Where to go if You’re Interested in Ancient Wisdom
Athens, the capital of Greece, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It also happens to be the home of western philosophy. Yet most tourists are unaware of the significance that certain locations in the city have for the history of philosophy.
I am originally from Scotland, emigrated to Canada about eight years ago, but recently became a permanent resident of Greece. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring Athens, doing research for various books on philosophy. (My graphic novel, Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius, depicts scenes in the Ancient Agora and Delphi.) Friends, and strangers, who share my love of history, often ask me what locations they should visit there. So I finally decided to write this short guide to Athens for fans of ancient philosophy.
One thing worth clarifying at the outset is that ancient Greece ended up becoming part of the Roman world. In 146 BC, Greece was conquered by the Roman Republic, becoming a client state and later a province of what eventually became known as the Roman Empire. Later, under the Ottoman Empire, Greece was still referred to as the “Roman nation”. Many of the archeological ruins and museum exhibits in Athens actually date not from the classical period of Pericles and Socrates, et al., but from Roman era, particularly the rule of Emperor Hadrian.