Harry Mount's Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus

Harry Mount's Odyssey: Ancient Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1472904672

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Architecture, art, sculpture, economics, mathematics, science, metaphysics, comedy, tragedy, drama and epic poetry were all devised and perfected by the Greeks. Of the four classical orders of architecture, three were invented by the Greeks and the fourth, the only one the Romans could come up with, was a combination of two of the former.The powerful ghost of ancient Greece still lingers on in the popular mind as the first great civilization and one of the most influential in the creation of modern thought. It is the starting block of Western European civilization.

In his Odyssey, eminent writer Harry Mount tells the story of ancient Greece while on the trail of its greatest son, Odysseus. In the charming, anecdotal style of his bestselling Amo, Amas, Amat and All That, Harry visits Troy, still looming over the plain where Achilles dragged Hector's body through the dust, and attempts to swim the Hellespont, in emulation of Lord Byron and the doomed Greek lover, Leander. Whether in Odysseus's kingdom on Ithaca, Homer's birthplace of Chios or the Minotaur's lair on Crete, Mount brings the Odyssey--and ancient Greece--back to life.











Tasks of Hercules. The Nemean lion, the Lernaen hydra, the Ceryneian hind, the Erymanthian boar, the Augean stables and the Stymphalian birds were all in the Peloponnese. The bull was in Crete; the mares of Diomedes in northern Greece; the belt of Hippolyta in northern Turkey; the cattle of Geryon off the south coast of Spain; and the apples of Hesperides in north Africa. Cerberus’s home in the underworld was identified in lots of different spots around the Mediterranean. I sided with the critics

surviving coping stone around a basin is inscribed with the symbols X and P – Chi and Rho, the first two Greek letters of Christ’s name. For centuries more, Greek remained the language of the intellectual Christian. In September 2014, Cambridge University Library bought a rare book, the Codex Zacynthius, from the British and Foreign Bible Society for �1.1m. Discovered on the Greek island of Zacynthos, it was brought to England in 1821. The vellum of the codex was first written on in the sixth or

Athens – Communist Russia against the enlightened West again. Pericles was a Renaissance man avant la lettre. He inspired Thucydides, and commissioned the Parthenon and its sculptures. He also backed Herodotus and Sophocles – who served alongside him as Athens’s strategos, after writing Antigone. Intellectual triumphs brought political ones in artistically sensitive Athens. No wonder oratory flourished in the first home of relatively free speech. Athens was the birthplace of modern rhetoric – a

accommodate Queen Alexandra. The queen wanted the marathon to start on the lawn at Windsor Castle, so the royal children could see it from their nursery. The distance from Windsor to the royal box at White City just happened to be 26 miles and 385 yards – confirmed as the standard marathon distance in 1921. That explains why the winner of the 1908 marathon – the Italian, Dorando Pietri – had to be helped over the finishing line: he wasn’t used to the longer distance. He was later disqualified

open the window and let that sewage smell waft in off the Bosphorus? That particular conundrum had me calling in the hotel’s engineer at two in the morning. Even the most sainted, deep-sleeping woman in the world – she was both – couldn’t be expected to sleep through the sound of a panel being ripped out of the bedroom ceiling, in the quest for a temperamental air-conditioning pipe. In one upmarket hotel on the western Turkish coast, near Bodrum, I couldn’t get to sleep because the curtains were

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