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Course Description

Odyssey Through Ancient Greece

For centuries, Greece has served as a symbol of western culture. Recognized as the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, theatre, and history, and with its innovations in art and architecture, the influence of Greece has permeated cultures throughout the world. Few countries can compete with its Classical origins, its art, architecture, literary traditions, scenery, beaches or food and wine. Our trip is designed to familiarize you with Greece’s key historical, cultural and artistic aspects with a special emphasis on its earliest beginnings in the Bronze Age through to the extensive aesthetic and cultural achievements of the Classical period.

Our 13-day ‘Greek Odyssey’ will focus on Greece’s most iconic archaeological sites: Athens, Delphi, Olympia, Mycenae.  We will relive the world of ancient Greece by exploring these famous sites that embody its incredible history in all its grandeur and complexity.  We will also visit dozens more sites of artistic, historic, and cultural interest including 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites. We will follow the paths of legendary statesmen, artists, mythological heroes, philosophers and Spartan warriors.   In Athens, the city of Athena, we will walk the same cobblestone streets of the Ancient Agora where Socrates, Plato and Aristotle debated the most profound questions of life. We will ascend the Athenian Acropolis to marvel at its architectural masterpieces and gaze out over the city as the ancients once did. At the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, the religious centre of the ancient world, we will immerse ourselves in the religious traditions of the ancient Greeks.  We will investigate the origins, nature and cultural significance of the Olympics at the magnificent site of Ancient Olympia. We will marvel at the archaeological wonders at the ancient city of Messene, where an entire Greek city is literally frozen in time. We will explore the great ruins at Epidaurus, the healing sanctuary of Asklepios, including its perfectly preserved fourth-century-B.C. theatre still use today, as well as stroll through Ancient Mycenae, home of King Agamemnon one of the great mythical heroes of the Trojan War. From the plain of Marathon where a brave band of Athenians stood strong against a Persian invasion, to the medieval monastery of Hosios Loukas on the scenic slopes of Mt. Helicon with its famous relics and Byzantine masterpieces, to the pristine beaches of Tolo where we can wade into the vibrant waters of the Aegean Sea, every step of this amazing Odyssey will be an immersion in all Greece has to offer.

This is an amazing opportunity to see Greece’s highlights and to stroll the streets where some of civilization’s most important ideas and advances—in art, culture, history and politics—took shape.  Come join us as we eat in wonderful restaurants opening onto magnificent squares and monuments and taste delicious regional foods and wines while looking up at architectural masterpieces from the glorious Greek periods long past.

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Accompanying Instructor

Scott Norris earned his MA from the University of Calgary and taught for many years in the Department of Greek and Roman Studies and with Continuing Education. For the past 10+ years he has worked as an instructor and guide leading educational trips to Europe and all over the world. Scott's extensive knowledge of Greece and its culture will help facilitate authentic experiences and provide insight into Greece's many wonders and how this remarkable country has influenced our culture and civilization throughout the ages.

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