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Eternal Summer

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2009


The first few hours on Greek soil are a fantastic and whirling jumble. Tumult is too feeble a word for the excited and inextricable chaos that is Peiraeus. The road thence to Athens must be at once the busiest and the worst in Greece. The main streets of the city are bedlam. Then suddenly, as a glimpse of the Parthenon is won, the mind skips the last twenty-four centuries and is lost to today. When it returns and you look about you, you might reasonably wonder where in time you are. The signs in the streets and the shops—ΟΔΟΣ ΤΡΙΠΟΔωΝ or ΑΡΤΟΠωΛΕΙΟΝ—are they ancient or modern? ‘All the Athenians … spent their time in nothing else but either to hear or to see some new thing.’ They live today, as they have always done, by talk and argument, be it over St. Paul's teaching or merely the price of a newspaper. Generations of foreign influence, Roman onwards, have left Greece unchanged, uncertain itself which century it is living in. The Unknown Soldier of modern war is represented by a dead hoplite, and beside him are written up two sentences from Thucydides.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 1959

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