Alexander and Aeneas in Northern Greece


July 14-26, 2014

Phillip V Stanley, San Francisco State University, Emeritus
George Perko

We begin our odyssey in Athens with a visit to the new Acropolis Museum, the Acropolis, and the Agora. From Athens our journey takes us northward with stops at Thermopylae and Tempe, important sites for the Persian Wars. In Northern Greece, the home of Alexander the Great, we visit his birthplace, Pella, and the burial place of his father, Vergina. We travel to Meteora and on over the mountains of Greece to Epirus, home of Alexander’s mother and where Aeneas stopped; here we visit the oracles of Zeus at Dodona and of the Dead, the Nekromanteion. Next, we cross over to the island of Corfu. We cross over to Albania to drive to the ancient site of Buthrotum, where Aeneas came in his wanderings. On our return to the mainland we drive to Delphi, stopping at Actium, where Octavius’ forces defeated those of Antony and Cleopatra. No trip in this area would be complete without a visit to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. Afterward, we return to Athens.


Day 1: Arrive in Athens:

PM Acropolis Museum: The New Acropolis Museum has on display the sculpture found on the Acropolis and those from the Parthenon. On the top floor, surrounded with glass windows looking out onto the Parthenon, are arranged the sculptures from the Parthenon.
Overnight Athens.  Welcome dinner

Day 2: Acropolis and Agora

AM: tour of the Acropolis beginning with the Theater of Dionysus where the ancient Greek plays were performed. Then onto the sacred hill of Athena with the monuments of Periclean Athens.
PM: tour of the ancient Agora, the main market area of the ancient city of Athens; the Agora is surrounded by public buildings and the Temple of Hephaestus which overlooks the area.
Overnight Athens (B)

Day 3: Drive Thessaloniki: stops Thermopylae, Volos (lunch and museum), Tempe

AM departure driving north, We will stop at Thermopylae where the Greeks in 480 stood against the advancing troops of Xerxes, king of Persia, and 300 Spartans died defending Greece.
We continue on to the seaside town of Volos where lunch is on your own.
After Lunch we will continue north stopping at Tempe, the narrows created by Poseidon and where the Greeks first thought to oppose Xerxes.
Overnight Thessaloniki (B)

Day 4: Museum, Pella

AM: Drive to the ancient city of Pella where Alexander was born.  The ancient houses were decorated with pebble mosaics still preserved on the site. The small museum contains a number of items found in the site.  There is an important Red-figured vase depicting the struggle between Athena and Poseidon for Athens.
PM free in Thessaloniki to explore the ancient churches and the Roman ruins

Overnight Thessaloniki (B)

Day 5: Vergina and Meteora

AM: Drive to Vergina, the ancient capital of Macedon, where Philip was assassinated in the theater. We will visit the ancient burial mound where several unplundered tombs were excavated and are now on display, with their contents, inside of the mound itself, a unique museum.
PM: continue to Meteora and visit several of the monasteries on the mountain top.
Overnight Meteora (B)

Day 6: Drive to Ioannina

AM: Drive over the ridge of mountains separating eastern and western Greece, descending into Epirus where Aeneas meets Andromache and Helenus. Continue to Ioannina, the city by the Lake with its Turkish influences.
Overnight Ioannina (B)

Day 7: Dodona & Nekromanteion

AM: Visit the ancient oracle of Zeus at Dodona where his omens are heard in the winds blowing through the oak trees.  The ancient 3rd century theater has been restored.
PM: Visit the Nekromanteion, the oracle of the Dead, walk the labyrinth corridor and descend into the Underworld.
Overnight Ioannina (B)

Day 8: Transfer to Corfu

Transfer to the island of Corfu, believed to be ancient Ithaca, home of Odysseus.
The afternoon is free to explore the Venetian style town.
Overnight Corfu (B)

Day 9: Trip to Albania: Buthrotum

AM: transfer by boat to Albania, driving to the ancient town of Buthrotum in Epirus which was founded by Helenus, son of Priam, and visited by Aeneas. The earliest ruins date from the 10th and 8th centuries.  After the battle of Actium, Octavius continued his plan to settle veterans there.
Overnight Corfu (B)

Day 10: Drive to Delphi: stop at Actium

AM: drive south, stopping at Actium the site of the naval battle between Octavius and Antony and Cleopatra.  Continue on to Delphi; visit the temple and lower site.
Overnight Delphi

Day 11: return to Athens:

AM: visit museum at Delphi
PM: drive to Athens
Overnight Athens: farewell dinner  (B & D)

Day 12: Depart Athens  (B)

Depart from Athens.

Price: $3,470; Single Supplement: $715