the Cave feels and acts before reaching the real light of Philosophy, and the understanding of the Platonic Form of the Good.
The Lyceum of Aristotle
If you wish to continue this philosophical quest, next stop should be the Lyceum of Aristotle, the most illustrious of Plato’s students. Sadly, Aristotle did not succeed his master in the direction of the Academy, in which he studied for twenty years; good for us, however, for we have the wonderful site of the Lyceum at the heart of Athens – just on the borders with the gardens of the Museum of Byzantine Art. Few rudimentary ruins remain, but the place recompenses the visitor with its tranquility and beauty; a real locus for philosophical contemplation. Virtually everything, from the physical world to the nature of the human psyche, and the metaphysics, become for Aristotle a subject for philosophical enquiry, for the philosopher thought that “all human beings by nature desire knowledge” (this is the famous opening line of the Metaphysics, 980aI). Even the art of poetry becomes a subject to be studied by the Philosopher. I cannot resist quoting the beginning of his Poetics): “Let us discuss the art of poetry and its species – the effect which each species of poetry has and the correct way to construct plots if the composition is to be of high quality, as well as the number and nature of its component parts, and any other question that arise within the same field of enquiry. We should begin, as is natural, by taking first principles first.”
[Aristotle’s Poetics (47a), trans. by Malcolm Heath, Penguin 1996]
– The tour is under the guidance of our lecturer Mrs. Effimia Karakantza, Professor of Ancient Greek Literature at the University of Patras where she has taught since 2007. Her degrees are from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (BA in Classics 1986) and Reading University, United Kingdom (PhD in Classics 1993). She is a Fellow in Ancient Greek Literature of the Center for Hellenic Studies, University of Harvard, for which she directs the Kyklos Project.
– This is a private tour, flexible in dates
– Duration: Five (5) hours
– Tour price: 580,00 euro (1 – 4 persons)
– Inclusions: 1) The services of our lecturer
2) Private transfers to the sites
3) Entrance fees to the Lyceum of Aristotle
– Tour available for groups upon request