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Greece and the Ægean Islands

Philip Sanford Marden

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
The days in which a visit to Greece might be set down as something quite unusual and apart from the beaten track of European travel have passed away, and happily so. The announcement of one’s intention to visit Athens and its environs no longer affords occasion for astonishment, as it did when Greece was held to be almost the exclusive stamping-ground of the more strenuous archæologists. To be sure, those who have never experienced the delights of Hellenic travel are still given to wonderment at one’s expressed desire to revisit the classic land; but even this must pass away in its turn, since few voyage thither without awakening that desire. It is no longer an undertaking fraught with any difficulty—much less with any danger—to visit the main points of interest in the Hellenic kingdom; and, what is more to the purpose in the estimation of many, it is no longer an enterprise beset with discomfort, to any greater degree than is involved in a journey through Italy. The result of the growing consciousness of this fact has been a steadily increasing volume of travel to this richest of classic lands—richest not alone in its intangible memories, but richest also in its visible monuments of a remote past, presenting undying evidence of the genius of the Greeks for expressing the beautiful in terms of marble and stone. One may, of course, learn to appreciate the beautiful in Greek thought without leaving home, embodied as it is in the imposing literary remains to be met with in traversing the ordinary college course. But in order fully to know the beauty of the sculptures and architecture, such as culminated in the age of Pericles, one must visit Greece and see with his own eyes what the hand of Time has spared, often indeed in fragmentary form, but still occasionally touched with even a new loveliness through the mellowing processes of the ages.